Tag Archive for Tour de Palm Springs

Huerta guilty of murder in Tour de Palm Springs crash, more Bike Week news, and annual Ride of Silence rolls tomorrow

Guilty.

To the surprise of no one, Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr. was convicted Monday of killing Washington resident Mark Kristofferson in the 2018 Tour de Palm Springs.

A Riverside jury deliberated three days before convicting Huerta of 2nd degree murder, as well as driving under the influence of drugs resulting in great bodily injury, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.

Although, for some reason, Huerta was not charged with severely injuring Huntington Beach resident Alyson Lee Akers in the same crash.

Huerta was high on weed and driving without a license when he ran down Kristofferson while driving at speeds up to 100 mph; he was arrested after being detained by witnesses in a nearby field as he attempted to run away on foot to high the cannabis he’d been smoking.

Huerta was remanded into custody after the verdict was announce, after being free on a quarter million dollar bond while awaiting trial. He now faces a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

On the other hand, Kristofferson received the death penalty at Huerta’s hands, while his loved ones were sentenced to life without him.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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Santa Clarita residents kicked off Bike Week a day early with a self-guided bike tour along the city’s bike path system Saturday morning.

Bike riders in Paso Robles can enjoy a Bike Breakfast of free coffee and breakfast burritos tomorrow morning.

Metrolink is one-upping Metro’s free rides on Thursday’s Bike Day by offering a full week of free rides this week if you board with your bike. Thanks to J for the heads-up.

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In more Bike Week news, tomorrow marks the annual international Ride of Silence to honor the victims of traffic violence, with memorial rides scheduled throughout Southern California.

Although there doesn’t appear to be a ride scheduled for San Diego County, which had at least 12 bicycling deaths last year, and 17 the year before.

Los Angeles
Contact: Rafael Hernandez   <–Send email
Distance: 10 mi
Notes: Location is tentativ
Pasadena
Contact: Thomas Cassidy    <–Send email
Distance: 12 mi.
Notes: Contact the organizer for more details.
Fullerton
Contact: Jane Rands   <–Send email
Distance: 10
Notes: Meet 6:30 pm at the plaza on E Wilshire Ave between Harbor Blvd and Pomona Ave. There is a parking garage with no charge if you enter before 9pm. We will begin riding east on the Wilshire Bike Blvd at 7pm, go south on Acacia, north on Commonwealth, cross Nutwoood and continue north on the county bike trail through the CSUF campus. We will loop south to Dorothy, cross State College and continue on Dorothy to Hornet way where we will turn right onto Berkeley, south on Lemon and west on E Wilshire to return to our starting location. Feel free to join us at any point if you miss our departure at 7pm.
Redding
Contact: Lisa Creps   <–Send email
Distance: 8.5 mi.
Notes: Contact the organizer for more details.
Riverside
Contact: Michele Hampton   <–Send email
Distance: 8 mi.
Notes: For details: https://www.facebook.com/groups/riversidebicycleclub
Palm Springs
Contact: John Siegel   <–Send email
Distance: 4.5 mi.
Notes: https://fb.me/e/Vpz3NHYT

When: Wed. May 17th, 6:30 PM, Ruth Hardy Park, Palm Springs

We will gather at the south parking area, with brief comments from community leaders and elected officials.

This year we will have great support from the Friends of CV/Link, Volunteer Palm Springs, clubs and the City of Palm Springs.

We also encourage non-cyclists to join us. Walkers can use the one mile loop around the park, and all can show support by joining us at the brief ceremony. There is parking for those not arriving by bike. We will honor people we have lost.

The Ride of Silence is held at 7:00 pm local time around the globe.

Thousand Oaks
Contact: Linda Coburn   <–Send email
Distance: 10 mi.
Notes: Bicycle riders of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join the Conejo Valley Ride of Silence. We ride silently together for 10 miles on some of the busiest Thousand Oaks roads during rush hour. By doing so we remind drivers that cyclists are traffic too and educate drivers to be more attentive and careful when sharing the roads. To ensure the safety of all, the Ride of Silence is escorted by the Thousand Oaks Sheriff’s Department.

Gather at The Oaks Mall near Pedals & Pints Brewing beginning at 5:30pm. A ceremony at 5:45 will honor cyclists who have lost their lives to vehicular violence. After the ceremony, at approximately 6:00, the entire group will roll out. The solemn procession of silent riders will keep an even pace of about 10-11 miles per hour, making it achievable by most riders. Helmets are mandatory.

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Yes, please.

The head of the National Traffic Safety Board calls for the federal government to step in to mechanically or electronically limit the speeds of motor vehicles.

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A viral video captures a bizarre interaction with a white woman in medical scrubs apparently trying to forcibly take a New York bikeshare bike which had already been checked out on Black man’s account.

https://twitter.com/Imposter_Edits/status/1657581292681064451?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1657581292681064451%7Ctwgr%5Effcff880297ca99cddc5557df14036845a671e73%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.insider.com%2Fwhite-woman-video-citi-bike-black-man-2023-5

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A 70-year old London man somehow managed to fight off four blacked-out, moped-riding bike rustlers who tried to make off with his Brompton, while armed with an angle grinder.

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

Maybe ostensibly bike friendly Portland, Oregon wouldn’t have a declining bike ridership rate if they’d stop scaling back already announced plans for protected bikeways.

Police in Philadelphia are looking for the thieves who knocked a 48-year old man off his bike with their car, then jumped out and beat him unconscious before stealing his wallet and keys.

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

A Lafayette, Louisiana DJ calls out “idiots” he somehow thinks are unique to the city for riding their bikes down the center turn lane on busy streets, rather than riding to the right, calling them “soon-to-be customers” of the local ambulance service. Although somehow he didn’t mention the bike rider killed by a driver while riding in a crosswalk in the same city over the weekend.

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Local 

Streetsblog reports an open house will be held tomorrow night to discuss plans to extend the LA River bike path another mile north from the current terminus at the Riverside/Zoo bridge, including an equestrian trail along with an extension of the multiuse path; a virtual meeting will take place Wednesday. You can provide feedback using an online survey.

Hermosa Beach is dedicating a new bike corral this Sunday at Hermosa Ave and 10th Street, in honor of late South Bay bicycle advocate Julian Katz.

 

State

San Diego Magazine recommends a scenic, leisurely and food-filled trip down the coast highway from Carlsbad to Seaside Reef. Which is a lot safer these days when I used to do that ride on a semi-regular basis.

Richmond bike co-op and community organizers Rich City Rides has started a $6 million fundraising campaign to buy three properties, including their longtime HQ; so far they have received commitments for up to $4.5 million, including an offer of a $3.3 million loan from an anonymous donor.

 

National

PeopleForBikes is partnering with a battery recycling company and a San Francisco-based creative consultancy to create the new Hungry for Batteries campaign to recycle ebike batteries from 52 different bikemakers.

Tragic news from Arizona, where a Flagstaff woman was killed when she fell off her mountain bike and tumbled down a rocky embankment.

Police in Goodyear, Arizona are calling for witnesses to come forward to provide more information about the pickup driver who plowed into a large group ride last February, killing two people and injuring 19 others, after prosecutors rejected the case; the driver claims his steering wheel locked up, forcing him to drift into the victims. Apparently his brake blocked up, too, since he somehow couldn’t stop, either.

This is who we share the road with. When a man in rural eastern Colorado was pulled over for speeding, he switched seats with his dog and tried to convince the cop the dog was driving to avoid getting busted for DUI.

The husband and daughters of missing Colorado mom Suzanne Morphew, who vanished while riding her bike on Mother’s Day three years ago, have spoken out for the first time since filing a $15 million wrongful arrest suit, even though he reportedly remains the primary suspect in the case.

There’s a special place in hell for the 80-year old hit-and-run driver who knocked a ten-year old North Dakota boy off his bicycle, and left him severely injured in the street. Once again raising the question of how old is too old to drive.

In the understatement of the year, bike advocates in Lincoln, Nebraska respond to separate collisions that injured two bike riders, including a nine-year old run down by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, by saying that drivers need to be more careful. Well, no shit.

The man behind the infamous collapse of China’s Ofo dockless bikeshare is now placing his bets on a new boba coffee chain in New York. Let’s hope he doesn’t leave hundreds of thousands of abandoned coffee cups scattered around the city, like he did with bikeshare bikes in China.

US prosecutors are calling for multiple life sentences for convicted New York terrorist Sayfullo Saipov, who killed eight people and injured several others by driving a rented truck down a Manhattan bike path in an ISIS-inspired attack.

Maybe the viral video of the bikeshare skirmish we lined to above was good advertising, as New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare saw record ridership last week.

 

International

Venture capital-backed ebike startup Civilized Cycles aims to make riding to work as luxurious as driving, with a patented suspension system that adjusts to the rider’s weight with a touch of a button. Get back to me when they offer air conditioning, surround sound and in-dash touch screens.

Surprisingly, a new Canadian study released this month shows the legalization of adult-use marijuana in the country has not resulted in an increase in car crashes.

Up to 20,000 people are expected to turn out for a pair of Montreal bike rides celebrating the return of the annual Go Bike Montreal Festival, following cancellations the last few years due to the pandemic.

Australia’s Bicycle Network is joining with the nations LGBTQ+ community to mark tomorrow’s IDAHOBIT Day, which stands for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.

 

Competitive Cycling

Teams competing in the Giro are going back to protocols they used in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, in the wake of race leader Remco Evenepoel dropping out with Covid hours after winning the time trial to regain the pink leader’s jersey.

Bicycling says not everyone is convinced Evenepoel really has the disease, suggesting it could just be an excuse to pull out of the race. Read it on AOL if the magazine blocks you.

Britain’s Cyclist recaps the first week of the Giro, from a dog-induced crash to positive Covid tests.

Who pooped in their cornflakes? Cyclist also throws a little shade on the current cycling scene, saying it’s not a golden age if the same riders win all the races.

Cycling Weekly calls Indiana University’s recently completed Little 500 the “coolest bike race you’ve never been to.” Unless you have, of course.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me — if you’re carrying fentanyl, weed and multiple cellphones showing drug buys on your ebike, don’t ride salmon.

And now you, too, can build your own bike-based RV camper.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Welcome to Bike Week LA, Tour de Palm Springs jury deliberating, and longtime LA County official Gloria Molina dies

If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. 

Just when I got my doctor to get more aggressive in treating my diabetes, something else came up to knock me on my ass. 

Wednesday night I went out to walk the dog, and by the time I got back, I was feeling the full effects of what was apparently a sudden-onset stomach virus, or maybe an adverse reaction to a new med. 

We’ll find that part out when I take it again on Tuesday. 

I’m not saying I was sick. But I lost a full eight pounds literally overnight, and was completely out of it until late Friday. 

So my apologies once again for yet another unexcused absence — something I’ve written so many times that my laptop is now autosuggesting the phrase for me. 

Honestly, I do my best to be here for you every morning. But after a lifetime of pushing my body to respond to ever-increasing demands, on and off the bike, it’s now saying “fuck you” on an ever more frequent basis.

Which is about the best way I can describe diabetes and all its multitude of complications. 

Seriously, you don’t want this shit. 

So if you’re at risk, whether from weight, family history or any other factor, get yourself tested. 

No, now. 

And do whatever it takes to turn your health around so you don’t get it. 

Now I’ll get off my damn soapbox and catch up with the news, because we have a lot to catch up on. 

Photo by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay.

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Welcome to Bike Week, the one week of the year when elected officials, government bureaucrats and the news media join in one voice to celebrate all things bikes.

As opposed to the other 51 weeks of the year, when they either ignore us, or actively try to kill us.

Santa Clarita is conducting their annual Bike to Work Challenge this week, encouraging business employees to commute by bike for the full week.

Long Beach is hosting the return of its “beloved” Beach Streets Open Streets event to the downtown area on Saturday.

Metro has unveiled their new line of bikewear and accessories. If anyone has me on their Christmas in July Secret Santa list, I’ll take the Every Lane Is A Bike Lane backpack, thank you. 

Other Metro highlights for Bike Week include —

  • May 18 is Bike to Work Day and we’re offering free 30 minute rides all day long. Simply choose 1-Ride in the app, online or at a kiosk and use code 051823. Metro Bus and Rail are also free- no tapping required. Code can be used multiple times throughout the day. Usage fees apply over 30 minutes.
  • There are two opportunities to join us on your commute. The first 10 Metro Bike Share Passholders at each event will receive a limited-edition mug! May 18 – North Hollywood Station, 8 -11 am and May 19 – Downtown Santa Monica Station, 8-11 am.
  • May 18 and 19, the 365-Day Pass is just $75. That’s a 50% savings! To purchase, select 365-Day Pass in the app or online and enter code BIKETOWORK23.Offer valid for first time 365-Day Passholders, 5/18/23 – 5/19/23 only. Code valid for Full Fare and Reduced Fare Passes.
  • May 21CicLAmini Watts, presented by Metro will be a more pedestrian-oriented event than the typical CicLAvia, but sure to be just as special. Metro Bikes will be available to check out on a first come, first served basis from 9am-2pm. If you wish to check out a bike, get prepared by downloading the app. See you there!

Meanwhile, Glendale is jumping the gun by hosting their Bike to Work Day a day earlier on Wednesday. Go Glendale and Walk Bike Glendale will host a pitstop at 800 N Brand from 8 am to 10 am on Wednesday, with another pit stop hosted by the City of Glendale at the Glendale City Hall from 8 am to 10 am, .

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Jury deliberations are set to resume today in the trial of Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr. for killing Washington resident Mark Kristofferson, and severely injuring Huntington Beach resident Alyson Lee Akers, in an alleged high-speed DUI crash in the 2018 Tour de Palm Springs.

Huerta was allegedly high on weed and driving without a license when he ran down Kristofferson at speeds up to 100 mph; he was arrested after being detained by witnesses in a nearby field as he attempted to run away on foot.

The jury halted their work Friday evening after two days of deliberations without reaching a verdict.

Huerta is charged with second-degree murder, driving under the influence of drugs resulting in great bodily injury, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.

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Sad news this morning, as groundbreaking populist LA political lead Gloria Molina has passed away at age 74, following a three-year battle with cancer.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Molina was California’s first Latina Assembly member, the first Latina to serve on the LA City Council, and the first Latina on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

I honestly can’t tell you what Molina’s record on bikes was.

But she spent her entire career fighting for undeserved communities, particularly on the East Side of Los Angeles.

And that’s good enough for me.

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Streets For All is hosting a volunteer meet-up and bike ride tomorrow at Union Station night.

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This has got to be me from a prior life. Unless maybe it’s you.

But it’s got to be one of us, right?

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Okay, I’m moving there.

But where is Ghent, anyway? Oh, who cares, I’m going.

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Remarkable — and questionable — story, as a specially abled Indian man claims to have ridden 2,300 miles in just four and a half days, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

Questionable because that works out to 511 miles a day, or 21 miles an hour, every hour for 108 hours — without rest stops.

Stopping to rest or sleep would push that hourly figure even higher. Even just six hours of daily rest time would require averaging 28 mph for the other 18 hours straight, which seems unlikely.

But maybe some randonneurs out there can tell us how likely it really is.

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

No surprise here, as bike groups join with Democrats to call on Utah Senator Mitt Romney to rethink his comments calling bike lanes “the height of stupidity.” Actually, a lot of them are, but not for the reasons he thinks.

Road.cc deconstructs the so-called war on motorists, concluding it’s nothing more than encouraging people to drive less and consider alternative forms of transportation — despite the ongoing backlash.

A British Member of Parliament dismissed bicyclists’ concerns over new regulations allowing longer trucks on the country’s roads, bizarrely suggesting that they were “good for road safety.”

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

Demonstrating that some people just don’t get it, a Lycra-clad English bike rider stopped several cops who were targeting speeding drivers, asking if they didn’t have anything better to do. He should have thanked them for trying to save his life, and everyone else on the roadway, instead. 

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Local 

Yes, please. The LA City Council is considering a proposal to turn some peak-hour traffic lanes into bus lanes, which could also be used by people on bicycles; they’ve instructed LADOT to report back on converting lanes on Alvarado Street, Vermont Blvd, and La Brea and Roscoe avenues.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton say nice try LADOT, but the new plans to curb illegal street racing in Angelino Heights by Fast & Furious fans doesn’t go nearly far enough, as the city’s first round of changes are nearly complete.

Pasadena is nearing completion of the Union Street protected bikeway project, with a two-way bike lane on Union from Hill Ave to Arroyo Parkway, and a bike boulevard on Holliston Ave between Union and Cordova streets.

Writing on her Good Mom, Bad Mom blog, Redondo Beach resident Dr. Grace Peng urges you to respond to the Metro Active Transportation Corridor survey about remaking Redondo Beach Blvd, and offers a local’s perspective on how to answer those questions to help turn the current car sewer into something that safely serves all of us.

Kourtney Kardashian is one of us, as the British tabloids freak out when she rode a bike with her shirtless, shoeless and helmet-less eight-year old son standing on the rear wheel pegs.

 

State

Calbike is calling on California to boost its relatively meager $10 million funding for ebike tax credits to a more reasonable $50 million; California’s current funding is $2 million less than Colorado’s new ebike rebate program, despite having almost seven times the population.

Calbike also offers a tutorial intended to demystify California’s arcane budget process.

Patch considers six California bike laws you probably don’t know. All of which you probably do know, although some drivers may not. Okay, a lot of drivers.

Streets For All says state Assemblymember Chris Holden holds the key committee vote on legislation to approve speed cams, and study the impact of vehicle weight fees on pedestrians deaths; the group urges you to contact his office to urge their passage, even if you don’t live in his district.

A 47-year old San Diego man was rushed into surgery for a broken wrist and other non-life-threatening injuries suffered when he allegedly rear-ended a car stopped at a red light while riding an ebike at a high rate of speed.

That’s more like it. Bike riders in San Mateo County can now use a website to report violations of the state’s three-foot passing law online.

He gets it. A Palo Alto op-ed writer says safer streets, rail crossings and bike paths are key to a better community.

A San Francisco bike shop is shutting down, saying it’s a victim of repeated thefts and break-ins, a slow economy and a seemingly unending series of storms that kept customers away.

Megan Lynch forwards news that UC Davis is getting a new bike counter, after a reckless driver killed the last one.

 

National

Cycling Savvy offers advice on the highly underrated skill of looking back to check traffic or riders behind you while maintaining your line.

Seventy-four-year old Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been pushing for bike legislation for nearly 30 years, as advocates gathered for a Friday bike ride through DC to call for more money and safer streets.

She gets it. An Albuquerque columnist suggests New Mexico should adopt a statewide Vision Zero program, comparing their more than 150 traffic deaths last year to Jersey City, New Jersey’s zero.

Denver residents enjoyed the city’s first Viva Streets open streets event, closing 3.5 miles of downtown streets to cars while opening them up for people.

It’s now been three years since a Colorado woman vanished with a trace on a Mother’s Day bike ride; Suzanne Morphew’s husband was arrested in her disappearance nearly a year after searchers found her helmet and mountain bike, but charges were dropped in a pre-trial hearing because her body still hasn’t been found.

Lincoln, Nebraska’s chief deputy swears he only looked down for a moment to switch the radio station when he ran down a nine-year old girl riding her bike, leaving her with multiple skull fractures, a brain bleed, fractured shoulder, injured knee and road rash. Any bets on how long it will take them to blame the victim?

Ten years and 180 million rides later, New York officials look back at the improbable success of the city’s bikeshare system.

President Joe Biden continues to be one of us, talking to the press about the calmer-than-expected US-Mexico border during a bike ride through Delaware’s Gordons Pond State Park.

 

International

Residents of North Montreal rallied to demand more bikeways after living with just one protected bike lane for the last 40 years, as the city backed out of a promise to build four bike paths in the neighborhood this year, instead committing to just three.

A Montreal bike shop has kept it in the family since 1948.

He gets it, too. A Toronto columnist calls for residents who use food delivery services to fight to keep bike lanes, saying they should be concerned for the safety for the bike couriers who deliver their food.

Heartbreaking news from the UK, where a 56-year old English man died of a heart attack while riding his bike, just an hour after snapping a smiling selfie. Although someone should tell the Daily Record that seemingly healthy people sometimes suffer from undetected health problems, which is why everyone who rides a bike should see a doctor on a regular basis. Then again, so should everyone else. 

Life is cheap in the UK, where a 43-year old former soccer player got just two years and four months behind bars for the horrifying, drunken hit-and-run that left a bike-riding woman in her 70s with life-changing injuries; he was four times the legal limit when he knocked her off her bike, then slowly drove over her with all four wheels. There’s video of the crash, but consider whether you really want to watch it, because you can’t unsee it if you do.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, will have some penance to do after he was fined the equivalent of $625 for driving 25 mph in a 20 mph zone.

A Dublin, Ireland city official warns of inevitable conflicts between bike riders, pedestrians and e-scooter users in the city parks — despite just eleven such incidents in the last eight years.

The European Cyclists’ Federation name Helsingborg, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; and both Essen and Heidelberg, Germany best in class cities at this year’s Velo-city conference.

In a study that should put questions about the health benefits of ebikes to rest, German researchers find that regularly riding an ebike can cut the risk of a heart attack by 40%.

The Malta Times calls for putting the brakes on road anarchy in the island nation, saying traffic enforcement has moved from essential to critical.

 

Competitive Cycling

Big plot twist in the Giro, where race leader Remco Evenepoel was forced to withdraw after testing positive for Covid, just after regaining the pink leader’s jersey with a victory in the time trial.

 

Finally…

Your Peloton bike could go somewhere after all, after 2 million of the stationary bikes were recalled. Never bring a knife to a bike theft gunfight.

And what do you call a marching band that rides bikes, instead?

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

LA study suggests replacing traffic cops with safer streets, and closing arguments today in Tour de Palm Springs murder trial

It took awhile, but Los Angeles is finally back with a study suggesting the city should take cops out of traffic stops.

First proposed nearly three years ago in the wake of the George Floyd protests, the results of the study would turn traffic enforcement over to unarmed civilians, as well as remaking streets to prevent aggressive and reckless driving in the first place.

LA, meet your underfunded Vision Zero program.

According to the Los Angeles Times,

Among the recommendations put forth by the city report is investing in so-called “self-enforcing infrastructure,” such as narrower streets, dedicated bike lanes and more clearly marked pedestrian crosswalks.

Such measures naturally slow the flow of traffic and discourage drivers from speeding or breaking other road laws. Much like the Vision Zero initiative — unveiled in 2015 by then-Mayor Eric Garcetti to end traffic deaths within a decade — they would increase safety and reduce the need for active enforcement in “high-injury network corridors, low-income communities, and communities of color,” the report said.

While the city could build on the existing Vision Zero model, the report said, it should be less reliant on law enforcement.

Then again, Vision Zero supporters have stressed that last part since the program was adopted.

The program — at least as envisioned in the original European approach — is based on re-envisioning infrastructure to prevent behavior that too often leads to traffic deaths, rather than the Americanized approach of increased enforcement and education.

Which may be cheaper, but it’s a lot less effective, as countless failed Vision Zero programs across the US attest.

Including right here in Los Angeles.

The study goes on to address the rising rates of traffic violence — as well as other forms of violence from motorists — directed at people outside of cars, whether they’re walking, biking or living on the streets.

From the chronic problem of people running stop signs to a rise in sideshows that occasionally lead to injuries — such as street takeovers or drag racing — the work group found that the “aggressiveness of drivers towards nondrivers, including the unhoused, is a growing problem in Los Angeles.”

Headlines describing road violence involving pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists have piled up in recent months, including one case last month in which police say a possibly impaired driver barreled into a mother and her 6-year-old daughter as they walked to school in Mid-Wilshire. The mother was killed and the girl was critically injured…

The city’s streets remain particularly deadly for pedestrians and bicyclists, with 159 people killed in collisions involving pedestrians and motorists last year. This is a 19% rise compared with 2021, LAPD data show. An additional 20 people died in collisions involving bicyclists and motorists, an 11% rise.

The report also calls for further reducing the kind of pretextual stops we’ve too often seen directed against people on bicycles — particularly people of color — who may be stopped for a minor traffic violation, only to find themselves handcuffed and searched.

Or in some cases, shot.

The question is whether the LAPD’s powerful police union will be willing to give up responsibility for traffic enforcement, which is anything but a given at this point.

Particularly since they haven’t even been willing to embrace automated speed cams.

Other questions involve what happens when drivers flee a traffic stop, or when the unarmed civilians are confronted by armed motorists.

But it’s worth pursuing to see if we can make it work.

Especially if it means finally embracing the changes to our streets we’ve already agreed are needed.

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Closing arguments are scheduled for today, after the defense rested in the murder trial of Desert Hot Springs resident Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr, for the high speed death of Washington resident Mark Kristofferson during the 2018 Tour de Palm Spring.

Huerta was allegedly driving stoned and without a license when he ran down Kristofferson at speeds up to 100 mph; he was arrested after being detained by witnesses in a nearby field as he attempted to run away on foot.

He also faces charges for leaving Huntington Beach resident Alyson Lee Akers with lasting injuries, in a crash just seconds from the brutal impact that killed Kristofferson.

The case could go to the jury as early as this afternoon.

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A new bill could be the first step in ushering out parking minimums nationwide.

The bill, co-sponsored by four Democratic Representatives, including Long Beach Congressman Robert Garcia, would extend California’s approach to eliminating parking minimums near transit hubs to the federal level.

It’s a start, anyway.

Although the chances of getting the bill through the Republican-controlled House seem pretty minimal, at best.

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Speaking of which, the Los Angeles Times reviews Slate columnist Henry Grabar’s new bookPaved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World, describing it as “a romp, packed with tales of anger, violence, theft, lust, greed, political chicanery and transportation policy gone wrong.”

If you own a car, you’ve got to park it somewhere. If you live in or near a city — most of us do — the consequences are all around you. Everyone already knows how fundamentally the automobile has shaped our physical environment, the residents of Los Angeles County perhaps most of all. Roads and highways are only part of it.

“Paved Paradise” sensitized me to just how profoundly parking itself has contributed to the uglification of urban life, creating, as one of Grabar’s sources puts it, “a super-mundane environment that people just want to move through.” He notes a sad fact about “The Sims,” the popular reality-cloning video game, which tried to simulate the world as accurately as possible but had to cut back dramatically on the overwhelming presence of parking lots for its simulated city. The visual result would have been too grim…

California, inevitably, figures heavily in “Paved Paradise.” The paradise line from the famous Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” that gives Grabar his title may have been inspired by Hawaii, but Los Angeles is its truest manifestation. In the 1920s, as those newfangled private motor cars gummed up traffic, street-side parking downtown was banned. The result: comfortably smooth traffic flow and a revenue decline for downtown merchants of 50%.

It’s a good read, about what sounds like a surprisingly good read about parking, and how too much emphasis on cars can destroy cities.

It’s going on my reading list, anyway.

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LA street safety PAC Streets For All is hosting their virtual happy hour this evening, featuring CD1 Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez.

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Metro is celebrating bike month in Los Angeles County with free rides on Bike Day — formerly known as Bike to Work Day — as well as $1 bikeshare passes and a long list of bicycle classes.

Although here’s a link to the Metro Shop to replace the broken link on the page above, in case anyone else wants the backpack in the photo, which doesn’t seem to actually exist.

However, the real peak to this year’s Bike Month may come the following weekend, when Long Beach hosts their latest Beach Streets open streets event on Saturday, May 20th, followed by CicLAvia’s first Ciclamini in Watts the next day.

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San Diego’s BikeSD reminds us about next week’s annual Ride of Silence to remember bike riders killed in traffic violence.

So far, there are two rides scheduled for the Los Angeles area, with the usual Rose Bowl ride joined by another in East Hollywood.

Pasadena

Contact: Thomas Cassidy    <–Send email
Distance: 12 mi.

Los Angeles

Contact: Rafael Hernandez   <–Send email
Distance: 10 mi
Notes: Location is tentatively scheduled to start and end at Reciclos pending confirmation from the venue

………

The San Diego County Bike Coalition wants to know where you want to see the city’s upcoming open streets events.

………

Works for people on bicycles, too.

………

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

Proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished, a New Haven, Connecticut bike rider was shot after arguing with a second motorist when he tried to help a driver who’d fallen asleep at the wheel.

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

A Florida man was busted for being a bike-riding porch pirate.

Actor James Norton is one of us, although he might regret that after London’s Daily Mail goes ballistic when he’s seen jumping a red light in the city.

Two friends were “viciously” attacked when a London man deliberately rode his bikeshare bike into one of them, then punched the other in the face, breaking his glasses. Although I’d think a truly vicious attack would result in more than just broken spectacles. But what the hell do I know?

………

Local 

LA County wants your input on how to update the county bike plan, and improve conditions for people on bikes in unincorporated areas of the county. Thanks to Dr. Grace Peng for the heads-up, who reminds us to request completion of the LA River and Ballona Creek bike paths, which are under county control.

Former UFC interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson was busted on suspicion of DUI after his truck hit at least two other cars and flipped over in Hollywood early Sunday; fortunately, no one was injured.

Santa Clarita wants you to Hit the Trail this Saturday, with an informal, self-guided community bike ride exploring the city’s bike trail system.

 

State

Streetsblog says the pandemic kind of increased street space allocation for California bike riders, but more is needed.

California’s Equity-First Transportation Funding Act (AB 1525) would require that 60% of the state’s transportation funds would have to directly benefit “priority populations” in historically marginalized communities.

A 23-year old San Diego man was hospitalized with an open fracture to his right ankle after failing to land a bike stunt.

Two 57-year old men were seriously injured when their bikes collided as they were riding together in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood last Friday.

Fresno is marking Bike Month with a Ride With the Mayor event. Meanwhile, Los Angeles isn’t.

Sad news from Hayward, where a 29-year old Salinas man was killed in a collision while riding his bike Sunday night. But the driver wasn’t drunk or stoned, so apparently it’s okay. 

Five people were injured when an ebike battery caught fire in a San Francisco apartment Tuesday morning.

 

National

Every city in Oregon can now use speed cams, after the state’s governor signed a bill expanding the current ten-city pilot program. Meanwhile, speed cams continue to be illegal in California, for reasons no one seems able to adequately explain. 

A Salt Lake City public radio station says it will take more than reducing costs to establish an ebike society in the region.

Denver is working with nonprofit bike registration program 529 Garage to replace the city’s existing bike registration system. Meanwhile, the LAPD is using Bike Index to register and recover bikes. Although bike registration does more to recover bikes after they’re stolen than to prevent thefts in the first place. 

Colorado is set to offer a $12 million income-based e-bike incentive program, building on the successful Denver ebike rebate program. It’s also $2 million more than California’s long delayed program, despite having just 14% of California’s population. 

Oops. A Wisconsin man will spend another six months behind bars after a judge revoked his deferred sentencing agreement for noncompliance, after he originally spent just two months in jail for seriously injuring a bike rider; he will also be required to maintain absolute sobriety for the next five years.

The Federal Highway Administration has approved New York City’s proposed congestion pricing plan, after an environmental review resulted in a “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the surrounding region.

The star of TLC’s Welcome to Plathville is taking a sabbatical from social media after her 15-year old brother was killed in a collision while riding his bike in Franklin County, Virginia.

Florida bike riders could soon get that healthy radioactive glow, after the state legislature passed a law mandating a study of using radioactive phosphogypsum as a paving material, although using the agricultural byproduct would require EPA approval.

 

International

No bias here. A couple of candidates for mayor of Toronto clashed over whether bike lanes help or hurt traffic congestion, even as one insists he’s not anti-bike lanes while promising to rip them out anyway.

That’s more like it. A British appeals court increased the sentence of a “callous,” speeding driver, resentencing him to six years behind bars for killing a man on a bicycle while driving at 82mph, after concluding the original sentence of four years and eight months was too lenient.

Ebike sales are booming throughout Europe — except in the UK, where they actually shrank last year. But that may have more to do with the UK deciding it’s not part of Europe anymore.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list, with the new Seine à Vélo bike route that follows the river from Paris to the Normandy coast.

Bicycling reports one man is dead, and two other people injured, after a stoned Spanish motorcyclist plowed into a group of Polish bike riders vacationing in Mallorca. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

After a South African bike rider was killed when he fell off his bike and was struck by a driver, the local press somehow feels the need to note that his bike was undamaged. As if it’s okay as long as his bike survived.

 

Competitive Cycling

In a surprising turn, Norway’s Andreas Leknessund took the leader’s jersey from pre-race favorite Remco Evenepoel in Tuesday’s 4th stage of the Giro, becoming just the second Norwegian to wear the pink jersey, and the first in 42 years.

American Sepp Kuss successfully pulled off a high risk, high speed battery swap in Monday’s Stage 3 of the Giro.

Bicycling offers a calendar of amateur bike races and events for the next two years. This one isn’t available on other sites, however, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you. 

 

Finally…

Your next e-cargo bike could be grown, not made. Now you, too, can use your new e-truck to charge your ebike.

And that feeling when the internet really loves your new bike fest logo.

[deleted by user]
by inDesignPorn

……….

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Beverly Hills marks bike month, bike/ped bridge plans safe for now, and prosecution rests in Tour de Palm Springs murder case

Chances are, if you’ve been here awhile, you’ll recall how I used to call Beverly Hills the Biking Black Hole for its complete lack of biking infrastructure.

Not to mention what was, at best, an antagonistic attitude towards bikes on the city’s behalf.

But clearly, things have changed.

They may still have work to do — hello, BHPD! — but Beverly Hills has made a number of improvements on the streets.

And on the city calendar.

………

I’ve heard from a number of people with insider knowledge of the situation with the new George Wolfberg Park, and the proposed bike/ped bridge over PCH, in the past 24 hours.

It looks like funding for the bridge is secure for now, and officials are moving forward with a required feasibility study, a relative handful of anti-bike NIMBYs notwithstanding .

So I’m told the best course of action, for now, is to hold off on contacting the state senators we listed yesterday.

Or if you still want to reach out, thank them for securing funding for the project.

Maybe George is still busy guiding things and stirring the post from the afterlife.

………

The prosecution has rested in the trial of Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr.

Huerta is facing a murder charge for the alleged stoned driving death of Mark Kristofferson during the 2018 Tour de Palm Springs, while driving at speeds up to 100 mph.

Without a driver’s license.

He also faces charges for severely injuring Huntington Beach resident Alyson Lee Akers in the same crash, who has been left with lasting injuries.

………

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

Virginia bike advocates are panning a plan to allow bikes on a bridge over the Potomac, labeling it “ludicrous,” “unconscionable” and “malpractice,” and predicting no one would use it if it goes forward. Then again, maybe that’s the point. 

No bias here. A British pub owner says he’s being punished by “unreasonable demands” to stop blocking a shared bike/ped path in front of his establishment with his advertising signs.

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

Scottish forestry officials say people who ride mountain bikes, kayak or camp outside of approved areas are a menace to wildlife.

Ireland’s rail authority says people who ride bicycles, skate or scoot on train platforms are showing a “disregard for everyone else.”

………

Local 

LA’s KABC-7 takes a deep dive into the problem of how to make car-centric Southern California safer for people on bicycles, including the ever-popular problem of disconnected bike lanes to nowhere.

The Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle and Pedestrian Path on the new Long Beach International Gateway Bridge will officially open on Saturday, May 20th. Maybe we can just unofficial shorten that unwieldy title to “the Bixby.”

 

State

Visit California takes a Power Trip to NorCal for some “surf, mountain bike and culinary shenanigans.” They must have lost my invitation, because I’m usually all in on shenanigans of any sort.

San Diego’s Port commission is considering a proposal to ban pedicabs, ebikes and e-scooters from the city’s Embarcadero and Seaport Village.

Santa Barbara bike riders discuss how to improve safety and courtesy on the city’s State Street promenade, where bike allegedly reach speeds up to 30 mph. Seriously?

Streetsblog’s 

 

National

Governing says the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All program is accepting applications from cities to improve streets and infrastructure to improve safety.

Consumer Reports considers how to make your ebike last longer. Hint: Stay the hell away from SUVs.

The author of The Art of Cycling recommends seven books that “transcend cycling as mere sport,” and make you want to get out and ride your bike.

Forbes considers the best bike pumps.

Kaitlin Armstrong’s Austin, Texas murder trial for allegedly killing pro gravel cyclist Moriah Wilson has been delayed until October, with no explanation; it had been scheduled for next month.

Employees in a Vermont market went far beyond their usual duties to track down the bicycle stolen from a customer while she was shopping.

A Cambridge, Massachusetts letter writer says getting doored demonstrates why the city needs a bike network and mass transit.

A NY Streetsblog op-ed says center-running bike lanes aren’t as good as proponents suggest. Which may be the understatement of the year.

No, Orlando, Florida is not banning Critical Mass, despite a misunderstanding between organizers and city officials.

 

International

Segway introduces a new line of mopeds and ebikes for women.

A new survey lists the world’s seven best bike cities. Guess how many are in the US?

An Ontario man is inviting the public to peruse his personal collection or antique bikes dating back to the 1800s, including an exhibition showing the evolution of the bicycle from the 1860s to the 1930s.

Tragic news from New Brunswick, where the CEO of the Canadian province’s Energy and Utilities Board died suddenly while riding his bike.

London introduces a plan to boost the use of e-cargo bikes. They could have used one on Saturday for the coronation of King Chuck instead of that ornate gilded coach.

Dublin, Ireland is launching an e-cargo bike rental service targeted to people who don’t drive.

No bias here. Critics are blasting an Oakley ad campaign featuring a French downhill mountain bike champion, who is modestly naked except for his sunglasses, bizarrely comparing it to the Bud Light campaign featuring a transgender influencer that has infuriated some on the right.

An Indian man has been sentenced to a year behind bars for killing a 64-year old Singapore man riding a bicycle, after failing to give way at an intersection, and somehow convincing his passenger to take the blame.

The Daily Mail debates whether drivers in Queensland, Australia are allowed to cross a double yellow line to pass someone on a bicycle. Yet they oddly fail to ask anyone in a position to actually, you know, know.

 

Competitive Cycling

Australia’s Michael Matthews edged out Mads Pedersen and Kaden Groves in a mad sprint to the finish in Monday’s 3rd stage of the Giro, while pre-race favorite Remco Evenepoel extended the overall lead he’s expected to hold for the next three weeks.

US military cyclists will complete in the 25th annual Armed Forces Cycling Classic in Arlington, Virginia next month, with events ranging from kids races to an invitational pro-am race.

No bias here. Retired Olympic cyclist Inga Thompson wants pro cyclists to adopt the anti-racist gesture of taking a knee to “save women’s sports” from trans athletes. In other words, she wants to use a gesture intended to support oppressed minorities to further oppress another oppressed minority. Which is just wrong, regardless of whether or not you approve of trans women competing in women’s sports.

 

Finally…

You know your bike lanes suck when they have to be pre-cleaned to avoid breaking the street sweeper. When you’re reporting from the Netherlands, it only makes sense to build your broadcast studio on a cargo bike.

And feel free to celebrate National Masturbation Month this month, along with National Bike Month.

But preferably not at the same time.

……….

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Huerta on trial for Tour de Palm Springs death, examining the racial gap in traffic deaths, and too little too late for LA mom

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so settle in and let’s get to it. 

……..

Jury selection has begun in the trial of Ronnie Ramon Huerta for the death of 56-year old bicyclist Mark Kristofferson during the 2018 Tour de Palm Springs.

Huerta was allegedly stoned and driving at up to 100 mph when he lost control of his car and plowed into the Lake Stevens, Washington man and 48-year-old Huntington Beach resident Alyson Lee Akers as they were riding their bikes.

Kristofferson died at the scene, while Akers miraculously survived the impact despite suffering significant head trauma, resulting in lasting injuries.

Huerta was arrested after he was detained by witnesses as he tried to escape into the desert.

He faces charges of second-degree murder, driving under the influence of drugs resulting in great bodily injury, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.

NBC Palm Springs had this to say about Huerta’s driving history prior to the crash.

According to a trial brief filed by the District Attorney’s Office, Huerta was a repeat traffic offender, racking up seven citations over a two- year span for speeding, failing to obey traffic signals and signs, making unsafe lane changes and driving while distracted due to use of a cellular telephone.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended his driving privileges in 2017 because he had accumulated so many points on his record that he was deemed a “negligent operator” of a vehicle and unsafe to be on the road, the brief said.

Huerta had been suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana during a Desert Hot Springs police investigation in January 2017 stemming from his plowing through a stop sign on Palm Drive. However, no charges were filed due to a lack of conclusive results in blood screenings that were done after his arrest, according to court papers.

Despite that, he still retained possession of his car, so he able to get behind the wheel despite his horrendous driving record and lack of a valid license.

And Kristofferson and Akers paid the price.

Allegedly.

Photo from Ekaterina Bolovtsova for Pexels.

………

He gets it.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Adam Paul Susaneck, founder of Segregation by Design, examines the alarming racial gap in American traffic deaths.

Across the US — and right here in Los Angeles — your risk of dying in a traffic collision increases exponentially if you live in a community populated primarily by people of color, as well as lower income neighborhoods.

Which are too often the same thing.

The design of our cities is partly to blame for these troubling disparities. Pedestrian and cyclist injuries tend to be concentratedin poorer neighborhoods that have a larger share of Black and Hispanic residents. These neighborhoods share a history of under-investment in basic traffic safety measures such as streetlights, crosswalks and sidewalks, and an over-investment in automobile infrastructure meant to speed through people who do not live there. Recent research from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that formerly redlined neighborhoods — often the targets of mid-century “slum clearance” projects that destroyed residences and businesses to allow for new arterial roads and highways — had a strong statistical association with increased pedestrian deaths. The neighborhoods graded D for lending risk by the federal Home Owners’ Loan Corporation had more than double the pedestrian fatality rate than neighborhoods graded A.

He writes that on a per mile basis, Black people are more than twice as likely to be struck and killed by a vehicle as white pedestrians, while fatality rates for Black bicyclists are a whopping 4.5 times higher than white cyclists.

For Hispanic walkers and bikers, the death rates were 1.5 and 1.7 times higher, respectively, than they are for white Americans using the same modes of transportation.

Then he brings it home for those of us living here in LA.

In Los Angeles, for instance, a 2020 analysis by U.C.L.A. researchers found that although Black residents made up 8.6 percent of the city’s population, they represented more than 18 percent of all pedestrians killed and around 15 percent of all cyclists. From 2016 to 2020, the Los Angeles metropolitan area had more pedestrian deaths than any other metro area in the United States and a pedestrian death rate higher than the metropolitan areas around New York, Philadelphia or Washington…

Last year, 312 people died in traffic accidents in Los Angeles, the majority of them pedestrians and cyclists. “If 300 people died of something in the city, whether it was something violent or whether it was something else like Covid, the resources were put behind it to try to prevent those things, to respond to those things,” said Eunisses Hernandez, a member of the Los Angeles City Council. “We have not seen that same urgency with people dying in traffic accidents as pedestrians and as cyclists.”

Shameful doesn’t begin to describe it.

The solution, he says, is investing in safer road design with proven interventions like “narrowing streets, reducing the amount of space devoted to cars, enforcing speed limits and adding trees to provide visual cues for drivers to slow down.”

And he adds,

City planners must recognize that we all should be able to walk or ride a bicycle through our own neighborhood without fearing for our life.

It’s well worth a few minutes of your day to read the whole thing.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.

………

Call it yet another example to too little, too late.

A mom walking her 6-year old daughter in a crosswalk was fatally run down by a driver, and her daughter critically injured, as they crossed the street in front of the girl’s school Tuesday morning.

The driver may or may not have been intoxicated, or could have been suffering a medical emergency.

So the LA city council has responded with a plan to install speed bumps near every elementary school in the city.

Which raises the obvious question of what the hell took them so long — particularly since the city has ostensibly had a Safe Routes to Schools program for the past several years?

And why the hell do we always have to wait until someone is needlessly killed before making even the smallest safety improvements?

At least they’re doing something now. Too late for an innocent mother and her equally innocent child.

But still.

………

They get it, too.

A podcast from The New Republic examines America’s unhealthful addiction to motor vehicles.

Americans are in a toxic relationship with their automobiles. They’re bad for us—polluting, noisy, and increasingly dangerous to pedestrians—yet we remain fully committed to them. They’re also bad at their primary function: transport.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.

But this week’s fiasco with the gutting of the MOVE Culver City project to add a traffic lane certainly makes their case for them.

………

Spectrum News 1 reports California’s long-delayed $7.5 million ebike rebate program will finally launch sometime in the second quarter of this year.

Which is, like, now.

The program will be limited to California residents 18 or older, with a gross annual household income less than 300% of the federal poverty level.

The station reports that the standard tax credit will be $1,000, with an additional $750 for cargo or adaptive ebikes.

You can also receive another $250 if you live in a a disadvantaged or low-income community, or have a gross income 225% of the federal poverty level, or less.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s meeting of the Pasadena Municipal Committee was cancelled, delaying approval of a proposed ebike rebate program for residents of that city.

Thanks to Atticuz the Freelance Activist for the heads-up.

………

Things are starting to take shape on 7th Street in DTLA.

………

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

San Diego’s infamously bike hating Ocean Beach columnist calls on the neighborhood to secede from the city, in part because of bike lanes allegedly foisted upon them without local input.

No bias here. A Toronto mayoral candidate has taken aim at the city’s bike lanes, catering his campaign to bike lane haters.

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

Three women were assaulted in separate incidents in New York’s Central Park after being surrounded by bikeshare-riding teenagers.

………

Local 

Who knew you could checkout a bike pump at your local library?

Streets For All reminds you to take the survey about changes to Eagle Rock Blvd between Colorado and York boulevards, and select Option 2, which they say is “safest for cyclists, widens sidewalks, adds more sidewalk trees and preserves the most parking (ie. less likely to experience community pushback).”

Streetsblog offers photos from Sunday’s 626 Golden Streets through four San Gabriel Valley communities, and reports that new bike lanes have been installed on Foothill Boulevard in Sylmar and San Fernando Road in Cypress Park.

Michael Siegel forwards news that South Pas Active Streets will host a bike valet at Saturday’s The Eclectic community music and art festival in South Pasadena; the event will be held on Mission Street, which will be closed to cars for the day.

 

State

Streetsblog offers more details on AB 73 passing out of the Assembly Transportation Committee; the bill would allow adult bike riders to treat stop signs as yields, but must survive Gavin Newsom’s veto pen if it passes the legislature.

San Diego continues to make massive payouts to settle personal injury lawsuits, with the latest example a $2.95 million settlement for a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was thrown off his bike after hitting sunken pavement in the city’s Bay Ho neighborhood, and now suffers permanent disabilities. Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

This is who we share the road with. A Temescal Valley man is on trial for murder in the hit-and-run death of three teenagers, and critically injuring three others, when he allegedly ran them off the road in a fit of rage after one of the teens rang his doorbell and mooned him before speeding off in their car; he also claims he seldom drinks, but somehow chugged two six-packs of beer in two and a half hours before the crash, yet was miraculously driving under control, “even using his turn signals” as he pursued their car. Sure, that’s credible.

Friends of fallen San Francisco masters cycling champ Ethan Boyes want to know why the details of his death remains shrouded in mystery, while the lawyer for his family calls for patience.

Sad news from Fremont, where a man riding an ebike was killed in a collision with a Tesla driver.

A group of bicyclists including former pros Alison Tetrick and Rebecca Rusch rode their bikes from Marin County to Monterey’s Sea Otter Classic, while Cycling Weekly highlights the top ten things chosen from the 900 brands on display at the show.

The Kelly Clarkson Show features Sacramento’s Mercy Pedalers, a religious nonprofit that uses bikes to distribute water, food and other vital resources to the city’s homeless residents.

A kindhearted Merced school principal bought a new bike for a teenage student after his was stolen.

 

National

Road Bike Rider considers the difference between biking and cycling, even though they mean exactly the same thing.

Vice recommends the best city bikes, going beyond the usual suspects to include bikes from REI, Linus and State.

A bill in the Oregon legislature targeting civil disorder has bike advocates worried that it could ensnare people protesting while riding a bike or corking an intersection on charges of engaging in paramilitary activity.

The Coast Guard had to rescue a man in Galveston, Texas after he spent nearly a day trapped in mud when his bike got stuck.

A Texas man rode eighty miles on what he calls the frontage road from hell, just so you don’t have to.

The editor of Chicago Streetsblog is recovering after he was seriously injured when a piece of unsecured construction material fell off a pickup truck and struck him as he was on a bike tour of southern Illinois.

A Minnesota man was named Advocate of the Year by the League of American Bicyclists.

A bighearted Indiana man is on a mission to ensure every kid can have a bike, by refurbishing used bikes and donating them to children in need.

The family of a Pittsburgh man tased to death by cops for the crime of test riding a bicycle he thought was abandoned has reached a super secret settlement with the city; five officers were fired over the incident, while three others were disciplined.

A bighearted man in Maine has spent the last three years rebuilding 400 bikes for asylum seekers coming to the state.

Bicycling calls BS on a Cambridge, Massachusetts group whose highly-flawed study purports to show bike lanes are more dangerous than simply sharing the road. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

If you build it, they will come. New York City’s transportation commissioner says bike ridership in the city had has reached an all-time high, with 24,000 daily weekday trips on on the East River Bridges alone.

The chair of New York’s city council transportation committee insists local community boards should have veto power over street safety projects. Which would turn New York’s successful traffic safety work into the same failed system we suffer with in Los Angeles, where councilmembers overrule any and every project in their districts.

Two new bike lanes across the Mississippi River from New Orleans are causing confusing among apparently easily confused drivers and local officials, with contradictory complaints that one lacks protective barriers, and the other one doesn’t.

Miami officials have approved plans for a 20-mile long, fully separated pedestrian and bicycle trail.

A teenager vacationing in Florida with his family suffered serious injuries when a 19-year old unlicensed driver fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into his bike.

 

International

Brompton foldies go electric, as Momentum considers the benefits of owning a folding bicycle.

Bike riders in Ottawa, Canada complain that new bike lanes abruptly end to make room for right turn lanes, arguing that the design is too dangerous. To which SoCal bike riders say welcome to our world.

Add this one to your bike bucket list — an ebike tour of lighthouses in southwest Scotland.

A British company has introduced rear-view bicycling glasses with built-in mirrors.

A man in the UK denies having anything to do with the hundreds of stolen bikes found in his garden. Apparently, they were all place there by the bike fairies without his knowledge.

Apparently fascinated by countries starting with the 21st and 11th letters of the alphabet, an English man rode his bike nearly 2,000 miles from the UK to Ukraine in three weeks to raise funds for charity.

An Aussie broadcast network examines desire lines, and what they can tell us about how to design safer, better public spaces.

 

Competitive Cycling

Belgium’s Sanne Cant is back in action after receiving 60 stitches to close severe facial cuts suffered in a mass crash in the women’s Paris-Roubaix.

Tragic news from Colombia, where a 17-year old cyclist died of a heart attack during the second stage of the Vuelta a Anapoima.

A local cycling team in Sierra Leone is riding in Great Britain’s national team kit, after the outdated uniforms were donated by the father of Britain’s Ethan and Leo Hayter.

Alpecin Cycling previews next months 106th Giro d’Italia.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your final project for welding school is an 8.5-foot high tall bike. When you’re carrying meth on your bike, obey the damn traffic laws — and don’t head butt the cop car after you get busted.

And when you’re riding your bike with an outstanding arrest warrant, stop for the damn stop sign, already — and don’t fight with the cops after leading them on a bicycle chase.

……….

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

Morning Links: Vision Zero motion held over to next week, LA Fountain Ave road rage assault caught on video

Good piece from Streetsblog’s Joe Linton on last week’s Vision Zero motion at the LA City Council Transportation Committee.

Despite the fears created by traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving, the anticipated ambush didn’t occur.

In fact, I was told by someone from committee Chair Mike Bonin’s office that the motion is a benign attempt to make people feel more comfortable with the data used for LA’s Vision Zero.

And no one seems to know why Keep LA Moving felt such urgency to support it.

Bonin wisely held the motion over to the next meeting on February 28th to give its authors a chance to review the language, and make sure there’s nothing in it that would reduce the effectiveness of Vision Zero.

My fear is that it may give Vision Zero opponents an excuse to challenge the data used for the program, possibly in court.

However, I’ve been told that it’s been reviewed by the City Attorney’s office, who didn’t find any problems with it.

Although it wouldn’t hurt to do it again.

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Wes High, who recently had the pleasure of a punishment pass, followed by getting deliberately doored while riding on Fountain Ave in Los Angeles.

While riding on the sharrows.

Hopefully, he’s reported this to the LAPD, since this is clear evidence of assault with a deadly weapon — in this case, a motor vehicle.

And it’s perfect evidence for a case under LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

………

A Facebook post is circulating asking for any witnesses to last week’s death of cyclist Mark Kristofferson in the Tour of Palm Springs to contact the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.

They’re particularly looking for anyone who saw the suspect vehicle before the crash, witnessed the actual crash or had contact with the suspect afterwards.

Especially if you have video footage of the any of the above.

The link includes instructions on how to handle the footage and who to send it to.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

………

Local

Sounds like fun. Buried among the restaurant news is word of a Long Beach Ride & Dine to a local restaurant — and possible stops for ice cream and beer — tomorrow night.

 

State

The San Diego Union-Tribune says the city’s goal of getting 22% of residents who live within half a mile of transit to walk, bike or take public transportation to work by 2020 is a fantasy.

San Diego opens another mile of the Bayshore Bikeway; 16 miles of the planned 24-mile route around San Diego Bay are now open.

No windshield bias here. Montclair decides to blame the victims by making it illegal to cross the street while texting, talking on your phone or listening to ear buds. And yes, that’s just as idiotic as it sounds.

 

National

The Adventure Cycling Association offers a not-so-brief history of fat bikes.

HuffPo examines the efforts to bring bike equity to bikeshare.

Streetsblog examines how Baltimore bike lane opponents used a 20-foot minimum standard street width for fire engines to block a planned protected bike lane network. Even though it’s never been a problem before, in a city where many streets don’t meet that standard.

Heartbreaking news from Austin TX, where writer Andrew Tillin was killed in a collateral damage bike crash, when two cars collided and slid into his as he was fixing a flat on the side of the road. He was a frequent contributor to Outside, and the author of The Doper Next Door.

 

International

Riding to Che’s hideout in the hills of Cuba.

An Ottawa, Canada columnist can’t imagine why anyone would object to a decision to ban bikes from the city’s new light rail line during rush hour. Apparently, he’s never heard that bikes offer a solution to the first mile/last mile problem, which helps get more people out of their cars.

Bicycling is the leading form of rush hour transportation in London, where all other forms of transportation have decreased 30%. Which goes to show what is possible when you build a safe bicycling network, as London did with their cycle superhighways. Especially in Los Angeles, where the weather is much better.

A trio of very cool looking cylindrical glass bike storage towers has made the short list in a competition to remake a London roundabout.

Caught on video: An elderly man in the UK was pushed off his bike by jerks in a passing car, who apparently thought it was funny.

Even in bike-unfriendly Mumbai, a bike barely loses a race across town.

Note to world: Not every group of people on bikes riding together is a race. Sometimes they just ride to raise funds, or call attention to a cause, or just for the hell of it. Even in Afghanistan.

Sydney, Australia is cutting parking spots and increasing bicycle facilities in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.

This is why you need a camera on your bike. An Aussie motorcyclist has lost his license for 18 months and will have to attend anger management classes after a close pass and road rage assault on a pair of cyclists.

Seriously? Bike tourists in New Zealand are told not to ride at night to avoid the summer heat because it puts those poor, vulnerable truck drivers at risk.

Dockless bikeshare has saved China $2.6 billion in reduced traffic costs in just two years.

A Swiss father and stepmom rode their bikes 10,000 miles to watch their son compete in the PyeongChang OlympicsBut Angelenos think people people won’t bike five miles to go to work.

 

Finally…

Bike shop by day, bands at night. A two-wheeled Malaysian quokka encounter.

And now you can own bike the Queen was too ashamed to let Princess Diana.

 

Morning Links: Group plans Vision Zero ambush today, and Tour de Palm Springs killer had suspended license

Apparently, we’re about to be ambushed.

According to an alert from anti-safety, pro-traffic group Keep LA Moving, a seemingly innocuous motion being considered at today’s LA City Council Transportation Committee meeting is really a motion to redefine the city’s Vision Zero program.

Or more precisely, gut it.

The motion from CD2 Councilmember Paul Kerkorian and CD4’s David Ryu talks about refining the Vision Zero model “in order to serve the objective of more effectively increasing the safety of our streets.”

However, according to Keep LA Moving, it’s really about reducing the emphasis on bike and pedestrian deaths, since they only amount to 15% of the total collisions in the City of Los Angeles.

Tomorrow’s motion states that going forward, Vision Zero should “incorporate a data validation process to ensure that the High Injury Network supporting data was appropriate and reliable.”  Currently, data is heavily weighted in favor of pedestrians and cyclists, all but disregarding the safety of motorists. According to LADOT’s Vision Zero website: “We also give more weight to counts of Killed or Serious Injuries among people walking or biking, so deaths or serious injuries at all intersections are multiplied by three, while vehicle-vehicle deaths or serious injuries do not receive a multiplying factor. For example, if an intersection contains one fatal pedestrian collision, two severe bicycle injuries, and one fatal vehicle-vehicle, the score would be 10 (3 for the pedestrian, 6 for the two bicycles, and 1 for the vehicle-vehicle).”

In the Vision Zero Action Plan, released in 2017, the LADOT states that “people walking & biking account for roughly 15% of all collisions”. It’s not surprising then that  Vision Zero hasn’t reduced accidents and injuries since its inauguration in 2015 because the LADOT is only focusing on 15% of the problem! What’s more, the LADOT says “Vision Zero is an injury reduction strategy, not a collision reduction strategy.” And of course, collisions aren’t being reduced either. Vision Zero needs to concentrate on both reducing the severity of accidents and on the number of accidents that happen!

Never mind that Vision Zero has barely even been implemented up to this point.

Or that while bicyclists and pedestrians are only involved in 15% of LA collisions, they result in nearly half of all deaths and serious injuries.

Let that sink in.

Keep LA Moving says LADOT is focusing on just 15% of crashes. But Vision Zero isn’t about reducing crashes, it’s about eliminating deaths and serious injuries.

And drivers, surrounded by two tons of glass and steel, and protected by air bags, seat belts and crumple zones, face considerably less risk in a collision than people walking and riding bikes.

Which is the entire reasoning behind the multiplication factor, because bike riders and pedestrians are several times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision.

But Keep LA Moving thinks that doesn’t matter.

Or rather, that you don’t matter. Because the people in the other 85% of the crashes, who are less likely to be injured or killed, apparently matter more to them.

Then there’s their other major lie.

To date the LADOT has focused on “pet projects” in select districts that appease a vocal minority of residents — roads that were never flagged as needing such treatment.  Special interests and personal agendas have been allowed to drive decisions rather than actual concerns for public safety.

The road diet on Venice Blvd, in Mar Vista is a prime example. In the 11 years leading up to the Venice road diet, there was one fatality and seven severe injuries to people walking or biking along that 0.8 mile stretch. None of the contributing factors to these tragic accidents have been addressed by the road diet. Rather than analyze these accidents and implement real safety improvements fixing the problems, the LADOT chose instead to implement a road diet. They installed a road diet on a road with 45,000+ cars per day, in violation of their own standards. (The LA Complete Streets Design Guide states that road diets should only be used on streets with excess capacity and volume less than 20,000 cars.) The disastrous and wildly unpopular Playa del Rey road diets, defeated last Fall, had the same issues. In fact, in both PdR and Mar Vista, accidents and injuries increased after the implementation of road diets. Not only on the roads dieted, but on the residential side streets as well, as drivers searched for alternatives to the gridlocked boulevards.

But as they well know, the Venice Blvd project was never intended as part of Vision Zero.

Instead, it was developed by local residents as part of the mayor’s Great Streets project.

And rather than something sprung without warning on unsuspecting locals and businesses, it grew out of workshops sponsored by the Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce dating back to 2014. With several public pop-up demonstrations, including a demonstration of the parking-protected bike lanes at the 2015 Venice CicLAvia.

I know, because I was there.

Let’s also bear in mind that the reference to a maximum 20,000 vehicle traffic volume for road diets refers to reducing four lane streets to three lanes, with two through lanes and a center turn lane. Not massive six lane thoroughfares like Venice Blvd, which never should have been built that wide to begin with.

But that doesn’t matter to them, since their real goal is to halt road diets anywhere in the city, willing to trade human lives — yours and mine — to avoid inconveniencing drivers.

They deny the proven efficacy of road diets, just as climate change deniers claim global warming is a myth.

All of which helps explain why the Mid City West Neighborhood Council has written to oppose the motion.

Let’s hope that Transportation Committee members Paul Kortez, Nury Martinez and Chair Mike Bonin can resist the pressure from this very vocal and well-financed driver activist group.

If you can make it on such short notice on Valentines Day — I can’t, unfortunately — you need to make your voice heard.

If not, take a few moments to urge them to reject this motion, and keep LA’s Vision Zero program intact.

And maybe tell Ryu and Krekorian what you think while you’re at it.

Credit Peter Flax with the heads-up.

………

Ronnie Huerta Jr., the driver who killed Mark Kristofferson during Saturday’s Tour de Palm Springs, was driving on a suspended license.

And suspended for good reason.

Huerta had been pulled over four times for speeding in the last two years, along with a host of other traffic violations.

Yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until he kills someone.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the tip.

………

Local

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council could try to stop plans for desperately needed bus and bike lanes in Hollywood, and have already drafted a letter demanding that they be removed from the proposed Hollywood community plan. You can let them know what you think at their regular meeting on the 21st. And yes, I plan to be there.

 

State

Marin’s bike-unfriendly columnist says bicycle-riding tourists should just take the ferry and skip the town entirely. Maybe he should just stand outside the city and yell “Hey, you kids get off our lawn!”

 

National

Yet another study confirms the benefits of bike lanes, showing painted bike lanes reduce the risk of crashes by a minimum of 40%.

The Trump administration’s new proposed budget would be a disaster for bicycle infrastructure projects, while NACTO doesn’t think much of his infrastructure plan, either.

A Seattle writer tries the city’s new LimeBike dockless bikeshare ebikes, climbing a moderate hill with little effort, and living to tell the tale.

Utah moves forward with a bill that would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yields, but still have to wait for red lights. Or maybe notA similar bill died in the California legislature earlier this year.

Seriously? The Houston Chronicle predicts an autonomous car nirvana, where the world will be free from traffic jams, parking tickets and auto mechanics, and no one will want to ride buses or bikes anymore because they’ll be so happy with their driverless cars.

Life is cheap in Minnesota, where a 16-year old distracted driver won’t spend a day behind bars for killing a bike-riding man while she was using her cellphone, after the DA pleads her case down to a misdemeanor.

An Ohio ultra-endurance rider prepares to take part in this year’s Race Across America, aka RAAM, as he rides to relieve PTSD from several combat tours in Afghanistan.

The Boston Globe talks with a local bike lawyer who went from a planned position as a prosecutor to getting justice for bicyclists.

Researchers at Virginia Tech University are doing comparison testing of bicycle helmets, with plans to release their results in April.

 

International

A Vancouver writer makes the case for diversity in the urbanist world, suggesting that if everyone you see on a bike or in a planning session looks like you, there’s a problem.

Just in time for Valentines Day, a bike-riding English couple have been married for 64 years, after meeting at their local bike club in 1953.

London officials call for tightly regulating and licensing dockless bikeshare systems.

A new survey from a British tire company claims bus drivers are the safest drivers on the road, and bicyclists and van drivers the most infuriating. Something tells me I’d like to see their methodology.

Nice piece from Patrick Brady, as he searches for serenity on a bike tour of Buddhist temples in Japan.

 

Competitive Cycling

You haven’t made it until you’ve had the honor of being blocked on Twitter by Chris Froome.

Once again, mountain bikers race through the hills, alleys and yes, stairways of Italy’s Valparaiso Cerro Abajo.

 

Finally…

What to ride when you need to carry craft beer kegs and a dog or two on your cargo bike. Be on the lookout for Sasquatch if you ride around Lake Arrowhead.

And if you really want to be safe, mount this turn-signal equipped seat bag sideways so the arrow points up at your butt.

Maybe then drivers will actually see you.

 

Morning Links: More details in Tour de Palm Springs crash, and what to do about overly courteous drivers

No victim blaming here.

After cyclist Mark Kristofferson was killed by a speeding driver while riding in the Tour de Palm Springs on Saturday, and another rider badly injured, participants say there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the crash.

Except for a bike-riding Palm Springs resident, who calls for better eduction for participants in the rules of the ride.

Even though accused killer Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. was allegedly traveling at over twice the 50 mph speed limit when he lost control and slammed into the victims.

And even though the two victims were doing nothing wrong, and reportedly riding exactly where they were supposed to be.

Nothing they did could have prevented the crash. Unless they had somehow been able to keep Huerta’s alleged foot off his alleged gas pedal. Or keep him out of his damn car to begin with.

Huerta was reportedly released on $75,000 bail on a single count of vehicular manslaughter, though that could change as prosecutors move forward.

Meanwhile, the other victim, 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach, was being treated for what was described as “major injuries,” including a head laceration.

Let’s all hope she makes a full and fast recovery.

And that Riverside County officially treat this case with the seriousness it deserves.

Let’s also hope that the ride organizers figure out some way to improve safety. Because two deaths in four years is two too many.

Photo courtesy of the LAPD Central Area Bike Unit.

………

Frequent contributor Mike Wilkinson writes for advice on how to handle the problem of friendly drivers who want to wave you through the intersection.

Dear Dr. BikinginLA:

My wife and I are enjoying a friendly disagreement about what to do when a driver yields their right of way to us. I say it’s confusing and maybe dangerous. She says the drivers are being courteous. We should smile, wave, and go for it.

Although I go to extra effort to ride according to the rules (and laws) of the road, I don’t have too much trouble waving and smiling in low-risk situations. An example would be meeting a driver at a four-way stop. If the driver waves me through, even if that driver was there first, my wife’s words ring in my ears, and I smile, wave, and start pedaling. My wife is very adamant: With all of the hostility from drivers that we hear about, if a driver is kind enough to yield their right of way, we should accept it graciously.

On the other hand, yesterday I encountered what I thought was a dangerous situation. I was on a small 25 mph residential street waiting to cross a 45 mph street with two lanes in each direction. To my surprise, a driver on the busy street stopped and waved me through. I didn’t go, because there were cars coming from the other direction. Soon there were other drivers behind the one who stopped, and the honking began. Eventually the driver who stopped drove away, but I think everyone involved was upset, some of them at me!

I think that in the long run it would be better if everyone took their right of way. We all know that the streets are crazy enough without someone trying to invent new rules, even if they are just trying to be courteous. However, in the real world, I’d be very interested to learn what your other readers have to say about drivers who yield their right of way.

Personally, I appreciate when drivers show me any courtesy, wanted or otherwise.

So I play it by ear. If there’s no one else on the road, I’ll usually wave my thanks and ride through; if not, I’ll wave the driver through while signaling my appreciation.

And if I don’t feel safe, I’ll clip out of my pedal, put my foot down, and won’t budge until it’s safe for me to go. No matter how offended the driver gets.

However, I try not to brag about my Ph.D. in Advanced BS from Whatsamatta U.

………

Local

The intersection where 15-year old Saul Lopez was killed while riding to school two years ago has been renamed in his honor after receiving a number of safety improvements, including leading interval signals for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The LACBC will host a monthly slow ride beginning this Saturday.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman will host a discussion on the future of transportation in Los Angeles at the Glendale Transportation Center this Saturday.

CiclaValley explores the newly extended bike lanes on Verdugo Ave in Burbank.

 

State

Caltrans’ white paper on the Future of Mobility in the years leading up to 2050 includes a section on bikeshare. But not on riding any other kind of bike.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says pedestrian fatalities continue to mount as the city drags its feet on Vision Zero. Not unlike another city I could mention a few hours to the north.

 

National

Oregon chefs are already gearing up for May’s three-day, 300-mile No Child Hungry ride along the California coast.

Riding while black. According to the Chicago Tribune, blacks, Latinos and whites each make up roughly a third of the city’s population — yet over half of all tickets issued to bike riders were written in predominantly black neighborhoods.

A Kentucky Op-Ed says the state should adopt a three-foot passing law, like 34 other states already have, including California.

Country star Luke Bryan is still one of us, gearing up with a new Trek despite breaking his collarbone in a 2016 bicycling fall.

The annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show runs this coming weekend in Hartford CT.

 

International

Former LA Kings goalie and current Canadian hockey analyst Kellie Hrudey is one of us, too.

A British bicyclist gets six months for breaking the leg of a man in his 70s while riding drunk and brakeless on a train platform.

A British man lost his bicycle, mobile phone and laptop in a strong-arm robbery by three young men who pushed him into a stream.

A Scottish nonprofit group is helping refugees get settled in the country by providing them with bicycles.

An Irish writer says “Cyclist bashing is a popular sport among the less enlightened members of the commentariat.” And then proceeds to do exactly that, before concluding that too many cyclists have died.

Drivers in Kuala Lumpur call for the removal of new protected bike lanes, describing them as a safety hazard. Just like drivers in Los Angeles do.

Bicyclists in Yangon, Myanmar say riding a bike on city streets is like betting your life.

 

Competitive Cycling

Nice profile of America’s only men’s Olympic cycling gold medal winner, 1984 champ Alexi Grewal, told from the perspective of his new home in India.

A Rwandan paper looks at the rise of bike racing in the country.

A writer for Slate looks at Strava as a gateway drug, explaining how it got her into bike racing.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to do a story about sharing the road, don’t illustrate it with a photo of tandem time trial riders. How to be antisocial and take a group cycling vacation anyway.

And teenage Nazi spies on bikes may not just be a good premise for a WWII novel.

……..

Let’s finish with one last, larger look at that great, suitable-for-framing photo at the top of this page.

Photo courtesy of LAPD Central Bike Unit

Update: Man killed by alleged speeding driver in Tour de Palm Springs, 2nd rider injured; 2nd death in four years

It’s happened again.

One man was killed, and another bicyclist seriously injured, when they were struck by an allegedly speeding driver during today’s Tour de Palm Springs.

According to the Desert Sun, the victims were struck when a speeding driver lost control of his car on Dillon Road in Indio Hills, south of Tinker Road, around 9:25 am.

However, that location doesn’t show up using any map site.

The paper reports the driver came up from behind a number of cyclists as they were riding east on Dillon, allegedly traveling at over 100 mph — twice the posted speed limit. He veered onto the dirt shoulder on the wrong side of the road, lost control and veered back across the road to hit the two riders.

The crash reportedly occurred among the trailing riders on the century ride.

Fortynine-year old Lake Stevens, Washington, resident Mark Kristofferson died at the scene.

The other victim was airlifted with serious injuries, while the driver was transported to a local hospital by ambulance.

The case is still being investigated, and no charges have been filed at this time.

This the second death in the 20-year history of the Tour de Palm Springs. It comes just four years after 55-year old La Vonne Koester of Alta Loma was killed during the 2014 edition of annual event, when she allegedly ran a stop sign.

However, other reports indicated that a driver had stopped to wave a group of riders through the intersection, when a second driver came up from behind and was unable to stop before plowing into the riders.

No one was ever charged in that case.

This is the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Riverside County.

Update: The Desert Sun has updated their story to say 21-year old Desert Hot Springs resident Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. has been arrested on a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

The story also corrects Kristofferson’s age as 49, rather than 54 as originally reported; that change has been made to this story, as well.

The second victim has been identified as 50-year old Alyson Lee Akers of Huntington Beach. She is being treated for what is described as major injuries, including a head laceration.

Huerta was also treated for moderate injuries before being taken to jail on the manslaughter charge, where he is currently being held.

Update 2: At the request of Mark Kristofferson’s family, I have removed a bike cam video of the crash scene taken half an hour after the collision, which briefly showed the tarp covering his body. 

Update 3: According to the Desert Sun, CHP investigators report the driver did not appear to be under the influence at the time of the crash, but are still waiting for the results of drug and alcohol tests. 

Huerta was released on $75,000 bond, and isn’t expected to appear in court until April. 

The crash location was corrected to Dillon Road near Avenue 30. The story reports that there were several police officers stationed at key intersections along the route, but none along the 25-mile stretch where the crash occurred.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mark Kristofferson and his loved ones. And best wishes to Alyson Lee Akers for a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Tom Morash and Wes R for the heads-up.

Update: Tour de Palm Springs rider killed in Thermal collision

Up to 30,000 riders participated in today’s Tour de Palm Springs.

One less will be returning home tonight.

According to the Desert Sun, 55-year old Alta Loma resident Lavonne Koester was in the 67th mile of the century ride when she was struck by a Dodge truck at the intersection of 60th and Harrison Street in Thermal, south of Coachella.

The collision occurred at 12:12 pm; she was pronounced dead at 1 pm at JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio.

No information is available yet on how the collision happened. According to the site, the driver remained on the scene and no arrest was made; drug or alcohol use was not suspected.

Like many such fundraising rides, the Tour de Palm Springs takes place on public roadways that remains open to vehicular traffic. There’s no word on whether the intersection was controlled in any way, or if drivers were warned of the presence of bicycles in the area.

According to the website, the ride raises funds for over 150 non-profits in the Coachella Valley.

This is the 13th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year. Remarkably, her death is the 4th in Riverside County already this year, compared to 12 for all of last year.

My deepest condolences and prayers for La Vonne Koester and all her family and loved ones.

Thanks to Zak for the heads-up.

Update: In a follow-up story, the Desert Sun corrects the spelling of the victim’s name as La Vonne, rather than Lavonne.

According to the paper, she was riding west on Avenue 60 when she crossed Harrison Street in front of a southbound 1999 Dodge truck; it’s unclear if speed may have been a factor. 

In a comment below, Aaron Hultin describes coming on the scene shortly afterwards.

My son and I road the 100 yesterday and came upon this tragedy minutes after it happened while the medics where attempting cpr. It was a bleak reminder of our fragile nature on a bike as well as a reminder to follow the road rules. This was a 2 way stop with the opposing traffic having no stop sign and there was no police control as there was at many of the major intersections.

Just to be clear, that does not necessarily mean Koester ran the stop sign. She may have stopped before proceeding through the intersection, unaware of the oncoming truck or the lack of a stop sign on the cross street.

The Desert Sun reports this appears to have been the first fatality or serious injury in the event’s 16 year history. Participation was estimated at nearly 10,000 riders, a significant decrease from the up to 30,000 predicted in pre-event news stories.

The paper also quoted a portion of the standard waiver form signed by participants in which they waive the right to damages against the firm hosting the event or any of its employees in the event of injuries or other damages.

However, a waiver like that can be often invalidated if it is shown they were negligent in some way, such as failing to direct traffic or offer warnings at intersections such as the one where this collision took place.

Update 2: The Inland Empire Biking Alliance quotes a witness explaining how the collision happened. 

We have a statement from a witness of yesterday’s collision that killed La Vonne Koester. She was crossing the intersection at 60th and Harrison Street. It was a 2-way stop with her direction having to stop. A motorist was kind enough to stop and let the cyclists through. Unfortunately the truck coming from behind swerved to miss hitting the stopped car and hit La Vonne. There is no statement yet that speed played a factor. We will be waiting for the police report.

If the police investigation bears out that description, authorities will be hard-pressed not to charge the driver with vehicular homicide. There is simply no excuse for going around a car stopped at an intersection without knowing why the car is stopped, or having to swerve to avoid a stopped car other than in a panic stop situation.

Thanks to IE Bike for the heads-up.

Update 3: Well, that didn’t take long. Despite the comment above suggesting that the driver was clearly at fault, it only took the CHP two days to blame the victim in this case.

As usual.

According to the Desert Sun, CHP officials now say La Vonne Koester ran the stop sign, and the driver was not speeding. And apparently, did not do anything else wrong in fatally running down a bike rider.

Another Facebook post I read earlier today, which I have unfortunately lost, said Koester was part of a group of riders that stopped at the stop sign before proceeding across the intersection. As the trailing rider in the group, she was a sitting duck when the driver went through the intersection. 

Either way, at least two witnesses say she stopped at the intersection, and the truck driver either swerved around a stopped car ahead of him, or was somehow unable to see a large group of riders crossing the road ahead of him. 

All I can say is that if I am ever hit by a car, I pray that the CHP is not involved in the investigation.