Tag Archive for traffic violence

Day one of Scarpa murder trial, tell LA to stop street racing and loud engines, and CHP responsible for East LA hit-and-run

Our anonymous Orange County correspondent is back to cover this week’s trial of Stephen Taylor Scarpa for murder.

Scarpa allegedly ran down popular Costa Mesa fire captain and father Mike Kreza in a drug-fueled crash three years ago, as Kreza was riding a bicycle in Mission Viejo to train for a triathlon.

Here’s what she had to say about the lead-up to the long-delayed trial.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa‘s jury trial starts on Monday. So far, Judge Patrick Donahue has decided to allow the video of Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” event, as well as testimony from fellow personnel of the rehab centers he worked at. The People’s exhibits will probably also include the DMV’s letter of license revocation and a diagram (but no photographs) of the victim’s many injuries.

Since Scarpa has a long-standing association with drugs, his medical records might be presented as well. The judge finds that this is not in violation of HIPAA. Despite the lack of a previous arrest for DUI, there is sooo much other evidence, strong evidence, that Scarpa knew the dangers of impaired driving, the DA might not even bother to present these records. Scarpa had jaw-dropping levels of assorted drugs in his system, and his blood was not drawn until 4 hours after the collision.

His Honor has forbidden Kreza’s fellow firefighters to attend the trial in full uniform, and friends & family will not be allowed to wear clothing or badges with the deceased’s likeness. I am sorely tempted to get a T-shirt printed up with “It’s about time” in bold letters, because according to the arresting officer, these were Scarpa’s words as the handcuffs were slapped on.

And this is how she reported on the first day of public testimony in the trial.

Oh, man, I’m not hopeful.

The Scarpa trial began Monday morning. Deputy DA Michael Feldman began opening statements by thanking the victim’s friends and family for coming. As stipulated by the judge, no uniformed firefighters were present inside the courtroom. But they were out in the hallway to provide support for the widow and other family members. There was no mention that Mr. Kreza himself had been a firefighter.

In a PowerPoint presentation bannered by the misspelled name of the defendant, Mr. Feldman tersely listed the basic facts that support the People’s charge, among them Scarpa’s participation in his high school’s “Every 15 Minutes” program, his rehab stints, and his employment as a behavioral health technician. “He’s gonna be the one to tell you first hand,” insisted Mr. Feldman, pointing at the defendant, that he was aware of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. To this end, the People played audio files of the interrogation, in which Mr. Scarpa tells the investigating deputy, “I do it, but I don’t condone it,” a tacit and unambiguous confession. Mr. Scarpa clutched tissues as the DA played his confession that he’d driven impaired with his own young daughter in the car.

Feldman then went on to use the word “accident” several times during his opening statement. AUUUUURGH. That is the entire premise of the defense. It’s almost like he’s trying to hand Mr. Scarpa an acquittal with a big red shiny bow.

Mr. Lowenstein, for the Defense, insisted that the collision had been an “accident,” and that Mr. Scarpa’s actions did not meet the legal definition of implied malice. He stated that the prescription drugs found in Scarpa’s system do not, as opposed to Feldman’s assertion, have warning stickers telling users not to drive. The defense asked whether Scarpa acted with “conscious disregard” (without underscoring the impossibility because Scarpa was, in fact, unconscious at the time of impact).

The Defense told the jury that Scarpa, though drugged up after a party, drove approximately 25 miles without incident, and there was no evidence that he was speeding. He went on to loftily praise Scarpa’s parking (“snug against the curb”!) after the collision, and reiterated several times that he did not attempt to flee afterwards. The collision was merely “a split second in time, a miscalculation, a perfect storm of events.”  Scarpa’s temporary inattention, “a fraction of a second,” and impaired state led to “a perfect storm of events.” (Lowenstein also mentioned something about a perfect storm of events.)

Both Feldman and Lowenstein brought up the words Mr. Scarpa uttered upon his official arrest: “It’s about time.” The People assert that this indicated Mr. Scarpa’s acceptance of a long-anticipated outcome. The Defense suggested that Mr. Scarpa had been expecting an arrest only for the duration of his lengthy interrogation.

First to testify was widow Shana Kreza, who identified a photo of her late husband, and briefly described the family’s Saturday morning, getting ready for their daughter’s soccer game. Mr. Kreza had left on his bicycle, but never arrived at the soccer field.

Next on the witness stand was the first responding officer, who described taking initial command of the scene, Mr. Kreza’s broken body, the agitation of the suspect, and the actions of the Good Samaritans.

The next two witnesses had been in the car behind Scarpa. Ragan Hill and her nephew, Cage Morgan, were putting up garage sale signs in the neighborhood. Hill saw Scarpa’s minivan leave the roadway. As it took out shrubs and saplings on the embankment to the right of the sidewalk (where Kreza was riding his bicycle, despite the adjacent bike lane), she saw a body fly off the top of the minivan.

Morgan described his aunt yell, “Oh my god, look at that car!” He diverted his attention from his phone to see Scarpa’s minivan returning to the roadway, with a trailing cloud of debris. He watched as a man fell off the minivan’s roof onto the road. Hill hit the brakes, stopping about 5-10 feet from Kreza’s prone, bloody body. Morgan called 911, and both exited the vehicle to assist.

Scarpa had parked by the curb and exited his minivan as well, but didn’t approach his victim or the witnesses. Instead, he sat on the curb, fidgeting. “My first thought,” testified Hill, “was that he was impaired.”

Both Hill and Morgan described the same aspects of the scene: Scarpa’s agitation, Kreza’s bone sticking out of his lower leg. Morgan was afraid to initiate CPR, fearing it would exacerbate Kreza’s injuries. Because Morgan was unsure the collision was accidental and did not know whether Scarpa was dangerous, he didn’t approach the suspect, but gestured questioningly from a distance, with palms up. He kept an eye on Scarpa, who appeared disoriented, because “I was afraid he would flee the scene.”

Deputy Christian Servin was called to the scene to perform a field sobriety test. He first approached the twitchy suspect and asked what was going on. He was apprehensive about asking Scarpa to perform some of the physical field sobriety testing tasks because his lack of balance and coordination might subject him to falls. Deputy Servin’s search found six 800mg gabapentin pills on Scarpa’s person, and Scarpa confirmed he had no prescription. Though Servin had difficulty with communication because Scarpa was “in and out” of it, he was able to determine that Scarpa had not slept for two days, had smoked .25g of meth 36 hours prior, had fresh tracks from injecting a fentanyl/meth mixture, had taken Suboxone at a party that morning, and had taken lorazepam. Scarpa stated that he had no medical conditions, and (and) that he was under a doctor’s care. (This doctor, perhaps?) Scarpa also stated he knew he should not have been driving, because he was “upset,” and he believed that he had crashed into a tree and several people.

At this point, court recessed for lunch, and I had to split ’cause I have graveyard shifts, but I’m all free for Day 2.

Meanwhile, the Daily Pilot says the case will hinge on intent, and whether Scarpa intentionally committed the act that resulted in Kreza’s death.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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Our anonymous correspondent also added this note.

EMT students are required to attend one rotation in a hospital emergency department. I did this.

The morning started off slow, and the nurses had zero interest in talking with me, so I poked my head into an exam room and announced to the patient that I was there to check her vitals. She consented and while I took her pulse, I asked what brought her to the ER. She stated that she had passed out while making a left turn (in a major intersection, btw) and had crashed into a fire hydrant. I sympathized with her awful morning, and then asked what she’d had for breakfast. Nothing. I suggested that it was always a good idea to fuel up to start your day. Then I asked whether she was on any medications. She had taken a prescription narcotic analgesic before she took her kids to school. “And you drove?” She confirmed this. I informed her that it was dangerous to drive under the influence, and her pill bottle even had a warning sticker added to the prescription label. She insisted there was no such warning, so we pulled the bottle out of her purse to look at it.

I read the warning out loud: “Do not operate heavy machinery.”

She protested, with frustration at my stupidity, “I wasn’t operating heavy machinery. I was just driving my car.”

(Ed. note: Because evidently multi-ton cars aren’t, well, you know…)

There are warnings of “Don’t drive until you know how this drug affects you,” even though said drug impairs your cognitive abilities such that you cannot ascertain how the drug impairs you. In the absence of quantification and/or memory, your brain just lies to you: “Everything’s fine.”

Why appropriate phrasing hasn’t been legislated, I don’t know.

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Streets For All is urging you to take action to support a couple of motions on the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting of the LA City Council Public Safety Committee.

Make your voice heard on two key issues this week.

There are two key issues being considered this week at City of Los Angeles Public Safety Committee.

1 – The first (Council File 21-0870) is a motion at the Public Safety Committee to consider re-designing streets to prevent illegal street racing. As much as we fight for lower speed limits, the best way to slow cars down is by redesigning streets all together.

2 – The second (Council File 20-1267) is a motion to reduce illegal exhaust noise in the City of Los Angeles. Modified mufflers disturb the peace and evenincrease our stress hormones and risk of heart disease. While we don’t want more armed officers doing traffic stops, we can solve this by clamping down on the shops that make these illegal modifications.

Here’s how you can help in 2 easy steps:

1) Make public comment using the council file system

If you are unable to make live public comment, the next best thing is writing a message in the council file management system. We have made this easy with a pre-filled template and links.

MAKE PUBLIC COMMENT IN ADVANCE

2) Make public comment live at the committee meetings

The Public Safety Committee is on Wednesday, September 1, at 330pm. Here is the agenda. Call into this meeting to comment on the re-designing streets to curb racing and the illegal exhaust noise issue.

CALL IN INSTRUCTIONS + TALKING POINTS

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Speaking of Streets For All, the political nonprofit is calling on you to fill a vacancy in your local Neighborhood Council if you live in any of the following areas.

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In a Twitter thread, the LACBC calls for accountability from the CHP for the hit-and-run that injured a 14-year old boy in East LA over two months ago.

Despite catching the crash on video, and multiple news reports, they’ve apparently done nothing to hold the officer responsible, or compensate the bike-riding boy for his injuries.

Click on the tweets for the full thread.

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This is who we share the road with.

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

Utah’s Zion National Park is looking for public input on new bike and ebike regulations that would allow bikes in groups of no more than six spread at least a quarter-mile apart, require riders to pull off to the side of the road for buses, and have a bell on your bike to warn people and wildlife. Because everyone knows cougars, skunks and bighorn sheep will politely move aside to let you pass if they hear the dulcet tones of a bike bell announce your presence.

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

San Diego authorities are looking for a bike-riding arsonist who set a series of small fires in the city’s North Park neighborhood earlier this month.

Probably not the best idea to leave a “sanctimonious, passive-aggressive” note on a Portland driver’s car calling out the expired plates, and suggesting they get rid of it and start riding a bicycle.

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska busted a man who stabbed another man in the back in a dispute over an alleged stolen bicycle, then tried to break into an apartment using lock pick tools.

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Local

Bloomberg considers UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup’s call to stop subsidizing drivers at the expense of everyone else, arguing that free parking is killing our cities.

Monrovia’s new “Biking for Bucks” program promises to reimburse people who live or work in the city up to $350 for the purchase of bikes and ebikes, whether for adults or children, as well as bicycle accessories, purchased between July 1st and September 30th of this year. So start shopping, already.

Active SGV teamed with Alhambra and SCAG to install a new popup bike lane, high viz crosswalks and curb extensions on Popular Boulevard in the city to gather public feedback. But hurry of you want to check ’em out, because they’ll be gone this time next week.

 

State

LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds teams with San Francisco Transportation Director Jeffrey Tumlin to pen an op-ed for CalMatters in support of AB 43, arguing that speeding drivers should not set speed limits.

 

National

It looks like Outside and VeloNews are joining Bicycling in hiding their stories behind a draconian paywall, on the mistaken assumption that preventing people from reading them will make more people want to. However, unlike Bicycling, the Outside and VeloNews stories don’t appear to be available on Yahoo.

Schwinn’s new I Am A Cyclist ad campaign focuses on marginalized members of the bicycling community to show what kind of people really ride bicycles.

Consumer Reports explains the steps they take to rate bike helmets, while InsideHook looks at the best commuter bike helmets for people who hate to wear one that won’t make you look like a total dork.

Best Buy is jumping head first into the ebike business by selling ebikes, e-scooters, mopeds and electric dirt bikes on their website, as well as in some stores.

A writer for Shape raves that her new Rad Power bike actually makes her comment enjoyable. And no, Best Buy doesn’t sell it.

Police in Colorado are looking for a hit-and-run driver who abandoned his SUV, then fled on foot before stealing a bicycle from a nearby school to make his getaway.

This is who we share the road with, part two. South Dakota’s killer Attorney General was hit with yet another speeding ticket — his seventh in seven years — just days before he was scheduled to go on trial for the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian while on his way home from a fundraiser last year. Yet he’s still allowed to stay on the roads to kill someone else, never mind that the $177.50 fine for a simple speeding ticket is nearly a fifth of what he was fined for actually killing someone.

A new Illinois law will require the state to pick up 100% of the costs for bicycle and walking infrastructure on state roadways; the state had previously required the local community to pay 20%.

A four-year old Michigan girl is able to ride a bicycle for the first time, after a fundraiser brings in enough to buy her an adaptive bike, and cover the cost to buy a bike for someone else, too.

Like drivers everywhere, motorists in Dayton, Ohio seem to have trouble figuring out how the city’s new parking protected bike lanes are supposed to work, parking in the bike lane next to the curb while leaving the parking lane empty.

 

International

Wired says Covid-19 means it’s finally time for the 15-minute city, where living, shopping and work are all within walking distance in the same neighborhood. Unless you live in Los Angeles, that is, where city leaders seem to be firmly committed to keeping everything within an hour and a half drive. Except at rush hour, of course.

Bosch says their new upgrades to ebike batteries and motors promise to make your new ebike ride smarter and farther.

Probably not the best idea to try to steal a bike from inside a British police station.

Life is cheap in Australia, where a driver was sentenced to seven years for the meth-fueled hit-and-run that seriously injured five bike riders last year — but with time served, he’ll be eligible for parole in less than a year.

 

Competitive Cycling

Twenty-year old American cyclist Quinn Simmons refuses to limit his options, dividing his plans for next year between the WorldTour and American gravel races.

Red Bull talks with two-time European mountain bike champ Lars Forster about how he went from riding with his dad to riding with, and beating, the world’s best.

 

Finally…

When your status in the local bicycling community hinges on finding the right bike basket. Get your very own bicycle umbrella for your next rainy ride.

And you’ll have to wait another year for a zombie bike ride in Key West.

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

Scarpa trial Monday for killing Costa Mesa fire captain, wrist slap for killer SD AG, and Malibu postpones PCH meeting

The allegedly stoned driver who killed a popular Costa Mesa fire captain will finally face justice next week.

The Daily Pilot reports that 27-year old Stephen Taylor Scarpa will go on trial for murder on Monday for fatally running down 44-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita resident Mike Kreza as he was training for a triathlon in 2018.

According to the paper,

Kreza was off duty and riding his bike in Mission Viejo on Nov. 3 when a van driven by Scarpa drove off the roadway at Alicia Parkway and traveled 8 feet across the curb line, a sidewalk and an embankment, striking Kreza.

Police found Scarpa sitting on a curb following the crash, apparently intoxicated. He admitted to investigators he had shot up a combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl while at a party, along with taking an anxiety medication.

Kreza died two days later, leaving behind his wife and three young children.

The murder charge suggests this wasn’t Scarpa’s first DUI arrest, and that he had probably signed a Watson advisement indicating he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while intoxicated, following a previous conviction.

The paper reports Scarpa has remained in county jail for 1,032 days since his arrest — nearly three years — by the time he goes on trial Monday.

Chance are, he’ll end up serving a lot more than that.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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If you want to get away with killing someone, use a car.

Or better yet, get elected attorney general.

South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg was sentenced Thursday for a fatal hit-and-run crash. And walked without a single day behind bars.

The judge gave Ravnsborg a gentle caress on the wrist, allowing him to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts for a total of $1,000 in fines.

Which is apparently what a human life goes for in South Dakota these days.

Even an order to do some sort of public service to mark the anniversary of the victim’s death was put on hold, when Ravnsborg’s attorney argued it wasn’t allowed under the statute.

Authorities allowed Ravnsborg to claim he kept driving because he thought he hit a deer, rather than a man walking along the roadway. Even though the victim did a face plant in the AG’s windshield, leaving his glasses in the car where investigators found them the next day.

You’d think most people would have recognized a human face staring back at them through the windshield. Or at the very least, stopped to see what they hit.

But apparently, that kind of logic isn’t required for elected office in the state.

By continuing home, Ravnsborg may also have escaped a DUI count by delaying a blood alcohol test until 15 hours after the crash, by which time any alcohol consumed at the political fundraiser he attended would have been safely out of his system.

And it was.

Ravnsborg capped it off his extremely minimal sentence with a very self-serving statement.

The state’s governor and at least some legislators are calling for Ravnsborg to be impeached, since he refuses to step down.

We can hope, anyway.

Thanks to Pat Benson for the heads-up.

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To be continued.

Malibu pulled the plug on last night’s planned discussion on widening the shoulder on a two-mile segment of PCH, rescheduling the meeting for next month.

Supporters describe the proposed project as improving safety for people on bicycles. But others fear it would just move us into the door zone, instead.

I’m told that the wider shoulders will allow plenty of room for both bikes and parked cars, without posing a risk to the people on two wheels.

But let’s get serious.

That would require at least seven to eight feet to the right of the roadway and the left of parked cars. Anything less would be in the door zone.

So if there’s that much space already built into this plan, why don’t they just install bike lanes, instead?

Or better yet, a parking protected bike lane.

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CD14 Councilmember Kevin de León wants to know what you want to see on Huntington Drive.

You know what to tell him.

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Good news for anyone who walks. Or crosses the street.

https://twitter.com/LosAngelesWalks/status/1430988640298012672

On the other hand, the legislature killed AB 1401, which was murdered died in committee; the bill would have allowed cities to reduce parking minimums for new buildings near transit stations.

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This is what you call expert level trolling.

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A brilliant solution for locking your bike.

Unless the thief has a chain tool.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for forwarding the tweet.

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

Two British men have been charged with murder, and a third with assisting them, for intentionally running down a man as he and a woman were riding bicycles; the men allegedly abandoned and burned the car they used in an attempt to coverup the crime.

An Australian man faces charges for deliberately ramming three people on bicycles in three separate incidents just minutes apart as they were riding in a bike lane earlier this month; fortunately, none of the victims was seriously injured.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton politely takes LADOT and the LA Bureau of Engineering to task for a number of missed opportunities to install bike lanes, or protect the ones they did install.

Climate Resolve considers Eagle Rock’s resident-driven Beautiful Boulevard plan to remake Colorado Blvd into a green, safe and vibrant street, calling it an opportunity for climate action.

The Los Angeles Times suggests 13 parking hacks they say every driver should know. Although the best hack is to just take transit. Or ride a bike.

LA firefighters have made it to the halfway point in St. Louis on their cross-country ride to the former site of the World Trade Center to honor the victims of the 9/11 attack.

 

State

A tandem-riding San Diego couple are fed up with the trash lining the city’s Kearny Villa Road, saying nothing has been done despite repeated complaints to the city. On the other hand, when Phil Gaimon got tired of seeing all the trash and litter on Mulholland in the Hollywood Hills, he organized his own volunteer clean-up operation.

A Monterey County writer makes an impassioned defense of an unfinished “bike path to nowhere,” insisting it will be worth it once it’s completed and connects to other bikeways.

A Chico man got his bicycle back six months after it was stolen when police noticed it in a homeless camp, because he had recorded the bike’s serial number and reported it to the police. Although an even better option is to register your bike now so you have all the information before anything happens to it.

 

National

Cycling Tip’s Caley Fretz wants to know where his stolen bike was for the past three years, after it suddenly showed up locked to a Boulder, Colorado fence, mostly intact, not far from where he lived when it was taken.

Boise, Idaho will host a “wonderfully weird” pedal-powered party to celebrate the removal of the dreaded bike tire-puncturing Goathead plants.

How to explore Kansas City by bicycle on your next BBQ pilgrimage.

Continuing with this week’s theme of restoring our faith in humanity, a firefighter foundation in Wausau, Wisconsin bought a new bike for a teenage boy after the bicycle he used to deliver newspapers and care for lawns was trashed in a collision.

Someone is targeting Chicago bikeshare riders by stealing their bikes at implied gunpoint after they unlock them.

A Cleveland website says the only risks you face on Michigan’s carfree Mackinac Island are horse poop, bike traffic and distracted pedestrians.

Speaking of Cleveland, a 58-year old man had to relearn how to walk after shattering his leg in a motorcycle crash, and celebrated his recovery by riding a bicycle 3814 miles through 14 states.

New York is moving forward with plans for congestion pricing, after reaching an agreement with the Biden administration to conduct an environmental review of charging drivers a toll to enter central Manhattan; it would be the first such fee in the US. Meanwhile, Los Angeles officials are doing what they do best, conducting a study of Metro’s congestion pricing proposal. Which usually results in studying it to death.

 

International

Bicycling can be a pain in the back, literally. So read this Cycling Weekly story about the causes of lower back pain, and how to prevent it.

Toronto bicyclists demand immediate improvements after an 18-year old man was killed by the driver of a dump truck, after he was forced to ride through a construction zone when a bike lane ended and dumped him into busy traffic; a bike advocate had warned something like that was likely to happen just two days before it actually did.

Treehugger responds to the same Toronto death by arguing that it’s time for the construction industry to prioritize the safety of people who walk or bike.

Los Angeles becomes the poster child for bad scooter behavior, as a Dublin letter writer uses it as a bad example of what he hopes the Irish city won’t become.

Paris continues to make huge strides towards safety and livability, by reducing speed limits on most streets to just 18 mph.

A former Afghan government minister is happy just to have a job, working as a bicycle delivery rider after moving to Germany in hope of a better future.

Cycling News reports on efforts to get women cyclists out of Afghanistan over fears they will be targeted by the Taliban for breaking traditional taboos.

Dozens of bicyclists took to the streets of Yemen’s capital to call for peace in the war torn country.

One hundred people faced road rage charges in Japan last year, with 24 tagged for brake checks and 20 sudden lane changes; four of the cases were blamed on bike riders.

 

Competitive Cycling

Surprisingly, two-time defending Vuelta champ Primož Roglič lost more time in Thursday’s stage 12, now standing almost two minutes behind oddly named leader Odd Christian Eiking of Norway.

LA-based Continental cycling team L39ION of Los Angeles lived up to their usual winning ways in the team’s first-ever stage race, taking both the men’s and women’s races in the opening stage of the Fayetteville, Arkansas Joe Martin Stage Race.

VeloNews dives head first into the debate over whether there should be separate categories for elite women gravel racers.

 

Finally…

Think of it as a fondo where you reduce your time by eating donuts. That feeling when your winning breakaway is suddenly halted by a car fire.

And it turns out Dutch kids aren’t born on bikes, after all.

https://twitter.com/NLinSF/status/1430600351028191235

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

CicLAvia returns with 3 dates this year, a first-hand view of traffic violence, and bike rider shoots driver in self-defense

We all have something to look forward to this year, with the return of America’s largest and most successful open streets festival.

In the best news we’ve had in a pandemic plagued year and a half, CicLAvia will return next month in Wilmington on August 10th.

That’s followed by the traditional Heart of LA route in Downtown Los Angeles on October 10th — the same date as the first CicLAvia, also in DTLA, eleven years earlier.

And last but far from least, a long-awaited return to South Los Angeles on October 5th.

Here’s what our bike-riding friend at KCBS2/KCAL9 have to say on the subject.

https://twitter.com/JeffVaughn/status/1411175401552896004

Photo of an earlier CicLAvia in DTLA by yours truly.

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Every day as I search through the news, I find heartbreaking stories about fatal and near fatal crashes from across the US.

For every one I link to, there may be a dozen or more I don’t.

Just more collateral damage in our incessant obsession with getting from here to there as quickly and inefficiently as possible

Like this story from the very tip of the Pacific Northwest, a stone’s throw from Canada, about a 76-year-old man struck by a trailer pulled by a pickup driver while riding his bike.

Normally I’d read it, maybe mutter a quick prayer, and move on. Just another every day tragic occurrence.

Except this time, the details dovetailed with an email I received yesterday, in the form of a script, from fellow bike rider and corgi aficionado Mike Burk, who moved from SoCal to the cooler and cloudier clime a few years ago.

Fade in:

Late morning, driver’s POV.

Coming home from town this morning when we’re diverted off the highway to a side road because of a road block. At the intersection, noticed a truck towing a poorly loaded trailer carrying an old backhoe. The truck was stopped, the driver getting a ticket by a couple of sheriff’s deputies.

Finally back on the highway and two or three miles down the road. Flashing lights ahead. As we inched along I noticed a bicycle on its side and no rider around. Whatever happened is over (it had been only 90 minutes since we came that way into town).

Seeing the bike and the emergency vehicles, I got a picture.

Photo by Mike Burk

Dissolve to:

Early afternoon, POV over shoulder, sitting at computer.

Me, during a Zoom meeting with our homeowner’s association Publications Committee. Going over articles for our next month’s Kala Pointer Newsletter. One of the committee members asked, “Did you hear about Stan Cummings this morning? He was riding his bike…”

You can guess the rest. Yes, that was Stan’s bike. He was medivacced (sp) to Harborview Hospital in Seattle (40 miles… if you’re a crow). He’s in their TBI unit, not expected to recover well, if at all.

It didn’t take too long for someone following to dial 911 — and then for the sheriffs, local police, and state police to locate and stop the truck.

Stan is active in the community and on his bike. We’ll see what happens.

Fade to black.

Burk adds this final thought.

I forget that this can happen anywhere. We’re in a REALLY small town. Even after all the miles I’ve put on my bike, the thought of getting out on that highway (WA19 and WA20) up here just terrifies me. I keep to the back roads.

Sadly, that’s exactly the case.

The news stories I see come from everywhere English is spoken, and many places it’s not.

From big cities and tiny towns in every state throughout the US, as well as Canada, Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean, the UK, Europe, India, Africa, New Zealand and Australia. And virtually everywhere else, on every kind of roadway.

Yet somehow, the onus for safety inevitably rests on our narrow, unprotected shoulders, rather than the people in the big, dangerous machines who pose the danger to people on bikes, and everyone else.

It’s like living in a village where monsters roam the streets, dragging people off at random. And instead of doing something about them, we merely tell the villagers to be careful and lock their doors at night.

Like this rabidly auto-centric anti-Vision Zero diatribe, in other words.

Which is kind of like telling gunshot victims to dodge the bullets, rather than suggesting that maybe gun owners shouldn’t shoot them.

Frankly, I don’t have the answers anymore.

I just know I’m so damn tired of reading every day about still more innocent people dragged off by the monsters.

And worrying that one day they’ll grab me, too.

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Bike Talk talks protected bike lanes, from every angle.

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Speaking of which, the protected bike lane on Oakland’s Telegraph Ave has been so successful, the city wants to tear it out.

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Apparently, Minnesota’s annual Freedom From Pants Ride went off without a…well, you get the idea.

Thanks to Tim Rutt for the heads-up.

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Megan Lynch forwards this piece about a man seven years into a diagnosis of dementia, yet still riding his bike across Nova Scotia to fight the disease.

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Evidently, the Dutch city of Groningen was been a bicycle city for awhile.

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British bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid explores England’s old Great North Road from London to Newcastle, traveling in style in a classic Morgan sports car, accompanied by a Brompton foldie in the passenger seat.

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

In a truly bizarre case, a man on a bike shot a road raging Houston driver in self-defense when the male driver told a bike-riding couple they couldn’t ride in that neighborhood, then deliberately knocked the woman off her bike; her pistol-packing partner was let go, while the driver was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

No bias here. After a driver intentionally knocks a British man off his bike, she claims to be an ex-cop, and the current cops don’t hesitate to blame the victim. And a driving instructor uses the incident for a training video.

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

A man on a bicycle remains at large after shooting an Arleta man following an argument Sunday night.

Seriously? There’s not a pit in hell deep enough for a 23-year old English man who was caught masturbating on his bicycle, riding one-handed as he pursued women and young girls. Yet the bike-riding perv somehow avoided jail despite doing it not once, not twice or even thrice, but four times, apparently because the judge thought he’s a “promising student.”

A Singapore bicyclist was criticized for leaving a painted bike lane to draft behind a trio of dump trucks. Although that would be perfectly legal in the US, though not necessarily smart, where most, if not all, states allow bike riders to take the lane if they’re riding the speed of traffic.

………

Local

The Gateway Cities Council of Governments will discuss the ill-advised plan to widen the 710 Freeway, displacing homeowners and fouling the air to create more induced demand. A much better option would be to spend the same amount on transit, bikeways and pedestrian improvements so people don’t have to drive the damn thing.

Brooklyn Beckham is one of us, as soccer great David Beckham’s grownup son goes for a Beverly Hills bike ride with a friend.

 

State

Just days after a woman was killed riding her bike on North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla near UC San Diego, another bike rider was injured when a suspected drunk driver drifted into the bike lane he was riding in, less than half a mile from where the first woman was run down.

The San Diego Union-Tribune considers how North Park’s new 30th Street protected bike lane will affect the community.

A Santa Barbara librarian says her new ebike was the best thing to come out of 2020.

San Jose police busted an alleged fence who specialized in high-end bicycles and construction equipment, while paying thieves a fraction of their actual value; he was caught with an estimated $100,000 of hot merch at the time of his arrest. If you’re missing an expensive bike anywhere in the Bay Area, give ’em a call, just in case.

Tragic news from South Sacramento, where a 76-year old man riding a bike was killed by a hit-and-run driver who briefly stopped following the collision, then ran over the victim to make her getaway.

For anyone up in the Sacramento area, the Davis Bicycling, Street Safety and Transportation Commission will meet on Thursday to discuss a number of proposals, including a newly funded plan to widen the I-80 corridor (bad), while possibly adding bicycling improvements (good). Thanks again to Megan Lynch.

 

National

Seriously? Women’s Health asks if outdoor bike riding is good for weight loss. Hint: A resounding yes!

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, after a California man raised $13,000 to provide running water to families in the impoverished Navajo Nation by riding his bike from California to New Mexico.

A Santa Fe, New Mexico school is tapping into federal funds to get more kids to bike and walk to school. Which is something every school should be working on.

Boulder CO police say there’s a nationwide bike shortage, so use a damn U-lock, already. Although they may not have said it quite that way.

More proof that collisions with pedestrians are just as dangerous for the person on the bike, as a 28-year old New York woman was left clinging to life after she crashed into a pedestrian walking in a Prospect Park crosswalk while she was riding in the bike lane. Seriously, ride carefully around pedestrians, who are just as unpredictable as people on bikes. And in cars.

An Atlanta bike rider flagged down paramedics after an 18-year old backup quarterback at Kennesaw State University was fatally shot near Pensacola, Florida; his 19-year old passenger suffered multiple gunshot wounds when their attackers fired over 50 rounds at their car.

 

International

TechRadar rates the “super smart” Cowboy 4 as their top ebike, saying it feels like the future of bicycling.

Mashable offers tips on what to think about before entering the ebike world. But they get the first tip wrong, suggesting that ebiking is just a seasonal thing for everyone but the most extreme bicyclists.

Offroad.cc shares their thoughts on what to look for in a used mountain bike.

Um, okay. Pink Bike looks at all the things that didn’t happen in the world of bicycling last month.

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where a hit-and-run driver walked without a single day in jail for killing an 18-year old man riding a bike. But at least he called 911 before driving off.

A young Black man plans to file a complaint against the Montreal cops who roughed him up and handcuffed him for the crime of not having a reflector on his front wheel. Or maybe because he stopped to watch them question another man.

Life is cheap in the UK, too, where a truck driver walked without spending a day behind bars for killing a 73-year old ebike rider, because the judge thought he showed “genuine and enduring” remorse. Which, oddly, won’t do a damn thing to bring his victim back.

A Singapore bike rider unfairly gets the blame for riding in the traffic lane when a driver slams into him from behind, throwing him onto the windshield before landing in the roadway; the victim sat up following the crash, so hopefully he’s okay. Warning: The dashcam video of the crash is absolutely horrifying, so be sure you really want to see it before you click on it.

 

Competitive Cycling

By now, you should have had plenty of time to catch up on the Tour de France. So it shouldn’t come as a spoiler to reveal that last year’s winner Tadej Pogacar not only reclaimed the yellow jersey, but tightened his grip on it before Monday’s rest day.

Breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt argues the level of competition is much higher at this year’s Tour de France, thanks to a rash of young riders making their presence known.

Cavendish says he may be struggling, but don’t write off four-time Tour champ Chris Froome yet.

Mathieu van der Poel pulled out of the Tour after losing the yellow jersey to focus on winning mountain bike gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Judging by the video below, he might just have a shot.

A sports physicist considers how many calories you’d have to consume to ride like a pro in the Tour de France.

Nicholas Dlamini, the first Black South African to compete in the Tour, received a round of “rapturous” applause when he crossed the finish line on Sunday’s ninth stage of the Tour, despite failing to make the cut following a crash.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you get so drunk you can’t remember stealing a $1,000 bike. That feeling when you’re glad the bear only ate your bike seat.

And John and Yoko were both one of us.

Thanks to author Richard Risemburg for the heads-up.

………

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

The cost of traffic violence, vehicular cyclists versus protected bike lanes, and why people keep dying on the streets

This is the cost of traffic violence.

A British woman describes firsthand what it’s like to survive — barely — a near-fatal collision with a truck driver while riding her bike to church.

I heard a loud bang. A heavy thud. A violent bump. It was me. It was the noise of my body slamming against the lorry. And then falling to the ground.

I couldn’t work out what was happening. My heart was in my throat. I was staring up at the beautiful, bright blue sky, but at the same time sinking into darkness.

I was in excruciating pain as the heavy truck’s wheels – of which there were 12 in total – ran over my leg.

It’s a powerful story.

Especially this part.

I was desperate to see my kids, but I didn’t want to scare them. After two days, I put on my bravest face and held them when they visited me.

My son said, “Mummy, you’re not ready to die. We haven’t finished our story yet.”

Fortunately, she made it. And kept her leg, thanks to five separate surgeries, including one 12 hour marathon.

But something else to consider.

While she doesn’t mention it in her story, one vital aspect in getting back on her feet was the UK’s National Health Service, which meant she didn’t leave the hospital with a massive bill like she would have in the US.

In fact, chances are, she paid little or nothing, despite her month-long hospital stay.

So she was able to go home to her family and resume her life, even writing a book about her experiences.

Instead of being forced into bankruptcy like so many Americans after a similar experience.

………

The San Diego Union-Tribune takes a deep dive into the city’s new protected bike lane network, and the problems it causes for some in the spandex-clad set.

“This is to attract the all-ages and abilities groups that are just trying to go places within their communities, but if you need to go fast, the (car) lane is always open,” said Everett Hauser, a traffic engineer focusing on bicycle infrastructure for the city of San Diego.

Many new projects around the region also include bicycle-specific traffic lights at busy intersections and reconfiguring streets to encourage slower driving especially at tight turns.

Still, not everyone’s convinced.

“These protected bike lanes that have appeared in the last few years are the most dangerous thing that’s ever happened to bicycling in San Diego,” said Ralph Elliott, 70, historian of the San Diego Bicycle Club and a member for more than 50 years. “They’re unsafe. If there’s a car door in your face, somebody’s walking in the protected bike lane, skateboarding in the lane, dog in the lane all that’s dangerous because you can’t get out.”

Most studies don’t bear that out, however.

A recent 13-year study of 12 large international cities shows that separated and protected bike lanes improve safety for all road users, reducing traffic deaths by 44%.

Although a lot depends on the design and quality of the protected lanes.

But as the story points out, protected bike lanes are designed for casual bike riders who might not feel safe mixing with motorists.

Club riders and other experienced bicyclists who don’t want to slow down should be free to continue riding in the regular traffic lanes, where their speed won’t pose a danger to themselves or others.

………

Sadly, two SoCal bicycle riders lost their lives over the weekend.

On Saturday, a 75-year old man was killed by a semi-driver in an Oxnard crash.

And on Sunday, a motorcycle rider somehow slammed into the trailing rider on a group ride in East San Diego County near Jamul; both the bicyclist and the motorcyclist died at the scene.

Two more tragic reminders that our streets aren’t safe enough for people on bicycles. And our safety is still in the hands of those we share the road with.

………

This is why people continue to die on our streets.

An Iowa man who deliberately drove his car through a group of racial justice protestors because he thought they needed “an attitude adjustment” walked without a single day behind bars, despite leaving several injured people in his wake. To make matters worse, his conviction will be expunged if he stays out of trouble for three short years.

And a North Dakota woman walked away with two years probation after intentionally running down a man she’d been arguing with as he attempted to ride away on his bike.

………

Take a 59-second mountain bike break.

………

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

A 73-year old Novato, California woman blames a pair of aggressive mountain bikers for spooking her horse, resulting in a broken wrist, shattered eye socket and a broken jaw that had to be wired shut. Seriously, don’t do that.

………

Local

Former Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge died unexpectedly last week at 67; he was known for his frequent recreational rides through his district, though he also blocked a number of bike projects, including the long-planned 4th Street Bike Boulevard.

Streets For All says there’s still time to run for your neighborhood council; a Thursday webinar will discuss how you can add more bike and pedestrian voices to your council — starting with yours.

Glendora wants your input on plans to improve bicycle access to the city’s upcoming Gold Line — aka L Line – station.

 

State

A La Jolla woman ‘fesses up to being the person who installed a free trading post along a bike path in the city.

Federal authorities seized 600 girls bikes worth $84,000 that were headed to a company in San Bernardino County; the Chinese-made bikes had an excessive level of lead in their pink paint.

A Lompoc paper considers the role the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition plays in making the streets safer and more equitable for people on bicycles.

After barely surviving stage four throat cancer, a Bakersfield man took to two wheels to regain his life.

No San Francisco, a sharrow on a four-lane arterial roadway does not a safe bicyclist make.

 

National

Bicycling says the best deals are on used bikes these days, and wants to help with your shopping by listing what they consider the best buys.

Cycling Tips offers more details on the proposed class action lawsuit alleging Trek vastly overstated the effectiveness of their WaveCel technology for Bontrager bike helmets.

A young former soap opera star is one of us, as the kid who played Danny Morgan on General Hospital needed a number of stitches after doing a face plant off his bike.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a paraplegic Denver man’s three wheeled adaptive handcycle.

It’s been eight months since a Colorado woman disappeared after reportedly going for a Mother’s Day bike ride; no trace has been found, despite a massive search.

After setting out to ride 2,020 miles across the US in 2020, a South Dakota teenager overshot the mark, ending up with almost 3,000 miles.

Good news from North Carolina, where a 14-year old girl was found safe, three weeks after she had disappeared while riding her bike.

 

International

Now your bike can actively remove pollution from the air, rather than just not adding to it.

A writer for Bike Radar says it’s worth the time and research required to ride comfortably in the winter. Although in LA, that sometimes means just deciding to go with a lower SPF.

Conde Nast Traveler recommends seven bike trails from around the world, from India to Germany — including our own beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Trail.

Forget how well it protects your head; what really matters about your new bike helmet is whether it works with you ponytail.

A Vancouver man set a new world’s record by riding 7,100 miles to visit 24 European capitals in just six months.

Road.cc calls it an “unexpected outbreak of common sense” as bicyclists get a rule overturned banning bikes from a shopping district, even if they’re just being walked.

London’s city council will take another look at the knee-jerk removal of a popular bike lane after drivers complained it was causing congestion; since the removal, drivers have just used it as a parking lane. As we’ve said before, though, the only real cause of traffic congestion is too many cars.

After riding nearly 50 miles just to get there, a group of men are turned away from a Welsh bike trail for breaking the UK’s lockdown restrictions; they’re told they’ll face arrest if they come back.

British and European bike brands remain in flux as they struggle to adapt to the new Brexit trade rules.

The pandemic-fueled bike boom manifested itself in Ireland, as well, as the city of Cork saw a 35% jump in bicycling last year.

This is what LA could be doing, but isn’t. Paris has approved a $300 million plan to convert the car-choked Champs-Élysées into “an extraordinary garden” running over a mile across the city.

Record-setting 109-year old bike racer Robert Marchand wrote a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, asking that bicyclists be exempted from Covid lockdown rules that restrict biking or running to within roughly two-thirds of a mile from home.

A new Belgian ebike parking unit allows you to securely lock up your heavy bike, while recharging the battery.

Another Chinese bikeshare bicycle dumping ground swamps the city of Chengdu.

No bias here. A Singapore paper asks if bicyclists and drivers can ever get along — but only includes rules for the people on two wheels, with barely a word on how motorists can drive safely around people on bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

German doctor Mark Schmidt faces up to five and a half years behind bars, as well as losing his medical license for five years for his role in the Operation Aderlass doping scandal that took down at least six riders on the pro tour.

 

Finally…

You can’t use stadium seats for sports fans anymore, so you might as well use them to display your massive team cycling jersey collection. If you’re going to steal a tip jar from a business, don’t leave the bike you stole behind.

And yes, the royal family rides bikes, too.

………

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

LA brags about modest bike lane mileage, resource guide for traffic violence victims, and Trek sued over WaveCel claims

Los Angeles continues to nibble at the edges of bike safety, as the city touts the installation or improvement of 61 miles of bike lanes in 2020.

That includes nearly 13 miles of new bike lanes on South LA’s Avalon Blvd.

However, it’s important to remember that LADOT measures bike lanes in lane miles, which means that each side of the roadway is counted separately. So that 61 miles really means bike lanes were added or improved on just 30 miles of streets.

That’s a big step up from the ten lane miles installed in the 2017-18 fiscal year, but still just a fraction of the annual totals built during Antonio Villaraigosa’s tenure as mayor — although the city is installing more protected and separated bike lanes now.

However, it still neglects large segments of the city, and makes no attempt to create a connected bike lane network crossing Los Angeles — let alone the three interconnected networks called for in the city’s mobility plan.

Bike lane construction for 2021 is expected to concentrate on Figueroa Blvd in DTLA and Broadway in South LA.

So who knows?

Maybe someday the city will finally get around to building bike lanes where you ride while you’re still young enough to use them.

………

Losing a loved one is hard enough under any conditions.

Let alone losing someone you love to traffic violence.

That’s why Southern California Families for Safe Streets, a project of pedestrian advocacy group Los Angeles Walks, is offering a free resource guide for people who have experienced a sudden, unexpected loss.

The guide was prepared by people who have gone through it themselves, including tips on how to turn your grief into effective action.

Let’s hope you never need it.

But roughly 3,500 California families did in 2019. And probably will this year.

………

Why wait for local leaders to rip out a bike lane, when you can just turn an offroad bike path into your own personal car lane?

………

It’s not new, but this video offers a recumbent tour of a unique California neighborhood where homes have hangers instead of garages, and taxiways in place of streets.

Thanks to the free, daily California Sun newsletter for the link.

………

Forget the latest high-end, high-tech wonders. Pink Bike takes a look at what everyday bike riders are riding.

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

Someone has been removing bollards from a protected bike lane in the UK and just tossing them across the surrounding area, creating a hazard for people riding bicycles, as well as others who might trip or drive over them.

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

An Aussie bike rider unloads on a motorist after the car’s passenger threw litter at him. Seriously, don’t do this, kids. Violence is never the answer. Although I may have been known to toss trash back through the driver’s window.

………

Local

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition reminds the city — and everyone else — that protected bike lanes improve safety for everyone, not just people on bikes.

 

State

Six women will set out to break three world records on Saturday by riding elliptical bikes up San Diego’s steep Mt. Palomar, with a 5,000 foot elevation gain in just 12.5 miles.

Santa Barbara has embarked on a stunning remake of Los Positas Road to add a 2.6-mile multi-use path connecting to the beach.

 

National

Maybe there’s hope yet. Streetsblog says the victories by Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia opens the way for a long-delayed revamp of the national transportation bill to create greater sustainability, with an emphasis on public transit and active transportation.

A new lawsuit accuses Trek of falsely claiming its Bontrager WaveCel helmets are up to 48 times more effective than traditional foam bike helmets in order to command a higher price.

The Drive recommends their picks for the best ebike conversion kits.

Anyone can build up an existing frame, so learn how to weld your own, instead.

Las Vegas bike advocates are responding to the recent death of five experienced bicyclists at the hands of a meth-using truck driver by pushing for greater safety for people on two wheels, including a call for a presumed liability law that would shift the burden of proof to the person in the more dangerous vehicle.

A Nyack NY bike shop is shutting down after nearly 50 years, after long days due to the pandemic bike boom took all the fun out of it for the owner, and emptied all the shop’s inventory, anyway.

New York suffered its first bicycling death of 2021 when an ebike rider inexplicably rode into the back of a parked SUV, the same day Southern California saw the year’s first first bike rider killed in a Riverside hit-and-run.

Great idea. A New Jersey business district is offering shoppers free twice-weekly delivery by cargo bike.

 

International

Road.cc rates 15 aluminum disk brake bikes, calling them today’s best value bikes.

More evidence of the worldwide bike boom, as London’s bikeshare system saw a record-setting 157% increase in registrations during the pandemic.

Two Irish cousins will spend at least a couple decades behind bars for murdering another man in a case of mistaken identity after falsely accusing him of stealing a bicycle; one man got a life sentence while the other received a minimum of 26 years in prison.

A Dutch university has developed a tool to wirelessly recharge ebikes through the kickstand.

Admitting to mistakes in the early days of the pandemic, Milan’s mayor is committed to changing how people get around the formerly auto-centric city, including plans for 185 miles of new bike lanes, with 21 miles already installed during the initial lockdown.

A horrifying crime, as Indian vigilantes kidnapped 30 women and children because they suspected men in the nomadic tribe of stealing bikes. Although they may have accused them of stealing motorcycles, rather than bicycles, since the Indian press uses the same term for both.

Malaysian bicyclists say new bike riders inspired by the pandemic bike boom are giving the rest of them a bad name.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yes, the pros do care what you say about them. So be nice.

Former doper and current gelati maker Riccardo Riccò just says no to the Covid-19 vaccine, thanks to a newfound concern over what he puts in his body.

 

Finally…

Just what every aspiring fashionista needs — a $27,000 haute couture bicycle. Your lifelong wait for bike shorts with built-in artificial intelligence and stimulating electrodes is finally over.

And if you’re using your bike to burglarize motor vehicles, just put a damn light on it, already.

………

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

After Pasadena NIMBYs shouted down safety improvements, deadly Orange Grove Blvd claims two more victims

Let’s pause for a moment before we start to remember the victims of two Orange County bicycling collisions just hours apart on Sunday.

Never put it past OC to mark the World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence by adding to them. 

Then wonder what the hell is going on down there, as the county suffers its 15th bicycling death of the year — the same as Los Angeles County, with over three times the population of OC.

And six weeks still to go.

Be careful out there.

………

Pasadena learns the cost of doing nothing after NIMBY’s coordinated by anti-road diet pressure group Keep LA Moving literally shouted down plans to install protected bike lanes to improve safety on deadly Orange Grove Blvd.

Peter Flax points the finger directly at Keep LA Moving and its founder, as well as local chapter Keep Pasadena Moving.

Sadly, more people will continue to die until something is finally done to reduce road space and cut traffic speed.

And just like the coronavirus, the people concerned about it can’t do much to improve things until everyone else starts to care, too.

………

They get it.

………

Harry Styles is sort of one of us, posing for Vogue with an antique bicycle while wearing a kilt.

………

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

Call it a greatest hits of careless passes from just one UK town.

https://twitter.com/northumbriapol/status/1328280503938641922?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1328280503938641922%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.itv.com%2Fnews%2Ftyne-tees%2F2020-11-16%2Fpolice-release-shocking-video-to-show-how-dangerous-drivers-put-cyclists-lives-at-risk

………

Local

KABC-7 visits the East Side Riders Bike Club, which is working to help kids stay out of gangs by keeping them occupied on their bikes two hours a day.

A number of proposals are on the table to restore the Ballona Wetlands, but only two including expanding bicycle access.

 

State

A seven-mile stretch of Carlsbad Blvd, aka Old Highway 101, will form part of U.S. Bicycle Route 95 running the length of California.

Next year’s Sea Otter Classic is scheduled for May 20th through 23rd in Monterey, after this year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Sonoma County won’t appeal a $1.3 million judgement for a bike rider who was badly injured after hitting a pothole.

 

National

A writer for Electrek gets the first test ride on Harley Davidson’s new ebikes, while TechRadar finds the prices, starting around $3,400, surprisingly affordable.

And completing today’s Peter Flax trifecta, he visits the Horton Collection, America’s greatest collection of bicycling memorabilia. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling’s site blocks you out.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. Memphis is pushing for ways to improve a deadly intersection after a bike rider was killed and another seriously injured in a crash; both were collateral damage in a collision between two motorists as they were waiting on the red light.

A new ten-mile Vermont mountain bike trail fills a vital gap in a planned network of mountain bike trails crossing the state.

New York Mayor de Blasio dismissed a proposal to remove traffic enforcement duties from the NYPD, saying it would be counterproductive, because Vision Zero requires “a very muscular approach by law enforcement.” Which is actually the opposite of how Vision Zero is supposed to work.

Maybe it’s not too surprising that an increase in bike thefts has followed in the wake of the bike boom, with bike theft up statewide in North Carolina.

 

International

Cyclist relates how ebikes are getting people back into bicycling after years off their bikes.

English bike scribe and historian Carlton Reid talks with shop owners about London’s Low Traffic Neighborhoods, and discovers they’ve gone from opponents to supporters.

The British government continues to promote bicycling as an alternative to driving and transit during the pandemic, with a second round of bike repair vouchers to help people get their bikes in ridable condition.

No surprise here. A new study from the UK shows men are three times more likely than women to drive over 100 mph.

Police officials in a British town say they’ve taken action against drivers on 80% of close pass videos sent to them by bike riders. We need to change the law so that can happen here; currently police in California are unable to use video for traffic violations and misdemeanor infractions.

A 17-year old Irish boy will spend the next seven and a half years behind bars after being convicted of manslaughter for stabbing another boy five times in a dispute over a bicycle. We’ve said it before — no bike is worth a human life, yours or someone else’s. Just let it go.

Berlin may be a cycling city, but it’s still plagued with some of Europe’s worst bike lanes.

A Venezuelan Olympic gold medal fencer is delivering food by bike for Uber Eats in Poland to feed his family as he trains for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

 

Competitive Cycling

America’s last remaining Tour de France winner is just one step away from being one of ten individual athletes to be honored with a Congressional Gold Medal; a bill to do that is on President Trump’s desk waiting for his signature.

Popular former pro Ted King set a new record in winning the 1,017-mile Arkansas High Country endurance race; finishing right behind him was the only woman in the race, who also had a record winning time.

 

Finally…

So who needs a seat post on a tri bike, anyway? Ticketing kids on bikes since at least 1963.

And apparently, even NFL stars toss their bikes in anger.

Not to be confused with tossing your cookies, which is an entirely different thing.

………

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

Remembering traffic victims and the failure of Vision Zero in LA, fatal hit-and-run in DTLA, and Joe Biden is one of us

Members of SAFE — Streets Are For Everyone — turned out in South LA yesterday to mark the World Day of Remembrance for traffic victims.

The group demonstrated at the intersection of Slauson and Western, one of the deadliest locations in all of Los Angeles, according to the city’s High Injury Network.

And one that has yet to see any significant attempt to make it safer.

In other words, pretty much like the rest of LA’s seemingly forgotten Vision Zero program.

According to CBS2/KCAL9,

…police say there has been a staggering 29% increase in traffic-caused fatalities and injuries in South L.A. this year so far in 2020 compared to 2019.

Additionally, there have been close to 5,000 hit-and-run collisions in 2020, police said.

There are few people who haven’t been touched by traffic violence in some way.

I’ve lost two people close to me, both at the hands of drunk drivers.

A friend I’d known since kindergarten was killed just weeks before our senior year of high school when a drunk woman somehow jumped the wide median on an interstate highway, and hit his car head-on, killing him and a friend instantly.

She walked away unharmed, with just a slap on the wrist for murdering two strangers.

The other was my cousin, who was killed when she was thrown from her own father’s car, and was run over by him.

And once again, there were no real consequences. Unless you consider the guilt and self-loathing he lived with for the rest of his life.

That’s not counting the hundred of people I’ve written about here who have needlessly lost their lives on the mean streets of Southern California — most at the hands and on the bumpers of drivers.

It has to stop.

It looked, for a short time, as if the City of Los Angeles was actually going to do something about it when Vision Zero was announced with great fanfare just five years ago.

But then it got hard when the city ran into resistance from auto-centric NIMBYs. And LA’s mayor got distracted by the shiny object of national ambitions, with far too many Wormtongues whispering in his ear.

And so Vision Zero was shoved onto a cold back burner, just another page on the LADOT website, with a handful of piecemeal projects here and there, rather than the massive road safety overhaul we were promised.

Never mind the now laughable goal of eliminating traffic deaths in the city by 2025.

Less than five years from now.

Which leaves us waiting for the mayor and the city’s recalcitrant councilmembers to be termed out, so we can finally replace them with leaders who will hopefully have the courage and political will to make the hard decisions necessary to save lives.

And not just talk about it, for a change.

………

LA Bike Dad offers photos from the demonstration at Slauson and Western.

Click on the tweets for more photos.

………

The LAPD’s looking for the heartless coward who ran down a pedestrian in DTLA while driving on the wrong side of the road, then got out to check his own car for damage before driving away, ignoring the victim.

There’s a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Warning — The video is graphic, so be sure you really want to see it before you click the link because you can’t unsee it. 

………

The new President-elect of the United States is one of us.

………

This is what happens when the NIMBYs win.

………

Tell your favorite LBS the news. And register your own bike if you haven’t already.

………

At least one LA-area city is moving forward with safer streets.

But it ain’t Los Angeles.

………

Here’s today’s stunt biking break, with a short film from Dutch BMX rider Niels Bensink, as he moves to Canada to immerse himself in mountain biking.

………

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

No bias here. An Edmonton columnist is outraged that the city plans to install more bike lanes to fight climate change.

No bias here, either. London’s Sunday Mail claims bike lanes and low traffic neighborhoods are delaying ambulances and paramedics; the UK’s national cycling organization responds that the paper is relying on “alternative facts.”

A lawyer in the UK says bike riders should be limited to just a small space on the side of the road, if that.

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

A Florida man was busted after attempting to flee on foot when police stopped him while riding his bike in a “known narcotics area,” and found a white rock in his pocket.

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Local

Someone using the Citizen app captured video of up to 500 people riding bikes through Chinatown in DTLA. Although they may not have thought it was a good thing.

A South Bay writer calls for better bike paths, safer streets and fewer cars after she gets right hooked by an SUV driver.

 

State

San Diego was awarded $125,000 for education programs to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Ojai received a $450,000 grant to conduct a road diet and install a quick build parking protected bike lane on a 3/4 mile stretch of Maricopa Highway, connecting a restored wetlands with an existing bike trail and a high school.

Sad news from Fresno, where a bike-riding man was killed by a speeding hit-and-run driver. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

A clown was caught on video stealing a little girl’s bike in Hayward. Yes, a clown.

 

National

Bicycling continues their conversation about race and equity with a rare non-paywalled piece by former LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler, who says she won’t call herself a cyclist, even though she loves to ride her bike.

Apparently, jorts are socially acceptable again, as long as they’re made of technical denim and intended for mountain biking.

Wall Street thinks the bike boom is over, as bike stocks fall while automotive stocks are going up.

In a story every LA area leader should read, Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus says we’ll never have safe streets if we continue to make safe choices.

Dallas-area residents mourn yet another victim of traffic violence after a paletero was killed by a driver as he pedaled his cart, following two decades of selling ice cream and chicharrones. Thanks to John Clary for the link.

This is who we share the road with. An Oklahoma state senator faces a first-degree manslaughter charge after she skidded off a rain-slicked road while driving nearly 100 mph, and killed a man whose car was stalled on the side of the road. Thanks to Robert Leone for the tip.

Life is cheap in Ohio, where a 73-year old woman got a whole 30 days behind bars for killing a local Teacher of the Year as he was riding his bike. But at least she’ll lose her license for five years. Although at her age, that should be permanently.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Massachusetts man rode his bike 77 miles to celebrate his 77th birthday.

Another Massachusetts man reminds bike riders to warn slower riders and pedestrians before you pass. Seriously, call it out or use a bike bell. “Passing on your left” works better than “on your left,” which tends to confuse some people.

Dune star Timothee Chalamet is one of us, going for a hooded ride through NYC.

A group of Black New Jersey husbands and fathers are taking advantage of their bikes and the area’s open roadways to form a fraternal bond to cope with the struggles of 2020.

Bighearted Virginia bike riders scoured local grocery stores to deliver food donations for a local rescue mission and weekend school food program.

A North Carolina nonprofit is preparing a bike giveaway to make the holidays brighter for hundreds of kids.

 

International

A sports psychologist explains how to face down your bicycling fears and stay safe on the roads.

British Columbia’s Human Right Tribunal concludes that Victoria’s floating bus stops on a new two-way cycle track discriminates against blind and visually impaired pedestrians.

An Edmonton, Alberta bike shop owner offers advice on how to bike through winter snow. Which is seldom a problem here in Los Angeles, but we can hope.

Toronto bike riders are lighting up the night with a rolling bike rave.

Hats off to a London man who rode his bike around the city for an hour to corral a stray dog and return it to its owner.

A Scottish charity has put over 1,000 refugees and asylum seekers on two wheels, calling it the key to helping them settle into a new community, develop new friends, and access essential services.

Brit bike hero Chris Boardman calls for banning cars from residential streets for the sake of the country’s children.

A new British subscription service allows people to get a Brompton for the equivalent of less than $1.32 a day.

Bike Radar takes a deep dive into the UK’s current state of diversity in bicycling, or the lack thereof. And the importance of inclusion and representation in biking, whether for sport or transportation.

A British travel writer takes an easy ebike bikeshare tour of Jersey.

A bicycling group in Nagpur, India lights their bikes to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights also celebrated by Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists.

A Mumbai man is using his indoor cycling studio to help people scarred by traffic violence rediscover the joys of bicycling.

Fifty-seven percent of the residents of the Indian city of Gurugram would rather bike to work — but only if they have safe streets and bikeways.

She gets it. Kenya’s Second Lady — the wife of the country’s 1st Deputy President — takes to her bike, and mourns the needless deaths of people riding bicycles.

Malaysia takes a step towards a greener future with the nation’s first bicycle messenger service.

Cycling Tips traces the birth and growth of Aussie bikepacking and adventure racing brand Curve Cycling.

 

Competitive Cycling

More racial and trans insensitivity from America’s young pro cyclists, as former world track champ Chloe Dygert had to apologize for liking a number of biased tweets. This is what Black cyclist Ayesha McGowan had to say about it.

Tour de France champ Tadej Pogačar’s winning bike will live on at the Colnago museum in Cambiago, Italy, joining bikes ridden by the legendary Eddy Merckx and Johan Museeuw, aka The Cannibal and The Lion of Flanders.

A writer for Rouleur says the nine-month ban given Dutch cyclist Dylan Groenewegen for his role in the crash in the final sprint at Stage 1 of this year’s Tour of Poland is cruel and unusual punishment, and sets a dangerous precedent.

Surprise Giro winner Tao Geoghegan Hart had to buy his brother a new car to pay off a bet that he wouldn’t end up winning the race.

 

Finally…

Anyone can ride from Canada to Key West, but not many do it on Penny Farthings. Now you, too, can own your very own Dunkin’ tandem bike.

And that feeling when your foot is run over by Albus Dumbledore.

Well, the second one, anyway.

………

Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating this year. May the divine light spread into your life and bring peace, prosperity, happiness, good health and grand success.

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

Chief Lunes cyclist dies in Vegas car crash, removing cops from traffic enforcement, and no 15-minute city in LA

My apologies for Friday’s unexcused absence. 

Between my diabetes, neuropathy and whatever the hell else was going on, Thursday was one of the worst nights I’ve had in recent memory.

Just one more reminder that I’m not in charge of my own body any more.

Which is a very hard thing for a formerly dedicated bicyclist to face.

And another reminder to see your doctor, improve your diet, and do whatever it takes to keep your blood sugar under control. 

Because you really don’t want this shit. Especially now

Photo by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay.

………

Let’s start with some heartbreaking news.

Many of us got to know Spencer Sims, either directly or through sites like this, following the hit-and-run death of bike rider Frederick “Woon” Frazier in South LA two years ago.

Like Woon, Sims was a member of the Chief Lunes cycling group, and was one of the leaders in the fight for justice for Frazier, as well as his mother and infant child, who was born after his death.

For well over a year afterwards, I got emails from Sims about the status of the case and the next moves in their battle for justice.

Sadly, I won’t be getting any more.

It took awhile to confirm, but Spencer Sims was killed, along with another man, in a single-car collision outside Las Vegas last week, when 19-year old driver lost control and the car they were riding in left the road.

Neither man was wearing a seat belt.

There were apparently no witnesses to the crash; a passerby reported finding the wreckage sometime later. Just a couple more sacrifices to the motor vehicle gods.

Now Woon’s mother will be even more alone and isolated without Sims looking in on her.

And he leaves this world without ever seeing justice for his friend and fellow rider. After a retracted confession and countless delays, Mariah Candice Banks, the woman accused of killing Woon in her high-end SUV, has yet to set foot in a courtroom for anything other than her arraignment.

Her long-delayed prelim is now scheduled for November 4th.

Sims won’t be there; let’s hope he and Woon are riding together somewhere. But maybe some of us can take his place.

………

LAist makes the case for why we may not really need police to enforce traffic laws and curb traffic violence, suggesting there are effective alternatives like automated enforcement and self-enforcing street design.

This summer, a group of L.A. City Council members filed a motion calling on the city’s Department of Transportation and legislative officials to work with community members and report back on alternative methods of traffic enforcement, collision investigations and other traffic safety duties currently handled by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Some potential changes that will be explored: replacing LAPD officers with a “transit ambassador program” staffed by unarmed LADOT personnel and/or automated technology to monitor and cite drivers for speeding, illegal turns and other moving violations.

“Such a move would virtually eliminate the LAPD’s role in traffic stops, one of the leading forms of interaction between police and the public,” states the motion, which was filed by L.A. City Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Mike Bonin, Curren Price and Herb Wesson.Breonna

It’s a challenging and thought-provoking read, well worth a few minutes of your time.

Because the current system really isn’t working for anyone.

………

The C40 Cities — a group of 96 cities dedicated to taking action to fight climate change — says the concept of a 15-minute city is rapidly spreading around the world.

That’s the idea that you should be able to walk, bike or take transit to anything you need within 15 minutes of your home or office.

Except here in Los Angeles, of course.

Where the car continues to be king, nothing even slightly resembling a bike network exists anywhere outside of Downtown, and Metro just locked in major service cuts for at least the next year.

Never mind that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is the current chair of the Metro board. Not to mention chair of C-40 Cities.

Or are we not supposed to notice that?

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

………

This is who we share the roads with, protest edition.

A truck driver floored it after encountering a Breonna Taylor protest in Hollywood, plowing through the crowd and seriously injuring a woman who was standing directly in front of his pickup.

That was followed by the driver of a Prius who forced his way through the crowd before being stopped and attacked with skateboards and bicycles.

A person was injured when a pickup driver plowed through a racial justice protest in Eureka, appearing to strike several people; the regional Coalition for Responsible Transportation condemned the attack.

A Milwaukee woman was injured when a driver accidentally hit her bike as she was riding on the wrong side of the road during a protest.

A Buffalo, New York woman faces charges for intentionally driving through a Bronna Taylor protest, seriously injuring a woman working as a bike marshal,

However, an Orange County woman flipped the script, seriously injuring two people by driving through a conservative, pro-Trump rally; 40-year old Long Beach resident Tatiana Turner was arrested.

………

In a truly sickening action, a Seattle bike cop deliberately rolled his police bicycle over the head of a protestor lying prone in the street.

He was immediately placed on leave after the video surfaced, pending an investigation., while the victim decried the apparent disregard for human life.

Let’s hope this is the last time that cop wears blue.

A little further south in Portland, police threw an Uber delivery rider off his bike and hogtied him, even as he insisted he was just doing his job and had nothing to do with the protests.

………

VeloNews follows along as five riders and a camera crew hope to inspire others with a 1,114-mile journey bikepacking tour exploring the Underground Railroad.

………

Gravel Bike California goes riding in Puerco Canyon, as well as Latino Canyon and the iconic Rock Store.

For those Español challenged like me, that translates to Pig Canyon.

Just so you know.

………

Slow Streets comes to Altadena, where most streets are, anyway.

………

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

A New York woman recounts her recent hit-and-run, describing a deliberate attack by a driver who knew he could get away with it.

Police are looking for a man who jumped off some rocks to attack two bicyclists with a bat as they rode on a paved trail through a Philadelphia park.

A Scottish cyclist reports an elderly “gentleman” tried to run him and another rider off the road, slowing down and swerving into them just after they completed a 31-hour, 560-mile ride. Although that pretty much defies any definition of gentleman I’m familiar with.

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

Long Beach police are looking for a bike-riding gunman who killed another man in an early morning bike-by shooting.

A defense lawyer in Canada’s Northwest Territories argues that his client was too drunk to form the intent necessary for murder, after killing another man following a day of bicycling in a drunken stupor.

………

Local

Metro Bike is shutting down operations on LA’s Westside for a couple months starting today, as the system expands and unifies the Westside and Central bikeshare networks, as well as bringing in the popular ebike service.

Despite the budget cuts, Metro’s new long-range budget included plans to close the long-standing eight-mile gap in the LA River bike path, and provide better bike access to DTLA. Because evidently, those must be the only places anyone would ever want to go on a bicycle.

 

State

SoCal ebike maker Electric Bike Company has opened their first showroom in Huntington Beach.

A San Diego nonprofit is working with local small businesses to train young adults to work in the bicycle industry.

A Ventura man celebrated his miraculous recovery from a near-fatal mountain bike crash by paddle boarding 14 miles back to Channel Islands Harbor Marina from Anacapa Island.

Bay Area bike riders dropped Bike to Work Day and celebrated Bike to Wherever Day last week, instead.

San Francisco finally gets around to opening a carfree route through Golden Gate Park.

Seriously? A woman who was injured riding a Jump scooter in San Francisco has filed a class action suit against several e-scooter companies, including Uber and Segway, because…wait for it…no one warned consumers that scooters don’t have turn signals. No one tell her about bicycles.

 

National

How to access bicycling directions in the latest version of Apple Maps.

The former head of the League of American Bicyclists says it’s time to stop relying on commuter data as the primary measure to make traffic planning decisions, because there’s a lot more to transportation.

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner is back in the bike business with a small line of carbon ebikes that are a far cry from the road bikes he used to be known for.

Minneapolis’ Black-led Major Taylor bike club has been working for two decades to get more people of color on bicycles.

How to navigate your next bike vacation in the Big Apple.

 

International

An op-ed from The Guardian calls for media reporting guidelines for traffic safety, arguing that how stories are reported and the language used contribute to the dangers on our roads and how the law is applied.

He gets it. Another writer for The Guardian says denying a child the joys of riding a bicycle is an abdication of parental responsibility, adding “No video game, Covid-19 lockdown or computer simulation can replace the childhood liberation of being alone on a bicycle.”

E-cargo bikes are already replacing trucks in cities around the world.

Chances are, a 13-year old dog may have visited more countries by bike than you have, traveling through 26 countries on a two-year bike tour of Europe and South America.

Cycling Weekly directs your attention to the best eco-conscious bikewear brands.

Needless to say, Vancouver bike riders aren’t happy about the closure of a popup bike lane through a park, because drivers somehow insisted they needed two lanes each way for their cars. Yes, choosing cars over people in a park.

A bighearted Cambridge University academic replaced a speech therapist’s stolen bike, because they’d helped him so much when he was diagnosed with a severe speech impediment as a child.

An 11-year old English girl rode a tandem 70 miles with her dad to visit all 12 cricket clubs in the North Staffordshire area, raising more than four times her original goal of £500 for cardiac risk assessments for young people; she’s raised the equivalent of over $2,800.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 93-year old British man raced competitively until he was 80, and still rides 150 miles a week.

A bike rider in the UK recorded 14 drivers traveling through a popup bike lane in just 35 minutes. Kind of makes you wonder how many went through it the other 23 hours and 25 minutes.

Forget CicLAvia. The entire city of Paris left their cars at home for one day for the city’s annual carfree day.

Parisian pedestrians find themselves competing for space with bike riders on the city’s busy streets.

France is introducing a new victim-blaming bike safety campaign as bicycling injuries go up with more people taking to the streets on two wheels.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero. An Indian family is alive today because an anonymous bike rider was in the right place at the right time, leaping into action to pull them to safety after their car went off the road and into a natural drain before simply riding away afterwards; sadly, though, he wasn’t able to save the family’s three-year old girl.

Bicycling violations are up as in Japan as bicycling booms during the pandemic.

Malaysian bike riders take issue with a call from the country’s road safety institute to license bicyclists and require numbered plates, saying it would not improve traffic safety.

 

Competitive Cycling

Julian Alaphilippe won the world road championships with a late attack, becoming the first Frenchman to wear the rainbow jersey in over two decades.

Anna van der Breggen continued the Dutch dominance of the women’s road worlds, as the country placed three of the four top finishers; cyclists from the Netherlands have won the event four years in a row. Van de Breggen claimed the time trial title, too.

Last week we mentioned defending champ Chloe Dygert was injured after wiping out during the women’s time trial world championships. Turns out that injury was more gruesome than any of us probably imagined.

 

Finally…

If he really was Lucifer, why would he need to steal a bike? Two hundred miles in 32 hours is pretty good — especially when you’re doing it on your daughter’s little pink girl’s bike.

And evidently, moose don’t like cars any more than people on bikes do.

………

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

G’mar Chatima Tovah!

Coronado driver hits 4 bike riders, racist attack on preteen bike rider, and Velo Club La Grange talks Biking While Black

This is why people continue to die on our streets.

A man in Coronado plowed into four people riding their bicycles in a bike lane after having an undisclosed “medical issue” while driving.

Three of the bike riders were taken to the hospital, with injuries described as ranging from minor to serious.

The other rider declined medical treatment — as did the driver, even though he was unresponsive when police arrived.

So his condition is serious enough that he can pass out behind the wheel, but not so serious he needs medical attention afterwards.

And presumably, he was allowed to leave on his own, without so much as a ticket, despite putting three people in the hospital.

Because, you know, a medical condition.

Hopefully, someone will stop him from driving before it happens again. But don’t count on it.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

………

In yet another sign of the times we’re living in, a San Francisco man faces hate charges after assaulting a preteen boy.

The 12-year old victim was riding his bike to Walgreens with his friends when he stopped to help a woman who was sobbing in the parking lot.

It was then that 29-year-old Brendon Kruse “ran up to him and began screaming epithets,” according to SFist.

Though the victim’s friends ran away, the boy held tight — perhaps because Kruse prevented the victim from taking his bike — while Kruse continued yelling insults at him; Kruse at one point showed his lightning bolt and skull tattoos and explained to the boy they meant he “kills [plural n-word].” Kruse allegedly also threatened to kill the boy.

Kruse faces well-deserved charges for “criminal threats, child endangerment and false imprisonment with hate crime enhancements.”

Seriously, there’s not a pit deep enough for someone who could do that.

And something tells me we know who made the woman cry, too.

Note, I would have linked to the original story in the San Francisco Chronicle, except for their paywall. 

………

While we’re on the subject of race, Velo Club La Grange, LA’s longtime leading cycling club, is taking a big step towards understanding what it means to bike while Black in the City of Angels.

On Tuesday, July 7th at 7 pm PT, La Grange will be hosting a virtual Town Hall where a number of local Black cyclists have agreed to share their perspective and experiences and then engage in an interactive question and answer session. The Town Hall is open to all. We invite you all to attend and hope you will join us for this critically important conversation. Please feel free to share with fellow cyclists and anyone interested!

The Town Hall meeting will take place online on Tuesday, July 7 @ 7pm; click here for access to the Zoom meeting

You can read the club’s Full Anti-Racism Statement here

Thanks to Jaycee Cary for the heads-up.

………

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum takes a look at the problems faced by Black bike riders in the US, and how bicycling could help drive racial equality, saying “It is time to dissociate racialist culture and bicycle culture; cycling in itself is agnostic to any culture.”

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This is who we share the road with.

A Seattle man faces two counts of vehicular assault for driving the wrong way up an offramp, around a road closure barrier installed by the state police, and onto a freeway that had been closed for a protest over police brutality.

He swerved around several cars that had been parked across the roadway to serve as barricades, and slammed into two of the protesters.

Twenty-four-year old Summer Taylor was killed, while another person remains in serious condition at a Seattle hospital.

No word yet on why he did it.

But we can probably all take a guess.

………

A Friday town hall will discuss SB 288, a California state senate bill that would exempt bike and pedestrian projects from CEQA requirements.

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David Drexler forwards this opportunity to put your favorite transportation modality where your mouth is.

No, literally.

………

Forget bike polo.

………

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

Horrible story from the UK, where a woman riding a mountain bike was attacked and severely beaten by a 60-something man wielding a six-foot long stick. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

………

Local

CicLAvia is now part of the Highline Network, which credits the organization with building a “unifying social fabric,” rather than permanent infrastructure.

 

State

She gets it. A Bakersfield columnist says the Slow Street movement slowly making its way through the state could change our cities for the better, permanently.

No surprise here, as the annual Sea Otter Classic has gone virtual for 2020.

A nearly $25 million state grant will build 74 low income apartments in Modesto, as well as rail improvements and a new 1.5 mile, high-quality bike path.

Tragic news from San Raphael, where a 36-year old man was struck and killed by a train after falling on the tracks when he reportedly rode through the crossing gates. Never do that, no matter how big a hurry you’re in or how tempting it is.

 

National

Senate leader Mitch McConnell calls the bike-friendly US House infrastructure bill a “Green New Deal masquerading as a transportation bill.” Works for me.

Streetsblog looks into the bill, and offers four things they think every advocate of sustainable transportation should know. Unfortunately, the bill is likely to be dead on arrival in the Senate as long McConnell is in charge.

Dump the woodie, and strap your board to your “uncool” ebike the next time you head out to surf.

A new clip-on device promises to add turn signals to any bike helmet; you can preorder it on Kickstarter starting at the equivalent of $51 for the next few days.

A Catholic paper briefly explains how the Madonna del Ghisallo became the patron saint of bicyclists, amid a story about the patron saints of various summer activities. Never mind that many of us don’t just ride in the summertime  Still, a little devine intervention couldn’t hurt; I never ride without my helmet, or my Madonna del Ghisallo medal.

Maybe there’s hope after all. Tacoma, Washington has repealed a 26-year old ordinance requiring bike helmets for all bike riders. Which only leaves another 20 or so cities in the state to go.

About damn time. A new Colorado law gives bike riders the right of way in bike lanes, requiring drivers to yield to people on bicycles. Which seems like an obvious thing, but apparently isn’t. At least not as far as California is concerned.

A South Chicago Bike Out rolled to protest a decision to keep cops in schools, as well as another to allow a scrap metal recycler to move to the area.

The New York Times considers whether the city is finally on the road to becoming a bicycling city, while a 102-year old Queens bike shop struggles to keep up with the pandemic bike boom.

The Guardian looks at the Black-led groups that are biking against racism in New York.

The Bike League bizarrely named Florida the nation’s tenth most bike-friendly state — despite consistently being the nation’s most dangerous state for bike riders and pedestrians. Apparently, it’s a great place to ride a bike, if you survive.

 

International

CyclingTips explains why the dreaded speed wobbles happen when you’re descending. And more importantly, what to do about it.

The Business Times says bicycles are edging cars off the streets of Europe as the coronavirus accelerates a shift away from motor vehicles.

The bike boom has hit Mexico City, too, with new riders taking to a network of popup bike lanes on major arteries throughout the city, to minimize one-on-one contact on public transportation. Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles, home to the world Climate Mayor, <crickets>. 

A Winnipeg, Manitoba business is confronting Covid-19 by paying its employees $50 a month to bike to work.

After inexplicably destroying tens of thousands of Jump bikes around the world, new owner Lime is reintroducing the dockless ebike system to London.

Six years after losing her leg — and nearly her life — when she was hit by a distracted truck driver, a 28-year old London woman is riding a bike for the first time by using a three-wheeled adaptive handcycle.

An English man in his 70’s was critically injured in a collision with a bike rider. Pedestrians can be unpredictable, and very fragile. So always ride carefully anytime they’re around.

The auto-centric UK lawyer who calls himself Mr. Loophole accuses government officials of rushing through plans for a one-year e-scooter pilot program. Even though the country is over a year behind the rest of the world.

No bias here. A Scottish columnist tosses told water on Vision Zero, saying the only way to prevent traffic deaths is to ban cars, which he says is no more realistic than banning kitchen knives to prevent stabbings. Yet the example he uses is a 91-year old driver who killed a three-year old boy outside a toy store, as if nothing could have been done to ensure someone that old could safely drive car.

After walking out of the hospital, British BMX champ Jason Bynoe thanked the medical staff who cared for him after he somehow ended up under his car when he swerved to avoid a deer; he suffered multiple fractures, as well as horrific road rash, and feared he would never walk again, let alone compete.

It’s not just an American problem. A popular Spanish bicyclist was run down and killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver who left him to die in the street.

Turkish actor Engin Altan Duzyatan is one of us, and so is his four-year old son.

He gets it, too. The German ambassador to Pakistan urges the country to get on its bicycles.

A joint city and state committee was formed to examine bicycle safety after a Brisbane, Australia woman was killed riding her bike, just feet from the hospital where she worked.

An Aussie mountain biker was lucky to survive falling over 30 feet down an unmarked mine shaft. And needless to say, he’s planning to sue.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Belgium, where 20-year old amateur cyclist Niels De Vriendt died of a heart attack, after crashing in the country’s first bike race following the coronavirus lockdown.

Disappointing news, as SoCal’s Over the Hump mountain bike racing series has been cancelled for this year.

The NTT cycling team holds the lead in the pretend Tour de France currently taking place on Zwift, as France’s Julien Bernard took the pretend second stage.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to rob a man to steal the bike he’s walking, make sure he isn’t walking it because the tire is flat. Going for a bike ride while suffering from Covid-19 may be the best argument yet to require helmets for MMA fighters.

And evidently, cars have been around a lot longer than we thought.

………

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

“Slight recovery” for Ramona’s Michelle Scott in 2019 hit-and-run, NYPD blames victim, and Tamika talks bikes & racism

The news on Ramona bike rider Michelle Scott is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.

According to the Ramona Sentinel, Scott is showing slight progress towards recovery even as she remains confined to a rehab facility, seven months after she was severely injured by a hit-and-run driver while riding to work last October.

The driver who put her there, 35-year old Chase Richard, faces trial on multiple charges next month, including two felony hit-and-run counts, and remains in custody on a $2 million bond.

But even if Richard is found guilty, he likely faces just four years behind bars.

Yet another example of the failure of our society to take traffic violence seriously.

………

Peter Flax examines what he calls the “infuriating” conclusion of the NYPD’s investigation into the death of Robyn Hightman, who was killed by a truck driver who claimed he never saw the victim.

And never stopped, despite witness reports that he had to know he’d hit someone.

Not surprisingly, the decidedly bike-unfriendly NYPD blamed the victim for the crash, even though the 20-year old bike messenger was an experienced bicyclist, and a New York bike lawyer says Hightman was probably doing everything right.

Which sadly doesn’t count for much in the auto-centric city.

Flax had written about Hightman’s life and needless death for Bicycling shortly after the fatal crash.

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Boston public radio station WGBH will host a webinar with former LACBC Executive Director and social justice advocate Tamika Butler, among others, to discuss “how cycling, transit, and other systems and infrastructure in our cities and neighborhoods perpetuate the excessive monitoring and policing of Black and Brown bodies in public spaces.”

But you’ll have to register in advance. And get up early, because it starts at 9:30 am Eastern Time on Friday.

That’s 6:30 am here.

………

For once, the people South LA aren’t being forgotten as the city moves forward with implementing the Slow Streets program.

………

Local

The LA Times says a guided multi-day bike tour could be your safest vacation bet this summer.

Gear Patrol says the new MIPS helmet from LA-based Thousand will actually make you want to wear your helmet.

The South Bay’s Easy Reader asks whether the current bike boom will outlast the pandemic.

 

State

California ski resorts are open for mountain biking, with the usual post-pandemic restrictions.

One-legged bicyclist Leo Rodgers is moving to Costa Mesa to pursue his dream of “influencing and inspiring people,” while a crowdfunding page for his new foundation has raised just over $2,300 of the $10,000 goal; Rodgers was featured on the cover of the latest issue of Bicycling.

The Daily Pilot looks at Newport Beach-based ebike maker Electric Bike Co, whose first brick-and-mortar location is opening in the city on the 4th of July.

Work is continuing on San Diego’s Rose Creek Bikeway, but no estimate was given for completion of the construction project. Thanks to Robert Leone for the heads-up.

Bonita’s new bike park is finally back open, but with a mask requirement to get in, and riders have to stay at least six feet apart.

Supporters of Vision Zero ask if opponents of San Jose’s plan are really that selfish. Yes, they are

 

National

Bicycling says stats on aerodynamics are great, but what really matters is how much they affect how you ride. On the other hand, Road.cc says forget wheel weight and just focus on getting more aero.

Bicycling considers just what it takes to stay safe on your bike in the age of Covid-19.

A hand and wrist physiotherapist explains the causes and treatment of cyclist palsy, the nerve irritation caused by gripping your handlebars for extended periods.

Brit+Co says we’re all riding bikes now, so you need some bike gear that’s actually cute. Assuming you’re a woman, that is; evidently, men don’t need cute bikewear.

Yahoo says this tiny folding e-scooter is the future of bicycling. Hint: It’s not.

A free Colorado e-bikeshare program is helping chronically homeless people get back on their feet.

A St. Louis man and woman were busted for riding bikes that were stolen during the looting that followed the death of George Floyd.

Document Journal examines the New York social justice cycling collective that brought 10,000 bike riders out to the streets of Gotham to support Black Lives Matter. Which is about 9,900 more than have ever turned out in Los Angeles, with the exception of Critical Mass.

A former New York transportation commissioner is proposing a new carfree bridge to connect Manhattan and Queens to accommodate the boom in bike riding; although some advocates aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea.

New York is doubling the amount of temporary protected bike lanes in the city in response to the jump in bike ridership, although that’s still just an increase from nine miles to 18. However, that’s 18 miles more than LA has installed.

Two New Jersey men were busted for mugging a bike rider, just hours following their release after getting busted as porch pirates.

Kindhearted Pennsylvania cops gave a new bike and pump to a man who was saving up to buy a bicycle, while riding multiple buses to two jobs to support his five kids.

A South Florida bike shop teamed with a local foundation to donate a new tandem bike to a blind nine-year old boy so he can ride with his father for the first time.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is teaming with community leaders and police in his Florida hometown for a two-day bike ride to build stronger community bonds. However, the wisdom of doing that in the middle of a pandemic, in a state with surging Covid-19 cases, is highly debatable.

 

International

The Conversation considers how cities can keep the new riders create by the Covid-19 bike boom on their bicycles.

She gets it. A Canadian columnist says if a Toronto woman is convicted of DUI, while already on parole and a ten-year driving ban for the drunken hit-and-run that took the life of a bike-riding man, she should never be allowed to drive again. Then again, she wasn’t supposed to be driving now, so the question is what are they willing to do to stop her.

How to fix a bent derailleur.

The BBC examines whether the coronavirus crisis has brought us any closer to tackling climate change.

A Scottish bike rider is dead because an 84-year old man with failing eyesight ignored his doctor’s instructions not to drive.

A British man convicted of stealing a nurse’s bicycle while she was at work treating Covid-19 patients gets a slap on the wrist with less than four months behind bars.

A Dutch traveler’s association is calling for lower speed limits on bike paths, as more people are taking to bicycles to avoid public transit during the coronavirus pandemic; bicyclists are currently allowed to ride up to 27 mph.

Flanders, Belgium is giving away 10,000 free bikeshare rides in an effort get more people on bicycles during the pandemic.

The bike boom is exploding across Germany, too.

Taiwan’s “Pokémon Go grandpa” now has 64 smartphones spread out like peacock feathers on his handlebars to help him play the game. Although that means he probably can’t see the road right in front of him.

 

Competitive Cycling

Pro cycling will look different this year in the wake of Covid-19, and here won’t be any hugs or kisses on the podium at this year’s Tour de France. Which means this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of podium girls once and for all.

NPR considers the ups and downs of Everesting in the wake of Lachlan Morton’s new record, set just outside my hometown.

 

Finally…

If your life’s dream is to own a Segway, you’d better hurry. Who needs a hotel when you can tow your own RV?

And how not to wash your bike.

………

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

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