Tag Archive for Venice

Man killed struggling with Venice bike thief, Whittier hit-and-run driver jailed, and driver busted for South LA hit-and-run

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover after missing the final two days of last week.

Thanks for your patience while I dealt with a seemingly endless string of medical tests and exams, which is finally drawing to a close today, just in time for tomorrow’s Election Day. 

So let’s get right to it. 

And remember, if it society devolves into complete and utter chaos after the polls close, a bicycle is your best way of bugging hell out of here.

Wherever here happens to be. 

Today’s photo comes courtesy of David Drexler, who spotted this bike wheel table in a high-end WeHo furniture store. 

Just in case anyone has me on their Secret Santa list after this is all over. 

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Just horrible.

A 73-year old man is dead after a struggle with a Venice bike thief.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was standing with his bike on the corner of Victoria Ave and Beethoven Street around 1:45 pm Wednesday, when a man identified as 33-year old Dylan Brumley tried to wrestle the bicycle out of his grasp.

The victim fell to the ground as he clung to his bike, hitting his head on the pavement; he died at a hospital early Saturday morning.

Boyle only held his ill-gotten prize half an hour before he was busted by sheriff’s deputies.

No word on what he’s charged with. But murder sounds good to me.

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We may finally see justice for a Whittier bike rider, nearly three years after he was killed in a hit-and-run.

Andrea Dorothy Chan Reyes was arrested in Australia and extradited to the US for allegedly fleeing the scene after killing Agustin Rodriguez Jr. in January, 2018.

Rodriguez was dragged nearly the length of three football fields under his killer’s car.

Investigators located Reyes’ car in Idaho, with other evidence found in Las Vegas. The FBI tracked her first to Hong Kong, before she moved on to Australia.

She faces felony counts of hit-and-run resulting in death and vehicular manslaughter; charges will likely be added for fleeing the country.

Thanks to John Damman and my friends at Mumford Brewing, as well as an anonymous source, for the heads-up.

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In yet another fatal hit-and-run, Moises Iscaya was busted three months after fleeing the scene when he allegedly killed Jose Guerra, as Guerra rode his bike with his daughters in South LA.

Iscaya reportedly slammed into Guerra’s bike while traveling at a high rate of speed, taking his life in full view of his two young daughters, who may never get over the emotional and psychological trauma.

He’s currently being held on $2 million bail.

Which sounds about right.

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Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a bike rider who was struck by a semi driver in Hacienda Heights Thursday afternoon.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to a hospital in undisclosed condition.

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Remarkably, a bike rider jumped back up after going over the roof of a car whose driver was doing donuts during the impromptu Dodgers World Series celebration in DTLA Tuesday night.

Needless to say, the driver didn’t bother to stick around afterwards.

Here’s another view.

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If you had a bike stolen near Tilt Coffee in DTLA recently, you may be in luck.

Thanks to Jojo for the tip.

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Old Pacific Highway will be closed through Camp Pendleton during daylight hours this week, from 7 am to 6 pm; bicycles are allowed on the shoulder of I-5 during the closure.

Thanks to Robert Leone for forwarding the news.

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Take a moment to voice your support for protected bike lanes on San Vicente Blvd in the Pico neighborhood.

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You can now officially bike from the Baldwin Hills Parklands to the beach at Playa Vista, on LA County’s newly completed 13-mile Park to Playa Trail, connecting to numerous parks and recreation areas along the way.

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Mountain bike legend Gary Fisher says we should all check out his son’s El Prado bar in Echo Park.

And thankfully, it has take out service.

Because after tomorrow, we’re all going to need it.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the forward.

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Speaking of Huntsman, he found a Jack O’Lantern that must be absolutely terrifying to many LA drivers.

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A reminder to Bike the Vote, if you haven’t already.

Although I maintained tradition and Corgied the Vote, as usual.

But cast my vote for the most bike-friendly candidate on this year’s ballot.

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Add a little gravel to one of SoCal’s most iconic climbs.

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The worst ways to end a bike ride.

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

There’s not a pit deep enough for the Seattle man who dragged a cat behind his bike for an unknown distance; police took the cat to a local vet, and threw the schmuck behind bars.

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Local

Good news, as Bike Index is now the official bicycle registration partner of the LAPD.

A Lancaster bike safety program is urging school students to See and Be Seen. Because that’s so much cheaper than actually building safer streets.

Kate Hudson is one of us, as is her dad Kurt Russell, as they go for a ride through LA along with her longtime boyfriend.

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins is one of us, going for a mountain bike ride in Calabasas (scroll down…keep scrolling…no, further…).

 

State

The San Diego Union-Tribune profiles the San Diego Bicycle Coalition’s Oliver Zuniga, saying the San Diego man is using his passion for bikes to make bicycling more inclusive and accessible. Thanks again to Robert Leone.

A Temecula man was booked for DUI after slamming into a 13-year old boy riding a bicycle, leaving him with non-life-threatening injuries.

Sad news from Santa Cruz, where a 48-year old man was killed after apparently losing control of his bike and getting hit by a pair of drivers.

San Francisco bike riders are understandably up in arms over the removal of a raised bike lane from plans for a revised Market Street, due to budget cuts resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

 

National

PeopleforBikes offers tips on how to keep biking throughout the fall.

Bloomberg examines whether bikes can keep booming post-coronavirus.

Short bicyclists can ride big wheels on the trails, too.

Writing for Outside, a bike-riding woman describes what it’s like to hit someone on a bicycle with your car.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske considers when you should ride with daytime lights, concluding it’s better to just use them all the time. And reminds us that a lack of lights at night will be used against you in the event of a collision.

The victim who was killed when she was pushed off her bike in Las Vegas last week was remembered for her kindness; the man who killed her fell to his death, while the driver of the van is being held without bail. Her husband called it “an unnecessary tragedy that was 100% avoidable;” Michelle “Shelli” Weissman had just started riding a bike during the pandemic. Thanks to Steve Hansen and John McBrearty for the links.

After some coldhearted schmuck stole a trailer containing 18 bikes and helmets used by students at a Colorado middle school, the community pitched in to replace them — donating nearly 50 bicycles and helmets to the school.

A Colorado man is facing a pair of vehicular homicide charges for the hit-and-run death of a man riding a bicycle. The 18-year old driver was allegedly drunk and stoned on weed, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and driving on the shoulder when he slammed into the victim.

A Texas man spent nearly two months riding over 3,000 miles around the perimeter of the state.

My new hero. An Ohio fourth grader rode his bike in the rain to pick up a curbside lunch for his brothers and sisters.

He gets it. A Brooklyn prosecutor says it’s time for cops to stop blaming the victims in fatal crashes.

Angry DC residents protested when a mo-ped scooter rider was killed in a collision while he was being chased by police for…wait for it…not wearing a helmet. Seriously.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A hit-and-run driver took the life of a prominent Ohio criminal defense attorney as he was riding his bike.

A South Carolina bikemaker says only automation can bring factories back to the US.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever pulled a gun on a 13-year old Mississippi boy to steal his bike; fortunately, an outpouring of community support ensured he got a new one.

 

International

Bike Radar considers just how green bicycling really is, determining it compares favorably to walking, transit and cars, and ebikes are even better.

A London bike rider lost control while riding with no hands, flipping over a parked motorscooter, then getting up and riding off as an angry delivery chased after him on the damaged scooter.

A London bicyclist was awarded the equivalent of nearly $64,000 after suffering permanent brain damage going over the handlebars when a dog ran in front of his bike.

Carfree neighborhoods are the surprising new frontline in the UK’s culture wars.

That’s more like it. A British appeals court added the equivalent of a $23,000 fine after concluding that a driver got off way too easy for crashing into two bike riders while driving at four times the legal alcohol limit.

A new Dutch study concludes that ebike riders are no more likely to suffer serious injuries than people on regular bicycles.

Wall Street is suddenly in love with bicycling, as Germany’s 30-year old Canyon cashes in.

An eye-raising Indian government report says bicycle riders killed 195 pedestrians last year; traffic safety experts say not so fast.

Seniors in India’s Goa state are pedaling their way to better health.

 

Competitive Cycling

Irish cyclist Sam Bennett had his victory in the Vuelta’s ninth stage stripped after he was relegated when helicopter footage showed him repeatedly body checking another rider; Bennett said anyone who races would understand his actions.

Next year’s Vuelta will be the first bike race to actually start inside a cathedral.

No surprise here, as the first major bike race of the 2021 season has been cancelled; the Tour Down Under hopes to roll again in 2022.

The former Dirty Kanzaa gravel race has rebranded itself as Gravel Unbound, after the belated realization that the name was slur against a Kansas Native American tribe.

 

Finally…

When you specialize in using loopholes to get guilty drivers off the hook, maybe you’re not the best authority on how bicyclists should ride. Your next bike helmet could be one big solar cell to power your electronic devices.

And no. Just…no.

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Thanks once again to Matthew R for his very generous monthly donation, which is very appreciated. 

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

High speed Silver Lake crash kills scooter rider, LAPD seeks sexual assault suspects, and parking in DTLA bike lanes

This is who we share the roads with.

A scooter rider was killed by a speeding driver in Silver Lake yesterday, just before the driver lost control of his SUV and slammed into a restaurant.

Fortunately, it hadn’t opened yet.

The driver was reportedly traveling at least 75 mph — over twice the legal speed limit — while swerving around cars and onto the wrong side of the roadway in the moments leading up to the crash, and just missing a woman riding her bike.

The scooter rider, who has not been publicly identified, wasn’t so lucky; two other people were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Fortunately, the newly reopened restaurant hadn’t begun its lunch service yet, or the situation could have been much worse.

This is exactly the problem many people have been warning against for weeks, myself included, as Los Angeles has failed to take any significant action to slow traffic on streets lightened by the coronavirus pandemic.

While traffic has seen a significant uptick in recent weeks, there still aren’t enough vehicles on the streets to slow people who can’t seem to keep their foot off the gas pedal.

Other cities around the world have taken advantage of the lighter traffic to reduce road capacity, carving out additional space to walk or ride bikes in an effort to slow traffic and provide safe alternatives to driving.

Yet LA has done nothing more significant than change the timing of some traffic lights.

Now an innocent person is dead because of it.

Thanks to John Damman for the heads-up.

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Speaking of who we share the roads with, an Eagle Rock driver can’t seem to grasp the concept of Slow Streets.

Or maybe just that they don’t belong to people in cars.

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The LAPD is on the lookout for a pair of serial gropers who have been sexually assaulting women walking or jogging alone in Venice and Mar Vista, sometimes making their escape by bicycle.

They may be responsible for similar attacks in Culver City and Marina del Rey.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Sexual Assault Section at LAPD’s Operation West Bureau, 213/473-0447.

Because no one should have to put up with this crap.

Period.

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Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Patrick Pascal forwards a series of photos showing that the more things change, the more they stay the same on DTLA’s 7th Street, where the newly protected and buffered bike lanes are still nothing more than parking lanes for Downtown’s entitled drivers.

Photos by Patrick Pascal.

 

He also notes that the cop shown here spends a lot of time on the street. But never seems to ticket anyone on four wheels.

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A new video prepared for the NACTO’s Bike Share and Cities for Cycling Roundtable talks with disabled people to show they ride bikes, too — and need to be taken into account when infrastructure plans are considered.

Frequent BikinginLA contributor Megan Lynch is one of the riders they talk with; you’ll find her around the three-minute mark.

She stresses that, in addition to her comments in the video, bike parking needs to accommodate less traditional bicycle designs used by handicapped riders, including recumbents, ebikes and adaptive bikes.

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Gravel Bike California offers a video guide to one of the best climbs in Los Angeles.

Thanks to CiclaValley’s Zachary Rynew for the link.

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There will be a bike ride celebrating tomorrow’s Juneteenth starting in DLTA Friday evening.

The unofficial holiday marks the date the last remaining slaves in Texas learned about the Emancipation Proclamation and their newfound freedom.

In light of this year’s protests over police killings and the fight for racial justice, the celebration should be bigger than ever.

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

A Florida man faces charges for pulling his truck up next to a bike rider, and shooting him in the head with a crossbow for no apparent reason; fortunately, the victim was not seriously injured.

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Local

The Santa Monica Daily Press talks with a pickup driver who had his wallet stolen and his truck damaged when he came to the aid of a bike-riding woman who was being attacked by looters, armed with just a hockey stick.

A Santa Monica letter writer really doesn’t like plans for expanded outdoor dining on Main Street, concerned that a passing bicyclist could sneeze on his guacamole.

E-cargo bikes could play a significant role, as Santa Monica looks to create the first zero-emission delivery zone in the US.

Santa Monica-based Bird is teaming with an Israeli company to provide turn-by-turn navigation to guide scooter riders through bike lane networks; the app will launch in Paris and Tel Aviv. Which makes sense, since we don’t even have a bike lane network in Los Angeles.

KABC-7 looks at how Long Beach ebike shop Propel Bikes is fairing during the coronavirus bike boom.

Stranger Things actor Joe Keery is one of us, going for a semi-casual ride through LA in a t-shirt and bibs.

 

State

Would someone please tell the Fountain Valley Fire Department that a bike helmet isn’t the best way to prevent head injuries and death? It’s a lot better to ride safely and defensively, and avoid crashes in the first place; helmets should always been seen as the last resort when all else fails. Not the first.

Ventura is closing down a five block stretch of Main Street in the downtown area for the next month to encourage people to get out to shop or dine while maintaining social distancing; meanwhile, the LA Times describes a similar street closure in Santa Barbara as “so popular it’s scary.”

Seriously, it takes a major schmuck to steal $20,000 worth of bikes from a San Jose bike co-op. Again.

 

National

Bicycling looks at the role of bicycles in the fight against racism.

Newsy examines the risk of catching Covid-19 while on a bike ride with friends, and concludes you don’t have much to worry about. Although it’s still best to limit it to a small group.

This is who we share the roads with, part two. A Portland man faces charges after driving into a group of protesters early Wednesday morning, injuring three people, then attempting to flee while driving recklessly at a high rate of speed.

A disabled Las Vegas vet turns to a ‘bent to help get his life back on track.

A coalition of Connecticut organizations, businesses and individuals have called the state’s electric car rebate program inequitable because it only applies to electric cars, arguing it should offer rebates on more affordable ebikes, as well.

A regional planning group is calling for a 425-mile bicycle network connecting all of New York’s five boroughs. Which might be the only thing that could prevent crippling gridlock due to a surge in post-coronavirus driving.

Police in New Jersey’s Long Beach remind residents and visitors that traffic safety is a shared responsibility. Which is true, unfortunately, since no one can seem to get the people in the big, deadly machines to behave.

A Florida woman got her stolen $8,000 racing bike back after a sheriff’s deputy spotted a homeless man with it. But then somehow had to search for the owner, even though she’d filed a police report.

 

International

Good advice from Road.cc on eight things on your bike you should check before every ride.

Bike Radar suggests Father’s Day gifts for your bike riding dad. Or just buy them for yourself, and pretend they’re from your kids.

The CBC looks at Calgary through the eyes of bicycle riders newly minted by the coronavirus bike boom.

A London TV presenter is encouraged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proclamation of a golden age of cycling and decides to give it a try, but finds the experience terrifying.

London’s Independent says the pandemic has shown that a green urban utopia is within our grasp.

The Guardian examines one of the UK’s toughest bike rides, the 79-year old Cape Wrath Challenge, on eleven miles of single track through Scotland’s windswept moors to a craggy Victorian lighthouse.

 

Competitive Cycling

You can get Major Taylor’s autobiography The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World for less than twenty bucks on Amazon. The legendary cyclist had to fight racism and prejudice throughout his short life and career, making it surprisingly appropriate for our time, too.

The Ventura County Star profiles 27-year old Kendal Ryan, who recently made the long list for the US women’s track cycling team for the 2020 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

A German website looks back at the Cannibal, as the legendary Eddy Merckx turns 75.

Peter Sagan announces he’ll skip the rescheduled classics to race back-to-back in the Tour de France and the Giro this summer on just two weeks rest.

 

Finally…

If you’re already on parole for theft, it’s probably not the best idea to make off with a kid’s bike because you’re tired of walking. How to ride across the US without leaving your car dealership.

And it turns out riding topless is perfectly legal in Minnesota.

Even for women.

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

Morning Links: Bike rider flees after injuring Glendale woman, and person of interest found in OC hit-and-run

Appalling news from Glendale, as police are looking for a hit-and-run cyclist who allegedly blew through a red light and crashed into a 64-year old woman as she was walking in the crosswalk.

The victim hit her head on the pavement, suffering “significant” but not life-threatening injuries. The man on the bike fled the scene, despite reportedly being fully aware of what happened.

He’s described only as a male wearing a dark jacket. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Glendale Police Department at 818/548-4911.

For anyone unclear on the concept, bike riders have exactly the same obligation to stop, render aid and exchange information that drivers do after a crash.

And are the same heartless cowards if they don’t.

To put it mildly.

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Orange County sheriff’s deputies have identified a person of interest in the Sunday night hit-and-run that left a San Juan Capistrano father of five in a coma, and are no longer looking for suspects.

Which means they’re confident they’ve got the right person.

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

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John Montgomery shares a stomach-churning close shave on 4th Street in Venice, first getting cut off in a pass that feels way too close, then forced to make a heart-stopping panic stop when he gets brake-checked seconds later by the same driver.

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The rescheduled Resolution Ride will take place tomorrow in Griffith Park.

Active Streets LA is hosting a community festival and mapping walk and ride on Saturday at MLK Jr. Park.

And don’t forget the 8th annual Ride for Love at Ted Watkins Memorial Park on Sunday, sponsored by the Eastside Riders.

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Bicycling Magazine wants to know just how common abuse of power is in competitive cycling, regardless of gender.

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Local

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has come out strongly against Measure S, which would impose a minimum two-year moratorium on most major building projects in the City of Los Angeles.

Speaking of the LACBC, time is running out to get your 2017 LACBC kit; just click on the ad on the right to place your order.

Strong Towns profiles Josef Bray-Ali in his campaign to unseat anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo in LA’s CD1; Bike the Vote LA is looking for volunteers to phone bank for him tomorrow.

KNBC-4 provides renderings of the new $482 million Sixth Street Viaduct project. Just riding down those big swirling bike ramps will make it worth the price.

Manhattan Beach rejects a proposal to put a bike path through the city’s Polliwog Park to improve safety for middle school kids headed to and from school.

 

State

A coalition of 82 organizations join with Calbike to call for reforms in a state transportation funding package to invest more on active transportation.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from the OC Register’s David Whiting, who talks with the Long Beach-based founder of Velomax bicycle wheels, now making and marketing the iWalk alternative to using crutches.

A Lakeside driver was shot at by someone riding a bicycle when he tried to chase “suspicious suspects” out of a mobile home park at 4:45 am.

BikeSD calls on the executive director of SANDAG to step down after inflating projections for last year’s failed, overly auto-centric transportation tax.

A killer Fresno drunk driver is asking a judge to allow him to rescind his no-contest plea that resulted in a 12-year prison sentence in the death of a seven-year old boy who was riding in a crosswalk with his family, blaming bad road design instead of his own high speed and drunken state. Sure, let’s go with that.

Modesto police bust a bike-riding groper accused of assaulting at least seven high school girls.

That was fast. A suspected Menlo Park bike thief gets one year in county jail, just eight days after he was arrested after fleeing from police.

Now that’s more like it. Rather than minimum parking requirements, San Francisco will now require developers to provide alternative transportation options in exchange for the permission to provide free parking spaces.

 

National

A new study from the University of Duh says less driving results in fewer traffic fatalities. However, the decade-long decline in vehicle miles traveled did not result in an increase in physical activity.

A habitually anti-bike Seattle radio host is convinced the city is throwing away millions spent on bikeways, as the bicycling commuter rate continues to drop. And yet it’s still at a level most cities would envy, including sunny Los Angeles.

The Radavist says Utah needs our help to stop a lease of BLM land and defend the Bear’s Ears National Monument. Thanks to CiclaValley for the link.

Unlike Los Angeles, DC appears to be serious about reducing speeds to save lives as part of the city’s Vision Zero; a proposal from the DCDOT would lower the default speed limit to 20 mph, with a 15 mph limit around schools, parks, senior and youth centers from 7 am to 11 pm.

 

International

A columnist for London’s Evening Standard says the city’s new cycling and walking commissioner has to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of getting drivers to behave.

Caught on video: A London bike rider falls after jamming on the brakes when a mother with two young kids steps out unexpectedly from between stalled traffic.

Caught on video too: A British cyclist is caught on security camera carving deep scratches into a couple’s minivan, causing the equivalent of $1,250 in damage; the victims had no idea why he chose their car, and questioned whether he targeted them by mistake. Let’s make this as clear as possible: No matter what they might have done, or how justified you might feel, vandalism is always wrong. Period.

A French website offers 10 reasons to visit the county for your next cycling vacation. But really, you only need one — it’s France.

Evidently, it’s not just hoverboards. An ebike battery started a fire that sent a German carport up in flames, causing over a half million dollars in damage. The story’s in German, but you can read a translation here. Thanks to Vesley Reutimann for the heads-up.

Iraqi women are riding for their freedom, in what began as one woman’s art project.

Women make up only 18% of bicycle traffic in Melbourne, Australia, where a lack of safe bikeways forces riders to mix with traffic.

 

Finally…

Yes, you can find lasting love on a bicycle. Okay, so maybe he can downhill slightly faster than the rest of us.

And she wasn’t driving dangerously when she ran over a bicyclist’s hand, just carelessly.

So it’s okay, then. Right?

 

Weekend Links: Venice bike rider accidently shot by LAPD officer, and Westwood Greenway in the works

You’ve got to be kidding.

A woman was shot while riding her bicycle on the bike path in Venice beach because a cop forgot one of the most basic guidelines for use of force.

Make sure there are no innocent people in the line of fire.

According to multiple sources, LAPD mounted officers had approached a group of transients when one woman became angry, causing her pit bull to become agitated and bite one of the officers on the hand. He responded by shooting the dog, killing it.

Unfortunately, he failed to make sure there was no one else in the way. The bullet passed through the dog and struck a tourist in the calf as she passed by on her bike.

The good news is, she remained conscious and appeared to be okay as she was wheeled into an ambulance.

And she can expect a pretty big check from the city in the not too distant future.

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A sign went up Friday announcing the coming of the Westwood Neighborhood Greenway, which will follow long-wasted space along the Expo Line between Westwood Blvd and Overland. When finished, it will include a bikeway and pedestrian walkway on the south side, with another walkway on the north side.

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Local

LADOT unveiled their latest Venice bike corral on West Washington Blvd.

The first segment of the Rail to Rail/River trail connecting Inglewood with the LA River is scheduled to open in 2019.

The second location of Pittsburgh’s Banker Supply bike shop opens in Echo Park, designed to cater to people who ask “why am I driving?”

Pasadena will get bikeshare next summer; the question is whether the city will be ready for it.

Lucas Guidroz is expected to be sentenced to 10 year behind bars next week for the drunken hit-and-run death of cyclist, musician and math teacher Rod Bennett on Placerita Canyon in Santa Clarita.

The LACBC hosts their monthly Sunday Funday ride this Sunday, with an easy to moderate 16-mile loop from Highland Park to The Wheelhouse in DTLA. Thanks to Pedro Avalos for the heads-up.

 

State

Caltrans is asking for local bike and pedestrian count data to determine where improvements are needed.

Orange County’s Revolution Bike Fest kicked off yesterday, offering three days of bikes, music, beer, food and other spectator-friendly activities.

The nine-year old Murietta boy injured in yesterday’s hit-and-run is recovering after being knocked unconscious on the collision; he reportedly was released from the hospital with bumps and bruises.

The Camarillo Acorn talks with pro triathlete Jordan Rapp about his 51st place finish in Ironman World Championship, six years after he nearly died in a hit-and-run.

Bicycling collisions dropped by more than half in Hanford after police cracked down on bicyclists and visited schools to discuss bike safety; police in the wider Kings County area blame riders for eight of the nine collisions involving cyclists this year. Evidently, drivers there are nearly perfect, at least in the eyes of the local police.

Who was that flannelled man? A man in red flannel is credited with stopping someone from stealing a bike off a San Francisco bus.

A young man’s body was found buried on the campus of Sonoma State University recently, after he disappeared upon leaving his home for a bike ride last month.

Secure bike lockers will be available when the new Sonoma-Marin rail system begins operations next year, though bike advocates say it won’t be enough to meet demand.

Trial began on Friday for a Sacramento man facing 19 charges, including three counts of attempted murder, for running down three bike riders during an alleged meth-fueled rampage.

 

National

Protect your eyes. A new Johns Hopkins study shows female bike riders are more likely to suffer eye injuries than women participating in other sports.

Evidently accepting his inevitable defeat in Tuesday’s election, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson makes plans to ride in next year’s 2,745 mile Tour Divide.

Colorado puts its money where its mouth is, offering a total of $500,000 for ideas to stop the rise in bicycling and pedestrian deaths.

A Northwestern University professor is working on five bicycle dynamics projects, including eliminating the dreaded death wobble, and building a bike with rear wheel steering.

New York’s Mayor De Blasio says the city is fully funding Vision Zero efforts, but the numbers tell a different story.

Evidently, drivers in the Bronx are being terrorized by preteen bike riders.

 

International

CyclingTips looks at the rise of crowdfunding for bicycle projects, despite the cautionary tale of an Irish company that won’t ship its promised products or provide refunds.

A Toronto writer says drivers are horrible, but cyclists are the ones who scare her, and would it hurt you to wear orange and obey red lights?

The UK’s Trump-less version of The Apprentice tackles the crowdfunded bicycling industry.

Caught on video: A headphone-wearing British cyclist gets on the wrong busy expressway headed the wrong way, where bikes aren’t allowed anyway. So of course the kindhearted driver who says he was so worried about his safety tells him to just keep going.

A new British study finds that the handful of people willing to help a stranger after a fake bike accident are also more likely to help a stranger taking a survey. Apparently, though, the overwhelming majority of people just don’t give a damn.

Sorry Amsterdam scooter riders, your snorfietsen have been banned from the bike paths.

 

Finally…

All it takes is a little toilet paper to keep fresh tar off your tires. Your next track bike could be a steal at just $26,000.

And if you’re going to steal a bike, try not to take it from a champion cross country runner.

 

Describe Your Ride: Commuting to work on the beach path and tourist-lined streets of Santa Monica

Adra and Ellie at the beginning of their commute

Adra and Ellie at the beginning of their commute

Today we’re starting a new feature in which bike riders tell us about their ride — the good, the bad, the ugly, the everyday experience of riding a bike, wherever and however they ride.

First up, bike commuter Adra Graves describes her daily bike commute through Venice and Santa Monica, partly on the bike path, partly in bike lanes and partly on city streets.

If you’d like to share your ride with us, just send it to the email address on the About BikinginLA page. It can be anything you want, from a few sentences to a detailed description, a rant, rave or anything in between. Or maybe you tell the story best visually, verbally or musically.

And no restrictions on location, where you ride here in LA, SoCal, or anywhere in the world.

Let’s get a conversation started.

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Bike path at Ocean Park

Bike path at Ocean Park

I may have one of the best commutes in LA county. At the very least, I have 75% of one.

Every morning around 9:30, I load my purse and laptop into my pannier, my dog into my front basket, and ride the half block to the Venice boardwalk, where I turn north and take the beach bike path a mile and a half up to Santa Monica. There are no stop lights, no cars, few pedestrians, and even the sun is at my back. I have to look out for the occasional sand puddle, which can make me skid out of control (it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way), but for the most part, I can ride along and try to glimpse the waves across the sand to my left, with few distractions.

Company on the bike path, and Santa Monica Pier in the distance

Company on the bike path, and Santa Monica Pier in the distance

Just before the Santa Monica pier, I leave the bike path and make my way up to a small street called Appian Way. At this point, the nice part is over.

I ride towards the pier on Appian and make a right up a steep hill that will bring me up to Ocean Avenue. (If I’m feeling super energetic, I’ll take advantage of my bike’s gears and ride up in first gear, but more often than not I walk.) At the top, there’s no good way to immediately get to the northbound side of Ocean, so I ride along the sidewalk for a block (less than ideal: I would normally never advocate for a cyclist to do that, but this stretch doesn’t have any other palatable options) to the pier and cross Ocean at Colorado Avenue.

Up the hill at Appian Way, looking up at Tongva Park

Up the hill at Appian Way, looking up at Tongva Park

From here, I do my best to stay in the bike lane, but there are cars pulling in and out of the hotel, buses (sightseeing + regular) taking up the entirety of the lane at Broadway, and a nasty angled section (pictured) where I’m forced to dodge into traffic if there’s a car parked (entirely legally) there. This is part of why I cross where I do: a red light stops other northbound traffic and so I have a little more protection for if and when I need to ride outside the bike lane.

Worst case scenario (biking north on Ocean Avenue at Colorado)

Worst case scenario (biking north on Ocean Avenue at Colorado)

At Broadway, I make a right, and head inland for a mile or so. There’s a green bike path from 5th Street on, but west of there, we only have sharrows. If you’re on the westbound side of the road, as I am when heading home, there’s a bus lane that I usually ride in so as not to draw the ire of the cars making their way through the area. (This works great when there are no buses.)  Once across Lincoln, I’m at my destination.

My ride home is all downhill along Ocean Avenue (after it diverges from Neilson) if I so choose. During the summer, I don’t—there are too many cars searching for parking on that stretch—but in the winter, I’m often the only person there.

Sharrows are great and all but...

Sharrows are great and all but…

My fiancé is the one who pushed me to start riding to work five years ago, when I lived and worked in Santa Monica and had a mere mile and a half to go to work, almost entirely along streets with bike lanes. Aside from a short stint last summer when I was working in Culver City, I’ve biked to work almost every day since then. We chose our apartment in Venice partly because we love the area, and partly because it allows both of us to walk or bike to work. (He walks to work along Abbot Kinney, also an enviable commute.) While I consider myself lucky to have this setup, it wasn’t an accident, either. Our apartment search was a bit more difficult because of location constraints, but being able to bike to work is important to both of us.

From sharrows to bike lanes (yessssss)

From sharrows to bike lanes (yessssss)

Being able to bring my dog with me is the cherry on top. She’s small enough to fit in the bike basket, and well-behaved enough to stay there. Yes, it took some time to get her used to it—she immediately leapt out the first time I tried to put her in!—but she’s a pro now and knows what to expect. In cold weather, she wears a red hoodie to stay warm, and it is the cutest damn thing you’ve ever seen.

I have no idea what we’ll do when El Nino rears its head—with a dog, I don’t think the bus is an option—but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. (Probably in a raincoat.)

AG Bike Map

Morning Links: Serial hit-and-run driver allegedly attacks three in Venice, including two people on bikes

Sometimes, the news barely makes the news.

Especially if there are bikes involved.

Yo! Venice reports that three people — two of them riding bikes — may have been intentionally targeted by a hit-and-run driver Saturday morning.

According to the website, a cyclist was riding with friends across the intersection of Speedway and Venice around 10:30 am when a red Honda CRV clipped the back tire of his bike; witnesses at a nearby restaurant reported the driver didn’t even hit his brakes before speeding off.

As the victim and his friends gave chase down Speedway, they called out a warning as they saw him approach another rider. After the second cyclist pulled to the side of the road, the driver appeared to intentionally veer towards him, knocking him to the ground and leaving him with a cut on his left side, his mangled bike lying in the roadway.

The site reports the driver then ran over a third victim around 25th and Speedway; no word on whether that person was riding or on foot. Both of the last two victims were transported to a local hospital.

The driver was taken into custody later that day.

Yet somehow, despite the serial hit-and-run and the apparent vicious nature of the alleged attack, the story failed to make a much of a dent in the local media.

Even though it’s reminiscent of another allegedly intentional attack in which a driver plowed through tourists on the crowded Venice boardwalk just feet from Saturday’s incident.

KCBS-2 was the only major media outlet to pick up the story, confirming that two victims, possibly cyclists, suffered substantial, but non-life threatening injuries.

The TV station also reports that the suspect was arrested when witnesses were able to provide police with the Honda’s license number.

Frighteningly, police say he knew he’d struck people when they contacted him, and that he did not appear to be intoxicated.

Thanks to Joe Ryan for the heads-up.

………

Urbanful lists five fun social bike rides around the US, including our own CicLAvia; the next one walks and rolls through Pasadena’s Old Town on May 31st.

………

Local

CiclaValley offers a recap of Thursday’s Griffith Park Advisory Meeting, where the recent opening to cars of popular biking, hiking and horse riding route Mt. Hollywood Dr. was discussed; Streetsblog’s Joe Linton provides a detailed report on the meeting.

Work begins on the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program on Reseda Blvd.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg says more and better road diets are the solution to trash bins blocking the bike lane. That’s been a long and recurring problem in the City of Angels, even though it’s illegal to block a bike lane, period.

A San Dimas stage race brought road racers from around the world, while mountain bikers race around Castaic Lake.

 

State

No bias here, as a San Diego TV station says plans for a bike lane through the Hillcrest neighborhood would destroy “prime” parking spaces.

Sad news from San Diego, as a 47-year old bike rider isn’t expected to survive after being shot in the city’s East Village neighborhood.

Mountain bikers are overwhelming the 20,000-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, described as the Louvre for off-roaders.

No bias here either, as a San Francisco website accuses a seriously injured cyclist of smashing into a car on a Highway 101 onramp.

A 27-year old woman is honored as one of the Outstanding Women of Monterey County for her role in Ciclovia Salinas.

A Bay Area woman has taken over 25,000 kids back to nature on mountain bikes, often for the first time; her Trips for Kids non-profit now has 90 chapters around the world.

Seriously? A Petaluma website seems shocked that anyone would ride a century, while calling a bicycle seat the world’s most excruciating sitting device.

 

National

Bicycling lists 10 famous people who worked as bike messengers, nine of whom took me by surprise.

Two Yuma AZ cyclists were hit by a car, one injured critically, by a driver with a suspended license who admitted he just wasn’t paying attention.

A Utah cyclist on a training ride with a group of 100 other riders was somehow hit and killed by a semi-truck traveling in the same direction even though neither appeared to be distracted; a GoFundMe account has been set up to pay her funeral expenses.

Rocky Mountain National Park will open to mountain bikes for the first time.

Some people just don’t get the benefits of bike tourism; Kansas commissioners question why they would want a US Bike Route besmirching their county, especially if they have to pay for the signs.

A Chicago rider is suing after she was doored by a police officer while riding in a marked bike lane; naturally, the cop blames the victim.

The field is set for the Little 500 made famous by Breaking Away after qualifying for the men’s and women’s races.

 

International

A cyclist in his 80s rides over 6,200 miles across Canada, despite Parkinson’s and macular degeneration.

A new British study says bike riders are healthier and less stressed than non-riders. But while biking may be the new golf, London professionals are still afraid of the city’s streets.

Good read from the Guardian, saying what’s lacking from Lance’s attempt at rehabilitation is humility. If Armstrong really wanted to rebuild his reputation, he could start be becoming an advocate for bike safety.

We only seem to hear about pedestrians injured in collisions with cyclists, but the bike riders often get the worst of it. That was the case with woman in a London park, who was seriously injured when she collided with a runner.

That Brit bike rider attempting to ride over 75,000 miles this year was on target, riding a minimum of 205 mile a day; however, his attempt may be in jeopardy after his ankle was broken in a collision with a moped.

Danish bike riders get their own bike-through McDonalds, but only for a limited time. Sort of like McRibs.

 

Finally…

If you’re using a bike as a getaway vehicle following a burglary, it’s probably not a good idea to have a stolen weed-eater sticking out of your backpack. Put Carlos Santana in the Interested but Concerned category, as the guitar great is afraid to ride his new bike because of what happened to Bono, who fears he may never play guitar again after his solo bicycling crash in Central Park.

And a French mountain biker has set a new world record of over 138 mph.

Downhill, of course.

 

Update: 39-year old salmon cyclist killed in Venice Thanksgiving night

It wasn’t a good Thanksgiving in Venice Thursday evening.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a 39-year old Venice resident was riding the wrong way on South Venice Blvd just east of Speedway when she was struck by a car turning left onto the one-way street from southbound Speedway.

According to the paper, the collision occurred around 5 pm.

Venice 311 reports the victim, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was riding without a headlight shortly after sunset, which occurred at 4:44 pm. The website says she lost balance before being struck, and fell under the car before being dragged roughly 10 feet until the driver was able to stop.

The driver reportedly did not see her riding the wrong direction in the gathering dusk. The visitors from Spain remained at the scene, and immediately called for help.

She was not breathing when firefighters dislodged her from the car, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The Venice 311 story includes a number of photos from the scene, including shots of the bike with the rear racks full and the contents of the handlebar basket spilling onto the street.

This collision serves as a tragic reminder to always ride with traffic, even on quiet streets; drivers won’t be looking for you coming from the wrong direction.

This is the 79th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 30th in LA County. It’s also the 11th in the City of Los Angeles.

Sadly, those numbers will grow, as I’m aware of one more recent fatality in the County of Los Angeles; more on that Friday.

Update: John Montgomery visited the site and offers his insights in the comments below, questioning why the driver took so long to stop, and observes that, as always, the victim is unable to give her side of the story. And notes that the LAPD has conducted a thorough investigation at the scene. 

Meanwhile, I’ve received some criticism for using the term salmon; Patrick Miller calls it a “condescending slur” to describe a cyclist riding against traffic — and New York’s famed Bike Snob, who some credit with originating the term, agrees.

While he undoubtedly popularized the term, it has been in use by cyclists for some time; I first heard it decades ago, and have been using it in conversation with other riders ever since. That is not to say Bike Snob did not come up with the term on his own; his original use of the term could easily have been the first time he and many others had heard it.

I have never considered it to be condescending or a slur in any way. It is simply an apt description of an act that is both dangerous and illegal, and one of the leading causes of bicycling collisions. 

No offense was intended. If any was taken, I apologize.

Update 2: The Free Venice Beachhead has identified the victim as 39-year old Summer Baker.

My deepest sympathy and prayers Summer Baker and her loved ones. 

Thanks to Joe Ryan and Venice 311 for the heads-up. 

Near head-on collision with scofflaw tricyclist, OC hit-and-run, good news in San Pedro and NELA

Talk about close.

A late start meant I didn’t have a lot of time to ride yesterday, so I took a quick spin along the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice — despite my long-held preference to avoid it as much as possible this time of year.

And I nearly paid for it with a head-on collision with a scofflaw salmon cyclist.

Make that a four-year old scofflaw.

On a tricycle.

She didn’t seem too pleased when I suggested she should ride on the other side, either.

……..

Yet another coward has fled the scene following a serious collision, leaving a bike rider to bleed in the street. This time in Orange County.

According to KABC-7, a teenage cyclist suffered critical head injuries when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle around midnight Wednesday on North Harbor Boulevard near La Palma Avenue in Orange.

A passing motorist saw the victim lying in the street and called for help.

Anyone with information is urged to call Anaheim police at (714) 765-1900.

……..

Tuesday’s twin meetings called to oppose bike lanes in NELA and San Pedro may not have turned out the way opponents might have planned.

The special meeting of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee — maybe they could work on shortening that just a tad — gave every indication of being a set-up for opponents of bike lanes on Figueroa Street in Northeast L.A. Even going so far as to allow a bike lane hater to present an uncontested 15 minute video in opposition to the lanes.

A presentation he reportedly botched — eventually leading to his ejection from the room for disrupting a public meeting.

The Fig4All website calls the meeting a farce in every sense. Yet one that resulted in an overwhelming 41 to 16 in favor of the bike lanes.

Meanwhile, the highly contested road diets and bike lanes recently installed in San Pedro received unexpectedly strong support from city officials, in a special meeting with area Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

The lanes were installed as part of the 2010 L.A. bike plan, as well as in an attempted to calm traffic on streets with excess capacity — including in front of a school, where parents inexplicably complained about the difficulty of dropping their children off, rather than praising the attempt to increase safety for their own kids.

Fortunately, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed, as Buscaino suggested drivers get used to the changes and find ways to avoid the brief periods of congestion.

I’m starting to like this guy.

Now let’s see if he, and the other members of the council, show as much backbone dealing with Hollywood’s irrational demands to remove the Spring Street green bike lanes at Friday’s council meeting.

………

A couple bike-related items from Metro made it into my inbox yesterday.

First up is how to cope with the new locking turnstiles being activated in Metro train stations this summer.

Metro Rail turnstiles will be activated this summer and open only with a valid TAP card. If you bring your bike on board, please plan ahead for how this change can affect your station access.

Some important tips to remember for bringing your bike through turnstiles:

  • Follow ADA-accessible routes to find elevators and wider turnstile gates to safely walk your bike in and out of stations.
  • If lifting your bike over turnstiles, please be careful. Avoid lifting your bike over turnstiles in a crowded station.
  • Using the emergency exit gate for non-emergency purposes is not allowed and punishable by fine.

Whatever type of fare you’re using – single ride, pass or transfer from another system – it must be loaded on a reusable TAP card to ride any Metro Rail line. Please be sure your TAP is loaded with cash or valid fare before approaching turnstiles at Metro Rail stations. If you don’t already have a TAP card, you canpurchase one along with your fare from the TAP vending machine for a $1.

I can’t say I’m fond of the idea that one-time train users will be forced to buy a tap card, increasing the cost of a single ride to $2.50.

And Metro will be working with bike advocacy organizations to co-sponsor a series of bike education and safety classes throughout the county.

All cyclists can benefit from a working knowledge of the rules of the road.

Continuing efforts to educate all road users, Metro presents a new series of free bicycle traffic safety workshops, rolling out across the county over the next few months.

With funding from the Office of Traffic Safety, Metro is working with the LA County Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Gabriel Valley and Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility to lead the workshops. A 3-hour beginner’s road rules class will be offered in English and Spanish, and an 8-hour workshop for intermediate cyclists will focus on building traffic skills.

The series kicks off with the following classes. As more classes are scheduled, information will be available able at metro.net/bikes andfacebook.com/bikemetro.

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, June 22 

8am-5pm
Alexander Hughes Community Center
1700 Danbury Rd
Claremont, CA 91711
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, July 6 

9am-6pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class
Friday, July 12, 6pm-9 pm 
AND Saturday, July 13, 8am-2 pm

Azusa Memorial Park Recreation Center
320 N Orange Pl
Azusa, CA 91702
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Sunday, July 14 

10am-1pm
South El Monte Community Center
1556 Central Av
South El Monte, CA 91733
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Wednesday, July 17, 5:30pm-8:30pm 
AND Saturday, July 20, 9am-1pm

California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Bl
Long Beach, CA 90815
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Saturday, July 20

10am-1pm
El Monte Senior Center
3120 Tyler Av
El Monte, CA 91731
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, July 27 

10am-1pm
Palm Park Rec Center
5730 Palm Av
Whittier, CA 90601
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Thursday, August 4 

1-4pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Sunday, August 18 

10am-1pm
La Verne Community Center, Classroom 1
3680 “D” St
La Verne, CA 91750
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, August 24 

10am-1pm
Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center
7810 Quill Dr
Downey, CA 90242
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

………

Finally, you could soon fly over potholes; no, literally. And if you’re going to steal precious artwork by a revered artist, bring a bag big enough that it doesn’t stick out of your backpack as you make your getaway by bike at 4:30 am. Let alone big enough to carry everything you meant to steal.

Important meetings on Main St road diet and Verdugo Ave bike lanes tonight, and bike safety in Signal Hill

Just a few quick notes before I get back to work.

First up, the Venice Neighborhood Council meets tonight to discuss the planned Main Street Road diet, among other issues.

While I strongly support the plans to make the street safer and more inviting for everyone, a work deadline is going to keep me home slaving over a hot laptop long into the night.

But if you’re free this evening, I strongly urge you to attend the meeting to show your support.

Here’s what long-time bike advocate and former fellow LACBC board member Kent Strumpell has to say on the subject:

SUPPORT MAIN ST. BIKE LANE PROPOSAL AT SEPT. 20TH VENICE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL MEETING

The City of Los Angeles proposes to extend the bicycle lanes on Main Street in Santa Monica to the Windward Circle in Venice.  This project will be on the agenda for the VNC Board of Directors to consider supporting at their Sept. 20th meeting.  Please come show your support for this important bikeway improvement.  You can also email the Board (see below).

LADOT counted 730 cyclists on Main St. in Venice in a 6 hour period earlier this year, making it one of the most important bicycle routes in Venice.  Providing bike lanes on Main Street from Navy to Windward Circle will create a “Complete Main Street”. The proposed bike lanes will rebalance the street and provide more safety for all road users whether they be on bicycle, foot, or in a car.  Creating a complete Main Street will require removing a travel lane in each direction in order to accommodate the bike lanes and a two-way left turn lane in the center of the road. All on-street parking will remain.

This reconfiguration of Main Street will provide better bicycle connectivity to nearby areas, help achieve more sustainable transportation in our beach community and encourage a more bike-able, and walkable Venice!

Proposed changes for Main Street in Venice

PROJECT BENEFITS

1. Encourages more bicycling and walking in Venice and fewer car trips

2. More trips by bicycle means less demand for parking

3. Businesses can benefit: increased customer access by bike and foot traffic, reduced demand for parking, calmer traffic allows more people to notice businesses

4. Deters speeding, increasing safety for all road users

5. Provides a dedicated center lane for left turns, decreasing rear-end and side-swipe collisions

6. Improves visibility for motorists exiting driveways or turning onto Main Street

7. Provides dedicated space and enhanced safety for bicycles on Main Street

8. Provides better visibility of and for pedestrians crossing Main Street

ACTION

Attend the Venice Neighborhood Council meeting and speak in support.  Fill out a speaker card for the Main St. agenda item when you arrive.
When:  Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, 7PM
Where: Westminster Elementary, 1010 Abbot Kinney (just south of Main).

Email the Venice Neighborhood Council board to express your support and why you think it is needed.  Please send a email even if you plan to attend, to: board@venicenc.org

More info at:  LADOT’s blog post – https://ladotbikeblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/main-street-bike-lanes-need-your-support/#more-4279

Damien offers more on the story on Streetsblog, and Gary Kavanagh offers his support after initially opposing the plan.

And on a somewhat related note, Joe Linton looks at LADOT’s approach to the proposed 4th Street Bike Boulevard, and foresees a forthcoming failure snatched from the jaws of apparent victory.

……..

In another important bike-related meeting on a busy Tuesday, the Burbank City Council will consider making the bike lanes on Verdugo Avenue permanent.

As you may recall, a road diet was installed on Verdugo over a year ago; after complaints from some motorists, the city council voted to keep the lanes in place on a trial basis.

Today, that trial comes to an end.

If you ride in the area, you’re urged to attend the council meeting tonight starting at 6 pm at 275 E. Olive Ave in Burbank. Or if you can’t attend in person, the LACBC offers a sample email you can send to express your support.

……..

The Signal Hill Police Department has kicked off a campaign to increase bike and pedestrian safety — which usually translates into a crackdown on bad bike behavior, rather than dangerous practices by drivers that have the potential to kill or injure cyclists, law abiding or otherwise.

However, they say the right things, for the most part, offering valid advice to cyclists and pedestrians on how to remain safe, and advising motorists on how not to kill someone.

Although nothing in state law requires cyclists to ride single file, particularly in substandard lanes where it can actually be safer to ride two or more abreast in order to hold the lane and prevent unsafe passing. And the law is quite specific that slow moving vehicles — which includes bikes — aren’t illegally blocking traffic unless there are five or more vehicles following behind and unable to go around.

But good luck arguing that point with a traffic cop who may not be as well verses in bike law as well as you are.

And I wouldn’t exactly take comfort in this comment from Signal Hill PD Traffic Department Supervisor Sgt. Chris Nunley:

“Unfortunately some people forget that the roadways are primarily for vehicle traffic and walk or run four deep across lanes of traffic.”

Actually, roadways are intended for all legal road users, which includes cyclists and pedestrians. And everyone is entitled to use the roads in a safe and legal manner, with no preference given to mode of travel.

In other words, bikes have as much right to the road as motor vehicles, though no one has the right to needlessly block the roadway.

The program is intended to start with an educational campaign before moving to an enforcement phase.

It remains to be seen whether it will be targeted equally towards all road users in a genuine attempt to increase safety, or simple be used as an excuse to crack down on cyclists.

Read more at the Signal Tribune (scroll to page 9); thanks to Nate Baird for the heads-up. (Note — all comments are mine, so don’t blame Nate; he just pointed out the story.)

……..

A new study from a Dutch consulting group shows that the benefits of properly constructed biking infrastructure significantly outweighs the cost.

In fact, the return in improved travel times, better health and environmental benefits outweigh costs by margin of 44% — increasing to a whopping 358% if ebikes continue to gain in popularity.

It would be interesting to see if the results could be duplicated on this side of the Atlantic.

Thanks to @bplusradsport for the tip.

……..

Much has been made of a report released over the weekend showing that roughly 1,000 pedestrians are injured badly enough by bicyclists to require hospitalization in New York State every year; roughly 500 of those are in New York City.

While that sounds damning, the report fails to note who was at fault in those collisions, merely that they occurred. And also fails to note how many cyclists were injured, as well.

So instead of suggesting, as the authors seem to imply, that it is the result of out-of-control scofflaw cyclists riding rampant on sidewalks and blowing through crosswalks, the collisions could just as easily be the result of pedestrians walking illegally in bike lanes or stepping into the path of riders.

And even that surprisingly large number pales in comparison to the roughly 15,000 New York pedestrians injured by motor vehicles each year. Yet no one seems to be calling for a crackdown on dangerous scofflaw drivers.

It should also be noted that the number of pedestrians injured in bike collisions is trending downward, despite a dramatic increase in ridership in recent years.

Testament, perhaps, to the efforts of that crazy NYDOT director Janette Sadik-Khan to make NYC streets safer for everyone.

Including cyclists and pedestrians.

Note: While I largely dismiss the results of this study, it’s important to remember that pedestrians are the only road users more vulnerable than cyclists. So it’s up to you to concede the right-of-way to pedestrians — even when they’re wrong. And never, ever ride through a crosswalk when someone is using it.

……..

Finally, a timely reminder from L.A. cyclist, bike advocate and attorney Rosh Hirsch that if riding your bike doesn’t make you smile, you’re not doing it right.

My smile wasn’t quite that big when I was riding yesterday, but it was there.

Third grade student Tristan Hirsch demonstrates proper cycling technique, starting with the huge smile; photo by proud papa Ross Hirsch

Minor miracles — new signage in SaMo and bike lanes on Via Dolce, and a new bike commuter benefit

If you’ve been coming here for awhile, you’ll know that one of my biggest complaints is the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice.

Or more precisely, the fact that it’s often almost impossible to actually ride a bike on it on busy summer days and weekends, when it’s overrun by pedestrians, skaters, skateboarders, dog walkers, Segway riders and other assorted forms of beach-loving humanity.

At its worst, the much dreaded Carmegeddon anticipated when the 405 closes this weekend will merely approximate a vehicular version of the congestion cyclists face on a daily basis.

At least, those patient and/or brave enough to attempt it.

Whenever the opportunity has presented itself, I’ve complained to anyone who would listen about the lack of signage along the bike path. And how it contributes to the problem by failing to warn crossing pedestrians about the presence of cyclists — after all, who would ever expect to find bikes on a bike path? — let alone direct riders and walkers to the sections devoted to each.

So imagine my shock this week when I rode through and saw exactly that.

Granted, it’s only a handful of signs, and only in the most crowded section around the Santa Monica Pier and just south.

And they’re only temporary signs, easily moved or knocked over. But they seem to be working, at least when the path isn’t already overrun with people.

On a quiet Tuesday morning, most people appeared to follow the warnings, whether pedaling or bipedaling. On a crowded Thursday afternoon, not so much.

But still, it’s a start. And maybe if it works, they’ll make these signs permanent, and spread them out throughout the pathway from the Palisades to the Venice Pier.

……..

That wasn’t the only minor miracle I discovered on my rides this week.

When I ride the bike path, I often continue down Pacific Avenue to the end of the Marina del Rey peninsula, returning along Via Marina. Depending on my mood, I may continue around the Marina on Admiralty Way, or turn off onto Via Dolce to make my way back home.

The route adds a little more than two miles to my ride, while giving me a relatively car-free — and mostly pedestrian-free — section of road where I can open it up a little without fear of hitting anyone who might unexpectedly step or pull into my path.

The only problem was the pitted and potholed surface of Via Dolce, which required frequent swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid the obstacles. Or at least it would, if there was traffic to contend with.

So imagine my surprise on Tuesday when I turned onto the street and found smooth, fresh pavement under my wheels, with a newly resurfaced road marking a refreshing change to a formerly jolting ride.

Let alone my shock on Thursday, when I rode the same route and discovered that the newly repainted lane lines had resulted in newborn bike lanes in the interim.

Granted, it’s only a few blocks, from south of Washington Blvd to near the junction with Marquesas Way.

And it’s a lightly travelled side street where bike lanes are largely superfluous, and of primary benefit to the people who live in the immediate area.

But still, it’s nice.

And aside from the bike lanes on Washington Blvd and the Marina extension of the bike path, it’s the first biking infrastructure in the Marina.

……..

SB582 was passed by the state legislature Thursday, mandating transportation benefits to employees who choose not to drive —including bike commuters. It now moves on to the Governor’s desk, who has 12 days to sign or veto it.

Meanwhile, L.A.’s proposed bike parking ordinance has passed the city Planning Commission, and moves on to the City Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee. And Councilmember Bill Rosendahl explains the upcoming Bicycle Anti-Harassment Ordinance he has shepherded through the Council, while Damien Newton gets responses from local bike advocates about the ordinance.

……..

Not surprisingly, the ill-conceived near-killer speed cushions that resulted in critical injuries to cyclist Richard Schlickman have proven unpopular with local drivers and haven’t solved the problem of speeding drivers. So Palos Verdes Estates is looking at yet another study of how to solve the problem, including possible medians, chicanes and roundabouts.

Aside from the cost, the concern is that such measures could slow response times for emergency vehicles. Like the ones who came to save the life of Schlickman after he was nearly killed by their first failed attempt at traffic calming.

……..

The Source offers a two-wheeled guide to surviving Carmageddon, which does not include riding your bike on the 405, under penalty of arrest.

Speaking of which, anyone who enjoys a good race should be in front of their computers on Saturday, as Wolfpack Hustle challenges Jet Blue to a race from Burbank to Long Beach

You know, just your typical bike vs commercial airliner race.

The route will run door-to-door, from a home in Burbank to the lighthouse in Long Beach, starting at 10:50 am with an expected finish around 1:20 pm. And yes, the cyclists will observe all traffic laws; no word on whether the jet will signal or stop for red lights.

The story has gone viral, picked up already by bike writer Carlton Reid, Road.cc, the L.A. Times, Streetsblog, Cyclelicious, Slate and USA Today.

Gary explains how it all came together; follow #FlightVsBike to keep up with the rapidly developing events.

My money’s on the bikes.

……..

The first mountain stage of the Tour de France shuffles the standings, as expected. After 13 stages, Thomas Voeckler leads by 1:49 over Frank Schleck; his brother Andy is 4th with Cadel Evans in between.

Things are not looking good for defending champ Alberto Contador in this year’s Tour, who’s already 4 minutes back; guess that’s what happens when you stop eating Spanish beef. Samuel Sanchez won Stage 12, but to many, Geraint Thomas was the hero of the day. After unexpectedly finding himself in 9th place overall, tour rookie Tom Danielson plans to attack.

Maybe it’s just me, but this has been the most exciting Tour in years
……..

In an amazingly horrifying tale of the legal system run amuck, a mother is convicted of second degree vehicular homicide after one of her children was killed by a one-eyed hit-and-run driver who had been drinking and was on pain medication. She was held accountable simply for not using a crosswalk to walk across the street with her three children, even though they crossed at an intersection and the cost of prosecution was greater than the cost of painting one.

The driver faces just six months after the other charges were dropped, despite previous convictions for two prior hit-and-runs — on the same day, no less — while the mother faces three years for the crime of crossing the street.

And doing it in a manner that would be legal in more enlightened states, where every intersection is assumed to have an unmarked crosswalk.

Unless there’s more to the story that hasn’t made the press yet, something tells me the DA who prosecuted this case won’t be in office very long. If he’s not tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail first.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the tip.

……..

Will Campbell writes a truly outstanding letter of complaint about AAA’s opposition to SB910, California’s proposed three-foot passing law. Stephen Box says L.A.’s super secret final bike plan in finally available online; you might not need the infrastructure it includes, but the overwhelming majority of potential riders do. A Los Angeles firefighter will ride coast to coast to remember victims of 9/11, while a father and son from Manhattan Beach ride across the county to raise money for cancer research. Love this evocative photo from Long Beach’s biking expats as they ride through Eastern Oregon. The sobering truth about drinking and driving. Huntington Beach City Councilman Joe Shaw explains the city’s new bike traffic school program for adult offenders. An Ojai man is arrested for an allegedly drunken hit-and-run that left a cyclist with moderate injuries. Hollister asks Caltrans for roundabouts and bike lanes.

After being convicted in the death of a cyclist, a Portland man will pay to fly her family out for his sentencing. A Houston driver says he’d rather hit something — or rather, someone — soft than something hard. An Ohio judge is killed while riding his bike when a woman swerves to avoid a raccoon, and thinks she hit a mailbox — despite knocking the judge’s body 160 feet through the air. The New York Post fires another salvo in the city’s bike wars, blaming bike lanes for bad business on Broadway rather than blaming bad businesses; after all, a good business might consider putting in some bike racks or even a bike corral to entice those passing riders to stop. A lawsuit will attempt to prove that NY officials lied about stats supporting the popular Prospect Park West bike lanes. Cycling collisions are up in tiny Elmira NY. Outrage in Charleston SC when a distracted driver is ticketed for improper lane usage after knocking a cyclist off a bridge to his death; thanks to Dave Yount for the link. A new Miami shop rescues and resells unloved bikes.

Montreal police crack down on earphones. Rachel McAdams rides a bike in Toronto with boyfriend Michael Sheen. Bike teams scramble for sponsorship despite positive returns. London attempts to improve road safety for cyclists by leaving no room for them. The Brit driver who punched a cyclist turns himself in. More road rage in the UK, this time it’s a cyclist who punched a passenger through a car window. A writer for London’s Guardian says the U.S. has a lot to learn from Europe when it comes to encouraging bike commuting; link courtesy of Rex Reese. The seven Estonian cyclists kidnapped in Lebanon while on a bike tour last March are finally free after French authorities negotiate their release. Following a collision, a drunk cyclist is fined for BUI in Dubai.

Finally, an auto-centric columnist for the Boston Globe calls for banning cyclists from the city, while the Times’ Hector Tobar urges patience even though some cyclists are setting a bad example for all those law-abiding drivers out there. But seriously, when you pass “two slow moving cyclists” and have no idea why they’re both flipping you off, there’s probably a reason for it.

And here’s your perfect soundtrack for Carmegeddon weekend.

Although this one seems kind of appropriate, too.

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