Tag Archive for Ventura County

Covid closes SoCal beaches for holiday weekend, Metro reveals recovery plans, and a visit with a bike-riding paletero

Santa Barbara became the latest SoCal county to close its beaches for the holiday weekend yesterday.

That means a nearly unbroken string of city and county beach closures stretching from north of Camp Pendleton through Santa Maria. The closures include the beachfront bike paths in LA County, but it’s not clear if it includes bike path closures in other counties, so check before you go.

State run beaches will remain open, including paths for biking and walking, but parking lots will be closed through Monday to discourage overcrowding.

All of which means San Clemente is likely to get overrun with beachgoers this weekend.

Let’s just hope they’re right about coronavirus not spreading easily outdoors.

But wherever you ride, do it safely and defensively.

I don’t want to have to write about you, or anyone one else, this weekend.

Photo by David Drexler.

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Metro’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force is out with plans for how the LA area can move forward as the city recovers from the coronavirus, without the seemingly inevitable gridlock as people go back to their auto-centric daily routines.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton takes an in-depth look at Metro’s plans, including an increase in dedicated bus lanes, and possibly taking bikeshare in house to better meet the needs of underserved communities.

Then there’s this.

Metro’s task force recommends a “quick roll-out of more bike infrastructure.” The lack of safe, convenient places to bike has long been a limiting factor inhibiting bicycling in Southern California. What is tricky for Metro is that bikeways are largely out of Metro’s jurisdiction. Metro has roles to play, but municipalities – primarily cities – are ultimately responsible for the bike-unfriendly state of local streets. The task force says Metro should “partner with cities on strategies for rapid deployment of bike improvements.”

So let’s hope Metro can give LA a much-needed push in the right direction.

Linton also goes on to quote a certain bike website writer’s reaction to the plans.

But you’ll have to read his story to see what I had to say.

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Moving piece from the LA Times, which spends a day with an immigrant paletero, or pushcart ice cream vendor, who begins and ends every day riding his bike to and from work.

Mauro Rios Parra is one of the countless Angelenos, immigrant and otherwise, who depend on their bikes for transportation and to earn a living. And who are too often ignored by city planners and elected officials.

According to the story, Rios Parra hasn’t seen his family in Oaxaca for 16 years. But his modest pushcart has helped put one child through med school, and two others through law school.

Which he probably couldn’t have done if he had a car instead of a bike.

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Bicycles allow bike cops to respond quickly and quietly to rapidly changing situations. Unfortunately, that appears to include attacking seemingly peaceful Seattle protesters.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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Let’s see Peter Sagan pull this one off with the pro peloton if they ever get back to racing in real life.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the tip.

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WTF? Why would any family need an SUV that does one eighty? They should send this cat straight back to the hell it came from.

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Local

Somehow we missed this Streetsblog piece on family-friendly bike rides accessible by Metro transit.

Police are still looking for the second bike and skateboard-riding groper who sexually assaulted a number of women in the Venice and Culver City areas; another suspect was arrested recently.

 

State

The CHP is looking for a hit-and-run driver who sideswiped a bike-riding Santa Rosa woman with a trailer; the CHP politely gave the driver a built-in alibi, saying they may not even know they hit anyone.

 

National

Forbes offers advice on how to buy a new mountain bike.

Bicycling tries out the updated 2020 edition of the 1965 Schwinn Collegiate. And likes it.

How to use your water bottle to brush debris from your tires without risking stitches.

A Portland group has created a guide to corking intersections with your bike to protect social justice protests.

Back in my hometown, a university cop is pledging to ride her bike 400 miles this month to benefit Black Lives Matter, and mark the 400-plus years African Americans have been fighting for social justice.

After recovering from testicular cancer, a Texas man who grew up with the nickname Porky got serious about bicycling, which helped him drop 167 pounds while riding up to 200 miles in a day.

A Massachusetts minister suggests taking a spiritual spin on your bike. But don’t be a bicycle Bozo.

The New York Times looks at the city’s bicycle Black Lives Matter protests that have brought thousands of bike riders to the streets to demand social justice.

An off-duty New York cop faces charges for hit-and-run and assault after crashing into a man on a bike, then pushing a bystander before fleeing the scene.

A New York writer says the city’s new e-scooter pilot program is great, but all he really wants is a safe place to park his bike.

 

International

Pink Bike turns into Bicycle Vogue, with a focus on summer mountain bike fashions for men, while Refinery 29 seems more concerned with keeping you stylish on your commuter bike.

The Department of DIY struck in London once again, as climate activist group Extinction Rebellion painted their own popup bike lane through Kensington.

A Scottish program is providing the equivalent of $1.25 million to help local councils, community groups and universities buy ebikes and e-cargo bikes; a previous $2.37 million bought 875 ebikes and 41 e-cargo bikes to replace car trips.

The BBC examines how helmets, including bike helmets, can keep your fragile brain safe.

A new study shows France is rediscovering the bicycle, with sales up 117% in the first month since the country’s pandemic lockdown was lifted.

 

Competitive Cycling

The actual Tour de France won’t take place until late next month, but a virtual version will kick off this weekend. Maybe they’ll have virtual jostling in the peloton, with virtual falls and virtual road rash. And virtual failed dope tests, too.

Speaking of virtual racing, an Indian army colonel finished fourth in this year’s virtual RAAM, becoming the fourth Indian rider to finish the grueling race, more or less.

A Mew Zealand navy veteran plans to compete in cycling events in next year’s Invictus Games using a 3D-printed metal pedal spacer and cleat, after injuries from a helicopter crash left one leg shorter than the other.

 

Finally…

If your friend tries to sell your bike without your permission, maybe you need to rethink your friends. Apparently, take one, leave one applies to bike thieves, too.

And nothing like going out for a bike ride and getting stuck in traffic.

Funny how they seem more willing to share the road than LA drivers, and less likely to use their horns.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the link.

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

Update: 49-year old bike rider killed in early morning Oxnard crash

An Oxnard man was killed while riding his bike in a crash early Sunday morning.

And no one seems to know what happened.

According to multiple sources, the victim, identified only as a 49-year old Oxnard resident, was struck by a driver around 4:30 this morning on the 2400 block of Statham Blvd in Oxnard.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, identified as a 43-year old man from Oxnard, was traveling north on Statham. However, police aren’t sure which direction the victim was riding.

Let alone how or why the driver struck him.

There’s no word on whether excess speed, drugs or alcohol played a role. Or whether the victim had lights and reflectors on his bike nearly two hours before sunrise.

A street view shows an unobstructed two lane road, with a 35 mph speed limit. The Ventura County Star describes it as an industrial area between Oxnard and Channel Islands Boulevards, which would likely have been dark and empty in that early morning hour.

Anyone with information is urged to call Oxnard PD Officer Michael Wood at 805/385-7750 or email micheal.wood@oxnardpd.org.

This is at least the 17th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 49-year old Michael Nunziato, an Illinois resident living in Oxnard. 

Unfortunately, there’s still no explanation of how the crash occurred, or why. 

Police are looking for the driver of a second vehicle that was in the area around the time of the crash, and ask him or her to come forward with any information.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Michael Nunziato and all his loved ones.

Morning Links: Adult trike needed for Whittier ghost bike, and Ventura wants to hide death records from you

Just five days left in the 5th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Donate today via PayPal, or with Zelle to ted @ bikinginla.com.

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A three-wheeled adult bike is needed to install a ghost bike for fallen bike rider Danny Martin, aka Whittier’s beloved Tricycle Man, who was killed in Whittier on Monday.

And speaking of Danny, there will be a ride in his honor this Sunday. 

Thanks to everyone who sent me this one.

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Ventura County officials want to block your right to know about bicycling and other fatalities, calling for a new law banning the disclosure of death records to both the general public and the media.

Thanks to Steven Hansen for the heads-up.

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Here’s your chance to help improve bike connections in the San Gabriel Valley.

https://twitter.com/ActiveSGV/status/1207390576263360512

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

A homeless German man who wanted to go to jail for free meals and a warm place to sleep got his wish when he was sentenced to life in prison for intentionally ramming a bike rider with the car he’d been sleeping in, seriously injuring the victim as well as inflicting long-lasting psychological trauma.

In a road rage incident seen ’round the world, a Singapore truck driver was convicted of deliberately swerving into a bicyclist and failing to report the crash.

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‘Tis the Season.

The San Luis Obispo sheriff’s department donated 250 bikes refurbished by honor farm inmates to kids in need.

The widow of North Carolina’s Bicycle Man is continuing his legacy, donating a whopping 1,500 bicycles and helmets to local children.

A Louisiana sheriff’s department gave away 100 bicycles to local kids in their 26th annual bike giveaway.

A Jacksonville FL foundation gave nearly 100 bikes to children from the local Police Athletic League and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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Don’t make her suffer this indignity for nothing. Give to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today.

You can now count the last days of the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive on one hand.

That’s right. Just five days left to show your support for SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. Along with the late Corgi’s last days as spokesdog for this site.

So let me offer my sincere thanks to Andrew G, Joel S, Janice H and Thuan V for their generous donations to help keep this fund drive going strong in its final days

So what are are you waiting for?

Stop take just a minute to give something right now. Because time’s running out. 

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Local

Brooks McKinney interviews LADOT transportation planner Severin Martinez about his work creating a “safe, comprehensive and well-connected bicycle network.”

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks at the three bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridges nearing completion over the LA River. Although it’s probably just a matter of time before the horse people try to get us kicked off those, too.

Long Beach’s “whimsical” bike racks are celebrating their 10th anniversary on the streets of the bayfront city; designs include a yoga stick figure, skeletal fish and a cupcake, among others.

 

State

A member of San Diego’s Mobility Board questions if the city is doing more harm than good by removing 430 parking spaces to make room for protected bike lanes in the North Park neighborhood. Short answer, no.

Santa Barbara is preparing to roll out a traditional 250-bike docked bikeshare system aimed at local workers, rather than tourists.

Nice story. When someone stole a bike belonging to a high school student in Half Moon Bay, he soon spotted someone riding it and confronted the thief, but decided to let him keep it because the other kid probably needed it more that he did. When the local sheriff’s department heard about it, they found an abandoned bike, refurbished it and gave it to him as a reward for his selfless act.

 

National

Unbelievable. Omaha, Nebraska ripped out a bike corral after the bike shop it fronted closed down, preferring to regain one lousy car parking space instead of parking for a dozen bicycles; bike riders tried to halt the removal by rushing to lock their bikes to the racks, but the city took them out anyway.

Missouri works out a land transfer to build a 144-mile bike trail through the state — assuming supporters raise nearly $10 million to pay for it.

Kindhearted Wisconsin cops work with a local bike foundation to replace an autistic man’s three-wheeled bike after noticing the frame was broken.

Kinda sucks when your own aunt turns you in for stealing a bike, like this Minnesota man.

Life is cheap in Michigan, where a reckless hit-and-run driver got a whole year behind bars for killing a man riding a bike. With good behavior, he’ll probably get out in half that time.

A somewhat strange New Hampshire letter writer says only give your wife a Peloton bike if you’re a man’s man; otherwise, be a girly man and go to a jewelry store.

An upstate New York letter writer complains about a bike and walkway on a bridge over the Hudson River, somehow blaming it for the potholes caused by cars.

New York is looking for robbers who have stolen 22 ebikes after pepper spraying the victims.

The death toll just keeps going up in NYC, after the city notched its 29th bicycling fatality this year when a man on a bike fell on some ice, and was hit by the driver of a loaded school bus. That’s still better than Los Angeles, which has suffered 17 bicycling deaths this year, in a city half the size.

A Florida bike rider was lucky to escape with minor injuries when a 12-foot sinkhole caused by a broken stormwater pipe opened up under the roadway, which collapsed underneath him. Or maybe not; his boss says he’ll need facial reconstruction surgery.

 

International

Road.cc tells you how to avoid the pitfalls of bike commuting. Like skip the Strava KOMS and don’t wear your heavy jeans for more than a few miles.

The Guardian asks the burning question of what will British Prime Minister Boris Johnson do for bicyclists. Assuming the country survives Brexit, or course.

A three-year old girl from the UK born with a severe birth defect is now walking and riding a bike, after doctors had given her zero chance of ever walking.

Maybe they’ll take requests. London’s electric buses will now play music to warn bike riders and pedestrians they’re coming.

Life is cheap — and grossly unfair — in Australia, where a 20-year old Iranian refugee got just 10 months in a youth facility for falling asleep at the wheel and killing a 49-year old father riding his bike to work; his short sentence means he won’t be deported. His victim’s family won’t be so lucky; after losing their husband and father, they face deportation because they were in the country on his employment visa.

An Aussie website says the country’s road rules should be rewritten to put pedestrians first, with bike riders second.

Taipei, Taiwan will allow foreign expats to use its bikeshare system after all.

 

Finally…

No, throwing one at a passing cab whose driver won’t stop to pick you up is not the proper use of a bikeshare bike. Probably not the best idea to steal a bike from the local police.

And if you’re using a distinctive pink and purple kid’s bike as your getaway vehicle following an armed robbery, you probably don’t want to ride it back past the scene of the crime a few minutes later.

Seriously.

75-year old Oxnard man dies a week after crash with pickup driver; fifth Oxnard bicycling death this year

Yet another bike rider has died in Oxnard, in what has turned out to be a very bad year for the town of just 210,000.

According to the Ventura County Star, 75-year old Oxnard resident George Dominguez died Thursday afternoon, six days after he a struck by a driver while riding his bike.

Oxnard police investigators say Dominguez was turning left off northbound C Street into an alley near Roderick Avenue around 1 pm Friday, October 25th, when he was struck by the driver of a pickup headed south on C.

He was reportedly coherent and alert despite a visible head injury.

It’s not clear why Dominguez apparently rode in front of the truck, or who had the right of way.

The driver stayed at the scene, and wasn’t suspected of being under the influence. Police also say speed does appear to have been a factor.

Of course, speed is always a factor, even if driver was traveling at or under the 30 mph speed limit; slower speeds are less likely to result in a fatality in the event of a collision, and makes it easier to avoid.

This is at least the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Ventura County; all but one of those have been in Oxnard.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for George Dominguez and his family.

 

43-year old Bino Conde dies days after crash while standing with his bike on Oxnard sidewalk

Sadly, another man has died days after he was injured in an Oxnard crash.

And all he did was stand on a street corner with his bike.

According to the Ventura County Star, 43-year old Oxnard resident Bino Conde was injured Wednesday afternoon as a result of a collision he wasn’t even involved in.

Conde was standing on the corner of Saviers Road and Bard Road when he was struck by a pickup driven by a 23-year old man that overturned in a crash.

A car driven by a 88-year old woman was headed south on Saviers when she tried to turn left on Bard, and collided with the northbound pickup. The truck rolled over, striking Conde on the northeast corner.

He was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he died of his injuries on Saturday.

And no, there’s probably nothing he could have done to avoid something like that.

This is at least the 59th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and just the fifth that I’m aware of in Ventura County; four of those have been in Oxnard.

Conde died just one day after another man was killed riding his bike the wrong way, just two miles away, at Saviers Road and West Wooley Road.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bino Conde and his loved ones.

 

Update: Wrong way Oxnard bike rider killed in truck crash, police claim driver didn’t know

First it was a hit-and-run.

Then it wasn’t.

According to the Ventura County Star, a 45-year old man was killed when he was struck by the driver of a semi-truck while riding his bike against traffic on an Oxnard street.

Yet police say the driver had no idea he’d hit anyone, let alone killed someone.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was struck just after 11:30 am as he was riding east in the westbound lane of East Wooley Road, west of Saviers Road in Oxnard

He was dead at the scene before emergency personnel arrived.

The driver of the truck continued west without stopping. When Oxnard police stopped the truck shortly later, the driver reportedly cooperated with investigators, claiming he was unaware of the crash.

Unfortunately, they don’t explain how the crash happened. It strains credibility to believe the driver could have been unaware of a head-on collision; however, it’s possible he may not have known if he sideswiped the victim or hit him with the truck’s wing mirror.

Though one way or the other, he should have.

There’s also no explanation for why the victim was riding on the wrong side. Wooley Road is a divided highway with a planted median, and a bike lane that stops several hundred feet short of the intersection with Saviers.

This should serve as yet another reminder to never ride in the street against the flow of traffic.

This is at least the 56th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Ventura County; three of those have been in Oxnard.

Update: The victim has been identified as 45-year old Oxnard resident Javier Lopez.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Javier Lopez and his loved ones.

 

67-year old Oxnard man killed riding on Highway 101 in Ventura County

Once again, a bike rider has been killed while allegedly riding in a traffic lane on a major highway.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim was reportedly riding in the far right lane of Highway 101, just past the “State Beaches” exit north of Ventura, when he was struck from behind by a 26-year old truck driver around 8:52 Wednesday evening.

The victim, publicly identified only as a 67-year old Oxnard resident, died at the scene.

A witness reported that he did not have lights or reflectors on his bike, nearly 45 minutes after sunset; the driver said he did not see the victim in time to react.

There’s no explanation given for why the victim was riding in the traffic lane, as opposed to the paved shoulder. Or whether he was riding in the center of the lane, or hugging the white line at the edge of the road.

The driver remained at the scene, and was not suspected of being under the influence.

Anyone with information is urged to call CHP office in Ventura at 805/662-2640.

This is at least the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third I’m aware of in Ventura County.

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

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

 

 

Update: Woman killed in Oxnard crash after allegedly swerving in front of SUV

In any bicycling crash, the question is whether there were any witnesses other than the driver.

Because too often, the victim is in no shape to tell his or her side of the story.

That’s what happened in Oxnard this morning, where a bike rider was killed after allegedly swerving in front on an oncoming SUV.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim, identified only as a 44-year old woman from Port Hueneme, was riding west on Hemlock Drive near Seaside Drive around 5:30 am, when she allegedly swerved into the path of the 26-year old driver.

He was unable to stop in time, and slammed into her bike.

She was taken from Oxnard to the Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, where she died.

The driver remained at the scene, and cooperated with investigators. Police don’t suspect he was under the influence.

Unfortunately, Oxnard police didn’t indicate whether there were any other witnesses, or if they were relying on strictly on the driver’s description of what happened.

Bike riders often call crashes like this an SWSS, or single witness suicide swerve, because in the absence of any other witnesses, it’s just as likely that the driver drifted to the right to hit the victim as she rode in the bike lane.

Especially at that hour, when the driver is likely to be sleepy and inattentive.

It’s also possible that she was in the traffic lane, and the driver failed to see her until the last moment, and mistakenly assumed she swerved in front of him.

And it’s possible, if not likely, that the driver was exceeding the 40 mph speed limit, which would have reduced his reaction time, and given the false impression that she had sufficient time to safely move to the left.

Chances are, we’ll never know.

This is at least the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 2nd that I’m aware of in Ventura County; the previous death was in Oxnard, as well.

Update: The victim has been identified as Port Hueneme resident Dana Kuehl; she was actually 39, not 44.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Dana Kuehl and her loved ones.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

 

Santa Clarita mountain biker dies on Simi Valley trail Saturday morning

Cars and drivers aren’t the only dangers we face.

Sometimes it’s your own body that lets you down.

That’s what happened yesterday morning on trail above Simi Valley, where a man apparently died of natural causes while riding with a group of friends.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim was riding on the Undertow Trail, which they describe as a popular mountain bike trail south of Hummingbird Ranch outside Simi Valley, when he began to feel ill around 10:40 am.

His riding companions told him to turn back, and called 911.

The Ventura County Fire Department and a county helicopter crew responded; sadly, the 52-year old Santa Clarita resident died before rescue personnel could arrive.

This is at least the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

It’s also a reminder to see your doctor on a regular basis — especially if you’re having unexplained chest pains or difficulty breathing, no matter how fit you may feel.

It may not have made a difference in this case.

But it might in yours.

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

Man riding bicycle killed after allegedly riding in front of driver in Oxnard crash

Once again, a bike rider is dead after somehow magically appearing in front of a driver.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim was struck by an 18-year old driver on Saviers Road near Iris Street in Oxnard around 8:10 pm Thursday, although a local TV station places the time of the crash shortly after 10 pm.

The driver was headed south on Saviers when he said the victim, identified only as a man in his mid-20s, “suddenly appeared in front of (his) vehicle.”

The bike rider was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he died.

The driver, who hasn’t been publicly identified, stayed at the scene, telling police he was unable to avoid the man’s bicycle.

There’s no explanation given for why the driver wasn’t able to see the victim or his bike.

However, in any case like this, where there doesn’t appear to be any surviving witnesses other than the driver, it’s important to remember that we’re only getting one side of the story.

It’s entirely possible that the victim somehow rode out in front of the driver’s car. But it’s also possible that he may have been riding safely in the bike lane on southbound Saviers, and the driver just didn’t see him.

Because no one, ever, comes out of nowhere.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Senior Officer Paul Knapp of the Oxnard Police Department at 805/385-7750 or email paul.knapp@oxnardpd.org.

This is at least the 13th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first I’m aware of in Ventura County.

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

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