Tag Archive for violence against bicyclists

Morning Links: Road rage driver attacks LA bike rider, WeHo mayor OKs blocked bike lanes, and protected bike lanes AOK

Sorry about that. 

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence. 

Blame it on my diabetes, after a bout of low blood sugar knocked me out for several hours. 

I’d like to say it won’t happen again.

But it probably will. 

Road rage photo by Wendy Corniquet from Pixabay.

………

Un-effing-believable.

A man riding to work on Santa Monica Blvd was repeatedly harassed, brake checked, and physically assaulted by a driver in an unmitigated display of road rage that lasted over 6 minutes.

All for the crime of riding a bike, legally and exactly where he was supposed to be.

And to top it off, she accused him of scratching her car after she blocked his bike against another car, and proceeded to door him multiple times.

Seriously, watch the whole thing — with the sound up.

According to KCBS2/KCAL9, the road rage attack took place two years ago. The poster child for road rage driver was arrested after the victim called 911, and was recently sentenced to 450 hours of community service.

Which is why he’s just releasing the bike cam video now.

Hopefully, that will be enough to get her road rage temper under control. And help her realize that bikes do, in fact, belong on the streets.

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The LAPD is stepping up efforts to find the heartless coward who slammed into a 15-year kid riding legally in a South LA crosswalk, and left him lying crushed and bleeding in the street.

Meanwhile, advocacy nonprofit SAFE — Streets Are For Everyone — is hostingMarch for Safety and Healing – In Honor of Roberto Diaz this Saturday.

Diaz is the victim of the crash, who remains hospitalized.

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Evidently, the mayor of West Hollywood is perfectly okay with mail carriers and delivery drivers blocking the city’s few bike lanes.

Which isn’t much of a problem.

Unless you’ve ever had to go around someone blocking the bike lane in heavy traffic on Santa Monica Blvd.

Because it’s apparently just too much to ask them to remove a parking space or two to create a loading zone.

Oh wait. Maybe I wasn’t the first one to say that.

After all, it’s much easier to accuse people of “outrage culture” than to take a small step to protect human lives.

WeHo can clearly do better than that. And should.

In fact, it does, no thanks to the mayor, apparently.

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No surprise here.

After the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study questioning the safety of some protected bike lanes, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, two of North America’s leading bicycling academics, say it ain’t necessarily so.

According to a Forbes piece by British bicycle historian Carlton Reid, this is how Pucher responded in an email.

“Finding problematic intersection design of cycle tracks here and there in three U.S. cities does not at all negate the overwhelming evidence that protected bike lanes are both safer, in fact, than unprotected lanes or no facilities at all, and that the vast majority of cyclists and potential cyclists overwhelmingly prefer such protected facilities and feel safer on such facilities, thus leading to sharp increases in cycling rates.”

Pucher stresses:

“The IIHS study focuses on the dangerous intersections, but overall, cycle tracks are definitely safer. I agree, however, that intersection design is absolutely crucial to the safety of cycle track systems, and that special intersection, roadway markings, traffic signs, and traffic signals are necessary.”

So don’t stop fighting for protected bike lanes.

Just make sure they’re designed properly.

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The Malibu Times reports that local pro mountain biker Marshall Mullen’s short film The Woolsey Fire Through the Eyes of Marshall Mullen will make its local debut at Casa Escobar restaurant.

The paper notes that the film been on YouTube since late May. But oddly doesn’t bother to include the link.

Fortunately, we can do better than that. Even though this version has a much shorter title.

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They get it. No, they totally get it.

GQ recommends their picks for the best bike helmets for any kind of road riding.

But they begin their piece this way.

No, you don’t have to wear a bike helmet. If you were to, say, get hit by a garbage truck on your commute, a small piece of foam and molded plastic is not going to make much of a difference. But since this is America and not Copenhagen, where cyclists are demonized for taking a sliver of space away from precious steel boxes and commuters are regularly in fear of their lives, it’s best to hedge your bets. Wear a helmet. (But whatever you do, please don’t helmet shame those who prefer to let their locks flow.)

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Sometimes it’s the people on bikes behaving badly. 

A San Francisco man suffered life-threatening injuries when he was hit over the head with a bicycle. The attacker fled, but it sounds like police know who the attacker is, since they know his age.

An Aussie bike rider faces charges after he rode across several lanes of traffic to spit in the face of an anti-abortion protester. Seriously, don’t do that.

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Local

The LAPD is responding to CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz’ recent anti-scooter campaign by establishing a special task force to ticket e-scooter users riding on the sidewalk along Beverly Blvd, Melrose Ave and 3rd Street. Apparently, he’d much rather they get their asses run over on those narrow, busy streets that don’t offer any other place to ride. Or just not ride scooters, which is what he really has in mind.

Streetsblog talks with Bird’s sustainability chief.

Montebello Blvd is getting bike lanes and new medians in a 1.4-mile improvement project. And aggravating drivers in the process.

California is sending $315 million to LA County for highway repairs funded by the recent gas tax increase, along with $5.4 million for active transportation projects.

 

State

The proposed Complete Streets bill will stay alive in the state legislature, despite a “farcical” estimate from Caltrans that appears to be an effort to kill it.

The driver who killed Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza as he rode his bike in Mission Viejo last year had seven different drugs in his system at the time of the crash, including prescription drugs, street drugs and various metabolized drug byproducts; 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarpa is facing a murder charge in Kreza’s death, and remains behind bars on a $2 million bond.

Beautiful piece by an investigative reporter for the LA Times about the remarkable recovery of a man who was nearly killed in an Oceanside bike crash, after lingering in a near vegetative state for months. And her efforts to convince someone he was still alive in there.

San Diego advocates are calling on the city to reconsider plans to remove parking spaces to install bike lanes on 30th Street because of the impact it could have on elderly and handicapped people. Because apparently, it’s impossible to pull over just long enough to let someone out of a car. And elderly and handicapped people never, ever ride bicycles, as everyone knows.

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a woman was killed trying to ride her bike in a crosswalk; the CHP immediately absolved the driver of blame because it was dark. Apparently, Dodge Challenger’s like the one the driver had don’t have headlights, and the CHP has never heard of the state’s basic speed law, which prohibits driving too fast for current conditions. Like when it’s too dark to see what’s in the road directly ahead of your car.

A pair of men were busted for making off with six bikes worth $30,000 from a Santa Cruz bike shop after they were observed by a witness.

A car thief received the maximum sentence for plowing into a San Francisco bike cop as he attempted to flee from the police; Willie Flanigan was convicted on charges of “assault with a deadly weapon, hit-and-run, evading and resisting an officer, fleeing the scene of an accident, receiving stolen property and being an unlicensed driver.” Yet somehow, despite all those charges, the maximum sentence was just 12 years and 8 months.

Seventy-five-year old Courtney Rudin was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the head-collision that killed a woman riding in a Sonoma County charity ride when he made dangerously ill-advised passed around a slower vehicle; he faces just one year behind bars. Seriously, killing another human being should never be a misdemeanor, intentionally or not.

An 85-year old Los Osos man was critically injured after he suffered some sort of medical issue and fell off his ebike, even though he was wearing a helmet.

 

National

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske says excusing careless drivers by blaming their victims just ensures that other drivers will keep driving that way.

No shit. Streetsblog says testing self-driving cars on the roads endangers pedestrians. And everyone else.

Forbes says bicycle-oriented development is a growing force with the larger field of transit-oriented development throughout the US, now that bicycling is the nation’s fastest-growing form of transportation.

Entry-level ebike prices continue to drop, as Rad Power Bikes introduces their new RadRunner cargo bike, which can be ridden in e-assist or full throttle mode.

A moving and hard-hitting photo essay says Portland is spending millions to stop drivers from killing people, but it’s not working.

He gets it. A Salt Lake City-area father and bike rider says aggressive driving should be treated as a crime. Preferably before they kill someone.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 86-year old Utah man still rides 1,000 miles a year on a tandem with his son; he was riding 3,000 miles a year on his own until he was hit by a driver three years ago. Although I’d just as soon skip that whole “hit by a driver” part, thank you.

Former Bicycling editor and elite cyclist Andrew “Bernie” Bernstein speaks out from his hospital bed about the dangers of distracted, drunk and/or speeding drivers, a month after he was left to die by a hit-and-run driver outside Boulder CO.

A bike shop in my hometown is struggling to clear its name after police arrested someone selling stolen bikes on the Let Go app, and making it appear the bike shop was doing it.

A Dallas man faces a murder charge for allegedly running down a man riding a bicycle for allegedly stealing his gun, then allegedly beating him to death with a piece of wood.

Horrible news from Oklahoma City, where a professional magician suffered severe spinal damage when he was struck by a police car while riding his bike; the officer was placed on paid leave, while the victim may be permanently paralyzed and unable to speak.

The owner of three pit bulls that killed a nine-year old Detroit girl as she was riding her bicycle has been charged with second degree murder for not controlling his dogs; the dogs, one of whom was shot by a rescuer, will likely get the death penalty.

An Indianapolis teenager says he forgives the driver who fled the scene after running him down on his bike, leaving him lying in a ditch unable to move.

I want to be like him, too. Bicycling offers four tips from the 91-year old Indiana cyclist who keeps breaking age group records.

Rapper Kadeem’s new album World Sport takes on a bicycling theme, reflecting the time spent on his ‘87 Schwinn World Sport as he was recording it, as well as his time on two wheels navigating the streets of Boston, dealing drugs and delivering for DoorDash.

New York prosecutors threw the book at the 18-year old driver who ran a red light and caused the collateral damage crash that killed a Brooklyn bike rider two weeks ago, charging him with criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, vehicular assault, disobeying a traffic device and doing 61 mph in a 25 mph zone. In other words, driving his Dodge Charger exactly the way the carmaker suggests he should. Thanks to Shaggy for the heads-up.

The New York Times examines why drivers rarely faces charges for killing bike riders; prosecutors have to show the driver’s behavior was “egregious,” and that they broke at least two traffic laws. Although it seems unlikely that the same standard would apply to killing someone with any other kind of weapon.

In the eternal battle over car storage, Philly residents are on the warpath over new bikes lanes that removed over a hundred parking spaces.

 

International

Forbes recommends six bike tours from around the world, including a self-guided tour of LA-area movie star homes, for people who are into that sort of thing.

Road.cc offers a guide to group ride hand signals. No, not that one.

Montreal will soon start ticketing drivers who violate Quebec’s equivalent of a three-foot passing law by using an ultrasound device that measures the distance between a bike and a passing car. The LAPD apparently has no interest in that, despite being told about the device multiple times as part of the department’s bike liaison program.

This is why you should always get checked out by a doctor after any bike crash. A London man died after a blood clot caused a heart attack two weeks after he fell off his bike. That’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.

A report from the UK Parliament says forget electric cars, get Brits on bikes. Good advice on this side of the Atlantic, too.

Evidently, placing solar panels in a French roadway was a bad idea.

Germans call for expanding bicycle infrastructure after bicycling deaths reach their highest total since 2010.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews suggests four story lines to follow at the four-stage women’s Colorado Classic bike race, which kicked off yesterday in Steamboat Springs CO. You can livestream the races on the magazine’s website.

The New York Times offers an obituary for Felice Gimondi, one of just seven cyclists to win the Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia.

 

Finally…

Yes, you can find bikeshare above the Arctic Circle, in case you were wondering. If you’re riding your bike with several outstanding warrants, just put a damn light on it, already.

And your next bike could be a Harley.

No, really.

 

Morning Links: LA cyclist mugged by transient, CHP endorses speeding drivers, and CD1 race gets dirtier

Regular bike commuter Lou Karlin forwards word that he was attacked by a transient while riding in LA’s Pico-Robertson neighborhood Tuesday evening.

I was going west on Whitworth at Crescent Heights at approximately 6:10 p.m.  A male transient was pushing a shopping cart northbound across the intersection.  He passed me just as my light turned green.  As I began to pedal, he turned back, entered the intersection and punched me in the jaw, knocking me off my bike.  The driver behind me stopped and came to my aid.  The transient, apparently deranged, accused me of having attacked him first and then threatened to hurt the driver.  We let him go on his malevolent way, northbound on Crescent Heights.

I wasn’t badly hurt, just a sore jaw and ribs.  I called 911 to report the incident, and was told to wait for officers.  Unfortunately, it took 60 minutes and repeated calls before two officers arrived–so the transient had disappeared long ago.  In retrospect, I wish I had followed him.

It might be worth a heads up to those who commute on Whitworth — the transient is white with a stocky build, in his 50’s, has a beard, and wore baggy jeans and a light-colored, short-sleeved shirt.

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Speed cameras work.

A Maryland news report says that no pedestrians have been killed on a roadway near the University of Maryland since a speed camera was installed in 2014; three people were killed on the street in the six months before it was put in place.

And a New York report from 2015 showed that speed cameras in school zones have been a resounding success, resulting in a 58% decline in speeding tickets in just four months.

Unfortunately, though, a bill that would allow a pilot project in San Jose and San Francisco has been put on hold due to opposition from law enforcement groups.

California Highway Patrol Officer Tom Maguire, representing the CHP’s rank-and-file union, challenged the notion that speed cameras would help improve street safety.

In his 21-year career patrolling the East Bay, Maguire said, “I have never investigated or assisted in an investigation that involved a vehicle and a pedestrian or a vehicle and a bicycle that resulted in a fatality where speed was the primary collision factor. Never.”

Which ignores the fact that while collisions may be caused by other factors, excessive speed can contribute or exacerbate that primary collision factor — such as a speeding driver blowing through a red light or making unsafe lane changes — and significantly increases the risk that a crash will result in death or serious injury.

Things he should be well acquainted with in his 21 years of patrolling.

In fact, it seem disingenuous, to use the polite term, to suggest that speed is never a factor in a collision, let alone the determining factor in whether someone lives or dies following a wreck.

And the CHP should, and undoubtedly does, know better.

So the question becomes, not whether speed cameras save lives, but why the union representing CHP officers is willing to stand in the way of safety, and continue to let people die on our streets as the victims of speeding drivers.

You’d think they’d be in favor of reducing speeds, obeying the speed limit and saving lives.

But evidently, you’d be wrong.

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We all knew this was coming.

The only question was what it would be, and when.

LAist posted a story yesterday that dug deep into CD1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali’s online history, and found a handful of comments posted to an alt-right website that can be described as insensitive, at best. And that appear to have the fingerprints of the Cedillo campaign.

Bray-Ali explains in a video posted on Facebook that he was, in effect, trolling the users of the site. But apologizes repeatedly for his mistake in judgment.

He also apologizes for remarks about gender reassignment surgery, noting that he’s changed his views after getting to know a number of trans people during the campaign.

So let’s be clear.

Virtually every political campaign conducts opposition research on the opposing candidate to dig up whatever dirt they can find. Most campaigns have to common sense and decency not to use it.

Evidently, Gil Cedillo’s doesn’t.

While they will undoubtedly deny having anything to do with it at today’s press conference to denounce Bray-Ali’s comments, there can be little doubt that this came directly from Cedillo’s campaign — and undoubtedly with his direct approval — and was given to the writer for LAist.

I’ve personally been involved in a number of campaigns where someone uncovered damning information about the opposing candidate. The decision on whether to use it was left to the campaign manager, but it always run past the candidate before releasing it.

And in every case, the decision was made not to use it. Sometimes by the campaign manager, sometimes by the candidate. But always because it was the right thing to do.

But clearly, not all politicians are so ethically enlightened.

I am deeply disappointed by Joe Bray-Ali’s comments, and the lack of judgment shown in posting to sites like that, for whatever reason. His only defense is that he was posting as a private citizen, before he chose to run for office.

But he should have known better.

On the other hand, I am disgusted that Gil Cedillo would stoop so low to hold onto a seat he clearly doesn’t deserve. Whether or not he wins the election, his credibility is shattered.

And we should all see him as the dirty politician he has proven himself to be.

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Samsung is introducing an app that will automatically reply for you if you get a call or message while you’re driving or riding your bike.

Unfortunately, installing and using the app is voluntary.

Which means it’s not the solution to distracted driving, but it’s a start.

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The Colorado Classic has announced the twelve women’s teams that will compete in the inaugural edition later this year.

Iran’s former national champ just got a seven and a half year ban for doping, his second offense in less than 12 months. Good thing the doping era is over.

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Local

Bike SGV forwards news that South Pasadena is considering bike lanes on Mission Street and protected bikeways on Fair Oaks; you can weigh in with your thoughts to help shape the future of South Pasadena.

Credit Bike SGV with passing on the news that Pasadena’s bike-friendly city council candidate Andy Wilson eked out a victory in last week’s runoff election.

The Press-Telegram presents your playlist for the fourth Beach Streets open streets event this Saturday.

 

State

No bias here. The San Diego Union-Tribune says an eight-year old girl hit the front of a truck with her bicycle, even though they explain that the truck actually crashed into her after she allegedly rode out in front of it.

Officers taking part in the Hollywood Memorial Ride from Hollywood to DC to honor fallen law enforcement officers stopped in Palm Springs Tuesday night.

Kids in a small, impoverished Kern County town are now riding bicycles abandoned by people at Burning Man, after they were stripped of fur and psychedelic tape, and repaired by a Bakersfield nonprofit.

A Sacramento news site warns that Vision Zero may be an elusive goal, while noting that countywide figures show bicyclists were at fault in 71% of crashes, and riding salmon in 61%. Both of those numbers seem highly questionable; if so many people are really riding on the wrong side of the street, something is seriously wrong. And they need to find out why.

 

National

You’ve got to be kidding. A Hawaii judge reduced the bail of a man charged with attempted murder for allegedly driving up onto a sidewalk to intentionally run down a bicyclist — even though he has no permanent address and at least one previous conviction for failing to appear.

A Portland writer says the city has spent 40 years building itself around pedestrians, trains and bicycles, so it’s time to just give up on driving altogether.

Employees of a Denver-based company built and donated 750 bicycles for local kids in an effort to set a new Guinness world record.

If you plan on riding the Montana backcountry this spring and summer, watch out for bears.

Four Texas cops are riding across the state to honor the five officers killed in last year’s Dallas ambush.

Researchers at the famed Cleveland Clinic have discovered that bicycling may be the best medicine for Parkinson’s Disease. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

A California man with Type 1 diabetes will ride 800 miles through what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider America’s Diabetes Belt, from Chicago to Atlanta, to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association.

A Vermont letter writer says replacing parking spaces with bike lanes is discrimination against disabled, elderly and rural people. Because as we all know, none of them ever ride bicycles.

 

International

A Canadian cyclist warns his fellow riders not to ride the nearly finished Trans National Trail, saying it’s not safe because much of the trail runs on the shoulders of high speed highways.

An Ottawa city councilor pulls his support for a bike lane in the face of public opposition to the loss of 97 parking spaces.

New legislation would commit the United Kingdom — which may become the Untied Kingdom post-Brexit — to a specific plan for funding bicycling and pedestrian projects, with the equivalent of up to $1.54 billion in spending by 2020/21.

A new British study shows how road pollution can pass through your lungs and into the bloodstream, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke; the risk is greater for people who already suffer from coronary heart disease. However, the benefits of bicycling still outweigh the risk posed by air pollution.

A Scottish transportation group says bicycling instead of driving would amount to an 8% pay raise for the average person, saving the equivalent of over $2,500.

Touring Paris on two wheels.

While the US government scrubs any reference to climate change off government websites, the UN is partnering with a Chinese bikeshare company to raise awareness of global warming.

 

Finally…

That’s one way to prevent bike theft. Your next bike could literally suck smog.

And a writer in Singapore isn’t exactly pleased with her brief bikeshare experience.

 

Metro supports your right to the road, PCH cyclist beaten in Malibu, $25k reward for hit-and-run driver

I like it.

Metro is introducing a new bike safety campaign leading up to May’s bike week. One that may finally convince at least some drivers that we’re not confined to a tiny strip of roadway next to the gutter.

13-1362_otd_bike_traffic_safety_30sheet_jl_lo

I hope they show this to law enforcement agencies, too.

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A cyclist riding with his wife on PCH in Malibu last month was severely beaten by two men after recording an argument with another rider on his cell phone.

The two men, described as Persian or Middle Eastern in their 40s or 50s, were in a black two-door Bentley without permanent license plates. After they noticed the man recording their argument with the cyclist, they got out and demanded his phone, then punched and kicked him, and took his phone after knocking him to the ground, before driving south on PCH.

The victim suffered a concussion in the assault.

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Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge joins with the CHP to offer a $25,000 reward to find the hit-and-run driver who critically injured cyclist Damian Kevitt by dragging him nearly a quarter mile onto the 5-Freeway near the L.A. Zoo.

Meanwhile, Cal Poly Pomona professor Boyonabike offers his thoughts on the tragic death of cyclist Ivan Aguilar on campus last Thursday; a highly recommended though heartbreaking read.

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Bike scribe Padraig of Red Kite Prayer could use a few prayers and/or good thoughts for a new baby who’s not out of the woods yet.

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The 13th Annual Nation Bike Summit kicked off in Washington DC on Monday with the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, which heard inspiring words from freshman Congresswoman, double war amputee and cyclist Tammy Duckworth. How to diversify bicycling in three easy steps. And Frank Peters of cdmCyclist provides photos from the first day.

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For anyone interested in somewhat colder pursuits, my Iditarod veteran brother is offering his insights into this year’s dog sled race.

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Traffic planning star and L.A. native Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York Department of Transportation, spoke at the UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs Complete Streets Initiative last week, and rocked the house as usual; I’m told she got a standing ovation at the Bike Summit, too. Streetsblog offers a guide to today’s city council election. New bike lanes on Vermont are a small step forward. Los Angeles Cycle Chic looks at a CicLAvia wedding. Better Bike reminds those who live in the Biking Black Hole to vote today if you ever want to see improvement in the city; the new Request for Proposals to remake Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills doesn’t look promising. A Santa Monica woman is charged in the hit-and-run death of a tow truck driver on PCH in Malibu last month. Santa Monica Spoke wants your help to deliver Meals on Wheels by bike later this month. Walk Bike Glendale gets that city’s city council candidates on the record for their stands on, yes, walking and biking.

Cyclelicious looks at the bicycling bills under consideration during the current legislative session — including one disastrous proposed law that would remove government liability for any injuries that occur as a result of bad bike lane design or maintenance. Whittier approves a new bike plan focused on improving safety. San Diego considers a bike safety resolution, even as local advocates express their disappointment; Bike SD calls on local riders to attend Tuesday’s council session as a result. North San Diego County drivers will get a wider freeway, while cyclists will get two new bikeways, including a 27-mile pathway along the coast. Temecula will update its trails and bikeways master plan. A Texas attorney dies after jumping into the chilly San Francisco Bay during the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon. After a Marin County cyclist collapses while riding, a sheriff’s deputy uses a portable defibrillator to save his life.

USA Cycling celebrates Major Taylor, America’s first cycling hero, who broke the color barrier over a hundred years ago. Oregon’s largest newspaper starts a new bicycling blog written by their riding reporters. Portland businesses seek out bike front properties. Washington legislator Ed Orcutt apologizes for saying cyclists should be taxed because our heavy breathing contributes to global warming; I guess a tax on sexual activity is out of the question then. Arizona considers reforming their three foot passing law, which currently makes it legal to kill a cyclist if he or she is riding in a bike lane. Utah cyclists may soon be able to ride through red lights that don’t change for them. A Colorado dump truck driver faces a $1000 fine and up to one year in jail for carelessly killing a cyclist. Texas bike wreck survivor and bike safety blogger Witch on a Bicycle unveils his $500 contest to design a tattoo to cover a large fish-shaped scar on his leg.

Biking in crime-ridden Guatemala City is possible after all. Mikael Colville-Anderson, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic, makes his return to his native Calgary. Rising British cyclist Junior Heffernan is killed in a collision with a car in his first race with his new pro team. A British bike rider is hit in the face with a branch thrown at her from a bridge. Did an angry Brit driver punch out a cyclist because he hates bikes or because the rider gave him the finger because he was angry? The BBC cans their long-time cycling commentator in favor of a much younger colleague. UK health professionals warn against creeping requirements for helmets on charity rides, a practice that is virtually universal in this country. Lance could lose his French Legion of Honor medal in the wake of his recent doping scandal. Multiple world champion cyclist Marianne Vos enters her first ever mountain bike race in Cyprus — and wins, of course. Retroactive tests of 50 South African cyclists shows evidence of EPO use. Melbourne celebrates the World Naked Bike Ride; yes, there are naked pictures, whether that makes you want to click on the link or avoid it. Two Kiwi cyclists are hit in separate collisions at virtually the same spot half an hour apart. A Japanese bike mechanic is still wrenching at 85.

Finally, Indian bike advocates call for licensing cyclists, with a small cash payment if one gets killed, saying that will encourage more people to ride; I’d think it would have exactly the opposite effect. And a study from the University of Duh shows that cyclists who are hit by moving vehicles are four times more likely to suffer severe injuries than riders involved in non-vehicle accidents.

Now put this down and get out and bike the vote if you haven’t already.

The Biking Black Hole can’t get it right; no justice in Texas, and road rage is all the rage these days

A little news and a whole lot of links to wrap up the week.

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Police in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills offer safety tips for cyclists, but can’t manage to get it quite right.

Bike riders are required to ride as close to the right as practicable, not as far right as possible, as they state. There’s a big difference, which any police officer should understand.

And which is scary as hell when they don’t.

Riding as far to the right as possible puts riders in the gutter and door zones, and gives police an excuse to ticket anyone with the audacity to take the lane. Riding as far right as practicable keeps cyclists out of the way of swinging doors and broken glass, and allows them to legally ride in the center of non-sharable lanes.

Which is basically the difference between being bike friendly and observing the law, and making sure riders know they aren’t welcome in your city.

Meanwhile, the city considers adding an handful of bike racks, but banning locking bikes to virtually anything else.

In other words, once again appearing to support cycling while actively discouraging it.

………

Amazingly, the Texas driver who ran down tandem cyclists Greg and Alexanda Bruehler in 2009 — resulting in the single saddest photo I’ve ever seen — has been acquitted in their deaths.

Clearly, there is no justice for cyclists in the state of Texas.

The driver was doing 79 in a 65 mph zone when he failed to see the riders wearing hi-viz vests, and drifted off the roadway onto the shoulder where they were riding. The defense won the case by arguing that anyone could have could have made the same mistake.

The scary thing is, they’re right.

Even scarier is no one really seems to care. Not even a jury.

………

There’s been a horrifying number of road rage and traffic violence stories in the news the past few days.

For instance, a Massachusetts driver punches a cyclist in the face after the rider’s bike falls over and scratches his car. Local police don’t get it when a Mass cyclist is deliberately doored. A Pittsburgh cyclist is chased up a flight of stairs, stabbed and cut from ear to ear in a brutal road rage assault. A Texas mixed martial arts fighter has been charged with the shooting death of a cyclist after they apparently argued last year; even in Texas, shooting someone because you feel disrespected is a rather extreme response. A former Florida police officer threatens two cyclists with a knife when one flips him off after he threw something at the riders. A Hamilton Ontario cyclist is beaten by a pickup driver after being yelled at, then grazed by the truck’s mirror. A road-raging Toronto cab driver faces up to five years in prison for backing into a cyclist following a dispute, causing the rider to lose a leg. A UK car passenger is sentenced to three years for jumping out of the car and beating a cyclist to a bloody pulp.

Proving it’s not just drivers, police find their suspect in a methadone clinic after a drunken Colorado cyclist pulls a knife on a driver. A Massachusetts cyclist bends a car’s antenna after an argument with a driver. A New York mob trashes a car after a collision with a cyclist during the Fashion’s Night Out celebration. A 16-year old cyclist breaks into a couple’s home after an argument over an open car door. And closer to home, the OC Weekly’s food writer gets into a little bike on bike action; thanks to David Bain for the heads-up.

So let me offer a little advice.

Having been the victim of a road rage assault, I would much rather get off my bike and let the jackass pass than have an angry, potentially violent, driver behind me.

And no matter how much you think the other party deserves it, violence is never justified — it’s far more likely to jeopardize your own life and freedom than teach the other person a damn thing.

One more bit of hard-earned advice.

Never flip off the driver behind you.

Trust me. I’ve learned the hard way that cars are bigger than me, and they hurt.

………

Some idiot jackass stole the bike Jerico Culata was riding as he lay dying on last week’s Critical Mass ride; there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for someone like that. Formerly bike-unfriendly Malibu has come a long way, now launching an interactive website to explore improving safety on PCH — for bicyclists and everyone else. The city will also be conducting public hearings on the subject the next four Thursdays. Rapper The Game comes to the rescue of a cyclist who was unresponsive after a crash with his bike on top of him — the cyclist, not The Game — no word on how the rider got that way. LADOT introduces new street signs for Bike Friendly Streets. A Sierra Madre driver sees a girl riding her bike, but steps on the gas instead of the brakes; local police say “oops.”

Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske looks at California’s recently passed three-foot passing law and CEQA exemption for bike lanes. San Clemente gets over $1 million in grants for bike and pedestrian projects. NPR looks at charges that Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital sent jobs from Santa Ana-based GT Bicycles overseas; seems like there’s some truth on both sides. San Diego plans to encourage cycling in the “fun” communities. A San Diego cyclist suffers major leg injuries in a crash with a delivery truck. A North San Diego County writer asks who owns the roads, and correctly concludes we all do. An 18-year old salmon cyclist is seriously injured in a Temecula left cross collision. A bike rider in Perris suffers major injuries in a collision with a minivan on a street that somehow seems to simultaneously run both south and west. Rancho Mirage tells cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk across a bridge — even though it has a bike lane. Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious is run off the bike path by an overly aggressive rider. A Modesto cyclist is killed after both he and the driver who hit him run a four-way stop; guess which one will probably get the blame? San Francisco cyclists will get their own lane on The Embarcadero during next month’s America’s Cup races.

People for Bikes looks at biking to school. A cyclist watches an idiot bike rider from his position behind the wheel; thanks to Jerry Oser for the heads-up. Barbie rides a bike. New foldable bike helmet fits odd shaped heads. Suffering the emotional scars of urban cycling. A Portland man moves forward with a statewide initiative requiring bike license plates and licenses for bike riders. An Albuquerque court imposes the maximum sentence on a drugged driver who killed the bike riding manager of the local REI. The 13-year old Milwaukee girl who laughed about it after killing a cyclist while street racing in a stolen car has been ordered into mental health treatment; well no shit. Ohio suffers three cycling fatalities in one week. An Atlantic City cyclist is killed when he’s caught in the crossfire in a gunfight. An Alabama driver won’t be cited after colliding with a cyclist who was riding on the sidewalks illegally. Long Beach’s bicycling expats, now Portland residents, visit our buddy Zeke in North Carolina. A Florida driver with drugs in her system receives the maximum sentence for killing a cyclist — a six-month suspension of her drivers license; no wonder the Sunshine State leads the nation in bike and pedestrian deaths.

A Toronto writer is taken down by streetcar tracks while trying to maneuver around a truck blocking the right lane. A London magazine editor apologizes after writing that “the only good cyclist is a dead cyclist,” noting that he was merely being ironic with his heartfelt wishes that you and I would just die and get it over with. London considers, probably not seriously, a multi-million-pound network of elevated bikeways. UK driving instructors want bicycle awareness to be part of the driving test. Former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi wins gold in the Paralympic handcycle time trial 11 years after losing his legs in a horrific crash. Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree cancels his attempt at a record setting 100 mph bike ride, saying his ride isn’t ready yet. An 11-year old French boy finds a brake lever imbedded in his thigh months after a bike crash; even my stomach turned a little writing that one. One of the better Vueltas in years is slowly coming to a conclusion, as Contador holds a seemingly comfortable lead after bouncing back from a drug scandal that stripped him of his 2010 Tour de France victory; maybe current and former dopers should form their own bike racing league so they can take whatever the hell they want and not have to worry about getting caught.

Finally, a UK cyclist apparently accomplishes the rather remarkable feat of rounding a corner on the sidewalk at 20 mph; even more remarkable is the arthritic pensioner who claims he managed to stop the speeding rider merely by putting his arms out.

Superman ain’t got nothing on him.

Breaking news: arrest made in Mel’s Drive-In beating case; two cycling victims identified

Just a quick note, as my other job — the one that actually results in income on all too rare occasions — is keeping me tied up tonight.

However, I don’t want the day to pass without a quick update on a few cases we’ve discussed here recently.

First up, I’ve received confirmation that the driver who severely beat a cyclist in front of Mel’s Drive-In in Sherman Oaks last month has been identified, and an arrest has been made.

According to LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer, the victim was supposed to be told of the arrest today (Monday).

As you may recall, the cyclist was riding on Ventura Blvd when he was honked at, then dangerously buzzed by a pickup truck coming up from behind. When he saw the same truck at Mel’s Drive-In moments later, he stopped to confront the driver.

But instead of arguing with the rider, the driver responded by knocking him down and repeatedly kicking him in the face.

There was some concern that the driver of the Oregon-licensed truck would leave the state before an arrest could be made — particularly since the LAPD detective in charge of the case had reportedly taken no action 48 hours after the assault due to a heavy caseload.

And there was some question whether the person driving the truck — and who attacked the cyclist — was the owner of the truck.

There’s no word yet on the identity of the driver, or what charges he will face.

But the simple fact that an arrest has been made is a positive step forward.

……..

Today also put names to the victims of two fatal bike collisions.

The cyclist killed in a solo fall yesterday has been identified as 47-year old Luis H. Esparza of La Puente. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, he was riding on the sidewalk when he collided with a raised metal mailbox and fell into the street, striking his head on the curb.

The incident took place in the Bassett area of unincorporated L.A. County.

And no, Esparza was not wearing a helmet, even though this is exactly the sort of collision bike helmets are designed to protect against.

This time, it may have cost him his life.

……..

Finally, Philip Young forwarded word today that the cyclist killed while riding past an elementary school in Chula Vista last January was 77-year old Robert Howard Marshall. Marshall was a 20-year Navy veteran who had served in Korea and Vietnam, and left behind a wife, four children, 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Maybe it’s just me. But it strikes me as vital to put a name to every cycling victim when we can, so we can remember them for the people they were, and not just tragic statistics.

Is a ghost bike appropriate for a teenage gun shot victim?

When I lived down south, I had a great apartment in a park-like 1920s neighborhood that was the envy of all my friends.

The only problem was — and the reason I could afford it — it was right next to one of the worst high-crime neighborhoods in town. One that I had to ride through if I was going to get anywhere.

I never thought much about though, until one night when I was on my way home from a late-evening ride and found myself stopped at a red light, well after dark.

A small group of men were gathered on the corner. And sure enough, as I waited for the light to change, four or five of them started walking towards me, looking very unfriendly despite their broad smiles.

“Nice bike, man.”

“I bet I’d look good on that bike.”

“Maybe you should let me ride it.”

Fortunately, right about then, the traffic cleared. And I took off on a sprint that would have won most stages of the Tour de France.

Later, when I discussed it with a friend of mine on the local police force, he suggested that in the future I should just run all the red lights and stop signs in that neighborhood. “There’s not a cop in the world that would give you a ticket for that,” he said.

Somehow, I have a feeling the LAPD might disagree.

I was reminded of that this evening when I read this post from Will Campbell.

It seems he was stopped at a red light at National and Venice, when a beat-up car blaring rap music pulled up on his left.

“That’s a nice bike, ” says the passenger to me over the lyrics that are mainly muthafuckin this and the muthafuckin that.

At face value that may seem a nice thing to say. But more often than not, such a statement is not a nice thing. More often than not, such a statement is not a compliment. More often than not it is not paid by a Century City lawyer or a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, but rather by some covetous lowlife, and it translates roughly into “I want your bike.” It’s a statement in the form of a demand along the converse lines that  “Where you from?” is a demand in the form of a statement. In short, it’s mostly rhetorical and arrives carrying a lot of baggage.

I give him a glance to find him presenting a general demeanor that would qualify as a definite lowlife. The hairs on my arms rise.

“Thanks!” I say too cheerily and I watch him looking over 8Ball like it’s another guy’s girl that he wants to get to know better 10 minutes ago. Looking away and ignoring him might have been the better tactic, But I didn’t employ it.

“What’ll you give me for it?” I ask and he takes his eyes off the bike and puts them on me and sits up a bit.

“How ’bout a beating?”

Fortunately, after a tense stare-down, both men in the car started laughing. “Nah, man. I’m just fuckin’ witcha,” he said, before driving off.

But it brings up yet another risk cyclists face on the streets.

Unlike drivers, who can lock their doors and roll up their windows — yet still risk getting jacked — cyclists are exposed and vulnerable to whoever might be passing by at any given moment. And we’ve got something worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars tucked between our legs, as well as wallets, cell phones and iPods in many cases.

Most of the time, it’s not a problem.

You keep your eyes open, and try to avoid certain streets and circumstances, especially after dark. Just like you would if you were on foot.

But things can happen. And you never know when you could find yourself in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people.

Like the mini crime-wave that stuck the Ballona Creek bikeway a couple years ago, prompting cyclists to reclaim the bike path. Or the female rider struck in the face with a baseball bat in a robbery attempt, or the two cyclists shot and wounded in separate incidents on the same night last year.

And it’s not just limited to L.A. Clearly, it can happen anywhere.

And does.

Then there’s this tragic incident that occurred yesterday in Paicoma, in which two teenage cyclists with no apparent gang ties were shot in an attack police believe was gang related — evidently, simply because they were riding their bikes in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to the LAPD blog,

On March 8, 2010 at around 6:44 p.m., officers from the Foothill Division responded to a radio call of an “Ambulance Shooting” on the 11200 block of Dronefield Avenue in Pacoima.  When officers arrived they found two male juveniles suffering from gunshot wounds.  The victims were 15 and 16-years-old, their names are being withheld.  Both victims were transported to a local hospital where the 15-year-old died from his wounds.  The 16-year-old was treated and remains hospitalized in stable condition.

A subsequent investigation determined that the victims were riding bicycles on Dronefield Avenue when a black vehicle, unknown make or model approached. An unknown male Hispanic suspect in the vehicle fired several rounds striking the victims multiple times.  This case is believed to be gang related, but neither victim has apparent gang ties.  There is no additional suspect information and the weapon is still outstanding.

Police ask anyone with information to call LAPD’s Foothill Homicide Detectives Gahry or Martinez at 818-834-3115.

We live with violence in our city by telling ourselves it doesn’t affect us, and can’t happen here.

But this young man was someone’s son.

He lived in this city.

And he died as one of us.

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