Ever have one of those days?

August 31, 2011

My apologies.

Yesterday was just one of those days that started bad, and continued a downhill slide until I finally made it to bed, nearly two hours later — and in a much worse mood — than usual.

From the sleepus interuptus of the previous night, to hardware and software issues that had me rebooting my computer and internet service multiple times throughout the day. And not only cost me two days worth of links I’d been saving, but finally made me give up on any hope of writing anything at all last night.

Not to mention a small 2nd degree burn acquired while preparing dinner last night. And a spam attack that had me deleting comments that slipped through the spam filter throughout the day.

So those legal updates I promised you will have to wait another day. Which is okay, because I’m still trying to get a little more information on some of them.

Fortunately, one of the most brilliant features of this world we live in, whether by design or coincidence, is an opportunity to start fresh with every rising sun.

Each dawn is an opportunity to put the previous day’s problems behind you. And a reminder to take your life one day at time, without agonizing about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow.

It’s a concept that goes back at least 2,000 years. And one that the late, great — and sadly forgotten — Dale Carnegie suggested, stressing the need to live in what he called day-tight compartments, without allowing the past or future to leak into the present.

Easier said than done.

Still, those of us who travel on two wheels have an opportunity that others miss, to climb onto our bikes and, for at least that amount of time, to put all of life’s worries and aggravations on a shelf. And just enjoy the ride, whether we’re training, running errands or riding to work or school.

Or just riding.

And as so often happens, by the time we’re done, the world looks a little different. We may come up with the solution to our problems while we’re navigating the streets, or just forget about them for awhile.

Either way, I seldom end a ride without finding myself in a better mood than I started. Even if I started on top of the world.

So I’m going to spend the morning on my bike, and ride the route I didn’t get to ride yesterday. Maybe adding another 20 miles or so to make up for lost time.

I promise to get back to work a little later, and deliver the news I hinted at yesterday.

No, really. Cross my heart.

And in the meantime, here are the links that survived the day to keep you going until we meet again.

……..

The 7th Street bike lanes and road diet make it all the way to the edge of Downtown — yet for some reason, the cyclists in the picture prefer to ride in the buffer zone. The LookOut News asks if cycling in safe in SaMo. Streetsblog looks at best practices by examining Santa Monica’s Bike It! Day. A Lynwood cyclist is seriously injured in yet another hit-and-run. The Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills has a golden opportunity to create a linear town square connecting the Golden Triangle with Century City. When cities don’t make room for cyclists, drivers wonder why they should. Following the death of a cyclist killed a collision with a police car in a classic SWSS, Bakersfield cyclists become more vigilant — not surprising when even the cops are running them down. A Sausalito cyclist rear-ends a stopped car. A Ukiah driver reports cyclists for hogging the road (scroll down). An Alameda writer asks if cycling can ever be cool. Not surprisingly, the bike wins yet again in a race through San Francisco traffic. A law-abiding Marin cyclist asks why some people act like idiots when they get on a bike; why indeed?

Boulder CO follows Portland’s lead and goes Danish, not Dutch. New ghost bikes cause Memphis merchants to reconsider bike lanes; yes, it’s hard to turn a profit when your potential clients keep getting killed. Ambassadors for better bike behavior in the Big Apple. The New York Times profiles the Cannibal — one of the greatest bike racers of all time; no offense to Lance, but I’d put my money on Merckx. Virginia Beach VA plans a bike lane along a dangerous stretch of roadway.

The Urban Country offers an insightful look at that unique form of harassment that equates cycling with being gay. Scot cycling champ Graeme Obree tells athletes to stay in the closet. Bike scribe Carlton Reid offers a free download of his newly expanded Bike to Work eBook. If cyclists demanded it, the UK could have the backbone of a Dutch-style cycling network in 10 years. Alberto Contador’s arbitration hearing will finally be heard this November, barring yet another delay or more Spanish beef.

Finally, a Santa Clara cyclist threatens to cut a stranger in half with a sword. And a teenaged Placerville cyclist intentionally crashes into a parked car — possibly separating his shoulder — and files a false hit-and-run report to hide the fact that he’d ditched school to smoke dope with his friends.


Streetsblog benefit in SaMo, Walk It or Lock It in Long Beach, better biking in Beverly Hills & outrage in TN

August 30, 2011

I’ve got a long list of legal matters to catch up on — including reader insights into last week’s road rage assault in Santa Monica, first reported by Mihai Peteu on Bikeside.

As well as a letter written by the underage, allegedly drunk driver who nearly killed cyclist Adam Rybicki in Torrance earlier this year. And the driver who called police pretending to be a witness to the collision that killed cyclist Hung Do before being arrested for the crime himself.

But in the meantime, as I rush from riding to meetings to work and back again — let alone trying to squeeze in a little sleep into to process — let me offer a reminder about today’s Streetsblog benefit at Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse.

As it turns out, I won’t be able to make it this time. But if you can make it, I strongly recommended heading to 2911 Main Street for some New Belgium beer, raffle, auctions and a cargo bike worth of fun. Along with a lot of good people having a good time for a good cause.

And yes, there will be a bike valet.

……..

Long Beach is kicking off the Walk It or Lock It campaign to remind cyclists that it’s against the law to ride bikes on the sidewalk in the city’s business districts.

Police will be handing out safety cards to instruct riders to either walk their bikes or lock them up in areas including Broadway and Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach, Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls, Second Street in Belmont Shore, “Retro Row” on Fourth Street, and Cambodia Town on Anaheim Street.

And if you haven’t already, Long Beach residents are encouraged to take five minutes to complete the city’s 2011 Bike Safety Survey.

……..

Hats off to what — hopefully — will soon be the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

Along with a number of other bike advocates and local residents and business people, I attended last night’s meeting of the city’s Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee.

For a town that currently lacks a single inch of biking infrastructure, the representatives from Beverly Hills were surprisingly committed to changing the situation and getting test projects off the ground — or rather, on the ground — as quickly as possible. And remarkably open to suggestions, including innovative ideas that are just starting to gain acceptance elsewhere.

Make no mistake. They have a very long way to go, and still have to sell the idea of biking infrastructure to a city government and populace likely to cast a wary eye on two-wheeled interlopers in their city.

And the toughest challenge, recreating Santa Monica Boulevard in a format that will be inviting to cyclists — or at least less likely to risk our lives — still awaits discussion down the road.

But they’re off to a good start. And with a far more positive and approachable attitude than many other cities I could name.

If you live or ride through Beverly Hills — or would like to if it was a little safer and more inviting — sign up with LACBC affiliate Better Bike to get involved and stay abreast of the latest happenings.

……..

Finally, allow me a moment of sheer outrage, as a Tennessee woman is threatened with arrest for the crime of allowing her 10-year old daughter to ride her bike to school.

According to Bike Walk Tennessee, Teresa Tyron of Elizabethton thought her daughter had a reasonably safe 7 – 9 minute ride to school in the tiny town near the border with North Carolina.

Evidently, the authorities disagreed.

Teresa Tryon said, “On August 25th my 10 year daughter arrived home via police officer, requested to speak to me on the front porch of my home. The officer informed me that in his ‘judgment’ it was unsafe for my daughter to ride her bike to school.”

She followed up by contacting the mayor and chief of police. But instead of getting the apology any rational person would have expected, she was told that the officer would be contacting Child Protective Services — and that she could be arrested for child neglect if she allowed her daughter to ride to school in the meantime.

So let me get this straight.

A town of just 13,000 people is so dangerous that children can’t safely ride their bikes on the streets.

Of course, they don’t say whether the danger stems from the horrible traffic conditions, which surely must be far worse than those of the Los Angeles area, where children are encouraged to ride to class, though few actually do.

Then again, maybe the town is so overwhelmed with child molesters and other criminal sorts that it is unsafe for anyone to ever be outside of their homes day or night. Let alone a child.

Or maybe city officials have their collective heads so far up their own collective asses that the entire collective city government would have to visit a proctologist just to get their glasses cleaned.

If the problem is the condition of the streets, it’s up to the mayor and other city officials to make them safe — not parents to keep their children off them. If it’s a fear of criminal activity, the police should stop harassing parents and start arresting criminals until families don’t have to be afraid to let their children go out alone for less than 10 minutes on the way to and from school.

But if it’s the latter problem — which I would highly suspect — local residents should seriously consider riding the police chief, mayor and anyone else involved in this idiotic process out of town on a rail.

And replace them with far more rational people who understand that riding a bike to school isn’t a crime, and should in fact be encouraged in this day of rampant childhood obesity. And willing to do their damn jobs to make the streets safe for everyone.

Maybe they could use a little gentle encouragement to see the light.


Update: Car hits group ride in Lancaster following collision, husband and wife injured

August 27, 2011

Intersection where collision occurred; photos courtesy of Sarge and Michele Chavez

Once again, cyclists are collateral damage on the roads of Southern California.

According to a report from the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, a husband and wife from Valencia were seriously injured when two vehicles collided in the middle of a Lancaster intersection.

Approximately 20 cyclists were participating in a group ride organized by a local bike shop. As they crossed the intersection of Avenue L and 4th Street West Avenue L and Division Street around 8 pm, a PT Cruiser struck a minivan that was traveling next to them, forcing the van into the couple’s path.

Despite wearing a helmet, the husband suffered head trauma and is in critical condition in a local hospital; the wife is listed stable condition with moderate injuries. Neither has been publicly identified.

More information when it becomes available.

Update: A comment left by Whitney, who was on the ride, says that that collision occurred at approximately 8 am, rather than 8 pm as the L.A. Times and other sources have reported. She offers a little insight into what happened:

The group followed all rules of the road; we were barely into the ride, just starting out, less than a mile from starting. A car ran a red light and exactly as Opus shares, no one, no action, could have prevented this with the exception of the driver of the car that ran the light at high speed.

Even if the 2 cyclists were off to the side of the road, it is possible with the speed of the car at cause, and the trajectory of the car it hit, no “spot” was safe to be. In fact, different angle and the rest of us could have been hit.

Be safe, fellow cyclists, as none of us set out on Saturday morning with anything other than the camaraderie of a group ride in mind. Do whatever you can to raise awareness with your group. No doubt someone from our group will reach out for help, to help this family.

Again, the ride was at 8am, not 8pm. Daylight, morning, not evening. Should be safe right? Perhaps cameras at stop lights aren’t such a bad thing, at least, to capture cause when something like this happens, since all too often these events are at intersections.

Whitney offers an interesting suggestion.

Even with the removal of red light cameras in Los Angeles and other cities in the Southland, there are still thousands of traffic control cameras installed at the busier intersections.

It shouldn’t cost much to expand that system to cover most major intersections, not just to monitor traffic, but to provide evidence to police, attorneys and insurance companies in the event of a collision. Maybe that’s something that could be funded by the legal and insurance professionals who have a financial stake in determining exactly who is at fault in serious wrecks.

And Whitney and Opus raise another good point. Chances are, no one could have avoided a collision like this. Sometimes events occur so swiftly that escaping is not an option. 

However, it’s important to remember that similar tragedies have resulted to death and serious injuries to other drivers, pedestrians, people waiting at bus stops, customers and employees in nearby businesses, and even people in the presumed safety of their own homes. Once a vehicle goes ballistic, there’s no way to control who or what it hits, or who gets hurt as a result. 

This is not proof, as some will undoubtedly suggest, that bicycling is dangerous.

But rather, that cars are — especially in the hands of dangerous, careless and/or speeding drivers.

My heartfelt prayers for the victims, and all their family and loved ones.

Update: I’m told that the husband, Nathan “Bud” Tippee, has died of his injuries. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any confirmation in the press, but that’s not unusual; the press often doesn’t follow-up on stories involving critically injured traffic victims. If I get any more details, I’ll let you know.


A meditation on bicycling, advocacy, failure and mortality, and your weekend events

August 27, 2011
“There’s no place in this world where I’ll belong when I’m gone
And I won’t know the right from the wrong when I’m gone
And you won’t find me singing on this song when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”
— Phil Ochs, When I’m Gone
 

My father died a failure.

At least, that’s what he thought. Although a funeral that filled the largest Catholic church in town, in what was then a largely Catholic town, would tend to suggest otherwise.

But as a lifelong mechanic and mail carrier, he struggled to feed his family; a meager pension and social security meant there was nothing left to pass on to his children when his time came, far too soon at far too young an age.

Twenty years later, it still feels like a knife to the heart to know that those were among his last words and thoughts.

Yet he left behind four strong, healthy children more than capable of fending for themselves, and not one of whom ever doubted for a single moment that they were loved.

And I can’t think of any better definition of success than that.

But lately, I’ve come to understand the feeling.

After three years of battling the current economic meltdown, I have almost nothing left to leave my wife if anything were to happen to me.

It wasn’t always like this.

A dozen years ago, I was on my way to becoming a VP of Marketing, with the six-figure salary that came with it, for with a company so cool that Apple’s engineers and designers turned to it for inspiration. But internal politics and a corporate bankruptcy put an end to that.

It didn’t take long to bounce back, though. Within a few years I’d built up a lucrative freelance practice, writing advertising, marketing materials and strategic briefs for accounts ranging from local builders to Fortune 100 companies.

Yet over the past few years, the recession has taken its toll. Almost all of my clients have either gone belly up or zeroed out their marketing budgets; the few that haven’t have seen a 100% turnover in their marketing departments, so the people who would have to hire me now don’t even know who I am.

Yes, I could rebuild yet again.

But just as the economy started to go south, my close call with the Infamous Beachfront Bee Encounter caused me to confront my own mortality. And accept that, at this point in life, the time I have left on this planet is shorter than it is long.

Like anyone else, it could measured in days or weeks, or it could be decades. But no one gets out of this world alive.

And I’m not likely to be the exception.

Fortunately, I have never feared my own death. I was lucky to discover The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius in my early teens; if an emperor of ancient Rome could accept his own mortality, I could as well.

So when my time comes, I expect to greet it like an old friend. On the other hand, it’s one I hope not to meet for a very long time.

I also accepted long ago that it may come while I’m riding my bike.

Not because bicycling is inherently dangerous, but simply because I spend more time on my bike than almost anything else I do. If I spent that much time behind the wheel, it would be just as likely to happen there.

Then again, with a family history of heart disease, diabetes and cancer — and exposure to second-hand smoke for the first 12 years of my life — it’s far more likely I’ll have my own family to blame.

As I slowly recovered from my injuries, though, I came to the conclusion that whatever time I have left should be spent trying to make a difference in this world. And that it was time to redirect my life from convincing people they can’t live without this thing or that thing to doing what I can do to improve bicycle safety, and ensure that everyone who sets out on a bike comes back home again. And in one piece.

As a result, I’ve focused most of my efforts on writing this blog, as well as doing what I can as an advocate for bicycle safety, on my own and as a member of the LACBC Board of Directors.

Yet even though it’s become the equivalent of a full time job — plus overtime — it seems like it’s not enough sometimes. Every cycling death or serious injury feels like a failure; every rider run off the road is a reminder of just how far we have to go.

And yes, I do take it personally.

Every meeting I can’t attend, every day I don’t write something for this blog — this past morning, for instance — it feels like I should be doing more, even though it already seems like I’m doing more than I can.

There are others who would agree. And still others who do far more that I do.

But after all these years, it finally feels like I’ve found my calling. Simply put, there’s nothing I would rather do than what I’m doing right now. Even if, three years later, all I have to show for it is a $25 gift card and a pair of bike socks.

Some days, when the bills outweigh the funds on hand and the news and inattentive drivers conspire to remind me just how vulnerable we can be out there, I understand all too well how my father felt, and why.

But I also believe the solution is an inherent part of every problem. And tomorrow is a new day, with opportunities blooming like bougainvilleas if we can just see past the obstacles in our way.

So let’s keep up the fight.

And maybe we’ll finally reach that day when the last bike death will be the last bike death.

“And I won’t be laughing at the lies when I’m gone
And I can’t question how or when or why when I’m gone
Can’t live proud enough to die when I’m gone
So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”

……..

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

This Saturday, August 27th, Santa Monica Spoke will answer all your questions about biking in SaMo and the new Draft Bicycle Action Plan at the 10th Street Neighborhood Potluck Block Party from noon to 4 pm on 10th Street between Olympic and Michigan.

Also on Saturday the 27th, the Culver City Bicycle Coalition is hosting their monthly Family Ride starting at 10 am at the Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Blvd in downtown Culver City. The easy ride will travel from downtown to the annual Fiesta La Ballona, where you’ll find a free bike valet hosted by Palms Cycle and the CCBC.

The Beverly Hills Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee meets from 5 pm to 7 pm on Monday, August 29th at 345 Foothill Road. Cyclists who ride through the biking black hole that is Beverly Hills — or would like to if it was more inviting to cyclists — are urged to attend.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit for Streetsblog LA from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm; a portion of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street. Events will include a raffle, drink specials and possibly a bike valet.

Flying Pigeon hosts three popular rides each month, starting with the Brewery Ride at 3 pm on Saturday, September 3rd, followed by the Spoke(n)Art Ride at 6 pm Saturday, September 10th and the Get Sum Dim Sum ride at 10 am on Sunday, September 18th. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

On Sunday, September 4th, the LACBC will hold the next monthly Sunday Funday Ride, hosted by LACBC Board President Chet Kostrzewa; the ride starts at 9:30 am at the Wolf Creek Brewery in Valencia, 27746 McBean Parkway. Or join the riders at the end of the ride for beer and brunch at Wolf Creek Brewery; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LACBC. (Note: an earlier version said the ride started at 11:30; it actually begins at 9:30 and will conclude around 11:30.)

Wednesday, September 7th, Victims Impact Statements will be held in the case of Stephanie Segal, charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run in the death of cyclist James Laing; Segal reportedly had a BAC of .26 at the time of the collision. The hearing starts at 8:30 am in Department 1 of the Malibu Courthouse, 23525 Civic Center Way; cyclists are urged to attend wearing bike jerseys, but no shorts are allowed in the courtroom.

Saturday, September 10th, the Santa Monica Spoke hosts the Dinner & Bikes Tour from 7 to 9 pm with leading bike scribe and advocate Elly Blue, vegan chef Joshua Ploeg and Joe Biel, founder of Microcosm Publishing; tickets are $7 to $20 on a sliding scale, location to be determined.

The 2011 Far West and SCNCA Elite Track Cycling Championships comes to the Encino Velodrome on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday, September 11th at 17301 Oxnard Street, at the edge of Balboa Park in Encino. Gates open at 8 am; racing starts at 9 both days.

Elly Blue’s Dinner & Bikes Tour repeats on Monday, September 12th from 7 pm to 9 pm, this time hosted by the LACBC in the 1st Floor Edison Room of the MALDEF Building, 634 S. Spring Street. This time, the admission is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Flying Pigeon LA.

Also on Monday, September 12th, the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils is hosting a town hall meeting with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the Felicia Mahood Senior Citizen Center, 11338 West Santa Monica Blvd. Light refreshments start at 6:30, with the Mayor’s presentation & questions and answers from 7 pm to 8:15 pm.

Saturday, September 17th from 8 am to noon, Amigos De Los Rios hosts the easy, family-friendly Healthy El Monte Community Bike Ride at Pioneer Park, 3535 Santa Anita Blvd in El Monte. Register before September 8th and get a free T-Shirt, raffle ticket, lunch and bike bottle; children $5, adults $10.

Also on Saturday the 17th, C.I.C.L.E. LA invites you to join in the Made in L.A. Bicycle Tour from 1 pm to 4 pm starting a the L.A. State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Street in Downtown L.A. The eight mile family-friendly ride will visit sites including Homeboy Industries, El Pato Factory and the Angel City Brewery.

Head up to Palo Alto on Saturday, September 17 for the Echelon Gran Fondo, with rides of 65, 80 or 95 miles, as well as a fundraising walk, run or ride and A Taste of Palo Alto. The ride benefits Bikes Belong, parent organization of both People for Bikes and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The goal is to raise $10,000; if you can’t make the ride, you can still donate and get some cool Bikes Belong swag.

You’re invited to Think Bikes with the Dutch when the General Council of the Netherlands joins with the LACBC and the City of L.A. to present ThinkBike Los Angeles. The public is welcome to the Opening Session from 9 am to 10:30 am on Thursday, September 22nd at the LADOT, 100 South Main Street, and the Closing Session, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at LAPD Headquarters, 100 West 1st Street. Preregistration is required for both the Opening and Closing sessions.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 3 miles north into Chinatown and south into South L.A.

You’re invited to participate in the Gladiator Rock’n Run at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, October 1st. Not bike related, but at least they’re offering a discount for cyclists; enter code GLADIATORZ10 (all caps) to save $10 on registration.

The LACBC is co-hosting a weekend-long training program for bicycle and pedestrian advocates with the Alliance for Biking and Walking from Friday, October 14th through Sunday, October 16th, 634 S. Spring Street, Suite 821.

The LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. Tickets will be available for $45 later this year.

Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13th, the Eastside Bike Club hosts the LA Tamale Throwdown at a site to be determined, offering a chance to sample some of the city’s best tamales, coffee and pan Mexicano; bike valet courtesy of Flying Pigeon LA.

And mark your calendar for Sunday, November 13th, when the LACBC unveils a marriage of bikes and food with the 1st annual Tour de Taste in Culver City.


Update: You’re invited to ThinkBikes with the Dutch, and half a week’s worth of lip-smacking bike links

August 25, 2011

In case you didn’t get the invitation, the Consulate General of the Netherlands is cooperating with the City of Los Angeles and the LACBC to host ThinkBike Los Angeles in September.

Yes, you’re invited.

No really, I asked. Just be sure to register in advance.

And you’re welcome.

According to the invitation:

On September 22nd and 23rd, 2011, the Consulate General of the Netherlands, in cooperation with the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, will host ThinkBike, a unique, bi-national bicycle promotion and design workshop.

Bikeway design experts from the Netherlands will lead a series of workshops in Los Angeles to discuss how the Netherlands has successfully implemented a comprehensive program to promote cycling and to make specific recommendations on how Los Angeles can improve the comfort and safety of its bicycle route network. Over the course of two days, the Dutch design experts will work closely with teams of Los Angeles designers and community stakeholders to generate project proposals that feature innovative design ideas to meet the multifaceted cycling needs of Angelenos.

Opening Session (September 22nd from 9:00am to 10:30am): Welcome address by Consul General Bart van Bolhuis and Jaime de la Vega, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Dutch guests will share with elected officials, department heads, and business and community leaders how the Netherlands has instituted programs and policies to increase bicycling.

Closing Session (September 23rd from 3:30pm to 5:30pm):Closing Session led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Consul General Bart van Bolhuis. Teams of local and Dutch experts will unveil to the public the project proposals resulting from the intensive, two-day design workshops.

The Netherlands Embassy works with North American cities through the ThinkBike initiative to bring Dutch bicycling experts together with local planners, engineers, transportation experts, community representatives and advocates to help improve conditions for biking. A recognition of Los Angeles’ growing stature as a bicycle-friendly city, this event promises to be an exciting opportunity to showcase what cutting-edge bikeway design can do for Los Angeles.

ThinkBike LA Opening Session
Thursday, September 22nd

9:00 – 10:30 AM

Los Angeles Department of Transportation  
Main Conference Room / CalTrans Building

100 South Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Register for the Opening Session
ThinkBike LA Closing Session
Friday, September 23rd

3:30 – 5:30 PM

Los Angeles Police Department
Deaton Hall Auditorium

100 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Register for the Closing Session

……..

Update: In my rush to get this online last night, I inadvertently left out the most important story of the day.

Joe Linton offers a detailed analysis of LADOT’s claimed bikeway mileage, showing the city has installed far fewer miles of bikeways than they had claimed — including taking credit for restriping bike lanes that already existed. It’s a long, detailed analysis, but a must read for every cyclist in the city.

And my apologies to Joe, and everyone else, for the late addition.

……..

Help kick off a self-inflating commuter bike tire on Kickstarter, and get a $50 discount — okay, $49.90 — when they hit the market.

……..

Long time pro George Hincapie kicks ass at 12,000 feet, while Team Type 1 cyclist Daniele Callegarin is flown to Denver with serious injuries after a crash in the Pro Challenge. The problem with new pro tours like Colorado’s Pro Cycling Challenge is that they’re new. Bike stage racing is like chess on wheels; why doesn’t anyone ever say it’s like Bingo or Monopoly?

Joaquin Rodriguez takes the fifth stage of the Vuelta a Espana, while Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel hold’s the leader’s jersey; Taylor Phinney breaks the cardinal rule of the grupetto on one of his most difficult days. Claremont Cyclist looks forward to the Vuelta; for some, it offers a chance at redemption, for others, it’s just a great race.

And Alexander Vinokourov unretires for the tour of Lombardie.

……..

LADOT says the Main Street road diet needs your help, while 7th Street cyclists get a separated bike lane. Bicycle Fixation says the ship is turning at LADOT and it’s about time. Oh, and the Hudson Troll Hole is back, too. Help name the North Figueroa Revitalization and Bikeway Group, as they start planning for bikeways on north Fig. Santa Monica’s Bike Action Plan enters the home stretch. Barry Bonds bikes in Marina del Rey. Interesting market plan, as a new firm will deliver your WeHo Whole Foods order by bike. The West Hollywood Bike Coalition takes shape to fight for better biking in Boy’s Town. Better Bike updates where things stand in 90210. The Urban Biking Handbook is now available, courtesy of Bicycle Kitchen cook Charles Haine. Mountain bikers are banned from a popular Placerita Canyon trail. A bicycle ride is not a race. They may not have homes, but at least they’ve got bikes thanks to some San Gabriel Valley high school students. A 65-year old Arcadia man who lost both legs in Vietnam rides cross-country for charity; I take back every thought I had about how hard my last ride was.

When Frank Peters recommends Safe Routes to Schools, a commenter calls it anti-car propaganda; sure, not wanting little kids to get killed on the way to class means you must hate motor vehicles — there should be an IQ test before you’re allowed to use the Internet. In a big victory for local riders, San Diego will now train its police officers on cyclists rights and the laws of bicycling; here’s the order they issued. The Modesto Bee says we have to go back to the basics we learned as children, and co-exist as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. An Alameda County deputy probation officer faces charges in the death of a cyclist last June. A bike built to ride at 75 mph takes shape in Atascadero. A Menlo Park cyclist is killed on the same section of expressway that’s seen two previous fatalities, including Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Halberstam. After graduating from a Modesto high school, a student plans to ride his bike to college at the University of San Diego. A San Francisco cyclist is injured at a problematic intersection. Two children are injured when their bike trailer is hit by a car in Vallejo.

Bike-friendly cities are better for all road users. Just like children in Lake Wobegon, all American drivers above average, or at least think they are. The League of American Bicyclists offers five steps to riding better, and says there’s no better vehicle in emergency situations than a bicycle. Bicycling recommends 11 summer beers for post-ride recovery; now that’s a recovery drink I can get behind. Ten tips to lose weight by riding your bike. National Geographic looks at the Velomobiles that are currently touring the U.S. To kill someone in Alaska, use a car, not a gun. A 7-year old cyclist from Truckee rides the highest paved road in America. A Cincinnati ice cream truck driver returns a bike taken from a teenage bike crash victim. Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady bike with their sons in Boston. New York lawyers fight for the rights of cyclists; you’ll find a few good ones like that over there on the right. One thing we can learn from New York is to engineer people into city planning. OMG, the Daily News finds cyclists riding on a pedestrian walkway, proof that we’re all dangerous hooligans and that NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is the Anti-Christ; seriously, Daily News, get over it already. Three upstate New York men complete the cross-country bike ride halted by a collision 25 years earlier. Cyclists paved the way for paved roads. The father of professional triathlete Sara McLarty is killed in the most dangerous state for cyclists and pedestrians; thanks to Michael Byerts for the heads-up.

A Brit cyclist steals his bike back from the thieves who stole it. A London cyclist is killed by a bus while riding to move in with his girlfriend. Bicycling contributes £3 billions a year to the British economy. A Derbyshire writer suggests taxing sensible cyclists who wear helmets and — get this — knee and elbow pads. A UK cyclist makes a miraculous recovery after being just hours from having his life support disconnected. I love this story, as a 75-year old UK man plans to ride 75 miles on a 75-year old bike to raise money for an asthma charity. Town Mouse discovers a new device that tells you where to go just like a GPS, but actually folds into your pack. Speaking of the Dutch, I want to be just like this guy when I grow up; thanks to Amsterdamize for the link. An American man demonstrates why you don’t ride a bike in a war zone. Black and Jewish cyclists ride together in South Africa.

Finally, an economic analyst says Mexican motorists should flatten cyclists. No, really, that’s what he said.

I think the drivers I faced coming home through Brentwood on Wednesday must have taken his advice to heart. And maybe these drivers did, too.


Update: 50-year old cyclist killed by hit-and-run driver in South L.A.

August 24, 2011

As reported here last night, a cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run collision in an unincorporated area near Compton.

The bike rider, identified as 50-year old Enrique Lemus Bautista, was riding north on Avalon Blvd when he was hit by a dark colored car travelling west on Redondo Beach Blvd shortly after 9 pm Tuesday. The car, described as a black BMW, never stopped.

According to the Daily Breeze, witness reports conflicted, preventing CHP investigators from determining who had the right-of-way. It was also unknown if the driver was speeding.

No other information is available at this time.

As far as I’m concerned, though, anyone who leaves another human being to die in the street should be charged with murder, regardless of who is at fault.

This is the 50th confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in L.A. County. It’s also the 10th fatal hit-and-run involving a cyclist, and the 4th in the County of Los Angeles.

Thanks to Rex Reese for the KCBS-2 link.


Cyclist killed in South L.A.

August 23, 2011

Dispatches from the California Highway Patrol indicate that a cyclist may have been killed in the South L.A./Compton area tonight.

According to the report, a bicycle rider was hit while crossing the intersection of Avalon Blvd and East Redondo Beach Blvd in West Compton around 9:11 pm; the cyclist was pronounced dead around 9:23.

While the report is listed as a possible fatality, it also indicates that the Coroner was called to the scene.

More details as they become available.

Update: Total Traffic L.A. confirms that a cyclist was killed at that intersection; Redondo Beach Blvd is closed from San Pedro to Avalon. 

This is the 50th confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in L.A. County.

Update 2: I’m told that KTTV Fox 11 reported tonight that this collision was a hit-and-run; no link to the story yet. KTLA-5 confirms that it was hit-and-run.


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