A driver stops to help keep a cyclist safe

September 21, 2011

I received an email yesterday from a reader who wanted to thank a stranger for an unexpected kindness on her morning commute.

I’ll let her tell the story:

The truck pulled over on the side of the road, for reasons she'd soon learn

Before I headed out this morning, my blinky clip snapped.  While fumbling to rubber-band it onto the loop on my bag, the push button fell off. I stabbed at the hole with a pencil to turn it on, and failed.  Undercaffeinated and cranky, I headed out into the misty dawn, feeding myself all kinds of nonsense:  It’s almost sunrise anyway; the bike lane is wide; drivers know there are cyclists along this route; the seat stay has a (completely insufficient) knoggy skull with blinking eyes, and besides my bag has (tiny) reflective straps.

Several miles into my commute, between four lanes of Pacific Coast Highway and a slim sandy strip of solid earth next to the wetlands, a big white pick-up truck suddenly zipped in front of me, crossed over the bike lane, and came to a quick stop, half parked on the sand.  I slowed to a crawl and wondered what was up.  Was the driver having a medical emergency?  Did he need to make a phone call?   Engine trouble of some sort, maybe?  The driver, a tall male, stepped out of the truck and opened the left passenger door.  Ah, okay, so something in the backseat had spilled, or was rattling around.  Or maybe he was double-checking a child’s safety seat.  But then he pulled out a flumpy dayglo vest, and I was instantly certain he’d be changing a tire.

I was wrong.

He turned in my direction and hailed me.  I had slowed way down because, you never know, if nothing else I could offer my cell if his didn’t have enough juice.

The unidentified driver; if you know him, say thanks for all of us

He said hi and explained he’d been passing me every morning all summer, and the mornings are getting darker now, with fall coming.  He held out a brand-new, reflective, dayglo mesh safety vest and said it was for me.

I kind of stared for a moment.

Naturally I accepted it.  Then, I kind of babbled.  I don’t remember about what, although I did kind of apologize that even though I know better, I remain too stupid to wear a helmet.  Then the guy dropped a bombshell that explained a great deal of his desire to illuminate me.

Last month, on this same stretch of highway, a drunken, impatient creep in a pick-up had used the bike lane to pass slower traffic, and had then struck a motorcyclist when swerving back out of the bike lane.  This happened at half past four on a cloudless, sparkling summer afternoon.  The drunk driver fled the scene.  Two days later, I read about this in the paper, and bemoaned the rotten human race with equally appalled friends.

This guy standing before me, handing me the gift of safety?  He had witnessed the crime and pulled over, along with another horrified witness.  He stopped and knelt by the severely injured cyclist and kept talking to him until the medics arrived.

The nearest fire station, staffed with at least two paramedic-level responders at all times, is literally within sight of the crime scene; I could see it in the distance beyond the Good Samaritan’s shoulder.  Our fire department has one of the fastest response times in the entire nation–in fact, in the world.  Yet to this bystander, and certainly to the injured party, it must have seemed an eternity until the medics arrived to provide care and transport.  It is difficult to deal with a person in agony even when you know what to do.  This guy had no medical training, but he did everything right: he did nothing that would exacerbate extant trauma, and he provided psychological comfort, which has a beneficial physiological effect.  Most importantly, he gave a damn, which is more than the perp who had left the biker for dead could be bothered to do.

I thought about heroes on the rest of my commute.  In an Ethan Coen poem (from his book titled, ironically, The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way), the narrator observes a crowd of good strangers assisting a toppled geezer, and after contemplating his own possible future topple, concludes with, “Golly, I hope I get good strangers.”

I know how to provide spinal immobilization, how to assess trauma, how to MacGyver an occlusive dressing, how to manage looky-loos, and I do it if I have to.  I hold the elevator, share my hand sanitizer, and hell yeah, I’ll cork an intersection for a wobbly abuelita who can’t make it across in time.  And if she topples, I’m right there.  I support the LACBC’s City of Lights program and carry extra reflective slap bands to hand out to the so-called “invisibles.”  And yet clearly I am so lacking in common sense for myself that I worry good strangers.

I didn’t get this guy’s name.  I didn’t offer mine.  Despite my appreciation, I don’t remember whether I even thanked him.  He’ll probably see me tomorrow morning, lit up like the Fourth of July, gratitude bouncing off my new high-vis vest in blinding beams.

Dude, whoever you are, wherever you are, thanks.  Not just for the vest, but for the reminder that there are good strangers out there.

We won’t get into the argument over whether hi-vis vests should be necessary for drivers to see us.

Or the necessity for motorists to drive safely and pay attention to others on the road with them — unlike the jerk who left the motorcyclist laying injured in the road.

Her story isn’t about that.

It’s about someone who cared enough about a total stranger to do what little he could to help keep her safe. And a rider who didn’t respond defensively, but instead accepted the gesture in the spirit it was intended.

It’s also the most uplifting thing I’ve read in a long time.

And something we could all learn from.

Myself included.


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

September 20, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proposed changes for Main Street in Venice

PROJECT BENEFITS

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

2. More trips by bicycle means less demand for parking

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

4. Deters speeding, increasing safety for all road users

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

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

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

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

ACTION

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

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

Today, that trial comes to an end.

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

……..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

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

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

Thanks to @bplusradsport for the tip.

……..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Including cyclists and pedestrians.

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

……..

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

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

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


Oregon woman killed in allegedly drunken Pasadena hit-and-run

September 19, 2011

Photo of the scene from @Waltarrrrr

Update: The victim has been identified as Jocelyn Young, a resident of Portland and a graduate of the University of Oregon; famed bike builder Gary Fisher reports she was the girlfriend of his son’s best friend.

You knew it wouldn’t last.

A remarkable stretch of nearly a full month without a Southern California bicycling fatality ended early Sunday morning when an Alhambra man allegedly fled the scene after running over a cyclist in Pasadena.

The Pasadena Sun reports that a 24-year old Oregon woman, who has not been publicly identified, was riding with her boyfriend on a 200 block of Los Robles Avenue near Cordova Street when she fell off her bike.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, she was then run over by a vehicle allegedly driven by 21-year old Nicholas Avila, who fled the scene. A witness followed him to his home, where he was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving; at last report, Avila was being held on $100,000 bond.

The victim was transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital, where she died of her injuries.

This is the first reported bicycling fatality anywhere in Southern California since Enrique Bautista was killed in South L.A. on August 23rd in yet another hit-and-run; no word on whether a suspect has been identified.

This is the 51st confirmed traffic-related fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in the County of Los Angeles. Five of the L.A. County fatalities, and 11 of the overall SoCal total, have been hit-and-runs.

Update: Douglas Wade emailed this morning to let us know that Nathan “Bud” Tippee of Valencia has died of the injuries he received when a car went out of control following a Lancaster collision, and struck him and his wife while they participated in a group ride. She was less severely injured.

Unfortunately, I can’t find any confirmation of Tippee’s death online, but that’s not unusual; the press often fails to follow-up in cases like this.

That raises the total of traffic-related cycling fatalities in L.A. County to 18, and 52 in the greater Southern California area.


Selling bamboo bikes in America to make a real difference in Africa

September 19, 2011

A couple weeks ago, Judy Bergstresser wrote to ask if I was familiar with Zambikes, a California/Zambia company with a unique business model.

I’ll let Judy explain it to you.

Zambikes builds bamboo frame bicycles in Zambia and sells them worldwide ($1250 for a complete roadbike) to provide jobs and skills for Zambians.
They use their profits to build and provide four models of steel frame working bikes to African citizens – a mountain bike, the Zamcart heavy load carrying trailer, a long cargo bike that can seat 4 plus, and the “Zambulance” bicycle ambulance trailer. You can imagine the profound value of the socialized income, the factory training and the bikes themselves in a country with deep unemployment, high illiteracy and terrible roads.

After looking into it a little, it sounds like a great program. And an innovative way to serve two markets at once — providing a unique handmade road or mountain bike to U.S. cyclists, while creating jobs and vital transportation in an area that desperately need both.

So I reached out to Vaughn Spethmann, one of the two American directors of the company for more information.

Here’s his response:

Ted,

I have attached a small pdf that will give your viewers a nice look at what we do. Zambikes is a Zambian company that has distributed over 10,000 bikes to teachers, pastors, nurses and other service people. With a bike these service people are 3 to 5 times more able to serve their community.

We have also distributed over 1200 bicycle cargo trailers for entrepreneurs and bicycle ambulances for rural health clinics. The entrepreneurs are able to make an income where opportunity and employment is hard to come by. Unemployment is over 60% there. With one of the cargo trailers we have seen individuals make over $20 a day bringing goods from rural areas to markets.

The bicycle ambulances we have distributed have had a even larger impact. They get pregnant women from homes, sometimes more then 20 miles away, to clinics. When birthing complications, dehydration and other factors come into play walking or being brought to a clinic in a wheel barrel is not a viable option. The bicycle ambulances are saving lives on a weekly basis.

Zambikes employs more then 40 men and women and they also make bamboo bikes. Each frame takes months to cut, treat, sand, paint and shape. These bamboo bikes are stiff, light and strong. Each frame is unique and is compatible with most parts. We sell road bikes, mountain and everything in between and any geometry or size.

To donate a bicycle ambulance to a rural health clinic go to abikes.org and do that through this great tax exempt non profit.

To get a bamboo bike straight from Zambia go to Zambikes.com and place your order today!

Thanks for the opportunity to share, Judy and Ted!

Seems to me that $1250 is a pretty low price for a custom frame bike — let alone one that will be the talk of everyone who sees it. And a chance to make a real difference for people to whom the average American struggling to pay his or her bills in a down economy still seems rich beyond all imagination.

As far as good causes go, this one seems like a no brainer.


Major road rage chutzpah, Jeannie Longo breaks my heart & LA’s anti-harassment ordinance spreads east

September 18, 2011

In an unbelievable display of chutzpah, the driver accused of running down a Highland Park cyclist in a road rage assault has spoken out against bikes lanes on North Figueroa.

According to the Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch, Louis Mraz used a recent meeting of the Mt. Washington Homeowners’ Alliance to warn that efforts by the recently formed Figueroa for All initiative could return the street to a single lane for cars and one for bikes, like it was in the ‘40s when the Red Cars reduced vehicular traffic to one lane in each direction.

Like that would be a bad thing.

Except for impatient road raging drivers, of course.

He went on to suggest that cyclists should be routed to less-traveled streets, warning that North Fig could soon become “jammed with bikes.”

Then again, he seems to take offense if there’s just one bike in his way. Or at least, that’s what he currently stands accused of.

Maybe it’s just me.

But I’d think that when you’re facing charges for a vehicular assault against a cyclist, it might be wise to keep any obvious anti-bike bias to yourself.

Especially if it’s not the first time you’ve been accused of a road rage attack.

……..

Tell me it ain’t so, Jeannie.

The legendary Jeannie Longo is under investigation for dodging dope tests, while her husband stands accused of buying EPO on her behalf.

This one just breaks my heart.

Longo is — or was — one of the greatest cyclists of all time, and certainly stands as one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege watching ride to victory. If she’s cheating, it raising the question of just how long and when she started. And casts pall on a career that’s lasted through parts of five decades.

And if one of the greatest riders of our time is cheating, then who isn’t?

Maybe Greg LeMond is right, and just about everyone except him is dirty. Or everyone after him, anyway.

Even teams famously dedicated to riding clean face problems, as HTC-Highroad rider Alex Rasmussen is fired from the team and suspended by Denmark’s cycling federation after missing three drug tests in 18 months.

It’s starting to look like a clean pro cyclist is about as rare a clean college football program.

……..

L.A.’s groundbreaking bicyclist anti-harassment could soon spread east as Washington DC considers a similar ordinance in the wake of a deliberate assault on a rider.

……..

Seattle’s bike-friendly mayor says it’s time to stop finding fault and start finding solutions to the city’s recent rash of bike deaths — including a rider who may have been killed by a bad bikeway design. And The Stranger says as long as cyclists are dying, if people want to think there’s a war against cars, then maybe there should be.

Meanwhile, a Seattle author takes cyclists to task for failing to share the road.

She’s got a point. But seriously, if a cyclist is pounding on your car when you’re busy taking on the phone — hands-free or otherwise — there’s a reasonable chance you may have done something to deserve it.

Just saying.

……..

A very positive year for L.A. cyclists — though the notoriously anti-bike L.A. Weekly bizarrely calls it ass-kissing — leads to an honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists. New LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega says L.A. is committed to becoming a more bike-friendly city. L.A. will soon get its first green bike lanes on 1st Street, and the Reseda Blvd bike lanes are now complete from Roscoe to Parthenia. Joe Linton explores the new Cahuenga Blvd bike lanes, the first to reach Hollywood. The BPIT agenda for October is officially unveiled. Bikerowave will host a swap meet on Sunday, October 2nd. Check out the shiny new CicLAvia website. Long Beach gets a new bike station. Thousand Oaks passes on hosting next year’s Amgen Tour of California. A mountain biker is killed by a train while riding on the tracks in Redding. A bike-riding Santa Cruz bank robber faces sentencing after pleading no contest; something tells me he’ll serve a lot more time for stealing money on a bike than most drivers get for killing someone on one. In a case that didn’t smell right from the beginning, CHP reverses itself to rule that a Los Altos Hills cyclist wasn’t responsible for the collision that killed her after all.

After beating back a challenge to bike funding in the federal transportation bill, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says biking facilities are absolutely important. Defending Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong is replaced by Amber Neben on the U.S squad for the World Championships. A Dutch student becomes the world’s second fastest cyclist at 82.81 miles per hour in a Nevada desert. Cyclists take to Boulder CO’s new 40-acre off-road bike park. The New York Times says don’t forget to pack your folding bike when you travel, while the bike wars continue in the letters to the Times; heads-up courtesy of George Wolfberg. NYC chooses Alta to run its bike share program. A Maryland woman becomes an unintended bike activist after a motorist is fined $507.50 for killing her bike-riding husband.

Mexico City cyclists ride to reclaim their streets following threats from a journalist. Brazil plans to devote 15% of all traffic fines to promote cycling. A Canadian writer concludes that law-flouting kamikaze bikers have declared war on pedestrians. A UK cyclist suffers a broken collarbone after being intentionally rammed in a road rage incident, while Sussex cyclists are being pelted with eggs. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has to tear down his beachfront bike hut. Surrey police target inconsiderate cyclists with a possible £1000 fine; link courtesy of Bob Davis. Bikes will soon be allowed on a Yorkshire pathway for the first time in 150 years. Hugh Jackman rides a Brompton. Sleek, sturdy wooden bikes that actually ride like, well, bikes. The NY Times swears Copenhagen pedestrians feel squeezed out by the city’s cyclists. Cyclists and drivers fight for supremacy on German roadways; Dave Moulton asks when cyclists in bike-friendly countries cross the line to become unfriendly to everyone else on the road. A Queensland cyclist remains unidentified after a fatal cycling collision — which is why you should always carry ID when you ride. China is falling back in love with the bicycle.

Finally, in case you missed it, an Orange County driver takes a short cut directly through Mission Viejo’s Rock N’ Road Cyclery. And Der Spiegel says L.A., here I come. No idea what it says, but the pictures are nice; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the link.


Sex Scandal Ride, Made in L.A. Bicycle Tour, Art Cycle & Venice NC discusses Main Street Road Diet

September 17, 2011

It’s another busy bike weekend on tap. And speaking of which, we’re only three weeks from L.A.’s 2nd annual Tour de Fat and a bigger and better CicLAvia III.

……..

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.

Saturday, September 17th, the 3rd Annual Art Cycle takes over Santa Monica Blvd from Vermont to Virgil Avenues. The events include a juried art competition, live music, bike tours of local galleries and architecture, food trucks and other activities for all ages along the original Route 66, from 2 pm to 10 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 online, children are $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.

Now this is what I call a bike ride. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Hollywood’s favorite sex shop is hosting the free Sex Scandal Bike Ride on Saturday the 17th from 4 pm to 6 pm. Riders are encouraged to wear sexy costumes as they tour the sites of various scandals on the 90 minute ride, then back to the Pleasure Chest for champagne, hot dogs and ice cream, 7733 Santa Monica Blvd.

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.

The Nautica Malibu Triathlon will be held on Saturday, September 17 (International Distances) and Sunday, September 18th (Classic Distance); there will also be a Tot Trot for kids under 12. World class pro cyclist Dave Zabriskie, founder of Yield to Life, will compete on a relay team with Goo Goo Dolls drummer Mike Malinin and Tom Hodge; the races will benefit the pediatric cancer research program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Flying Pigeon hosts its monthly Get Sum Dim Sum Ride at 10 am on Sunday, September 18th. Meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park, and bring cash to split the check. And while you’re at it, ask Josef what you can do to help remake the North Figueroa Corridor to make it more bike and pedestrian friendly.

The Venice Neighborhood Council will discuss the proposed Main Street Road Diet from 7 pm to 10 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 20th in the auditorium of the Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. Cyclists are urged to attend to support this vital project.

Help raise funds for the Bicycle Kitchen when FOK (Friends of the Kitchen) Rock invades the Echo on Wednesday, September 21st starting at 8 pm, 1822 West Sunset Blvd. Or name your price to download the multi-genre FOK Rock album starting on the 21st.

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 in the John Ferraro Council Chambers, Room 340 in L.A. City Hall, 200 North Spring Street (note the new location) 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.

Sunday, September 25th, Folk Art Everywhere hosts the next edition in their popular Folk Art Bike Rides with a tour of art, neighborhoods and unique gathering spots in Downtown L.A. The easy, family friendly ride will loosely follow the Gold Line, with fascinating stops and speakers along the way. The ride assembles at Mariachi Plaza at the N.E. corner of E. 1st Street and S. Boyle Ave at 10:45, with an 11 am departure.

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’s monthly Sunday Funday ride is scheduled to roll through the Santa Monica Mountains on Sunday, October 2nd; details to be determined.

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.

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. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Times columnist Hector Tobar will be honored; tickets are available online.

The Malibu Canyon Gran Fondo rolls on Saturday, October 30th, starting and ending at Saddlerock Ranch, 31743 Mulholland Hwy in Malibu, with rides of 65 miles — and 6,800 feet of climbing — 45 miles and 17 miles, as well as a kids ride along the ranch, with a picnic and after party to follow.

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 Sunday, November 13th, the LACBC unveils a perfect marriage of bikes and food with the 1st annual Tour de Taste in Culver City; more details soon.


An open letter to California Governor Jerry Brown in support of SB 910, the 3feet2pass bill

September 15, 2011

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to urge you to sign SB 910 to require motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing a person on a bicycle.

As a long-time bicyclist, I have ridden a bike on the streets and highways of California for nearly 25 years; over 130,000 miles by a conservative estimate. Yet there has not been one moment in all those miles that have I been free of the fear of being sideswiped or hit from behind by a driver attempting to pass too close, or being run off the road — intentionally or otherwise — by a driver interpreting the current requirement to pass at a safe distance as anything short of actual contact with a bike rider.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bike on our streets knows the dangers posed by being passed too closely. A rider can lose control after being startled to find a speeding car just inches away or swerve to get away from it; both can potentially result in serious, even fatal, accidents, without the vehicle ever coming in contact with the rider. Bike riders can be boxed in by passing cars and forced into parked cars, open doors or other objects, edged off the road or even knocked off their bikes by the slipstream of a large vehicle zooming past.

Serious collisions can also result when cyclists are forced to swerve to avoid potholes, broken glass or other obstacles in the road, only to find themselves in the path of an oncoming vehicle with potentially disastrous results.

At one time or another, all of those things have happened to me as I rode my bike in an otherwise safe and legal manner. It’s only through a combination of luck and the skills developed over a lifetime of bicycling that I am here today.

You have the power to take that danger away. By signing SB 910, you can ensure that California drivers understand just what a safe passing distance is when passing a bicyclist. And replace the current vague and misunderstood standard with one that is clear, easy to understand and enforceable, with no cost to the state.

I beg you to sign SB 910. My life, and the life of millions of California bicyclists, is in your hands.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
bikinginla.com

………

This is my letter.

Now the governor needs to hear from you.

There are powerful forces that oppose this commonsense legislation to make our streets safer for California cyclists. And it will take all of us joined together in support of SB 910, the 3feet2pass pass bill, to make sure he hears our voices.

You can write your own letter and email it to the California Bicycle Coalition to forward to the governor, or fax it to the governor’s office at 916/558-3177. Or simply go here and fill in your personal information to send a pre-formatted email containing all the key points, along with your personal comments, in just seconds.

Don’t wait.

Send your letter in support of SB 910 today. Now, in fact.

And make your voice heard for safer streets for all of us.

……..

One other quick note — I received the following announcement from Eric Weinstein about Friday’s Park(ing) Day:

Santa Monica is getting a new park. For Park(ing) day tomorrow ( Friday ) SPOKE is setting up a temporary park in front of Swingers cafe on Broadway where it intersects Lincoln. Starts at 9AM or so – come on by and park! More info: www.parkingday.org


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