Thursday, October 22, 2009

Work Monster Attacks

BUSINESS PKWY

In an unfortunate bit of timing, right now when so much is going in the world of cycling in Los Angeles, with the Mandeville road rage trial in progress, the LA Bike Plan short comings, and plenty of other things going on, I am super slammed for an extended period at work. This whole job thing pays for my bikes and student loans so I must beckon it's call. I won't be able to contribute much to the discussion of cycling for a little while longer, but in the meantime there are lots of other great blogs and news sources following what's going on. If you aren't already reading some of the other cycling blogs in LA, check out my links in the sidebar.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get Involved, Discuss The L.A. Bicycle Plan With Peers

Unfortunately I cannot attend this event due to work commitments, but if you want to start getting directly involved in the process to shape the future plans for cycling in Los Angeles I highly recommend getting out to LA City College this weekend [moved to Hollywood Adventist Church, see note below]. The LADOT has it's official public input meetings planned, but this is a meeting just for cyclists to engage with each other and formulate a game plan to shape the L.A. Bicycle Plan into a document worth adopting.

From Westside BikeSide

This Saturday the Bike Writers Collective invites you to change the course of cycling in LA. Join us Saturday, at 1pm at LA City College, adjacent to the Bike Kitchen, to review, discuss, and critique the draft LA Bike Master Plan with your peers (Facebook event). It’s the LA Bike Working Group, and we’ll be working to inform, learn, and focus on the LABMP. I’ll be there, Stephen Box will be there, along with many others to facilitate the discussion. We’ll briefly discuss the plan, and then promptly break into groups to discuss it more energetically.

This is your opportunity to engage in a free for all of ideas. Together we can become better informed and more effective as a community in owning our Bike Plan! Unlike the upcoming community meetings, sponsored by the city, this meeting will focus on no holds barred discussion by cyclists, for cyclists. This is unstructured, knock down, drag out, nitty gritty discussion that will leave you bursting at the seems with ideas and information. Coming out of it we hope to have a more focused, deep, and effective community critique of the plan for the community meetings.

Bring your laptop so that we can look over the plan together. (It’s 600 pages, so we ain’t printing it! SAVE A F*&%ING TREE!)

UPDATE:

We lost LACC but have the Fellowship Hall of the 7th Day Adventist Church on Hollywood Blvd @ Van Ness.

Hollywood Adventist Church, 1711 N. Van Ness Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028

Visit LABikePlan.com for more information.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tragedy On A Bicycle Built For Two

BIKE MEMORIAL  100609 001
Kylie Bruehler at a funeral service to bury her parents, struck by an out of control motorist in San Antonio Texas. Local cyclists form an honor guard. (Photo by Tom Reel/Express-News)

Something about this tragic photo pierced through and really hit me hard even though I've gotten pretty jaded lately. Transportation issues can turn into a mess of statistics, but this puts a very human face on the consequences of reckless driving . This little girl's parents, Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler, two experienced road cyclists, were riding a tandem bicycle together when they were prematurely taken out of this existence together after being dragged 200 feet by a driver who unexpectedly swerved into the shoulder where the couple had been riding. The lost innocence of this girl's face is the reason we simply must fight for and demand safer roads for everyone. No criminal charges have been made against the driver, and the incident was written off as just an accident as most tragedies on the road are.

Where is the accountability, what good are laws, and drivers licenses if in the end the outcome of most crashes are considered blameless accidents without penalty even when clearly one party was at fault. The State of Texas was on the verge of passing a bill with explicit legal protections for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, with common sense measures like defining safe passing distance as some states have already done. After years of work from Texas activists, the bill went through the senate with a landslide 25-6 majority, only to be shot down by veto from Governer Rick Perry. Ugh.

My girlfriend and I are also both experienced cyclists who occasionally tandem ride, and dream of having a nicer tandem suitable for longer travels some day. I could easily put my self into the shoes of that couple, loving life and riding bikes together. In researching more about this story I stumbled across the Twitter account of the mother, who like any serious American cycling enthusiast was following the likes of cycling greats like Lance Armstrong and Levi Liephiemer as I also do myself. Sadly their 7 year old daughter now has to go on without them though I'm sure they'll never be forgotten.

These are human beings on the road out there and even if your out there doing everything right, all it takes is a few seconds of someone else careening unexpectedly off course to change lives forever. I hope we can live to see a day without tragedy like this as a daily occurrence in cities and towns across our country. Whether you ride a bicycle, a motorcycle, drive a car or even just walking across the street, we all can die out there when due care is not taken by all parties.

I first saw this story on the Tucson Bike Lawyer blog with a link to the original news story. More in depth blogging on this incident and the failed vulnerable road user bill by San Antonio local Veronica Flores. The obituary with more details about the couple is posted here.

A trust fund has been set up for 7 year old Kylie Bruehler and donations can be sent to Kylie Bruehler Benefit Fund, c/o 24165 IH-10 West, Ste. 217-270, San Antonio, Texas 78257-1160.