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November 9, 2005

Spinning Southward

On a 15,000-mile journey from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, John and Mike Logsdon make a pit stop in Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for the National Brain Tumor Foundation. Visit their website at www.spinningsouthward.com and read about their fundraising efforts. The site also provides a journey log, photos, biographies and more.

 
October 19, 2005

LAUSD Board Resolves to Accommodate Bicycle Use

With the help of the Los Angles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board recently passed a motion to help school district employees, students, and parents who use bicycles... Read the LACBC Press Release.

 
September 30, 2005

Governor vetoes SB 523, AB 748

Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed SB 523 (Torlakson), which would have maintained the Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA) for local assistance at its current level of $7.2 million per year. Funding will now drop to $5 million on July 1 of next year. His veto message reads:

"California's transportation infrastructure needs far outstrip the resources available. Given the state's limited transportation resources, it is important to give local agencies the flexibility to use funds as they see fit rather than being forced to use the type of state-mandated formula that this bill perpetuates.

While bicycling is an important and growing component of California's multi-modal transportation system, prioritizing expenditures on bicycle-specific programs should be a local prerogative."

The governor also vetoed AB 748 (Wolk), which prohibits toll bridges and toll roads from charging bicyclists and pedestrians. He wrote:

"I strongly encourage Californians to use bicycling and walking as modes of transportation when possible because of the physical fitness benefit, as well as the congestion mitigation and air quality benefits. However, this bill would inappropriately usurp control from the local governing body, the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District. Since the District has been authorized to operate and maintain the bridge, the state should not tie its hands by foreclosing certain funding options."

Alan Wachtel
CABO Government Relations Director
Palo Alto, California

 
September 22, 2005

Bicyclists Campaigning for PCH Safety

Prompted by the recent deaths of two bicyclists on Pacific Coast Highway, a coalition wants city and state officials to address unsafe conditions on the highway. Read the complete Malibu Times article.

 
September 21, 2005

Sherman Secures River Bike Path Funds

Funds Earmarked for LA River Bike Path Extension in Sherman Oaks.

WASHINGTON - Congressman Brad Sherman announced Wednesday that Congress recently approved $460,000 to construct a bicycle and pedestrian path along the Los Angeles River in Sherman Oaks.

The new path will be built from Kester Avenue to Sepulveda Boulevard. It will extend an existing bicycle and pedestrian path along the river west of Kester Avenue.

Sherman said the riverside bike path would compliment plans under consideration by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council to build parks and restore sections of the river to its natural state.

"The Los Angeles River has been neglected for too long. Visionary leaders in our community have begun to realize the potential of this natural resource," Sherman said. The new federal funds were earmarked at Sherman's request in a nationwide transportation bill approved by Congress on July 29. The congressman's office worked on the project in coordination with Los Angeles City Councilmember Wendy Greuel.

In prior years, Congressman Sherman secured $500,000 for bike paths in Agoura Hills, $250,000 for Calabasas, $236,000 for the City of Westlake Village, and $1.9 million for the Metro Orange Line bike path.

 
September 14, 2005

Cyclists' Deaths Point to PCH Perils

Construction forced the two men to ride in the road instead of a bike lane. Catering truck driver is charged with vehicular manslaughter.

By Nita Lelyveld
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The breathtaking views on the Pacific Coast Highway carry risks for cyclists, who ride in the sea breeze at considerable peril as cars on the narrow road zoom by.

On Saturday morning, a catering truck hit two cyclists, who had been forced off the northbound shoulder and onto the road by a construction project. The driver did not stop immediately after hitting the men, who died soon after being airlifted to UCLA Medical Center.

It was the first fatal bicycle accident in at least five years on this stretch of PCH, said Philip Brooks, traffic sergeant for the Malibu-Lost Hills Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The collision, which occurred about 10 a.m., killed Stanislav Ionov, 46, of Calabasas, an accomplished physicist at HRL Laboratories in Malibu; and Scott Bleifer, 41, of Santa Monica, a vice president at Union Bank of California. The two avid cyclists do not appear to have known each other.

On Tuesday, Victor Silva, 27, of Compton was charged with two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter and two counts of felony hit-and-run in their deaths. Silva apparently has no prior record.

In an interview just after the accident, Silva said he hadn't seen the men before the accident. After hitting them, he said, he couldn't stop for fear of injuring a person cooking in the back of his truck, said Sheriff's Det. John Caffrey. Cooking in the back of a moving vehicle is illegal, Caffrey said. Authorities believe Silva was traveling around the 50 mph speed limit.

Witnesses said the impact flung the two cyclists 150 feet forward.

Both Bleifer and Ionov were wearing helmets. They appear to have been riding in the bike lane until orange traffic cones forced them into the right-hand lane. The cones signaled the start of a construction project for a synagogue at the Malibu Jewish Center. For the length of the construction site, concrete barriers cut off the shoulder.

The men were riding side by side when they were hit, and it's possible that one was passing the other, which is legal, Caffrey said. Riding side by side in other circumstances "is highly not recommended," he said.

So far in 2005, eight cyclists have been injured on PCH, according to the Sheriff's Department. Seven were injured in 2004 and six in 2003.

Bleifer had been training for the Arthritis Foundation's Amgen California Coast Classic, an eight-day, 500-mile charity ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which starts Sept. 24. Now his friends and other members of his cycling club, the Velo Club La Grange of Westwood, plan to join the last leg of the Classic, riding in his honor from Ventura to Los Angeles on Oct. 1.

Friend and fellow club member Bruce Mitchell said Bleifer was "very engaging, very smart, had very good ideas." The two often attended spinning classes together at the Spectrum Club, but they didn't cycle together, he said. Mitchell said he prefers the club's regular group rides, which take place earlier in the morning, before the traffic picks up. Bleifer, he said, would head out later in the morning on his own.

Nearly every morning before riding, Mitchell and Bleifer would meet at Peet's Coffee & Tea in Santa Monica. Bleifer arrived every morning with Kona, his 6-year-old chocolate Labrador, Mitchell said, adding, "He made a whole army full of friends up at Peet's Coffee."

Bleifer's sister, Karen, of Century City said she'd received hundreds of e-mails from her brother's friends, many asking about Kona.

"Kona was the love of his life," she said. "Everybody wants Kona. I say, 'Oh, I'm sorry, you're going to have to wrestle my parents for Kona because she's all they have left of Scott.' "

Karen Bleifer, a jewelry designer, said her brother was very happy and an adventurer who took cycling trips in Tuscany and Hawaii, traveled by himself to Vietnam and hiked to the top of Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan city in Peru. Bleifer grew up in Beverly Hills, where he attended Beverly Hills High School. He earned a bachelor's degree at UC San Diego and a master's in business administration from USC, his sister said.

Ionov, who was born in Russia, had worked at HRL Laboratories since 1994.

Employees found out about his death in a message from the lab's president and vice president Monday, said spokesman David Weeks.

An accompanying bio said Ionov had studied physics at Moscow Physical Technical Institute, where he worked as a research assistant to Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, a Nobel laureate. He received a bachelor's and master's degree and his doctorate from the Institute of Spectroscopy in the Soviet Union and became the director of an experimental group at the Research Center for Technological Lasers at the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 1980, he emigrated to the United States, where he did postdoctoral work at UCLA and USC. He became an American citizen in 1999, and had a wife, Irina, and a daughter, Sophi, the bio said.

Ionov often rode his bike to work and went on long rides with co-workers. He also ran in numerous marathons.

Weeks said Ionov had a previous close call on his bike, riding with friends in Westlake Village. They were taking a break, standing and sitting with their bikes on the sidewalk, when a car lurched toward them. One of the riders was killed, Weeks said.

* * * * *

The Velo Club LaGrange website has other articles and letters posted on their site.
 
BICYCLE TIMES
 
The Bicycle Times Summer 2005 edition is now available for download (1.3MB PDF).
 
Articles in this issue (among many others):
 
Dangerous Judicial Dirt on California's Class One Bikeways
The California courts have concluded that the safety design standards for California's Class One Bikeways, commonly called bike paths, are not valid...
 
Got Bike Racks?
Do you use the Metro Bus bike racks? Are you frustrated that the racks on many buses are missing...
 
Complete Streets
New state & local policies require virtually all roads be built to serve all types of users. In many communities...
 
On A Knee-d To Know Basis:
WHAT COULD CAUSE MY KNEE PAIN WHEN I RIDE? Knee pain is very common among bicycle enthusiasts. Commonly, pain is located...
 
Bicycle Times Summer 2005

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