July 2009


VOL. 28 NO. 4       

 July 2009

Newsletter of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association
P. O. Box 9054 Eureka CA 95502


New Members:

  • Deana Rolicheck, Eureka
  • Jer Roberts, Eureka**
  • Geronimo Garcia, Arcata**
  • Carol Ciliberti, Eureka
  • Tom & Diane Thee, Eureka
  • Ryan Hoopes, Eureka
  • Silas Biggin, McKinleyville

Renewed Members for 2008:

  • Will Spurling, Henderson Center Bicycles**
  • Bob & JoAnn Hart, Bayside***
  • Steven Lazer, Eureka**

Those with a ** have made additional donations to the HBBCA. Those with *** have made donations of $25 or more.

If you have not renewed your dues for 2009, please do so by filling out the application at the end of this newsletter.


The next regular HBBCA meeting will be held on July 13, 2009 at HealthSport in Arcata, Conference Room, 300 Community Park Way.  Denise Newman from the Redwood Community Action Agency will be in attendance to talk about the planned update of the Humboldt Bike Map and to solicit ideas.   Other agenda items will be set by Board members and others that plan to attend by emailing Scott Kelly at info@humbike.org.


By Rick Knapp

Friends, family and fellow cyclists got a taste of bitter reality on Thursday, July 2nd, when District Attorney, Paul Gallegos, announced that he was reducing the charges against Alan Bear from a felony to “misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter” in the senseless killing of Greg Jennings in August of last year.  In doing so, Gallegos has concluded that Bear showed “ordinary negligence,” not “gross negligence,” as originally charged.  He said he was doing this because the officer who wrote the collision report thought it wasn’t gross negligence.   He acknowledged that the officer is not an expert on what is or what is not gross negligence.   Nevertheless, he is not willing to let a jury decide if Bear was grossly negligent when he drove his vehicle 15 feet to the right of the fog line, into the grass, on a straight flat section of highway with an 11 foot paved shoulder, hitting Jennings with the left front portion of his vehicle.   He admitted to CHP officers at the scene that he had seen a bicyclist ahead before the collision, but for some reason he failed to concern himself with that fact.   Greg Jennings was riding his bike 10 feet to the right of the fog line according to eye witnesses, some of which said it looked like it was an intentional act by the driver, since they believed he did not  even slow down before the collision.   

No one but Bear and his female passenger knows what was going on in his vehicle at the time.   Bear said he was placing a drink in the drink  holder between the seats.   It seems a competent prosecutor could show beyond a reasonable doubt that putting a drink in a drink holder could not have that result.  The CHP officer investigating the collision, Officer Hartman, accepted Bear’s explanation in his report.   At the scene, Bear lied, indicating that Jennings was in his lane at the time of the collision.   He also lied about his female passenger, indicating she was a hitchhiker that he didn’t know.   Later, it was determined that she was a passenger he knew and was invited along for the day.   She left the scene of the collision before the CHP arrived. 

The action by Gallegos was not unexpected since at the scheduled Preliminary Hearing on June 18th, Gallegos announced that the CHP Officer Hartman who had written the Collision Report felt there was not gross negligence.   Gallegos had not even talked with Officer Hartman until that morning in the hallway just before the hearing.   Hartman was the only witness he intended to call that morning.   

Those following the case wondered why Gallegos decided to take this case himself if he was not going to undertake proper preparation to prosecute the case.   Gallegos constantly reminds those following the case just how busy he is. 

Another preliminary hearing is now scheduled for August 20 with a jury trial scheduled for August 31.    Of course, it is possible that a plea bargain could occur in the meantime if Gallegos agrees to a deal that Bear and his attorney can’t refuse.   Even with a guilty verdict as a misdemeanor, it is unlikely there will be any jail time served unless the judge comes to a different conclusion about the proper disposition of this case than that envisioned by the District Attorney and  CHP Officer Hartman. 

During Bike Month, the HBBCA circulated petitions asking that the District Attorney do everything he could to assure justice occurred in this case.   Thank you to the over 300 who signed the petitions.  Unfortunately, the objectives of the petition will not be met.   I hope you will use your outrage to work for a better tomorrow. 

On July 3rd, after the latest Times-Standard article on the subject, I received a phone call from the father/grandfather of two eye witnesses.   According to him, one of the witnesses had said, “Oh my God, he’s going to hit him.”   She said that the driver accelerated before hitting him and that it looked like a deliberate act.   They both want to be involved and are upset about the way this case is headed.   Although they provided statements to the CHP at the scene, they have heard from no one since.   As far as we know, no eye witnesses have been interviewed except Bear and his passenger.  

The handling of this case has been extremely disappointing and a cause for ongoing concern for all cyclists who ride on area roadways.   The HBBCA will continue to follow this case closely and continue to press for  justice in this case and any others which may occur in the future.


By Brett Gronemeyer

The City of Arcata is planning to move forward with their plan of widening the sidewalks downtown along G & H Streets between 9th and 11th Streets. Anyone who has walked along G & H streets is familiar with the existing sidewalk situation. At the June Arcata City Council meeting, the recommendations of both the Arcata Transportation Safety Committee (TSC) as well as City Staff were presented. 

TSC recommended on G St. to widen the sidewalk in front of Fabric Temptations to match the width in front of Jitter Bean (east side of G St. from 9th St. to the first alley behind U.S. Bank), keeping the existing bike lane, as is, and eliminate the existing parking/loading zone in the bike lane on that half block. Also recommended was a stop sign for G St. traffic at 10th Street. 

City staff recommended sidewalk widening on both sides of G St., a stop sign for G St. traffic at 10th St., but elimination of the bike lane for the entire block between 9th and 10th Streets to allow parking in front of Jitter Bean and Fabric Temptations. The bike lane being replaced by Shared Lane Markings (Sharrows) in the right lane. 

City staff mentioned future plans for bicycle boulevards on I & 10th Streets that would help mitigate the loss of bicycle lanes on G & H Streets. Bicycle boulevards are streets with traffic calming features that encourage bicycle traffic, but discourage through motor vehicle traffic. 

The City council took action to move forward with the City staff recommendation on G Street. Council member Susan Ornelas voiced concerns regarding the TSC and staff recommendation for sharrows on H Street and persuaded the rest of the council to delay taking action regarding the H St. project plan, in order to allow more time to study the issues. 

The HBBCA is supportive of active transportation, including sidewalk widening. Unfortunately, there is not enough right of way on these streets to accommodate the needs of all stakeholders. The direction the project is going is to reduce the bicycle facilities, in order to preserve two traffic lanes and parking for motor vehicles. The HBBCA does not support elimination of the bike lanes on either G or H Streets. While there are places where sharrows are appropriate, the elimination of bike lanes on G & H Streets is a step backwards for bicyclists.  Bicyclists who are not comfortable “taking the lane” tend to ride to the far right side of the lane, inviting motorists to try to squeeze by. Riding to the far right also puts the cyclist at significantly increased risk of being “doored” by an occupant exiting a parked vehicle. The HBBCA recommends the elimination of parking on one side in order to preserve the bike lane. The HBBCA will continue following this project and push to keep the existing bike lanes in downtown Arcata.


Bike Month Humboldt was a success.   The HBBCA along with a coalition* of other organizations, undertook two Bike to Work Rallies, a film festival, a gear swap, and had energy stations at the Co-Op the morning before each rally.   A total of  85 showed at the rallies.   Another 50 took advantage of the energy stations. 

Thanks to the Co-Op for the great assistance in publicizing the events for bike month and in supporting the energy stations.   Thanks to Pro Sport Center and Revolution Bicycle Repair for providing Maintenance Stations at the rallies.    Thanks to Pro Sports, Henderson Center Bicycles, Revolution Bicycle Repair, Adventures Edge and Sport and Cycle for donating prizes.   Pro Sport Center donated 120  multitools for giveaways at events.   That is $2400 based on the suggested retail price for the tool.   

[*The Bike Month Coalition consisted of representatives of the HBBCA, Caltrans, Redwood Community Action Agency, Humboldt County Health Department, Green Wheels, Bigfoot Bicycles, Tour of the Unknown Coast, and HumPal.]


On Wednesday, June 24, five members of the California Transportation Commission (catc.ca.gov) and their staff were at the Wharfinger in Eureka all day to listen to presentations by five north state counties and public comments about transportation needs in the region. HBBCA member Jennifer Rice made a presentation about ‘active transportation’ (AT) in non-metropolitan northern California, focusing on 1)  the issues of AT as the most equitable, affordable transportation mode, 2) highways serving as main streets, 3) the need to complete both our streets and transport systems for all users, and 4) the ripple effect of AT investments in rural communities. The commissioners took interest in data from a recent poll, indicating that there is a wide gap between what is actually spent and what the public desires to be spent on active and public modes of transportation, with the public believing 22% should be spent on ped/bike modes.   In actuality, only 1% is spent on them.  One commissioner also suggested that cyclists should pay a user fee to cover the costs of bicycling facilities. Future newsletters will address this issue.


A new bright yellow T-shirt is available from the HBBCA, sporting the HBBCA logo on the front and a “Please Share the Road” message on the back.   Some felt the “One Less Car” message was a little provocative.   Hopefully, the new shirts will be well–received by cyclists and the motoring public.   If you’d like to buy one for $10 (our cost), please call Rick Knapp at 445-1097.


According to Chris Whitworth, Deputy Director, Humboldt County Public Works: 

The Old Arcata Road project is still under construction.  He recommends cyclists avoid the construction zone.   There is a lot of gravel on the shoulder due primarily to the fact that the 10-foot apron has not been paved yet on the many driveways. 

Bids will be solicited for bike lanes On Freshwater Road from Three Corners to Henry’s Lane in Freshwater to connect to the previous widening. 

Design is being pursued for School Road widening between Route 101 and Washington in McKinleyville. 

Most other projects are on hold due to State funding cutbacks.


  • President------------------------Scott Kelly
    839-3614(h); 839-4336(w)
    Email: info@humbike.org
  • Vice-President/Treasurer----Rick Knapp
  • Director of Publicity-----------Vacant
  • Director of Planning-----------Brett Gronemeyer
    845-2117(h); 441-5770(w)

The HBBCA checked with agencies in the Humboldt Bay region to determine appropriate contact personnel to respond to bike-related issues. If you see a condition that needs to be corrected in order to improve safety or convenience for cyclists such as a pothole in a bike lane, accumulated debris on a roadway shoulder, the need to re-stripe a bike lane, or the need to clear vegetation encroaching on a shoulder, call the responsible agency/person listed below.

Of course, if you see a condition that requires immediate emergency action,
call 9-1-1. For other conditions, the following is provided:

  • Caltrans
    Mark Suchanek, Deputy District Director
    445-6393 Mark_Suchanek@dot.ca.gov
  • County of Humboldt
    Wendy Meeks, Dispatcher
    445-7491 wmeeks@co.humboldt.ca.us
    Abandoned Vehicles: Wally Williams,
    County Sheriff's Office, 268-3629
  • City of Arcata
    Monica Campbell,
    Public Works Administrative Assistant
    822-5957 pubworks@arcatacityhall.org
    Abandoned Vehicles: Arcata Police Dept. at 822-2424
  • City of Eureka
    Pearl Mendoza
    Public Works Administrative Assistant
    441-4192 pmendoza@ci.eureka.ca.gov
    Abandoned Vehicles: Mary Kirby
    mkirby@eurekapd.org, 268-5232
  • Abandoned Vehicles:
    Arcata Police Dept. at 822-2424

The HBBCA is working to improve and encourage bicycle commuting. Help make it happen by joining now or renewing your membership for 2009. Your $5.00 annual dues, paid on a calendar year basis, will help pay for youth helmets, this newsletter, our website, promotions, postage, etc. And, it will help demonstrate your commitment to our goal. Please click here to download our Membership Application.

With you membership card, request the following discounts on bike parts and accessories: 10% (or more) at Henderson Center Bicycles; 10% at Revolution Bicycle Repair; 10% at Adventure’s Edge; 10% at Pro Sport Center and the New Outdoor Store, and 15% at Sport and Cycle.

If you are already a paid-up member and would like to start receiving your newsletters by email, please advise us at: info@humbike.org

Newsletter of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association
P. O. Box 3054 Eureka CA 95502