California Springtime Protest Pedal

Title: California Springtime Protest Pedal
Location: Seal Beach to San Clemente
Description: Protesting the 2011 vetoes by Governor Brown of Senate Bill 28 to increase the fine for driver hand held cell use from $20 to $50, and Senate Bill 910 to require 3 feet of clearance for a car to pass a bicyclist in memory of his son.
Start Date: 2012-4-21
End Date: 2012-4-22

Be on the look-out for the California Springtime Protest Pedal arriving from Santa Monica to the OC sometime around April 21 as they head toward their over-night in San Clemente.

Starting in Sacramento, the riders are on an 11 day supported, cycling tour of California to advocate for safer roads and stronger enforcement of laws regulating cell distracted driving as they head to their finish in San Diego.

Preliminary itinerary and approximate mileage:
April 21 Santa Monica to San Clemente 74 mi
Arrive Friday 4/20: Best Western Plus Gateway,
Santa Monica 1920 Santa Monica Blvd, 310 829-9100
Depart Santa Monica Pier at 8:00 74 miles

April 22
San Clemente to San Diego 74 mi
Arrive Saturday 4/21:
Best Western Plus Casablanca Inn
1601 N. El Camino Real, 949 361-1644
Depart San Clemente
Metro Link Station (North) at 8:00

Local clubs and supporters of the 3′ foot clearance and against distracted driving are urged to come out and show their support. Plan to ride along part, or the whole route to draw attention to the cause.

Updates will be provided as soon as we get them.

I’m sure they would appreciate a little local press coverage too!

Distracted Driving strikes close to Home

On July 25, 2009, 19 year old Eric Okerblom went for a ride by himself near his home in Guadalupe.
On Jan. 19, 2011, 8 year old Andrew “A.J.” Brumback, was riding his bike to school in Westminster.

Despite their ages across the span of space and time, and the fact that both young men were riding their bikes, the sorrowful tragedy that links them both is that they never got to ride their bikes home.

Both were killed by inattentive drivers, who in their selfish self interests, took their eyes off the road and forever cancelled two promising young lives.

In Eric’s case, by virtue of examining the driver’s phone records, the driver was texting.
In “AJ”s’ case, the headline and opening sentence from the OC Register says it all: “Distracted driver gets probation in boy’s death
(Published: March 13, 2012 Updated: 1:06 p.m.)
WESTMINSTER – A driver who briefly looked down as she drove through an intersection last year, striking and killing an 8-year-old boy….”  (Contact the writer: 714-704-3764 or

And there you have it; both drivers were “briefly” distracted from their prime duty of care in navigating their vehicles about the public roadways resulting in two voids that were the lives of Eric and “AJ”, and forever creating voids in the lives of families and friends who loved them.

The term for “briefly distracted” is properly known as Distracted Driving”.

D I S T R A C T E D   D R I V I N G   F A C T S:

  • Using a hand held cell phone increases the risk of a collision by 4 times
    (equal to that of legal intoxication).
  • Texting increases the risk by 23 times ( 5.7 times greater than drunk driving).
  • The average young driver texts over 70 times per day.
  • 90% of teenagers admit to texting while driving.
  • A texting driver has their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds.
    At 60 MPH, that is a distance of 1 and 1/2  football fields of cell blind driving.
  • Most teenagers mistakenly believe that texting while driving is safer than drunk driving.
  • Many states refuse to regulate hand held devices while driving, weakly enforce regulations, or have trivial penalties for violations. Automobile makers, cell phone producers and service providers minimize the risk of the devices they provide.
  • Currently, about 7%  of California drivers are using a hand held phone while behind the wheel at any given time
  • More Americans die annually (about 6000) from driver cell related distraction than have been killed in both  the combined Iraq and Afgan Wars.

So you see, it is the cyclists’ fault for impeding the progress of these self-important, self-absorbed drivers who fail the prime directive of driving: “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel”.

The courts are tougher on sex offenders than distracted drivers.  While sex victims remain above the ground and breathing, cyclists killed by distracted drivers (no matter how briefly), are laid to rest underground or are reduced to ashes.

Perhaps dead cyclists are just “collateral damage”, or “roadkill” if you will,  in the progress of  civilization as drivers are increasingly allowing themselves to be distracted by all the shiney new modern gadgets around them.  Sad to say, perhaps it will take Someone Really Important to perish at the hands of the somone else’s lastest tweet, text, instant this, f*book that, for the courts to get it together.  Until that time, the carnage and death from drivers who choose to focus on other things besides driving safely on our roadways will continue.

Last year Govenor Brown vetoed Senate Bill 28 (to increase the fine for driver hand held cell use from $20 to $50) in September, and in October he also vetoed Senate Bill 910 (to require 3 feet of clearance for a car to pass a bicyclist).

In protest, Eric’s father is cycling from Sacramento to San Diego to raise awareness and support for passage of this year’s Senate Bill 1310 which was just submitted to increase the base fine to $50 for driver cell violators, and Senate Bill 1464 which is a revamped SB910 introduced by Senator Lowenthal.  Both bills remove the language that caused their prior veto.

Dr. Robert Okerblom last cycled from Ocean Beach in San Diego to St. Augustine Florida in 2011. Riding in memory of his son with a dream to make roads safer for other cyclists, he made stops along the way to present lectures about Distracted Driving and road safety.  He also led the pledge of allegiance at the Arizona state legislature, which in March approved SB 1334, a state ban on texting and driving.  Hopefully Arizona will fare better than California which, according to a survey by the Auto Club, found that texting while driving has actually doubled since California made it illegal.

The California Springtime Protest Pedal will begin this April 12th in Sacramento, to advocate for stiffer penalties and enforcement of driver hand held cell phone laws.  It should arrive at the LA/ OC border around April 21st. after an over-night in Santa Monica.  From Santa Monica, he will then overnight in San Clemente, then on to the finish in San Diego.

The cycling community has lost two brothers, unknown to each other, perhaps unknown to our minds, but known in our hearts; as the joy of cycling transcends space and time.  Our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of  Eric and “AJ”.  May they find peace and courage to continue on while the hole in their lives (that can never be filled) slowly begins healing to the extent that it can.

Area riders, please plan on forming a “safe passage” escort in support of  the memory of “AJ”, Eric, and his father, in raising the awareness of Distracted Driving and its consequences.

On his blog about his TransAmerica, Robert shares a dream which strikes a chord:
“Last night Eric appeared to me in a dream. Smiling, he ran up to me and then past me, neither responding to my entreaties nor looking back. He was happy and carefree. As Eric moved forward, so must I. I must strive to be a person with the compassion, acceptance, actions, and character that my children would be proud to call their father. I lack both the resilience and fortitude for the task, but cannot concede the struggle.”

And neither can we Robert.


This post is updated as we received further routing and speaking schedule details.
Updated 4/4..added SB1464 and links to the bills.
Updated 4/ to post