Tag: Los Angeles
By FTR on September 24, 2012 7:15 PM
Los Angeles firefighters are testing a two-wheeled way to respond to incidents in the traffic-snarled city: motorcycles.
The Los Angeles Fire Department's pilot motorcycle response team is a five-man unit being used to speed to the side of an injured victim, provide information to dispatchers and skirt traffic to scout fires and other problems.
The unit first rode during last year's "Carmageddon" closure of the 405 Freeway, and its next deployment is to take place during a follow-up closure this weekend, when workers will demolish the other half of the Mulholland Drive bridge overhead.
Fire departments serving traffic-snarled cities around the nation have adopted similar motorcycle teams to improve response times, staff special events and, in some cases, save lives and resources. As the L.A. Fire Department faces budget cuts and intense scrutiny over response times that lag behind national standards, some believe that a motorcycle unit could help the department.
The pilot unit features five off-road-capable motorcycles on loan from the Kawasaki Motor Corp. Each bike retails for about $6,300 and is outfitted with a defibrillator, a small fire extinguisher, various medical supplies and a handlebar-mounted GPS system. A dozen firefighters have undergone the necessary training, and a permanent unit could have up to 10 motorcycles and 28 riders, said Capt. Craig White, who first proposed the unit to the department.
White said he'd thought about creating a motorcycle unit for years, and last year's 405 closure -- shutting down 10 miles of one of the nation's busiest freeways -- presented the ideal test. The department already had a bicycle medic unit for events such as the L.A. Marathon. Though the nightmare Carmageddon traffic jams that officials feared never materialized, the motorcycle unit had an opportunity to show what it could do earlier this month.
As a 70-acre brush fire stopped traffic on the 405 and caused the evacuation of the Getty Center, firefighter Greg Pascola and his partner reached the command post within three minutes -- even before helicopters could reach the site. They were handed radios and began to map the blaze, weaving between cars, hopping sidewalks and navigating narrow, curving mountain roads.
"At the time, we were the only ones out there to scout," Pascola said.
LAFD Chief Brian Cummings said motorcycles could be "one of the solutions" the department considers for improving response times.
"Do I see the motorcycles supplanting larger vehicles? No. There's always going to be a need to bring heavy equipment and large numbers of individuals," Cummings said. "They each have a role. They're each tools in the toolbox."
White, a motorcycle enthusiast since high school, said the unit's biggest selling point is its flexibility.
"Right now," he said, "we just want to see what we can do with them."
By FTR on August 15, 2009 11:39 AM
XDL Round 3 - Los Angeles, Event Report
Dixon Clinches FMF Cup with Third Win in a Row
Text: Randy Grube
Photos: David Avila
After two seasons at the Queen Mary, XDL ended its run in Long Beach and moved to its new LA home to Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. The Queen Mary had been a good venue for XDL, but it was time for a change. Irwindale was more centrally located and easier to operate since it is an existing racetrack. Continuing the tradition established at Nashville, XDL riders performed demos at bike nights, including Yamaha dealer Chaparral in San Bernadino. The vendor area was vastly expanded and attractions included BMX demos, a ton of free SWAG, turntables operated by DJ Yerd and a live national anthem.
All this lead to a capacity crowd in attendance to witness 2008 FMF Cup bridesmaid Bill Dixon clinch the 2009 XDL Championship in convincing fashion by winning his third competition in a row. His 135 points were the first ever perfect score in XDL history, making this a remarkable achievement. Because of the "bye" rule, allowing a competitor to drop his lowest finish, the XDL Finals at Indy would have no impact on the points chase. Although he made it look easy, Dixon's win at the LA round was anything but. A practice injury several weeks earlier left his right shoulder in pain and restricted his range of motion. And he came to LA on a brand new '09 Yamaha R6 that was built from the ground up as a dedicated sportbike freestyle machine. When we consider how much trouble riders generally have switching to a new bike, Bill's win on the new R6 stands out all the more. And then there was the riding surface. Although Round 3 wasn't the first time XDL riders competed on a drag strip, it was the first time they had to battle it out on the section treated with VHT, creating traction issues for many competitors. Some riders switched tires, others adapted their riding style and took measures to deal with the surface. Team Racing 905 rider Warren James put in a stellar run after a crash in qualifying that fractured his toes. He set a high bar, but nothing fazed Dixon who was able to walk away from LA having fulfilled his lifetime ambition of becoming a well-deserved national champion.
The Aprilia All Star Challenge was won by Dan Jackson in a time of 25.88 seconds, setting up a showdown for the final round at Indy between himself and Bill Dixon. The K&N Circle Challenge saw another new winner in Luke Emmons. Perennial favorite Shin Kinoshita from Japan was in attendance but was stricken with a mysterious inner ear ailment the day before the competition and completely lost his sense of balance, forcing him to sit on the sidelines. It was a tough weekend for Kinoshita who traveled over 5,000 miles to compete against America's best to reclaim his title as K&N Circle Challenge champion. The Russ Brown Freestyle Burnout competition saw the return of a familiar face, Jason Pullen. Pullen, known in XDL circles as the Harley guy, stunned the crowd with his fire antics and "burning" bike tricks to take home the top spot. He also executed a ramp jump over several audience members to win Sickest Trick, and he finished 12th in FMF Cup, giving him quite a weekend.
The final two competitions of the night were performed on the Irwindale oval in front of the Saturday night racing crowd and included a wheelie race around the entire 1/4 mile track, as well as the Bike Night USA Team Battle that saw the Cali Alliance riders beat out the competition. The wheelie race was quite a sight to see since the banking and long straights allowed for high speeds and the riders went all out for the win. The Finals saw Aaron Colton, Bill Dixon and Dan Jackson face off. Colton took the early lead but was passed on the back straight by Dixon. However, Dixon couldn't carry his speed around turn 3 and had to put his front wheel down, leaving just two competitors. Colton looked safe but Jackson made a run at him in turn 4 and passed Colton, but he too had to put the front down when he couldn't carry his speed around the turn. The crowd went wild as Colton finished off a great day of competition and entertainment in front of a packed Irwindale grandstand. But the night belonged to a confident, calm and collected Bill Dixon who walked away as the unofficial 2009 XDL FMF Cup Champion.
FMF Cup Results (Top 5)
1. Bill Dixon 76
2. Warren James 75.5
3. Nick Brocha 75.5
4. Alex Flores 74.5
5. Aaron Colton 73
Aprilia All Star Challenge Results (Top 5)
2. Bill Dixon 28.25 seconds
3. Rick Hart 38.91 seconds
4. Eric Whitcomb 45.85 seconds
5. Nick Hernandez 47.89 seconds
K&N Circle Challenge Winner
Luke Emmons - Team Racing 905
Russ Brown Freestyle Burnout Winner
Sickest Trick Winner
Bike Night USA Team Battle Winners
Alex Flores, Jason Pullen, Rick Hart, Javon Stevens
For complete results go to: http://www.xdlshow.com/results/2009/losangeles.html
For the national rankings, go to: http://www.xdlshow.com/results/2009/results09.html
For images go to: http://www.xdlshow.com/images/galleries/losangeles09/index.html
For hi-res images contact Randy Grube at email@example.com
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