A few choice comments, a hit-and-run update and a whole lotta links

But first, breaking news as I post this:

Condolences to our friends at the LAPD, who lost one of their own in an off-duty traffic accident tonight. My deepest sympathies to the officer’s family and loved ones, and the entire department.

Seriously guys, we may have our issues from time to time. But this city and its cyclists couldn’t exist without the men and women in blue.

You do an impossible job, and you do it well.

………

Some interesting comments posted online today.

First up is our own frequent commenter Danceralamode, responding to another comment on the Times story about Chief Beck’s appearance at yesterday’s Transportation Committee meeting:

With rights come responsibilities. Before the LAPD starts worrying about bicyclists’ rights I’d like to see some enforcement of the many traffic laws that MOST bicyclists break every time they take to the streets.

Posted by: James Sullivan | February 25, 2010 at 07:49 AM

Her response:

James Sullivan,

If that philosophy were used to determine the rights of every road user, there would be NOT ONE car on the road. Motorists make traffic violations more often than cyclists do and with more serious results, since a bike weighs 20lbs and a car weighs 4000lbs. If a drunk driver slammed into you then fled the scene while you were in your car, but you had rolled through a stop sign a few miles back, would you want the LAPD to say, well, since we have you rolling a right turn a few miles back, we’re not going to look for the person who almost killed you.

Also, you cannot group all cyclists together in this “they all break the law” discrimination. You have never seen me commute to work. How can you know if I violate any traffic codes? That’s the equivalent of me saying that all motorists are drunk drivers and should have their licenses revoked, just because a few people drive drunk.

Get a clue, Sullivan. You have to share the road; it’s the law. And you have to do it regardless of whether or not you like how the people around you use the road. Seeing a cyclist roll through a stop sign is no justification for passing them so quickly that you hit them and seriously injure them or for trying to run them down or for throwing objects out your window at them. And the LAPD do hand out citations to cyclists who break the law, but they have to see it to do so.

Before LAPD starts investigating any car on car DUIs or accidents, I want to see them fully enforce the cell phone ban. So no justice for you either, Sullivan, how do you like that?

Posted by: danceralamode | February 25, 2010 at 08:43 AM

That girl really should have her own blog. Oh wait, she already does.

Then there was this insightful comment from a cyclist named Jeff:

Anonymously posting information that generalizes bike riders with a broad swath is exactly why it takes the Chief of Police to address the issue personally. Everyone knows at least one incident of bicycle riders ignoring the “rules of the road”, but to paint all riders with the brush shows ignorance. Claiming that bicycle riders need insurance and registration before they use the roads shows the same ignorance. Take your bike to work just once and see what commuting riders put up with daily. The problem is not in the occasional roll-through, the problem is that automobile drivers have the mistaken belief that bicycles are not vehicles.

They are, and they are afforded the same rights as any other vehicle on the road. It’s about time.

Posted by: Jeff | February 25, 2010 at 08:55 AM

Finally, there was this comment from an Australian visitor, in response to Damien’s story about the same meeting on Streetsblog:

As an Australian visiing the United States and California who chose to use my bicycle as my prefered mode of transport for my short stay rather than use a car. I have several times questioned my decision after numerous near misses. Incidents that were totally avoidable. And I don’t mean by me not riding on the road. It is every cyclists right to ride on the road. What I mean is motorists blatant actions to threaten and attack me on the road with their car. Cement truck drivers, moms in unnecessarily large black pick ups, Metro Rapid bus drivers etc…. motorists who have chosen to be agressive toward me as a cyclist on the road.

Take just the case of the woman in the pick up. She drove past me, so she must have seen me on the shoulder of the road as she pulled around me to apparently over take me, only to make an immediate right hand turn at the lights as she is still paralell with me on the road. This was clearly more than accidental. This was aggressive driving intended to be an attack on me as a cyclist. At the speed I was riding at, she could have simply backed off the gas for just a matter of seconds, I would have continued straight ahead though the intersection ahead of her, and she could have turned right just behind me. Perfectly safe, and would have had no impact on the time of her journey.

As a visitor to Los Angeles and this country, I’ll be returning home and advising all that i know, to never consider using cycling as a viable mode of transport in LA. Sad indeed, considering that we are the ones who are doing the right thing by everyone else in this town and on the planet by reducing our carbon footprint. Sad indeed.

It’s bad enough that we have to deal with the riding conditions in L.A. on a daily basis. It’s a shame that this is the image visitors to our city will take home with them.

……….

A break in the investigation of last week’s Riverside hit-and-run death of Thomas Joseph Meeks, and the critical injury of his 15-year old stepbrother, reveals a possible motive for the driver’s failure to stop.

Motorcycle officers scouring the area found a white 1991 Camry that fit witness descriptions, with signs of recent repair work in the areas that would have been damaged in the hit-and-run collision. According to police, the same car may have been involved in a burglary in the parking lot of a Stater Bros. market just minutes before the impact.

Meek’s stepbrother remains in critical condition at Loma Linda University Medical Center; condolences and best wishes to him and his family.

……….

Thanks to the LACBC’s Dr. Michael Cahn for pointing us towards what maybe be the most sardonic cycling jerseys on the streets. Share the Damn Road, indeed.

……….

Make you plans for an urban cyclocross through the streets and stairways of Silverlake and Echo Park next month. The LAPD releases the full report on bike-involved collisions in 2008. Streetsblog discovers encouraging signs in Long Beach. The Long Beach Press-Telegram’s 77-year old Outdoor Columnist — and cyclist — urges drivers to share the road. USC’s Neon Tommy blog writes about the cycling community’s new relationship with Chief Beck. The Source covers the opening of the new bike stations in Claremont and Covina. Thanks to Curbed LA — one of my daily reads — Luckman Plaza now has bike parking. C.I.C.L.E.’s Joe Linton examines the new county bike plan, with a list of upcoming input meetings. Safety improvements on a busy San Francisco bike lane put the squeeze on cyclists. Rumors of its death evidently premature, the Idaho Stop law passes the Utah House. Evidently, the two drunk drivers who hit a Portland cyclist last year weren’t the ones who killed him. The 2012 Giro d’Italia kicks off in the sleepy little Italian village of… Washington DC? Car-Free Sundays, aka Via RecreActiva, aka Cyclovia, comes to Guadalajara. Swiss cycling deaths double in 2009. Complaining about cycle-pathic riders in Galway, Ireland, while contra-flow lanes may be coming to Dublin. The appropriately named 90-year old wife of a Bank of Scotland executive is allowed to keep driving, despite smashing into a high-vis clad cyclist. A Worcester UK cyclist and two pedestrians are shot with air rifles. How do you identify hit-and-run cyclists in Singapore?

Finally, in case you’ve fallen behind on your urology journals, the latest research clearly shows a connection between cycling and erectile disfunction in men, and related sexual disfunction in women.

But not (ahem) every cyclist.

3 comments

  1. Three weeks ago, I was riding to the Portland City Council hearing on the new 2030 Bicycle Master Plan. I was riding downhill, approaching a stop that admittedly, virtually every cyclist blows.

    I always stop.

    And I stopped that day too, a second or two after passing a pedestrian on the sidewalk to my right. After doing a bit of a track stand–just long enough to make it obvious that i had met my duty to stop and observe traffic– I started back up again. And just as i was halfway through the intersection, a big white SUV blew the stop to my right, and might have hit me, except he saw me at the last second and slammed on his brakes. I’d like to think it was my fluorescent orange rain jacket that caught his eye.

    Anyway, he came to a screeching halt.., and then, as I was giving a very minor shake of my head before continuing, the pedestrian I had just passed a few seconds before was in the crosswalk, and pointing to the stop sign, told the driver “You have a stop sign.”

    Sometimes, everything aligns just right. :)

    Too bad James Sullivan wasn’t there to see it.

  2. bikinginla says:

    Man, your heart must have been pounding after that. I often think successful riding is a combination of skill and sheer luck.

    And something tells me that if Mr. Sullivan had been there, not only would he not have grasped the concept, he probably would have been the guy driving the SUV.

  3. Sometimes I don’t know why I bother! Of course, you liked my argument to Sullivan, but I doubt he read it or that anyone else who is against bikes actually gave it any thought. For some reason I keep thinking I can actually change people’s minds by commenting on an LAT article. Oh the naivety!

    There was a blog post from Virginia about giving a name to cyclist discrimination, and the entire comments section turned into an argument about whether that discrimination was real and on par with discrimination against women, homosexuals, and minorities. I think when you have people blatantly saying that a person doesn’t deserve justice based on their lifestyle choices or lifestyle circumstances(some people ride because they have to not because they want to, right?) then we clearly have discrimination here. In fact, now that I think about, shouldn’t the Mandeville Canyon crime have been classified as a hate crime?

    But I digress.

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