Archive for June 30, 2010

Just the links — a bad block in Hollywood, assaulting cyclists in Toronto, gearing up for Le Tour

I’m working on something for tomorrow — with lots of pictures for all you who think there are just too many darn words on here. In the meantime, here’s a whole lot of links to keep you entertained and informed.


Just another day in Hollywood, as a driver is shot and killed, two police officers injured in a collision and a cyclist hit by a car — all on the same block less than half an hour apart.


Evidently, not every police department has learned the lessons of Critical Mass, as Toronto police — including bike cops — are accused of illegally beating and detaining CM riders protesting the current G20 conference.


News from the upcoming Tour de France, which begins on Saturday with a prologue in Rotterdam.

Even as the teams finalize their rosters, the Schleck brothers are already plotting their next move. Lance says this will be his last Tour, while Snoop Dogg wants to borrow his bike for a few tricks down the street. Contador is more relaxed this time around.

And what TdF news is complete without a doping report these days? Riccardo Riccò, the rider Robbie McEwen branded a “f*ucking hypocrite,” gets a two-month suspended sentence and 3,000 Euro fine; Swiss rider Thomas Frei is banned for two years after testing positive for EPO. After all the recent charges of mechanical doping, maybe race judges need to look for these.


In a battle of biking infrastructure, LADOT stripes new bike lanes on Winnetka; Santa Monica counters with bike lanes on Arizona and raises by throwing down sharrows on 14th St.


Ron Durgin will be teaching free Confident City Cycling courses in West Hollywood on July 10th and 17th. LADOT Bike Blog samples Council Member Tom Labonge’s Positively Fourth Street ride. Joe Linton visits the artistic new Ballona Gates. My friend at Altadenablog — who is leading the resistance to AOL’s latest attempt to rule the world make a profit — notes the final scheduled meeting on the proposed L.A. County Bicycle Master Plan is scheduled for Altadena on July 12th. How bikes helped emancipate women over a century ago. Advice from Consumer Reports on how to buy a better bike. If you ride a 2009 Felt, maybe you shouldn’t until you check the recall list. Traffic-meister Tom Vanderbilt looks at the rapidly spreading idea of bicycle highways. A red light dispute leads to a driver deliberately hitting a rider’s bike, then backing up to hit him again. NYC bike lanes, love ‘em or lose ‘em. Is the League of American Bicyclists still relevant? Cincinnati’s bike safety ordinance will be one of the strictest in the Midwest. In a classic example of police bias, a Denton, TX cyclist is berated and ticketed after stopping at a stop sign, then getting hit by a car coming around a blind corner. Now that Denver has bike share, people need a place to ride them. Bicycle Colorado is challenging the Black Hawk bike ban in court. Now that’s a pretty bike lane. The Washington Post takes a close-up look at DOT Secretary Ray LaHood; who would have thought he’d turn out to be the star of the Obama administration? The Illinois AG says blame the judge for the light sentences to two drivers convicted of intentionally running down cyclists. Just how many eyes do Oregon drivers have? A new iPhone App walks you through 20 common repairs. Waking up to ciclovia in Mexico City. An Irish mother calls for a mandatory helmet law for anyone under 18 after her son is killed, even though a helmet would not have helped in his case. The Guardian asks if bait bikes are fair or foul, while Cyclelicious notes San Francisco is planning its own sting and offers tips to protect your bike. Does Lycra make you break the law?

Finally, the perfect cufflinks to wear with your spandex tux at the next bike club awards dinner.

Yesterday’s ride, on which I discover sharrows on Westholme Ave — or maybe not

Easy come, easy go.

Ever since they went down on Fountain and 4th, I’ve been on sharrow watch along the routes I ride on a semi-regular basis. Which means Westholme Ave in Westwood and Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice, since they’re the only two Westside streets scheduled to get sharrows as part the current pilot project.

Notice the misaligned chevrons on top of this painted-over sharrow.

So imagine my surprise when I found one on the upper portion of Westholme, just below Hilgard Ave and the UCLA campus. Even more surprising, it had been painted over completely, just leaving a shadow of its former self.

Then just a little further uphill, I found another one.

And this one seems a little squished.

For a moment, I thought that maybe LADOT had put the first few Westholme sharrows down, then changed their mind for some reason.

Oddly, though, the paint appeared to be flat, rather than the raised thermoplastic favored by LADOT. Then there was the unusual shape of the blacked out shadows, with one showing misaligned chevrons and the other seeming a little… squished.

Which raised the question of whether these were official street markings that had somehow been misapplied. Or if the Department of DIY was back in action, unwilling to wait a moment longer for their Westwood shared lanes. Or maybe they just wanted to ensure proper placement on the street.

Which then raised the question of who painted them over. Was it LADOT trying to cover up a mistake or remove an illegal DIY application? Or had NIMBY-ism once again reared its ugly head and a local homeowner decided that bikes don’t belong on his street?

Inquiring minds want to know. So I reached out to a contact at LADOT to see if they knew the real story. As it turns out, they did.

Those sharrows had been applied over two months ago as part of the initial study to survey cyclists and examine driver behavior before the real sharrows are installed, so the city would be able to determine what effect they have on both. Then they were immediately painted over to avoid confusing anyone — other than me, that is — until the more permanent markings are installed.

So the question isn’t what they were doing there, or even who painted over them. But why the hell I hadn’t noticed them before — despite riding directly over them at least a dozen times in the weeks that followed.

On the other hand, it does bring up a good point.

As much as I’ve criticized LADOT for requiring a study to prove the effectiveness of shared lane markings that have already been shown effective in real-world conditions around the globe, that’s exactly what it is.

A study.

The six initial installations are part of a test to determine how L.A. drivers and cyclists respond to sharrows, and if they actually make the city’s streets any safer for riders. Or if they just end up further aggravating L.A.’s already impatient drivers.

And exactly how, where — and if  — they’re used in the future will depend on the results.


Alex David Trujillo has been convicted of 2nd degree murder for the October, 2008 death of 46-year old Catherine Busse, who was killed as she rode next to her 14-year old son. Trujillo, who had previously been convicted of drunk driving and attended 9 months of court-ordered alcohol awareness classes, had a blood alcohol level of .09 at the time of the collision — hours after he’d stopped drinking — as well as Oxycodone, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma in his system.

He now faces 15 years to life in state prison; sentencing is scheduled for August 20th.


More on Friday’s successful LAPD accompanied Critical Mass — LADOT Bike Blog says it was clear from the start it was going to be successful, Sirinya had the time of her life, Stephen Box says it turned into a Ride of Respect and Damien says we all rode as one, even though LAist says a cyclist was hit by a car in West Hollywood.


Flying Pigeon asks if the lessons learned by the Dutch translate to L.A. cycling. CicLAvia is halfway to their goal of raising $7,000. Bicycle Fixation finds a bike corral at the Farmer’s Market. L.A. cyclists tour Pershing Square and the Downtown area. Oakland is the latest city to host a ciclovia. A Santa Cruz bank is held up by a bicyclist, but at least he wore a helmet. A cyclist from Lodi is seriously injured in Idaho after being brushed by a passing SUV, then hit by the following pickup after falling in the roadway, evidently because the sun got in their eyes; fortunately, the police didn’t buy the first driver’s excuse. Biking just five minutes a day helps women keep weight gains to a minimum; of course you wouldn’t get very far. Instructions on how to fix a flat tire; something I’ve done way too much lately. Now there are at least two bands that tour by bicycle. LCD Soundsystem’s new video features Portlanders jousting on tall bikes. A new website launches offering advice for cyclists — as well as drivers. A Florida driver pleads not guilty of stabbing two cyclists following an argument. Bike share comes to the City of Big Shoulders. Cyclists pitch in for Habitat for Humanity. Cincinnati passes a new Bike Master Plan and bike safety ordinance. New York requires every bike to have a bell, even if it doesn’t do any good. The old myth of cyclists not paying for the road rears its ugly head in Southwestern Colorado. Bicycling says don’t bet on Lance in this year’s Tour unless maybe you are Lance. Does Toronto need blue bike lanes? A former driver wasn’t prepared for the absolute concentration required by bike commuting. Sheffield, England calculates that their bike training program pays off seven pounds sterling for every pound invested. A London cyclist is seriously injured by a truck belonging to the same company that killed another cyclist earlier this year. Riding with London’s bike bobbies. Scotland boosts bike spending by £4 million — about $6 million U.S. Israel tells soldiers to leave their bikes at home. Brisbane cyclists are ticketed for speeding and not having a bell.

Finally, Dave Moulton says mandatory helmet laws are like allowing people to walk around shooting guns, then making everyone wear a bullet proof vest.

Notes from the Bike Task Force: reporting bike theft, news on the Hummer Incident

Now that the excitement of Friday’s Critical Mass is over, let’s catch up on a few more interesting items that came up during last week’s Bike Task Force meeting with the LAPD.

First up comes news that California has an existing system to register and identify stolen items — such as bikes, for instance. All that’s necessary to have a stolen bike entered into the system is to provide the police with a serial number or other unique identifying number when you report your bike missing.

That’s why you should always record the serial number of your bike somewhere safe, as well as noting any other identifying information.

Personally, I always keep current photos of my bike, including a close-up photo of the serial number. However, since thieves will often remove a bike’s serial number, it also helps to engrave your name or ID number in a hidden location on your bike; some cyclists slide their business card inside the seat post since thieves seldom check there.

And always report a bike theft to the police as soon as you notice it missing.

That doesn’t mean the police will respond right away. Limited resources mean that they can’t always respond immediately to less urgent calls that don’t involve immediate danger. But they do take bike theft seriously, particularly since it’s one of the few types of crime that’s going up in Los Angeles. And a fast report can greatly improve your chances of getting it back.

Which also brings up the question of what number to call when you do.

According to police officials, call 911 anytime there’s an actual emergency — as they put it, if there’s blood and guts or a crime in progress. Otherwise, call the citywide 311 help number and they’ll direct your call to the appropriate agency.

Or as an alternative, call the front desk of your local precinct; if you don’t get what you think is an appropriate response, ask for the watch commander.

One final bit of news from the task force meeting. It appears that the long-delayed report on the infamous Hummer Incident in Downtown L.A. that occurred back in April 2009 has finally been approved by the Police Commission, and forwarded to the City Council’s Transportation Committee.

When or if we will get to see it is yet to be determined.

And speaking of long-delayed items, I’ve been informed that the proposed anti-harassment ordinance isn’t dead yet, despite the long lack of news. At last report, it was still working its way through the City Attorney’s office and may resurface in the hopefully not-too-distant future, though in what form is anyone’s guess.


A bike thief is caught in the act — possibly in Long Beach — and no one seems to care. Police look for a cycling Santa Monica groping suspect. Reed Bates, the Texas cyclist repeatedly arrested for riding a bike in Ennis, TX, is back in jail yet again. A Virginia Beach bike path turns into a corridor of crime after dark. A Montpelier, VT cyclist competing in a 2700 mile cross country race is killed in a head-on collision in Colorado; first link courtesy of No Whip, who could have been there. An apparent drunk driver refuses breathalyzer and blood tests and assaults a police officer after killing a cyclist near DC. Build it and they will come, which applies to bike lanes and cyclists, as well as the thieves that follow; heads-up courtesy of Bike Blog NYC. Cyclists shouldn’t take the Black Hawk, CO bike ban sitting down; turns out, city officials may not have been entirely honest about the studies showing it isn’t safe. The incomparable Jeanie Longo wins her 9th French national time trial title at age 51, bringing her total to 57 national titles, 13 world championships and four Olympic medals. The fallout from Mark Cavendish’s crash in the Tour of Switzerland continues as pro racers Heinrich Haussler and Tom Boonen will both miss this year’s Tour de France. An international team of researchers develops a mathematical formula to explain why you don’t fall over when you ride. After her husband is killed while riding, a mother of three says more could be done to protect bicyclists. Why aren’t bikes allowed on trains in Ireland? An Aussie grandmother’s wrist and elbow are shattered in a collision with a cyclist.

Finally, when the sidewalks are closed on both sides of the street, where exactly are the people supposed to go?

Unidentified cyclist killed in Long Beach Friday night

A bicyclist was hit by a pickup around 11:46 pm Friday at Carson Street and Woodruff Avenue in Long Beach.

According to the L.A. Times, the cyclist, identified only as a 58-year old man from La Palma, was riding west on Carson when he was struck from behind by a 70-year old driver; he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Identification of the victim has been withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

L.A. survives Critical Mass; plus weekend rides, races and fireworks

Evidently, Friday night’s LAPD-accompanied Critical Mass was a success, with reports of police corking intersections, passing out lights and one officer riding a tall bike.

Now that’s something I’d like to see.

Update: Read more at Bicycle Fixation, Streetsblog and BikesideLA. Some of the news outlets reported on CM Friday night, but don’t seem to have the stories online as of noon Saturday.


In this weekend’s riding news, Saturday marks the Eastside Bicycle Club’s 2nd Anniversary Celebration in Lincoln Park, with fireworks at sunset; Stephen Box and the LAPD’s bike point man Sgt. David Krumer will be honored with the club’s 1st Annual Golden Crank Award.

Saturday will also see the Los Angeles Wheelmen’s 52nd Annual Grand Tour, with rides from 200 to 400 miles. It was on last year’s Grand Tour that Rod Armas was killed and his son critically injured when they were struck by a truck allegedly driven Robert Sam Sanchez, who fled the scene.

On Sunday, Flying Pigeon looks forward to the second annual Pershing Square Discovery Bike Ride, while Claremont Cyclist looks at Sunday’s 49th Annual Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.


Maybe sharrows are contagious; after suddenly appearing in Los Angeles, signs suggest they’re about to make an appearance in Santa Monica. Flying Pigeon offers photos of the recent Streetsblog fundraising ride. The birth of a (fast) bike. Riding under the 405 on Wilshire just got a lot safer. More on the arraignment of two San Bernardino teens charged with killing pro racer Jorge Alvarado. San Francisco cyclists won’t ride the city’s new sharrows; even the city’s lead traffic engineer says no way. Bike fashions for on and off your ride. A new rider makes the slow transition to serious cyclist, but can’t quite work up the nerve to shave his legs. How to corner at speed. Ten riders to watch in the 2010 Tour. How to ride wisely as you age. Portuguese soccer star Christiano Ronaldo shows what he does when he’s not competing in the World Cup; evidently, cycling is sexy. London cracks down on rogue road users, on two or four wheels. UK police look for a hit-and-run schmuck cyclist who left an elderly woman badly injured in the street. The department of DIY moves north as homemade sharrows hit the pavement in British Columbia.

Finally, bike lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on what to do when you really, really have to go.

Update: BAC Chair Glenn Bailey addresses tonight’s Critical Mass

I just received the following email from Glenn Bailey, chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee:

Dear City Bicycle Advisory Committee members and other interested persons:

Yesterday I participated in the LAPD Bicycle Community Outreach meeting.  A primary issue was the appropriate role of LAPD with tonight’s Critical Mass ride, the first since the May 28, 2010 Hollywood incidents which the BAC focused on at our June 1 meeting.

It is LAPD’s stated role, in their own words, to “be a participant in the ride with the cyclist.  Only if necessary, due to public safety issues that arise, we will assist in facilitating the ride.  The goal for the cyclists is to self-support and self-police themselves during the law-abiding ride.”

LAPD recognizes and supports cyclists’ right to the road and First Amendment freedom of speech.

LAPD will have a number of bicycle unit officers present as well as several motorcycle officers.  Many of the meeting attendees yesterday urged LAPD to emphasize the use of bicycle officers and have the motorcycle officers at the end of the ride.  LAPD stated they will be enforcing important public safety laws such as helmet use by riders under the age of 18, stopping at red lights and stop signs, and proper safety equipment i.e. brakes/ability to stop pursuant to the Vehicle Code.

LAPD has requested this information be shared with others who may be riding tonight so I am asking for your assistance in forwarding this email on.

Finally, I am making a personal request of all riders:  if you see someone riding against traffic, endangering pedestrians, or otherwise acting inappropriately, please ask them to ride responsibly.  Also if you have an extra helmet, consider bringing it along to share with teenage riders without one.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.


Glenn Bailey, Chair
Bicycle Advisory Committee
City of Los Angeles

More on tonight’s Critical Mass below.

A look at tonight’s Critical Mass

I confess. I’ve never ridden a single Critical Mass.

It’s not that I’m against it. Although personally, I don’t think we win friends by reinforcing the motoring public’s perception that bikes never stop for red lights or that we inconvenience drivers needlessly.

And it would be fun to celebrate our right to ride with a few hundred — or in tonight’s case, more likely a few thousand — like-minded riders. Especially when there’s a point to be made following last month’s Critical Mass Takedown.

If I was still single, I’d probably be a regular at rides like this.

Then again, if I was single, there’s a lot of things I’d do that I don’t do now.

However, as a married man, I have other obligations. Which means that events that take place on nights and weekends are usually out for me, as much as I might like to join in on the fun.

But in my book, family comes first.

Then again, it’s not like anyone is likely to miss me. Tonight’s CM promises to be one of the largest the city has ever seen, including a number of the local biking community’s more prominent members who don’t normally participate on a regular basis.

Representatives from the LACBC will be there. Bikeside will undoubtedly be there, along with the Ridazz. And the rapidly growing Eastside Bicycle Club — which celebrates its second anniversary at Lincoln Park on Saturday — will no doubt be represented.

Even the LAPD’s point man for bike issues, Sgt. David Krumer, will be there — in fact, he’s hoping to have his picture taken with Plebis Power, author of the popular CM poster parody.

And he won’t be alone.

The Los Angeles Police Department will not only be attending the ride, they expect to participate in some way. While they readily acknowledge that this is an experiment, they’re committed to finding a way to more effectively police and support the ride, without the heavy-handed problems of last month.

Police cruisers, they promise, will be kept in the background unless needed. And there won’t be a crackdown on “ticky tacky” violations as some riders have feared — such as bikes without side reflectors, for instance.

But cyclists will be expected to have lights and brakes — defined as being able to skid on dry pavement, for you fixie aficionados. And anyone under 18 needs a helmet, as required by state law.

The department is encouraging leaders within the ride to step — or maybe roll — forward to help self-police the ride to keep officers from feeling the need to step in themselves.

And they offer three key points to remember as you ride tonight —

  • People are encouraged to follow the rules of the road
  • The police will not be corking intersections — though they reserve the right to change their mind if it becomes necessary
  • Riders will be expected to stop at all red lights unless instructed otherwise

I’d also like to add a little advice that Sgt. Krumer offered earlier this month, not just for Critical Mass, but anytime you find yourself dealing with the police —

  • Stop if a police officer instructs you to
  • Be polite and respectful, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong — “No sir” or “Yes ma’am” will go a long way towards avoiding any problems
  • Don’t try to correct the officer, even if you know the law better than he or she does — some officers may see that as being combative, which could cause things to escalate unpleasantly
  • If the officer writes a ticket, just accept it quietly and fight it in court later

Finally, if you think you’ve been treated unfairly, contact the watch commander at the officer’s precinct. Or contact anyone involved with the department’s Bike Task Force — such as myself, the LACBC, Bikeside, Carlos Morales or bike activist extraordinaire Stephen Box, just to name a few, and we’ll contact the department on your behalf.

And yes, you do have a right to film or photograph any police officer in the performance of his or her duties — despite what you might have seen — as field officers were recently reminded.

But you might not want to push the point, especially if you value your iPhone.

Now have fun.

And stay out of the news.


The teenage suspects in the car racing death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado plead not guilty. The LACBC calls on LADOT to do sharrows right, and endorses the Wilshire Bus (and bike) Only Lane along with the Green LA Transportation Working Group. Council Member Tom LaBonge’s police-accompanied group ride along the new 4th Street sharrows was “like Critical Mass, but with gray hair and guns.” Your tentative route for CicLAvia is unveiled. A Bay Area cyclist is killed after broad-siding a truck, possibly while trying to set a downhill speed record. A Folsom man dies shortly after falling from his bike on a local bike path. Bike Attorney Bob Mionske looks at the Black Hawk bike ban and not surprisingly, finds it violates Colorado law. A leadership vacuum on bike issues in Chicago; sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Ikea tries to veto bike lanes in Brooklyn.­ Even in Missouri, you can have a ride from hell — although that loud long horn could be a friend trying to say hi. A student riding across country to raise money for charity is killed by a car in New Mexico. The new Oklahoma law that allows cyclists to run red lights that don’t change doesn’t actually allow cyclist to go through red lights after all. FedEx says call the police if one of their trucks blocks a bike lane because their not going to do anything about it. A Pittsburgh area cemetery — final resting place of perhaps the greatest player in baseball history — opens its gates to cyclists. Who needs bike parking when you’ve got a good fence? UK cycling rates are up, while deaths are down. If you’re planning a bike ride, it helps to know where the keys are. A driver loses her license for killing a cyclist while trying to toss a spider out of her car. A woman barely survives a brush with a massive truck as horrified bystanders look on.

Finally, I dare anyone to run you off the road on this bike.

Friday’s Critical Mass — making a point through parody

It seems like everyone is anticipating this Friday’s L.A. Critical Mass  — whether with excitement or trepidation — especially in light of the recent announcement that the LAPD intends to participate.

Some cyclists are planning to respond by observing the letter of the law and stopping for all red lights, regardless of the effect that may have on traffic. Or on the department’s ability to manage countless groups of riders converging on a single spot.

Meanwhile, a rider going by the name of Plebis Power — loosely translated, Power of the People — left a comment on a recent post that featured the department’s poster announcing their plans to attend the next CM, as well as on the LACBC’s blog. And in it, offered a link to a tongue-in-cheek response to the LAPD.

It’s pretty damn funny — and effectively makes a good point, while demonstrating that there are two sides to this story.

And I’m told that even the officer who created the department’s original poster found it pretty amusing.


Sharrows began hitting the streets on the Valley’s Reseda Blvd, making it the third of six locations scheduled to get them; bike lanes are still planned from Devonshire to Parthenia and Parthenia to Valerio. As for the others, I rode both Westholme Ave and Abbot Kinney over the past few days; no sign of sharrows yet.


Long Beach’s biking expats offer images from Music City. Good Samaritans save a cyclist who suffers a heart attack in Silicon Valley. How to safely navigate your way around trucks, and how drivers can safely navigate their way around you. A road-raging writer says he hates bike riders more than serial killers and TV pitchmen. U.S. Representative Earl Blemenauer and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood write about the new bike lane on one of the world’s most famous streets; now maybe our bike riding president can use his to get to the next State of the Union address. A Portland cyclist beats a ticket for carrying a passenger on his bike. Seattle gets its first buffered bike lanes. The RAAM rider critically injured in a Kansas collision still has no feeling from the waist down; still no word on charges against the driver. Oklahoma cyclists can now legally run red lights that don’t change. New York neighborhoods start to fight back against more bike lanes, while the city’s Sanitation Department revokes a misguided plan to remove ghost bikes. A bike riding first grader hit on the last day of classes shines a light on Safe Routes to School. New Florida road signs say “Ride Right, Drive Right.” Using lights to see and be seen. Lance Armstrong’s Radioshack team names its roster for the Tour de France; after his second place finish in the Tour of Switzerland, Lance may be competitive this year after all. Guerilla tactics to protect your bike. New Zealand authorities seek a teenage BMX riding groper. A cyclist wins in court after slipping in oil spilled by a farmer.

Evidently, it’s open season on cyclists in the Windy City. In a truly bizarre case, a Chicago judge celebrates their Bike to Work Day by giving two drunk drivers who intentionally sought out and hit two cyclists — actually changing seats so both would have a chance — to less than a slap on the wrist. One driver got 7 to 10 days in jail; the other was sentenced to two years probation.

When my lips move, who’s doing the talking?

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well. You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself. — Rick Nelson, Garden Party

I really didn’t think I needed to explain this.

I mean, it seems pretty obvious. And I always assumed my readers have sufficient intelligence to grasp the concept.

Then again, you’re not the problem.

So let me make this as clear as possible. I am not a journalist.

I have never worked for a newspaper, magazine, TV or radio station. At least, not since I edited my high school newspaper back in the Dark Ages.

And when I attend a meeting, I’m there to participate, because I think I have something to add to the conversation. Not to sit there silently taking notes.

Don’t get me wrong. I admire journalists. I don’t believe our society or system of government could survive without their under-appreciated and under-paid efforts.

But that’s not what I do.

So anyone who accuses me of violating journalistic ethics might as well accuse me of violating the Hippocratic Oath. Because I’m not a physician, either. Or a hippo, for that matter.

And this is not a news site, even though I link to a few.

What it is, is my opinion.

I may relay news that other people have reported if I think it’s important. Or I may relate something from my own experience, or a story someone has sent me or that I found online to illustrate a larger point. I may even break a story every now and then, as I did last summer.

But always from my own perspective.

That’s not to say that I don’t have my own standards. I always strive to be honest on here and tell you the truth the best I can, as I understand it. I try never to indulge in personal attacks, tempting though it may be at times. I try to be objective, and give you both sides of an argument when I can. And I’ll often link to or write about pieces that challenge my own assumptions, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.

And I try always, above all, to be fair.

Do I always succeed?

Of course not.

I count on my readers to keep me honest. Just like Chewie did when I had the not-so-brilliant idea of creating the Idiot A**hole of the Month Award. And for which I’m still grateful.

Just like I count on you to catch my mistakes. Show me where I got something wrong, and I’ll fix it. If we disagree, I’ll usually present your argument as well as mine. But never forget that what you’re reading here is my opinion.

Which brings up the other point I want to make today.

I recently became a board member for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. However, that does not mean that I speak for the members and staff of the LACBC, or for the board. Or that they dictate what I say on here.

No one put words in my mouth in the 19 months I wrote this blog before I joined the LACBC, though some tried. And no one has in the months since.

Then again, they don’t need to. The LACBC has a highly competent and effective staff, more than capable of speaking for themselves. So if I support something the group says or does — or that anyone else says or does, for that matter — it’s because it has value.

No more, no less.

And just to clarify, when I wrote about John Fisher recently, for which I was so viciously attacked, not one person within the LACBC contributed a single word or thought to the piece, or reviewed it before it went online. Neither the LACBC nor anyone else vets what I write on here in any way.

If you like it, I get the credit. If you don’t, the blame is mine and mine alone.

As for the other side of the coin, I am just one of several board members. I do not lead the board and I don’t speak for it. Nor do I want to — on either count — whether I’m writing on here or speaking in public.

Anyone who tries to say otherwise has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, and not one iota of fact to base it on.

One more thing.

When I was first approached about joining the LACBC board, I was flattered. And not interested.

While I was impressed with the work Aurisha Smolarski, Allison Mannos and Dorothy Le were doing in fighting for the rights of cyclists in front of the City Council, I had been a semi-regular critic of the organization. And my overall impression of it wasn’t always that favorable.

I was wrong.

As I investigated further, I found an organization committed to meeting the needs of a widely diverse community of cyclists, and making the streets safer for riders of all types. As well as one of the most dedicated and talented staffs, both employees and volunteers, that I’ve encountered in any organization.

And trust me, I’ve encountered a lot of organizations.

But what won me over was when board president Chet Kostrzewa said he considered critics such as myself to be the LACBC’s best friends, because they point out areas that need improvement. He also insisted that, board member or not, I continue to speak my own mind and push them to be a better and more effective organization.

And that I should continue to criticize the LACBC anytime I think it’s necessary.

So far, it hasn’t been.

If and when it is, I’ll let you know.


Interesting stats from London, where over 3,200 people were killed or seriously injured in traffic collisions in 2009 — and that’s an improvement. On the other hand, overall cyclist casualties were up 15%, and 76% of fatalities involved people outside of vehicles, such as cyclists, pedestrians and moped, scooter and motorcycle riders. And the city’s planned bike superhighways will get convex mirrors at intersections to help truck drivers spot cyclists.

Meanwhile, bike deaths in Scotland dropped by nearly half last year.


The Times uncovers the mystery behind the shrine to a dead father on the L.A. River Bike Path. Cyclist Joe Borfo calls for Project Civil Obedience at Friday’s LAPD accompanied Critical Mass. Council Member Tom LaBonge rides the new 4th Street sharrows Wednesday night — your chance to help LACBC lobby for the 4th Street Bike Boulevard. CicLAvia makes it into the latest draft of the city’s proposed bike plan; speaking of which, Oakland hosts Oaklavia this weekend. LADOT Bike Blog offers a great look at the LACBC’s City of Lights program. Texting while biking could soon be illegal. Cordova Street in Pasadena is going on a road diet. A proposed Santa Clara County ordinance threatens to end large group rides entirely. Caution: flying cyclists. Seattle gets its first buffered bike lanes; San Francisco is up next. An alleged drunk driver drags a Chicago bike cop over 30 feet during an attempted stop. A Cincinnati cyclist is killed by a driver who backs up and hits him again. One of the joys of biking is catching the jerks at the next red light. The good news is Tucson police were ticketing speeders; the bad news is, they were stopping them in the bike lane. Good reason to wear a helmet — that could have been his head. Two cyclists save a stranger from armed robbery. Pro cyclist Kim Kirchen emerges from his coma following his heart attack during the Tour of Switzerland, while Bike Radar looks at the upcoming Tour de France. A five-time British Olympic rower is seriously injured in a fall near the end of RAAM. A cyclist dies on Europe’s largest charity bike ride; evidently, so does a marriage. After getting hit by a car, a Canadian cyclist faces a fine for riding on the sidewalk. Your next bike could be a carbon/bamboo singlespeed fixie.

Finally, hats off to former LAPD Officer Kristina Ripatti-Pearce, paralyzed from the chest down in an on-duty shooting in 2006, who finished the RAAM ultra-endurance race on Monday along with the other members of her relay team.

A friendly greeting, a nearby death, another bike-hating DJ

It was one of those things that just wouldn’t happen if I’d been driving a car.

Last week, I was on my way back home from a long ride when I stopped at a red light across from Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica. Next to me was a frozen yogurt store than had opened recently in what had been an empty space.

The tables outside were filled with an eclectic assortment of people enjoying the sunny afternoon. At the one closest to me, a couple of well-dressed children sat enjoying their desserts.

“Excuse me sir,” said the young African American gentleman at the table, waving as his female companion concentrated on her yogurt. “Nice day, isn’t?”

I nodded in agreement.

“I just graduated from 5th grade,” he continued. “It was hard work, but I made it.”

“Well, congratulations. You should be very proud,” I said. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”

“I am!” he answered cheerfully. “Thank you!”

Just then the light changed, so I wished him well as I clipped back into my pedal and started up the road.

“You too,” shouted the voice from behind. “Enjoy your ride!”


A wrong-way cyclist was killed in Palm Springs Saturday night.

The rider, identified as 46-year old Indio resident Eric Mendoza, was headed north in the southbound lanes of North Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs when he was struck by an unidentified driver at about 11:24 PM.

Riding facing traffic greatly raises your risk of a collision while increasing the potential severity of injuries due to higher relative speeds. In fact, LAPD statistics show that 30% of cyclists killed in Los Angeles in 2008, and 20% of those severely injured, were riding on the wrong side of the road.


A Pittsburgh cyclist responds to the latest bike-hating DJ, who admits to being tempted to run down those “arrogant little dorks” on their bicycles.

“They’ve got to stop being so arrogant about what they’re doing. They’ve got to obey the rules. They have to do the right thing or else they’re going to get killed.”

Funny how the people who hate bicyclists profess to be so concerned about our safety while simultaneously professing their desire to frighten, injure, maim and/or kill us for the heinous crime of riding a bike in the street. Or maybe just being in their way.

And maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the real arrogant ones are the people who insist that the roads belong to them, rather than acknowledging that others have a right to be there, too.


Bike Advisory Committee Chair Glenn Bailey reports that LADOT has taken the initial steps to install 2.3 miles of bike lanes on Winnetka Ave between Gault and Nordhoff Streets, 14 years after they were included in the 1996 bike plan — and after another 1.75 miles included in the plan were replaced with curb-to-curb traffic lanes without consulting the bike community.

Bailey urges LADOT to extend the bike lanes two miles to the south, which is also called for in the bike plan, allowing riders to connect with the Orange Line and Pierce College.

Update: LADOT Bike Blog offered clarification in the comments that the bike lane only needs to be extended .8 mile to connect to the Orange Line and the Pierce College Station. He also notes that a couple of road narrowings, including a crossing over the L.A. River, would have to be addressed before the bike lanes can be extended to their planned terminus at Ventura Blvd — something Glenn Bailey had mentioned as well, but which I left out.

Meanwhile, Stephen Box takes LADOT to task for failing to attend last weekend’s Caltrans workshops on Understanding Bicycle Transportation, where they could have learned how to install sharrows correctly.

And speaking of Box, he will be honored, along with Sgt. David Krumer of the LAPD’s Bike Task Force, as the winners of the Eastside Bike Club’s 1st Annual Golden Crank Award for their outstanding contributions to the cycling community in Los Angeles over the past year. The awards will be given at the bike club’s second anniversary celebration this Saturday, June 26.

We will be making the presentation at the EASTSIDE BIKE CLUB 2nd Gear Anniversary Celebration which will be held at

3501 Valley Blvd, LA CA 90031
PARK PHONE #  213/847.1726

We will begin our day at 2pm to gather, meet and relax at Lincoln Park.  Our presentation will begin at 5pm  followed by a community bike ride   We will contain our ride to the LAPD Hollenbeck Division.  We are asking everyone to decorate your bikes in RED WHITE AND BLUE and wear clothing of the same colors if possible.  Bring Bells, Whistles and Horns!


Lance Armstrong almost — but not quite — pulled off a big upset by jumping up from seventh place in the final stage of the Tour of Switzerland to finish 2nd, 12 seconds behind winner Frank Schleck; the previous day’s leader, Robert Gesink, dropped back to 5th.

However, the race was overshadowed by the heart attack suffered by 31-year old former Luxembourg national champion Kim Kirchen, who had been in 48th place after the seventh stage. Kirchen was reportedly in stable condition after being placed in medically induced coma.


Bike Girl advises women riders how to gracefully dismount. Adult drivers are every bit as distracted as their teenage counterparts, which should come as no surprise to those who share the road with them. Into every bike commuter’s life a little rain must fall — along with hail and hurricane force winds, at times. Preview the upcoming movie about America’s first black bike hero. A Chicago man reminisces about his father walking the walk and biking the bike. CNN discovers naked bicycling in St. Louis; Pittsburgh rides naked while DC dons seersucker. In Colorado, even ski towns strive to be bike-friendly. Three to eight years in prison for an Idaho drunk driver convicted of killing a cyclist. Pylon-protected bike lanes on DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue. BMX racers from around the world will be headed to Allegany County, PA for the Stars-N-Stripes Nationals this weekend. Interview with a cam-wearing car-dodging cyclist in Annapolis. A Huntsville, AL bicyclist provides inspiration for Complete Streets in her hometown following her death while riding in another state. A triathlete gives up riding the roads of Israel after the latest of 12 fellow triathletes, the son of a former Israel Supreme Court justice, is killed in a hit-and-run collision. Cyclists in India may soon be required to paint their black bikes bright orange for the sake of safety. A UK cyclist has his new custom-made bike stolen just minutes into his first ride. A distracted Brit bus driver who killed a cyclist walks free.

Finally, an injured non-car-owning cyclist is banned from driving — but not riding — after running a red light and colliding with a car. And Missouri unveils bicycling commemorative license plates, so you can show your support for cyclists while you run them off the road.

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