Evidently, you need to be careful riding in Simi Valley these days.
Regular reader Todd M. forwarded me a link to this article in the Ventura County Star, about a woman who was hit by a minivan while riding on Los Angeles Ave in Simi Valley on Tuesday evening. According to a brief follow-up, 21-year old Michelle Bagsby was hospitalized in critical condition.
Looking for more information about the collision, I also stumbled across the story of a driver who lost control while texting on Wood Ranch Parkway, jumped the curb, veered across the roadway, rolled once after crossing the median and slid to a stop on the opposite side curb — narrowly missing a father and son who were riding their bikes on the sidewalk. The father suffered a minor leg injury from the debris, but thankfully, both escaped more serious injury.
Yet, as usually happens, instead of focusing on the tragic injuries suffered by a young woman or the barely averted tragedy caused by a texting driver just days earlier, the comments illustrated just how little compassion some people have for their fellow human beings.
Cities need to ban bikes on streets. Bike riders are pansies and most of them ride like they’re drunk. They should learn traffic laws and stop riding on the wrong side and swerving in and out of traffic.
This, even though the story clearly indicated that the driver and cyclist were travelling in the same direction — and there was nothing in the article to indicate that Bagsby did anything wrong.
Or was a pansy, for that matter.
And it only took the second comment before someone raised the usual arguments about licensing riders and requiring insurance to ride on the road.
My wife was hit by a bicycle rider which caused over $2500.00 in damage to her car. Since Bicycle riders under the law have the same rights as car drivers on the road and we (the tax payers) are paying millions of dollars to install bicycle lanes and other amenities for bicycle riders I think it would be a great idea if bicycle riders were required to have a bicycle riders license and of course insurance to be riding on the roads.
Never mind that most cyclists already have exactly the same drivers licenses many — though unfortunately, not all — drivers have. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the LACBC showed that over 99% of the coalition’s members are licensed drivers. And the same auto insurance coverage cyclists carry for their cars covers them on their bikes, as well.
We’ll also ignore the fact that the writer was more concerned about the damage to his wife’s car than any injuries that might have been suffered by the cyclist — as well as anything his wife might have done that may have contributed to the collision in some way.
Or maybe she was just another innocent victim of those darn kamikaze cyclists, hell bent on death and destruction.
Not to mention the fact that bike riders pay taxes, too. And licensed or not, a far greater percentage of cyclists’ taxes pay for the asphalt drivers seem to take as their God-give right than the relative pennies drivers pay for biking infrastructure.
Then again, there’s no point in letting truth get in the way of a little irrational hatred.
Meanwhile, another reader, Brent B., wrote to ask if any jurisdiction has ever required licenses for cyclists. (He also has an interesting idea for separated bike lanes, which I hope to share with you soon.)
While many cities and/or states require licenses for bikes, I’m not aware of any that test and license the rider. And the limited amount of research I’ve been able to do on the subject hasn’t turned up anything.
But nothing I’ve seen comes close to matching the extreme proposal from a Toronto writer, which calls for biannual testing and a $200 fee.
That’s $200 just to ride a bike on the gold-plated streets of Toronto, even though bikes cause minimal impact — and biking facilities cost just a minute fraction of what it costs to build and maintain the infrastructure to keep cars moving.
And Ontario drivers only have to renew their licenses every five years, with no additional test required until the age of 80.
Evidently, Toronto cyclists must cause a lot more harm and kill a lot more people than their fellow road users in the multi-ton four-wheeled vehicles. Or maybe they just have a lot lower standards at the newspapers up there.
Which is kind of a scary thought in itself.
Fortunately, these sort of draconian, counter-productive proposals have yet to gain traction among the more rational segments of our society.
But take it as fair warning.
One of these days, your right to ride may not come without a fight.
Lots of bike-related activities over the next few weeks, so check back Friday night for more details. But in the meantime, make your plans for Sunday’s Brentwood Grand Prix; races start at 7 am, with categories for all ages and skill levels from kids and masters to Cat 1 racers.
And Friday is your last day to RSVP for the next Metro Bike Roundtable on Wednesday, August 11th.
L.A.’s Mayor demonstrates that hosting a summit is as easy as falling off a bike, as he invites every cyclist who doesn’t have to work on Monday mornings to a Bike Summit on the 16th. The question is, will he make a brief appearance and leave, or will he actually stick around and listen to us? Some think he’s already failed; personally, I hope he’s planning on more than just another PR event or he’s going to have a room full of very angry riders.
Save this one for future reference — LADOT Bike Blog offers Part 1 of a comprehensive look at where it is and isn’t legal to ride on the sidewalk in the L.A. area, with more to come; on the other hand, it’s usually not a good idea.
Good sponsors Moving Beyond Cars to celebrate L.A.’s alternative transportation on August 18th. Malibu adds another traffic cop, but evidently doesn’t target cyclists. Riding in Riverside correctly reminds us that bikes may be cool, but they’re just part of a balanced transportation system. According to a CHP Spokesman, when car-bike collisions occur, the fault usually lies with the cyclist; yeah, no hint of bias there.
Las Vegas cyclists hold a memorial for the cyclist killed by a suspected drunk driver Tuesday morning. Sampling a bespoke three-piece suit for spokes men, and accessories for their female compatriots. A Spokane area driver intentionally hits a cyclist who insulted his girlfriend. Lance Armstrong helps unveil Colorado’s Quiznos Pro Challenge bike race. Meanwhile, doping accusations hit Levi Leipheimer, and things are not looking good for Lance as other riders appear to support Landis’ charges; thanks to George Wolfburg for the heads-up. The New York Times checks in on Colorado’s conspiratorial candidate for the loony bin governor; a Colorado pedestrian asks if cyclists can just obey the rules. First the iPod, iPhone and iPad, now is Apple preparing to introduce the iBike? The dangers of pedaling under the influence. A letter to the driver who tried to kill a Pittsburgh cyclist. A cyclist takes bike-hating drivers to task and calls for a truce; it’s a long read, but worth it — or you can settle for the two paragraph excerpt. The Senate Banking Committee votes to support livable communities, apparently on party lines as usual.
The British Olympian who was critically injured near Winslow AZ is making a remarkable recovery. A British cyclist is struck and killed while competing in a time trial. A soldier survives the Taliban, only to lose his life trying to avoid a pothole. Even when Brits get off their bikes, the police want a word with them. Where are the helmets for London’s new rental bikes; then again, some wonder why does it matter? Speaking of her fellow riders, a cyclists says teach those idiots to obey the rules and stop at red lights. After spending six weeks in a coma following a collision with a bus, a 54-year old man sets off on a 1,000 mile ride. A teenager recklessly rides into a pedestrian after assaulting two other boys — while out on bail. The Department of DIY moves north, as unauthorized sharrows appear in Victoria, Canada, while a cyclist in nearby Vancouver says Critical Mass brats deserve to be spanked.
Finally, a Chicago rider takes the lane, only to be informed that he’s not a car, much to his surprise.