A Register writer points the finger, bike crime fighting councilmembers, and a trail full of bike links

The OC Register’s Dan Whiting calls for better etiquette from riders after a couple of roadies yell at a group of children scattered on the wrong side of the Santa Ana River trail.

While yelling at children who may not know any better is never the right thing to do, I question if the parents involved — and Whiting, for that matter — considered the danger uncontrolled children pose to themselves and those around them on shared trails.

Personally, I consider it child endangerment when parents allow their kids to run around on pathways oblivious to the presence of other path users. I’ve gone to the ER myself when I had to lay my bike down to avoid a small boy who darted out in front of my bike with no warning.

Whiting’s explanation is that the cyclists were simply unwilling to slow down. Having been there too many times, I’d suggest it’s far more likely they were worried about a collision that could have sent both them and the children to the hospital.

And responded in a predictable, if inappropriate, manner.

Yes, the situation he describes was a violation of trail etiquette, as well as safety. But he may be pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

While there are no shortage of rude riders — and walkers, drivers, skaters, equestrians and humans in general — as Rashomon makes clear, there are multiple perspectives to every story.

And please, enough with that bike bashing “Lance Armstrong wannabe” crap, already.

Meanwhile, Lovely Bicycle gets it pretty much right on how to share pathways with pedestrians.

………

After dragging on… and on… and on… it looks like we may finally see white smoke on the new federal transportation bill.

Despite rumors that negotiators were going to cave in to the more radical anti-bike and pedestrian elements in Congress — even though 83% of Americans support continued funding, as do over 70 national organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and 13 state governors — at least some protected funding for non-motorized traffic appear to have made it into the final bill.

………

A New York cyclist and bike researcher says it’s insane for the city to offer a bike share program without mandating helmet use, while the city’s CFO calls for mandatory helmet use, but gets the numbers, among other details, wrong.

So let me get this straight. Anyone wanting to rent a bike would have to bring their own helmet, or share one with the all the greasy haired, lice-ridden riders who used it before you?

Count me out.

Besides, there are other ways to keep cyclists safer.

………

Evidently, local politicians are going the extra mile to get the bike vote, as a Santa Cruz city councilmember chases a bike thief during a break in yesterday’s council session. And a Costa Mesa council candidate calls police after spotting a bike thief, leading to his arrest.

The bike thief, not the council candidate.

………

David Hembrow compares L.A.’s new bike plan to the Netherlands and finds it, not surprisingly, lacking. Streetsblog looks behind the scenes at the upcoming, and somewhat questionable, Bike Nation L.A. bike share program. Better Bike reports on the bike studies presented at the LACBC’s recent grad night. KCET Departures rides the L.A. River bike path, while the Orange Line bike path gets a four mile extension. South L.A.’s Real Rydaz are doing more than just getting paint on the street. The Source says potholes are good for nothing and we should get them fixed before they hurt someone; good advice, even if the repair is sometimes worse than the hole. Former BMX rider Stephen Murray still loves the sport that nearly killed him. Local riders prepare for the first Pasadena Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia; thanks to Matthew Gomez for the heads-up. Cyclists from Cal Tech are asking for east-west bikeways through Pasadena. Alhambra moves forward with the city’s first bicycle master plan. A Long Beach company is looking for test riders for their new bike.

AAA’s Westways magazine talks bikes this month. OC Girl Scouts create their own biking map of San Clemente. An allegedly drunk cyclist is seriously injured in a Hemet collision. Inspiring story as a former Camarillo CHP officer qualifies for the Paralympics cycling team five years after his spinal cord was severed by a drunk driver. A San Luis Obispo woman intentionally runs down a cyclist following an argument in a parking lot. Six women cyclists will ride the Tour de France course one day ahead of the men. Sunnyvale could be the third city to pass an L.A.-style bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance. A San Francisco attorney is charged with felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor manslaughter for leaving a cyclist to die in the street; at least he shouldn’t have trouble getting a lawyer. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske writes about the Strava racing San Francisco cyclist charged with felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of a pedestrian, and follows-up by answering questions about the case in detail. A 68-year old Sonoma cyclist was killed last week in an apparent SWSS after reportedly signaling for a left, then making his turn directly into the path of a big rig coming from behind.

Bicycling looks at Americans riding in this year’s Tour de France; we’re not so parochial as to only cheer for our fellow countrymen, are we? Bicycling’s Bill Strickland falls in love with the new, nearly $12,000 Trek Madone. Washington AAA now offers bike assistance; if they’d do that down here, I might reconsider renewing my membership — if they promise not to use my dues to lobby against bike safety legislation. American cycling scion Taylor Phinney takes his appointment to the U.S. Olympic team seriously. One Colorado highway, three world-class bike parks. The Colorado wildfires force postponement of a mountain bike race in my hometown, but don’t seem to affect the city’s Bike to Work Day. A Knoxville cyclist is sideswiped, then beaten by an angry driver — apparently for touching the car to keep his balance. A Louisiana man pleads not guilty to killing one cyclist and critically injuring another, despite a BAC of .307. Twitter gets a writer’s bike back just hours after it was stolen. Good news for New York drivers, as it’s still legal to kill a cyclist with your car door. Our North Carolina friend Zeke has lost his cycling mojo; any suggestions on how to get it back would likely be appreciated.

Bike advocates head to Vancouver for Velo-City. The Toronto Sun calls mandatory helmet laws a no-brainer; so is finding a new editorial writer if they can’t get past that tired no-brainer cliché. Or maybe the solution is to require helmets for drivers. A group of 25 Canadian opera singers are biking around the country to promote their art. Bookmark this page — a UK cyclist offers an extraordinarily detailed response to virtually every objection a motorist could have to bike riders. British bike traffic is up 18%. NBC re-ups to cover the Tour de France for another 10 years. An Aussie Olympic cyclist gets a slap on the wrist after being convicted of drunk driving in Spain. A German physician guesses there’s a high rate of drunk cycling crashes in his town. Here’s your chance to compete in a one day race in the Himalayas against the prince of Bhutan; one word of advice, it’s not always a good idea to finish ahead of the local royalty.

Finally, the Economist looks at the great Agenda 21 conspiracy in which a single sidewalk or bike lane will inevitably lead to one-world government.

They’re on to us, comrades.

8 comments

  1. [...] more here: A Register writer points the finger, bike crime fighting … This entry was posted in Blog Search and tagged bike, calls, cfo, city, cyclist, details, insane, [...]

  2. Louie Garcia says:

    Curses. I will notify Fearless Leader.

  3. Vic Cooper says:

    Ah, this is something close to my heart … the bike path zombies.

    I don’t ride the Santa Ana River Trail much, but I do ride on dedicated bike paths and what used to be called MUPs, which allow both pedestrians and cyclists.

    Lets go to dedicated bike paths/trails/lanes first. Pedestrians (which includes anyone not riding a bicycle, including those on foot) don’t belong there, unless there is no “adequate adjacent pedestrian facility,” and there almost always is .. typically the same surface, often better lit, and with no sand, and within steps of the bike lane. Their presence on the bike path is a danger to everyone, and they really need to walk where the law requires that they do … on the sidewalk or dedicated adjacent pedestrian path. No excuse.

    On MUPs, cyclists are to keep a reasonable speed, on the proper side of the path, look where they are going instead of fiddling with their smartphone, and make their presence known when pedestrians aren’t looking or don’t see them. Pedestrians are to keep to the right and look where they are going instead of fiddling with their smartphone. If they have kids or a dog on a leash, they need to watch those kids or that dog. Common sense tells you that they should walk behind those children so they *can* watch them.

    The clueless abound. Helmetless cyclists in flip flops, looking anywhere but in front of them (usually at their cellphone), and on the bike lane on the wrong side of the street. Pedestrians doing the same, some with a gaggle of kids with them or a dog on a leash 20 feet long.

    When it is clear to me that the person I’m sharing the bike path with is not paying attention and presents a danger, I sing out a “heads up!” and I continue to do so until they look up and our eyes connect. In a lot of cases, they are so absorbed in that smartphone or whatever else, I have to literally YELL to get their attention.

    Why do I do that? Experience. Until they look up and your eyes meet, you have NO IDEA what that clueless person will do. I’ve tried simply riding behind clueless pedestrians that cross in front of me without looking. It usually works fine. But then there is the occasional person who’ll suddenly remember that they forgot something, stop, turn around, and now you have a near collision with them. Trust me, it’s better to get their attention so they know you are there.

    Some years go, I came upon a couple walking on the Strand, at night with their 4 year old son. Were they watching him? Heck no. Their son was walking a good 10 feet behind them.

    I know how unpredictable 4 year olds are … they’ll dart off in any direction without warning at all. So even though he was agains the wall and a good 8 feet to the right of me, I slowed down. A lot.

    And sure enough, the kid did just that. He ran *directly* in front of me. I yelled … yes … yelled to get him to look in my direction and to get his parents attention (this was more of a “LOOK OUT!”), and there was no collision. And as I rode away, I got what the writer of that article calls “colorful language” directed at me, telling me to “slow down, asshole”.

    Interesting. How could they possibly know how fast I was or was not going? Did they use the same eyes in back of their head to watch their son? Did they know that I *did* slow down and that was the only thing that saved their child from their own parental incompetence? How was I to get their attention if not by yelling? Telepathy?

    No doubt, they told all their friends about the “Lance Armstrong wannabe” (anyone wearing bike shorts, typically) who nearly hit their son and complained about how rude I was because I yelled at them. Just like Mary Peralta on the Santa Ana Bike Trail. Oh, except Mary didn’t have just a 4 year old with her. She had a gaggle of children. Hmmm.

    I dunno. Before anyone calls out cyclists for being rude, I want to hear their perspective. From where I sit, Mary got yelled at because her incompetence nearly caused a serious injury. Maybe the problem isn’t the yelling … it’s her incompetence.

    • bikinginla says:

      Great comment. It’s long enough — and good enough — that I wish you’d sent it to me as a guest post. Unless you object, I may still repost it next time I don’t have time to write something.

      • Vic Cooper says:

        Sure … not problem.

        Really, I think the problems on the bike paths are rooted in the same thing that a lot of problems are. I think there is a natural tendency for people to see things from their own perspective (or others like themselves), and no one else’s. The bike path is a shared resource, and everyone will get along if they take a moment to consider how their actions impact others.

        Ms. Peralta’s letter drips with myopia.

        She takes 6 children and two dogs on a bike path, and by her own admission, they were wandering around on the wrong side of the path (note that she puts “wrong side” in quotes … as if there really is no such thing). Note too, how the “loud bellowing” (probably to get their attention) compares to the “animated chatter” of her “menagerie.” She mentions that bikes are to yield to pedestrians (which they apparently did), but ignores that pedestrians are supposed to keep to the right of the path and control her children and dogs.

        And when there is a near collision, her feelings are hurt by “colorful language that should never be directed at chidlren.” I agree … the colorful language should (and probably was) directed at her, not the children.

        Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to vent. As for me, all I ask is this:

        (1) Pay attention.
        (2) Remember that MUPs are a shared resource, not your personal asset to do with as you please.

        And that goes for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

  4. Re the SF Attorney Smith hit & run — _his_ attorney is blaming the victim, saying nobody expects a cyclist on that road at 11:30 at night because that road is not safe for cyclists. Classic.

    • bikinginla says:

      Amazing. Although he has a point — with people like Smith on the roads, they aren’t safe for cyclists any time of day.

  5. george-b says:

    Rule of the road applies!

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