A manger full of virtually wise man-free Christmas Eve links for those who survived the weekend

Since you’re reading this, we can assume you managed to survive, not only Friday’s Mayan apocalypse, but this past weekend’s last chance before Christmas full-contact shopping marathon.

And since I’m writing this, we can also assume I somehow managed to control my reaction to the jerk who honked and gestured angrily for my wife and I to get the hell out of his way as we walked through a Costco parking lot.

After all, had I followed the advice of the NRA’s leadership, I might have fired off 20 or 30 rounds from my fully automatic military-style assault rifle before realizing that I don’t in fact own one.

Or want to.

I have a hard enough time controlling the knee-jerk reaction of my middle finger when confronted by aggressive, hostile and/or threatening motorists. God forbid if the one next to it was attached to a trigger at the time.

But still.

It’s remarkable just how shallow the holiday spirit is revealed to be when confronted by the realities of a packed parking lot.

That’s not to say I didn’t see a lot of smiling faces this weekend.

It’s just that none of them were in cars at the time.

………

A great read for the holidays, as a bike shop worker explains that Santa is just as real as Bigfoot, courtesy of Kent’s Bike Blog.

It’s not that I believe in Santa Claus. It’s just that, like Batman and honest politicians, I prefer to live in a world where such things might actually exist.

And in the footsteps of Luka Bloom’s ode to the joys of bicycling, singer Nora Schlang offers a CD full of bike songs, including this one asking for a big red bike for Christmas.

………

Cycling’s governing body finally approves equal prize money for men and women at the world championships; now how about equality on the world tours?  It’s long past time for equal pay for equal work in women’s cycling. But at least Amgen is considering sponsoring a separate but unequal women’s tour in Northern California.

………

L.A.’s Bike Nation bike share program kicks off in Downtown next April, and teams with the Clippers’ Caron Butler to donate bikes to LA Boys and Girls Club members. The Asian Journal looks at LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega. Santa Monica Patch maps the location of the city’s five traffic deaths this year, including the still unsolved case of hit-and-run cycling victim Erin Galligan. Vincent Chang and Bike SGV are creating a paradigm shift in SoCal cycling. The Claremont Currier offers a nice look at longstanding bike shop Coates Cyclery. CLR Effect rides the West fork of the San Gabriel River; that’s one I want to try one of these days. Long Beach opens a full-blown multi-media campaign to educate cyclists and drivers about bike safety — although the ad in the story seems to show cyclists riding blissfully in the left lane.

Good looks at the world’s first bikes made from 100% recycled aluminum; something we mentioned here a few weeks back. A young Santa Ana cyclist is expected to survive being shot when he’s challenged over gang affiliations. Bike helmets have to be certified to meet safety standards while skateboard helmets don’t, making them riskier for the BMX riders who use them. Prison inmates refurbish bikes for over 80 children in Imperial County. If you’re going to steal a bike from an El Centro Walmart while carrying illegal drugs, watch out for poles. UPS delivers by bike in Santa Maria; if they’d do that in Santa Monica, I wouldn’t mind so much if they used the bike lane. I’ve never been a 49ers fan, but that might change if they keep building bikes to donate to needy kids; next year, though, let’s make it 490 bikes, not 49. If you’re a white or Hispanic male cyclist, you could represent Verizon in a Bay Area commercial; evidently blacks and Asians — or women, for that matter — don’t fit the image the massive communications company wants to project. A Sacramento cyclist is killed when he swerved to avoid a puddle in a heavy rain; if you ride in the rain, remember that a bike is the last thing drivers are looking for in adverse weather.

Bicycling says how you act can determine whether you get a deal at your local bike shop; I can sum it up in four words — don’t be an ass. Some riders are doing more than dream of a bike Christmas. A New Mexico jury awards $2.1 million in a cycling collision, but places half the blame on the cyclist for allowing himself to get left crossed. The Colorado Mesa University cycling team is looking for a new coach after the current director is implicated in one doping scandal too many. Chicago plans to become a world class bike city, again. Just what Boston cyclists don’t need, as the Boston Globe gets a new anti-bike editor. An upstate New York cyclist dies three months after he was struck in a drugged hit-and-run collision; yes, the driver has been found and will face charges in his death. New Yorkers respond to a proposal to require licenses and insurance for bikes. Jerry Seinfeld cruises New York in Porsches and a Pinarello racing bike. A Long Island cyclist is beaten and robbed by eight to 10 men who fled with his bike. A woman is shot and killed by an apparent acquaintance while riding in West Palm Beach; a 16-year old cyclist was shot and killed a little further south in Miami. A Florida driver plowed into a group of cyclists, injuring four; thankfully, none critically. An Aussie woman learns to ride at the ripe old age of 35.

Turns out bicycling keeps more than just your body in shape. London cyclists will get a new way to bypass stopped buses without having to ride out into traffic, while the Guardian questions whether London Mayor BoJo is spending wisely to encourage safety. A Coventry cyclist maps his own bike network inspired by a clock face. BMC Racing pro Alessandro Ballan is severely injured in a high-speed solo crash while training. An Italian rider becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by bike, completing the trip in just 152 days — or maybe not; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the tip to the second link. The Spanish Supreme Court rules that 2005 Vuelta winner Roberto Heras deserves his title back despite testing positive for EPO during the race; maybe Lance should sue and get his titles back, too. A Sydney man is stabbed when a group of teenagers insist on borrowing his son’s bike; at least, that’s what they called it. A Kiwi driver insists cyclists are putting everyone at risk by riding two and three abreast and — gasp — riding in the traffic lane. A Singapore drunk driver is fined a whopping $1250 for killing a cyclist. Once transportation for the masses, bikes are the new status symbol for China’s rich. If you want to talk extreme cycling, let’s start with riding to the South Pole.

Finally, if you’re going to steal a bike on test ride, don’t leave your name and phone number at the shop first. And a Massachusetts driver rear-ends another car while driving distracted.

By a gerbil.

And no, I don’t want to know any more details, thank you.

4 comments

  1. Alan Thompson says:

    UPS is delivering by bike in Pasadena also.

  2. Joe B says:

    re the cyclist who was passing backed-up cars and was left-crossed in the bike lane: I’m in this sort of situation a lot, both in the saddle and behind the wheel. It is very difficult for a driver to see an oncoming cyclist in this situation. As I see it, the only legal way for the driver to cross the intersection (assuming their view of the bike lane is blocked) is to enter the intersection, then wait for the light to turn red, then make their turn.

    Drivers, understandably, don’t do this: they either don’t expect a bike to approach, or they weigh the small possibility of a collision vs. the certainty of massive delay and angry drivers behind them, and choose to take the risk. The careful ones make their turn VERY slowly, counting on any oncoming cyclist to see them and slow or stop, but even this is risky and illegal.

    But I think it’s foolish for a cyclist to expect that sort of bike-aware behavior. I always slow when approaching an intersection in backed-up traffic if there’s a possibility of a left-cross.

    Radical street redesign aside, I don’t think there’s a way for drivers to navigate this situation that’s both legal and practical.

    • bikinginla says:

      I run into that situation nearly every day riding in the bike lane Ohio Ave in West L.A. The eastbound traffic backs up for blocks, while the bike lane is unimpeded, allowing me to ride past with ease. The problem comes from right turning cars that don’t check their mirrors, and left turning cars that don’t look for bikes.

      As you point out, the only solution in both cases is to ride carefully and defensively, anticipating that someone could turn into your path. If you see a car that could turn into your path, slow or stop until you can catch the driver’s eye and know they’re going to wait for you.

      That said, it should be the driver’s responsibility to see a cyclist and observe the right-of-way, rather than the cyclist’s obligation to be seen.

  3. Joe B says:

    But I disagree that the problem comes from left-turning cars that _don’t_ look for bikes. The problem is that left-turning cars _can’t_ look for bikes, because there’s a line of stopped cars blocking their view. (Even if they go slow, their hood is still blocking the bike lane by the time the driver has a good view of the bike lane.)

    Cyclists are very used to riding super-defensively so that we can avoid a crash even when a driver does something stupid. Pretty much every time a driver does something unsafe, they had a better, safer alternative that they chose not to take. But I don’t think that this is one of those situations, because in this situation, there is no good safe alternative that a driver can do.

    So I don’t want to dismiss this problem as “yet another time that cyclists must compensate for unreasonable drivers”, and to lecture drivers about their responsibility to use their X-ray vision to see through a line of cars. I think that the problem here is a dangerous traffic situation, and it is totally possible for a driver who is educated, attentive, and careful to cause a collision anyways.

    tl;dr If a driver in this situation slowly turns left in front of you while craning their head forward trying their best to see, don’t get mad at them, because for once it’s not their fault.

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