Archive for October 31, 2013

Last night’s ride, in which I flip off an impatient driver

In retrospect, I should have been further out into the lane.

Instead, I tried to be polite and let cars move up next to me, not anticipating that one incredibly impatient driver would deliberately right hook me.

She couldn’t wait two seconds — literally — for the light to change. And it was worth it to her to risk the life of a total stranger because I didn’t get the hell out of her way.

I don’t recommend flipping off anyone.

But this one earned it.

If I’d gone when the light turned green, I’d be in the hospital right now.

Or worse.

Update: Bike rider killed in Santa Clarita collision; witnesses say salmon cyclist ran red light

More bad news, on what is turning out to be an awful day for SoCal cyclists.

According to SCVNews, an unidentified bike rider was killed in a collision in Santa Clarita this morning.

The rider, described only as an older teen or young adult, was crossing Magic Mountain Parkway on northbound Railroad Avenue — which becomes Bouquet Canyon Road on the other side of the intersection — around 7:50 am when he was hit by an LA County Sanitation truck turning left onto Railroad.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses report he was riding on the wrong side of the street, against traffic, and ran the red light at the intersection. He somehow collided with the eastbound truck, which was turning left onto Railroad. A story in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal suggests the sun may have been in the driver’s eyes; however, he likely wouldn’t have been looking for someone coming from the wrong direction as he turned in the opposite way.

The victim was reportedly riding a child’s bike; it’s also possible that it was a BMX bike, as many non-cyclists wouldn’t know the difference. It’s unclear if authorities know his identity, as he didn’t have any ID in his wallet.

The driver was taken to a nearby medical center for routine tests; however, there was no suspicion of drug or alcohol use, and a sheriff’s spokesman said he was unlikely to face charges.

This is the 75th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 32nd in Los Angeles County; that compares to 22 in the county for all of last year.

My prayers and deepest sympathy go out to the victim and all his family and loved ones.

Update: The Daily News says the victim was in his 30s, with no explanation for the discrepancy or any other details. 

Update 2: The victim keeps getting older; the Signal identifies him as a 47-year old Hispanic man; his name has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

Update 3: The victim has been identified as 47-year old Luis Ochoa of Newhall. 

Update: Bike rider killed in Anaheim hit-and-run; victim left in street to be hit by second car

It’s happened again.

Last month a cyclist was killed in Los Angeles when a hit-and-run driver plowed into a group of cyclists, leaving her victims lying in the street, where Andy Garcia died after being hit by another vehicle.

Whether he would have survived if she’d stopped at the scene is anyone’s guess.

Now something similar has happened in Orange County.

According to multiple reports, a bike rider was struck by a vehicle at or near the intersection of East Orangethorpe Ave and North Lemon Street in Anaheim around 5:40 am. However, details are still unfolding; the Orange County Register places the time of the collision as 5:55 am, while Google Maps places the intersection in Fullerton, rather than Anaheim.

The reports indicate a driver in an unidentified vehicle reportedly hit the cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, dragging the victim several feet on Orangethorpe before fleeing the scene. The victim was then struck by another vehicle; he or she was pronounced dead at the scene, still trapped under the second car.

No word on how the collision occurred, or what street the victim was riding on. And once again, whether the victim could have survived the initial collision if the driver had stopped, as required by law and basic human decency, is anyone’s guess.

KCBS-2 reports the victim was dragged roughly 20 feet under the first car, while KNBC-4 describes it simply as several feet. However, before their paywall cuts the story off, the Register writes that the bike was found lying in the street about 150 feet behind where the victim’s body was found, suggesting it may have been dragged a considerable distance.

That would be consistent with the description of where the rider was hit by the second car. Reports indicate he ended up in front of a church; Google’s satellite view shows The Rock some distance east of Lemon Street.

KNBC-4 also indicates the first driver hit another car as the driver fled the scene after hitting the cyclist.

Who was at fault for the initial collision is still to be determined.

However, if there is any justice in this case, the first driver should face a homicide charge on the assumption that the victim might have survived if the heartless coward behind the wheel hadn’t dragged him or her beneath the car, then left the victim lying in the street to be hit by someone else.

This is the 74th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Orange County this year; it’s also the second in Anaheim since the first of the year. This is also the 16th fatal hit-and-run involving a bike rider this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his or her family. 

Thanks to Alan Thompson for the heads-up.

Update: An email from John reports passing the scene this morning, and witnessing police activity on Orangethorpe east of Lemon, as well as several hundred feet north of Orangethorpe on Lemon, where he saw several pieces of blood-soaked clothing. While he can’t say that the two sites are definitely connected, it suggests that the collision may have occurred on Lemon, ending on Orangethorpe. 

Meanwhile, KABC-7 reports that one driver managed to swerve around the victim before he was hit was hit by the second car. 

Anyone with information is urged to contact OC Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 19-year old Fullerton resident Manuel Morales Rodriguez. According to the LA Times, a suspect has been identified, but has not been arrested or charged.

Update: Bike rider killed by big rig truck near Ventura County Medical Center

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in a Ventura collision this morning.

According to the Facebook page for KTVA-1390 in Ventura, a bicyclist was hit by a big rig truck around 8:30 am at the intersection of Loma Vista and Hillmont, near the Ventura County Medical Center. The victim was taken to the medical center, where he died of his injuries.

A satellite view appears to show bike lanes on Loma Vista. Danny Gamboa reports that the medical center is currently undergoing construction work, and it was a transfer truck involved in the construction project that hit and killed the victim, who has not been publicly identified.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 73rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Ventura County. That compares with three in the county for all of last year, and four in 2011.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip.

Update: The Ventura County Star identifies the victim as a 49-year old Ventura resident. I’m told he was a construction worker; his name is known, but hasn’t been publicly released pending notification of next of kin. 

According to the paper, he was killed in a left cross collision, as the victim was crossing Loma Vista on northbound Hillmont, while the truck was turning left onto Loma Vista from southbound Hillmont. Under those circumstances, the rider should have had the right of way; the question becomes why the driver didn’t see him. 

Update 2: The Star identifies the victim as Scott Adamson; I’ve known his name since yesterday afternoon, but held off publishing it until I was sure his next of kin had been informed of his death. The paper also reports he wasn’t wearing a bike helmet; I don’t know many helmets strong enough to protect against a semi. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Scott Adamson, and all his family and loved ones. 


Bike hate and road rage rear their ugly heads in San Diego County, leaving one rider seriously injured

Photo by @bikeSD

Photo from Sam Ollinger of

Some people don’t even try to hide their willingness — if not desire — to kill you for getting in their way.

Bike San Diego reports coming across a frightening sign on the side of the road saying it’s better to run over a cyclist than risk a head-on collision by going around one.

I think the writer misunderstands the basic concept of sharing the road. It does not mean that bike riders have to get the hell out of the way, despite what some impatient drivers might suggest.

And unless you’re a total ass behind the wheel, hell-bent on getting where you’re going as fast as humanly possible regardless of the cost, it is in fact possible to wait patiently until it’s safe to pass, and avoid the risk of collision altogether.

The writer also makes it clear that he — I’m assuming, perhaps erroneously, that such a hate-filled colossal pile of human waste capable of writing something like this must be a he — couldn’t care less about the person on that bike if it’s in his way.

On the other hand, he very carefully avoids crossing the line by actually inciting violence. The sign is on private property, and as offensive as it is, the writer has a First Amendment right to express his highly objectionable opinion as long as he doesn’t actually encourage drivers to run cyclists over.

On the other hand, if he even so much as bumps the wheel of a bike, this sign could offer proof of criminal intent.

For the rest of his life.


A San Diego cyclist was nearly killed in a collateral damage collision between two road raging drivers on Saturday.

The drivers were reportedly jockeying for position where two travel lanes merged into a single lane on State Route 67 in Poway. The vehicles sideswiped one another, causing the pickup in the right lane to swerve into the rider, who was taking part in the Pedal the Cause ride to raise funds for cancer research.

Both drivers left the scene; frighteningly, the driver of the pickup reportedly had no idea he hit her.

The victim was hospitalized with major injuries, including broken bones; doctors said her helmet saved her life. Personally, I’d blame a couple of dangerously aggressive jerks for nearly taking it, instead.

And that’s the difference between the risks posed by cyclists and drivers, which so many bike-hating motorists don’t seem to get.

Even the most aggressive cyclist is a danger primarily to him or herself, while aggressive drivers are a danger to everyone around them.

Update: According to San Diego’s NBC-7, the 38-year old victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding in a marked bike lane when the collision occurred; her injuries are described as severe but not life threatening. 

The two drivers are both 50-year old men, which is certainly old enough to know better. 

And speaking of knowing better, NBC-7 should know than a collision that results from the intentional act of two drivers each refusing to yield to the other may be many things. But it is no more an accident than if they had used guns rather than motor vehicles to settle their dispute.


Despite a state law requiring bike helmets for anyone under 18, only 11% of LA children injured while riding a bike were wearing theirs. Children over 12, minority children and children from low income families are least likely to wear one.


Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 9th at 4 pm when The Long Bike Back screens at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood as part of the All Sports Film Festival.

The new film traces the recovery and cross country ride of a cyclist seriously injured in a bicycling collision.

Pearson Constantino was preparing to fulfill his lifelong dream of bicycling across the United States when he was hit from behind by an SUV.  Despite his helmet, Pearson suffered serious injuries including a shattered femur, a crushed vertebra, and head trauma.

The Long Bike Back follows his recovery and his exciting bike ride across America with his brother Pete advocating for safer roads and reminding people of the joy of riding a bicycle.

Pearson and Pete’s cross-country journey covers the length of historic US Route 20.  Along the way, Pearson encounters many unexpected challenges including record high temperatures, flooding, food poisoning, inhospitable drivers, poor road conditions, crashes, detours, flat tires, and new injuries which inspire him to recommit to what matters most.


A writer for the Times suggests licensing bike riders, but acknowledges it might not make a bit of difference. You’re invited to ride Central Avenue this Sunday. The 7th Street bike lanes are being extended from Figueroa to Main St, hopefully taming what has long been one of the most dangerous streets I regularly ride. Rick Risemberg joins about a hundred other riders to plead for bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, and calls out “Uncle Tom” LaBonge for betraying the bicyclists he claims to support. The Eagle Rock community celebrates the new Colorado Blvd, though the comments suggest not every community member does. An Atwater Village advocate complains about last minute attempts to add bike lanes and sidewalks to the proposed Hyperion-Glendale bridge makeover, failing to note they were included in the 2010 bike plan; Streetsblog’s Damien Newton counts 45 speakers against the proposed plans for a highway speed makeover at tonight’s meeting, and only 3 in favor. The Biking Grey Hole of Beverly Hills asks a somewhat biased question about bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica will host a bike expo next to the pier next May. You can now call them Santa Monica’s award-winning Ocean Park green bike lanes. SoCalCycling offers results from Sunday’s Krosstoberfest along with photos from Saturday’s Spooky Cross; CLR Effect offers more great photos. South Pas prioritizes sidewalks over bike lanes. Best wishes to Seth at Cycling in the South Bay, who hits the pavement hard in a gnarly 10-bike crash caught on video; he credits his helmet with preserving his brain matter. Corona del Mar hosted a Halloween costume ride over the weekend. The embattled Bike Nation bike share system lives on in Fullerton. There’s still time to attend the California Bike Summit in Oakland next month.

How to avoid bike-on-bike crashes; maybe the group Seth was riding with should have read this first. Well yeah, if you built a bike path next to it, maybe the Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t be such a total ecological disaster after all. The late, great Lou Reed was one of us. A Portland man steals his stolen bike back, and helps bust a theft ring. No more excuses — bike-friendly Portland built their entire bikeway network for the price of a single mile of urban freeway; just imagine what all that money wasted on the much-maligned 405 makeover would buy. In yet another Portland story, a clown has his tall bike stolen, while people report someone approaching strangers trying to sell one for 20 bucks. Just heartbreaking: A 92-year old Chicago-area man was killed when his adult tricycle was hit by a speeding car. Security is increased after an Illinois bike rider threatens blue-eyed private school children. If you’re bicycling in Ohio, make sure you’re not riding recreationally if you want any protection under the law. Maybe it’s time to stop being polite when a law-breaking driver threatens your safety. Just heartbreaking 2: An 89-year old Florida man is killed in a left cross while riding his adult tricycle in a crosswalk. Bike lanes may reduce the frequency of collisions, but not their severity.

The effectiveness of pro cycling’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission depends on how far back they go; I doubt the golden, dope-free age of cycling we all fondly want to remember ever existed. British parents write about the loss of their bike-riding daughter. Maybe #space4cycling should be #space4people. How to stay cycle chic all winter; wouldn’t those shorts be cold, though? A Brit bike rider verbally — and physically — abuses a 12-year old girl after a minor collision; seriously, that’s taking general obnoxious jerkishness way too far. A writer for the Guardian says the lack of a women’s Tour de France keeps cycling in the dark ages. Video shows an Amsterdam cyclist nearly crushed by a tree felled by yesterday’s hurricane force winds. Just a slight disconnect here, as a New Deli writer complains about how dangerous it is for bike riders to commute to work in the city — like his driver, for instance. Katy Perry rides Down Under, sans skid lid; now that I think about it, I don’t recall if she was wearing one when I saw her riding with her ex on the South Bay bike path awhile back. Japanese bureaucracy is effectively banning biking to work.

Finally, the future meets the past with this new e-Penny Farthing. And there was a time when Malibu actually encouraged people to bike there; as the photo suggests, though, it was a long time ago. Thanks to Jen Klausner for the heads-up. 

Malibu Pro-Bike Cover

Busy bike calendar with Ride Colorado, Spookycross, important meetings and Dia De Los Muertos

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

They say every blog post needs a photo. Here's the Corgi in her $4.95 Halloween costume.

They say every blog post needs a photo. Here’s the Corgi in her $4.95 Halloween costume.

The Ghost Bikes of LA exhibit continues through November 16th at the red#5yellow#7 gallery, 4357 Melrose Ave.

If you read this Saturday morning, you may still have time to celebrate the recent bike and pedestrian improvements to Colorado Blvd in Northeast LA with Ride Colorado. Join Councilmember Jose Huizar, Take Back the Boulevard, LADOT, the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, Safe Moves, and LACBC with a series of events centered around Eagle Rock City Hall, 2035 Colorado Blvd from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm.

The annual Spookycross cyclocross event returns to the Fairplex Stadium Complex in Pomona this weekend, 1101 W McKinley Ave in Pomona. Scheduled events include Saturday’s Spooky Cross costume race for kids and adults, and Sunday’s Krosstoberfest cyclocross race, as well as a family ride, 6k run, kid’s rodeo and bike swap and expo.

The SGV Bike Train and Bike San Gabriel Valley invite you to join in on a Halloween Bike Train and BBQ this Sunday, October 27th from 9 am to 2 pm at the Santa Fe Dam.

Also on Sunday, the Halloween Haunted Hollywood Ride rolls from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. The easy, 15 mile ride meets at 9 am, rolling at 9:30 for a tour of 20 ghostly haunts, with a bathroom break midway in case they scare the crap out of you. Thanks to Sweet Ride USA for the link; their second episode is online now. 

And one more on Sunday, as the Do Good Bike Ride rolls from 1 Windward Ave in Venice to pick up trash and plant wildflowers on a leisurely two hour, 10 mile ride, departing at 10 am.

Culver City discusses bike parking at Monday’s city council meeting; 7 pm, October 28th, at CC City Hall, 9770 Culver Blvd.

The City of Los Angeles responds to public uproar over plans for the Hyperion-Glendale Bridge Complex by scheduling a public meeting this Monday, October 28th at the Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Drive. Current plans call for eliminating the promised bike lane contained in the 2010 bike plan, and narrowing the sidewalk and reducing it to one side, while turning the bridge into a dangerously high-speed, virtual freeway that could destroy the surrounding neighborhoods. But other than that…

The LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee will meet on Wednesday, October 30th to discuss the conjunction of bikes and local politics. The meeting takes place from 6:45 pm to 8:30 on the Mezzanine level of LACBC headquarters, 634 South Spring Street in DTLA. The meeting is open to everyone,; you don’t have to be an LACBC member to attend.

Celebrate the season and honor fallen riders with the Dia De Los Muertos Ride on Friday, November 1st from 7 pm to midnight. Meet at Placita Olivera, aka Olivera Plaza, at 7 pm for face painting and raffles, then ride to visit ghost bike altars on a 30 mile zig-zagging ride; they promise no rider will be left behind.

For riders who prefer to avoid things that bump in the night by honoring the dead in the daytime, you’re invited to join in the Dia De Los Muertos Bici Party Ride on Saturday, November 2nd. Meet at 11:30 am at Placita Olivera, aka Olivera Plaza, to zig-zag through Downtown LA with a mobile altar on the way to the Dia De Los Muertos Festival at Grand Park.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invites you to Ride Lankershim for a People Friendly North Hollywood on Saturday, November 2nd. This second Ride Lankershim is being held to educate and inform local residents and businesses about the benefits of proposed bike lanes on NoHo’s main street in the face of opposition, including from the area’s ostensibly bike-friendly councilmember. Meet at 11 am at Metropolis Bikes, 4660 Lankershim Blvd.

The LACBC’s popular Sunday Funday Rides take place on the first Sunday of the month. This month’s ride takes place on Sunday, November 3rd from 8 am to 1 pm with the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Ride, led by LACBC Board Chair Alex Amerri. The ride meets at 8 am in the parking lot of the Wlshire Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd, rolling at 8:30 to explore the architectural gems of LA’s most exclusive neighborhood.

The 2013 edition of the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo rolls through Rodeo Drive and the Malibu Hills on Sunday, November 3rd, with rides of 47.6 and 90 miles; register online by Saturday, November 2nd. A two-day expo will be held next to the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel; which two days they don’t say, but we’ll assume it’s Saturday and Sunday, November 2nd and 3rd.

The next Metro Bicycle Roundtable takes place on Tuesday, November 5th from 5:30 pm to 7 pm in the Huntington Room of One Gateway Plaza in Downtown LA.

Wednesday, November 6th, popular LA cyclist Will Campbell begins a series of weekly morning bike rides with the Happy Foot Bicycle Club; the ride departs from the Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign at the corner of Benton Way and Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake promptly at 6:30 am.

The next ride in Metro’s series of monthly bike rides in conjunction with CICLE takes place on Sunday, November 16th with The Northridge Diners & Delis Ride; meet at the Northridge Metrolink Station, 8775 Wilbur Ave, at 10:30am.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition teams with LA Walks to present Let’s Talk About Health: The Public Health Approach to Walking and Biking on Thursday, November 21st from 7 pm to 9 pm. The panel discussion will be held in the Edison Room of LACBC Headquarters, 634 South Spring Street. $10 admission; free for LACBC members and 2013 LA Walks donors.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee meets at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each even-numbered month; the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3rd at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

Today’s post, in which we discuss the anti-bike biased, and breaking the law in the name of good

Stolen with permission from Carlton Reid; click on photo for more.

I love this photo, stolen with permission from Carlton Reid.

There’s been a new round of bike hate rearing its ugly head lately.

Most of it somewhat confusing.

Like this piece forwarded by bike rider and motorsport enthusiast Michael Eisenberg, in which a Brit driver takes cyclists to task.

For not knowing our place. And not waving.


Today’s cyclists seem to be angry.  They seem not to enjoy what they do but to grimly pursue their ‘hobby’ in the name of fitness.  They seem to think other road users are a threatening morass of metal out to kill them.  So they spew vibes of resentment and refuse to acknowledge the presence of anything else.  They do not flinch.

The problem is they travel at one third the speed of other traffic and never recognise that fact nor do anything about it.  I don’t mean that cyclists should get out of my way, I mean that after I have waited behind said two-wheeled leg-driven machine that the human on top of it could at least raise a hand and acknowledge my patience, and I will wave back at him to acknowledge his politeness and right to use the same roads as I do.

Cyclists and other road users should get along.  They don’t because they’re either in a race (which no-one else is allowed to do on the road) or because they have a deep in-built sense of entitlement to the detriment of everyone else.

They grit their teeth and hate us.

And yet, he acknowledges that many cyclists are drivers, and vice versa. But insists that we hate them — or us — when we ride, whoever we and us and them happen to be at any given time.

So, when I ride, I hate myself for driving when I’m not riding, right?

Okay, so he’s got a point.

We can all be a  little friendlier when we ride. A little wave of thanks or a nod and smile here and there can make a big difference in your day. And theirs.

But the rest just makes my head hurt.

Then there’s this piece from a writer in the San Fernando Valley, who hates bike riders, in part, because a drunk smelled of booze fell off his bike and scratched her Mercedes.

Even though that drunk probably would have done a lot more damage if he’d been behind the wheel. Or likely just as much if not more if he’d been on foot.

And to be honest, the overwhelming majority of bike riders may smell of something. But’s it’s probably not liquor; that usually comes later.

I mean, she’s more than welcome to sniff me after my next half century.

But what really set her off was having to swerve to avoid a bike rider who had the audacity to take a tumble in front of her expensive German engineered automobile.

In fact, on Wednesday I saw a potentially lethal accident almost occur in a busy Victory Boulevard intersection near my house when a man who was riding his bike and talking on his cell phone lost control of his bike and fell in the middle of the friggin’ street! It happened in front of me so I saw him and maneuvered around his sorry self. I don’t know if everybody behind me saw him and avoided hitting him or not. But hey, we drivers are not allowed to drive and talk on cell phones at the same time. But apparently bicyclists are. That incident is the reason I am writing this.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

But if it’s a potentially lethal accident, wouldn’t anyone with the slightest bit of human compassion try to stop her car in front of the victim to keep drivers running over him?

Or at least stop afterwards to see if the guy needs help, and wave other motorists around him?

No, she’d rather just swerve around his crumpled body and go on her merry way. Then complain about what a jerk he was later.

Then again, maybe she was just trying to avoid a parking ticket.

And yes, under current California law, bike riders are allowed to use a cell phone while they ride, on the assumption that our 20 pound bikes pose less risk than her multi-ton machine, regardless of distraction.


Not all the recent conversation has been filed with hate, though.

In a mostly positive piece, a Philadelphia bicyclist extolls the virtues of breaking the law. Not all the time, of course; just when it makes sense for safety and convenience.

I broke a law and one that I hold in much higher esteem than stopping at a red light when there are no cars or pedestrians around. I did it because I feared for my safety, which is very often my motivation when breaking traffic laws on my bike. Cars are scary as hell. A lot of people just see them as a given, practically an appendage. Get out of my way, I’m drivin’ here. (Studies show that drivers are at fault in the vast majority of auto/bicycle crashes.)

On the whole, I’m a pretty civilized biker. I don’t salmon down one-way streets, I don’t ride on the sidewalk, and when I arrive at a four-way intersection after a car I try to indicate that they should just treat me as another vehicle and go first. But biking in the city can be dangerous, and I’ll take the law into my own hands when I feel threatened. I even break the sacrosanct sidewalk rule when I bike up to my apartment, as the street in front of it is usually lined with cars and lacks a northward stop sign, so drivers frequently blast down it at alarming speeds. I’m not dismounting there, thanks.

He’s got a point.

I’m a firm believer in following the law all the time. Except when I don’t.

Out of all the stop signs on the Westside, there’s only one I run, because the placement of the sign makes stopping there more dangerous than not.

And while I insist riders should never, ever ride salmon, I’ve been know to do it for short distances when a gap in traffic makes it the safest option to get to my destination.

But that’s the thing.

Traffic laws weren’t written with bicyclists in mind. While obeying them provides the safest and best choice in the overwhelming majority of situations, you’re the one with your life on the line. And it’s up to you to make the decisions that will best ensure your safety.

And that doesn’t always mean following the letter of the law.

On the other hand, it also doesn’t mean riding like a jerk just because you can.

As far as I’m concerned, it comes down to this. The highest law of bicycling is to always ride safely; that is, in a way that doesn’t pose an unnecessary risk to yourself or those around you.

Most of the time that means obeying the law.

And sometimes, it doesn’t.


Unbeknownst to me, Contour — the make of my helmet cam — went belly up in August; one of the original investors may try to resuscitate the brand.


The coming artistic revolution will not be coming by car. Advocates continue to push for a more livable Hyperion-Glendale bridge complex; maybe there’s a better plan. The Ghost Bikes of LA exhibit opens tonight. Culver City council to consider bike parking on Monday. Malibu hits the brakes on a study of PCH parking; but don’t you have to know what the problem is before you can solve it? Spooky Cross comes to the Pomona Fairplex this weekend. Next month’s LACBC Sunday Funday Ride visits the architectural gems of LA’s most upscale neighborhood with the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire Ride November 3rd. CICLE and Metro team up for a Northridge Delis, Desserts and Deliciousness Ride on the 16th. The LACBC and LA Walks invite you to discuss the Public Health Approach to Walking and Biking November 21st. Ride 2 Recovery rolls through the Central Coast. Chico prepares a ghost bike for a fallen cyclist who did everything right and died anyway.

If bicycling is booming, why are bike sales down? How not to be a bike jerk in three easy steps. Good advice: stop riding when your butt hurts. Speaking of which, an Indiegogo campaign promises to deliver more comfortable bike jeans for women. An “indicator species” cyclist says bike lanes are bad, even though studies show they improve safety. Denver reaches 100 miles of bike lanes. A Chicago alderman calls for a $25 annual registration fee for bikes; good way to discourage bike riding and increase traffic congestion. Meanwhile, an anti-bike columnist says $25 isn’t enough, let’s make it $100, while a cyclist says bike riders should pay their share, so where’s her check? A Chicago thief is caught on video trying to steal 384 pounds of meat by bike; if he can lift that much that easily, he must be the world’s strongest man. New York wins its first lawsuit over bike share docks. New York cops ignore the state’s careless driving law. A DC driver uses Craigslist to apologize to the cyclist she almost hit. WaPo looks at the quest to reinvent bicycling. The president of Virginia Tech right hooks a bike rider, then sends her flowers to make up for it. A cyclist bikes the Underground Railroad.

Once again, the bike rider wins a commuter challenge, this time in Vancouver. Ontario considers increasing penalties for distracted driving. London’s flawed bike safety campaign extends to five other UK cities. A UK cyclist is charged with wanton and furious cycling for the collision that gravely injured a young girl. A British bicycling organization says white lines aren’t enough to keep cyclists safe, while London’s coroner calls for further action to save the lives of bike riders. Maybe it’s me, but when you erect safety barriers after a cyclist gets killed, isn’t it a little too late? After the cyclist he hit dies in his arms, a UK truck driver tells the court it’s been bad for his family, but worse for his victim’s; nice to see someone who gets it for a change. A new Streetfilm looks at how the Netherlands transformed itself for cycling. Long-time German pro Andreas Kloeden calls it a career; is it just me, or are a lot of riders from the doping era retiring now that pro cycling has supposedly cleaned up its act? Bikes are outselling cars in virtually every European country. Why banning bikes is bad for Kolkata, or Calcutta, or whatever you want to call it. Saudi women to protest laws prohibiting them from riding bikes. Japan teaches students not to be killer cyclists; yeah, I’m sure that’s the biggest death risk on the country’s roads.

Finally, what a seriously hairy downhill and 360 degree flip look like from the rider’s perspective. And if you want to see more breathtaking bike photos, take a look at this series from yesterday’s ride by UK bike journalist Carlton Reid.

Just another right hook — from the left lane

After awhile, you get to know the streets you ride.

Like this intersection on eastbound Ohio Ave, one block west of Sepulveda. I’ve learned to slow down there in anticipation of right hooks, as drivers stuck in traffic make a sudden decision to turn right without checking the bike lane first.

But I’ve never been right hooked from the left lane before.

BikinginLA takes on the Times Opinion page, and arraignment delayed for killer OC DUI driver

If you’re wondering why there was no post yesterday, here’s one reason.

The LA Times Opinion page continues their excellent series on Sharing the Road in LA with an insightful rebuttal written by the author of BikinginLA to an earlier editorial saying cyclists don’t belong on Wilshire Blvd on the Westside.

Wait, that’s me.


Yesterday’s planned arraignment of Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti, the 39-year old lawyer charged with killing OC bike rider Eric Billings while on a cocktail of prescription drugs, has been postponed until December 6th.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti denies she was impaired when she killed the popular father and Mormon elder, despite suggesting that she had no idea what was happening and no control over her car as it drifted into the bike lane.

Yeah, that’s credible.


The Los Angeles Wheelmen are forced to cancel their annual Five County Century after the Forest Service demands a permit to use public roads and rest stops on federal land — even though it had gone on permit-free since 1984.

Despite working out other alternatives, the last straw was the USFS refusal to allow sag wagons to stop on federal roads to aid riders in distress.


Something tells me they’d let a tow truck stop to aid a disabled motorist.

And they’d probably permit an ambulance to rescue riders after they’re forced to keep going despite being at the end of their capabilities because they didn’t have a damn sag wagon to pick them up.

I don’t know if this had anything to do with the recent government shutdown. Or just someone with the forest service who has to visit a proctologist to get a root canal because his head is jammed way too far up his own ass.

Thanks to Vic for the heads-up.


Aviator light

Aviator light

Please forgive the last minute notice.

I’ve mentioned this project before, but it’s worth noting again. You’ve got just a few hours left to back this Kickstarter project for the virtually theft proof and indestructible new Aviator and Afterburner bike lights from Fortified Bicycle Alliance.

I get a lot of pitches to promote various products, most of which go directly into the trash bin. But this one I really like, with tough, ultra-bright LED bike lights smartly designed by a team of former MIT students.

Afterburner light

Afterburner light

Back the project today at a level of $45 or more, and you’ll get one or more of the lights at a discount on the retail price. The Kickstarter is already funded, so you’re guaranteed to get your light(s), with a projected delivery date of next April.

And no, they haven’t promised me anything in exchange for promoting their products.



The hidden bike path along the southbound 405 east of the VA campus that hardly anyone knows about will be closed from now through November. I only learned it existed a couple years ago when a previous shutdown was announced.


In upcoming events, the exhibition Ghost Bikes of LA opens at red5yellow7 this Friday, 4257 Melrose Ave. And Trust South L.A. and Community Health Councils are sponsoring a bike ride from Central Ave to Leimert Park this Sunday to promote peace in South LA


The New York Times looks at the state of bicycling, with reports from the father of vehicular cycling, the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works, a senior research associate with the University of North Carolina Highway Safe Research Center, a researcher with the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and the mayor of technical and environmental administration for Copenhagen.


LADOT General Manager Jaime De La Vega highlights the department’s recent accomplishments, including 101 miles of new bike lanes. Maybe it’s a sign of the end times, as the auto-centric San Fernando Valley becomes pedestrian and yes, bike friendly, auto-centric Warner Center wants to get people out of their cars and Northridge could actually become pedestrian-friendly like Westwood — but hopefully without the vacant storefronts. KCET says the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge complex needs to be about more than just cars; evidently, the city is starting to get the message, as they’ve called a new public hearing next Monday. Popular LA cyclist Will Campbell founds the Happy Foot Bicycle Club, which departs each Wednesday before I even get out of bed. Video from last weekend’s Wolfpack Hustle HP Gran Prix. The annual Spooky Cross cyclocross race takes place this weekend in Pomona. The CHP will establish a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement project throughout Southern California next year.

Charlie Gandy and Steven Wallauch talk about the upcoming Calbike bike summit on KPCC’s AirTalk program. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske talks with cdmCyclist. A great San Diego program provides refurbished bikes to refugees living in the city. A San Diego triathlete refuses to be pretty in pink. Riverside approves a controversial road diet and bike lanes on Brockton Ave. This is one reason why some cyclists run stop signs, as confusion over who goes first leads to an injury collision. Santa Barbara hosts their first ciclovía on November 2nd. A Menlo Park writer doesn’t like the city’s proposed LA-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance. A Mountain View writer says the city’s El Camino Real needs cyclists to survive. A Fresno father credits Obamacare for helping save his critically injured bike riding son without bankrupting the family. San Francisco police are targeting cyclists rolling through stop signs; I hope they’re also ticketing drivers who do the same thing. The San Francisco bus that ran over and killed an elderly cyclist was missing a rear wheel guard designed to prevent exactly that. Trying to track down East Bay bike thieves leads to the arrest of a woman for stealing a $1000 pair of jeans.

Distracted driving is killing more bicyclists and pedestrians in the US. Here’s a GOOD pre-ride checklist. Hammerhead wants to be Waze for bikes. The false dichotomy of civil vs militant cyclists. Seattle drivers are confused by new two-way bike lanes. A Colorado driver is found guilty of hit-and-run, but not guilty of vehicular homicide in the death of a cyclist. The per capita bike collision rate rises to record levels in my bike-friendly hometown; drivers are found at fault in 57% of cases. A call to make Montana roads safe for everyone. Wisconsin considers a law making it a felony to kill or injure vulnerable road users. Last year’s vaporware Copenhagen Wheel becomes a reality, easily turning your bike into an e-bike, which is exactly why I don’t want one. The New York Times says cycling is probably pretty safe, or maybe not, sort of. Gotham cyclists, including the famed Bike Snob, are up in arms over an OpEd piece in the NY Times that says blue Citi Bikes are besmirching the city, even though they seem to be popular with rich white people. New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says it’s been a wonderful six years; imagine what she could do here in the next 12. Evidently, in New York, bike lanes just happen. DC cyclists will get a jump on red lights — legally — while drivers will be held more responsible for hitting cyclists. An Atlanta cyclist is run down by a 15-year old in a golf cart.

Canadian police seize a truck used to intentionally run down and kill a bike rider. After an Alberta driver hits a cyclist head-on, she yells at him to get his bike out from under her car — then drives off with it still trapped underneath. Michael Bublé and wife bike baby-free in Vancouver. The Guardian asks if companies like Strava have a responsibility to discourage reckless behavior. A day in the life of a female London bike messenger. A long list of bike books for kids. Four — yes, four — people face manslaughter charges in the apparent hit-and-run death of a Welsh cyclist; can’t wait to see the explanation for that one. The 2014 Tour de France starts in England and returns to the cobbles; meanwhile, the only remaining American Tour de France winner calls Lance Armstrong the greatest fraud and says he belongs in jail. Cyclists and pedestrians make up over half of all traffic fatalities in India. While bikes appear to be booming everywhere else, bike use is dropping Down Under; maybe it’s due to the mandatory helmet law.

Finally, you can wear your new Bianchi around your wrist, without the inconvenience of wrecking it first. If the bike path you’re riding on glows in the dark, do you still need a bike light? And seriously, when you’re carrying cocaine, crack, meth, concealed knives and $1000 Canadian, stop for the damn stop light, already.

Bike rider killed in Oxnard collision; third SoCal cycling death in three days

More bad news, following the death of two young riders over the past weekend.

According to the Ventura County Star, 45-year old Oxnard resident Daniel Martinez Meza was killed when he was hit by a car attempting to enter Highway 101 in Oxnard this morning.

Meza was riding north on Rose Avenue approaching the 101 overpass around 8 am Monday when 20-year old Pablo Tellez Chavez attempted to change lanes to access the freeway onramp, striking Meza, who died at the scene.

It looks like bad road design may be at least partially responsible for this one. A satellite view shows a bike lane over the overpass, but no markings of any kind to guide drivers or cyclists leading up to it, creating an inevitable conflict zones as riders move left to enter the bike lane and drivers drift right to access the onramp.

The paper notes that Meza was not wearing a helmet. Whether that is relevant depends entirely on whether he died as a result of a head injury, and whether the collision was even survivable, based on the speed of the car that hit him and exactly how the collision unfolded.

This is the 72nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, compared to 65 this time last year. It’s also the 6th in Ventura County — twice the total for all of last year — and the second in Oxnard since the first of this year.

My sympathy and prayers go out to Daniel Meza and all his family and loved ones. 

Thanks to Machiko Yusada for the heads-up.

Update: A comment from Colleen provides some further clarity in this case.

This is indeed a bad road design. I drove past this accident this morning. A white sheet on the pavement in front of a car brings you to tears. The bicyclist was actually 1/3 the way over the overpass, not approaching the on ramp. Cars that wish to enter the North bound 101 fwy have about 10-20 feet to enter the far right lane before they are prohibited to do so by the solid white line which is also part if the bicycle lane. Drivers INTENTIONALLY speed pass the long line of law abiding drivers, cross over the bicycle lane and solid white line, and force their way into the fwy on ramp lane. Every day on my way home from work I witness one of these drivers nearly causing an accident by illegally cutting in front me or someone ahead if me, many time with a bicyclist in the bike lane. The plastic orange reflective posts should be installed along each side of the bike lane that crosses the overpass so the drivers will be discouraged from cutting in front of others and killing people. Until then, I would be happy to see a motorcycle cop posted there giving tickets.

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