Near Rapid Bus road kill, and a letter from a Brit driver that questions their care for the mentally ill

First up, Michael Eisenberg forwards video of a careless LA bus driver that came too close to making him Santa Monica road kill.

I’d like to say it was shocking, or even unusual. But most of us have been in that same position too many times.

……….

A British letter writer blames all bike riders for the death of one, in one of the most bizarre anti-bike rants I’ve read.

And even though the driver got off in the case that set him off, he questions when motorists will ever get a fair deal and be listened to.

I don’t know what planet he lives on, but it doesn’t appear to be this one.

To those cyclists that complain ‘It’s our right!’: So what?

Someone has died because you all fail to follow the rules, as cyclists do every day. Even if you did, so what? No driver wants to hit you, so stop this happening: give up. …

For your own safety leave the bike at home, get in the car like any rational person would. You’ve lost the fight for your right on the road and a legal precedent has been established.

Thanks to Carlton Reid for the link.

………

This is why bicyclists need to fight for Santa Monica’s MANGo project, which is up for a vote at tonight’s city council meeting. Although someone should tell the local paper it’s actually a neighborhood greenway that will benefit everyone, rather than just a project for bike riders. Meanwhile, the NRDC voices its support.

……….

Tour de Palm Springs officials promise to review the event following the death of cyclist La Vonne Koester, who authorities now inexplicably blame for her own death.

……….

No bikes involved. Just a 21-year old drunk wrong-way driver who killed six people, including her own sister. And just four years after she was convicted of DUI at 17 — and received two other tickets while her license was apparently still suspended.

So six innocent people are dead because, once again, authorities didn’t care enough to keep a dangerous driver off the road.

As Tom Vanderbilt famously put it, drivers licenses are too easy to get and too hard to lose. And that needs to change.

Now.

……….

The LA Bicycle Advisory Committee steps up and tells the city councilmembers who appointed them to stop wasting time and money by stalling on bike projects. The City of LA may finally attempt to figure out what Complete Streets means. A member of the USC Bicycle Coalition calls on the university to stop opposing the MyFigueroa project that will help encourage non-motorized transportation to and from campus and keep students safer; but does the historically bike-unfriendly school administration give a damn are they listening? Bicycling is not dangerous, driving is. You could help fix our broken streets and have people like me on your case all the time, as LADOT is looking for a Senior Project Coordinator for the Bicycle Program. Wayfinding signage has finally come to the LA River; even if a new riverside park in Lincoln Heights remains sort-of fenced off. Santa Monica Spoke shares their excitement for the new SaMoHi Safe Routes to School Program. Better Bike is still waiting for those promised Beverly Hills bike racks. This week’s Bike Talk features some of the area’s leading women bike advocates talking, uh, bikes. Bicycling magazine offers a full spread on LA’s own Sweet Ride.

The Level of Service standard that favors motor vehicles over every other form of transport could finally be replaced by the state. Pedal Love shares a little pre-Valentines bike romance. San Diego’s Uptown neighborhood may be warming up to bikes after all, while the city hopefully votes for a bike-friendly — and non-perv — mayor. A San Diego cyclist is injured when the city repaves traffic lanes, but leaves the bike lane in worse condition than it was before; thanks to Mark Ganzer for the heads-up. An Ojai cyclist is flown to the hospital after an apparent solo crash. This is why you should let the authorities deal with a bike thief, as a Santa Cruz man is stabbed trying to stop one. That Santa Cruz Tesla driver who claimed he killed a cyclist because of the new car smell faces up to a year in prison, while his lawyer should get five years just for that bogus excuse; thanks to Brother Dave for the tip. Long time state Assembly Speaker Willie Brown hasn’t changed his anti-bike, pro-freeway attitude. A Napa Valley rider imitates Rodney King by asking if cyclists and motorists can get along.

Hit-and-run fatalities are on the way up nationwide, led by our own City of Fallen Angels. Of course. Bicycling lists nine great campuses for cyclists; not surprisingly, no SoCal colleges made the cutoff; see USC above. A Spokane cyclist’s estate gets a $120,000 settlement from the city for failing to maintain the dangerous intersection that killed him. Anchorage police chief says bikes and motorists can safely coexist. A bike advocate from my hometown says you’re safer when you ride like you belong there. So who do you have to kill to get a New York cabbie’s license revoked? Philly cyclists get a new pumptrack; and no, I had no idea what that was until I read the story. Race car drivers at Daytona urge drivers to be kind to cyclists. The Florida cyclist who was dumped behind a dumpster to die by a heartless hit-and-run driver speaks out, and he’s justifiably pissed-off — and paralyzed.

Next up on Kickstarter, a combination tail light and rear-view camera to record the drivers who run you down from behind. Olympic gold medalist Chris Boardman says cycling is safer than gardening; they must have some tough slugs in the UK. British Cycling offers a 10 point plan to get the country riding. Brit hit-and-run victim says drivers hate us; he’s not far off for some. US pro cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney wins his first pro tour. No, really, that South African official’s convoy stopped to help a fallen cyclist instead of running him over. Mastering the etiquette of Kiwi group riding.

Finally, a Nepal cyclist likes to live dangerously by riding his bike backwards across Africa and Asia. As usual, Bikeyface nails it in suggesting everybody should get a bike. And once again, the Cycling Embassy’s blog roundup puts the above link compendium to shame; the student has truly surpassed the master.

10 comments

  1. Tom says:

    re: wrong-way, 100 MPH, DUI, and murderer Olivia Carolee Culbreath who had previous DUI conviction — it’s almost NEVER their first incident.

    When there is a major crime, police don’t go looking for random 1st time offenders, vast majority of time it’s a recidivist ex-convict. Same with DUI.

    It will never happen, but even permanent revocation of license on 1st conviction wouldn’t work, because they have no qualms driving without license, or “borrowing” someone else’s car.

    I’d read some countries will seize license plates — that’s one high visibility way to “mark” DUI ex-cons. Make registered owner of car fully liable and also subject to license plate seizure if they “loan” car to someone with a suspended or revoked license.

    In my dreams …

    • Tom says:

      The updated LA Times’ article concerning wrong-way killer,
      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-wrong-way-crash-dui-20140210,0,1282000.story ,
      now states the *sister* of the driver, who was also killed in the crash:

      ” … Maya Culbreath also had been convicted of DUI multiple times, according to state records.

      DMV records showed her driver’s license was suspended multiple times in connection with excessive blood-alcohol levels. Her license was revoked effective May 6, 2013, and it had not been reinstated at the time of the crash, DMV officials said … ”

      Disgusting … runs in the family, no? :-/

  2. David says:

    I have ridden on my bicycle to work many a day down Santa Monica Blvd in the bike lane from the 405 to Century City.

    The greatest threat to cyclists were Metro Buses.
    Rarely do I have problems with cars.

    The buses cut across the bike lanes to get from the stops back into the flow of traffic, but they also tend to linger and ride in the bike lane too long at times.

    Buses are a dangerous vehicle on the road primarily because Metro Driver’s performance reviews and relationship with supervisors are heavily dependent on keeping the bus on schedule. Riders file complaints when a bus is late and that spills down. So maintaining a pace to stay on schedule is a priority for a driver. Safety is a factor too, but supervisors don’t hear complaints about safety issues regularly from riders and the, “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

  3. grrlyrida says:

    I had this bus problem when I use to commute to work on SM Blvd in WeHo. Metro buses behave the same way on Sunset through Silverlake. Now a lot of times I wait behind a stopped bus until they leave the bus lane. I’ve had too many close calls with Metro buses to do otherwise. That’s why I know I’ll probably never use the new bus/bike lane on Wilshire.

  4. Joe B says:

    So, um, the bus driver in the video probably expected Mr. Eisenberg to stop at the red light, which is likely why he pulled out rather than waiting.

    I don’t really care if a rider rolls a red when it’s safe to do so. But if you do, your safety (and the safety of everybody around you) is YOUR responsibility. Don’t expect other riders/drivers to notice you when you do something unpredictable.

    Personally, I haven’t had a problem with bus drivers. I give them a little more breathing room (I’d hate to have their job) and try not to delay them (there are 50 people on that bus, and I’m just one guy). But in terms of not putting me in danger, I think they’re doing pretty well.

    Car drivers, on the other hand, risk my life with their stupidity on average 2-3 times per day.

    • Michael says:

      I did not roll through a red light. I never roll through red lights. Not ever. I made a legal left turn on a green light from WB SM to Ocean. The bus driver was either too inattentive to notice me making a legal left turn, or he was in too much of a hurry to care that he cut me off. Either way, your preconceived bias is not relevant.

      • Joe B says:

        My apologies.

        It must be the angle of the camera or something. When the video begins it looks like you’re way over in the NW corner of the intersection.

        • Michael says:

          Apology accepted. I calculate the risks of everything I do, and try to play them in my favor. I use ultra bright flashy head and tail lights during daytime to improve my odds of being seen. I am very predictable with mt actions. My experiences with MTD bus drivers in particular is to be prepared for the unexpected. The actions of this MTD driver, while not necessarily expected, were anticipated. I use a rear mirror, and was monitoring my escape route to the left if needed. So this episode, while neither dramatic or surprising, was none the less aggravating.

  5. Ralph says:

    You did me no favours with the last link to the UK bike blog listing… Now I have even more to read……

  6. Kathy says:

    Bus drivers don’t care. They consider a cyclist as a bug that needs to be squashed. My son and I were riding next to the curb on a busy street and a bus put the squeeze on him as it pulled over to turn right. Luckily he was able to jump the curb at a lateral angle (we have mountain bikes) otherwise he would have been crushed by the bus. The bus turned right and we followed it on our bikes. We caught up with it about a block away at the metro station, my son got on the bus and gave the driver the lecture of his life. Of course, the driver acted like he didn’t know what had happened. We also got the number of the bus and later called the bus company and reported him. Whether or not any disciplinary action was taken, we never knew.

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