Morning Links: LA bike rider is deliberately buzzed by Metro bus driver for legally riding in the traffic lane

Last year, Metro proclaimed that every lane is a bike lane, to the applause of many in the bicycling community.

Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to tell some of their drivers.

In an all too common complaint, Twitter user topomodesto posted video of a close pass and brake check by a Metro bus driver apparently attempting to punish him for riding exactly where he was supposed to in the middle of the lane.

Personally, I had no idea bus drivers had been deputized to enforce their own mistaken interpretation of the law. Or that at least some seem incapable of remembering the message that was proudly plastered on the backs of their buses such a short time back.

Topomodesto reports he’s filed a complaint over the incident. But also notes that he and other riders have never heard back after filing similar complaints in the past, so he has no idea how seriously Metro takes them.

Unfortunately, no one outside of Metro does.

Complaints against drivers are considered personnel matters, so no one other than the driver and his or her supervisors are ever told the resolution of the matter.

Or if it was ever resolved, period.

Short of filing legal action — and this would appear to be a perfect test case for the city’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance — there seems to be no way to find out.

Which really needs to change.

Because we have a right to know if something, anything, was done in response to a deliberately threatening driver. Even if they don’t actually identify the driver.

And Metro’s well-intentioned attempts to promote bike riding will be meaningless if we have to ride in fear of self-appointed vigilante bus jockeys.

……..

Before you ride to Thursday’s public forum on the North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes with the Bike Oven and the Eastside Bike club, catch up on LADOT’s presentation on the subject from last month’s community meeting.

Meanwhile, it turns out the LA Fire Department did not determine that the North Fig bike lanes would slow response times, despite what a fire captain suggested last month. In fact, it wasn’t even studied by the department.

So why did he imply it was — and would?

……..

Local

The LAPD is looking for bike riders to start a volunteer bicycle patrol team in the northwest San Fernando Valley.

A West San Fernando Valley website looks at last weekend’s COLT ride.

KPCC’s annual Olympic Day considers the rise of bicycling on June 23rd; free, but RSVP required.

Despite what this story says, Santa Monica is already designated as a Bike Friendly Community, but they’re trying to certify more Bicycle Friendly Businesses.

 

State

A reporter for Marketplace completes the AIDS Lifecycle Ride.

Good for them. The family of fallen cyclist Paul Lin is suing Newport Beach, alleging that a dangerous intersection at San Joaquin Hills Road and Marguerite Ave was responsible for his death.

Evidently, it’s not just LA. The Voice of San Diego looks at that city’s hit-and-run epidemic.

A Bay Area bike safety instructor is recovering after being rear-ended by a distracted driver.

Sacramento police nail a butt ugly bike thief with a bait bike.

 

National

The bike industry wants tariffs reduced on imported bicycles since bikes have a positive effect on the environment.

A Massachusetts cyclist luckily lands in the back seat of a convertible after being hit by the turning car.

Bike shops may be collateral damage to the popularity of New York’s Citi Bike program, even though the opposite appears to be true in DC.

Unbelievable. A new three-foot passing law is approved in West Virginia, which also requires motorists to give an audible signal when passing a rider. Yes, they want every driver who passes a bike to honk or shout, which is about the most distracting and dangerous thing they could do.

Velonews says loyal Lance lieutenant George Hincapie’s new book rationalizes his doping choices; I’ve often wondered why the still popular rider seems to get a free pass on the subject.

The price of that $20 cardboard bike rose to $295 before dropping to $95 plus shipping, then nothing as the business collapsed.

 

International

Caught on video: A London cyclist is searching for the rider who crashed into him in a bike-on-bike hit-and-run.

A tragic reminder that bike-on-ped collisions are dangerous for both parties, as a UK scientist is killed when her bike collides with a pedestrian.

One third of all Czech cyclists blamed for traffic collisions had been drinking; no word on how that compares to the rate of drunk driving collisions in the country.

 

Finally…

An Indiana cyclist is doored. By a porta-potty. Here’s the latest bike-themed music video.

And no. Just… no.

 

8 comments

  1. Joe says:

    Metro is such an awful organization. This situation, having no legal recourse with the company and driver, is indicative of how they operate. What can we do about this corrupt menace? How did they even get this sweetheart deal with the city?! Its unreal, yet just so utterly average and pathetically normal for LA and the US.

  2. […] Ted’s post was very good today. Morning Links: LA bike rider is deliberately buzzed by Metro bus driver for legally riding in the tr… […]

  3. Alika says:

    “[W]e have a right to know if something, anything, was done in response to a deliberately threatening driver. Even if they don’t actually identify the driver.”

    Agreed! To obtain this information, may I suggest submitting a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request to Metro? Take a look at this page on Metro’s website for details and submission instructions: http://www.metro.net/about/library/records-services/public-records/instructions-requesting-records/

    As someone who works in records management myself, I advise you to tailor your request specifically to records you believe they already have on file, as the CPRA only applies to existing records. Just off the top of my head, I might consider requesting:

    1. Any and all records that indicate what standard procedures are followed when a complaint is received about a bus operator’s behavior and/or driving; and
    2. Any and all records that detail all customer complaints regarding bus operators received during the month [or week?] of __________ 2014, and detailing what disciplinary actions were taken (if any) as a result of each complaint received. (Information identifying individual operators may be redacted if necessary.)

    It’s possible Metro may reply to you that “no responsive records were found” or that a very high number of records were found as a result of your request. If so, you should consider altering your request to make it more broad (within reason) or more specific, as the situation warrants.

    Best of luck!

  4. The Odd Duck says:

    This is what happen when you have two people with game playing attitudes at the same time and same place. One feel he the divine right to ride in the middle of the road 14 mph. The other ups the ante. Remember its in officer judgment if you need to use the center of the road or other wise It’s impeding the flow of traffic. When I was riding my motorcycle for twenty years and five years on a adult three wheeler, I have learn to practices decorum, so far I have been doing well at this. Remember if you wiz off someone with a little bit of horse power its could come back to haunt you and in the form of new bicycle laws.

    • bikinginla says:

      Sorry, Duck, but you couldn’t be more off base. Rather than having a “game playing attitude,” the cyclist in this case was riding exactly where and how he should have been. Bike riders are allowed, and in fact, are encouraged to ride in the middle of the right lane when it is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle. And as you can clearly see, this lane fits that description, as there is not enough room for the rider to remain outside the door zone, while still allowing enough room for a motor vehicle to safely pass without having to change lanes.

      Secondly, it is not possible to impede traffic on any street with two lanes of traffic in the same direction, as any following vehicles can simply move into the other lane to pass.

      The bus driver appears to be attempting to send a message to the rider by passing him closely, then cutting him off and coming to a full stop directly in front of him. Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years in prison for doing exactly the same thing on Mandeville Canyon.

  5. The Odd Duck says:

    Here is from the school of hard knocks. People have a Jekyll and Hyde personality when they get on the road. As a example many years after quitting riding motorcycles I was Ford mini van heading out of Sacramento up I-5 when a black Cadillac SUV started to tailgate me in the slow lane with the other lanes wide open. It stay right on my tail for a mile or two before turning off the freeway. Remember practice defensive driving/riding out there and sometimes its cheaper to give up the right of way.

  6. […] video bounced around the bike corner of cyberspace. It was picked up by Biking in L.A. who called it “a perfect test case for the city’s cyclist anti-harassment….” The footage ran on Univision and […]

  7. […] video bounced around the bike corner of cyberspace. It was picked up by Biking in L.A. who called it “a perfect test case for the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.” The […]

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