Once again, police in bike friendly Santa Monica show a less friendly face to cyclists.
As they have done in recent years, the department announced a crackdown on law-breaking bike riders in the month of July, as part of a rotating focus on behavior they believe causes traffic collisions. Even though they say the other party is usually at fault when it comes to bike wrecks.
Just a slight logical disconnect there.
But the real problem is that bike riders are people, not behaviors. And that makes the crackdown questionable, at best.
The department has every right to ticket cyclists who violate the law, just as they do anyone else on the road. And we’ve all seen reckless riders who probably deserve to be written up by making the roadway more dangerous for themselves and everyone around them.
The problem comes when they target their actions at a specific group, rather than a specific type of violation.
If the SMPD were to focus on people who fail to observe red lights and stop signs, for instance, they could justifiably ticket everyone who failed to stop, on a bike, on foot or in a motor vehicle. But directing their efforts towards a specific group, whether bicyclists, motorists or hipsters with handlebar mustaches makes it selective enforcement.
And that’s against the law.
They are required to treat everyone equally, without regard to race, creed, color, sexual orientation or socio-economic status. Or mode of transportation.
They can no more single out cyclists for selective enforcement than they can anyone else.
That’s not my opinion. That comes directly from conversations I’ve had with high-ranking members of other, apparently more enlightened local departments, including the LAPD.
Evidently, Santa Monica didn’t get the memo.
In the meantime, I’d recommend holding on to that news story announcing the crackdown.
Because that could be your best defense if you get a ticket while riding in Santa Monica this month.
Bike safety website Look! Save A Life offers an open letter to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which has been dragging its feet in investigating the driver who was caught on viral video threatening the life of cyclist Bryan Larsen in Dana Point.
As the letter points out, while officers are normally required to witness a traffic violation in order to ticket the driver, this goes far beyond a mere traffic infraction. And similar video evidence has been used to charge drivers across the country for threatening bike riders.
There should be no question that a charge of assault with a deadly weapon is more than warranted in this case. The only question is why it hasn’t been filed already.
The proof is there. All they have to do is view the video.
And take the safety of cyclists seriously.
A fund has been established to help pay burial expenses for 12-year old fallen San Bernardino bike rider Tewon Woods. Sadly, as this goes online, it has only raised $112 out of a hoped for $5000.
Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.
Marcel Kittel takes the first stage of the Tour de France’s UK start, but Mark Cavendish suffers a separated shoulder in a crash and has to abandon the tour. Nibali wins the second stage, while the peloton asks fans to just back off. And stop taking selfies, already.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire has it’s own unique ways to welcome the first UK start of Le Tour.
And instead of starting his first TdF, cycling scion Taylor Phinney faces a long and painful road to recovery.
Knitting the city together, bike lane by bike lane.
A new road diet and bike lanes are coming to Pacific Ave in San Pedro.
Construction begins on a new bike lane and bike route improvements in west Malibu.
Pasadena is formally studying protected bikeways in the city.
Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club lead a Riff Raff Ride into snooty San Marino over the holiday weekend, the San Gabriel Valley town too good for bike lanes and the people who use them.
Get a discount on registration for the Bike MS Coastal Challenge: Santa Monica to Santa Barbara through July 13th.
You wouldn’t think you’d have to worry about getting killed by a drunk driver in Auburn at 6:40 on a Friday morning. But you’d be wrong.
Science says bicycling can help you lead a happier, healthier life and make you a better person. But we already knew that, right?
A single Universal Bike frame adjusts to fit multiple riders and riding style configurations. But how does it ride?
Lenient and/or uncaring courts keep a dangerous New Mexico driver on the road, despite killing a cyclist and multiple DWI arrests.
Someone is vandalizing an Albuquerque ghost bike, apparently because his widow is speaking out to demand justice.
Someone is sabotaging Vancouver Island streets by stringing fishing line where they can severely injure bike riders.
An anonymous writer for the Guardian says the worst thing about bicycling is other cyclists.
Dublin is installing special bicycle traffic lights to give cyclists a jump on traffic at busy intersections.
Bangalore gets protected bike lanes.
An average of three bike riders a day are knocked off their bikes in Australia’s New South Wales.
Finally… In an absolutely disgusting assault, a car passenger uses a high-powered urine-filled water gun to soak a bike rider after signaling him to come over. A Winnipeg rider crashes into a parked car, then stabs the driver when he gets out to see if the cyclist is okay.
And NPR’s Scott Simon tweets himself in the foot by equating scofflaw cyclists and Lance Armstrong to demonize us all.
Seriously, Scott, you should know better.