Morning Links: Gov. Brown approves bike rider traffic school, too much Seth, and Peter Flax pens two must reads

Big news from Sacramento, as a bill allowing traffic schools for bike riders survives Jerry Brown’s veto pen.

The bill allows local jurisdictions to create diversion programs for traffic violations committed by non-motorists, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Which means you could pay your penance with a few hours of class instead of a large fee.

But the real benefit is that it will provide a way to educate bike riders who may not be clear on the law, such as salmon cyclists who believe they’re riding the right way by facing traffic.

I’m told by police officers that many cops have been reluctant to ticket bike riders because they don’t think the relatively minor infractions are worth the large fees.

Of course, there are exceptions.

So you might be more likely to get a ticket when you roll that stop. But you could actually learn something from it.

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That last link came courtesy of Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who’s been on a roll lately.

And I don’t mean with his new titanium pulley wheels.

He tells the story of accompanying a bike rider to court for a bogus ticket for riding inside the traffic lane, which is legal anywhere there is not a marked bike lane.

Anything right of the limit line is not considered part of the roadway, and you aren’t legally required to ride there, though you can ride on the shoulder or in the parking lane if you choose.

The single exception is that you are legally required to ride in a bike lane where one exists, though you’re allowed to exit it to avoid obstacles such as debris and parked cars, to pass another rider or pedestrian, or to make a left turn.

These kind of must-use laws should be repealed, as they have been in some more enlightened states; it should be up to the rider to decide where he or she feels safest, without second guessing from a cop who may not understand the many safety choices riders are forced to make.

Getting back to Seth, he finds the law on his side when he’s assaulted by a teenage ham and mustard-throwing car passenger, for a change.

He also pens a post dripping in sarcasm about a call to the courthouse on November 18th for the arraignment of a driver who aimed his car at a cyclist just for the hell of it.

And he’s hosting his own awards show at the Strand Brewing Company in Torrance next month, which should be a hell of a good time. If I win anything, I’ll expect someone to step up and speak about the plight of Native Americans on my behalf.

Seriously, Seth writes one of the best blogs on bicycling, here or anywhere else. Put it in your reading list, and make a point of checking in now and then, if not daily.

And I’m not just saying that to return the favor.

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Mad Men producer Tom Smuts rode to the Emmys from his home in Santa Monica for the second time, accompanied by an entourage of actors and fellow producers, along with bike advocates and former pro cyclists, to send a clear message about everyday bicycling for anyone paying attention.

Peter Flax of the Hollywood Reporter went along for the ride.

Now if we can just get some of the many bicycling actors to join Ed Begley Jr in riding to next year’s Oscars.

Yes, I’m taking to you, Russell Crowe.

Not to mention Anne Hathaway, Patrick Dempsey, Liev Shreiber, Naomi Watts, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson and far too many others to single out.

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Speaking of Peter Flax, the former Editor in Chief of Bicycling magazine offers a great overview of the current state of bicycling in the City of Angels for Los Angeles magazine. And pretty much nails it.

Which shouldn’t be too surprising for someone with his background.

Call it your must read for the day.

My understanding is he’ll be penning a regular column for the magazine, so let’s hope this is just the first of many.

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Once again, CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo has blood on his hands.

A pedestrian was critically injured in a hit-and-run while trying to cross North Figueroa in a marked crosswalk Friday evening, in an area that would have undergone a road diet a couple year ago. Not just to install bike lanes, but to slow traffic and improve safety.

Instead, Cedillo arbitrarily cancelled the fully funded and paint-ready project for reasons known only to him. And personally guaranteed the street would remain one of the most dangerous in Los Angeles.

Nice work, councilman.

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Copenhagenize sends word that you’re safer on a bike than on a sofa, at least in Denmark.

Safer Than on a Sofa

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The Christian Science Monitor writes about the return of the world championships to the US, although a restaurant owner says the races are bad for business. And mixing the races with Civil War imagery? Probably not the best idea.

US women scored first and second in the under-23 junior women’s individual time trials at the world championships, while a Danish rider won the men’s title; the top American man finished 10th. WaPo looks at two young men competing in the U23 road races this week who could be the next superstars of American cycling.

American great Kristin Armstrong will attempt to cement her comeback from her latest retirement in today’s time trial; a podium spot would guarantee her a place on the US team for the Rio Olympics. But New Zealand’s top women’s time trial rider is out with a broken collarbone that refused to heal in time.

On the men’s side, a fully recovered Taylor Phinney could drive the US team to greater success than anyone expected. He talks about what it meant to win the team time trial on Sunday.

This is what the racers competing in the world championships might be riding if there were no rules limiting bicycle design. Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

Not even a closed-off race course is safe from intoxicated drivers, as a Richmond driver with a long list of traffic offenses led police on a brief high-speed chase after somehow driving onto the worlds course; not surprisingly, police say he was under the influence of some unspecified substance.

And if the doping era is really over, why do people keep getting caught? And yes, women and mountain bikers do it, too.

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Local

The Long Beach Post profiles two local natives who rode 4,500 miles from NYC to LBC while covering their journey on the blog Westward Wheels.

A Westside Urban Forum panel tackles the question of healthy communities; bikes are just part of a very big picture.

Feeder rides are already starting to form for next month’s CicLAvia. This one from USC looks to be both educational and fun as they travel up from campus along the coming MyFig corridor.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist looks for the hit-and-run driver who nearly severed her foot.

It’s the age-old battle of bike lanes versus parking spots in Chula Vista, as businesses worry about the loss of parking for bike lanes that would help get riders off the sidewalk.

A Riverside welder turns discarded bike parts into art.

Cyclists from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties call for Vision Zero to eliminate traffic deaths in their area.

A majority of San Francisco supervisors support allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yields; however, they can’t change state law, and the non-binding ordinance will need the support of the SFPD to have any effect.

The bike-riding ranger of Mount Diablo State Park has retired after 24 years of rescuing riders and ticketing scofflaws.

Chico makes a well-intentioned proposal to stop bike thefts by banning ghost riding and dismantling bikes in public. Nice idea, but it would also stop people from fixing their bikes in the driveway or riding home with a friend’s bike.

 

National

Protected bike lanes are popping up in unexpected places. A writer for the Green Lane Project says they’re are even more useful in snowy climates. Which is not a problem we’re likely to have anytime soon.

Caught on video: Dashcam view of a cyclist getting hit by a Seattle police car after the rider went through a red light; the cop was using lights and siren at the time.

Sales go up nearly nine percent after Salt Lake City installs a protected bike lane, though local merchants credit the overall street improvements; business in one store jumped 20% when a 20 mph speed limit went into effect.

What good is an Albuquerque bike lane if drivers are allowed to park there illegally?

Chicago’s bike plan improves equity after all.

New York’s mayor says he believes in bike lanes and they should be “well established” in all five boroughs, even though installation has slowed under his administration. If you say you don’t believe in bike lanes, does another one die?

A writer for the New York Times says bicycling doesn’t need to be a collision course, citing the need for better infrastructure, more alert motorists and safety-conscious cyclists.

More proof cyclists are tough: After a New Jersey man is shot in the back while riding with his nephew on his handlebars, he keeps going until he gets to a friend’s house.

The DuPont manager who killed a Delaware cyclist in a hit-and-run admits he was on the wrong side of the road, admits to drinking even though he swears he wasn’t drunk, and thought he just ran over some tree branches. You’d have to be pretty damn drunk to mistake a bike rider for a tree branch.

The Birmingham AL bikeshare system scheduled to start this week has been delayed due to inclement weather; a Taiwan typhoon prevented production of the bikes.

 

International

A 23-year old New York woman is taking a solo trip around the globe to collect stories about climate change.

Montreal proposes a revamp to its code for bicycling; one without mandatory helmets, unlike other Canadian cities, and allowing cyclists to roll through stop signs if no other traffic is present. But drunk and distracted biking is out.

When is a Canadian bike rack not just a bike rack? When it looks like a swastika.

Caught on video: After a British cyclist gets buzzed by a delivery van,  the driver apparently tries, and fails, to do the same thing with the car stopped just ahead.

A Parisian writer offers lessons learned from learning to ride a bike at the ripe old age of 29 using the city’s bikeshare system.

An Indian cyclist makes a stop in Cameroon on his round-the-world journey to promote HIV/AIDS awareness; it’s the 106th country he’s visited since 2004.

A South African cyclist spends two years riding his bike 25,000 miles to see the rugby World Cup. Only to watch his team suffer the greatest upset in the history of the event.

 

Finally…

Don’t argue with a man who nearly runs you over while looking for his cat, or you might both be charged with disorderly conduct after he whacks you with his cane. We may have to deal with angry LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about kangaroos.

And if you’re going to pull up in your car and demand money from a bike rider, make sure he’s not a plain clothes cop first.

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One last note. I really wanted to attend Thursday’s discussion on what Vision Zero means for LA, with LADOT maven Seleta Reynolds and Leah Shahum of the Vision Zero Network.

But it just happens to fall on the 30th anniversary of my 29th my birthday, so I’m going to be spending that night with my family, instead.

If you’re planning to attend and would like to cover it in a guest post for BikinginLA, just let me know.

Vision Zero talk

 

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    That is the problem with testing. These were from retesting with better technology. But how do you really know if the tests are good enough if you don’t catch some people occasionally? I did fire inspections. If I didn’t find any violations was it me missing them or were the buildings flawless?

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