Morning Links: Close encounter with a sidewalk cyclist, football players ride among us, and some bikes used for evil

My wife got hit by a bike rider yesterday.

We were walking back from brunch on a Sunset Blvd sidewalk, when we heard a bike bell from behind.

I quickly moved off to the side with our dog. But before my wife could figure out just where the rider was and which way to go, he zoomed past, brushing against her as he blew by.

And never looked back to see if she was okay.

Fortunately, she kept her balance and wasn’t hurt; it could have been much worse.

This is why I’m not a fan of bike bells. They tell you a bike is present, but the listener has to figure out first where the sound is coming from, and then what to do in response.

Make that mental calculation too slowly with the wrong rider, and you could end up on your ass.

Meanwhile, every bicyclist is equipped with a simple, yet effective means of letting people know where you are and what you intend to do.

Your voice.

It’s easy enough to politely say “excuse me,” and tell them you’re passing on their left or right. Politely being the key word.

Which brings up the question of courtesy, which is where this rider failed badly.

While he did the right thing by ringing his bell, he should have slowed down and waited for us to get out of the way. With the understanding that moving out of the way is a courtesy, not an obligation.

Sidewalks may be shared turf in LA, where riding on the sidewalk is legal, unlike many other cities in the area. But people on bikes have an obligation to ride safely and courteously around pedestrians, leaving plenty of room for the people on foot.

In other words, show the same courtesy to pedestrians you’d want drivers to show you on the street.

Another inch or two, and my wife could have been hurt badly. And we’d likely be looking for a hit-and-run cyclist, instead of just complaining about some jerk on a bike.

………

A key member of the newly minted Super Bowl champs is one of us, even though he had to sit out the game. So is former Pro Bowl tight end and San Diego resident Kellen Winslow II.

………

Bikes aren’t always used for good.

Bike-riding, mask-wearing German extremists torched or trashed 48 luxury cars to protest gentrification in Berlin.

And a suicide bomber on a bicycle killed eight people in Pakistan.

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Local

A pair of community groups help beautify a stretch of Jefferson Blvd near USC before bike lanes will be painted on the street in the coming weeks.

Pasadena proposes a road diet, wider sidewalks, parklets and reverse angled parking, but no bike lanes, on a stretch of Colorado Blvd east of Old Town.

The San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Education Center operated by Bike SGV has new extended hours.

 

State

A non-profit group is building a home for a San Diego Marine vet who lost his legs in Afghanistan, just months after he rode 3,000 miles across the US to raise funds to support wounded Marines and their families.

A century ride through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park east of San Diego had 26 volunteers this year. And just three participants. Correction: There were actually 225 riders who rolled across the start line. Blame a misleading lede, cut off too soon by a paywall. Thanks to Bill Clare for the correction. 

Fontana receives $3 million for a north-south bike and pedestrian trail due to be completed in 2018.

Sad news from Santa Barbara, as a long-time advocate for the homeless was killed in an apparent solo fall, possibly brought on by a stroke; tragically, he had purchased the bike just hours before.

In a twist on the usual complaints from business owners about the loss of car traffic, merchants on a San Francisco street are urging the city to make a ban on cars permanent.

The beloved founder of a one-man Sacramento bicycle food delivery service is battling leukemia; local restaurants are stepping up to raise funds for his medical expenses.

 

National

The author who outed Lance says motor doping could spell the end of pro cycling.

Utah is making a successful effort to get federal funds for bicycling enhancements; Idaho, not so much. Speaking of Utah, a bike builder builds a new business model by offering their own customized bikes over the Internet for up to 40% less than comparable bikes.

A Minnesota woman finished third in a frozen fat-tire endurance race — despite pausing to breast feed at each stop.

New York considers letting bicyclists join pedestrians in getting a head start over motor vehicles at some key intersections.

Uber is taking over Gotham’s bike messenger business, accused of undercutting traditional courier services by not paying worker’s comp for its riders.

Opponents to a proposed DC bike lane say it’s an attempt to run black churches out of town, and tell bike riders to take their “pastime” to a park.

The Daily Mail reports BMX legend Dave Mirra was making plans for the future before he took his own life; the mayor of his North Carolina hometown suggests multiple brain injuries may have led to his depression.

 

International

A newly minted Newfoundland roadie discovers the joy of winter fat bike riding.

Bike Radar talks with the developer of the Laserlight that projects an image of a bicycle on the pavement in front of your bike.

Nice piece from a former London bike courier, who appreciates the boom in bicycling but misses having the streets to herself.

Evidently, British royalty-in-law Pippa Middleton is one hell of a cyclist if she can complete a 54-mile bike ride “in a matter of minutes.”

A Brit writer relives his childhood by teaching his six-year old son to ride a bike, with both calling it the best day of their lives.

No, really. A Pakistani paper says keep riding because it makes your skin glow. So does riding through a nuclear plant.

Aussie merchants lament the effects construction of a new protected bikeway on their business, as well as the switch from diagonal to parallel parking.

 

Finally…

If you’re planning to steal a quarter ton of beef, always send a kid on a bike to scope it out first. When you’re riding with dope and a stolen Miley Cyrus sex doll in your backpack, remember to ride with traffic.

And evidently, things get boring when you’re driving a cab.

 

6 comments

  1. LAbikedad says:

    I agree with you on most things, but not bike bells. My anecdotal experience is at least 1/2 the time when you say, “on your left,” the person moves left. Also, in order to be heard, no matter how nicely you say it, it often startles people when a voice suddenly appears behind them. I find a bell is something you can start lightly ringing while still at a distance making them aware of your presence then politely adding an “excuse me” or “thanks” as you carefully pass by. Lastly, in all things cycling, when in doubt always ask yourself what would the Dutch do? They require bells on all bikes for a reason :).

    • Charles says:

      Concur…and in most cases, the bell or verbal warning alerts you to the presence of the cyclist. Your best course of action is to “hold you line” and keep walking in the same direction you were. Trying to anticipate where the cyclist is and where you need to be is just going to increase the chances of a conflict and make you unpredictiable. This is especially the case where you are walking in such a fashion such that passing on your left is not practical.

      • bikinginla says:

        I realize that other people have other perceptions and experiences. If a bell works for you, use it. My personal experience is that I have had good results using my voice; I can count on one hand the few bad experiences spread out over decades of riding. On the other hand, I have seen countless people startled by bells used by other riders, or step into the path of a rider attempting to get around them.

        It’s simply human nature to move in response to any warning from behind. By telling them what I’m going to do, I can almost always counter act that. And in this particular case, remaining where we were was not an option; we had to move one way or the other in order to make room for him to pass.

        I’m not telling anyone not to use bike bells. If they work for you, by all means, use them.

        • Ralph says:

          i’m using a bell now. I can’t pronounce “Zu deiner Linken” undertandibly here, or “Halten Sie Ihre Linie”

          I do agree hat a bell is a good warning but the cyclist needs to slow down as well as ring the bell early enough.

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