Morning Links: Cops behaving badly, Amgen Tour of California kicks off, and sign up for the LACBC today

We’re sill stuck on 14 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

If we can’t get 100 new members this month, let’s at least get one a day for the rest of the month, starting today. So if you’re not a member yet, take a few minutes to sign up now. Or if you’re already a member, use this opportunity to renew your membership today.

It’s worth it just to get some new LACBC gear. And make a real difference on our streets.

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Today’s theme is cops behaving badly.

When a Merced cop stops a young black man for riding on the sidewalk, it somehow escalates into a violent takedown by the police — including tackling the man filming it, in violation of his First Amendment rights.

Although needless to say, the police see it differently; thanks to Henry Fung for the link.

Next up, a careless San Francisco cop pulls out from the curb, apparently without checking his blind spot, and nails a bicyclist riding in the very obvious bike lane.

And an off-duty Charleston SC cop grabs a man’s backpack, throws him off his bike and tries to punch him following a wrong-way collision; the officer is now on well-deserved administrative leave without pay pending an internal investigation.

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KABC-7 reports on Sunday’s Southeast Cities CicLAvia. Although they can’t seem to tell the difference between bikes that move and those that don’t.

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Italian rider Gianluca Brambilla takes the leaders pink jersey off Tom Dumoulin’s back in the Giro d’Italia.

Edward Rubenstein offers a preview of the Amgen Tour of California, which kicked off Sunday in San Diego as Peter Sagan wins the first stage.

Team Novo Nordisk is less about winning and more about proving diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from riding. Nor, evidently, does hamburgers, soda and ding dongs. Although sprinters won’t have much of a chance to show their skills on this year’s vertical course.

Santa Clarita cycling fans gather to watch the opening stage of the ToC in anticipation of today’s finish of Stage 2, which starts in South Pasadena.

And motor doping once again rears its ugly head as three riders are disqualified in Indonesia’s Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen.

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Local

As expected, the LA City Council voted 11 – 1 to send plans to provide separate but unequal alternatives to bike lanes on Westwood Blvd and Central Ave back to the Planning Commission. The best way to ensure the failure of any bikeway is to insist on putting it someplace where bicyclists don’t want to go.

The LACBC and Bike SGV get LA City Councilmember Mitch Englander on the record for some very bike-friendly positions as a candidate for LA County Supervisor in District 5. And speaking of Bike SGV, Damien Newton talks with Executive Director Wes Reutimann.

The Army Corps of Engineers is removing flood control barriers that closed a large portion of the LA River bike path; once the barriers are removed from each section, LADOT has to evaluate the condition of the path before it can be reopened.

A project to improve traffic flow onto the 110 Freeway in San Pedro is finished, including new bike lanes and sidewalks on John S. Gibson Blvd.

A man in his 20s was shot and killed while riding his bike in Compton Saturday evening.

Burbank is planning three pit stops for Bike to Work Day on Thursday.

Sixty-four La Puente kids have new bikes as a reward for academic achievement and perfect attendance, thanks to the Golden State Foods Foundation.

 

State

Laguna Beach holds a Bike Rodeo and Safety Expo as part of their ongoing efforts to improve safety for bicyclists.

Downtown San Diego bike riders are being victimized by bike thieves breaking into so-called secure bike rooms and parking garages.

Ebikes could be the answer the answer to bike commuting in San Bernardino’s hilly climate.

The 52nd annual Great Western Bicycle Rally comes to Paso Robles May 26th through 30th.

A Sunnyvale actor faces felony charges for allegedly running down a bike rider in Berkeley in February. If they can find him, that is.

Napa draws over 1,400 cyclists of all ages to its fifth annual Bike Fest.

 

National

The Federal Highway Administration finally gets around to throwing out eleven rules that prevented cities from building bikeable, walkable streets.

A moving piece on Facebook, as an Arizona cyclist comes face-to-face with the driver who nearly killed him two and a half years earlier. And surprises himself by forgiving him.

Another way bikes are good for business. Bike sales may be down nationwide, but not in my bike-friendly hometown. Evidently, making the city safe and inviting for bike riders actually encourages people to buy more bicycles.

Leonardo DiCaprio goes for a bikeshare ride through Gotham with his new girlfriend.

An anti-bike Philly columnist gloats over an apparent decline in bike commuting, that could simply be due to bad weather during the latest bike count.

Someone is attacking New Orleans bike riders with paintball guns.

 

International

There are lots of reason to take off on a bike tour. Like becoming the fastest woman to ride around the world because your boyfriend was killed by a crocodile. On the other hand, having a baby 12 weeks early is a good reason to stop one.

Plan your next European bike vacation. I’ll take the ride to Bruges, thank you.

A Calgary woman has built a business teaching immigrant women how to ride a bike.

A London hospital fights plans for a proposed floating bus stop next to a bike lane, fearing patients will get run down by bike riders. Better to let the cyclists get run down by cars, thus creating more business for the hospital.

A Croatian bike ride takes cyclists from sea level to the top of the highest peak in Dalmatia, gaining over one mile of elevation in just 20 miles.

Someone is booby trapping bikeways around Brisbane, Australia; a 17-year old bike rider was seriously injured when he was garroted by a rope strung across a bike path.

Over 5,000 yellow-clad Thai cyclists ride to mark the 70th anniversary of the king assuming the throne.

 

Finally…

Call it a case of he said/he said as both types of cyclists accuse one another of road rage. Who needs Bike to Work Day when you can have a full week of biking from work to craft breweries?

And seriously, if someone says bicycling is the new golf one more time, I’m going to start yelling “fore” every time I ride down the street.

 

10 comments

  1. Jen says:

    I really can’t defend the actions of the guy in Merced. Even if he was riding on the sidewalk legally (which may not be the case – Merced does have some areas of the city where riding on the sidewalk is not allowed, but I can’t find a reference in the video as to where it took place), all he needed to do was show the officer his ID and the situation wouldn’t have escalated. If he was in the right, I’m sure there are plenty of civil rights lawyers who would love to take his case and argue it in court. The officers in the video did not show what I would consider excessive force or brutality beyond what the situation warranted, which was a citizen failing to comply with an officer’s instructions.

    • bikinginla says:

      You’re absolutely right that the young man could have avoided the problem by simply cooperating. However, he’s not a trained professional, while the officers are. And in the current environment, many young black men distrust the police, sometimes with good reason; situations like this need to be handled with sensitivity rather than confrontation.

      When I watch the video, I see numerous opportunities when the officers could have de-escalted the situation, rather than allowing it to get out of control. The first officer could have done a much better job of explaining why she had stopped him, rather than simply demanding his ID — which bike riders are not required to carry, though like anyone else, they are required to identify themselves when asked to do so.

      However, the second officer was clearly in the wrong. The first cop had the bike rider fully under control and was about to cuff him when the helmeted officer rushed in and tore him out of her arms, violently throwing him up against the wall, and allegedly putting his hands around the man’s neck (though if that did in fact happen, it is hidden from view). Had he controlled his own anger, the cyclist could have been taken into custody with no further incident; instead, he made a bad situation much worse.

      Then there’s the third, unseen cop who violently tackled the young man who was recording the scene, who had a First Amendment right to record the actions of the police, and immediately complied with the instructions of the second officer when he told him to back off. Yet he was tackled anyway, and fraudulently charged with interfering with the police, which is refuted by the video.

      I know there are some, many perhaps, who may disagree with me. But I would love to be the lawyer handling the inevitable civil case, because there’s likely to be a very big settlement before this is all over.

  2. That boby trap in Oz, why were the perps referred to as “vigilantes” instead of “terrorists”?

  3. billdsd says:

    It says West Main St. in the press release.

    I can’t find a bicycles prohibited on the sidewalk sign on West Main St. in Street View and I looked several places, focusing on places that had businesses along that street.

    I can’t find anything about sidewalk riding in the Merced Municipal Code either. There is something about motor vehicles which is rather redundant given that the CVC already prohibits that.

    Riding while black.

    • Jen says:

      Here is my reference for the Merced Municipal Code. Main Street is included on the list of areas where bicycling is not allowed on the sidewalk, between G and V Streets (Municipal Code 10.44.040). If it’s incorrect, I apologize. I’m just going off what I’ve found with a basic google search.

      https://www2.municode.com/library/ca/merced/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT10VETR_CH10.44BI_10.44.040LIPERE

      What I see in the video is a female police officer trying to do her job by issuing a citation for what she believes is a violation of the city’s laws, and the young man is refusing to comply with her reasonable request for his identification. I don’t have a reference for this, but I’ve always understood that bicyclists, just like any other person operating a vehicle on the road, are required to carry identification. Whether the police officer is right or wrong, it is within her scope of duty to ask for identification and write a citation. If she’s wrong, that can be taken care of by the courts. Police officers are under no obligation to argue the law when writing a citation or making an arrest. When the officer tried to restrain the young man because he was refusing to comply, he continued to resist, therefore the other officer arrived as her backup, saw her struggling, and used the force necessary to restrain him. As far as I could tell, he was acting like an entitled punk and got what he deserved. I’m choosing not to address the fact that the young man was black, because I don’t think that race always has to be an issue.

      Compare this to the case that recently received attention in Michigan, where a cyclist was pulled over by an officer and cited even though he had done nothing wrong. Even though the cyclist knew he was right and the officer was being a jerk, he immediately complied with the officer’s instructions, handed over his identification, and calmly and politely attempted to argue his case, without resorting to name calling or racial slurs.

      • Ralph says:

        Since we don’t know the whole story it is difficult to say what started the altercation other than just riding on the sidewalk. If I’m in a down town area I might not know what streets, sectors have prohibitions on sidewalk riding. Why go for the citation first? How about a warning. “What you are doing is illegal in this part of town. You need to be on the road or in the bike lane. I’m giving you a warning this time.”

        Here is a friends example of Police behavior. Black professional driving home from work in reasonably heavy traffic in his Jaguar. Officer behind him switches lanes and starts to pass, get even with him then pulls back and hits his lights, pulls him over. Why? Expired tag on his plate. Officer gets all the info from him, you know the drill. Runs the plate. Tag has been paid for, it’s in the DMV data base. So what does he do?

        Choice one, thank him for being co-operative and say that he should get the tag on as soon as it arrives in the mail and if it doesn’t show up in a week to call DMV.

        Choice two, Write up a fix it ticket for the infraction. Costs $25 to clear, a trip to DMV during work hours, and pay a fee for a new tag.

        Choice two. My friend complies, total cost comes out to over $100 and 1 day later the missing tag shows up in the mail.

        I’ve had the opposite experience but I’m white.

        • Jen says:

          You’ve made an excellent point that we really don’t know the whole story. The video obviously began after the confrontation began and we don’t know exactly why the officer stopped the cyclist in the first place. Maybe he had been riding dangerously close to pedestrians while riding on the sidewalk. Maybe she tried to give him a warning and he copped an attitude so she decided to write a citation. Maybe she did single him out because he’s black. But we really don’t know and I have a hard time judging the officer for doing her job. I’m not naive enough to believe that police officers are infallible, but that doesn’t mean we should just assume an officer is racist just because he or she cites or arrests a black person.

          My own experience: I’m white and I’ve been issued a citation every time I’ve been pulled over by a police officer (which is a total of maybe 4 times). Two of those times have been for fix it tickets just like your friend.

          • bikinginla says:

            One of the many lessons I’ve learned from writing this site is not to view the world through my own white, middle-aged eyes. I have a completely different experience on the street than many black and Hispanic riders have described to me, or what I have seen in the news.

            As you point out, that does not mean that every action by a cop in regards to a minority member is racially motivated. However, it does mean that young black and Hispanic men may have a different perception of the police and respond to them differently than you or I would.

            Does that make it right? Of course not. But a well-trained officer will understand that, and respond accordingly to de-escalate the situation; I’ve seen cops win over some very angry people in similar situations. That did not happen here, and my belief is it should have.

  4. Ralph says:

    I will agree on the trip to Bruges. My wife and I were thinking of something like that. There are also trips from Paris to Amsterdam on barges and bikes.

    One place to look at, and you have to plan in advance, is the non-profit Bicycle Adventure Club. You can look and find something both US and Europe before you join, nominal yearly fee. They might not be as posh but they are quite a bit cheaper and each tour is normally run by a guide who is also a cyclist and rides with you.

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