Morning Links: Brake-checking driver as victim, cyclists are not obstructions, and going full superman on a bike

So who exactly is the victim here?

A group of around 30 Charlotte NC cyclists were riding in a bike lane when they were dangerously buzzed and brake checked by a road raging driver, who proceeded to swear at them and give them the rare double bird when they caught up to her at a red light, all for no apparent reason.

Charlotte NC double bird

And with her child in the car, no less.

Although she was probably unaware that two of those riders she threatened happened to be off-duty cops.

Oops.

So the riders filed a complaint with the police, while those cops had a nice little chat with the undoubtedly surprised driver.

But that’s when the story took a bizarre turn.

Because when the local TV station was done with it, the victim wasn’t any of the innocent cyclists whose lives she’d threatened.

It was the driver herself, who was said to be working with the police and seeking legal council after alleging she’d been threatened once the story became public.

So instead of focusing on the would-be Dr. Christopher Thompson, the news report approached it from the perspective of how she didn’t deserve to be harassed for what she did.

Which she didn’t.

No one deserves that. Which is why I often withhold the names of drivers accused of criminal acts until they become common knowledge, after seeing the outrage that poured out in the first few days following the Mandeville Canyon brake check — including late night death threats directed at the wrong Dr. Christopher Thompson.

Let alone the person who once politely offered to track down a driver who harassed me and bust his windshield, if not his legs. Or his head.

But while she didn’t deserve the alleged response, let’s not forget she was the one who started it by attempting to threaten, if not injure, a group of people whose only crime was riding their bicycles in the lane designated for just that purpose.

Because they didn’t deserve it, either.

Thanks to Michael Hart of Racers Who Ride for the heads-up.

………

Patrick Lynch forwards a report of a legal case in which police refused to blame a scofflaw driver for breaking the law. And his insurance company tried, and failed, to convince a jury that the bike rider he hit was just an obstruction in the roadway.

………

A cyclist goes full Superman in an ad for a fixie maker.

Although it’s been done before.

………

Wish Los Angeles a happy 235th birthday this Saturday with a walk and bike ride from the San Gabriel Mission to Olvera Street, retracing the steps of the city’s original founders, who didn’t even have a Garmin to guide their way.

LA Birthday Ride

………

Once again, victory in yesterday’s stage of the Vuelta went to someone other than the favorites; the winner was just back from a four-month suspension for failing a drug test.

………

Local

LADOT explains the new cycle hoops pilot program allowing you to legally lock up to parking meters in Westwood. But for now at least, only in Westwood.

Unlike the LA Rams football stadium coming to Inglewood, the new soccer stadium for the coming LAFC franchise promises to be easily accessible by bicycle, with parking for 440 bikes.

Saturday’s Gravel Trofee #4 offers a gravel grinding grid from the Backbone Trail to the beach.

The 17-mile 626 Golden Streets ciclovía postponed from last June due to the San Gabriel Complex fire could be rescheduled for spring of next year, possibly in March.

 

State

A Laguna Beach radio host observes that the wife of fallen cyclist John Colvin has forgiven Dylan Thomas Rand-Luby, the 19-year old driver convicted of taking his life. And notes that there hasn’t been another bicycling fatality in the city since, crediting luck, along with a network of sharrows directing riders off PCH.

Orange County officials are blocking access to a maintenance road used as a de facto bike path along seven miles of the Santa Ana River following complaints about homeless camps along the roadway. However, the Santa Ana River bike path remains open.

Not surprisingly, the driver who killed Redlands cyclist Randy Stephenson in Loma Linda while fleeing from sheriff’s deputies has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Simi Valley votes to remove ghost bikes and other roadside memorials after just 30 days. After all, why would they want to bum people out by reminding them to drive, bike and/or walk safely?

The UC Santa Barbara student newspaper traces the history of bicycling at the bike friendly university, where musician Jack Johnson met his future wife by locking his bike to hers in his rush to get to class.

The New York Times says Silicon Valley group rides are the new place to pitch ideas and make deals, if you can keep up; VeloNews responds that cycling is not and never will be the new golf.

The San Francisco Chronicle offers proof that Bay Area bike activism goes back nearly 45 years, including photos taken by the man who shot the iconic Iwo Jima flag raising.

The former Napa Valley Bike Angel is launching a drive to donate bikes and helmets to families affected by the recent Clayton Fire.

 

National

People for Bikes considers what can be done to improve safety on roads filled with distracted drivers.

Evidently, bicycles really are dangerous. A Texas woman was injured by one that fell off a vehicle and struck the car she was in.

A Wisconsin writer says hell yes, cyclists are entitled to their place on the road, and people driving cars and trucks have a responsibility to honor that. Note: Michael Hart points out the writer is the former mayor of Madison WI, and the current president of the Wisconsin Bike Federation.

A security guard for the Chicago ABC affiliate gets credit for catching a wrong-way, probably drunk driver who tried to flee the scene after running down a bike rider; fortunately, the cyclist wasn’t seriously injured.

A woman on Martha’s Vineyard puts out cold drinks to comfort strangers passing by on a bike path in a gesture of hospitality.

It’s not just pedestrians who are at risk from collisions with bicyclists, despite the breathless stories in the press. A New York cyclist was seriously injured going over his handlebars after swerving to avoid a pedestrian who stepped out in front of him while he was riding in Central Park. And in a similar incident, a Texas woman died a month after she was injured going over her handlebars in Central Park, possibly after being cut off by a pedicab.

The New York Times says the death of a 78-year old bike rider shows biking perils persist in the city, as advocates grow angry that the city isn’t doing more to address them.

New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare expands further into Brooklyn, with an additional 139 stations coming by year’s end; however, not everyone is happy with the loss of parking spaces.

A Pennsylvania town is being terrorized by teenage bike riders who pop wheelies, and force drivers to remember where their brakes are.

Road diets can do more than just improve safety; a New Orleans street is being reconfigured in hopes the narrower street and bike lanes will bring life to a crime-ridden neighborhood and encourage businesses to invest there.

A St. Petersburg FL bridge is the latest to be sabotaged by someone throwing tacks in the bike lane; police and DOT officials insist they don’t know anything about it, even though a reporter picked up 30 tacks herself.

A Florida jury deliberates for a whole 10 minutes before giving a bike thief three years for stealing a bait bike. Unfortunately, LA still doesn’t use bait bikes, despite a rampant bike theft epidemic. And most bike thieves here don’t get three days, let alone three years.

 

International

Ella Cycling Tips offers tips on what to do if your lady bits hurt after riding. Assuming you have lady bits, of course.

A Winnipeg man fled on a bicycle after placing a backpack containing a bomb in front of the courthouse; fortunately, no one was injured in the explosion. Meanwhile, a kindhearted Winnipeg couple is fixing up bikes to donate to refugee children. And no, let’s not jump to any connection there.

A man in the UK was the victim of a strong arm robbery after being pushed off his bike by a someone who then rode off on it.

An Indian man plans to become the first visually challenged cyclist to conquer the Himalayas on a tandem.

A new Aussie ER study shows most cycling injuries occurred while the victims were riding on the street, often in bike lanes, and usually in broad daylight.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. A Japanese driver has killed one pedestrian and seriously injured another while playing Pokémon Go instead of watching the road.

 

Finally…

If not being able to ride drives you crazy, you may be right. If you’re going to steal your neighbor’s bicycle, don’t ride past her house on it, especially not while she’s filing a police report.

And do they make these in adult sizes?

No, really.

 

One comment

  1. Jay Williams says:

    Santa Monica regularly uses bait bikes.

    I have also witnessed a SMPD officer riding a bicycle in plainclothes on SM Blvd “pull over” a motorist (she was stopped at a light)for harassment. The enraged woman was honking at us and revving her engine for blocks before she sped by us within inches (we were in the middle of the right lane – chatting whilst riding). I had no idea he was a cop.

    Conversely, Broadway Ave in Santa Monica has stop sign stings once or twice a year where I have seen as many as 3 cyclists pulled over at the same time for blowing a sign. Those are CHP officers on motorcycles though so perhaps that doesn’t count.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: