Morning Links: Happy 200th bike birthday, US traffic fatalities jump, and DMV says no parking in bike lanes

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss yesterday’s guest rant on why motorists hate bicyclists.

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Stop whatever you’re doing, and read this.

Hollywood Reporter editor Peter Flax has written a truly exceptional piece on the 200th birthday of the bicycle. Or the forerunner of the bicycle, if you prefer.

And the star-crossed German inventor who brought it into existence.

What is the soul of a bicycle? Is it a pedal-driven drivetrain? Or is it more elemental than that — a human-powered, two-wheeled machine that must be balanced and steered? These questions seem to underscore the doubts many cyclists have when they ponder Drais’ invention — or a modern e-bike. Is it actually a bike if it isn’t entirely powered by pedals?

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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If you thought American roads were getting worse, you’re right. After a decade-long downward trend, traffic deaths in the US jumped to an estimated 40,200 last year — the highest total in more than 20 years.

The news is no better here, as California traffic fatalities rose at more than double the rate of the US as a whole.

Authorities blame increased driving, prescription drugs and distracted driving.

Then again, there could just more people of color on the streets. According to a study from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, drivers are more likely to stop for a white person in a crosswalk than they are blacks.

Or if they’re rich, they’re less likely to stop, period.

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Came across this piece from the DMV while researching parking restrictions in bike lanes.

As it says, a bike lane is a dedicated traffic lane, and must be treated like any other traffic lane. That means parking in a bike lane is clearly prohibited, just like it is in an HOV lane, turn lane, or the #1, 2 or 3 lanes.

Remember that the next time you see someone parked in one. Although you might have to explain it to the local authorities.

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More endorsements for LA City Council from Bike the Vote LA, as they call for re-electing Mitch O’Farrell in CD13 and Bob Blumenfield in CD3.

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After most Russian athletes were tainted by charges of systematic doping, they’re recruiting Australian former world track champ Shane Perkins to ride for them.

The UK’s Cyclist Magazine explains everything you need to know about Europe’s one-day classics.

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Local

After years of discussion, Metro approves a budget for a Bike Hub at Union Station.

CiclaValley goes riding in Griffith Park.

The Monterey Park Police Department is the latest to step up enforcement of violations that can lead to serious injuries to bike riders and pedestrians. Observe the usual protocol today; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits.

A new survey says Agoura Hills residents like bike lanes, but they hate traffic.

Redondo Beach considers beautifying the bike path at the north entrance to town with drought-resistant plants, as well as widening it to accommodate more people on foot.

 

State

Even tiny Joshua Tree is about to get its first bike lane. Although putting it behind traditional angled parking is just asking for trouble; back-in angled parking would be much safer.

Santa Barbara police blame a bike rider for colliding with a car, saying he gained too much speed coming out of a driveway; fortunately, he seemed okay other than some road rash.

A Fresno rider calls for improving the relationship between motorists and cyclists.

San Jose’s traffic columnist explains what sharrows are, but misses the opportunity to explain what they mean.

More sad news from Northern California, where a 77-year old man riding a bike was murdered by a hit-and-run driver; it’s the second Sacramento bicycling death in two days. And a Napa man was found dead on the side of a highway in what appears to be a solo bike crash.

Davis police bust the bike-riding mosque bacon draper.

An Oroville man was reunited with the bike and trailer he abandoned on the side of the road when everyone downstream from the damaged dam was evacuated. Although you’d think a bike would have been the best way to get out.

Horrible news from Redding, as a bike rider was shot and killed by a motorist in a road rage dispute. But the man had a concealed carry permit, so that makes it okay, right?

 

National

US News & World Report says ditch your car if you want to save real money. Who even knew they were still around?

Ditching your car could also save your life; heart disease is expected to be a $1.1 trillion dollar problem by 2035, with 45% of Americans suffering from some form. Fortunately, the cure could be as simple as getting more people out of their cars and onto bicycles. Thanks to my brother Eric for the heads-up.

PeopleForBikes looks at my already very bike-friendly hometown, as it prepares to get even more so. Every place I’ve ever lived has made great changes to become bike-friendly only after I left. Maybe I need to leave Los Angeles so it can finally make some real improvements on the street.

Bicycling Magazine looks at the nation’s first glow-in-the-dark protected bike lane at Texas A&M.

West Virginia considers stronger penalties for hit-and-run by making it a felony with up to three years in prison; right now it’s just a misdemeanor.

Sad news from DC, as the founder of the Rails-to-Trails movement has died from acute myeloid leukemia; David Burwell was 69.

The Big Easy demos the city’s coming bikeshare system.

 

International

Life is cheap in Britain, where a star player for the Southampton soccer team faces just a driver’s education class after admitting to careless driving in a collision that left a bike rider with critical injuries; the victim got a equivalent of a $37 fine for going through a red light.

An Irish man with schizophrenia says he doesn’t remember punching a man in his 60s and knocking him off his bike, but he’s very, very sorry.

The Copenhagen-based makers of the Bullitt cargo bike hire an illustrator to turn their cargo boxes into works of art, too.

A Kiwi cyclist was knocked cold in a moped hit-and-run. A she was helmetless, after her bike and helmet were stolen last week.

Caught on video: A Jeep driver cuts off a sidewalk-riding Aussie bicyclist in the right-hand drive equivalent of a right hook. Despite what the story implies, there’s no question who is at fault. And it ain’t the guy on the bike.

 

Finally…

Forget scofflaw cyclists; Millennial drivers are the real road terrors. If you run over protesters, you’re the victim.

And don’t smash mirrors, dude.

 

5 comments

  1. Came across this piece from the DMV while researching parking restrictions in bike lanes.

    The DMV article is a helpful explanation. However, since law enforcement probably won’t act on a DMV article, here is an excerpt from the California Vehicle Code:

    21211(b)
    No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

    I am *NOT* a lawyer. When I read “…impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist…” I think that it’s OK to park a car in a bike lane that is, for example, 12 feet wide. That would allow a bicyclist to pass the car and still stay in the bike lane. “When I read “…unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation…” I think of parking for emergency reasons, such as a mechanical failure. When I read “…otherwise in compliance with the law.” I think of exceptions made elsewhere in the CVC for fire trucks, police cars, tow trucks, buses, etc.

    All of this makes me confident that it is illegal to park a vehicle in a bike lane that occupies, for example, the right-hand three to five feet of a roadway. However, there are a lot of laws that are not enforced. Using a cell phone while driving is an example. Local law enforcement cannot do everything and must prioritize. Their priorities are influenced by the local political climate.

    In other words, if you want the police to enforce no parking in bike lanes, you may have to form a group and complain to the police and go to city council meetings.

    • bikinginla says:

      Problem with the code you cite is that it hinges on the interpretation of subsection (a), which references a Class 1 bikeway — in other words, a separated bike path. So whether it applies or not depends on how who’s doing the reading. I read it as applying to all bikeways; the Santa Monica read it the other way when I tried to use it to get UPS and FedEx trucks out of the San Vicente bike lane.

      The legal interpretation, which the LA City Attorney and LAPD used to conclude it was illegal to park in a bike lane, hinges on the legal definition of a roadway. Anything to the left of the limit line is legally part of the road, while anything to the right is — i.e. the parking lane or shoulder — is not.

      A bike lane is to the left of the limit line, therefor part of the roadway. In fact, the right line of a bike lane serves as the limit line. That makes it a legal traffic lane, albeit reserved exclusively for bikes, just as a bus lane is reserved for buses. And therefore, illegal to block.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find the code they based that on, but I’ll keep looking.

      • In my mind the fact that you and I are trying to interpret the law and the fact that parking is frequently allowed in bike lanes means that the law is not as clear as it should be.

        Two days ago I sent an email to the California Bicycle Coalition asking for their interpretation and asking them to consider working toward an update to the CVC to make it clear that parking in bike lanes is illegal. Unfortunately, similar to some other emails I have sent, I not received a response.

  2. Bill Sellin says:

    Parking in Bike Lanes:
    The last paragraph seems to allow parking in a bike lane unless posted “no parking” or if there were a no bicyclist there (at the moment?) to obstruct.
    I thought the CVC was modified years ago but was reversed when cities like Newport Beach had to eliminate residential street parking or eliminate miles of Bike Lane, or squeeze in a lot of dangerous door-zone Bike Lanes. Not a win-win Situation so the law was repealed…
    Personally I would welcome lots of Sharrows and eliminate bad Bike Lanes but I am a road user, not an edge rider.
    The citation of CVC posted in a reply – isn’t a Bike Lane defined as a Class II “bike way” and thus covered like a path or Class I “bike way”?

  3. FL says:

    This might be what you’re looking for.

    22502.
    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a vehicle stopped or parked upon a roadway with adjacent curbs or class IV bikeways, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be stopped or parked with the right-hand wheels of the vehicle parallel to, and within 18 inches of, the right-hand curb or the right-hand edge of the class IV bikeway, except that a motorcycle shall be parked with at least one wheel or fender touching the right-hand curb or edge. If no curbs, barriers, or class IV bikeways bound a two-way roadway, right-hand parallel parking is required unless otherwise indicated.
    (b) (1) The provisions of subdivision (a) or (e) do not apply to a commercial vehicle if a variation from the requirements of subdivision (a) or (e) is reasonably necessary to accomplish the loading or unloading of merchandise or passengers on, or from, a vehicle and while anything connected with the loading, or unloading, is being executed.
    (2) This subdivision does not permit a vehicle to stop or park upon a roadway in a direction opposite to that in which traffic normally moves.
    (c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), a local authority may, by ordinance, prohibit a commercial vehicle from stopping, parking, or standing on one side of a roadway in a business district with the wheels of the vehicle more than 18 inches from the curb or the edge of a class IV bikeway. The ordinance shall be effective only if signs are placed clearly indicating the prohibition in the areas to which it applies.
    (d) This section does not apply to vehicles of a public utility when the vehicles are being used in connection with the operation, maintenance, or repair of facilities of the public utility or are being used in connection with providing public utility service.
    (e) (1) Upon a one-way roadway, a vehicle may be stopped or parked as provided in subdivision (a) or with the left-hand wheels parallel to, and within 18 inches of, the left-hand curb or left-hand edge of a class IV bikeway, except that a motorcycle, if parked on the left-hand side, shall have either one wheel or one fender touching the curb or edge. If no curb, barriers, or class IV bikeway bound a one-way roadway, parallel parking on either side is required unless otherwise indicated.
    (2) This subdivision does not apply upon a roadway of a divided highway.
    (f) (1) The City of Long Beach may, by ordinance or resolution, implement a pilot program to authorize vehicles to park on the left-hand side of the roadway parallel to and within 18 inches of the left-hand curb on two-way local residential streets that dead-end with no cul-de-sac or other designated area in which to turn around, if the City of Long Beach has first made a finding, supported by a professional engineering study, that the ordinance or resolution is justified by the need to facilitate the safe and orderly movement of vehicles on the roadways affected by the resolution or ordinance. The area covered by the ordinance or resolution shall be limited to the streets perpendicular to Ocean Boulevard beginning at Balboa Place and ending at 72nd Place, but shall not cover 62nd Place. The ordinance or resolution permitting that parking shall not apply until signs or markings giving adequate notice have been placed near the designated roadways. The city shall submit to the Legislature, two years from the date of the enactment of the ordinance or resolution that establishes the pilot program, a report that outlines the advantages and disadvantages of the pilot program. The report submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
    (2) The pilot program authorized under this subdivision shall terminate, and this subdivision shall become inoperative, three years from the date of enactment of the ordinance or resolution that establishes the pilot program.
    (Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 208, Sec. 16. Effective January 1, 2017.)

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