Archive for Advocacy & Politics

Morning Links: LA sheriff’s agree PCH cyclists belong in the lane; women could race in 2015 Pro Challenge

Don’t tell Seth Davidson.

But he’s rapidly turning into one of Southern California leading bike advocates.

After meeting with the police chief of Santa Paula on Friday, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, in the aftermath of the recent anti-bike You Tube fiasco, the author of Cycling in the South Bay followed up with Sunday’s Sheriff’s Department ride-along on PCH.

Along with members of Big Orange Cycling, Davidson organized a demonstration of why large groups of cyclists belong in the traffic lane, riding abreast, rather than hugging the curb or weaving in and out of the lane while riding single-file.

In a result that should surprise no one, with the possible exception of most motorists and many law enforcement personnel, the deputies agreed that riding abreast in the lane was far safer than the other alternatives, and posed fewer problems for the drivers around them.

Which means that riders on PCH can expect fewer unfair and unfounded tickets for violating the requirement in CVC 21202 to ride as far to the right as practicable, which doesn’t apply on non-sharable lanes.

And the deputies agreed that the right lane of PCH is too narrow for a bike to safely share with a motor vehicle. Especially once the new three-foot passing law goes into effect in September.

As he points out, this is less a victory than a step in the right direction.

But it’s a damn big step.

And we all owe Seth, and the other riders involved, a round of thanks for fighting for our rights and helping them take it.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

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Now that Kazakhstan-based Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali has won it, the Central Asian country wants to host the Tour de France. After a fan lost his helmet cam while filming stage three of the Tour, Europcar rider Kevin Reza films himself finishing the stage, then returns it to the owner. A team founded by Jock Boyer, the first American TdF rider, hopes to be the first all-African team to compete in the race. Jens Voigt looks back on the last of his 17 Tours.

And following the successful Le Course women’s race at the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge may consider letting women race next year.

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Local

A Freedom of Information request confirms an LAPD officer had no basis to claim bike lanes would delay emergency response times on North Figueroa, despite what he said during a sham hearing put on Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

CicLAvia is working on a route through several cities in southeast LA County for spring of 2016.

A new urban cycling bike shop is opening in Santa Monica, with a pre-grand opening happy hour on Wednesday.

Two Long Beach riding groups will meet Wednesday to discuss how to get more women riding in the city.

 

State

The Palm Springs area could get its own bike share program.

Mountain View is looking for a new Mobility Coordinator. I’ll take the job if I can do it from here.

 

National

A six-year old Portland girl makes her own sign criticizing the thief who stole her father’s bike.

My already bike-friendly Colorado hometown is getting buffered bike lanes.

Red Kite Prayer remembers mountain bike framebuilder Tom Teesdale, who died of a heart attack during Iowa’s RAGBRAI.

A question I’ve often asked myself — should you speak up when you see someone riding in a risky manner?

New York’s Citi Bike is cheaper than other transportation options, and faster than most.

 

International

Moving story of yet another bicycling visitor to this county whose life was cut short by an American driver; this time a young Toronto man run down outside Memphis.

The son of a fallen cyclist asks London’s mayor to stop promoting bicycling in an unsafe city.

A new Indian concept bike could fit in a backpack, and be reassembled in just 10 minutes.

Could a single bad decision ruin Tokyo cycling forever?

 

Finally…

A Boston-area cop begs to differ when a rider claims he can’t be arrested for refusing to give his name after running a red light. And a nice story, as LA Sheriff’s transit deputies and support staff buy a new bike for disabled Reseda man after his is stolen from the Chatsworth Orange Line Station. Nice work, guys.

 

Morning Links: Wolfpack Hustle debates bike lanes with John & Ken, and Calbike forms state’s 1st bike PAC

Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward — aka Roadblock — debates bike lanes with KFI-640’s bike-hating John and Ken.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to this one myself yet, but knowing Don, it should be well worth the listen. If you can tolerate the willful indignorance of the hosts, anyway. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers constructive criticism of the Times’ pro-bike plan editorial criticizing District 1 councilmember Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes.

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Is there a problem with racism in the Tour de France peloton?

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Local

The Times looks at the proposed law to create a much needed alert system for serious hit-and-runs.

Books on bikes could be coming to Boyle Heights.

Culver City Safe Routes to School hosts a family-friendly Bike, Walk & Scoot Festival this Saturday.

Santa Monica will install new green bike lanes on 2nd Street.

 

State

Calbike forms a political action committee to intervene in elections on behalf of bike riders. Maybe they can finance a recall in CD1.

Costa Mesa police are looking for a bike riding purse snatcher.

A Rialto cyclist is seriously injured in a collision with a dump truck.

Big Bear will host a bike festival and Gran Fondo on upcoming weekends.

The Bay Area’s largest bike festival comes to Oakland.

 

National

Bicycling reviews performance popsicles for cyclists.

New self-powered bike trailer takes the work out of towing.

Portland plans to rely on bicycles in case of disaster.

Evidently, it’s open season on pedestrians and bicyclists in NYC.

New York’s financially troubled Citi Bike is on a the verge of a large cash infusion and expansion.

 

International

Studies from around the world show investing in bicycling pays.

A letter writer says Montreal cyclists put up with a lot from drivers, while another asks what about pedestrians?

A British roadie website offers five reasons to become a cyclist. And then there’s cake.

Designed to be deadly? An Irish girl is the latest child to be impaled by the handlebars of her bike, a so-called freak accident that seems to happen on a regular basis.

Amazing idea, as the Cold War-era Iron Curtain is being turned into a 4,225 mile bike trail. Those of us old enough to remember the bad old days could never have imagined something like this.

Cyclists are trying to claim a piece of the road in Dar es Salaam.

A Brisbane rider looks at mirrors for bike riders.

 

Finally…

A merry band of beery brothers bikes 426 miles through the Colorado Rockies. And caught on video: A truly horrifying first person view of the UK equivalent of a left cross; amazingly, the rider walked away.

 

Morning Links: Reckless driving laws apply to bike riders, too; LA Times comes down hard on Gil Cedillo

No, your bike isn’t a vehicle under California law.

But that may not matter as far as traffic regulations are concerned.

In a case involving an LA cyclist, a Los Angeles appeals court has ruled that the statute prohibiting reckless driving applies to bike riders, as well.

Even though the state defines bicycles as devices, rather than vehicles. And even though the most reckless rider poses far less risk to those around him or her than a reckless driver.

Jorge Velasquez, Jr was over twice the legal limit when he left a Dodger game in April of last year, riding brakeless on the hilly streets. He swerved to avoid a car, and slammed into a jogger while on the wrong side of the road, leaving her in a coma for 10 days with serious facial injuries.

Rather than charging him with biking under the influence, which carries just a $250 fine and no points against the rider’s drivers license, prosecutors charged Velasquez with reckless driving, with a penalty of up to three years in jail.

His public defender argued, reasonably, that the reckless driving statute was specifically written to apply to operators of motor vehicles who act in a manner likely to injure or kill others.

But the court ruled that CVC 21200, which gives cyclists with all the rights and responsibilities of drivers, meant that all traffic laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists — unless the law is specifically written to exclude bicyclists, such as the statue setting separate penalties for riding under the influence.

In some ways, the ruling works to our benefit by reconfirming our right to the road.

If the court had ruled that the reckless driving statute didn’t apply to bikes, it could be argued that other laws that work in our favor don’t either, such as the right to ride on any road where cars are allowed — with the exception of some limited access highways — or to use any lane when appropriate, just as drivers do.

On the other hand, not everyone agrees with the ruling.

Cyclist and Century City attorney Stanley E. Goldich, a frequent contributor to this site, thinks the court missed the mark.

My two cents on the opinion.  I read the prior 1980 Clingenpeel opinion in addition to the ruling of the CA Court of Appeal in the Jorge Velasquez (pdf) matter.  The central question seems to be whether the additional reference to Division 17 in the 1982 amendment to Section 21200 is sufficient to satisfy due process requirements by making clear “to persons of ordinary or common intelligence” that cyclists can be charged with reckless driving of a vehicle under Vehicle Code section 23103 notwithstanding that a bicycle is not a vehicle under the Vehicle Code.

I think in order for cyclists to be subject to prosecution and criminal penalties for reckless driving of a vehicle there needs to be an explicit reference to reckless driving of a vehicle in Section 21200 as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment with the language “driving under the influence of intoxicating liquors or drugs, or the combined influence thereof.”  I don’t think it is sufficiently clear that cyclists are subject to criminal prosecution for reckless driving of a vehicle by the vague reference to Division 17, particularly in light of the last phrase in section 21200 “except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.”  I read this last phrase to mean that cyclists are not subject to punishments for driving of a vehicle because a bicycle in not a “vehicle.”  Certainly, without an explicit reference to reckless driving as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment, there is ambiguity whether the general reference to Division 17 is intended to make cyclists liable for reckless driving of a vehicle.  This general reference does not give fair warning required for criminal statutes. In addition, there are not less severe penalties for bicyclists as was done for driving while intoxicated that takes into account that bicyclists do not pose the same dangers as motorists.

Certainly the actions of Jorge Velasquez in riding a fixed gear bike without a handbrake in traffic after the Dodger game with a blood alcohol level of 2.18 was extremely reckless. However, while he can certainly be prosecuted for biking while intoxicated (and should be subject to civil liability to the pedestrian he hit for his reckless conduct) I don’t think the criminal statute for reckless driving of a vehicle is applicable and criminally charging Velasquez or other cyclists for this violates due process of law. It is also curious that this issue has not arisen in the 32 years after Section 21200 was amended.   I wonder if there have been previous instances where cyclists in CA have been prosecuted for reckless driving of a vehicle. I certainly would welcome having the legislature address this and provide for prosecution of cyclists for reckless bike riding in conjunction with determining an appropriate penalty or penalties as was done with biking while intoxicated.

Unless the California Supreme Court agrees to take up the case, the ruling will now be law throughout the state.

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Red Kite Prayer offers an open letter to now ex-Santa Paula reserve officer Laura Weintraub, saying no, you are not forgiven.

And hat’s off to Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who responds to my post about the whole imbroglio being a teachable moment. And reaches out to a surprisingly receptive Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean; he’ll be meeting with McLean, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, on Friday to help build a better relationship between the department and bicyclists.

I hate to sound like part of a mutual admiration society, but if you’re not reading Seth’s blog, you should be.

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The LA Times Opinion page comes down hard on CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo and his single-handed attempt to derail the already approved road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa.

Unless some demonstrable miscalculation was made in the bike plan, or unless there’s a real safety issue, individual City Council members should not be tinkering with the plan, which was designed carefully with the whole city in mind. Currently, Los Angeles has 337.62 miles of dedicated bike lanes. Cedillo is looking at alternatives to the Figueroa corridor, but the city planners chose these designated routes for specific reasons; nearby streets, they say, won’t work. The idea is to create a seamless network of bike lanes that allow cyclists to travel continuously from one point to another.

It’s a good read, and well worth a few moments of your time. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, KFI’s John and Ken demonstrate how little they know about the subject in this segment from Monday’s show, beginning at roughly the 11-minute mark.

Personally, I didn’t have the stomach for it, tuning out shortly after they disregard studies proving road diets improve safety simply because they choose not to believe them. Life is too short for that kind of indignorant anti-bike drivel; maybe you can tolerate it better than I could. Link courtesy of Erik Griswold.

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After giving up his dream of winning a grand tour, Australia’s Michael Rogers wins Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France. France’s Thomas Voeckler stops mid-race to berate a heckler. And BMC’s Peter Stetina is ready to step up and deliver Tejay van Garderen to a place on the podium; but only if TvG can manage to keep the rubber side down.

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Local

London’s Guardian looks at Nona Varnado and LA Bike Trains.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says new LADOT chief Seleta Reynold’s outside perspective could help overcome LA’s self-defeatist attitude.

Downtown LA could get a new 84-station bike share system and a bike hub at Union Station, courtesy of Metro.

Better Bike looks at three newly approved types of bike facilities and wonders if any will ever come to the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills. Don’t hold your breath.

A Santa Monica bike theft is caught on video; this is why you never secure your bike to a parking meter with a cable lock.

Construction begins on an improved bike route on PCH in west Malibu.

Pedestrian and cycling safety will be a major focus of new Glendale councilmember Paula Devine.

Walk Bike Burbank forms in response to the city’s decision to shelve a planned bike and pedestrian path.

 

State

KCBS-2 looks at last weekend’s Orange County memorial ride to remember fallen cyclists.

A Laguna Beach group proposes a two-way bike path as path of a plan to beautify downtown.

Sonoma County’s bike commuter of the year isn’t who or what you’d expect.

 

National

A new national bike website is for women only.

Even Arizona is driving less and bicycling more.

Lafayette CO police apologize for ticketing a cyclist for riding in a crosswalk, which isn’t against the law in the state.

Even Philadelphia police can be victims of bike theft; the clueless thief abandoned the bike after attempting to sell the clearly marked police bike to someone around the corner.

Not surprisingly, people who live near bike lanes exercise more than people who don’t — although the results may not be immediate.

 

International

Seven innovative ways cities are transforming themselves to improve bicycling.

The Telegraph offers advice on how to avoid common bicycling injuries.

A Kiwi writer calls cars the logical and inevitable solution to cycling injuries and dung-covered streets, and says it’s madness to expect bikes to share roads with cars. Oh, well okay, then.

 

Finally…

When the satirical Bike Lobby twitter account claims credit for two white flags that mysteriously appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge overnight, the media takes them just a little too seriously. And an easily offended Seattle driver assaults a cyclist to defend the honor of another driver. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

 

Morning Links: Famed LA pediatrician dies six months after bike collision; more from Santa Paula police chief

Where do you put the ghost bike for someone who died months after he was hit by a car?

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, when much loved LA pediatrician Paul Fleiss died this past weekend, it was due to complications from injuries he received when he was hit by a car six months earlier.

The father of infamous Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, he reportedly rode with a friend every Sunday until that collision. An earlier story from a Chicago paper — which has since disappeared from online — quoted a family cousin as saying he appeared to have been recovering from his injuries before having difficulty breathing on Saturday.

No word on how or where to collision occurred, or just what injuries the 80-year old rider suffered.

My prayers and condolences for Paul Fleiss and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

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More on the controversy over Santa Paula’s bike-hating — and now dismissed — reserve cop Laura Weintraub, as the city’s police chief responds in the Santa Paula Times.

“The Chief of Police as well as the Santa Paula Police Department did not condone this video and are extremely embarrassed by it. This video did not and does not express the views of the Santa Paula Police Department nor the Chief of Police, Steve McLean,” the agency noted in a Sunday news release…

“Don’t hold us to Ms. Weintraub’s views, period,” McLean added…

“Some people are trying to paint us as anti-this or anti-that, especially bicyclists that we welcome here. We love them here and we treat them well… I don’t think we’ve ever given a recreational bicyclist a ticket ever. We’re fighting crime and drug dealers.”

Santa Paula, said McLean, “Is a friendly town that has made accommodations for bicyclists,” including the Bike Trail where there are racks for riders to park and secure their bikes and visit the downtown.

“I’ve been here a year,” said McLean, “and we’ve never had an incident with a bicyclist…”

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Cities throughout California are bypassing Caltrans to install protected bike lanes, LA included; the state bill to officially legalize such lanes continues to move forward.

Meanwhile, a Delaware study (pdf) shows they’re good for business.

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Local

Even pedestrians aren’t safe from hit-and-run drivers on LA sidewalks.

Meetings will be held tonight, tomorrow and Thursday to help plan how to integrate buses and bikes with the new Expo Line extension into Santa Monica.

Redondo Beach is finally preparing to tear down the wall that marks the end of the Hermosa Beach Strand, allowing the bike path to be extended south along the harbor.

 

State

Rose petals cover PCH like tears for the fallen at last weekend’s memorial ride for John Colvin and Debra Deem.

Santa Barbara police promise strict enforcement during the city’s popular, but unsanctioned, Fiesta Cruiser Ride. Meanwhile, the city’s bicycle coalition buys their headquarters building, while morning the death of a long-time advocate.

Silicon Valley cyclist fights greedy insurance companies after getting screwed following a bike collision in 2007.

 

National

Donations are being sought for an Oregon framebuilder seriously injured in a solo fall last weekend; Rob English won Best in Show in last years North American Handbuilt Bike Show.

Sixteen teams are announced for Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge next month.

Advice from my hometown on what to do if you’re in or see a bike crash.

Central Texas cyclists ask the public to protect the rights and safety of bike riders.

A Chicago alderman proposes putting Segways in bike lanes, which isn’t likely to go over well with the city’s bicyclists.

A dispute between legal and illegal rental bike vendors in New York’s Central Park leads to threats of decapitation.

 

International

The BBC looks at a new folding e-bike, and uses the opportunity to take a slap at American soccer fans.

A writer for the Telegraph asks if the law is too soft on drivers who kill cyclists. The answer there, as here, is yes.

Aussie cyclists go beyond creating a bicycle PAC to form their own political party.

 

Finally…

It’s now legal to ride three sheets to the wind in Hungary. A fun piece, as a Chicago bike blogger takes her dog on a ride fit for a king.

And I can’t help it. When Dennis Christopher — yes, that Dennis Christopher — retweets my comment about Breaking Away, it just kind of makes my month.

 

Morning Links: The battle over Santa Paula cop’s anti-bike video is over, but we may have lost the war

And then it was over.

Less than 36 hours after the flap over a bike hating Santa Paula reserve police officer blew up online and in her face, she found herself unemployed by the department.

Apparently her own choice, much to the displeasure of countless riders who were out for blood. And not in a mood for ritual career hari-kari.

I first became aware of the video in question when Bike Snob tweeted about it on Saturday morning.

Meet Laura Weintraub, horrible person, incompetent videographer, and utter moron: 

Like countless others, I watched in varying degrees of horror and outrage as she laughingly expressed her hatred of bikes, bicyclists and spandex, as well as her desire to run us all off or into the road.

After tweeting about it a few times myself, I made plans to express my own outrage on here. Only to discover the video had been taken down before I could get to it, leaving nothing to link to and no copy to repost.

Meanwhile, the proverbial defecation had hit the fan.

It didn’t take long for someone to discover that she worked as reserve officer for the Santa Paula PD, compounding the outrage that a uniformed cop would express such offensive thoughts in a cheap and badly failed attempt at humor.

Although cop is stretching it; someone sent me a link to a page showing Weintraub had made less than $100 working for the department in recent weeks.

Countless riders — and others who simply didn’t like the idea of killing or maiming innocent people for giggles — inundated Weintraub’s Facebook page, as well as the SPPD, with calls, emails and online comments.

She responded by removing the offensive video without comment, followed by what seemed like a sincere apology. Or at least, a damn good job of faking one.

I would like to apologize to all those who have been offended by what was intended to be a satirical video on cyclists. It was never meant to be hurtful or harmful in anyway, I am a human being, I made a mistake, I have learned from this and ask for your forgiveness. The responses have shown me overwhelmingly just how hurtful my comments were to some and that is not at all what I intended. As soon as I knew, I removed the video immediately.

The response from the cycling community has made me aware of the sport and its safety issues and challenges with drivers on the road of which I was completely unaware. My heartfelt apologies to those that have been offended and to those who face these very real challenges.

Then again, you’d think any reasonably sentient being would get that calling for violence against anyone for the simple crime of riding a bike would likely be taken the wrong — or in this case, the right — way.

For some inexplicable reason, though, many drivers don’t seem the grasp the fact that people don’t just bounce back after being knocked down; what would be a simple fender bender if they hit another car could be catastrophic if they collided with a cyclist or pedestrian.

Although you’d certainly think a cop — even a lowly reserve officer — would grasp the damage motor vehicles can do in the wrong hands.

At the same time, we can only imagine Chief Steven McLean’s reaction, as whatever community relations he had managed to build up in his year on the job were seemingly undone in a single afternoon by someone who barely worked for him.

Once his head undoubtedly finished exploding, the long-time veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department responded by suspending Weintraub pending investigation. Along with another reserve officer who snarkily answered the criticism by complimenting her videos and suggesting cyclists need to obey the law.

At that point, the controversy appeared to be over. The video was down, the woman in question appeared to have learned her lesson, and the chief had done the right thing.

And then the media picked up the story, further fanning the justifiable outrage long after the fact, and leading to countless calls for Weintraub’s job, if not her head.

The final shoe dropped Sunday evening when Chief McLean posted on Facebook that he had accepted her resignation effective immediately — whether she volunteered it or he demanded it was left unstated.

So allow me to offer a contrary opinion.

I’m sorry to see her go.

Had she remained on the job — or even in limbo for awhile — we would have had a rare opportunity for a teachable moment.

If she truly got what she did wrong, and listened, as she said, to the many reasons why her attempt at humor wasn’t funny, she might have become more sympathetic to cyclists and a positive influence on her fellow officers. Or at the very least, unlikely to make a similar mistake a second time.

Not that she didn’t deserve to lose her job. But I’ve found that forgiveness is often more effective than vengeance in the long run.

Meanwhile, Santa Paula cyclists would have had a rare opportunity to demand a meeting with the chief and his officers to discuss the rights of riders and explain the risks we face in employing our legal and moral right to the road.

That door is probably closed now.

Chief McLean is likely to conclude that the matter has been concluded now that Weintraub is no longer a part of the department. And given the entirely justifiable vitriol dumped on him and his officers, he’s unlikely to open his door to our representatives anytime soon.

Which is not to say the anger wasn’t justified.

It was.

I was just as livid as anyone else when I viewed the video. However, we need to learn to direct that anger effectively, not just to get a young woman who did something incredibly stupid fired.

But to use it as an opportunity to build better relations with those charged with enforcing our rights. And achieve long-lasting changes that can and will improve safety and courtesy for everyone on the roads.

We won the battle.

But in doing so, we may have shot ourselves in the foot. And cost us an opportunity for dialogue that may not come again.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story; there are simply far too many to thank each of you individually.

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Local

The media seems to be coming down on the other side of Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa road diet — a veto that may or may not be legal.

Construction delays are keeping a new section of the LA River Greenway from opening.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride rolls through Lakewood on Sunday, August 3rd.

Neon Tommy looks at how bikes empower women.

 

State

New Seal Beach bike paths help close some of the final links in Orange County’s 66 mile OC Loop. Note to Press-Telegram: bike riders can actually ride anywhere they want in Downey, or anywhere else for that matter.

Caltrans will widen bike lanes through Chico to improve a dangerous section of roadway.

 

National

Google Maps now allows you to check elevations on your route, whether you want to seek out hills or avoid them.

Colorado Springs CO cyclists are tired of riding in the killing zone.

If you want to talk with the mayor of Fort Worth, you’d better get on your bike. Meanwhile, neighboring Dallas has a new bike czar.

New Orleans riders rally to demand safer streets.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer says cyclists aren’t a menace on the roads, comparing the one Canadian killed by a bike in 2010 with the 2,227 killed by cars. He’s got a point.

Indian army cyclists ride over 400 miles through the Himalayas, at altitudes up to 19,000 feet in an attempt to set a new record.

Talk about a good cause. A cyclist is planning to spend a full year riding across Ghana to meet 25,000 people and raise funds to provide shelter and healthcare for the county’s homeless street kids.

A young Kiwi rider overcomes diabetes to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

Cyclist deaths expose a culture clash on the congested streets of Sydney, Australia; thanks to New Colonist for the heads-up.

The best way to see Beijing is by bike.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Before you build that bike jump, put a little thought into how you’re going to land. A Dutch pro miraculously avoids death on both Malaysian Airlines disasters.

And a special thanks to Cycling in the Southbay’s Seth Davidson for his very kind words and high praise.

 

Morning Links: LA Times catches up on Fig4All, Timbuk2 opening on Venice’s bike-friendly Abbot Kinney

The LA Times finally picks up the story of Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s single-handed decision to kill the already approved, funded and shovel-ready road diet on North Figueroa.

They get most of it right in what reads like an attempt to be overly even-handed. Although they incorrectly frame the debate as being over bike lanes, when the lanes themselves are just one tool in a plan to reduce the roadway’s overcapacity in an attempt to slow traffic and improve safety.

They also fail to challenge Cedillo’s unsupported claim that the road diet would increase emergency response times, even though that is not the position of either the LAPD or LA Fire Department. Or his bizarre claim that the city’s bike plan that was unanimously approved by the city council — before Cedillo sat on it — was developed by just 1,000 people, despite numerous public meetings and presentations, as well as months of online comment.

And since when are bike riders who simply want a safe route through Northeast LA considered “activists” — a loaded word most likely to be used in a disparaging manner by those opposing the project?

But it’s a lot better than the Boulevard Sentinel’s labeling them “extremists,” I suppose.

Meanwhile, LA Biz offers their own look at the controversy, while the Times provides an interactive map demonstrating just how dangerous the area is for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Popular custom bike bag manufacturer Timbuk2 opens their first SoCal store next week, across from Linus Bike on increasingly bike friendly Abbot Kinney.

The store has a soft opening next Saturday, July 26th, at 1410 Abbot Kinney, with an official Grand Opening celebration scheduled for the weekend of August 16th and 17th.

Designed by award-winning design and architecture firm Gensler, the new store will include features such as

  • Custom design workshop with over 60 fabrics options.
  • Floor to ceiling street-facing glass wall, bicycle and product design art installation and custom-crafted display tables and fixtures.
  • A designated hub for community events and group bike rides.
  • San Francisco-inspired indoor parklet for relaxing and refueling.
  • Access to bike tools, bike pumps, bike maps and extra tubes for community cyclists.

Sounds like they’ll fit right in on the trendy street. And be a great addition to the LA bike scene.

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Nibali continues to hold the yellow jersey as the Tour de France heads into the Alps, with a lead of more than two minutes over his nearest competitor.

Meanwhile, Brit rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is banned for two years and fired from Team Sky for doping. Nice to know the sport has cleaned itself up and no one would ever dream of cheating anymore, right?

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Local

Advocates — not “activists,” thank you — gather to learn about CicLAvia coming to Leimert Park.

Neon Tommy looks at three local groups supporting LA’s “fearless” cyclists.

Bike riders and pedestrian advocates make a statement in calling for fair funding for active transportation from Metro.

 

State

One hundred cyclists storm the Laguna Beach City Council to demand safer streets.

Caltrans surprisingly invites cyclists to consult on a realignment project for Highway 1 in Cambria.

Catch up on everything Calbike is working on in their latest report.

 

National

Bixi’s bankruptcy means no expansion for Alta-operated bike share programs this year.

Caught on video: A Texas rider captures the hit-and-run truck driver who Jerry Browned him and left him lying on the side of the road.

Trek president John Burke calls on Wisconsin’s governor to take down a campaign ad that allegedly defames the company; the governor is running for re-election against Burke’s sister.

Pro cyclist Ted King introduces pure maple syrup energy gels, promising natural vitamins and minerals with a lower glycemic index than other gels.

An Atlanta man faces charges including attempted murder for intentionally running down a bike rider; his girlfriend is charged with evidence tampering.

 

International

Canadian letter carrier goes postal on a woman who stopped to complain about his parking in a bike lane.

In a bizarre accident, a British cyclist barely survives getting impaled with her brake lever.

Three-quarters of Scot cyclists report a near miss on the roads.

Italy honors legendary cyclist Gino Bartali, aka Gino the Pius, for his role in saving hundreds of Jews from the Nazis in WWII. Isn’t it time the Vatican honored the devout Catholic?

German cyclists lost over 300,000 bikes to thieves last year; naturally, police blame the victims.

To encourage more cycling, Qatar’s bicycle master plan requires dedicated bike infrastructure, including separated bikeways, on all major roads when possible.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying hash oil and marijuana on your bike, and already wanted on multiple active warrants, put a damn light on it, already. And amazingly, a very lucky 17-year old Russian bike rider walks away after being run over by a large truck in a terrifying video.

 

Weekend Links: An Orwellian death to Fig4All, TV news is all over Olin case delay, and a South Bay bike theft bust

“War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.”

— George Orwell, 1984

I thought I’d seen the height of hypocrisy a few weeks ago when Westside city councilmember Paul Koretz called on the city to slash greenhouse gasses just months after he unceremoniously killed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd that would have helped do just that.

But I was wrong.

CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo did him one better with a textbook example of Orwellian doublethink by killing the road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa Blvd, citing the need to ensure safety for everyone as his justification.

Cedillo Fig4All Letter

Scan courtesy of Northeast L.A. Bikes

The only problem is, the long-planned, funded and shovel-ready road diet is a safety improvement project designed to make one of LA’s more dangerous streets significantly safer for everyone — pedestrians, drivers and bike riders included.

And even though a New Zealand study shows a combination of traffic calming and separated bike lanes — in other words, a road diet — cut car use 40% while increasing cycling rates a matching 40%. And brought in a whopping $24 return on investment for every dollar spent.

A benefit that, along with improving safety, will now bypass all those who live or work along the boulevard, as well as traverse it. As Cedillo ensures that the street will remain dangerous for everyone, despite modest improvements, while speeding traffic past local businesses.

Meanwhile, the Boulevard Sentinel celebrates the victory over bike riding extremists like you and me.

And LADOT, which proposed it.

And the city council that unanimously approved the bike plan that includes the North Fig road diet.

Yeah, those are what I’d call extremists, all right.

……..

Evidently, we’re not the only ones asking what’s going on with the investigation into the death of cyclist Milt Olin, killed by a sheriff’s deputy on Mulholland Highway last December.

Fox-11 asks why it’s taking so long to find out the results of the investigation, while KCAL-9 questions whether the DA will press charges.

Actually, I think we’d all like to know that.

Meanwhile, Olin’s ghost bike has gone missing a second time, just a week after a new one was installed.

……..

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to update the Calendar. But meanwhile, here are a few quick bike events coming up this week.

The streets around the civic center turn into a crit course with an international field Saturday when Wolfpack Hustle brings brakeless bike racing to DTLA, with the blessing of city officials.

Sunday morning you’re invited on a slow paced urban expedition and community bike ride through West Long Beach sponsored by Empact LB.

And Metro proposes taking a giant leap into the past by failing to provide a reasonable level of funding for bike and pedestrian projects in their 10-Year Short Sighted Short Range Transportation Plan. Santa Monica Spoke invites you to show up at a Metro committee meeting next Wednesday to point out the error of their ways.

……..

A Redondo Beach man has been arrested with 11 high-end stolen bikes after being turned in by someone who discovered he had purchased a hot bike from him.

Turns out there’s more to the story.

Starting with a friend of a friend who recognized the thief in the story as the same guy he caught “admiring” his locked-up bike last weekend, before driving away in a van after being confronted.

But that’s just the start.

Come back next week for the real scoop from the inside.

……..

Local

Sunset Blvd could get a 3.2 mile green bike lane; thanks to new LACBC board member Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

The LA Bike Explorers Club journeys into the forgotten eras of LA’s past, starting with a ride in Downtown LA on Sunday the 20th.

Community stakeholders discuss the possibility of bike lanes on Boyle and Soto with city planners.

Cynergy Cycles wants your unwanted spandex for the Antigua Cycling Association.

The Argonaut offers a detailed look at the growth of bicycling on the Westside.

A Glendale letter writer says if bike riders are demanding equal rights, we need to be held accountable. Problem is, he gets most of it wrong. And we already have equal rights under the law; we just need the people we share the roads with to recognize that.

A Pomona bike rider is seriously injured in a collision on Thursday.

 

State

A Laguna Beach writer calls on the city to improve safety by building out the bike improvements that were already approved.

An eighth grader could identify the Newport Beach intersections that need improvement, says Bike Newport Beach’s Frank Peters. The real question is what to do about it.

San Francisco supervisors commend LADOT’s new mobility maven.

A Sacramento area cyclist is killed by a suspected drunk driver.

 

National

Bike haters are a sign of bicycling’s success. Then again, you can ride legally 100% of the time and still be hated by some drivers.

The amount of protected bike lanes doubles since 2011 as cities attempt to attract younger residents.

The simple act of getting on a bike opens women up to unwanted comments, sexual advances and possible violence.

CNN’s Miles O’Brien leaves today on a 300-mile fundraising ride to fight cancer, less than five months after losing his arm in an accident.

 

International

A Toronto writer who doesn’t even like bicycling explains five things he’s learned by bike commuting.

The popular Cannondale Pro Cycling team is reportedly merging with Garmin-Sharp after this season.

The week of July 20th is officially Women’s Cycling Week.

New Delhi is India’s leading city for bikes. And its most deadly.

 

Finally…

Apparently, women in stock photos don’t know how to ride their bikes. And People for Bikes offers up nine reasons to date a bike advocate; sorry ladies, but my heart belongs to another.

Attentive Sienna

Morning Links: Biking backlash to misguided WaPo bikelash, and a fund for injured Manhattan Beach racer

Nice.

The transportation beat reporter for the Washington Post responds to yesterday’s anti-bike screed from a fellow WaPo writer.

Here’s my bias: No matter how you go — bike, car, bus, train, boat or plane — I want you to get there safely.

I’m sick to death of people who take risks with other people’s lives.

And lately I’ve become disgusted with all the venom aimed at cyclists.

It’s a great piece. Take a few moments to read it.

I’ll wait.

Back already?

A writer for the Washingtonian offers his own response. The editor of Greater Greater Washington — the site that innocently set off the misguided screed — suggests letting understanding win over hatred. The Brooklyn Spoke says embracing the crazy is the best way to stop the bikelash.

And Streetsblog USA cites still more sources giving the misguided rant the smackdown it deserves.

……..

Great Le Tour coverage from VeloNews.

Defending champ Chris Froome is out after falling on rain-soaked cobbles, his third crash in two days; Team Sky’s decision to leave Wiggins at home is looking pretty foolish, despite what the team manager says. Then again, things aren’t looking so good for the Spaniards, either. American Tejay van Garderen is growing into his role as team leader for BMC.

And China’s first Tour de France rider is hanging in there, while Garmin-Sharp domestique Jack Bauer says in a Bicycling video that Wednesday’s Stage Five was as bad as it gets.

……..

A fund has been set up for SoCalCycling.com Team rider Ronnie Toth, who was severely injured in the final sprint of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix this past Sunday.

……..

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton adds to the discussion of the OC cyclist threatened with arrest for swearing at the road raging driver who tried to run him off the road.

……..

Local

Bike liability lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Jim Procrass answers an intriguing question on Streetsblog: Can city council members be held liable after killing bike safety improvements?

PCH remains a dangerous place, as a 58-year old rider is injured in a collision in Pacific Palisades; thanks to Barry Goch for the heads-up. Meanwhile, a writer for the Weekly says riding a bike in LA can be deadlier than Mumbai or Shanghai.

Protesters march on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office to demand a safer North Figueroa.

Levi’s will open a pop-up bike commuter hub in Los Angeles next month; other hubs will open in Brooklyn and London.

Bike in to the Frog Spot on the LA River bike path in Elysian Valley.

Santa Monica police insist their announced July crackdown on bike riders is about education, not writing tickets. So remind them about that if they pull you over; I’m sure they won’t mind.

Long Beach police catch a thief with a taste for $1000 bikes.

Santa Clarita will add more off-road bike trails to their existing 76-mile network.

Westlake Village resident and former pro rider Dave Zabriskie, aka Captain America, calls on everyone to use common sense to improve safety for cyclists.

 

State

A Newport Beach bike rider goes from collision victim to wanted criminal after whacking the driver with a bottle.

Turns out that USA Today report listing San Diego as one of America’s top 10 bicycling cities was based on a single bike path across the bay in Coronado. But admittedly, it’s a nice path.

A writer for Wired takes a three-day, 77-mile journey through the Mojave Desert.

When you’re a known Ukiah meth user on probation with a recent firearm arrest, stop for the damn police car already. Or at least, don’t ride in front of it.

 

National

An NPR producer describes the lessons learned from her high-speed solo cycling fall. Like know your limits and stop when your body says enough.

A Portland rider discovers the risks of falling of your bike include contracting flesh eating bacteria.

Nice to see some businesses get it. Instead of fighting bike lanes, a group of Portland business owners ask for a protected bike lane in front of their storefronts.

Lance gets props from cops for trying to help catch a notorious Austin bike thief.

Instant Karma? An Atlanta thief is severely injured doing a faceplant while trying to ride off with a purloined bike.

 

International

Caught on video: After a speeding motorist nearly runs down a Brit cyclist, he tries again. In reverse.

Scotland’s Town Mouse takes the long way home through the rural countryside. Looks like a lovely ride; maybe she can show me the way someday.

Corking intersections may be controversial, but a network of new bike lanes in Cork, Ireland should be reason to celebrate.

 

Finally…

Don’t get drunk and ride through the middle of a police investigation. Just don’t. Bikeyface says it’s hard to talk to a machine, let alone understand what it’s trying to say.

And bike friendly Beverly Hills toasts their 12th annual Cycling Classic with a special brew. No, sadly, not that Beverly Hills.

……..

Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to support this site. Your donation to BikinginLA or advertisement on the site will help to keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming to you every day.

In fact, if your business had an ad on here, it would have been seen by over 10,000 people yesterday alone.

LA Sheriff’s deputies ticket PCH cyclists in clear violation of the law; LACBC demands fair and legal treatment

The law is very clear.

Yet somehow, the LA County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t get it. Or maybe they just don’t care.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports that sheriff’s deputies have been ticketing cycling groups for failing to ride to the right in violation of CVC 21202 — despite the fact that the law doesn’t apply on lanes that are too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Like the right hand lane on PCH.

And despite the fact that they already know the law doesn’t apply, having previously agreed in a meeting with bike advocates to stop the practice.

Despite personal assurances given by Captain Patrick Devoren, assurances made in the presence of me, Gary Cziko, and Eric Bruins of the LA County Bicycle Coalition, the department has stepped up its illegal ticketing and harassment campaign against cyclists. Even worse, the captain and his deputies have targeted the Big Orange cycling club in a brazen attempt to use force, threats, and fines to frighten cyclists out of the roadway…

After being promised by Captain Devoren at a meeting in January that we would no longer be cited by deputies for obeying the law, the same abusive deputy — Deputy Duvall — pulled over David Kramer on June 29, 2014 while he was legally riding two abreast in the far right lane on PCH.

David was part of a 20-person contingent, and Deputy Duvall cited him for violating VC 21202, which requires a cyclist to stay as far to the right of the lane as practicable unless the lane is of substandard width or unless the lane cannot safely be shared by both motorist and bicycle. If these either of these conditions apply — and both did — cyclists are not required to ride “FTR” (as far to the right as practicable), and they are allowed to use the full lane pursuant to the section of the Vehicle Code that gives bicycles the same travel rights on roadways as motor vehicles.

Davidson goes on to cite additional instances in which riders were ticketed in clear violation of the law. And apparently, with the full knowledge on the deputies part that the law did not support their actions.

In one case, a rider even received a ticket for simply riding in the roadway instead of on the shoulder. Even though anything to the right of the limit line is not legally considered part of the roadway.

While cyclists may ride on the shoulder if they choose, they are not required to, and no law enforcement agency has the right to force any bike rider to do so.

And they know that.

As an attorney, Davidson has agreed to represent the cyclists on a pro bono basis. And asks for your help in defending their right — and yours — to ride in a safe and legal manner.

  1. Click here and select the “subscribe” (to Cycling in the South Bay) link in the upper right-hand corner. Your monthly $2.99 donation will be used to defray the legal expenses of defending David and Scott and to promote activities that oppose harassment by the LA Sheriffs Department.
  2. Email me at fsethd@gmail.com if you are willing to actively oppose this illegal harassment of law abiding cyclists. Activities will include letter-writing, phone calls, organized full-lane rides on PCH, and mass meetings of cyclists with the sheriffs department to demand that they stop their illegal harassment.
  3. Notify me if you or someone you know has been cited for a VC 21202 violation so that I can try to arrange pro bono representation in defending their citation.

……….

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has taken the fight directly to the top, with an open letter to acting Sheriff John Scott.

Sheriff-21202-Page-1

Sheriff-21202-Page-2

 

It’s also worth noting that Long Beach police chief Jim McDonnell, the leading candidate to replace Scott as LA Sheriff, has already agreed to many of the LACBC’s requests in responding to the Coalition’s candidate survey.

All of which serves as a reminder that the LACBC is LA’s only countywide bicycle advocacy organization, fighting for the rights and safety of all riders on a daily basis. No matter how or where you ride.

Which is exactly why you should support the LACBC. And become a member, if you’re not already.

Because as this case clearly shows, your right to the road is only as good as the people fighting to protect it.

 

Morning Links: Santa Monica cracks down on cyclists again; OCSD drags its feet charging threatening driver

Once again, police in bike friendly Santa Monica show a less friendly face to cyclists.

As they have done in recent years, the department announced a crackdown on law-breaking bike riders in the month of July, as part of a rotating focus on behavior they believe causes traffic collisions. Even though they say the other party is usually at fault when it comes to bike wrecks.

Just a slight logical disconnect there.

But the real problem is that bike riders are people, not behaviors. And that makes the crackdown questionable, at best.

The department has every right to ticket cyclists who violate the law, just as they do anyone else on the road. And we’ve all seen reckless riders who probably deserve to be written up by making the roadway more dangerous for themselves and everyone around them.

The problem comes when they target their actions at a specific group, rather than a specific type of violation.

If the SMPD were to focus on people who fail to observe red lights and stop signs, for instance, they could justifiably ticket everyone who failed to stop, on a bike, on foot or in a motor vehicle. But directing their efforts towards a specific group, whether bicyclists, motorists or hipsters with handlebar mustaches makes it selective enforcement.

And that’s against the law.

They are required to treat everyone equally, without regard to race, creed, color, sexual orientation or socio-economic status. Or mode of transportation.

They can no more single out cyclists for selective enforcement than they can anyone else.

That’s not my opinion. That comes directly from conversations I’ve had with high-ranking members of other, apparently more enlightened local departments, including the LAPD.

Evidently, Santa Monica didn’t get the memo.

In the meantime, I’d recommend holding on to that news story announcing the crackdown.

Because that could be your best defense if you get a ticket while riding in Santa Monica this month.

……..

Bike safety website Look! Save A Life offers an open letter to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which has been dragging its feet in investigating the driver who was caught on viral video threatening the life of cyclist Bryan Larsen in Dana Point.

As the letter points out, while officers are normally required to witness a traffic violation in order to ticket the driver, this goes far beyond a mere traffic infraction. And similar video evidence has been used to charge drivers across the country for threatening bike riders.

There should be no question that a charge of assault with a deadly weapon is more than warranted in this case. The only question is why it hasn’t been filed already.

The proof is there. All they have to do is view the video.

And take the safety of cyclists seriously.

……..

A fund has been established to help pay burial expenses for 12-year old fallen San Bernardino bike rider Tewon Woods. Sadly, as this goes online, it has only raised $112 out of a hoped for $5000.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. 

……….

Marcel Kittel takes the first stage of the Tour de France’s UK start, but Mark Cavendish suffers a separated shoulder in a crash and has to abandon the tour. Nibali wins the second stage, while the peloton asks fans to just back off. And stop taking selfies, already.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire has it’s own unique ways to welcome the first UK start of Le Tour.

And instead of starting his first TdF, cycling scion Taylor Phinney faces a long and painful road to recovery.

……..

Local

Knitting the city together, bike lane by bike lane.

A new road diet and bike lanes are coming to Pacific Ave in San Pedro.

Construction begins on a new bike lane and bike route improvements in west Malibu.

Pasadena is formally studying protected bikeways in the city.

Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club lead a Riff Raff Ride into snooty San Marino over the holiday weekend, the San Gabriel Valley town too good for bike lanes and the people who use them.

 

State

Get a discount on registration for the Bike MS Coastal Challenge: Santa Monica to Santa Barbara through July 13th.

Laguna residents band together to demand safer streets following the death of cyclist Greg Colvin.

You wouldn’t think you’d have to worry about getting killed by a drunk driver in Auburn at 6:40 on a Friday morning. But you’d be wrong.

 

National

Science says bicycling can help you lead a happier, healthier life and make you a better person. But we already knew that, right?

A single Universal Bike frame adjusts to fit multiple riders and riding style configurations. But how does it ride?

Lenient and/or uncaring courts keep a dangerous New Mexico driver on the road, despite killing a cyclist and multiple DWI arrests.

Someone is vandalizing an Albuquerque ghost bike, apparently because his widow is speaking out to demand justice.

 

International

Someone is sabotaging Vancouver Island streets by stringing fishing line where they can severely injure bike riders.

An anonymous writer for the Guardian says the worst thing about bicycling is other cyclists.

Dublin is installing special bicycle traffic lights to give cyclists a jump on traffic at busy intersections.

Bangalore gets protected bike lanes.

An average of three bike riders a day are knocked off their bikes in Australia’s New South Wales.

 

Finally…
In an absolutely disgusting assault, a car passenger uses a high-powered urine-filled water gun to soak a bike rider after signaling him to come over. A Winnipeg rider crashes into a parked car, then stabs the driver when he gets out to see if the cyclist is okay.

And NPR’s Scott Simon tweets himself in the foot by equating scofflaw cyclists and Lance Armstrong to demonize us all.

Seriously, Scott, you should know better.

 

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