Archive for Anti-bike bias

Morning Links: Pasadena bike club refuses to support Gran Fondo in bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills

I’ve made the same argument more than once.

While I’m normally willing to back any event that promotes bicycling, it just doesn’t make sense to support a bike event in a city that doesn’t support us.

Like the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, for instance, which hosts the Gran Fondo Italia at the end of this month. And where anti-bike councilmembers have blocked plans for desperately needed bike lanes on a soon-to-be-reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd.

Nice to see I’m not alone.

Wesley Reutimann, president of the Pasadena Athletic Association bike club, forwards an email he sent in response to a request that the club actively promote the event among its members.

Thank you for reaching out to our club.

As President of PAA cycling, a 350 member bike club, I am unable to promote this event or any other in the City of Beverly Hills as long as its elected leaders and City staff do not take the safety of ALL road users seriously.

Over the past few years the City of Beverly Hills has repeatedly failed to support local efforts to improve the safety of its streets. At the same time neighboring LA, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica have made significant investments to protect vulnerable road users like bicyclists (e.g., bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd).

Until the City can address these issues (e.g., existing bike lane gap on Santa Monica Blvd), I will be compelled to take my business elsewhere, as well as encourage that of our entire membership to do so as well.

Please feel free to relay my message to your contacts in the City.

Best regards,

-Wes

Exactly.

Meanwhile, Better Bike offers their typically insightful take on the same subject.

Update: Just to clarify, I’m not asking anyone to boycott Beverly Hills or the Gran Fondo; I trust you to make your own decisions.

However, if you haven’t already registered for the ride, consider planning your own ride with friends or your club that day, and donate the money you would have spent on registration to Better Bike or the LACBC to keep up the fight for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

If you have registered, or want to ride the Gran Fondo anyway, ask ride officials to use their influence to demand better accommodations for bikes in Beverly Hills.

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Semi-equality at last? Both the Amgen Tour of California and Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge consider multi-day women’s races.

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Local

KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks about the new three-foot passing law, and eventually gets it mostly right, while the Times offers one last look before it takes effect today.

Watts wears pink on October 4th as the East Side Riders Bike Club and Los Ryderz ride for cancer awareness with LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

Yet another bike rider is injured in a collision on PCH in Malibu over the weekend.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts a meet and greet from 6 pm to 8 pm this Thursday.

 

State

San Diego’s long delayed bike share program may be the most expensive in the US.

A Sacramento writer says if cyclists want respect, we need to act like we deserve it — something no one ever says that about motorists, no matter how many laws they may break. And someone should tell him that bike riders are already subject to all existing traffic laws, including hit-and-run.

A San Francisco supervisor suggests making the NACTO Design Guides the official policy of the city.

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue looks at the Kentucky cyclist wrongly convicted for riding in the traffic lane, and offers advice on how to prevent future miscarriages of justice.

Bicycling says the worst city for cycling isn’t a city at all. And only 40 miles from their pick for the best.

Writing for City Lab, Sarah Goodyear says a little bikelash may be a good thing.

A new bike helmet is designed to act like a black box in a crash.

Kansas City considers a new law banning harassment of cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

A blues musician is pedaling a 1,200 pound piano bike the length of the Mississippi.

Louisville KY plans the world’s largest underground bike park.

A New York TV station disputes claims that bike lanes improved traffic times.

 

International

A UK writer says cars are the real wheeled pests, not bikes.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers their uniquely comprehensive roundup of bike blogs, here, there and everywhere.

An Aussie writer says there is no war between motorists and cyclists because many of us have a foot in both camps.

 

Finally…

Turns out the Columbia men’s cycling kit sucks almost as much as the women’s. Nice way to celebrate the big day, as a Des Moines wedding party attacks a 68-year old bike rider.

And Omaha police refuse to charge a driver for hitting a cyclist because he didn’t have lights or reflectors on his bike — four minutes after sunset.

 

A new video — and change of heart — from the formerly bike-hating former reserve Santa Paula police officer

Now she gets it.

Maybe you remember a couple weeks ago when the internet blew up over a bike-hating video from a woman who was quickly identified as a reserve Santa Paula police officer.

Even though, as it turned out, Laura Weintraub was only peripherally associated with the department, helping out around the office a few hours a week. She was never a patrol officer, and never in a position to enforce the law, fairly or otherwise.

And the bike-friendly department she barely worked for got an undeserved black eye based on the comments of someone who should have known better.

It wasn’t like the anger we all felt wasn’t justified.

Weintraub’s failed attempt at humor fell into a long list of shock jocks, newspaper columnists, comedians, online commenters and just plain anti-social jerks who can’t seem to understand that bike riders have as much a right to the road as they do.

And that we’re all just people trying to get from here to there in one piece.

They somehow seem to think the idea of running us over or off the road is outrageously funny. And fail to grasp the concept that a simple tap that would be nothing more than a fender bender between cars could result in serious injury — or worse — if it was with a cyclist, instead.

I was as outraged as anyone.

Yet somehow felt that in our anger, we were missing out on a teachable moment. One that could allow us to reach out to the Santa Paula police, and maybe even drivers like Weintraub herself, to educate them on our rights and how to drive safely around us. And why.

Turns out, a lot of people read that piece.

Including Laura Weintraub.

So I was surprised when I opened my inbox a few days later to find an email from the alleged bike hater herself, asking if we could talk.

When we spoke on the phone a few days later, I found a very caring and contrite young woman who realized she’d made the biggest mistake of her life. And had listened to the angry comments directed her way, and truly got just how and why she was so wrong, and why we were all so upset with her.

A typical motorist, she had never seen us from anything other than a windshield perspective, unaware of our right to the road and the dangers we face on a daily basis from drivers just like her.

She’d never put herself in our position, literally or figuratively, she said.

But she wanted to.

So I agreed to meet with her, and take her on a ride through the relatively quiet streets of Santa Monica and Venice, unwilling to throw a neophyte rider into the deep end on more challenging streets.

Even that brief tour through tame traffic scared her. But somehow, she held her own, remembering the riding tips she’d gotten from me, as well as cycling instructor Stanley Appleman the day before.

She also picked my brain in an attempt to truly understand the dangers we face, and what we can do to make peace on the roads with people like her.

Or at least, like the way she’d been a few weeks before.

She’s changed. She truly gets it.

She’s doing her best to make amends. Not to improve her badly tarnished reputation, but to fix the mistake she made.

And talk to the people out there who might have found the humor in her previously video, and explain to them and other like-minded drivers that we’re all just people, on two wheels or four.

But don’t take my word for it.

Take a look at her latest video, and decide for yourself.

And let’s stop the death threats. Against her or anyone else, no matter how deserved you think they may be.

Just like her earlier video, it’s not funny.

And never appropriate.

 

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: 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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

 

Morning Links: Turns out most bike riders don’t run red lights after all, and TdF winner LeMond fixes le flat

The next time someone tells you all bike riders run red lights, show them this.

According to a new study from Portland State University, an overwhelming 94% of bicyclists in four Oregon cities — not just bike-friendly Portland — stopped for red lights. And 89% were observed obeying the rules perfectly, while 4% jumped the light just before it changed.

Only a paltry 6% actually blew the lights.

The study was based on a review of over 2,000 videos from intersection crossing cameras. Which means there was no observational bias from researchers at the scene, or riders acting on their best behavior because they knew they were being watched.

As Bike Portland’s Michael Anderson notes, that compares to an estimated 36% to 77% of drivers who break the speed limit.

Which makes you wonder just who the real scofflaws are.

Interestingly, the study also notes that nearly four times as many helmetless riders ran their lights than helmet-clad riders.

Make of that what you will.

……..

America’s only remaining Tour de France winner responds to that recent video of Lance Armstrong fixing a flat with one of his own. And proves he’s a real blowhard in the best possible sense.

And speaking of TdF winners, the first women’s winner in recent years will be crowned with one-day circuit race before the men arrive on the Champs-Elysees on the final day.

……..

Local

Looks like there will be 10 of those new LA bike repair stations in the initial rollout.

NELA’s anti-bike Boulevard Sentinel accuses bicyclists of successfully hijacking this past weekend’s Neighborhood Council elections; a better description might be democracy in action.

BikeSGV is looking for bike count volunteers starting this weekend.

Long Beach ranks third on a list of the country’s 20 most bicycle-friendly cities behind San Francisco and Austin; Portland ranks a surprisingly low 15th.

The Long Beach Post looks at Stylish by Bike, part of the city’s annual Bike Fest this Saturday.

 

State

Bicycling suggests a few classic rides to create your own tour of California.

A Newport Beach city council member says improve safety on the Back Bay, rather than restricting usage as some have called for.

Bike share is coming to La Jolla and the rest of the San Diego area this June. Meanwhile, LA’s bike share program is scheduled to open a week from who the hell knows.

Riverside cyclists can look forward to a Cinco de Mayo ride next Monday.

The Times offers more details on that 17-year old Sacramento County driver who deliberately chased down a 10-year old boy after someone threw a water bottle at her SUV. The victim was riding bikes with his brother when the girl attacked him, dragging him 10 feet beneath her vehicle; according to a CHP spokesperson, she was non-remorseful and didn’t seem to care that she’d just committed assault with a deadly weapon.

 

National

Forget hockey — if you really want organized violence, try bike polo. But do we need yet another story saying cycling is the new golf?

Utah police can’t explain how a collision that took the life of two bike riders happened, but somehow conclude the driver wasn’t at fault.

Denver cyclist with early-onset Alzheimer’s plans to ride 100 miles to fight the disease.

Dallas considers repealing its rarely enforced helmet law to encourage bicycling and allow a successful bike share program.

America’s most famous college bike race — and the setting for Breaking Away — took place with another successful Little 500 last weekend.

The NYPD cracks down on Critical Mass while ignoring speeding drivers. So which one poses the greater threat to the public, I wonder?

 

International

Sadly, a British adventurer on a round-the-world bike tour is killed in a Bolivian collision.

People for Bikes offers three lessons from Calgary’s great bike leap forward.

Bike racing’s governing body establishes a commission to promote non-competitive events. Despite what the article suggests, there is no governing body for riding your bike down the street.

Caught on video: A Brit driver deliberately runs down a bike rider from behind, then backs up and flees the scene.

Evidently, Aussie women go out of their way not to commute by bike.

 

Finally…

There’s a new poster child for drunk driving, as an intoxicated motorist drove onto an off-road trail — and plowed into a marathon raising funds to fight drug and alcohol abuse.

And I don’t even know what to say about this one, as a Santa Rosa woman assaults customers and staff in a Dollar Store, steals not one but two bikes, and is finally arrested with Vicodin, a meth pipe and some things she stole from the store.

 

Morning Links: A disgustingly auto-centric driver, and the rest of the story on that biking tech exec beating

They drive among us.

Commenting on the Facebook page Look! Save A Life / Arizona, a gigantic motorhead asshole driver makes it clear he could care less about the lives on any cyclists who happen to ride — legally — on the road.

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Thankfully, jerks like this are a very small minority of drivers, most of whom do their best to drive safely and accommodate everyone.

As for the others, comments like this live forever on the internet. And can be used as evidence if he ever does hit someone.

Thanks to Cyclelicious and Brendan Lyons for the heads-up.

……..

Speaking of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, trust him to get the whole story on that bike riding Silicon Valley tech exec arrested for beating the crap out of a driver.

Turns out the driver did hit the cyclist, as the exec had claimed. And both people in the truck — including the guy behind the wheel — were reportedly drunk, and got out to throw the first punches.

Which makes it a case of self defense against a drunken idiot, rather than the vicious assault the local press implied.

……..

And it turns out there’s a lot more to that story of the sick, twisted Ontario, Canada driver who sued the parents of the teenage bike rider she killed for her pain and suffering in having to live with what she did — including the incredible pain of the boy’s parents and allegations of police misconduct.

There’s a special place in hell for people like that.

Thanks to Stanley E. Goldich for the links.

……..

More on Sunday’s Finish the Ride from KNBC-4, as well as KCBC-2 and USC’s Annenberg TV. Maybe the word is finally getting out about hit-and-runs. As usual, though, it takes Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman to offer real insight and put it all in perspective.

And an LA mom says f*** you to speeding drivers and actually rides her bike on the streets of LA.

………

Local

CicLAvia co-founder Aaron Paley says we need to get rid of the us vs. them attitude on our streets.

New bike lanes appear next to LA’s Eco-Village, and vandal-resistant bike repair stations pop up on LA’s not-quite Eastside.

Naomi Watts rides a bike in Brentwood.

Repeat after me. If you’re carrying a stolen Glock and a high-capacity magazine on your bike in Pasadena after dark, put a damn light on it. The bike, not the gun.

I love this one. Three bike-riding Palos Verdes financial advisors dig into their own pockets to donate 100 bikes to underprivileged kids. Seriously, hats off to these guys.

 

State

Huh? HuPo offers seven spots in California you can only reach by bike. Like auto, transit and pedestrian-accessible Downtown San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Venice Boardwalk, where bikes aren’t even allowed.

Oakland is racing to meet the demand for bike lanes for non-racing riders.

In a move that could improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, Google promises their self-driving cars can now recognize objects better than a human driver can — including gestures made by bike riders. Yeah, but can they recognize this one? Thanks to Ed Cable for the heads-up.

A teenage Sacramento driver deliberately chases down and pins a 7th grader to a tree after someone throws a water bottle at her SUV. Yeah, that’s equivalent force.

 

National

Grist sort of answers whether it’s safer to ride a bike or drive a car; thanks to Kevin Hopps for the link.

A new wearable bike light promises to be fashionable, but doesn’t look very noticeable.

Kansas residents pitch in when a man suffering from arthritis has his three-wheeled bike stolen.

An aggressive Austin driver intentionally targets — and fortunately misses — pedestrians and cyclists.

An LSU football player is arrested for bike theft, and says he’s very sorry. Well, okay then.

Two women take off on a bike tour of the East Coast. In 1944. Thanks to Chris K for the tip.

Shockingly, the father of a hit-and-run driver who killed a Florida cyclist says it wasn’t his son’s fault, he wasn’t intoxicated, he didn’t flee and it was all that damn bike rider’s fault. For a change, the police disagree.

 

International

Calgary’s city council votes to defy the bike haters and build three separated bike lanes as a pilot project.

A new bike lock promises to be unpickable. But does anyone actually bother to pick bike locks these days?

Caught on video. A bike riding Dutch woman breaks up a fight the hard way.

This might not be the best time for a politician to ride a bike in the Ukraine, as the mayor of the country’s second largest city is shot while riding his.

Aussie streets are designed to tolerate minor “bingles” but bicyclists aren’t. Is it just me, or does bingle sound like the name of an elf?

 

Finally…

Letters reveal the great feminist author Simone de Beauvior and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre rode bikes to help organize the French resistance in World War II.

It was de Beauvior who brilliantly wrote “There are two kinds of people in the world: human beings and women. And when women try to act like human beings, they’re accused of trying to be men.”

Which I learned from a Doonesbury cartoon.

 

Morning Links: An inspiring and horrifying interview, outrageous bike news, and send a guy on Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Send this boy to camp. Or rather, Climate Ride.

Lots of news to catch up on before the weekend. So let’s jump right in.

……..

Sweet Ride USA’s Steve Isaacs offers an amazing, horrifying and ultimately inspiring interview with hit-and-run survivor Damian Kevitt in advance of Sunday’s Finish the Ride. Choose between the short 4:15 minute version and the full 16 minute one.

Unfortunately, it looks like illness is going to keep me from attending on Sunday, despite my best intentions. So if you’re planning to attend and would like to share your thoughts or photos, let me know.

……..

Here’s an intriguing invitation.

Inventor Eric F. has come up with what he describes as a “revolutionary bicycle safety device (US and international patent pending) that will save lives and visibly change the urban landscape.”

He’s looking for volunteers to participate in a focus group at Helen’s Cycles’ Santa Monica location, 2501 Broadway, on Monday, May 5th from 7 – 8 pm.

You can start your Cinco de Mayo celebration a little later. And it’s a good chance to check out the new green bike lanes in front of the shop.

Just watch out for drunks on your ride home.

……..

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition’s Team LACBC on exceeding their fundraising goal for this year’s California Climate Ride.

But several of the team members are still short of the money they need to raise to participate in the ride.

I can personally vouch for everyone on the list, all of whom deserve to go on the bike adventure of a lifetime. And each of whom deserves your support for all they do to support your right to ride safely and enjoyably in the City and County of Angels.

In fact, I have never known a more committed and hardworking group of staff and volunteers, and as a board member for the past five years, I’m honored for the small part I play in supporting their work. Which is something I don’t say nearly enough.

But I’d like to call your attention to just one of those potential riders, and ask you to help him get from the California Wine Country to Sacramento next month.

Alex Amerri, President of the LACBC Board of Directors, has done an incredible job of guiding the organization through some turbulent times — often at the expense of his own career and personal life.

I’ve watched as he’s often put in more than full-time work in an unpaid, volunteer position. When he leaves the board — which hopefully won’t be anytime soon — he’ll leave the LACBC a far stronger, more stable and successful organization than he found it, positioned for even greater growth and influence in the years to come.

And you can’t ask any more than that of anyone.

However, the time he’s put in solving problems and creating opportunities for the coalition lately has meant he hasn’t had time to raise the funds he needs to participate in the Climate Ride. In fact, he’s less than a third of the way to his $3,500 goal.

So let’s send a boy to camp.

Or rather, a man to ride.

If you’ve got a little extra money laying around, make a donation to a good cause to support sustainability and improve our environment. And do it in the name of someone who truly deserves a few uninterrupted days on his bike.

And if not Alex, then help one of the other team members who do so much to help you.

Note: Alex has no idea I’m writing this. So let’s not tell him. Just let him be surprised when the donations start coming in, with no idea where they’re coming from or why.

……..

Prepare to be outraged.

It’s not unusual to find a story or two that makes a mockery of justice, and reminds us all that cyclists are still second-class citizens on our streets.

But today’s news carried three examples of just how far we have to go. And how self-centered, heartless and cruel some people can be.

First up, a Massachusetts woman is convicted of a reduced charge in a fatal hit-and-run when the judge rules that a second vehicle that hit the victim afterwards could have caused the fatal injuries. Never mind that the trailing vehicle would never have hit the rider in the first place if the hit-and-run driver hadn’t plowed into her and left her lying in the street.

Or there’s this, as Pennsylvania authorities refuse to file charges against a driver who killed a teenage cyclist — even though she was under the influence of cocaine and prescription drugs at the time. Nice to see them taking DUI so seriously.

And in a truly disgusting demonstration of genuine overly entitled, self-absorbed heartlessness, an Ontario — Canada, not California — driver sues the family of the teenage cyclist she killed for the emotional turmoil that taking his life has caused her. Evidently, she’s the real victim here, not the kid who lost his life, the parents who lost a child or the brother who OD’d because he couldn’t deal with the loss.

I never to wish ill on anyone. But I’m sorely tempted to make an exception in her case.

……..

Local

UCLA’s Herbie Huff and Madeline Brozen offer a rebuttal to the recent report showing bike lanes don’t cause traffic congestion if they’re put in the right place.

Cultural Weekly explains why CicLAvia has struck a chord with Angelenos. Although I’m not really sure that’s it.

Variety promotes this weekend’s first-of-the-year bike-in movie in Reseda Park.

KCRW’s DnA will host Reinventing the Wheel, a discussion on the future of mobility at the Helms Bakery complex on May 18.

Santa Monica police use a bait bike to get two bike thieves off the streets.

Long Beach offers a bike map of six downtown routes.

Santa Clarita plans a number of events around hosting a pair of stages in next month’s Amgen Tour of California.

 

State

The Idyllwild man who created the Stagecoach 400 mountain bike race finally finishes the route he designed after three failed attempts.

Streetsblog looks at last week’s California Transportation Choices Summit.

VeloNews rides the Amgen Tour of California route in reverse with the Rapha Women’s Ambassadors.

 

National

A new Strava map offers a detailed look at where people who use Strava run and ride bikes, which seems to be pretty much where people live. Then again, people who don’t use Strava ride everywhere.

A proposed MiniBrake promises to let parents stop their children’s bikes by remote control. Seems a little dangerous to stop a kid’s bike without warning, but it could keep them from riding into danger.

Treehugger lists five ways bicycling is getting better in the US. And one way it’s not.

A severely auto-focused Texas jerk letter writer says “You ‘need’ a car for business, shopping and taking your kids to Burger King. You only ‘want’ to ride your bike…” which places “an unreasonable safety burden on drivers of other vehicles.” Right. And maybe if those kids walked or rode to Burger King they might be healthier now, and as adults.

 

International

After a Brit thief steals a $4,200 e-bike, he calls the local dealer for advice on how to charge it. Which turns out to be the same guy he stole it from.

Lance says he’s still the winner of all those Tours de France, regardless of what anyone else says, while former Armstrong lieutenant George Hincapie promises an unvarnished look at pro cycling’s doping era in a new book.

Osaka police crack down on reckless cyclists — or any, for that matter — at the urging of local merchants.

 

Finally…

A cute 30-second video suggests the more you ride, the more calories you can take in. Not necessarily true, though, as I’ve learned the hard way.

 

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