Archive for Car vs Bike

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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OC Sheriff threatens to victimize an Orange County cyclist a second time; road raging driver allowed to walk

Prepare to get mad.

Or maybe livid is a better word.

Just a day after a widely circulated open letter called on the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to charge a truck driver who used his vehicle as a weapon to threaten a cyclist, the department recommended that charges be filed.

Against the victim.

According to the LA Times, Bryan Larsen was riding his bike on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point on May 31st when he captured video of a truck driver attempting to run him off the road before the passenger — who turned out to be the driver’s wife — hits him with a thrown Gatorade bottle; they then try to smoke him out as they took off.

Maybe she thought he looked thirsty.

Larsen was originally told that no charges could be filed because sheriff’s deputies did not actually witness the assault themselves.

Which is not true, of course.

Police are required to witness an event in order to file a traffic violation or misdemeanor charge; however, there’s no such requirement for felony charges. And using a large truck to intimidate a vulnerable road user should certainly qualify.

I’ve also been told by members of other departments that video footage can be used as evidence, as well as eye witness testimony. At the time, Larsen was riding with another cyclist who could verify everything seen on the video.

After the video went viral and was picked up by local news stations, the sheriff’s department reconsidered and conducted an investigation. Though based on the results, not much of one.

Even though the driver reportedly used his massive truck as a weapon to threaten the rider and attempt to force him off the road, they declined to charge him with anything. At all.

Instead, the Orange County Register reports they recommended that the OC District Attorney file an assault and battery charge against the driver’s wife.

And that charges be filed against the victim for apparently inciting the attack through his use of obscene language directed at the couple.

Charges are also being recommended against the bicyclist, he said, who is suspected of using “offensive words in public, likely to provoke a violent reaction.” Officials suspect the cyclist made “rude, disparaging comments” before the incident was recorded on his cellphone, (Lt. Jeff) Hallock said.

This, despite the fact the US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that offensive language and gestures are protected as free speech under the 1st Amendment. And even though Hallock makes it clear investigators are only assuming that Larson said something so offensive as to justify a violent attack with a deadly weapon.

As if anything could.

Would they still feel the driver was justified if he had pulled out a gun and started shooting at the cyclist? Legally, there’s no difference; only the choice of weapon used.

And never mind what actually precipitated the event. Unless Larsen suffers from a rare form of Tourette’s Syndrome or mental illness that forced him to swear without any provocation, he was clearly responding to something the driver had done before the camera started recording.

What, we may never know, since the threat of criminal charges will now force him to remain silent. Which is probably the real intent.

Legally, there’s no valid case against him. So the question becomes, why is the OCSD trying so hard to intimidate the victim of a violent crime — while letting the primary perpetrator off scott-free?

And what does it say to every other bike rider south of the Orange Curtain when even video evidence isn’t good enough to get the authorities to give a damn about our safety — let alone threaten us for reporting it?

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and her department are sending a clear message to everyone who travels by two wheels that we remain second-class citizens in her jurisdiction.

And if something bad happens on her watch, just keep your mouth shut about it.

Or else.

What to do when the road rages and bumpers bite — part 2

I thought I knew what to do if I was ever in a cycling collision.

I was wrong.

Yesterday I wrote about defusing a road rage incident, based on what I learned as a result of my own run in with a raging driver. A case in which I did just about everything wrong, costing me any chance of a settlement — as well as blowing any shot at a criminal prosecution.

Hopefully, it’s something you’ll never run into. But if you ever find yourself sprawled on the pavement looking up a looming bumper, maybe you can avoid making the same mistakes I did.

After all, it’s so much more fun to make your own.

Let the driver leave.

No, seriously. After knocking me to the pavement, the driver who hit me started to flee the scene. So I jumped up and blocked her from driving off until she finally turned off the engine and got out of the car.

Wrong move. Not only did I put myself at risk of getting hit a second time, it might have been better if she had run away. Police usually take a hit-and-run far more seriously than they do a mere traffic accident, even if you say it was road rage. Hopefully, any driver would have enough decency to stick around, but if not, just note the license number and get out of the way.

Don’t move anything until you have to.

First, make sure you’re out of traffic or that someone is directing cars around you. Then ignore the people who tell you to move it, and leave your bike exactly where it is. And try to keep the driver from moving his car, as well.

Both are now evidence, and the relative positions between them could help show what really happened. Move either one before the police tell you to, and you’ve eliminated a key part of the puzzle. Or at the very least, pull out your camera phone and take photos of everything before anyone moves anything. Trust me, you’ll need them once the lawyers get involved.

Shut the hell up.

This isn’t a bike ride anymore; it’s a legal case. Who was at fault has yet to be determined — and you are just as likely to be blamed as the driver who hit you, if not more. So remember that anything you say can, and probably will, be used against you.

In my case, I tried to attract attention and keep the driver from fleeing the scene by yelling that she’d tried to kill me. But someone told the police that I’d threatened to kill her, instead. As a result, they refused to give me her contact information — and threatened me with arrest if I tried.

So make sure everyone else is okay. Exchange information. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Listen closely if the driver or passengers say anything, and write it down if you can find a pen and paper. But keep your own lips zipped until it’s time to talk with the investigating officer.

You’re the victim. So act like it.

As soon as the driver got out of her car, she screamed that it was my fault for being in her way. So I found myself yelling back to defend myself against my attacker. Or at least, that’s how it felt from my perspective.

But as bystanders began to arrive, what they saw was a grown man yelling at a middle-aged woman — with no knowledge that she had just used her car as a weapon to run me down. So guess which one they felt sorry for?

I’m not suggesting that you lie or exaggerate. But how sympathetic you seem to the bystanders will determine whose side they’re on — and could influence what they tell the police.

Never refuse medical care

The fact is, you probably are hurt. But you may not know it yet, as the adrenalin and endorphins flooding your brain mask any pain.

So when the paramedics ask if you want to go to the hospital, the answer is always yes. The charges the driver may face will depend largely on the severity of your injuries, as will any future settlement you might receive. And the police will take the case more seriously if they know you’ve been injured.

I refused transportation to the hospital, so the official police report said I was uninjured. And that never changed, even after I was diagnosed with a broken arm and permanent vascular damage.

Be prepared for bias

As I waited for the police to arrive, I was surprised to hear bystanders, who had no idea what happened, say it was my fault because those aggressive, arrogant cyclists never obey the law.

But I was shocked to hear similar comments come from the supposedly impartial officer conducting the investigation. Even though I was stopped at a stop sign when she hit me, the driver claimed I’d run the stop sign and fell over while turning onto the cross street. The investigating officer said he believed her because “all you guys run stop signs.”

Expect to explain the evidence

The simple fact is, many, if not most, police officers don’t receive adequate training in investigating bike accidents. So chances are, they may miss or misinterpret key evidence proving who was really at fault.

In my case, the officers didn’t understand that it wasn’t possible to fall to my left while making a high-speed right turn, as the driver had claimed. And they didn’t grasp that the imprint of the chainwheel on my calf could only have occurred if my foot was firmly planted on the ground at the time of impact. So be prepared to walk them through the evidence. But don’t be surprised if they don’t believe you.

Don’t take no for an answer

This was probably the biggest mistake I made. After conducting their investigation, the lead officer said it was a “he said, she said” situation, and let the driver go without a ticket or charges — then tried to intimidate me by saying I could be charged with filing a false police report if I continued to argue with their decision.

It worked.

So I settled for an incomplete and inconclusive police report that virtually eliminated any chance of justice, financial or otherwise. What I should have done — and what you should do in a similar situation — was insist on talking to a supervisor and demanding a fair and unbiased examination of the evidence.

And if you still don’t get satisfaction, call the station and ask to talk to the watch commander.

Maybe if enough of us do, things will start to change.

Update: The LAPD now has four bike liaisons representing each of the four Traffic Divisions. You can find their email addresses — which is the best way to contact them — on the Resources page.

One more bit of advice.

Since my road rage incident, I’ve taken to wearing a helmet cam and recoding all the time I spend riding in traffic. It may look silly, and it may be awkward and inconvenient, but it’s your best way to prove what really happened in any traffic situation.

If nothing else, you’ll end up with lots of stupid driver tricks to post on YouTube.

 

What to do when the road rages and bumpers bite — part 1

I’m going to do something today I usually try very hard not to do.

Repeat myself.

But lately, I’ve heard and seen a lot of reports about conflicts between bike riders and road raging drivers, and sometimes, riders taking out their frustrations on motorists, deserving or not. 

A few years back, I offered my own advice on the subject, as well as advice on what to do if you’re the victim of a collision, based strictly on my own personal experience. 

The advice still stands. But unless you’ve been following this site from the beginning, chances are, you may not have seen it before. 

And even if you have, a refresher might be in order to help keep you safe on the roads, and protect your interests if the worst ever happens.

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“Boy, boy, crazy boy, get cool boy! Got a rocket in your pocket, keep coolly cool boy!”

— Cool, from West Side Story

On a good day, nothing beats a good ride.

Days when the sun is shining and traffic effortlessly parts to let you glide by. And you find yourself offering a nod and a wave to express your gratitude for the courtesy of others on the road.

And there are the other days.

Days when traffic snarls and tempers flare. When horns become curses and cars are brandished like threats.

In most cases, that’s as far as it goes.

But when steel and glass impact flesh and bone — intentionally or otherwise — how you respond in the first few minutes before and after can go a long way in determining whether you finish your ride. Or whether you have a case.

I was the victim of a road rage attack a few years back, and in retrospect, I did almost everything wrong. Over the next couple days, I’d like to share some of the painful lessons I learned so you’ll know what to do if, God forbid, it ever happens to you.

Maybe you’ll be smarter than I was and find a way out that doesn’t pass through the emergency room. Or lose your case before it starts.

Let’s start with those precious few minutes before the impact, when there’s still time to de-escalate and find an exit strategy — or at least find a way to protect yourself and your legal rights.

Ride courteously

Let’s face it. There are hotheads on the road. A driver might be mad because he had a fight with his significant other. Maybe he’s an aggressive driver who doesn’t want to share the road. Or maybe he — or in this case, she — is just a bike-hating jerk. How you react to them can go a long way in determining whether that anger gets directed towards you. So always ride courteously. And if you see signs that a driver may be angry or acting in an aggressive manner, try to give them a very wide berth.

Ride legally

I won’t to tell you how to ride. But I will make one simple point: As Bob Mionske observed, whether or not you obey traffic laws could determine whether you have a legal case in the event of a collision or road rage incident. Simply put, if you run a stop sign or red light, or fail to signal a turn or lane change, chances are, you will be found at least partially at fault regardless of what the driver may have done.

And not just during the incident; police and lawyers will look for anyone who may have seen you riding in the miles and weeks leading up to the incident. So the red light you blew through half an hour before, or even last week, may be used to show that you probably didn’t stop at the stop sign when you got hit — even if, as in my case, the physical evidence shows you did. It may not be fair, but that’s the world we live in.

Keep your fingers to yourself

It’s a bad habit, one I’ve struggled to break with limited success. Unlike drivers, we don’t have horns to express our fear and anger, so it only seems natural to flip off someone who’s just cut you off or threatened your safety in some way. The problem is, it doesn’t work. I’ve never seen anyone respond to a rude gesture with an apology; instead, it only escalates the situation. At best, they may ignore you or respond in kind; at worst, it gives an angry driver a reason to retaliate.

And never, ever flip off a driver behind you.

Let dangerous drivers pass

You have a right to the road, no less than anyone with a motor and four wheels. And you have every right to take the lane when the situation warrants it; drivers are legally required to follow or pass safely. But just because it’s the law doesn’t mean that’s what they’re going to do. So the question becomes whether it’s better to stay where you are and fight for your right to the road, or pull over and let the driver — and the situation — pass.

Before my road rage incident, I would have stayed right where I was and held the lane. But I’ve learned the hard way that cars are bigger than I am, and they hurt. So when you find an angry driver on your ass, pull over and let the jerk pass. Then take down the license number, pull out your cell phone and call the police.

Snap a photo

Your camera phone may be one of the most important safety tools you own; I keep mine within easy reach in a Topeak case attached just behind my handlebars. When tempers flare, simply pull it out and snap a photo of the other person, as well as the license of their vehicle. Instantly, you’ve established a record of the incident and documented the identity of the driver — destroying the sense of anonymity that allows most violent acts to occur.

I’ve used mine on a number of occasions. And in every case, the driver has backed down and driven away.

Next: What to do after a collision

 

Morning Links: LA bike rider is deliberately buzzed by Metro bus driver for legally riding in the traffic lane

Last year, Metro proclaimed that every lane is a bike lane, to the applause of many in the bicycling community.

Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to tell some of their drivers.

In an all too common complaint, Twitter user topomodesto posted video of a close pass and brake check by a Metro bus driver apparently attempting to punish him for riding exactly where he was supposed to in the middle of the lane.

Personally, I had no idea bus drivers had been deputized to enforce their own mistaken interpretation of the law. Or that at least some seem incapable of remembering the message that was proudly plastered on the backs of their buses such a short time back.

Topomodesto reports he’s filed a complaint over the incident. But also notes that he and other riders have never heard back after filing similar complaints in the past, so he has no idea how seriously Metro takes them.

Unfortunately, no one outside of Metro does.

Complaints against drivers are considered personnel matters, so no one other than the driver and his or her supervisors are ever told the resolution of the matter.

Or if it was ever resolved, period.

Short of filing legal action — and this would appear to be a perfect test case for the city’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance — there seems to be no way to find out.

Which really needs to change.

Because we have a right to know if something, anything, was done in response to a deliberately threatening driver. Even if they don’t actually identify the driver.

And Metro’s well-intentioned attempts to promote bike riding will be meaningless if we have to ride in fear of self-appointed vigilante bus jockeys.

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Before you ride to Thursday’s public forum on the North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes with the Bike Oven and the Eastside Bike club, catch up on LADOT’s presentation on the subject from last month’s community meeting.

Meanwhile, it turns out the LA Fire Department did not determine that the North Fig bike lanes would slow response times, despite what a fire captain suggested last month. In fact, it wasn’t even studied by the department.

So why did he imply it was — and would?

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Local

The LAPD is looking for bike riders to start a volunteer bicycle patrol team in the northwest San Fernando Valley.

A West San Fernando Valley website looks at last weekend’s COLT ride.

KPCC’s annual Olympic Day considers the rise of bicycling on June 23rd; free, but RSVP required.

Despite what this story says, Santa Monica is already designated as a Bike Friendly Community, but they’re trying to certify more Bicycle Friendly Businesses.

 

State

A reporter for Marketplace completes the AIDS Lifecycle Ride.

Good for them. The family of fallen cyclist Paul Lin is suing Newport Beach, alleging that a dangerous intersection at San Joaquin Hills Road and Marguerite Ave was responsible for his death.

Evidently, it’s not just LA. The Voice of San Diego looks at that city’s hit-and-run epidemic.

A Bay Area bike safety instructor is recovering after being rear-ended by a distracted driver.

Sacramento police nail a butt ugly bike thief with a bait bike.

 

National

The bike industry wants tariffs reduced on imported bicycles since bikes have a positive effect on the environment.

A Massachusetts cyclist luckily lands in the back seat of a convertible after being hit by the turning car.

Bike shops may be collateral damage to the popularity of New York’s Citi Bike program, even though the opposite appears to be true in DC.

Unbelievable. A new three-foot passing law is approved in West Virginia, which also requires motorists to give an audible signal when passing a rider. Yes, they want every driver who passes a bike to honk or shout, which is about the most distracting and dangerous thing they could do.

Velonews says loyal Lance lieutenant George Hincapie’s new book rationalizes his doping choices; I’ve often wondered why the still popular rider seems to get a free pass on the subject.

The price of that $20 cardboard bike rose to $295 before dropping to $95 plus shipping, then nothing as the business collapsed.

 

International

Caught on video: A London cyclist is searching for the rider who crashed into him in a bike-on-bike hit-and-run.

A tragic reminder that bike-on-ped collisions are dangerous for both parties, as a UK scientist is killed when her bike collides with a pedestrian.

One third of all Czech cyclists blamed for traffic collisions had been drinking; no word on how that compares to the rate of drunk driving collisions in the country.

 

Finally…

An Indiana cyclist is doored. By a porta-potty. Here’s the latest bike-themed music video.

And no. Just… no.

 

Weekend Links: Avid cyclist gets bike safety wrong in the ‘Bu, and a highly biased 3-foot report from the Bay

A self-described “avid” cyclist offers advice for cyclists in the canyons above Malibu.

And gets most of it wrong.

Despite what he says, bike riders aren’t expected to ride on the shoulder, or even hug the white line at the right of the road. In fact, nothing to the right of the limit line is even considered part of the roadway under California law.

And despite a common misperception, cyclists are not required to ride as close to the right as possible. Rather, bike riders — like any other slow moving vehicles — are expected to ride as close to the right as practicable.

Which means far enough into the roadway to avoid the broken glass, rocks and potholes that too often accumulate on the right.

Then there’s the question of the narrow traffic lanes usually found on canyon roads. The requirement to ride to the right does not apply to any lane too narrow for a bike and a car to safely share with at least three feet between them. Which includes most of the right lanes in Southern California.

There’s also nothing in California law prohibiting cyclists from riding two or more abreast, as long as they stay within a single unsharable lane. In fact, it’s often safer to ride abreast in order to increase visibility and maintain control of the lane.

While it may seem safer and more polite, riding single file along the limit line encourages drivers to pass cyclists in a dangerous manner, rather than change lanes to safely go around them. And it increases the likelihood that passing motorists will try to cut back in between the riders to avoid oncoming traffic, greatly raising the risk of a collision.

Never mind that it’s actually easier to pass a more compact group of cyclists riding abreast than it is a long, strung out line of single file riders.

Yes, bicyclists should always obey the law, and show courtesy to others on the road whenever it’s safe to do so.

And as he notes, we will inevitably come out on the losing end in any conflict with a motor vehicle.

That is why cyclists can and should ride in the manner they consider safest, and motorists should drive carefully around them. Even if drivers — or other “avid” cyclists — may not understand why we ride the way we do.

It only takes a modicum of courtesy and patience on everyone’s part to make sure we all get home safely.

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In a highly biased report, a Bay Area TV station takes a remarkably one-sided look at California’s new three-foot passing law.

San Francisco’s KGO-7 concludes that it is virtually impossible for drivers on the city’s crowded streets to give a bike rider three-feet of passing distance while remaining in the same lane.

Evidently, San Francisco drivers somehow lack the ability to change lanes or wait until it’s safe to pass. And never mind that the law allows drivers to pass at less than three feet after slowing to a reasonable speed, whatever that may be.

They also inexplicably note that bike riders aren’t subject to a fine for coming within three feet of a motor vehicle, evidently failing to realize that the purpose of the law is to protect the lives and safety of cyclists, rather than keep motor vehicles from getting scratched.

The law may be far from perfect, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown’s veto of a better version of the law in 2011, as well as weaker version in 2012.

But it’s a hell of a lot better than their amateur reporting would make it seem.

And misguided reports like this only add to the animosity on our streets, putting cyclists at even greater risk.

Jerks.

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A bike rider was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in Compton last month after a traffic stop for illegally riding while wearing headphones.

The official version is he tried to flee, then grabbed the officer’s gun in a struggle to get away; a deputy wounded in the incident was shot with his partner’s gun.

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Local

Bicycle Retailer notes the ascension of ex-Helen’s employee Chris Klibowitz to editor of Road Magazine. Seriously, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Updated plans for a remade Union Station include two bike and pedestrian bridges over the busy rail yard.

The Bike League makes a mini-grant to the LACBC and Multicultural Communities for Mobility to promote women as community leaders.

There will be a commemorative ride for fallen Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill in the city’s Grant Park next Sunday.

Long Beach’s new mayor calls for more bike cops, and making the bike-friendly city safer for everyone.

The Santa Clarita Century Ride and Expo rolls next weekend.

 

State

The five-day I Can Bike camp teaches disabled children to ride.

OC’s cdmCyclist confesses to Dirty Old Man On A Bike Syndrome. For the sake of full disclosure, I have to confess to riding into the back of a park car while gazing upon an attractive woman in my younger days. She thought it was funny; the owner of the car, not so much.

A bicycling victim of the Isla Vista tragedy hopes to walk in his graduation ceremony; the rider ho was run down in the vicious rampage is the last victim still hospitalized.

San Jose attempts to discourage, but not ban, sidewalk riding.

 

National

A new book tells the story of early bike racing legend Major Taylor, who broke the color barrier over a century ago.

An Oregon man alleges police beat him for riding while black.

A bamboo bike-riding Utah charity fundraiser is convicted of using the money to fund a Ponzi scheme.

Non-cycling Chicago residents are afraid of the city’s new bike lanes, but bike riders aren’t.

Fortunately, the reports of an upstate New York rider’s death were greatly exaggerated. Oops, say the local police.

The public could soon be banned from parking their bikes at the US Capitol.

Some people just don’t belong on the road. A Virginia driver who killed a cyclist had received two tickets in the last year — both after a crash that killed her daughter and niece last spring.

 

International

CNN offers the world’s most incredible bike routes.

Women’s cycling is starting to take its rightful place next to men’s. But women riders offer a voice to be listened to, not a problem to be solved.

Five UK residents rescue a cyclist who was trapped under a car.

It’s not only cars that crash into buildings, as a UK cyclist crashes through a local storefront.

Keep your eyes on Craigslist. Brazen thieves steal 200 bikes worth over $1.1 million from Scott’s Swiss factory, including 2015 models not even on the market yet.

An Aussie cyclist competing in a race swaps his water bottle for a beer. For the second time.

 

Finally…

In an amazing story, 25-year old cyclist Jonny Bellis will be riding in the Tour of Britain — five years after nearly dying and being told he would never walk again, let alone ride.

And maybe we should cut drivers some slack, because parking really does make them crazy.

 

Morning Links: Coddling drunk drivers, analysis of the new Bike League study and a moving new hit-and-run video

This is why people continue to die on our streets.

An Olympia WA man gets work-release despite his seventh — yes, seventh — DUI arrest; he’ll spend nights and weekends in jail, but be released every day to run his business. Odd that they don’t offer bank robbers and drug dealers the same consideration. And no word on how he plans to get there; let’s hope he won’t be driving.

And an Illinois lawmaker proposes a new bill to help keep more drunks on the road. Because it’s too inconvenient for them to find some other way to get around without killing someone.

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More on the League of American Bicyclists’ 12-month study of bicycling fatalities across the US, as USA Streetsblog offers eight takeaways from the study released Wednesday, including:

  • Most fatalities occur on urban arterial roads
  • Hit-from-behind collisions were the most frequent cause of bicycling fatalities
  • Intersections are the most dangerous place for urban riders
  • Most victims were wearing helmets
  • The more people who ride in your state, the less risk you face

Vox provides their own analysis of the report.

………

A moving new documentary profiles Damian Kevitt and Ghost Bikes LA to call attention to the dangers cyclists face, especially from hit-and-run drivers. At only eight minutes long, it’s definitely worth watching.

………

Local

Streetsblog looks at Temple City’s new partially protected bike lane on Rosemead Blvd.

Both Milestone Rides and Boyonabike offer reviews of last week’s LA Bike Week, most of which I missed.

Santa Monica considers dropping speed limits to 15 mph near schools; then again, it doesn’t matter what the speed limit is if they don’t adequately enforce it.

Downey is preparing a new citywide bicycle master plan. They’d better hurry, as a bike rider was seriously injured attempting to cross a freeway onramp early Thursday morning.

 

State

Redlands gets a new Community Based Bicycle Master Plan, which will provide 175 miles of bikeways — a huge amount for a town of just 69,000. And a local market plans their own privately operated bike share program.

A new company plans to provide bike camping around San Luis Obispo.

Specialized finally puts their wind tunnel to good use by determining the aerodynamics of beards on bikes. Now if they’d just figure out if shaving your legs really makes you faster.

 

National

According to Forbes, American bicyclists save $4.6 billion a year by riding instead of driving; I’d like mine in cash, please. Meanwhile, Intuit explains just how that works.

A Grist writer says Idaho Stop laws infringe on pedestrians’ right-of-way; actually, cyclists are still required to yield to anyone with the right-of-way. Brooklyn Spoke says the subject is complicated.

Chicago drivers — including city bus drivers — are turning a buffered bike lane into their own traffic bypass lane.

The NYPD is back to ticketing cyclists in Central Park.

The US Pro National Championships roll in Chattanooga this Monday.

A Virginia lawyer offers advice on the eight things you should do right away if you’ve been injured in a bike collision. Seriously, though, you’d think an attorney would know not to call them accidents.

 

International

An Ottawa writer says the city doesn’t need any more bike lanes because they can’t make the climate bike friendly. Oddly, he doesn’t suggest they stop building roads due to adverse winter driving conditions.

Four hundred London cyclists stage a die-in at a notoriously dangerous intersection.

Liverpool plans to triple the number of cyclists who ride at least once a week.

A Melbourne bike rider is injured when she crashes into a police vehicle hidden by a blind curve on a bike path. The cops were targeting motorbikes and other motorized vehicles illegally using the trail, like… uh, them.

Aussie cyclists protest the country’s mandatory helmet law; ridership in Tel Aviv jumped 54% in just two years after the Israeli city revoked theirs.

Even Chinese robots can track stand, so why the hell can’t I?

 

Finally…

A road-raging New Hampshire bike rider shatters a driver’s passenger window, then takes his anger out on a nearby construction worker; no matter how angry you get, acting on it only makes things worse. A PA man posts a thank you for the man who stole his bike. And three young cyclists are arrested for speeding at a blistering 10 mph.

In 1899.

………

The Memorial Day weekend means heavy traffic this afternoon as people get off work early and rush to get home and get out of town. So ride defensively and watch out for drivers today, because chances are, they won’t be watching for you.

I expect to see you all back here safe and sound on Tuesday.

 

Morning Links: New Santa Clarita bike safety campaign; Beverly Hills official calls you an organ donor wannabe

citys-bike-safety-campaign-raise-awareness-about-sharing-road-41943-2-288x322A new Santa Clarita bike safety campaign says Respect is a Two-Way Street.

But they lose me with the illustration of a bike crashing into a car. And the last line that seems to put responsibility on riders to avoid getting killed, rather than on drivers to avoid killing someone.

So what do you think?

……..

This is what cyclists are up against in Beverly Hills.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot quotes Beverly Krasne, city council member and former mayor of the Biking Black Hole, in justifying her adamant opposition to bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd:

Cyclists are on a donor cycle mission – to give their organs to someone.

Somehow, though, her solution to our perceived recklessness is to keep the city as dangerous and anti-bike-friendly as possible.

Maybe someone should let her know most of us just want to get through her damn city without getting killed in the process.

……..

Police are reviewing the $100 ticket a DC cyclist got for following too closely after he’s buzzed, then brake checked by an angry truck driver — despite riding on sharrows at the time — after bike cam video of the incident is released.

Something tells me the officer needs a little retraining. Or maybe a new job.

And the driver needs to be behind bars.

……..

As long as we’re in DC, I somehow missed this one last week as the US Secretary of Labor says he just wants to ride his bike to work. And that the department is committed to making “cycling to work an affordable, easy and enjoyable option.”

Sounds good to me.

……..

Local

The Source says the new Metro bike map was released just in time for last week’s Bike Week.

The new Los Angeles Register looks at the Bike Kitchen.

The Bike League profiles LA’s own Miguel Ramos of Multicultural Communities for Mobility.

Free bike repairs and repair demos in Santa Monica on Saturday the 31st.

Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles is offering a discount on registration for the California Coast Classic Bicycle Tour benefitting the Arthritis Foundation. Which means I now have two medical conditions with their own benefit bike rides, and I’d like to stop there, thank you.

Long Beach’s monthly Kidical Mass continues to grow in popularity.

 

State

Ex-con Michael Reyes pleads guilty to killing Chula Vista bike rider Daniel Voigt while driving in a stolen car with a suspended license last month; he faces over 14 well-deserved years in prison when he’s sentenced in July.

San Diego considers building an enclosed bikeway under the Coronado Bridge, which currently bans bikes. I seriously want to ride that one.

Okay. The Tour de Cluck offers a bike tour of Davis-area chicken coops. Yes, chicken coops.

 

National

The problem with Same Roads, Same Rules is that neither was designed with bicyclists in mind. Amen, brother.

In an insightful piece, a rider says the bike industry shouldn’t forget the women who already ride in their efforts to reach the ones who don’t.

Ten reasons why Open Streets events like CicLAvia rock.

Only 1% of head injuries occur on bikes, while 48% occur in cars. But no one suggests helmets for automobile passengers. Or most business employees, for that matter.

Not surprisingly, Portland comes out on top in a new ranking of the best cities for bicycling; also not surprising is that LA is nowhere on the list.

My hometown bikes to work at 11 times the national rate. When I last lived there three decades back, it was pretty much just me.

Is anyone really surprised that a Nebraska football star won’t faces charges for stealing not one, not two, but seven bicycles? It’s long past time to stop coddling criminal athletes.

Evanston IL plans to encourage bicycling by banning bikes on some streets. Yeah, that’ll work.

 

International

Protected bike lanes are the best medicine for dangerous Winnipeg roads.

Great Britain honors the cyclists who lost their lives in World War I. That was the war so devastating it was supposed to end all wars. Despite their sacrifice, it didn’t.

Dover police knock a cyclist off his bike when he allegedly failed to respond to commands to dismount, then say he just fell off.

Bradley Wiggins wants to restore your faith in cycling. My faith in cycling is as strong as ever; my faith in pro cyclists, not so much.

IKEA is now offering an e-bike in some Austrian stores; no word on whether you have to build it yourself.

An Aussie writer debunks popular bicycling myths. And says yes, cyclists cause collisions but so does everyone else.

As China continues to re-enter the world, its citizens face the same dangers Westerners do, as a Chinese bike rider is kidnapped by Taliban militants in Pakistan.

 

Finally…

A Cambridge, Massachusetts bike safety campaign uses the local vernacular as it urges riders to Be Wicked Smaaht. And a British driver who killed a teenage passenger in a 130 mph crash — in a 60 mph zone, no less — has his sentence cut in half because he’s sorry. Oh, well okay, then.

 

Morning Links: A nearly forgotten Ride of Silence, and a deadly OC intersection nearly claims another victim

main_02How could I have forgotten the Ride of Silence?

With everything going on in the bike world and my own life, the annual worldwide memorial to fallen riders completely slipped my mind this year.

It takes place at 7 pm tomorrow at a number of locations throughout Southern California, including Fullerton, Gardena, Irvine, three separate rides in Long Beach, Oxnard, Pasadena, San Clemente, Temecula, Thousand Oaks and Ventura.

Unfortunately, once again, there’s no ride in Los Angeles.

There may be other SoCal Rides of Silence planned that aren’t on the website; if you know of any not listed above, let me know.

Thanks to David for the reminder.

Update: A comment below from riffic points out that there is a Los Angles Ride of Silence after all, thanks to the Midnight Ridazz group Knight Riders. 

……..

A deadly Newport Beach intersection nearly claims another victim, as an allegedly drunken hit-and-run driver is later taken into custody.

According to Corona del Mar Today, the collision occurred at East Coast Highway and Newport Coast Drive, the same intersection where cyclist Debra Deem was killed by an 84-year old driver last August. Fortunately, the victim in this case suffered only minor injuries.

The cyclist and the driver were both headed west on East Coast Highway at 3:12 pm when the driver — who wasn’t publicly identified — hit the rider, then fled on Newport Coast. A witness followed the car, and the 23-year old suspect was taken into custody two miles away and an hour and 14 minutes later.

He faces possible charges of making an unsafe lane change, DUI causing bodily injury and hit-and-run with bodily injury, and is being held on $100,000 bond. No word on why it took so long after the collision to make the arrest.

Bike Newport Beach places at least part of the blame on surface streets designed like freeway interchanges.

Thanks to Amy Senk for the link.

……..

A salmon cyclist is in critical condition after getting hit by a driver who apparently turned into him on Hollywood Way in Burbank Sunday night. Fortunately, the victim is expected to survive, despite suffering significant head trauma.

The driver was arrested for possession of cocaine, though he was not suspected of being under the influence at the time of the collision.

The closest I’ve ever come to hitting a bike rider while driving was when I turned a blind corner and unexpectedly found a ninja salmon rider just feet from my front bumper.

There may be all kinds of reasons why it may seem to make sense to ride against traffic, but it is seldom a good idea.

If ever.

……..

Local

Evidently, if you support road diets, you are an extremist elitist giving the middle finger to motorists and ignoring the overwhelming will of the majority. Uh, right. Nothing like demonizing anyone who might possible disagree with you before they ever get the chance.

Great photos from the March Pasadena Art Night Ride from Milestone Rides.

San Marino’s draft bike and pedestrian plan got its first public hearing on Monday; word is there were a lot of angry and elitist NIMBYs in attendance.

Celebrate Bike Month with a rare weekend bike train examining the history of the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River Trails this Sunday.

 

State

A new bill by Assembly Member Steve Bradford will prevent misdemeanor hit-and-run charges from being dismissed if the victim reaches a civil settlement with the driver before the case gets to court. The law, passed by the state Assembly, would ensure drivers face justice but could remove a powerful incentive to reach a civil settlement with the victim.

The Cycling Savvy training course is coming to Orange County for the first time; thanks to Serge Issakov for the heads-up.

 

National

A subtle new bike storage solution is currently raising funds on Kickstarter. I could use a handful of those suckers myself.

The eight most common beginner bicycling mistakes. Actually, signaling for a stop is a pretty big one, too, if it means taking your hand off the brake.

The driver who plowed into a crowd at Austin’s South by Southwest festival, killing two people — including a bike rider from the Netherlands — has been indicted on capital murder charges.

Not exactly the frat boy image you might have, as Western Kentucky fraternity brothers are riding across the country to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.

A careful and courteous driver confuses a Boston bike rider.

New Yorkers fight to lower the basic speed limit on city streets to 20 mph.

A Virginia psychopath deliberately forces a rider off the road at 30 mph; only the skill of the cyclist prevented serious injury.

A Florida driver gets 11 years for an allegedly drunken hit-and-run that took the life of two bike riders; as often happens when drivers flee the scene, prosecutors were forced to drop DUI charges since they couldn’t prove how drunk he was at the time of the collision.

 

International

The recent CycloFemme ride held in DTLA on Mother’s Day was just one of 303 rides around the world.

A British cyclist makes the news by riding in the only lane available to him.

Britain’s top cyclists explain why they want local authorities to do more to prioritize bicycling. Speaking of top Brit riders, evidently Bradley Wiggins’ son doesn’t like podium girls anymore than I do.

A new warning system promises to alert motorists to the presence of bike riders. As long as the driver has the $672 dollar monitor installed, and every bike rider on the road has a compatible tag on his or her bike. Otherwise, you’re on your own.

 

Finally…

Just as you suspected, your bike gets sad when you leave it at home. The war on cars enters a new phase as a chainmail-clad man attacks a woman’s BMW with a sword. And a three-year old leads the Giro d’Italia, however briefly.

 

Morning Links: LA Weekly supports distracted driving; drunk driver kills bike riding reformed drunk driver

What the hell are they thinking at the LA Weekly?

In a remarkably wrong-headed piece, Weekly writer Hillel Aron writes that he texts while driving and doesn’t see a damn thing wrong with it.

First, effective July 1, 2008, came the bans on talking on your cell phone while driving – an act about as dangerous as drinking a cup of coffee whilst talking to a passenger.

Six months later came the drive-texting bans. Never mind the fact that we’d been changing the music on our iPods for years, and before that we were switching out CDs, and tapes and eight-tracks and lighting our cigarettes and God knows what else.

Now sending a text message, no matter how brief, or how slow the traffic, is a crime.

As well it should be.

Never mind that texting at highway speeds can take your eyes off the road for the length of a football field. Or that studies have shown texting is more dangerous than drunk driving, which Aron evidently would approve of, as well.

And never mind that nearly one in five injury collisions involve distracted driving. Or that even using a hands-free device to make a call dramatically increases the risk of collision; evidently, Aron is a very risky coffee drinker.

But he says he can do it, so it must be okay.

I’m sure his insurance company would disagree. As would his seemingly inevitable future victims.

The remarkable thing is he has confessed, in public and in advance, for any collisions he may be involved in for the rest of his life. Because any prosecutor or civil attorney will jump on this as proof of a cavalier attitude behind the wheel, at best. And search for evidence that he was doing exactly what he claims.

As cyclists, we see the effects of distracted driving on a daily basis.

Virtually every close call I’ve had on the roads in recent years, and most of the vehicular idiocy I’ve witnessed, has come from drivers whose eyes were glued to their cell phones instead of the road. Or at the very least, had a hand-held cell phone illegally plastered to their ears.

It’s bad enough that Aron is a tragedy waiting to happen; worse that he irresponsibly encourages other fools to follow his lead.

Because only a fool, and a dangerous one at that, would fail to grasp the dangers of distracted driving clearly demonstrates.

But worst of all is the irresponsibility of a formerly respected alternative weekly that has long since given up any hint of relevancy putting the lives of innocent people at risk as link bait to boost their sagging fortunes.

I don’t want my life — or that of anyone else — to be in jeopardy because the paper’s editors lack any ethical standards and encourage their readers to drive in a dangerous and distracted manner.

They owe us all a retraction and an apology.

And if you happen to see Hillel Aron on the road, grab his fucking cell phone out of his hands and throw the damn thing as far as you can.

Oh, and as for his assertion that we all text while driving, I have never, ever texted, tweeted or otherwise used a handheld device while driving. And never will.

Perhaps because I’ve written too many times about the needless heartbreak and devastation caused by those who do.

………

In a case of tragic irony, Haitham Gamal, the 38-year old bike rider killed in Dana Point last week, was a three-time convicted drunk driver who had completed rehab, sold his car and taken up bicycling in an attempt to turn his life around.

Only to be killed by a 19-year old drunk driver.

………

Local

The LACBC announces their Bike to Work Day pit stops, as well as post B2WD happy hours.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky profiles Danny Gamboa and Ghost Bikes LA, noting the group will receive the Golden Spoke award at Tuesday’s Blessing of the Bicycles.

San Marino releases their proposed bikeways map, including a possible Class 1 bike path; thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

The Tour of Long Beach rolls this Sunday to benefit pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

 

State

The Orange County Register ranks the county’s eight most dangerous intersections; the killer conjunction of Jamboree Road and Santiago Canyon Road tops the list.

A letter writer says we all can coexist on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Trail.

Not surprisingly, San Diego’s bike share stations are going in the usual tourist areas rather than places with the greatest need.

 

National

American bike commuting has increased 60% in the last 14 years; not surprisingly, low-income Americans walk and bike the most.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske discusses how to fight back with a civil suit against motorists who hit or harass you.

Ms. Magazine looks at how bicycles influenced women’s rights.

Tucson gets its first protected bike lanes.

A New York bike share rack is called a death trap that could block access to an emergency room — even though it’s around the corner and on a different block.

A Florida man is caught on video drinking heavily before he got in his truck and killed a couple on their tandem bike.

 

International

Remembering 1970s Irish cycling champ Billy Kerr.

On the eve of the Giro d’Italia, the BBC profiles three-time winner Gino Bartali, who risked his life to save Jews and aid the resistance in WWII. And who should be the first cyclist on a very short list for sainthood.

Interesting Norwegian share the road public service campaign; you don’t have to speak the language to get the idea.

A big-hearted Kiwi cyclist forgives the driver who hit him and asks the court to waive her $11,000 reparation fee.

Bicycle advocacy goes worldwide.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me. When you’re carrying drug paraphernalia and an ounce of cocaine on your bike at 1:30 in the morning, put a damn light on it, already. And a new foldable bike helmet allows you to carry it anywhere; personally, I’d rather have a clunky one if it’s built to a better safety standard.

 

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