Archive for Car vs Bike

Weekend Links: A massive list o’links and a whopping videopalooza

It’s a veritable link and video-palooza today on BikinginLA.

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Caught on video: This is what anti-bike harassment looks like, in all it’s brutal ugliness.

Here in LA, this video would be all the evidence needed to file — and win — a suit against the driver under the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

Instead, the Kentucky cyclist, Cherokee Schill, was charged and convicted for the crime of riding a bike in the traffic lane. And the police look the other way when she’s threatened and harassed by angry motorists.

Which is a polite way of saying they don’t give a damn because they don’t think she belongs there to begin with.

Fortunately, she’s less than $200 away from the $10,000 needed to appeal her illegal conviction.

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Caught on video: Before Governor Brown signed the current three-foot passing law, he vetoed a much better version that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass cyclists when it was safe to do so, fearing endless carnage and lawsuits.

Even though the state is largely immune from being sued. But still.

Evidently, it’s not that big a deal, as this video from the Austin TX police department shows.

Any chance we could get Brown to watch this?

No, I didn’t think so.

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Caught on video: An irate woman berates a Chicago cyclist for riding on the sidewalk, nearly getting herself arrested in the process. And being unclear on the concept, tells him to ride in the street before wishing he gets hit by a car, which is probably why he was on the sidewalk to begin with.

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Caught on video: I missed this one earlier this year, as three cyclists experience a viscous goathead attack on the San Gabriel River trail. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the link.

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And one more while we’re at it.

Caught on video: Wolfpack Hustle offers video of the recent Huntington Park Gran Prix.

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Good advice, as a writer suggests three things all cyclists should do.

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Great idea. UCLA is hosting Bike (Re)cycling Day on Sunday the 19th; the university’s police and transportation departments will give out free abandoned bikes and parts to UCLA students, staff and faculty members.

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If you hurry, you may still be able to make one last training ride today before next Saturday’s first ever El Gran Fondo de Angeles Crest. And my apologies for not getting this notice up sooner.

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Local

Okay, so it’s not bike related. But in an apparent case of induced demand, travel times on the 405 freeway have increased a full minute following the $1 billion —that’s billion with a b — project to add an HOV lane through the Sepulveda pass.

Good news for Valley cyclists, as the second phase of the San Fernando Road bike path opens.

Turns out there will be three workshops to discuss the Las Virgenes Malibu Regional Bike Master Plan, in Malibu on the 21st, Westlake Village on the 22nd and Calabasas on the 23rd of this month.

The Pasadena Star-News calls out one of the San Gabriel Valley’s most bike unfriendly cities while endorsing Eric Sunada for Alhambra city council. Thanks to Wesley Reutimann for the tip.

Haven’t checked in with Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson for awhile; here he puts the great helmet debate in perspective.

 

State

Evidently, the DMV has reworked their website and made everything harder to find, including bike laws.

Around 4,000 people took part in last Sunday’s first ever Santa Ana ciclovia.

A San Diego writer says the new three-foot law will increase tensions with drivers, but gets it right in calling for more protected bike lanes. Another writer on the same site calls cyclists “scourges of the road,” while decrying that bikes aren’t required to stay three feet from drivers; seriously, I could spend all day just pointing out the fallacies in this piece of bikelash drivel.

Palm Springs gets its first bike corral.

Caltrans did the right thing for a change, building a pedestrian bridge and off-road bike path connecting Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties as part of a six-mile carpool lane project; I’m told it has dramatically improved safety for riders along the coast highway. Thanks to Alan for the heads-up.

Too typical. Santa Cruz creates up a sandwich sign to warn drivers to give cyclists three feet. Then puts it in the bike lane.

Yet another teenage driver faces charges in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, this time in Milpitas.

A Monterrey couple ride 2,300 miles to attend their 50th reunion in Kansas.

San Francisco cyclists are the victims of violent assaults to steal the bikes they’re riding.

 

National

A blogger offers a great list of some truly badass biking women, including Elly Blue and our own Nona Varnado.

In the latest attempt to thin the herd by enabling more distracted drivers, a new app promises to let drivers use all their apps behind the wheel.

Despite that, it looks like the Feds are finally taking bike safety seriously, as the Department of Transportation releases new guidelines to make the streets safer for you and me. Maybe they could ban the use of onboard computer systems by drivers next.

A bike-friendly Portland convenience store finds sales exceed expectations, as 34% of customers arrive some way other than driving.

Unclear on the concept. An Ohio driver complains about cyclists riding in the traffic lane, then insists bike riders need to act like motorists.

Yet another caught on video, but one that can’t be embedded: A cyclist accuses a Penn university cop of using excessive force in a confrontation partially caught on camera.

After a New York driver runs down a cyclist from behind — and is found at fault by her own insurance company — she sues the victim for damaging her car. No, really.

Bike Snob introduces you to suddenly bike-friendly New York.

 

International

Here’s what’s wrong with London’s pie-in-the-sky proposals that would remove bike riders from the street.

“Old men in limos” are working behind the scenes to derail London’s plan for separated bike lanes.

The Daily Mail freaks out when Kerri Russell rides a bike sans helmet and talking on a cell phone.

A former British soldier recalls liberating a Dutch town in World War II by bicycle 70 years ago.

Sad to see Andy Schleck retire from pro racing at 29, after a career that started with such promise.

Okay, so maybe bicycling isn’t really the fastest form of transportation in Perth. Then again, the results might be a little different coming from a less biased source, no?

 

Finally…

Probably not a good idea to ask your Twitter followers to shoot another bike journalist, even if you’re not serious. Or especially if you are. If you profess to be a psychic, don’t channel a recently fallen rider, all the details of which could probably be found by picking up the local paper.

And one more benefit of bicycling — you probably won’t have a secret police file from scanning your license plates.

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to help support this site.  

Morning Links: Automakers build in deadly distractions; CD15’s Buscaino multi-modals his way to work

It should come to no one’s surprise that a new study shows in-dash phone and computer systems are dangerously distracting to drivers (pdf).

And apparently, Apple’s Siri is the worst.

Automakers are rushing to keep drivers connected behind the wheel, from providing the turn-by-turn directions we’ve come to expect, to reading and dictating emails and text messages.

Never mind that, as the study above makes clear — and common sense suggests should been have readily apparent — the more distractions drivers face, the less aware they are of what is happening on the road around them. To the detriment of everyone with whom they share the road.

It’s bad enough we have to dodge texting drivers, without getting run down by a driver surfing for Chinese restaurants on the heads-up display.

The feds need to step in to prevent automakers from designing deadly distractions into the dashboards and center consoles of their cars.

Because vehicle manufacturers are clearly unable to resist the temptation themselves.

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Local

Streetsblog looks at plans for a new bike and pedestrian friendly Sixth Street Viaduct.

Caught on video: CD15 City Councilmember Joe Buscaino goes to work by bike, bus and train to discover what it’s like to be carless in LA. He’s turned out to be one of the most open-minded and supportive councilmembers when it comes to transportation alternatives, two-wheeled and otherwise.

An article reposted on City Watch examines new LADOT head Seleta Reynolds, who says LA is moving beyond auto-centrism. And that bikes are a big part of the solution.

 

State

Once again, a writer who just doesn’t get it calls for licensing cyclists and their bikes, and requiring riders to carry liability insurance. Never mind that most adult cyclists already have a drivers license and carry insurance through their auto policies, and that a license plate large enough to be easily read at a distance would be too large to fit on a bike.

Is it still hit-and-run if a drunk driver takes his victim with him? A San Francisco driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk and flees with his victim hanging out of the car’s sunroof, then attempts to cover up his drunken state by tossing booze out of the vehicle.

A woman is suing Sacramento for $3.5 million for allowing sidewalk riding after she’s hit by a cyclist while walking; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up.

 

National

A bike advocate says we should refocus on recreation, rather than biking to work, to get more people on bikes. How about if we just focus on making bike riding safer and more convenient for everyone, then let people decide for themselves how and where to ride?

The brother of fallen cyclocross champ Amy Dombroski is channeling his grief into creating more equity for female cyclists and empowering young women through cycling.

Seattle Bike Blog talks in depth with one of the countless survivors whose life has been dramatically changed by a collision with a driver who claimed she never saw him.

A Wyoming letter writer says yes, animal cruelty matters, but so do the lives of bicyclists.

A Chicago writer says bicyclists have rights too, even if some break the law. And no one notices the ones who don’t.

An Examiner writer says the unwarranted prosecution of Kentucky cyclist Cherokee Schill for riding — legally — in the traffic lane is bringing unwanted attention to a state with a backward reputation.

New York’s city council votes to lower the city’s default speed limit to 25 mph, something LA will need to address if it’s serious about the newfound commitment to Vision Zero.

 

International

Caught on video: The page may be in Spanish, but the message is clear, as a cyclist confronts a motorist for driving in the bike lane.

A Brit cyclist videos distracted drivers and turns them into the police. Meanwhile, a writer for the Telegraph says cycling vigilantes aren’t doing themselves any favors by capturing such videos of dangerous drivers, insisting that we’re more likely to break the law than motorists are.

UK police arrest a racist bike rider who assaulted a woman, verbally and otherwise. Jerk.

Authorities in the UK are also looking for rider who punched a woman in front of her children when she didn’t get out of his way. Ditto.

A Brit writer is heartbroken after giving up her favorite ride.

Looks like Formula One driver Fernando Alonso won’t be fielding a cycling team on the pro tour after all.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: If you drop your iPhone in traffic, let it go; or maybe, don’t ride like a maniac if you can’t see what’s in front of you. Streetsblog offers up a Neighborhood Council bike lane bingo card. And if you’re going to return a bike to the store, make sure you paid for it.

 

(Late) Morning Links: The OC Register says hell no to Give Me 3, and the New York bikelash beat goes on

Leave it to the Orange County Register to get it wrong.

The historically conservative paper has been, if not a supporter of bicycling, a fair voice in reporting on bicycling issues behind the Orange Curtain. And they’ve largely lifted their paywall when it comes to reporting on bicycling collisions, allowing subscribers and casual readers alike to get the details we need to stay safe and informed.

But evidently, AB 1371, the state’s new three-foot law, went about a yard beyond their comfort zone.

In a remarkably knee-jerk auto-centric editorial, the paper can’t conceive of how any driver could manage to give a rider a three-foot buffer without creating a calamitous situation.

Never mind that the Orange County is famous — some might say notorious — for its wide, highway-like streets that leave plenty of room to pass without even slowing down.

Or that drivers have always been required to pass cyclists at a safe distance. Which they evidently would define as anything that does not actually cause contact with the bike or its rider.

Sort of like a lot of drivers in the county, from what I’m told.

And instead of expecting drivers to operate their vehicles safely and simply change lanes to pass a bike rider, they trot out the usual tired clichés about scofflaw cyclists — as if the bad behavior of a few riders justifies driving dangerously around them or anyone else.

Nor can they conceive of bikes as a solution to the area’s transportation ills. Even though many riders — undoubtedly including a number of their readers — already ride to work, school and shopping on a regular basis.

To them, bicycling is simply a recreational activity that interferes with the region’s vital transportation needs.

“Drivers will figure it out,” editorialized the Los Angeles Times, but drivers shouldn’t have to choose between following the law and using the roads for the purpose for which they were intended.

The LA Times gets it.

The Register, on the other hand, could use a boost into the current century. And a lesson in exactly who and what our roads are intended for — which is moving people, goods and services.

Not cars.

Thanks to Frank Peters for the heads-up.

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Meanwhile, OC cyclist Matt Kelley offers his own response to the Register’s misguided editorial.

Editor:  I agree that AB 1371 is a poorly written law. It is unenforceable; and vague, unenforceable laws create a societal ignorance and apathy toward the law. 

And I can’t excuse poor cycling behavior by my fellow cyclists. But, an honest observer must also acknowledge the reasons for some of the behaviors that cyclists exhibit. Riding on the sidewalk is legal in California; except when specifically prohibited – which doesn’t excuse operating a bicycle in a dangerous fashion to pedestrians. Many cyclists ride on sidewalks because it is a rational response to the great many carelessly incompetent motorists that endanger cyclists. Cyclists riding on streets with on-street parking are directed to ride outside of the “door zone” in order to avoid dangerous accidents with careless motorists opening doors without checking for oncoming traffic.

While we’ve all seen examples of inconsiderate cycling, how many examples do we see from motorists?

As for the recreational nature of cycling – does the Editor then assert that all of the cars driving down PCH or Santiago Canyon Rd. on Saturday are engaged in “vital transportation?”

Laws like AB1371 are unnecessary if all road users are acknowledged as being legitimate users of a roadway – and in fact that is the crucial question; who are the roads for?  And if the answer is for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, why is our infrastructure designed and built in so many cases only for the safe use by cars?

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The East Coast bikelash beat goes on in the wake of last week’s Central Park collision that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

A writer for the New Yorker bemoans the self-righteousness of the city’s overly aggressive scofflaw cyclists — except for him, of course — while recalling that time he was hit by a bike.

In 2003.

And in what may or may not be satire, a DC writer calls for bikes to be banned entirely, claiming they maim, maul and kill countless innocent people. Although it does contain the following extremely cutting line:

All my bikes combined have killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy’s car.

Meanwhile, a more rational writer says bad bicyclist behavior may be memorable, in part because it’s rare.

The biker who flips the bird is held up as an example; the queue waiting at the light is not.

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Polaroid jumps into the action cam market with a cute little cube. It may not offer the picture quality of a GoPro, but at $99, it opens the door to capturing their rides for many more people. And offers the insurance every rider needs against anti-bike bias to prove what really happened in any collision or traffic dispute.

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Local

Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s staff presents their alternative (pdf) to the planned, approved and funded road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa at the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Ad Hoc Transportation Committee on Thursday.

Streetsblog examines the latest census data on bike commuting in Los Angeles, which has a 1.2% mode share — a 33% increase over 2010. I’m not a fan of census data, though, as it fails to count the many people who use their bikes for transportation, but not riding to work; for instance, I work at home, but regularly ride my bike to meetings and errands.

Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next follow up on their interview with Sheila Kuehl by talking to her competition for County Supervisor, Bobby Shriver, who says he’s a bicyclist himself.

 

State

The US Department of Transportation will issue their own manual on how to build protected bikeways; unfortunately, a narrowly written new law permitting protected bikeways in California will prohibit its use unless it’s adopted by Caltrans or NACTO.

Turns out Beyoncé isn’t the only performer who bikes to her shows, as Katy Perry tweets that she rode 22 miles from Palo Alto to last night’s performance in San Jose.

Caught on video: A cyclist takes to San Francisco’s heavily trafficked Bay Bridge. And yes, bikes are banned from the bridge, other than a separated bikeway that only goes part way.

 

National

REI becomes the exclusive US retailer for the German Ghost bicycle brand — neglecting that ghost bikes mean something very different here. And good luck defending that copyright.

Grist offers advice on what to do if you’re hit by a car; you can find my advice here.

Adventure Cycling lists this year’s favorite bicycle touring blogs.

A new study says users of active transportation — aka bicyclists and pedestrians — are the happiest commuters. But you knew that, right?

A major flap in the world of bike journalism, as the Bikerumor website is accused of plagiarism. And not for the first time.

The five best fall bike rides in Colorado; I’ve done both the Cache la Poudre and Peak to Peak rides many times, back in the days when a motorist was more likely to give you a friendly wave than run you off the road.

American cycling legend Dale Stetina is still struggling to recover from the near collision that almost killed him, as the Colorado driver responsible enters a guilty plea.

Once again, we send a bike riding visitor to the US back to his home country to recover; this time it’s a deaf and blind cyclist from Norway who was injured in a collision while riding tandem in Iowa.

Bicycling looks at the world’s first underground mountain bike park in Louisville, KY.

 

International

Around the world in 365 days and 11,200 miles by bike.

Even stunt bike star Danny MacAskill is the victim of a bike thief when his is stolen in Glasgow.

Shimano agrees to work for bike advocacy in Europe; every bike company should support advocacy efforts wherever they do business.

A week after Jens Voigt set a new hour record, Bradley Wiggins announced plans to go after it as well.

 

Finally…

A poster for a class on how to steal bikes actually leads to a vasectomy clinic; no, I don’t get it either. Following up on a recent item, the Bieb has reportedly given up drinking and partying for bicycling, tennis and clean living. Yeah, I’m not holding my breath.

And Budweiser offers a surprisingly subtle, but hard-hitting call to avoid drunk driving.

Thanks to David Wolfberg for his generous contribution to support BikinginLA; his gift came as a very pleasant birthday surprise. 

L’shanah tovah!

 

 

Morning Links: Sad Fiesta Island news, for and against the 3-foot law, and a new reflector could stop cars sooner

We have a lot to catch up on after yesterday’s unexcused absence,* so let’s get to it.

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Bad news from San Diego. The wife of the cyclist critically injured by an allegedly drunk and/or high wrong way driver on Fiesta Island says he’s on a breathing machine and fighting for his life; if he survives, he’ll be paralyzed from the waist down.

Sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order, whichever you’re comfortable with.

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The family of fallen randonneur Matthew O’Neill encourages drivers to observe the new three-foot passing law and change lanes to pass a cyclist.

Meanwhile, a website uses video from the Rock Store climb, aka The Snake, to suggest the three-foot law will make driving impossible, even though passing at an unsafe distance has always been illegal; the only thing this law changes is specifying just what a minimum safe distance is. And the rider in question is legally taking the lane on what is clearly a substandard lane.

Bottom line, as a side-by-side comparison of these two stories make clear, observing the three-foot law is a question of safety — that is, someone’s life — versus a minor inconvenience to impatient motorists.

I know which side I fall on.

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This could be a big step forward in bike safety, as a new reflector tricks the Crash Avoidance System found in many new cars into seeing a cyclist or pedestrian as being closer or larger than they really are. The makers are looking for a strategic partner to help bring it to the right markets; this could be a great investment for someone with the right knowledge.

And yes, I want one. Now.

Thanks to new ROAD Magazine editor Chris Klibowitz for the heads-up.

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Time to loosen up those wallets. The Kickstarter for BikinginLA sponsor AnyKicks has just over $18,000 to raise with two weeks to go.

Let’s push ‘em over the top and show bike shops and manufacturers that advertising on here really works. And fund a deserving project while we’re at it.

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Evidently, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, either. The father of the teenage driver who got off using the affluenza defense was arrested last month for impersonating a police officer.

If you’ll recall, his 16-year old spawn got away with killing four people in an under-aged drunken crash when the judge agreed his parents were too rich for him to be expected to take responsibility for his own actions.

Thanks to the Witch on a Bicycle for the link.

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Elia Viviani wins the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge after retiring rider Jens Voigt fades after a 40 km solo breakaway; that other famous bike rider from my hometown keeps the leader’s jersey.

Is it just me, or is there less interest in the Pro Challenge this year? There seems to be a lot less press coverage this time around. Except for the drunk driver who somehow made it onto the closed course.

Italy’s economic woes lead to the merger of the Cannondale/Liquigas and Slipstream teams. And Vavel previews the first seven stages of the Vuelta, along with the seven that follow.

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Local

Boyle Heights residents worry the new Eastside extension of the Downtown CicLAvia route will lead to increased gentrification, while LA’s incredibly popular open streets event officially comes to the San Fernando Valley next March.

A ride marshal is ticketed — and may have been intentionally doored by police — for running a red light on the Clitoral Mass ride.

The LA Times looks at the new Timbuk2 store on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

Sweet Ride USA invites you to explore the intersection of bikes and sweets in Little Tokyo this Saturday. The Santa Monica Museum of Arts’ Tour Da Arts rolls on Sunday, as does the LACBC’s Sunday Funday ride through Carson.

A chef famed around the world for his cuisine and temper gets his new bike on at Cynergy.

The bike friendly Fiesta La Ballona takes place in Culver City this weekend.

LACBC local chapter Bike Walk Glendale sponsors Operation Firefly to give free bike lights to riders without them.

 

State

The state legislature passes a bill allowing local jurisdictions to tack an extra $5 onto vehicle registration fees to fund bicycle infrastructure. But what are the chances of actually getting 2/3 of drivers to tax themselves to fund bike projects?

Laguna Beach votes to explore ways to ease congestion and improve bike and pedestrian access on Laguna Canyon Road.

The Bike League profiles BikeSD’s own Sam Ollinger, who has quickly risen to become one of the leading bike advocates — not women’s bike advocate, thank you — in the US.

An Ohio man pleads no contest in the alleged DUI hit-and-run that took the life of a Chico State cyclist.

The EPA honors a 116-mile bike path from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake; when a new segment opens, it will be 75% complete.

 

National

CNN asks if Lance’s lies and bullying can be forgiven. The former, maybe; the latter, not so much.

Protected bike lanes are rapidly spreading throughout the US.

Our own Boyonabike looks at riding in bike friendly Portlandia.

Life is cheap in Utah, when not even killing a bike riding judge while driving distracted is enough to get authorities to take traffic crime seriously, as the driver gets off with a lousy $670 fine and six months probation.

Seventy-year old basketball great Rick Barry is slowly recovering from a bad solo bike crash in Colorado.

University of Chicago Hospitals illegally applies stickers to discourage legal bike parking.

A New York cyclist is fined $675 and loses her drivers license for running a red light on her bike and not having a bell — $5 more than some states fine drivers for killing someone.

The Washington Post asks if bike riders should be allowed to roll stop signs. The obvious answer is yes, but good luck convincing most motorists. And voters.

 

International

A writer for the Vancouver Sun says bike lanes will do more to protect cyclists than helmets.

Toronto authorities exonerate a local police department on accusations that they whitewashed a case involving the wife of an officer who killed a cyclist. Even though they failed to test the driver for drugs or alcohol and allowed her to drive home while the investigation at the scene was still ongoing.

Northern Ireland plans a two week bicycling festival.

Caught on video: An Edinburgh cyclist learns first hand the dangers of getting a wheel caught in tram tacks.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Sometimes it’s the other riders you have to watch out for. It doesn’t even take a whole car to send a cyclist to the hospital; sometimes, a stray part is enough.

And Gizmodo looks at seven bikes that, thankfully, didn’t change bicycling forever.

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*My apologies for missing yesterday’s post, as well as a few others in recent weeks. I try to post every weekday; however, while my diabetes is officially under control, I’m still having major health problems that may or may not be related, and which leave me largely incapacitated for much of the day — and have kept me off my bike for the better part of two months. Most days, I’m able to rally long enough to get a new post online, but others — like yesterday — find me down for the count.

Hopefully, my doctors will finally figure out what’s going on, and this too shall pass.

 

Morning Links: Popular LA cyclist seriously injured, update on the San Diego crash that injured 8 riders

Lots of news today, so grab some coffee, limber up your clicking finger and settle in for a good read.

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Popular LA cyclist Jo Celso is hospitalized in San Diego after suffering serious injuries while riding at the San Diego Velodrome Tuesday night. Donations to defray medical expenses can be made through PayPal.

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The driver in the San Diego crash that sent eight cyclists to the hospital was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and drugs, possibly including meth; she has a history of petty crime dating back to 2006.

One of the victims reportedly couldn’t feel his legs following the crash, while the Times says one of the injured — most likely the same rider — suffered a major vertebral fracture; sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order.

And BikeSD calls for charges against the driver.

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A Santa Maria TV station confirms the rumors that the passenger in the truck that killed Chula Vista randonneur Matthew O’Neill was the 18-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. Nicolas Maldonado was also a passenger in another fatal collision involving his mother two years ago.

According to the same rumors, the 16-year old driver who killed O’Neill is also a member of the Maldonado family.

Meanwhile, Stacy Kline offers a moving remembrance of her friend and riding companion.

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More on our fellow cyclist Robin Williams, his big heart and his love of bikes.

First up, noted bike rider Conan O’Brien relates how Williams tried to cheer him up following O’Brien’s dismissal from the Tonight Show by giving him an outrageously silly bicycle.

Then there’s the story told by Bay Area comic Johnny Steele, who said Williams bought him a custom-made bike and became his regular riding partner after Steele told him he didn’t ride because he couldn’t afford it. And all because Williams liked his joke about 65-year old men on $6,500 bicycles.

Meanwhile, a bike shop owning friend of the comedian says Williams told him cycling saved his life after kicking cocaine.

And the Wall Street Journal relates how he once met famed Italian bike builder Dario Pegoretti, and how Williams said he loved riding because it’s a close as you can get to flying.

I think we can all relate to that one. I’ve said the same thing myself more than once.

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Local

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fundraising Firefly Ball the day before Halloween, honoring Andy Leeka of Good Samaritan Hospital, Long Beach’s Suja Lowenthal, and legendary BAC founder and bike advocate Alex Baum; tickets start at $250.

Meanwhile, the LACBC is holding a workshop on fundraising for bicycle advocates next Thursday.

Attend a live recording of the Bike Talk podcast at the Levi’s pop-up store this Friday with hosts Nick Richert, Melissa Balmer and Maria Sipin.

The Daily News takes a look at LADOT’s new Bicycle Friendly Business program.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers advice for walking or biking back to school.

 

State

California lists 147 projects that could get funding under the state’s new Active Transportation Program, including several in Southern California.

Calbike offers their monthly update.

New bike lanes are approved near Corona del Mar High School.

A 23-year old Big Bear rider competes in his first year as a professional cyclist.

 

National

Even the feds want you to take a bike tour.

Once again, a foreign tourist riding across the US is killed by a drunk driver, this time an Australian woman who was killed in Indiana just 500 miles from her destination.

Caught on video: Angry motorists confront a Vermont cyclist, saying they should have run him over. And to make matters worse, it was the rider got ticketed — for riding in the traffic lane.

Once again, the NYPD cracks down on the victims of traffic violence, rather than the cause.

 

International

Toronto cyclists win a fight for protected bike lanes.

London cop hops on a stolen bike to chase down a wanted bike thief.

Poetic justice, as a drunken Brit bike thief breaks his ankle when the bike he’s trying to make off with falls on him.

 

Finally…

Kids, don’t do this at home. A Kansas driver pulls into a parking lot to confront a bike rider, who promptly pulls out a gun and shoots him in the face; the rider was taken into custody nearby.

 

Morning Links: Bike-friendly LAPD chief reappointed, suspected DUI driver hits 8 riders in San Diego

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has been reappointed for another five year term.

It was Beck who worked with cyclists to establish the department’s bike liaison program and bicycle task force when he was first appointed five years ago, resulting in a training module to teach patrol officers the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

And helping to make the LAPD one of the most progressively bike-friendly police departments in the US.

They may not always get it right.

But things are a hell of a lot better than they used to be.

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A wrong way driver crashed head-on into a group of cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, sending six riders to the hospital with undetermined injuries; two others declined to be transported. Reports are as many as 16 riders hit the pavement trying to avoid the car.

Not surprisingly, the driver has been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Meanwhile, Riverside hit-and-run victim D’Andre Sutherland remains on life support as police looks for suspects.

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The latest round in the battle over bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole takes place on Thursday, August 21st at 8 am as the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce takes up the debate.

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It seems like the whole world is mourning the unexpected death of Robin Williams. But the loss may be hitting a lot of cyclists a little harder than most.

Because, as Cyclelicious notes, he was one of us. And he’s got the photos to prove it.

Williams never hid his love of riding, even going so far as to describe himself as a bike-sexual.

Red Kite Prayer notes he was a customer of Santa Monica’s Bike Effect and City Cycle in San Francisco; I saw tweets Monday saying he was favorite customer of I. Martin, and had stopped by the Bicycle Kitchen at least once to buy T-shirts.

The mere fact that someone like Robin Williams had even heard of the Kitchen — let alone stopped by to support it — speaks volumes about who he was and how important bikes were to him.

He was even stopped by police in New York for riding on the sidewalk. And let go with a warning as soon as officers realized who he was.

As for myself, I had one wordless, non-bike interaction with Williams when I worked in a jewelry store in Denver’s most exclusive hotel back in the 80s. The one where everyone who was anyone stayed when they passed through what was still an oil and cow town.

And where I met celebrities ranging from politicians and religious leaders, to the day’s leading movie stars and models, rock stars and blues immortals.

I was polishing rings in the back room, which faced a secluded hallway often used by hotel guests to escape the press and hoi polloi.

I looked up to see Robin Williams coming down the hall in the company of a woman. And was startled to see his stricken, almost fearful expression when he realized I recognized him, as if begging just to be left alone.

So I nodded, and he looked back at me with a half-smile and a look of relief, clearly grateful to retain a brief moment of privacy before disappearing out the door.

And I learned a lesson that has served me well in my life here in the figurative, if not literal, Hollywood. That being famous shouldn’t mean a loss of privacy, and that even the rich and famous have a right to be left alone.

Robin, you will be missed.

……..

Local

LADOT expands their Bicycle Friendly Business program throughout the city.

Downtown bike shop Just Ride LA forms a new cycling club.

An online petition calls on the DA to prosecute the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin on Mulholland Highway. Personally, I’m less concerned with prosecuting the driver than holding the department responsible if it can be shown that their policies, official or otherwise, put us all at risk.

The new LA Times new publisher is one of us; former assistant mayor Austin Beutner suffered a serious biking injury while riding in the Santa Monica mountains a few years ago.

Wolfpack Hustle calls on everyone who cares about safety to write city officials to demand buffered bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the soon-to-be rebuilt Hyperion Bridge.

 

State

Bid on a one-of-a-kind 8-speed Linus + SeaVees bike, and all the proceeds will go to benefit the California Bicycle Coalition.

Paso Robles votes to install a four-block bike lane.

A 14-year old Fresno-area bike rider riding with his father is killed in a collision with an 82-year old driver; needless to say, the driver insists the victim inexplicably swerved in front of him.

The leader of the state’s most successful bicycle advocacy group, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, will leave at the end of the year.

Here’s an idea. Keep a bike on both ends of your commute, and you never have to take one with you on the train.

 

National

Thirty-six bike share programs throughout the US, resulting in a combined 23 million rides — and despite the panicked predictions, not a single fatality.

After a Spokane man steals a bike when his gets stolen, the internet helps bring him to justice.

A DC blogger says the Post’s bike-hating columnist may have ridden a bike, but he didn’t learn much.

 

International

A Belizean cycling legend is executed during a rash of gun violence in the Central American country over the weekend.

A new app could help design bike lanes in Germany’s most bike-unfriendly city.

Bike share is booming in Poland.

 

Finally…

Even the trees are out to get us, as a Brit rider barely survives a falling branch. Athens GA police chase a drunken, lightless bike rider.

And two German artists finally claim credit for the white flags that appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge last month, and led the Manhattan DA to subpoena the Bike Lobby parody account.

 

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

Nice.

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll wait.

Back already?

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

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

……..

Great Le Tour coverage from VeloNews.

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

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

……..

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

……..

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

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

……..

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

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

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.

 

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