Archive for Bicycle Safety

Morning Links: Victim and suspect identified in Oceanside hit-and-run, charges filed in PV road rampage

Note: I have to take my laptop into Apple on Monday for a repair it shouldn’t need after just 16 months, but apparently does. So this may be my last update for a few days until I can get it back; I’ll be out of email contact for the most part, as well.

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Philip White ghost bike; photo courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation.

Philip White ghost bike; photo courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation.

Police finally identified the victim in last week’s Oceanside hit-and-run, a day after he was named here by family members.

According to San Diego 6, 28-year old Oceanside resident Philip White was found lying dead in the roadway on the morning of September 21st; evidence at the scene suggested he had been hit by a green Kia Soul.

Police quickly found the vehicle, and have identified the owner as 22-year old Christopher Noah of San Diego. Yet a full week later, Noah has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.

The delay may be due to difficulty proving Noah was behind the wheel at the time of the collision.

Let’s hope that when an arrest is finally made, the charges will reflect the seriousness of the crime. Had the driver stopped and rendered aid, as the law requires, it’s possible that White’s life may have been saved; instead, the person who ran him down made a conscious decision to let his victim die in the street rather than face the consequences of his actions.

If that doesn’t warrant a murder charge, I don’t know what does.

Meanwhile, a fund has been established to help the family pay for funeral and other related expenses arising from White’s unexpected death. They’re only asking for $5000; any money beyond what’s needed will be donated to charity organizations such as MADD and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

Then there’s this comment contained in an email from a member of White’s family, which is definitely worth sharing.

The cycling community has shown an overwhelming amount of support and sorrow for someone they probably did not know and it has given real comfort to our family.

Let’s never forget that what we do and say can touch the people who need it most, when they need it most.

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A drunk driver who went on a violent road raging rampage through Palos Verdes last year has finally been charged in the case.

According to the Daily Breeze, 66-year old William Thomas Kelly faces charges of “assault with a deadly weapon using a vehicle, making terrorist threats, driving under the influence, vandalism and hit-and-run.”

Let’s hope it hurt like hell when the DA threw the book at him.

Kelly started by crashing his Audi into a woman’s car. Then backing up and hitting her again.

He went on to deliberately assault a cyclist, attempt to run over a pedestrian, sideswipe a car, hit another one, ram several cars in a parking lot, and rear end a car before sideswiping another one, then intentionally backing into it.

But wait, he wasn’t done.

Kelly drove on to intentionally sideswipe and back into yet another car before ramming into three locked fences and, finally, passing out behind the wheel of his disabled car.

Other than that, though, he was a perfect driver.

The Daily Breeze quotes the bike rider in describing what happened after he yelled at Kelly for clipping him in a too-close pass and running him off the road.

The bicyclist, Doug Castile, said that afternoon that the driver backed up behind him and pushed him and his bike into the bushes at the side of the road.

“At that point, my feet are clipped in the pedals on my bike,” he said. “I unclipped my feet and jumped off the bike into the plants and he’s running over my bicycle back and forth.”

Castile said the driver then noticed him reach into his pocket to get his phone.

“He says, ‘What are you reaching for, a gun?’ It just was so odd to hear that statement. I took my hand out of my pocket. I thought this guy is capable of anything,” Castile said.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

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No justice for fallen Newport Beach cyclist Debra Deem, as the DA drops all charges against the 85-year old driver who killed her, following a mistrial earlier this month.

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Local

LA’s Bureau of Street Services recommends removing roadside memorials — including ghost bikes — from city property after just 30 days; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

Eastsiders worry that Sunday’s CicLAvia will bring hipsters and gentrification to Boyle Heights.

Two South LA men sharing a single bike are injured when a driver runs a red light; the victims were hospitalized with broken limbs, internal injuries and head trauma. Naturally, the driver was not arrested at the scene.

Nice. Seven years ago, a 34-year old former Army sergeant was confined to a wheelchair, riddled with pain and addicted to opiates; on Sunday, he planned to ride 90 miles in the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo, thanks to a new medical device.

Actor and 30 Seconds to Mars lead singer Jared Leto rides a bike in Studio City.

BikeSGV picks up the Bike the Vote mantle, with a questionnaire completed by Alhambra city council candidate Eric Sunada.

 

State

This Sunday a section of Santa Ana will go car-free, the same day CicLAvia extends into Boyle Heights for the first time.

An OC trail rider gets a helicopter rescue after he’s injured while riding on Whiting Ranch.

A San Diego collision between a police car, a bicyclist and another vehicle sends five people to the hospital; a later report says the police car spun onto the sidewalk and hit eight Brazilian tourists on rented bikes.

The next time someone says bike riders have to obey the law too, ask them who the “too” refers to. Because most drivers don’t, either.

A San Francisco writer says the new three-foot law means drivers will have to break the law to do the right thing, and that protected bike lanes are the way to go. Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed an earlier version of the three-foot passing law that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass a cyclist safely.

 

National

New Mexico is investing $1 million in improving rail crossings to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

Police are searching for a road raging Nyack NY cyclist who went off on a car passenger for no apparent reason. Of course, drivers are entirely innocent in such cases and couldn’t possibly have done anything to set a rider off, right?

Good advice on what to do if you’re hit by a car in New York; the same holds true here in LA or anywhere else.

After a New York state senator proudly yells at cyclists to “Find an f-ing bike lane and get in it,” a Brooklyn cyclist invites her to get on a bike and see what it’s like for the victims of her abuse.

 

International

Kind hearted Winnipeg residents return a customized bike stolen from a nine-year old with cerebral palsy after they unknowingly buy it for parts.

A UK writer says cyclists make easy targets for anti-bike politicians, but it’s only a minority that don’t play by the rules.

An Iranian cyclist gets a free pass out of military service after his surprise win in the Asian Games.

An Australian state invests $300,000 in an education campaign to improve bike safety; then again, spending the same amount on improving infrastructure could probably do more good.

 

Finally…

Well, duh. An Abu Dhabi writer says cycling outside, instead of in a gym, relieves boredom; only people who cycle in a gym think it even begins to approach the real thing. Proof that not all jerks are behind the wheel: A Brit bike rider punches a 70-year old man who reprimanded him for weaving through a crowd.

And now you can follow your every move with your own personal drone. Even if using private drones is currently illegal.

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Thanks to George Wolfberg and Glen Schmuetz for their generous contributions to support this site.

(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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HPimage001-650

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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!

 

 

Update: Cyclist found dead following apparent hit-and-run in Oceanside

This is where hit-and-run crosses the line to cold-blooded murder.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a bike rider was found lying dead on an Oceanside roadway surrounded by evidence of an apparent hit-and-run.

The 28-year old victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was found around 5:50 am by a man on his way to work at the San Luis Rey Water Treatment Plant. He was discovered near a smashed bike, as well as other evidence of a collision including tire marks and parts from a damaged car.

San Diego’s 10News places the location on the 3900 block of North River Road; a satellite view shows a dead end cul-de-sac, with access to another roadway through a drive leading to the treatment plant. They report that it’s unclear when the collision occurred or what time the victim died.

Police are looking for a lime or “alien” green Kia Soul, 2012 or 2013, with a missing headlight and front end damage on the passenger side.

Anyone with information is urged call Oceanside police at 760/435-4801.

In a case like this the driver should face a homicde charge, based on the assumption that the victim might have been saved if the driver had cared enough to stay at the scene and called for help. Instead, he or she made a conscious decision to flee the scene and leave an innocent person to die alone on a dark street.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in San Diego County.

Update: KUSI reports the driver was headed west on North River Road; considering it’s a cup-de-sac that could significantly limit the number of drivers who would have a reason to be there, especially in the middle of the night.

Update 2: According to NBC San Diego, police believe they have identified a suspect in the case. They also report the victim, who still has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead after paramedics attempted CPR, suggesting it’s possible he might have been saved if he’d gotten help sooner. 

Update 3: The victim has been identified by his sister as 28-year old Philip White. A fund has been established to pay for funeral and other expenses related to the unexpected death, which has devastated his family; any excess funds will be donated to various charities, including MADD and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

It sounds like the world has lost a very kind and gentle soul. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the Philip White and all his loved ones. 

Morning Links: The impact of CA’s new three-foot passing law; bike-friendly Brentwood poet passes away

We’ve got a lot to catch up on today, starting with more reports on California’s new three-foot passing law.

KCRW’s Warren Olney asks if the new three-foot law will make LA bike friendly; Streetsblog’s Joe Linton and BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen respond.

KPCC goes for a ride with the LACBC’s Colin Bogart to discuss the ramifications of the new law. And the station’s Sharon McNary — political reporter, triathlete and bike commuter — offers a really nice first-hand report on the new law. Seriously, it’s more than worth four minutes of your life.

Meanwhile, the CHP offers advice to bike riders and motorists on how to safely share the road. And gets it right — even on cyclists’ right to ride in the middle of non-sharable lanes.

The Los Angeles Post-Examiner says the problem with the law is most drivers don’t know how to share the lane, or understand why cyclists ride in the traffic lane.

Redqueeninla says making space for bikes benefits everyone.

And readers of the Times respond in predictably non-comprehending, knee-jerk fashion.

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It will be a little sadder riding through Brentwood now, as the homeless man who hawked his poems alongside the new bike lane has passed away from natural causes. Wendell Brown always had a smile and a wave, or at least a friendly nod, every time I rode by.

The Times obituary reports he became homeless due to depression and substance abuse stemming from a traumatic incident while serving in Vietnam.

It’s long past time that our nation gave our troubled vets the help they need to come all the way home.

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The Kentucky cyclist who was unfairly convicted of blocking traffic for riding in the traffic lane has now been arrested and charged with wanton endangerment. Someone seriously needs to explain bike law to these backwater Keystone cops.

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Local

Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg says North Figueroa didn’t have to be the killer street it is, after a second pedestrian is killed following CM Gil Cedillo’s cancellation of a planned road diet.

The Los Angeles Explorers Club hosts a curated ride from Lincoln Park to MacArthur Park this Sunday, with a theme of Keep LA Beautiful.

Looks like there’s a high demand for bike share stations in Downtown LA.

CORBA is hosting a Ride and Mingle mountain bike ride followed by a pancake breakfast on Sunday, Sept. 28th.

Caught on video: LADOT shows how to use and where to find the city’s new bike repair stations.

San Gabriel is the first of five San Gabriel Valley cities to adopt a bike plan, with the city council voting unanimously to approve it.

Volunteers are needed for next month’s Long Beach bike count.

 

State

The Orange County Gran Fondo rolls Saturday, October 4th through bike-friendly Irvine and environs, unlike a certain Beverly Hills Gran Fondo I could mention.

The Orange County Register offers more information on the lawsuit filed against the DMV and Newport Beach in the death of cyclist Debra Deem.

There should be a lifetime sentence in journalist jail for anyone still using the trite “bicycle safety is a two-way street” phrase.

A writer for Streetsblog artfully takes down that grumpy anti-bike Sacramento columnist we mentioned here the other day. Note to the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters: Change your profile photo, you look severely constipated. Then again, he writes that way, too.

 

National

Slate looks at why there’s a gender gap in bicycling.

Build it and they will come: Bike traffic triples in the days following the opening of a new protected bike lane in Seattle.

Five reasons why my home state is a great place to ride.

A Michigan driver runs down a bike rider while trying to free her shoe from the floor mat; fortunately, the victim was not seriously injured.

New York cyclists sue the state DMV for charging cyclists for penalties that apply only to motorists. Meanwhile, the city’s police are too busy cracking down on cyclists to investigate a hit-and-run.

Nice piece from PA, as a bike co-op says we fix people, not bicycles.

A DuPont exec is charged in the hit-and-run death of a Delaware cyclist.

 

International

A Vancouver columnist says bike lanes do more to improve safety than bike helmets, while a Toronto writer explains why he’s putting his helmet back on.

Caught on video: A Good Samaritan cyclist rides to the rescue of a stalled Brit motorist. And a British cyclist is stopped by a cop for riding on a bike path.

Bicycling Magazine will be live streaming Jens Voigt’s attempt to break the hour record starting at 10 am PST.

 

Finally…

What’s so funny about so-called jokes about running over cyclists? This is what a real female bike rider looks like.

And one final caught on video: An English-speaking cyclist escapes a motorcycle riding armed robber in Buenos Aires — in part because the victim can’t understand what the Spanish-speaking thief is demanding. Thanks to LA BAC representative David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

 

Today’s post, in which I take the day off. And am very grateful I still can.

Okay, so I’m taking the day off.

To be honest, Thursday was a rough day. From the collective emotions of 9/11, to being painfully poked and prodded in yet another attempt to figure out what the hell is going on with my body.

But mostly, it’s the realization that Friday marks seven years to the day since I encountered a massive swarm of bees while riding along the beach, and ended up spending the night in the ICU.

And in between, suffered what undoubtedly would have been the worst bicycling incident in memory, if only I could remember it. Let alone the most serious injuries of my riding career.

I won’t go into the details here.

I’ve told the story before. And in more detail just a year ago.

I even wrote about it for a leading magazine, only to have the manuscript returned to me, unread.

C’est la vie, mais non?

In retrospect, it changed the direction of my life. And led me to dedicate whatever time I have left on this planet to making it a safer place to ride a bike.

Even if there’s not a lot you can do about bees on the beach.

It also reminds me to be grateful for the men and women who dedicate their lives to helping others. Even if they’re just doing their jobs.

Because without them, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this.

And to thank God, once again, that I am.

 

Morning Links: AAA promotes 3-foot law they previously fought; Brown legalizes triple bike racks on buses

AAA hosted a press event promoting the new three-foot passing law Wednesday morning, even though, as Streetblog’s Joe Linton notes, the auto club fought earlier versions of the bill.

Which is why I’m no longer a AAA member; I got tired of my dues being used to oppose bills designed to protect my safety.

Meanwhile, public radio station KPCC says get out your yardstick because it’s taking effect on Tuesday. And here’s a nice video from an LA cyclist explaining the new law.

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Local

Curbed offers 10 underrated locations for possible bike share locations.

Metro sponsors the Glendale: The Jewel City Tour led by CICLE and Walk Bike Glendale on Saturday, Sept. 27th.

Moving story from Pasadena City College about a woman biking across the country to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Just ignore the inappropriate, victim-blaming headline.

Santa Clarita kids can get a free ice cream just for wearing their helmet when they ride a bike.

A crazed driver in a Range Rover speeds up and crosses onto the wrong side of the street just to try — and fail — to spit at Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson as he rode to the Milt Olin protest ride; he encourages everyone to write the DA to protest the decision not to file charges in the Olin case. And too bad he didn’t get video of the other jackass.

 

State

Governor Brown signs a bill allowing triple bike racks on Metro and other transit buses.

This is why you don’t respond physically to dangerous drivers. A Newport Beach rider faces a felony vandalism charge after allegedly throwing a water bottle at a woman’s car.

The Thousand Oaks Acorn says distracted driving laws should apply to everyone — including sheriff’s deputies.

The CHP issues a $50,000 arrest warrant for a Solano County driver who hasn’t been seen since she killed a 72-year old cyclist last march.

The birth of mountain biking in Marin County.

 

National

He gets it. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says a new bike/pedestrian initiative is critical for the future of the country.

Heartbreaking letter from the mother of a fallen Seattle area cyclist who did everything right — yet the driver who killed him was fined just $175 for a crosswalk violation.

Clearly, he doesn’t get it. A road raging Seattle driver shoots a bike rider in the arm as he tried to ride away following a traffic dispute; if the driver had just run him down with his truck instead, he probably wouldn’t face charges.

Continuing our Seattle theme, the city is evidently plagued by scofflaw cyclists with world class speed.

Oklahoma City approves an eight mile, $13.8 million bike path.

Caught on video: How to steal a New York bike in less than 25 seconds.

 

International

Cyclists are bullied by motor vehicles in Trinidad and Tobago as riders push for safer roads.

Is deadly force appropriate for salmon cycling? Quebec police reportedly pinned a badly injured bike rider to the ground after they ran him over attempting to make a traffic stop; he died later at a hospital.

The guitarist for the band Pendulum offers his five favorite places to ride in the UK.

A secret Manchester cyclist posts helmet cam video of bad driver behavior online.

Clearly, hit-and-run is not just an LA, or even an American, problem, as an Irish driver gets three years for fleeing the scene after running down a cyclist — without ever taking his foot off the accelerator.

When cycling is unpleasant, people will continue to pay to park their cars regardless of the cost.

Pretty funny, alright. Aussie pipe bomb makers joked about running down a cyclist while on a local bombing spree.

 

Finally…

No. Just, no. A Brit cyclist punches out a 75-year old man after exchanging words while riding on the sidewalk, leaving the victim with fractures to his face and collarbone. And an Ottawa driver is lucky to get off with a stern talking to after dooring the deputy police chief.

 

Morning Links: CHP motorcycle cop demonstrates his ignorance of the law; meet LADOT’s Seleta Reynolds

One of the primary tenets of the American justice system is that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

That is, you’re responsible for obeying it even if you don’t know something is illegal; it’s your responsibility to know the law.

But what if the one who doesn’t know the law is the person charged with enforcing it?

That’s what appears to have happened over the weekend, as cyclist Topher Mathers was forced off the road by a CHP motorcycle cop while riding downhill on Angeles Crest Highway.

Over the weekend I was cited for CVC 21202 as I was descending Angeles Crest Hwy by a CHP motorcycle officer. Before the officer pulled me over, he told me to get onto the shoulder to allow the cars behind me to pass. To note I was coming out of a series of turns and had yet been able to take my eyes off the road ahead of me to check for traffic behind me. Furthermore, the officer’s command was problematic because there is no real shoulder along the crest, just gravel, debris from car and motorcycle accidents and either the side of the San Gabriel Mountains or a cliff. The manner in which the officer engaged me not only startled me but it in fact endangered me. He did not use his siren or lights, he just pulled up alongside of me (well within in 3ft) and began giving commands. He informed me that my “delaying traffic time was over” and in the process forced me to process the situation and defend my actions all while actively descending a mountain. I informed him “I do not need to ride the shoulder.” Once he decided to pull me over he began forcing me onto the shoulder. He became angered, as he was not satisfied by my bicycle’s slowing speed, apparently not accounting for fact that I’m on a bicycle, not a motorcycle and that I am slowing down onto gravel. He initially indicated that he was going to cite me for impeding traffic but I guess he realized it was too hard to prove (less than 5 cars and they had all passed on by then) and ended up citing me for CVC 21202.

I attempted to question the officer once we came to a full stop but by this time I had my phone out and was filming, he became non-responsive.

I don’t even know where to start.

CVC 21202 does in fact require cyclists to ride as far to the right has practicable. However, nothing in California law requires cyclists to ride on the shoulder or to the right of the right limit line; the traffic lane is to the left of the line, and anything to the right is not legally considered part of the roadway.

In addition, if the officer had read a little further, he would have noticed a long list of exceptions under which CVC 21202 does not apply — including any traffic lane too narrow to safely share with a bike and a motor vehicle, which would include virtually every inch of Angeles Crest.

So much for that ticket.

And as Mather suggests, the standard for impeding traffic is a minimum of five vehicles stuck behind a slower vehicle and unable to pass. Again, if there are less than five cars behind, or if the cars can pass — even one at a time — the law does not apply.

Not to mention that common sense should come into play when a rider is busy negotiating a tricky descent.

More troubling than the officer’s ignorance of the law, however, was his use of a motor vehicle as a weapon to force Mather’s bike off the roadway — ignoring the fact that pushing the rider into gravel at speed could result in a potentially deadly fall, whether off the hillside or back into the path of the trailing traffic.

In fact, any use of a motor vehicle — any motor vehicle — to stop a cyclist should be considered deadly force, and its use banned by every department unless the officer’s life, or that of someone else, is in imminent danger. Which was hardly the case here.

Finally, there’s the officer’s ignorance of the physics of bicycling, as he somehow expected a bike rider going downhill at speed to instantly pull over and stop on a dime. Let alone conduct a conversation with a motorcycle rider violating the state’s new three-foot law.

All of which brings up a problem we’ve discussed many times before.

Virtually no law enforcement agency anywhere in the country trains its officers in bike law, and in how bikes operate.

The LAPD is one of the few that offers any training at all. And that only in the form of a interactive video session that all street level officers were required to view, and few remember.

To the best of my knowledge, the CHP doesn’t offer any bike training at all, either in the academy or after officers are on the streets.

And that has to change.

Now.

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Local

Help welcome new LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds to LA with a reception Tuesday, Sept 23rd in DTLA.

A while back we discussed a new bike valet program at the Westfield Century City shopping center, which has now been expanded to include changing rooms, lockers and, yes, showers. Although, as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot points out, they could promote it a lot better (scroll down… keep going… all the way).

Bikes secured with cable locks are disappearing from bike racks at CSUN.

The Burbank bikelash has begun, as a letter writer says bikes have made that city’s streets unsafe for the motor vehicles that have made them unsafe for everyone else. Thanks to Adeel Mansoor for the heads-up.

South Bay cities meet to talk bike corrals on Thursday.

 

State

New signage and sharrows are being installed on San Diego’s Fiesta Island in the wake of the alleged drunken wrong-way driver who injured several cyclists.

The family of Alejandro Rendon, the unarmed bike rider killed by Indio police officers because he looked suspicious, have settled their lawsuit against the department for an undisclosed — but hopefully very large — amount.

A cyclist riding from Vancouver to the Mexican border to promote Blackburn Designs was injured in a Santa Cruz collision.

 

National

New wind tunnel tests confirm shaving your legs can shave up to 7% off your racing times.

Here’s a good idea. A new Crash Sensor can send an emergency test message, including your location, if you’re injured in a crash.

Four US mayors explain why better bike networks matter.

Cyclists call on Wyoming legislators for new protections after four bike riders have lost their lives in the state this year.

Interesting appeals court ruling from Illinois says cities can be held responsible when snowplows block bike lanes and sidewalks, forcing cyclists and pedestrians into the street. Not a problem we often have here, though some parallels could apply.

The New York Post says visit Colorado for a beer and biking biathlon.

Seth Rogen lashes out against Citi Bike on his Twitter account.

New York’s Vision Zero plan gets $25 million in federal funding; to the best of my knowledge, no one in LA’s city government has even uttered the phrase yet.

 

International

A separated bike lane in a Vancouver suburb has to be removed after motorists rip out the bollards.

A Brit bike thief trades up, leaving his old bike in place of the new one he took.

Seriously? Australia’s Daily Telegraph calls plans for a protected bike lane on a Sydney street part of the mayor’s jihad on motorists.

Caught on video: An Aussie cyclist defends the magpies that attacked him 14 times in 45 seconds while he rides.

A Kiwi transport researcher says only smaller roads and more congestion will free us from traffic.

 

Finally…

Unbelievable. A Louisiana jury acquits a driver in the death of a cyclist — even though he fled the scene, failed to render aid to the victim, was driving without a license or valid plates, and still had a BAC over the legal limit five hours after the collision.

And shockingly, a Salinas woman had yet another crash over the weekend while driving under the influence and on a suspended license. She had 12 prior collisions, including killing a pedestrian — and was found at fault for 11 of them — yet was still allowed to own a car, let alone drive it.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Lawndale collision; details unknown

Once again, few details are available as the recent rash of bad news continues.

This morning, I was alerted to yet another bicycling fatality by a sharp eyed attorney, who spotted the news hidden in a string of traffic alerts from the CHP (scroll down to 7:14 am).

Based on that alert, Johnson Attorneys Group reports a rider in his 40s was killed in a Lawndale collision that occurred on Manhattan Beach Blvd near Cranbrook Ave in Lawndale at 7:14 this morning.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:30 am. No other details are available at this time.

Cranbrook does not actually intersect with Manhattan Beach Blvd; a satellite view shows a four lane, limited access street with a single crosswalk, suggesting the victim was most likely either hit from behind or crossing the street at the time of the collision.

However, the CHP reports indicate all lanes were blocked following the collision, which would most likely place the victim in the middle of the street when he was struck; El Camino College is located on the south side of Manhattan Beach Blvd, along with a golf course.

This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th in Los Angeles County; that compares to 65 and 27, respectively, this time las year.

Update: According to the Daily Breeze, the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was a man in his 60s. And as suggested above, he was riding his bike in the crosswalk when he was hit by a Hyundai sedan driving east on Manhattan Beach. 

A CHP spokesman reports the driver did not see the victim, despite flashing warning lights on the crosswalk; a comment below suggests he may have been blinded by the sun. 

Of course, the proper response when blinded is to pull over until you can see, rather than attempting to drive by braille, yet it is seldom prosecuted.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

61-year old bike rider killed in Huntington Beach; second cycling death in the city in just five days

Not again.

For the second time in just five days, a bicyclist has been killed in a Huntington Beach collision.

According to the Orange County Breeze, the OC Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 61-year old William Rowland, Jr of Costa Mesa.

Rowland was hit by a car shortly after 7:30 pm Friday at the intersection of Yorktown Ave and Education Way in Huntington Beach. He was transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he died shortly after midnight the following day.

A satellite view shows a bike lane in each direction on Yorktown, with the three-way intersection controlled only by a stop sign on Education Way.

No other information is available at the time; the paper reports the collision is still under investigation.

His death follows on the heels of the alleged DUI collision that took the life of 55-year old Michael Bastien of Huntington Beach on Monday, less than eight miles away.

This is the 66th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th in Orange County. And it’s the 6th cycling death this year in Huntington Beach, which has apparently become a very dangerous place to ride a bike.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for William Rowland, Jr and all his loved ones.

Bike rider killed in Chula Vista; 65th SoCal cycling fatality this year

Sometimes, all it takes is a single mistake.

That seems to be what happened in Chula Vista, as a bike rider was killed in a collision Friday afternoon.

According to the Union-Tribune and other sources, the cyclist, who was identified only as a 60-year old man, was riding south on the 800 block of Hilltop Drive, near Telegraph Canyon Road, around 3:10 pm. According to witnesses, he was on the far right edge of the road when he suddenly made a sharp left turn directly in front of a pickup traveling in the same direction.

He was declared dead at the scene, after the driver was unable to avoid hitting him. No word on why the victim may have turned without warning, or apparently looking for traffic before turning.

This is the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in San Diego County. It’s also the 2nd cycling death in Chula Vista this year, and the 5th since 2012.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

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