Archive for Bikes & the Law

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.

……..

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.

……..

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.

……..

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.

 

Breaking News: No justice for OC cyclist Kenneth Prevatte; civil suit filed in Debra Deem case

Once again, there’s no justice for a fallen rider.

Late Tuesday, I received an email from the sister of Kenneth Prevatte, killed in a rear-end collision while riding in a Sunset Beach bike lane on PCH in Huntington Beach over two years ago. She informed me that Becki Lee James, the driver charged in the death of the popular Long Beach cyclist, was acquitted in a trial this week.

She reports James had been charged with vehicular manslaughter; she had originally been arrested on suspicion of felony DUI causing great bodily injury & gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

No word yet on why the alcohol charges had been dropped or why she was acquitted in what seemed like a clear cut case; hopefully we’ll have more information soon.

But at least the Orange County District Attorney should be congratulated for filing charges in a case with no guarantee of victory — unlike the LA DA.

And hopefully, Prevatte’s family will get the justice they deserve in civil court.

In an aside to the case, one of the potential jurors dismissed from the jury pool in the James trial was the brother of teenage cyclist Sean Severson, killed while biking to school in Fountain Valley.

Pity that those who would make the best jurors in cases like this are the ones who are automatically excluded.

……..

Speaking of civil court, I received a press release from Torrance-based law firm AgnewBrusavich, the firm behind the CalBikeLAw.com website, announcing they had filed a civil suit in the death of cyclist Debra Deem.

Deem, the wife of former Olympian cyclist and Cycle Werks bike shops owner Paul Deem, was riding in the bike lane on PCH in Newport Beach when she was right hooked by a driver turning onto Newport Coast Drive.

The suit alleges that the State of California and the City of Newport Beach were both negligent in the design and maintenance of what has been described as a very confusing intersection by cyclists who ride there. Unlike other intersections in the area, the bike lane reportedly disappears prior to the highway-style interchange, leaving riders with no clear pathway to the other side, and no guide for drivers on where bikes are likely to be positioned.

According to the release, Paul Deem filed the suit, at least in part, in hopes that it will bring much needed safety improvements to this section of PCH.

Meanwhile, I’m told that the case against the driver, 84-year old Robert James Anderson, ended in a mistrial on Friday; no word yet on why or if the case will be refiled.

 

Morning Links: An open letter to the LA DA’s office; Streetsblog talks with LADOT head Seleta Reynolds

The fight for justice goes on.

Following up on DA Jackie Lacey’s non-response to the LACBC’s demand for justice in the Milt Olin case, cyclist Al Williams shares an email he sent to the DA’s office. And cites a similar case from Santa Clara County where the DA actually did give a damn.

Milt Olin was cycling in a designated, marked bike lane on a clear, sunny afternoon.

While it may be legal for a sheriff’s deputy to use his computer while driving, it is not legal for him to be inattentive while driving, which he most clearly was; and it is not legal for his car to enter a designated bike lane, as his car clearly did.

It is inconceivable to conclude that Andrew Wood was other than inattentive when he struck and killed Milt Olin on 8 Dec 2013.  Please correct this decision.  Please correct the finding of your office.  It is imperative that a message be sent that inattentiveness resulting in death will not be tolerated.

James Council, the Santa Clara County deputy sheriff who “fell asleep” while driving on duty, crossed the road, and killed Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson on March 9, 2008 was charged with vehicular manslaughter by the Santa Clara Count District Attorney, plead guilty and was convicted.  (http://abc7news.com/archive/6884991/)  The punishment was distressingly minor, but at least he was charged and convicted.  You should follow this precedent.  Failure to charge Deputy Wood is an outrage.

You can contact the DA’s office to express your own outrage any of the following ways, courtesy of the LACBC.

1. E-Mail :webmail@da.lacounty.gov, bcc: info@la-bike.org

2. Snail mail to:
District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000

Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

New Vuelta winner Alberto Contador rules out a trip to the world championships; Chris Froome finished second in the race.

Caught on video: A rider in the Tour of Britain loses it on a sharp curve and takes out several spectators.

Jeremy Powers and Katie effing Compton — no really, that’s her Twitter handle — capture the Boulder Cup cyclocross race.

……..

Local

The upstart LA Register says fat bikes are big business.

Two former USC students want to cover the world with free bicycles; profits come from ads on the bikes.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with new LADOT boss Seleta Reynolds; she may just be the world-class transportation leader LA has been begging for. And deserves.

 

State

The Orange County Register takes an in-depth look at the state’s new three-foot law, which goes into effect on Tuesday.

Seriously? A reader poll in the San Diego Union Tribune’s story on the three-foot law says bikes are bigger road hogs than cars. I kid you not.

Incensed motorists accuse San Jose’s Mr. Roadshow of being biased towards bicyclists; bike riders get their say the next day. Personally, I’ve always found the column fair and balanced in dealing with road issues. Then again, I’m one of the one’s he’s accused of favoring.

Hundreds of Marin County cyclists ride to remember fellow rider Robin Williams.

If you’re riding with a fake gun and police try to stop you for a traffic violation, don’t try to flee into an acquaintance’s home — especially if she has meth and hash inside. Oops.

 

National

Miss America contestants highlight their footwear; Miss Oregon gives a whole different meaning to bike shoes.

New York bicycling injuries drop despite an increase in ridership.

A Maryland writer is shocked by the irrational hatred directed towards cyclists by online commenters, saying riders just want to safely return to their loved ones.

A Virginia writer says the first step in solving traffic problems is treating bike riders and pedestrians as respected users of the public right-of-way.

 

International

An 18-year old UK cyclist is back to riding after technically dying four times — whatever that means — following a trackside heart attack.

After a frequently photographed bike is stolen from the Scottish barn it leaned against for at least four decades, a local photographer contributes a suitably rusty replacement.

Another look at Australia’s first hydrogen-powered bicycle.

 

Finally…

Biking to work can improve your romantic relationships — and your sex life. But you already knew that, right? An actual human cyclist pulls off a video game quality stunt; even I’m impressed.

And it seems like the entire world is in an uproar over the Columbia women’s cycling team’s highly unfortunate new uniforms; some with tongue apparently planted deep in cheek.

 

Weekend Links: LA DA responds in Olin case, but says nothing; KY rider convicted for riding in the street

It didn’t take long for LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey to respond to the LACBC’s demand for justice in the Milt Olin case.

Only problem is, she didn’t have anything new to say.

In the letter (pdf), she repeats the insistence in the original refusal notice (pdf) that Deputy Wood was legally allowed to use his onboard computer when he ran Olin down last December. And that there is simply not enough evidence to get a conviction in the case.

Never mind that Wood was clearly driving distracted — which is a crime even if the driver is participating in an otherwise legal activity — as well as illegally driving in the bike lane, and admitted that he never saw the cyclist directly in front of his car. And witnesses said he never even touched his brakes before plowing into Olin’s bike.

Even I could get a conviction with evidence like that.

And never mind that prosecuting attorney’s frequently file challenging cases because they feel the victim deserves justice.

Which raises the question of what’s really going on here. And whether the DA is deliberately trying to quash the case, for reasons known only to her.

Though we can speculate.

The bottom line is, if Lacey is unwilling to prosecute in a case like this, no cyclist can expect to get justice in Los Angeles County.

Especially not if there’s a cop involved.

And that’s the real tragedy.

Here’s how to contact the DA’s office to express your outrage, courtesy of the LACBC. And if you’re not outraged, you should be.

1. E-Mail: webmail@da.lacounty.gov, bcc: info@la-bike.org

2. Snail mail to:

District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

In a bizarre miscarriage of justice, a Kentucky bike rider is convicted of careless driving for repeatedly riding in the traffic lane instead of on the shoulder on a busy multi-lane highway.

Even though the shoulder is not legally part of the roadway, and cyclists are entitled to ride in the traffic lane in every state in the Union. Yes, even in the Blue Grass State.

You can contribute to her legal fight here. And yes, she plans to appeal.

……..

Lots of writers are weighing in on bikes this weekend.

Starting close to home, a Burbank letter writer clearly gets it, saying bikes don’t impede traffic, they reduce congestion. Meanwhile, a columnist for the Daily News clearly doesn’t, insisting the new three-foot law will only make our streets narrower and that bikes could never, ever be even a small part of the solution for LA’s traffic problems.

A Riverside letter writer doesn’t get it, either, basically insisting that bike riders are all scofflaw jerks who deserve what they get.

An Arizona writer says yes, cyclists have rights, but also have responsibilities. And a Wyoming letterist takes the local paper to task for a perceived bias against bike riders.

……..

Alberto Contador extends his lead over Chris Froome to wrap up the Vuelta.

Officials insist the doping era in professional cycling is officially over; evidently, no one bothered to tell Italian rider Matteo Rabottini.

And in non-pro cycling, a 70-year old New England cyclist took home three golds from the US masters road championships.

……..

Local

An architect and urban planner says it’s time to speed up the scope and pace of urban change in the City of Angels — including replacing Copenhagen as the bike capital of the world.

The LACBC offers members a free Basic Bicycling Skills class on Saturday the 20th.

Also on the 20th, Helen’s Cycles hosts a monthly no-drop Women’s Only Group Ride. The same day, Helen’s holds a free training ride for the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo Italia.

Glendale residents discuss where to locate a bike, ped and possibly equestrian bridge over the LA River.

Gritty Wilmington has the most extensive bike network in the city — and maybe the state — with 21.6 miles of connected bike lanes.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist is seriously injured after allegedly running a red light.

The Riverside Police Department asks for the public’s help in solving the hit-and-run death of bike rider D’Andre Sutherland last month.

Riverside entrepreneur Michael Cachat parlays his love of bicycling into a $28 million business.

A Jurupa Valley bike rider suffers major injuries in a Thursday afternoon collision.

A fake Palo Alto cop pulls over and chastises a teenage cyclist while waving a gun.

A helmet-wearing Sacramento comedian suffers a concussion in a collision.

 

National

City Lab explains what a road diet is and why even the US Department of Transportation recommends them; evidently, they know something CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo doesn’t. Or doesn’t want to, maybe.

The next step in accommodating bikes is building low-stress bike networks.

New cardboard panniers fold out on the spot to carry your belongings.

In Tucson, even streetcar drivers are disciplined for driving too close to a bike rider.

Was Boise’s failed buffered bike lane project designed to do so?

A Milwaukee website says protected bike lanes are the silver bullet of bike safety.

New York plans bike corrals in front of four Prospect Heights bars, even if not everyone gets it.

Caught on video: A New York rider captures a dooring and its aftermath on helmet cam.

Baton Rouge gets bike wayfinding signage right.

 

International

Sad news from the UK, as the girlfriend of a British mountain biker is killed when another rider loses control as she stood next to the course to see her boyfriend compete.

British Cycling plans to get more women riding in Wales and Scotland, the latter of which may derail their plans by untying the United Kingdom.

An Aussie advocacy group calls trucks wheels of mass destruction.

An Australian state DOT rejects “radical” bike rule changes, including an Idaho stop law and legalizing sidewalk riding. No, radical would be arming cyclists to defend themselves against threatening drivers.

 

Finally…

Seriously? A Cincinnati letter writer calls for red and orange safety warning triangles on bikes. Seattle moves to invalidate marijuana tickets written by a bike cop who actually flipped a coin to decide who to write up.

And after a Biloxi man steals a police bike, cops chase him down on foot — because he stole their bike.

 

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.

……..

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.

……..

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.

 

Morning Links: No contest plea in Phillip O’Neill case, the Times gets it on 3-foot law, AnyKicks squeaks by

Maybe there’s justice after all.

Monday morning the driver responsible for the violent death of Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill accepted a plea deal that will put him behind bars, at least for awhile.

O’Neill was riding with a companion on a designated Class 3 bike route on Del Mar Blvd when he was hit from behind with enough force to throw him into a parked car on the opposite side of the street.

According to the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition, which was formed in response to O’Neill’s death, Jose Gonzales pled no contest to a charge of vehicular manslaughter. He will be sentenced at that end of the month to terms including:

  • 90 days jail
  • 45 days Cal Trans service work
  • 3 years probation
  • Participation in HAM (Hospital and Morgue) program — a “scared straight” program for DUI offenders
  • $13,000 restitution

Although there is no true “justice” in a case like this, PasCSC would like to thank prosecuting attorney Joon Kim for his efforts to hold the operator of the motor vehicle responsible for this thoroughly preventable collision, especially in light of the failure to do so in other recent fatal collisions involving pedestrians and/or cyclists. Operating a motor vehicle while distracted or under the influence of alcohol  or other drugs is never an accident. And it too often comes at too great a cost to innocent bystanders.

Clearly, it’s not enough.

The life of an innocent victim should be worth more than a mere three months in jail. But given the limitations in current laws, and considering how seldom drivers face any jail time at all — let alone prosecution — this is one we can all be grateful for.

In fact, O’Neill’s family, and the woman who was riding with him — who has asked not to be identified — have asked cyclists to write Pasadena Deputy City Prosecutor Joon Kim to thank him for his dogged persistence in prosecuting this case. As she put it,

He did not waver on sentencing, and felt strongly that taking a life through reckless driving be punished.

You can write Kim at:

Joon Kim
100 North Garfield Avenue, suite N 210
Pasadena, CA 91101

……..

We mentioned this one the other day, even though there were no bikes involved. Prosecutors announced that the North Dakota woman who killed an 89-year old North Dakota grandmother while scrolling through Facebook while driving at 85 mph will face a well-deserved charge of negligent homicide.

No word on how much time she could face.

……..

Now there’s something you don’t see every day, as two pro cyclists are kicked out of the Vuelta for coming to blows while on their bikes. Road.cc profiles the final week of the race, while Contador takes control.

Just weeks after suffering major brain and facial injuries when he rear-ended a support vehicle during Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge, rookie pro cyclist Ian Crane is recovering and hopes to get back to racing.

……..

Now that was close.

BikinginLA sponsor AnyKicks made their $30,000 goal for funding on Kickstarter with just $66 to spare. Thanks to everyone here who helped push them over the top.

……..

Local

Streetsblog posts a short video by Nathan Lucero documenting last week’s ride and vigil calling for justice for fallen cyclist Milt Olin.

They get it. A Times editorial calls the new three-foot passing law, which takes effect next week, a smart first step in rational road-sharing, and part of a long, slow process in building a bike-friendly society.

Evidently, when you’re on meth, it’s hard to remember you don’t have to say yes when police ask to check your backpack.

Long Beach needs volunteers for this year’s bike count.

 

State

Next City looks at AB 1193, recently passed by the state legislature to legalize protected bike lanes in California, which are technically banned under current regulations.

Who’s the real victim? The driver who injured a woman when he plowed into the Zombie Walk during San Diego’s Comic-Con has sued the San Diego Police Department for creating a “confusing and misleading situation for motorists.” Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

San Diego’s next CicloSDias rolls through the Hillcrest neighborhood in November.

Wish I could be there. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition rides in honor of fellow cyclist Robin Williams.

 

National

Someone forward this to anti-bike lane LA Councilmember Gil Cedillo. Results from New York show road diets can actually improve traffic flow and reduce delays, while confirming that protected bike lanes improve safety for everyone.

Seattle’s new protected bike lane on Second Ave proves a hit with cyclists, even as it confuses motorists. Unfortunately, it came a week too late for cyclist Sher Kung, one of the attorneys who successfully fought the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Tragic news from Chicago, as local actress Molly Glynn died in a freak accident when a tree fell on her while she was riding during a storm; she had a recurring role in the TV show Chicago Fire. Note to the Chicago Tribune: Whether Glynn was wearing a helmet might have mattered if she was hit by a falling branch; a falling tree, not so much.

Streetsblog Chicago questions whether the Second City really deserves to be ranked as America’s second best bike city.

In a truly bizarre case, Muncie IN authorities try to inform a woman her brother was killed when his bike was hit by a car — only to discover she had evidently been undiscovered after dying late last week.

Even after a New York cyclist tracked down the hit-and-run driver that left her lying injured in the street, the NYPD can’t be bothered to talk to the suspect.

Evidently, you have to be crazy to ride in bike-unfriendly Alabama.

 

International

At least the deputy in the Milt Olin case didn’t back over his victim after hitting him, unlike police in Ontario, Canada.

An 84-year old British man overcame two broken hips to set a new hour record for the 80 to 84 age group. Of course, it’s easier to set the record when no one that age has ever attempted it, but still.

The UK woman who called for assertive action to halt a pair of organized rides backed off when no one else came to her support.

A Brit driver loses her license for a whopping six months for fatally dooring a cyclist. No fine. No jail time. No justice.

A Kiwi cyclist is viciously attacked by two road raging motorcyclists after one knocks him down.

 

Finally…

Former Sopranos star Edie Falco is a four time loser to bike theft, after her treasured ebike is stolen in New York. An Omaha cyclist rides into a puddle, and finds himself neck deep in a sink hole. And evidently, a bike makes a good getaway vehicle when robbing an Aussie brothel.

 

Morning Links: Cyclists ride for justice; LACBC ED Jen Klausner resigns, Los Angeles is nation’s 28th Best Bike City

As it turned out, I missed Wednesday night’s ride and vigil calling for justice for Milt Olin when complications from my diabetes once again knocked me on my ass.

Fortunately, a lot of riders didn’t.

According to Streetsblog, roughly 75 riders made the 30 mile journey from Calabasas, where Milt Olin was run down by an admittedly distracted sheriff’s deputy last December, to the District Attorney’s office in Downtown LA to demand justice for Olin after the DA refused to file charges. That number swelled to an estimated 125 as other voices joined in.

I’ll leave reporting of the event to those who were actually there. The Los Angeles Register and the LA Daily News both offer in-depth reports on the ride and vigil, and the events leading up to it, while KABC-7 has video from the scene. And Gary Kavanagh captures the event with his usual great camera work.

Meanwhile, you can read the full three-page letter from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition urging the DA to reconsider the decision not to file charges.

But perhaps more than anything else, this simple tweet from the Milt Olin Foundation says it best.

Olin-Tweet

……..

Speaking of the LACBC, they have big news.

Jennifer Klausner, executive director of the LACBC, announced her resignation from the coalition, effective at the end of the year.

Over the past seven years, Jen has overseen the growth of the coalition from a single employee — herself — to 12, as well as the birth of a lucky 13 local chapters throughout the county. And helped make the LACBC Southern California’s dominant voice for cyclists; the boom in local bike-friendliness occurred, not just on her watch, but in large part thanks to her leadership.

I am heartbroken to see her go.

In the five years I’ve been involved with the coalition, Jen has always been a vital part of it, adding her warmth, insight and humor to whatever issues confronted the organization, and leading the group through all the many ups and down. Such an important part, in fact, that I can’t imagine the LACBC without her.

And yet, she leaves it positioned for even greater growth and success in the years to come.

The coalition will undoubtedly find a new Executive Director, one with the leadership skills to build it into one of the nation’s leading bicycle advocacy organizations, as it should be for a city this size, and with a ridership as vast and varied as we enjoy.

But we will never find another Jen.

You can read her full resignation letter here.

Full disclosure: I am a board member of the LACBC; however, I have been inactive for most of this year as I’ve dealt with health issues that have kept me largely incapacitated; I hope to return to my duties on the board before Jen leaves, and help with the transition to a new director.

……..

Caught on video: This one’s way too close for comfort, as a cyclist narrowly avoids getting sideswiped by a cattle trailer in what could be an intentional assault — note the puff of black smoke as the driver cuts the rider off, in a practice known as rolling coal.

……..

Bicycling shocks everyone by naming New York the nation’s Best Bike City with Chicago second; Portland is demoted to number four while my hometown clocks in at number nine.

A bigger surprise is the city found at number 28 — yes, not only did Los Angeles actually make the list, we came in just five notches below Long Beach and five above Thousand Oaks. Surprisingly, bike friendly Santa Monica didn’t make the cut.

……..

Phillip Young, President of the San Diego Wheelmen, sends a reminder that cyclist Juan Carlos Viñolo and his family needs our help.

Viñolo suffered a severe spinal cord injury when he was hit, along with several other riders, by a drunken wrong way driver on San Diego’s Fiesta Island. In an act of bravery, he pushed another rider aside and took the full impact of the collision himself, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

The Juan Carlos Fund has raised over $172,000 for medical expenses and to support his family, but much more is needed. Your generosity could make all the difference.

……..

Lots of events and opportunities to learn how to ride, or ride better, coming up.

CICLE is offering an adult bicycling for beginners class in Eagle Rock this Sunday.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition hosts a teen bike safety workshop on Saturday, the 27th.

CORBA — not the elusive albino cobra — is providing an Introduction to Mountain Biking Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park this Saturday.

Marina del Rey Middle School hosts a Kids Bike Festival this Sunday.

The LACBC host their monthly Sunday Funday ride in Carson on Sunday.

Join CicLAvia for an afternoon of open houses and events exploring the newly pedestrian friendly Broadway in DTLA this Saturday, followed by a screening of Mulholland Drive at the spectacular Million Dollar Theater.

Bike riders are invited to attend a party celebrating the launch of Eddi, a new mobile marketplace app that promises to change the way we buy and sell things. The free event takes place in Pasadena this Saturday, from 7 to 10 pm.

You’re invited to celebrate the start of cyclocross season with the Pedal Cross Mulholland Gravel Grinder Ride at Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas this Sunday.

……..

Local

Flying Pigeon looks at the ins-and-outs of riding bikes with kids.

Streetsblog and LA Walks want your vote to win a grant to organize a Vision Zero plan for LA.

Writing for Streetsblog, Roger Rudick says police need to innovate, not prevaricate. And stop parking in the damn bike lane, already.

Seven suspects have now been arrested in a string of assaults on Santa Clarita bike paths; two have already been sent to juvenile camps.

 

State

CABO confusingly clarifies their opposition to AB 1193, the badly needed new law approving protected bike lanes currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature.

Fullerton finally looks at bike safety improvements following the needless death of rider Raphael Correa.

Once again, a killer driver gets off with no charges, this time for the Newport Beach death of cyclist Paul Lin.

The Orange County Register says this is the best time of the year. I couldn’t agree more; now that the tourists are gone, we can have the often overcrowded beachfront bike paths to ourselves.

San Diego plows under a rogue mountain bike park in Balboa Park.

Bike share bites the dust in La Jolla.

Tips for hassle-free riding in San Francisco.

Battle lines are drawn over proposed bike lanes in San Rafael; as usual, fears of lost parking lead the way.

 

National

VeloNews remembers a 2003 interview with fellow cyclist Robin Williams.

Colorado cyclists — and riders everywhere — are finding comfortable alternatives to spandex.

It’s all the way down in the last sentence. But the Denver Broncos will be hosting a 500-space bike valet at their games this year.

Bike friendly Colorado continues to be the thinnest state in the Union; bike unfriendly West Virginia and Mississippi, not so much. Not surprisingly, people are healthier where more walk or bike to work.

DC proposes effectively banning bikes from streets with streetcar tracks.

In a truly heartbreaking story, a cyclist is fatally stabbed by a homeless man in Florida as he neared the finish of a cross-country ride to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

How Cuban cyclists fix their bikes when there are no parts available in the country.

London’s mayor calls for segregated cycleways through the city.

Bike riding is now the key for British employees to get ahead at work.

Giovanni Pinarello, founder of the iconic brand, died at age 92 after a good, long life.

Pro cycling’s toughest rider, the recently retired Jens Voigt, will attempt to set a new hour record later this month.

 

Finally…

Britain’s angriest driver fined £500 for swearing at a cyclist 25 times in 35 seconds. Cycling in the South Bay learns what it feels like when the bike shoe is on the other foot.

And no bikes involved, fortunately, as a driver is arrested for a Santa Ana hit-and-run — by the same cop as he was for another hit-and-run at the same intersection 19 years earlier.

 

All hands on deck: Ride and vigil tonight for justice in Milt Olin case; is the DA’s office involved in a cover-up?

Let’s be honest.

When a prosecutor really wants to file charges in a traffic case, they’ll tear the vehicle code apart until they find something that sticks.

So when the DA’s office examines a case and concludes there’s nothing there, it’s more often an indication that they don’t want to prosecute, for whatever reason.

Like when it’s a cop who ran down a cyclist, for instance.

When the LA County DA’s office announced last week they weren’t filing charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, they concluded (pdf) that he had not violated the state prohibition against texting while driving because police officers in the course of their duty are exempted from the law. Never mind that he’d also been texting — illegally — with his wife as recently as one minute prior to the wreck.

And yet, I’ve repeatedly been told by officers from a number of different police agencies that it’s not just the act of texting behind the wheel that’s against the law, but simply being distracted while driving. For whatever reason.

From putting on makeup or eating, to simply changing the stations on the radio. And yes, some people still listen to the radio when they drive.

Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is distracted driving. Or as cited by the LA Times, “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

By that standard, Deputy Wood was clearly distracted when he ran down Olin’s bike from behind.

In fact, by his own admission, he never even saw Olin or knew he was driving in the bike lane when he hit him at somewhere around 48 mph, which was his last recorded speed prior to the impact.

He could just as well have been charged with making an illegal lane change. Or driving in a bike lane.

Or even the catch-all violation when police can’t come up with anything else to charge a driver — or too often, a bike rider — with, violating CVC 22350, the state’s basic speed law.

After all, no speed is safe when you have no idea where you’re driving or what’s in the road directly in front of you.

And any or all of which could be used to support the sheriff’s investigator’s recommended charge of vehicular manslaughter.

So the question becomes one of why they’re not willing to file charges. Any charges.

It could, as many have speculated, be a case of looking out for their own; the District Attorney relies on police officers to build their cases, and may be reluctant to prosecute an officer as a result.

Or it could simply be that the death of a cyclist — even one as prominent as entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive Milt Olin — just isn’t worth their time.

Or it could be a cover-up.

By prosecuting Wood, the deputy could be forced to testify in his defense that, even though using the onboard computer while driving is officially against sheriff’s department policy, the unofficial policy encourages officers to do just the opposite.

Which would make higher-ups in the department complicit in Olin’s death. And could have led them to pressure the DA not to file.

Maybe there’s a more innocent explanation for the failure to charge the driver with something.

Anything.

But the official explanation doesn’t hold water.

And the fact that they’ve left themselves open to this kind of speculation shows just how wrong that decision was.

………

If this case pisses you off as much as it does me, you’ll have your chance to demand justice for Milt Olin, and all of us, tonight.

The LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA are hosting a ride and vigil for Milt Olin to call on the DA to revisit the case and press charges.

This is an all-hands-on-deck demand for justice.

If there’s any way you can be there for all or part of it, you owe it to yourself to attend. Because the more people who participate, and the more varied the riders who attend, the better our message will penetrate the insulated offices of the District Attorney.

I’m going to do my best to attend the vigil, at least. If you don’t see me there, it means my health has knocked me on my ass once again.

From the LACBC website:

When: Wednesday, September 3

Schedule:

  • 4:00 p.m. Meet at crash site (around 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302)
  • 4:15 p.m. Moment of silence
  • 4:30 p.m. Start ride
  • 6:30 p.m. Leave from the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027). Other riders can meet up here.
  • 7:30-8:00 p.m. Arrive at District Attorney’s office (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
  • 8:00 p.m. Candlelight vigil

The public is invited to join us at the beginning, ride with us, join us for the vigil, or meet us at any point along the way (exact route to be determined).

Route: https://goo.gl/maps/Y4xFh

The route follows major streets through the San Fernando Valley and Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. Riders will be expected to stay alert and follow all traffic laws. The ride is scheduled to arrive in Downtown just after sunset, therefore lights are required by law.

The route is 30 miles. Riders should come prepared with water and snacks to stay fueled.

Shorter options:

  • Start at the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027) for an approximately 10-mile ride into Downtown. Please arrive no later than 6:15 and be ready to ride by 6:30 p.m.
  • Start in Calabasas, ride 17 miles to the Universal City Red Line station (located at Lankershim Blvd and Campo de Cahuenga), and take the Red Line to Civic Center, where the D.A.’s office is located (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012). Riders who lag behind the main group will be asked to take this option.
  • Join us for the vigil. People are welcome to skip the ride and meet us at the D.A.’s office. The ride is expected to arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.
  • Meet us along the way. We will do our best to live-tweet our location with the hashtag #rideformilt. Follow us @lacbc.

Getting to the ride:

  • The start is on a suburban section of Mulholland Highway with little to no on-street parking (approximate address: 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302). We recommend taking the Metro Orange Line or Orange Line Bike Path to De Soto or Canoga and riding from there. Free park-and-rides are available along the Orange Line.
  • Check out the Facebook event and feel free to post feeder rides there.

Getting from the ride:

  • The best option is always riding (with lights!) or taking transit.
  • If you parked at a Metro Orange Line park-and-ride, take the Red Line from Civic Center to North Hollywood. Then either transfer to the Orange Line (limit 3 bikes per bus) or ride along the Orange Line Bike Path to your car.

Questions? Post them in the Facebook event or call the office at 213-629-2142 and we’ll do our best to respond before the ride.

 

Morning Links: More on misguided Olin decision; protected bikeways and hit-and-run bills pass legislature

More on the DA’s refusal to prosecute the sheriff’s deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin, as cyclists urge the DA to change her mind.

Meanwhile, the local Calabasas paper picks up the story, while Digital Music News offers an angry response. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton rails against the decision. And the story goes international, courtesy of London’s Daily Mail; thanks to Kevin Hopps for the tip.

LA Daily News writer Brenda Gazzar writes that the Sheriff’s Department will open an internal affairs investigation into Deputy Andrew Wood now that the investigation is complete; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. Be sure follow her if you’re on Twitter for the latest updates and best reporting on this case.

For those who want to do more than sit and seethe, a protest ride and vigil will held next Wednesday, sponsored by the LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA.

milt_olin_FLYR

……..

Despite difficult to understand opposition from CABO, the protected bikeways bill sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition passed the legislature Thursday and awaits the governor’s signature. The bill will allow protected bikeways, which are currently considered experimental under California law, as long as they adhere to NACTO guidelines.

Meanwhile, two hit-and-run bills sponsored by Glendale Assembly Member Mike Gatto passed, as well; AB 47 will create a Yellow Alert system to notify the public about significant hit-and-runs, while AB 1532 would automatically suspend the license of any driver convicted of hit-and-run. Thanks to Finish the Ride for the heads-up.

……..

LA Weekly rides along to the Emmys with Mad Men writer/producer Tom Smuts and company.

……..

Alejandro Valverde captures stage six of the Vuelta. Disappointing that one of the world’s great bike classics is getting so little coverage, especially when it promises to be one of the best in years.

And even though Lizzie Armistead has already wrapped up the Women’s World Cup, there’s still a lot at stake in the final race.

……..

Local

Two miles of new bike path open along the LA River in the West Valley.

Flying Pigeon questions whether North Figueroa drivers really want faster speeds or better traffic flow.

Fig4All explains how one misguided councilmember can derail a much needed safety improvement project on North Figueroa. And what can be done about it.

Bicyclists in the City of Angeles will ride in solidary with the Afghan women’s cycling team “and all women who ride bikes in the face of adversity” this Saturday.

LA cyclists ride to remember three fallen Belizean riders.

Who knew? The Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills was once home to some of the region’s finest bike trails.

Santa Monica police bust a bait bike thief.

A jogger is critically injured running in the bike lane on PCH in west Malibu when he’s hit by a car, which doesn’t bode well for cyclists using the lane intended for them. Correction: It turns out that’s not a bike lane, after all. 

 

State

San Diego’s new Bicycle Advisory Committee promises to make the city better for biking

Santa Barbara gets $8.6 million for bike projects, while Goleta gets $3.654 million and Santa Ana gets a relatively paltry $3 million.

Sadly, a Roseville rider is killed by her own SUV when it rolls over her while she’s trying to remove her bike from the back.

 

National

Momentum Magazine lists the next great bicycling cities, while Bicycling is about to offer an updated list of the nation’s top 10 bike cities. Do I really need to mention that LA didn’t make either list?

A 91-year old Oregon WWII and Vietnam Vet plans to keep riding despite being hit by a car.

No distracted driving law means the penalty for hitting a Texas cyclist is no worse than getting a speeding ticket.

Despite the LSU paper’s apparent ethical dilemma, bike theft is just wrong. Period.

A 75-year old former Manhattan bike commuter reminds his fellow Virginia riders they’re not above the law.

Milt Olin isn’t the only cyclist to lose his life to a sheriff’s deputy, as a 15-year old Florida boy is run down for no apparent reason by a patrol car driven by a Lee County deputy.

 

International

Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich puts his NHL career on hold to recover from serious injuries suffered in a frightening bike collision last month.

The UK government is urged to protect funding for bikes and pedestrians.

Half of Brit drivers break the law; I suspect the percentage would be a lot higher here.

Turns out London cyclists aren’t a danger to guide dogs after all.

A Brit minibus driver gets five years for killing a cyclist while looking a photos on his cell phone.

India’s Health Minister wants a nationwide network of protected bike lanes.

Clearly, it was a loss felt worldwide, as Aussie cyclists ride to remember Robin Williams.

 

Finally…

When you’re leaving an Ohio drug house with crack on your bike, put a damn bell on it if that’s what the law requires; the bike, not the crack. Now that your GoPro bike cam can give you a dog’s eye view of the world, expect to see a lot of butt close-ups.

And evidently, a pair of Laguna Beach cyclists are selling something to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Unless the local paper meant pedal, instead of peddle, of course.

 

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