Archive for Bikes & the Law

Morning Links: Beach bike path closed, slap on wrist in Glendale hit-and-run, and six years for drunken OC driver

Last Sunday’s storm wreaked havoc on the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path.

According to the LA County Department of Public Works, the winds drifted sand up to two feet deep on the path, resulting in its closure along Venice Beach, as well as from Ballona Creek south to Torrance Beach.

Work began on clearing the path on Tuesday, but it’s not expected to open until Friday. Just in time for what’s expected to be a warm and sunny weekend.

The Daily Breeze offers photos of riders trudging through the sand with their bikes.

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This is why people continue to die on our streets.

A Glendale man gets just 360 days — less than a full year — after pleading no contest in the hit-and-run death of a four-year old girl.

A slap on the wrist for leaving a little girl to die in the street in front of her own family. If that.

And to top the outrage, the judge ordered his driver’s license suspended for just six months after his release.

Six whole months.

Never mind that he violated one of the most basic rules of driving, let alone human decency, by failing to stop at the scene of a collision and render aid as the law requires.

The law has to be changed. Now.

Let’s write our state representatives, and demand that any driver who leaves the scene of a collision should have his or her license automatically revoked. Not suspended.

And not for a limited period, but permanently.

Make them appear before a judge, after any sentence has been completed, to explain their actions and beg for the chance to apply for a new one.

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There’s finally been justice in the case of fallen cyclist Matthew Liechty.

If you can call it that.

Michael Liechty reports that Antonio Magdaleno Jr. accepted a plea on Friday, nearly two years after he fled on three wheels from the DUI collision that killed Liechty’s brother while he was riding in a Newport Beach bike lane.

Magdaleno was originally charged with felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, fleeing the scene of a collision and hit-and-run with permanent and seriously injury; he had a BAC nearly two times the legal limit at the time of his arrest.

He received a six-year sentence after pleading to two felony counts, and was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his time behind bars. However, the DA handling the case reportedly said he can expect to serve just half that.

This is yet another case of California’s weak traffic laws allowing drivers back out on the streets after just a brief sentence, despite taking a human life with depraved indifference. And despite the best efforts of the Orange County DA’s office, which is one of the few in Southern California that actually takes traffic crimes seriously.

Liechty suggests that the law should be changed to mandate a charge of second degree murder for killing someone while driving under the influence.

I couldn’t agree more.

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Make your reservations for March 1st, when Metro is hosting their 2016 Active Transportation Summit.

2016 Active Transportation Summit Flyer

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Cyclelicious has created a real-time map of California bike collisions based on CHP dispatches. Which means that it includes reports that come into the CHP’s 911 dispatchers, but may not include those handled by local jurisdictions.

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Once again, a cyclist celebrates prematurely, thinking he’s won the world U-23 ‘cross title even though there’s still a lap to go.

And the father and brother of that Dutch rider who figuratively gave the cycling world the bird by motor doping are charged with literally stealing a few.

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Local

LAist explains why LA is a great city for bikeshare.

Tomorrow KPCC will feature the results of a rush hour race from Union Station to the Santa Monica pier by bike, transit and motor vehicle, to determine if the car is still king on the streets of LA. Here’s betting it isn’t.

A writer for the Daily Bruin calls for more dedicated bus — and bike — lanes prior to a possible 2024 LA Olympics, despite blowback from groups like the Westwood Neighborhood Council.

Facebook is expanding into new creative space in Playa Vista, complete with bike racks. Seriously? A development that large should be required to install a bike hub as part of the permitting process to encourage workers to leave their cars at home.

An OpEd in the Santa Monica Mirror says give the new Expo Line a chance. And put lights on your bike if you’ll be riding home from the station after dark.

A former bank building will be demolished to widen Newport Blvd in Newport Beach and make room to extend the bike lanes two blocks south to 32nd street.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition invites you to Ride Around Pomona this Saturday, and the first Saturday of every month.

 

State

Cyclists and government officials met with officials from Miramar to discuss why the Marines are confiscating bikes from trespassing riders. The official version is they don’t want you to get shot or blown up, and that warning signs on the trails get torn down as soon as they go up.

Someone stole a $2,000, three-wheeled pedicab from a Vietnamese community group in San Diego, who consider it a priceless cultural artwork.

I want to be like her when I grow up. A San Francisco woman planted herself in front of a van after a road rage assault, refusing to move until the police showed up. But all the police did was ticket the driver for violating the three-foot passing law, and ignored the threats and assault from the car’s passenger, who bravely ran away before the cops came.

A Berkeley bicyclist is in critical condition after being hit and dragged by a car.

A city planning consultant presents a bold vision for Oakland, suggesting it tear down a freeway that represents a “great gash” through the city, and replace it with a grand boulevard for walkers, cyclists and cars. Maybe someday we’ll see that kind of thinking here.

 

National

A Denver driver faces up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty for the DUI death of a cyclist; he was two and a half times the legal alcohol limit when he crossed the double yellow line to pass at least two cars on a blind curve, hitting the 38-year old father head-on.

A Cincinnati cyclist says the city needs to take its bike plan off the shelf and stop treating bicycle safety like a line item in the budget.

Unlike LA, where too many neighborhood groups fight bike lanes tooth and nail, a New York community board approves taking away a traffic lane to install a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Ave; Streetsblog explains why arguments against it don’t hold up.

Philadelphia gets its first Complete Streets Commissioner.

Sounds like fun. Washington DC plans a massive 17-mile ride around the city’s many monuments this May.

A former New Orleans police recruit is charged with second degree murder for firing his gun six times as he chased a bike thief down the street, eventually shooting him in the back of the head; his lawyer says he somehow felt threatened by the man who ran away after attempting to take his bike. Listen, I hate bike thieves as much as anyone, but seriously, don’t kill them.

 

International

Caught on video: A rear view camera catches a driver speeding up to deliberately run down a cyclist before fleeing the scene; despite clear video evidence, the authorities declined to prosecute, saying they can’t prove who was behind the wheel.

Scottish stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill takes to the snow.

Afghanistan’s women cycling federation has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize. You know it sucks in a country when just having the courage to ride a bike is enough to win international recognition.

After his son was killed when he hit a pothole while riding a bike, a Mumbai man takes it upon himself to fill potholes on the city’s streets. And yes, it was probably a motorbike, but that doesn’t lessen what the father is doing to keep it from happening to anyone else.

A writer says Malta is dangerously trapped in the auto-centric ‘50s, instead of emulating other cities where bicycling is as natural as walking.

 

Finally…

Some of our bike lanes may be useless, but at least they’re more than six feet long. People find lots of things while riding their bikes; like a human skull, for instance.

And now you can pedal away the pounds with your very own sitNcycle for just $19.95, including shipping and handling.

No, really.

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One last note.

When I announced the winner of our bike contest giveaway, I lamented that we only had one bike to give away, despite two very deserving people.

So I’m happy to report that a very generous anonymous donor has volunteered to buy a bicycle for the second place finisher, and that she’s in the process of picking out her new bike.

Which makes this a win/win in the best possible sense.

 

Morning Links: Improving bike safety on Bouquet Canyon, less liability on bike paths, and doping gets mechanical

Anyone who has ridden Bouquet Canyon through the Santa Clarita Valley — or driven it, for that matter — knows it’s a fun ride, but far from safe.

Especially at the speed too many drivers take it.

Following the death of a teenage motorist on the roadway last month, the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition has written an open letter to LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich urging safety improvements on Bouquet Canyon Road. Especially in light of its inclusion as a Class III bike route in the new county bike plan.

Their suggestions include better signage warning drivers of the possible presence of bicyclists, reducing the speed limit, and installing a rideable shoulder the full length of the road.

You can read the full letter here.

Let’s hope Antonovich does, too. Then actually does something about it.

And no, it’s not just drivers who have lost their lives there.

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A California appeals court strengthens the concept of trail immunity, which holds that land owners and government bodies aren’t responsible for dangerous conditions on trails used for recreational purposes, including bike paths.

In Teresa Burgueno, et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, the 6th Court of Appeal ruled that bike paths that are used for both recreational and transportation riding are still considered recreational trails under the law.

Which means that if you’re injured due to dangerous condition on an off-road bike path, you can’t hold anyone legally responsible for your injuries. Even if they knew about it in advance, and failed to do anything about it.

And even if it’s used by people riding to school or work, in addition to people riding for fitness or enjoyment.

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Caught on video: There is something seriously wrong with a driver who’d back up just to run a group of cyclists off the road; the incident occurred near Perth, Australia.

And yes, it’s been reported to the police.

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After years of rumors, there’s finally been a confirmed case of motor doping.

A Dutch rider competing in the women’s Under 23 Cyclocross Worlds was forced to withdraw after race authorities found an electric motor hidden inside her bike.

Naturally, she claims it wasn’t her bike and she knew nothing about it.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay calls it perhaps the goofiest scandal ever, while Bike Hugger accuses the cycling world of a Motor Omertà.

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Local

A bike rider in his 40s had to be rescued from rising waters in the LA River near Fourth Street due to Sunday’s rain. Which should serve as a reminder to avoid rivers and streams during and after a heavy rain, even if the path isn’t closed. And seriously, don’t go around the gate if it is.

You have just over a week to legally walk your bike across the Mariposa Street Bridge over the LA River; at the urging of horse riders, Burbank is scheduled to vote on the 9th to ban the mere possession of a bike on the bridge. Hopefully, they’ll listen to the Burbank Leader, which says they got it wrong.

Now here’s a good cause. The East Side Riders Bike Club has started a gofundme account to get a mobile bike shop. Their goal is to get kids hooked on bicycling, instead of something more dangerous.

 

State

A Highland man has his bike stolen after fleeing a man with a gun following an altercation.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a bike from a legally blind former Marine in Eureka; prior to the theft, he was still able to ride using his peripheral vision.

 

National

A new study has shown what many of us already know. Riding harder doesn’t necessarily mean burning more calories or losing more weight, since metabolism tends to plateau at a certain level.

A Seattle writer places the blame for the failure of the city’s bikeshare system on a disconnected bike lane network, a lack of stations in popular places, and their bike helmet requirement.

Portland has now made protected lanes the default design for bike lanes; if city engineers recommend an unprotected lane, they have to be able to justify it.

Who knew sharrows were born in the Mile High City? No offense to my home state, but in most cases, they can keep them.

A Texas jury awards a cyclist injured by a distracted driver over $850,000, even without a finding of gross negligence. The victim and his wife hope this will inspire change in the state; remarkably, Texas still has not banned hand-held cell phone use while driving. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

This is why you don’t chase after bike thieves. After an Ohio woman tries to use her car to chase down the man stealing her bike, he steals her car. And runs over her with it.

Any film or journalism school graduates want to move to PA? Bicycling Magazine is looking for a video producer.

Once again, a bicyclist rides to the rescue, as a Florida man rolls his truck and an anonymous man on a bike helps pull him and his brother to safety.

 

International

Evidently, drivers are no better in Canada than they are here. And it’s about time someone pointed out it’s often the people behind the wheel who act entitled, rather than those on two wheels.

A Brit Olympic legend says scandal-plagued international athletics should follow cycling’s anti-doping example. Like placing tiny motors in runners’ shoes and springs in the vaulting poles, perhaps?

A Philippine filmmaker worries that her new movie, which promotes a love of biking, fitness and nature, may put riders at risk by encouraging them to take to the country’s streets.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me: Don’t ride drunk with nearly two ounces on dope in your backpack. How about a rousing game of match the celebrity to the bike?

And that’s what I call a cargo bike. At least, China’s People’s Daily swears there’s a tricycle under there somewhere.

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Come back later today, when we’ll announce the winner of our first-ever bicycle giveaway, courtesy of Beachbikes.net.

 

Weekend Links: HB hit-and-run scum, a busy bike weekend and upcoming events, and Amgen ToC stages set

It takes a major piece of walking — or in this case, driving — human scum to run down a nine-year old boy riding his bike in Huntington Beach, stop just long enough to look at him, then drive off, leaving the kid lying in the street.

Fortunately, the boy is okay.

The driver, on the other hand, isn’t. There’s something seriously wrong with anyone who could do that to a little kid.

Thanks to Lois for the link.

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It’s long past time we caught up on coming events, with a number rolling this weekend. Hopefully before the rain starts.

Join a group ride to tonight’s Night on Broadway celebration in DTLA, departing from Eagle Rock at 3 pm.

Empact Long Beach hosts a number of bike safety workshops throughout the city in the coming weeks, starting today.

Walk Bike Glendale will kick off 2016 with a pizza party at Pizza Rev in Glendale this Sunday.

Pizza seems to be the theme of the day on Sunday, as LA Bike Trains is hosting the first of their monthly Biking ‘til Snack Time rides, with stops at a number of local pizza spots along the way.

Bike SGV is going pizza-free for Sunday’s ride celebrating the fourth anniversary of their monthly bike train. They note the ride will go on with light rain; heavy rain will mean a switch to a Bike Commuting Class, presumably indoors.

The Temple City council will hold a final vote on the proposed complete street redesign of Las Tunas Drive on February 11th.

Also on the 11th, the LA Planning Commission will consider amendments to the city’s recently passed Mobility Plan, including the possible removal of some bike lanes from the plan. Glad to see city staff has recommended keeping the proposed Westwood Blvd bike lanes in the plan over the objection of Councilmember Koretz and some homeowner’s groups.

CZ-2pFmUYAEDMu8The East Side Riders Bike Club is hosting the 7th Annual Ride 4 Love 2016 through LA’s Southside on February 13th.

The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council invites you to explore the area with the LACBC-led Tour de Van Nuys on February 20th, and stay after to help reimagine Van Nuys Blvd as a bike-friendly, green complete street.

Flying Pigeon is sponsoring a NELA Kidical Mass on February 21st.

Mark you calendar for the annual Malibu Gran Fondo March 6th and 7th.

Looking further ahead, this year’s Ride of Silence will roll on May 18th to honor fallen cyclists.

And the Eastside Bike Club is holding a Riff Raff Ride into Monrovia on June 26th as an unofficial adjunct to the 626 Golden Streets Ride through seven communities in the San Gabriel Valley. Most of which are more welcoming to riders than Monrovia seems to be.

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The LACBC’s next Sunday Funday ride will be hosted by none other that Mr. CiclaValley himself, as he channels his inner Daniel LaRusso to show riders how to get to the March 6th CicLAvia in the northern reaches of the San Fernando Valley.

Meanwhile, CicLAvia continues to grow as it spreads out to Los Angeles, Lynwood, South Gate, Huntington Park and Southeast LA County on May 15th.

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Been seeing lots of complaints from cyclists the past several days over this commercial for the new Audi plug-in hybrid, in which the owner of said car wins the admiring gaze of a bike-riding woman for driving like a total jackass.

Thanks to Alice Strong for the heads-up.

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Route details are released for this year’s Amgen Tour of California, including a start and finish in San Diego’s Mission Bay to begin the race, followed stages from South Pasadena to Santa Clarita, and Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara.

If France’s one-day Paris-Roubaix race isn’t tough enough, they’re adding an uphill, cobbled section for this year.

Pro cyclist Chad Haga describes what it’s like to fight an SUV with his face; Haga was the most seriously injured member of his Giant-Alpecin teammates, who were hit head-on by a wrong way driver while training in Spain. And voices his commitment to keep riding so she doesn’t get the final say on his racing career.

And in the cycling conspiracy theory that won’t die, Italy will hold yet another hearing looking into allegations that the great Marco Pantini was murdered rather than overdosing on coke.

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Local

An OpEd in the Times says Metro’s bikeshare is set up to fail. Although I’d question the assumption that low-income residents are the most likely users of bikeshare, which hasn’t been the case in any other city I’m aware of. And while systems are planned for Long Beach and UCLA, they are not currently in place.

The city council has approved funding to install gates to keep cars off the LA River bike path, in hopes of stopping things like this from last year.

The Hollywood Reporter says allegations of preferential treatment for a former American Gladiators star accused of spousal rape is just the latest scandal involving the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff’s station, including the death of cyclist Milt Olin, who was killed by a distracted deputy using his patrol car’s onboard computer.

Good news from Burbank, as police recovered the $5,300 customized bike that was stolen from a boy with cerebral palsy earlier this week; the bike was found on the side of a Silverlake street Wednesday night.

Speaking of CiclaValley, he say’s Glendale will be stepping up enforcement of traffic laws laws involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists today. Like the similar enforcement efforts in Santa Monica, make a point to obey all the laws today so whoever they ticket, it won’t be you.

 

State

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton responds to an OpEd from a Brown administration official, saying that doing better than Schwarzenegger when it comes to funding active transportation is not exactly the bar we set for the current governor.

Streetsblog also looks at the Death to Cyclists and Pedestrians Bill, which would slash fines for drivers who run red lights when making right turns. Okay, so maybe that’s not the official title of the bill. And the authors have the good taste to quote me in the story.

San Diego cyclists have to dodge motorists driving in the bike lane to avoid the crappy road conditions in Tecolote Canyon. One of the rare cases where road conditions are better in the bike lane than in the rest of the roadway.

Santa Barbara City College tries to encourage alternative transportation by providing a free breakfast for those who leave their cars at home.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, a pair of Bay Area brothers are marketing a streamlined US-made bike bell designed for road bikes.

Sad news from NorCal, as a bike rider was found dead on the side of the road, the victim of an apparent hit-and-run. And a bicyclist was killed in Eureka after allegedly running a stop sign.

 

National

Seattle’s underfunded bikeshare system is on the brink, while bikeshare will come to my hometown before it does DTLA.

A New Mexico man starts a petition calling for tougher penalties for drivers who injure bicyclists.

A Boulder CO writer says drivers will get used to safety improvements if you give them enough time, rather than pulling out prematurely in response to complaints.

Brilliant police work in San Antonio, as police somehow conclude that a man riding a bicycle with two purses may have stolen them. Although riding with one purse might be a different matter.

Evidently, there are wiser heads in South Dakota, where a bill that would have required bike riders to pull over and stop so cars and trucks could pass has justifiably died in committee; it was opposed by the state transportation, public safety and tourism agencies, as well as cyclists. And anyone else with a modicum of sense.

A writer for the Wisconsin Bike Fed says slow down and save lives. And compares drivers to the Simpson’s Montgomery Burns careening towards people in a crosswalk, shouting, “Out of my way, I’m a motorist!”

An Ohio man faces up to eight years in prison for shooting a 72-year old man in the eye with a paintball gun from a passing car; the rider lost all the vision in his right eye as a result. One more reason to always ride with shatterproof glasses.

 

International

A Toronto paper calls this a pivotal time for cycling in the city.

London is the latest city where a marketing campaign from Orangetheory Fitness attempted to rip off ghost bikes by locking orange-painted bikes around town. But unlike other cities, complaints in London forced the bikes’ removal.

Caught on video: A London cyclist gets caught in a right hook squeeze play. As the story notes, the rider should have either pulled up to where the driver could see him, or held back behind the Porsche rather than riding next to it.

Fines for riding on the sidewalk in England and Wales have dropped 70% over the past five years.

It’s another round of road rage in the UK, as a London cabbie picked up a man riding his bike and threw him down onto the pavement, a bike rider was punched in the face by a driver who got out of his car to confront him, and an English cyclist pushed a pedestrian and threatened to punch him, apparently for no reason.

Owen Wilson is one of us, as he takes a spin around Paris. Note to the Daily Mail: There’s a big difference between a mini bike and a “quirky” foldie.

A German man has worn out six bicycles riding through the streets of Berlin calling for voting rights for non-European Union citizens.

Caught on video 2: A Singapore driver gets an earful — in English — when he tells a cyclist he’s riding on the wrong side of the road.

 

Finally…

Left in the street by a hit-and-run driver, but at least she got to meet the Bieb. Evidently, Brit bike cops only need a cup of tea to bounce back from the bumper of a distracted driver.

And it seems Specialized takes a whimsical, if painful looking, approach to a page not found page. Thanks to the BAC’s David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

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Come back Monday, when we’ll announce the winner of our recent bike giveaway courtesy of Beachbikes.net.

And don’t forget — you’ve got just three more days to take advantage of the special BikinginLA offer on a new Invincible bike from Fortified.

 

Morning Links: Glendale driver brake-checks cyclists; Newport Beach legal settlement could fix deadly intersection

In case you haven’t seen it already, the big story of the day was a driver assaulting two cyclists riding in Glendale.

CiclaValley broke the story, reporting that the incident happened sometime last week as friends of his were riding on Chevy Chase Drive.

In the video, you can clearly hear an impatient driver honking from behind as the cyclists ride just outside the door zone, even though the bike computer visible at the bottom of the screen appears to show they’re traveling at 27 mph.

The driver then buzzes them at an unsafe distance, in clear violation of the three-foot passing law, before slamming on his brakes and brake-checking the riders, nearly forcing one off the road while the other has to swerve dangerously out into traffic to avoid rear-ending the car.

Yet even though this is an obvious case of assault with a deadly weapon — in fact, Dr. Christopher Thompson got five years for a similar incident — CiclaValley implies the Glendale police have been slow to act, at best.

Using a car in a violent manner should be no different under the law than if the driver had taken out a gun and shot at the riders. And should be taken just as seriously, especially since there’s video evidence of the assault.

The one problem with using video like this to press charges, according to officers at the last meeting of the LAPD bike liaisons, is that it’s difficult to prove who was behind the wheel.

Yet even that is not a factor here, since KNBC-4 tracked down the driver, who freely admits he was the driver in the video.

According to his version of events, he honked as he passed — for reasons he failed to explain, just as he failed to explain the apparent punishment pass — then slammed on his brakes after he heard something hit his car, suggesting that one of the riders hit it as he passed.

Yet the video clearly shows that never happened.

There’s no sound of a smack against a car, which should have been clearly audible. And there’s no wobble of the bike, which would have been inevitable if the rider had reached out and hit a hard object as it zoomed by.

The unidentified man, who says he’s a former cyclist himself, portrays himself as the victim in this incident, and says he was just trying to get away from those scary men who were attacking him.

Even though he was the one who honked for no apparent reason. And he was the one who passed dangerously close, even though he was legally required to be well out of their reach. And he was the one who slammed on his brakes directly in front of the two bike riders.

KNBC is no doubt patting themselves on the back for tracking the driver down and getting an exclusive interview with him. But they should be hanging their heads in shame for failing to confront him about the obvious holes in his story, accepting at face value an excuse that is both implausible and demonstratively false.

As should the Glendale police for failing to take action to protect people who are using the streets in a safe and legal manner.

They will most likely claim this is a case of he said/she said, and try to wash their hands of the matter.

But the evidence is right there on the video. All they have to do is look at it.

This just in: CiclaValley breaks down the driver’s statement in great detail, and doesn’t find a lot of truth to it. Or any, for that matter.

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

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After the authorities refused to press charges, Philadelphia bicyclist posted video of a confrontation with a road raging hearse driver who hit him with the van’s mirror, and threatened him for the crime of kicking over a traffic cone.

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Most legal settlements involving cyclists include a payment to the victim to help recover his or her loses.

It’s not often one tries to keep it from happening again.

Torrance law firm AgnewBrusavich announced a settlement with Caltrans and the City of Newport Beach over the death of 58-year old cyclist Debra Deem in 2013.

According to the settlement, Caltrans will pay $450,000, while Newport Beach will kick in another $225,000. But more importantly, both agreed to help fix the deadly intersection where it happened.

Deem had been riding north on PCH in Newport Beach around 4:30 pm on August 27th when she approached the intersection at Newport Coast Drive, where a freeway-style exit lane allows drivers to turn right without slowing down, and forces riders to cross high-speed traffic in order to go straight.

She was hit from behind by an 84-year old driver exiting PCH, and died the next day.

According to the lawsuit, Newport Beach was well aware of the dangers to cyclists at that intersection; in fact, a 2009 Bike Safety Task Force identified it as the intersection most in need of safety improvements.

Now that may finally happen.

The settlement negotiated by attorney Bruce Brusavich requires the city to cooperate with traffic safety experts selected by him and Deem’s husband, Cycle Werks owner Paul Deem, to design improvements to the intersection. And Caltrans will be legally required to consider those improvements in good faith.

Though evidently, not required to implement them.

It’s too late to help Debra Deem. But maybe this settlement can keep it from happening to someone else.

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More bad news from the world of bike racing, as Claudio Clarindo, the world’s 12th ranked ultra-distance cyclist, was killed in a collision while training in Brazil, and his riding partner severely injured. Clarindo was a five-time finisher in the Race Across America, aka RAAM.

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Local

Continuing the theme of angry drivers, a Santa Monica cyclist encounters a driver who apparently wasn’t pleased with where he was riding. Maybe the fumes from that Porter Ranch gas leak is making drivers crazy; twice in the last week I’ve had drivers get out of their cars to physically threaten me while I’ve been walking.

LACBC board member and BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass explains the new state laws affecting bike riders.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with bike advocate Wes Reutimann, executive director of Bike SGV, about the proposed bike park at the former Puente Hills Landfill; you can sign the petition to support it here.

 

State

California is finally getting rid of the outdated LOS (Level of Service) requirement for environmental rules; the previous rules meant that removing bike lanes didn’t require an environmental review, while installing them often did.

The inventor of the cardboard-based Kranium bike helmet is suing a consortium of investors in San Diego, alleging they lied about contacts with retailers and failed to pay what they promised.

A new $5 million development in San Diego’s Imperial Beach will cater to bike riders and pedestrians with cafes, a bike shop and water station.

Police in El Centro say they don’t have enough evidence to get a warrant to look for a bike tourist’s stolen bike, even though they tracked the bike’s GPS to a house; when no one answered the door, they apparently gave up. Seriously, you’d think a GPS reading saying the bike was inside would be enough for a search warrant, but what the hell do I know.

 

National

The City Metric website asks if road diets are the next big thing for American cities, then suggests car culture may be too deeply entrenched for that to happen.

Vancouver WA gets its first green lanes.

A proposed Nebraska bill would repeal the state’s outdated must-use law requiring cyclists to use a bike path if one runs parallel to the roadway, although it may have a difficult time moving forward in the legislature.

A Dallas writer says cyclists and runners need to work together to make roads safer in the face of their common enemy, the motorist.

Nice program from a Connecticut school, allowing students to earn credit towards buying a refurbished bicycle, as well as establishing a bike club and teaching them to fix bikes.

A New York study shows that split-phase traffic signals that allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross an intersection before motor vehicles are twice as effective in reducing injuries as the more common mixing zones that send everyone through at once.

 

International

C is for Coffee, D is for Drafting, as Cycling Weekly offers the A to Z of bike riding.

A British letter writer complains about bicyclists blocking the sidewalk by chaining their bikes to posts and railings. If bike riders are locking their bikes up wherever they can, maybe it’s a sign that there’s not enough safe bike parking in the area.

If you can afford an electric car, you can now silently sneak up on cyclists in British bus lanes, where bike riders previously only had to contend with noisy buses and cabs.

Drivers usually get a slap on the wrist for killing a bicyclist; a UK German Shepard just won a three-year battle to overturn his death sentence for biting one.

Cyclelicious looks at a crowdsourced, lock-free bike parking solution in Latvia. And one that could easily work here.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have an 18-speed front wheel drive, although pedaling while turning may be just a tad awkward. Getting out on your bike could improve your sex life.

And screw OKCupid and Tinder; all you need to find true love is Strava.

 

Morning Links: Possible murder on Irvine bike path; public meeting tonight to discuss traffic in Griffith Park

A bike rider may have been murdered along a popular bike path in Irvine.

Police responded to a report of a man lying on the San Diego Creek Trail, which parallels the 405 Freeway, around 7 am Tuesday.

They found a man death from multiple injuries; a bicycle was lying nearby, but it was unclear if it belonged to the victim.

According to KNBC-4, the victim was later identified as 51-year old Irvine resident Sidney Siemens. Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

The station reports that a resident in a nearby apartment complex hear a loud argument around 4 am and realized something was wrong, but didn’t do anything because it wasn’t her problem.

Nice.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

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The Parks Department has come up with a plan to ease congestion in Griffith Park, by providing a free shuttle service to encourage people to park at underutilized lots at the base of the park.

The downside is that the plan calls for running the shuttles along Mt. Hollywood Drive, which has been closed to motor vehicle traffic for the last few decades. CiclaValley explains why this could be a disaster for bike riders.

A meeting will be held at 7 pm tonight to discuss the plan at the Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Dr.

Be there if you ride or hike in Griffith park, since this could directly affect your safety and enjoyment of the park. Or if you can’t attend, email your thoughts to the officials listed on the CiclaValley link.

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You’re invited to attend a Bicycle Awareness Event hosted by the LAPD’s South Traffic Division from 10 am to 1 pm today at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Hoover near the USC campus.

Officers from the South Traffic Division will be accompanied by Southwest Division Senior Lead Officers and representatives of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to educate students and bike riders about bicycle and motorist safety, as well as the laws affecting bicyclists.

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The man killed by a train while walking his bike along the tracks near Oxnard on Monday has been identified as 18-year old Oxnard resident Lisandro Licea; the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death an accident.

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A national consumer watchdog group calls the proposed tunnel to complete the 710 Freeway one of 12 highway boondoggles in the US. Glendale’s mayor prefers an option that would convert the current freeway stubs into great streets, including bike lanes and transit.

The group is no fan of the failed 405 widening project either, which added HOV lanes through the Sepulveda pass at a cost of $1 billion without improving traffic.

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Local

Not too surprisingly, as Downtown LA has boomed, so has crime, including bike thefts. So always lock your bike securely, and in a highly visable public place whenever possible.

Bicycling talks with the president of Los Angeles-based Bike Angels, which loans bikes to people participating in charity rides.

Pierce Brosnan and family are one, uh, three of us, as they go for a beachy bike ride in the ‘Bu.

Santa Monica Spoke invite you to welcome New York’s Jeffrey Tanenhaus as he completes his cross-country journey on a bikeshare bike.

The route has been announced for Long Beach’s Beach Streets Downtown ciclovía, aka open streets event, on March 19th; parts of Fourth Street, as well as Pine, Linden and Cherry Avenues will be opened to non-motorized traffic.

 

State

Oceanside officials consider a road diet on the Coast Highway in response to the death of a 12-year old boy riding his bike to school last year.

The count is now up to 53 bicycles and three motorcycles confiscated for riding on a San Diego Marine base.

An injured mountain biker was airlifted off a Thousand Oaks hiking trail Tuesday morning; no word on the rider’s condition.

 

National

It probably won’t come as a surprise to most bike riders that many drivers think “share the road” signs mean you’re supposed to get the hell out of their way.

City Lab looks at the worldwide boom in bikeshare, which will now include downtown Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a new study shows bikeshare systems in the US aren’t reaching the poor. Not too surprising, when you consider that most require a credit card and membership fees.

A Texas driver gets nine years after being convicted of drunk driving for the ninth time. Evidently, the other eight weren’t enough to convince authorities he doesn’t belong on the streets.

Minneapolis cyclists call for lowering speed limits to 25 mph.

An Ohio man gets nine years for the drunken hit-and-run death of a cyclist last year.

New York’s mayor says Vision Zero is working, even if others think the city isn’t moving fast enough. Meanwhile, a cyclist says sometimes conflict zones aren’t the fault of a bad bike lane, but rather an inadequate sidewalk.

WaPo looks at what riders need to know to keep riding through the winter.

 

International

Norway has begun deporting refugees who exploited a loophole by bicycling across the border with Russia.

While Copenhagen moves forward with a series of bike and pedestrian bridges, some complain they’re focusing on spectacular designs over practicality.

A 59-year old Italian jazz musician with a passion for cycling has been banned from the latter for doping.

A drug-sniffing Swiss police dog travels via his own custom cargo bike. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

A South African cyclist is recovering from severe injuries he received when someone shoved a stick through his spokes, then hit him with a brick to steal his cellphone.

When Brisbane’s city council refuses to take action to improve a dangerous intersection, cyclists commission their own plan for a $5 million bikeway.

Not content to hurl abuse, a carful of Aussie jerks came back to hurl a 1.25 liter soda bottle at a cyclist, denting her helmet and knocking her off her bike.

 

Finally…

If you still haven’t gotten your 2016 calendar, how about one featuring sober naked male cyclists? Who says bike helmets don’t grow on trees?

And maybe you could be a little more gracious when you ride your bike.

 

Weekend Links: 15 to life for heroin-fueled hit-and-run, and Northvale Gap Expo Line bikeway meeting

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so grab your coffee and settle in.

And don’t forget, just three more days to nominate someone to win a new bicycle in our first-ever bike giveaway. So take a moment to tell us who you think deserves to win a free bike from Beachbikes.net today!

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For once, the punishment fits the crime.

And not surprisingly, it comes from Orange County, where the DA and courts take traffic crime seriously, especially when it involves the loss of an innocent life.

Neil Storm Stephany, who killed 30-year old Fountain Valley cyclist Shaun Eagleson in a heroin-fueled 2014 Newport Beach hit-and-run, was sentenced Friday to 15-years to life behind bars.

Yes, life.

Despite signing a statement following a 2011 DUI conviction that he could face a murder charge if he killed someone while driving under the influence, Eagleson shot up with heroin before getting behind the wheel with two additional drugs in his system that may have amplified the effects of the illegal narcotic.

Witnesses reported seeing him weaving dangerously along PCH. But before police could respond, he plowed into Eagleson’s bike, leaving him to die in the street as he drove on; Stephany’s lawyer claimed he was too high to comprehend what had happened.

He also says the self-described substance abuse counselor had planned to enter rehab the next day, too late for everyone concerned.

Stephany’s actions, piled atop a long string of priors, left Eagleson’s wife without a husband, and dashed their plans to have a child together after she had long been told she would never be able to. And left his mother grieving a son taken away too soon, and hoping his killer never again sees the light of day.

As the judge put it in handing out his sentence,

Shooting heroin and getting into a car after being through several rehabs and after being warned of the consequences is mind blowing,” the judge said.

“Yes, Mr. Stephany (you) did not set out to kill again that day, but when you act with such disregard for the safety of others, this can happen.

The sad fact is that two lives were ended that day, and two families shattered. One life lost on the side of the road, through no fault of his own, and the other lost behind bars through his own actions, his parents left to grieve a son lost to drugs.

Despite the possible life term, it’s likely that Stephany will get out of prison one day. Whether he will come out a better man is highly debatable.

Thanks to Louis, Edward M. Rubinstein and our anonymous OC source for the heads-up.

Neil-Stephany-sentence

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Streetsblog’s Joe Linton provides a full report on Wednesday’s meeting on closing the Northvale Gap in the new Expo Line bike path.

In a case of major irony, two of the proposals would run on Northvale Road, directly in front of the homeowners who fought to keep the bike path from running behind their homes. Although the street has a steep hill that could cause many riders to seek an alternate route.

It’s also ironic that the price tag to complete the .7 mile gap runs between $13 million and $52 million.

It was only six years ago that some cyclists rose up to oppose a $30 million plan to extend the beachfront bike path two miles from Will Rogers State Beach nearly to Malibu, bypassing the narrow section of PCH where riders are currently forced to take the lane in front of often speeding traffic.

At $15 million per mile, it would actually have been cheaper than the least expensive option for closing the Northvale Gap.

The obvious choice, given the hill on Northvale, is to place the bike path next to the train line, precisely where the small group of homeowners fought to prevent it.

But where the $52 million to pay for it will come from is a very good question.

As is whether building the most expensive sub-one-mile of bikeway in the city is the best use for funds that could build many more miles somewhere else.

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Let’s help a guy out. And possibly help ourselves in the process.

Former San Francisco Bicycle Coalition staffer and current Bike the Vote LA volunteer Marc Caswell is conducting a study of the many Peak Hour Lanes throughout the City of Los Angeles to determine if they affect safety.

For my Masters in Urban Planning, I’m trying to determine if LA’s Peak Hour Tow Away Zones (PHTAZ) have an impact on street safety.

We know that the city has implemented these policies with no attention to safety — but simply to move cars. And they automatically preclude a street from the ability to have a bike lane (since the curb lane becomes traffic) — or from having pedestrian bulb-outs.  So, they are inherently prohibiting safety improvements.

But — I want to know if these unexpected, temporary, and erratic parking restrictions are creating driver confusion and/or increasing the rates of crashes — for all modes.

When I chose this project, I planned to map the crashes to the streets and assumed that the LADOT would have a map of all these zones — but they don’t.  They don’t even have a list.  I’ve had to use Google Street View and my own knowledge to find the 211 miles I’ve found so far…

But, now I need to open it up to the rest of the region and crowdsource the information.  So, I’ve published the map — and am calling on the public to help me identify the blocks I may have missed.

I have a public Google map here — with all the details and instructions.

Take a look. And if you see one missing, add it to the map.

The results could make a real difference in how our streets look in the future.

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Recently, we featured a guest post from Harv describing his ride through the streets of NELA for some pre-Christmas shopping.

Today he offers his first attempt at a bike-building video, capturing what he calls a typical (for him) project, taking a vintage lugged steel road bike frame and making it into an urban bike to navigate the busy streets of LA.

And here’s the finished product.

ral assembled 2_003

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In the USA Network’s new show Colony, the people of Los Angeles travel by bicycle following an occupation by invading aliens. Except for the bad guys, who travel in massive SUVs.

Sounds about right.

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Local

The LACBC’s Eric Bruins explains why Metro needs to dedicate 10% of a possible Measure R sequel to funding active transportation.

The bike-themed Wheelhouse coffee shop is now open in Downtown’s Arts District.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton will talk parking, CicLAvia, Vision Zero, rail construction, bike lanes, bike-share, speed, safety, trade-offs and more on Sunday morning when he’s interviewed on classic rock station The Sound at 100.3 FM.

A podcast from Streetsblog USA offers a tourist guide on how to visit Los Angeles without a car and where to go if you do.

Calbike VP and former Long Beach bike guru Charlie Gandy discusses the power of asking.

 

State

Anaheim cyclists are invited to participate in a series of workshops for the city’s draft bicycle master plan starting this Tuesday.

An Oxnard bike rider was wacked in the back with a stick by two men, knocking her off her bike so they could steal her backpack.

California restores funding for a bike and pedestrian path needed to get Castroville students over a dangerous set of train tracks.

Horrible news from San Jose, as a bike rider was killed by a hit-and-run driver who hit him, then backed over him again in what police describe as an intentional act. That should result in at least a second degree murder charge once they find the bastard.

 

National

It’s six years behind bars for a Seattle man in the drunken death of a bicyclist; the driver admitted to downing four beers and an Adderall before driving. Meanwhile, a Delaware driver gets eight years for the drunken hit-and-run death of a bike rider — with his three kids in the car, no less — after downing as many as seven drinks before getting behind the wheel.

LA will soon get its first pro football team in decades. But how many of them will ride their bikes and drive beat up cars like the pro players in DC?

Savannah GA cyclists turn out to fight a proposed ban on bikes in a park used as a popular riding route.

 

International

The good news is, bicycling isn’t the world’s dirtiest sport; the bad news is, it seems like almost every sport has a drug problem. Even curling.

A cyclist travels Bolivia’s Death Road and lives to tell the tale.

Life is cheap in Toronto, where the death of a bike rider barely merits a weak caress on the wrist.

Bike commuting rates appear to be dropping in most English cities, with a handful of notable exceptions.

The crowdfunding campaign to buy Britain’s bike-riding Labour Party leader a new bike is now up to £5,745 — the equivalent of nearly $8200 — which is just a tad over the £475 goal. Cycling Weekly looks at five bikes he could buy with that.

A British Good Samaritan ran to help a cyclist who was hit from behind by a van, only to discover he was colleague from her work at a local hospital.

Fat bikes come to the Swiss Alps.

An Arizona man takes his first bike ride in 30 years, a three-day, 87-mile trip through the Champagne region of France just 16 weeks after surgery for prostate cancer.

A new Berlin-based bike registry offers near-impossible to remove titanium micro-tags to identify your bike if it’s stolen.

Great piece from a British woman who left her London flat last July to bike to, and through, the Middle East in order to better understand it. One key point in our refugee-fearing times — she says she hasn’t met a single Muslim with the slightest sympathy for ISIS on her travels.

 

Finally…

Seriously, don’t body check a security guard just because he asks you to rack your bike. Climb hills and drop your friends the easy way, while still passing your urine test.

And did someone lose a giant plastic orange?

 

Morning Links: Alleged drunk hit-and-run driver faces charges, and Che Garcetti leads urban streets revolution

Unfortunately, I was tied up in a meeting last night, and didn’t have time to write the usual daily bike news roundup. But there are too many good stories to skip entirely, so let’s call this Morning Links Lite.

And come back later today, when we’ll have a different take on Describe Your Ride.

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Don’t forget, there’s less than one week to nominate someone you know to win a new bicycle in our first-ever bike giveaway. So take a moment to tell us who you think deserves to win a free bike from Beachbikes.net today!

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Twenty-five-year old Glendora resident Presley Rodriguez pled not guilty to a felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, along with special enhancement for fleeing the scene, in the alleged drunken hit-and-run death of Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva as he rode his bike to work last fall.

A police officer heard the collision, and stopped Rodriguez after seeing the damaged car speed away; a second officer found Ruiz-Villanueva lying dead at the scene.

She faces a well-deserved 15 year behind bars if she’s convicted, though the DA will most likely plead the case out for far less.

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Newsweek calls LA Mayor Eric Garcetti the Che Guevara of SoCal infrastructure as he leads an urban revolution that, if successful, could spread across the country.

However, the story also relies on the old misleading stat that only 1% of Angelenos commute by bike, which fails to include other transportation riders such as students, shoppers or anyone who uses a bike for just part of their commute.

And it neglects to mention the huge jump in Santa Monica ridership after the city built a complete bike network, which should serve as a model for LA, and prove that people here will ride if they’re just given a share of the streets.

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Speaking of remaking our streets — and the inevitable blowback cited in the Newsweek story — a petition on Change.org calls for the removal of bike lanes on York Blvd, claiming they cause major congestion at rush hour, overflow traffic on side streets and lost sales for local businesses.

Meanwhile, a counter petition says au contraire, most people want keep the bike lanes right where they are. Sign the latter if you live, work or ride in the area.

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On top of all the other bad news yesterday, a man was murdered while riding his bike in Carson Tuesday evening. Police are looking for two suspects who ran away after shooting him; motive is unknown.

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Police bust a career petty thief living in Leisure World in Seal Beach; the area saw a jump in stolen bicycles after he moved into the community following his latest release from jail.

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A gofundme account has been started to raise funds for a memorial for Stephen Craig Ortiz, the Loma Linda rider killed recently when he was left crossed by a 92-year old driver.

But in a very generous gesture, his family has requested that any further donations go the Inland Empire Biking Alliance, even though the fund has raised only $305 of the $2,000 goal.

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A San Francisco bike rider was pepper sprayed by a driver who had just buzzed her when she knocked on the car’s window at a red light to complain.

Something similar happened to a cyclist right here in LA recently; we should have the story soon.

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Also in the Bagdad by the Bay, a bike deliveryman says he was brutally beaten by a cop, apparently for using his cellphone while cycling, which isn’t illegal.

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After Utah firefighters save the life of a college student who was nearly killed in a collision, they take up a collection to buy him a new bike.

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Cyclelicious reports that a proposed law in Missouri would require all bike riders to have a 15-foot tall orange fluorescent flag attached to their bicycles, apparently to protect riders from low-flying aircraft.

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Look mom, no handlebars!

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Edinburgh police are on the lookout for a “scruffy” bike rider with dark circles around his eyes who allegedly kicked a toddler as he rode by on his mountain bike.

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We may have to deal with LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry crashing into a sheep on a high speed descent.

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An Aussie motorcycle cop rode up next to a moving bicyclist and pushed him off his bike in the middle of a busy intersection, allegedly for the crime of riding through a red light and not wearing a helmet.

Police claim the rider had refused to stop when the cop tried to pull him over, but witnesses told a different story.

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And don’t try this at home. A Barcelona bicyclist drafts just inches behind a bus at 50 mph.

Morning Links: Bike-friendly Davis breaks the law a little, and something’s rotten in SoCal bike racing

Someone you know needs a new bicycle. Just click here to read about our first bike giveaway and nominate someone who deserves to win a free bike from Beachbikes.net

And come back later today when another rider uses video to describe his ride.

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It looks like bike-friendly Davis is breaking the law. But only a little.

The platinum level Sacramento-area college town is reminding bike riders to renew their licenses, since any two-year bike license issued in 2013 has now expired.

Just two small problems with that.

First, they suggest that bicycles are registered with the state of California, which doesn’t license bikes. Instead, CVC 39002 allows local jurisdictions to license bikes at their discretion. Meanwhile, CVC 39003 (same link) makes it clear that the licenses must be issued by the city, county or some other agency they designate.

Not the state.

Second, they charge a modest $10 for a new two-year license, and just $5 to renew an existing license.

But both of those amounts are illegal and excessive.

According to CVC 39004 (ditto), those same jurisdictions are allowed to charge no more than $4 per year for a new license, and $2 a year for a renewal.

Which means Davis is overcharging bicyclists by a whopping 25%. Or a measly $1 or 50¢ a year, respectively, depending on how you want to look at it. Although that’s no small amount when multiplied by the tens of thousands of bikes in the city.

Either way, the program is in clear violation of state law.

Something to remember if your city or county has a bike licensing program, or is considering one.

On the other hand, the registration program is helping a number of UC Davis students get their bikes back, after Dixon police bust a pair of thieves with 31 hot bikes.

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Streetsblog LA named the winners of their annual Streetsie Awards, including LA City Councilmember Joe Buscaino as Elected Official of the Year, Caltrans’ Dale Benson as Civil Servant of the Year, and the LACBC’s Tamika Butler and Mark Lopez of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice in a tie for the Deborah Murphy Award for Excellence in Advocacy.

You can see the full list of winners here.

Meanwhile, California Streetsblog names Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom as Legislator of the Year.

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I’m not really tuned into the SoCal bike racing scene. But if David Huntsman and Seth Davidson both say there’s something wrong with the sport’s local governing body, then something is definitely rotten in our cycling state of Denmark.

Besides, if you can’t trust a couple of bike riding lawyers, who can you trust?

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Following up on yesterday’s tech news, Sony ups the ante to take on GoPro in the action cam market, while Nikon introduces a cam offering 360° views. Of course, the only way to make that work is to mount it on the outside of your handlebars or the very top of your helmet. And then sit up very straight.

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Local

CiclaValley offers tips for riding in the rain. Rick Risemberg recommends lights, capes, wool clothing and fenders, while Ciclelicious asks which fender. I’d suggest this one, but I doubt it would help.

Not surprisingly, the LA River bike path is closed due to the rains, along with most, if not all, of the other creek and riverside bikeways in the county. Meanwhile, plans are underway to improve the lower portion of the river.

Glendale will host a public meeting on Saturday to get input on a planned redesign of Ocean View Blvd, including bulb-outs and bike lanes.

 

State

Campbell cyclists raise $20,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation in a post-Christmas ride.

Beaver fever strikes on a Merced bike path.

Cupertino’s De Anza college adds three new e-bikes to their fleet of 56 bikes available to students free of charge for a full quarter.

 

National

Conspiracy theorists are still opposing bike and transit projects throughout the US, even though the Agenda 21 Chimera that fueled it is gone.

Bicycling lists seven people — okay, 219 — who could really use a good bike ride.

Next City says it’s time to bury the sharrow for good.

The newest member of the Baseball Hall of Fame is one of us.

Outside offers a profile on Ned Overend, who’s still kicking fat bike ass at age 60 — 26 years after his mountain bike world championship.

An interesting study from the University of Washington finds neighborhood density is the primary factor that encourages low and middle income residents to walk or bike; for wealthier people, the attractiveness of their neighborhood is key.

Seattle bike cops recover a $4,000 stolen bike using the Bike Index website. You can register your bike, report a stolen bike or check to see if a bike has been stolen using Bike Index right here on this site. And unlike the Davis program, it’s free.

It takes a real jerk to steal a motorized recumbent from an Iowa man battling stomach cancer who used it as his only form of transportation.

A Florida paper shows what a difference it can make when the press calls attention to bicycle safety instead of trolling bike riders.

Nothing like starting young. A pair of Florida boys, just seven and eight years old, are under arrest for an attempted strong-arm bike jacking. No one hates bike thieves more than I do, but handcuffing a seven-year old seems a tad extreme.

 

International

Bike Radar offers some good advice on buying a used bike online.

A Canadian writer offers lessons learned from 100,000 kilometers — 62,137 miles — on the seat of a bike.

A British site offers advice on how to make your bike commute more like the Tour de France, while Road.cc pipes in with some additional suggestions. Although getting someone to hurl abuse at you is no challenge in LA traffic.

A new study shows London bike riders are six times fitter than other commuters.

It takes a major jerk to punch a 62-year old British woman after shoving his bike into her, regardless of what she may have said to him.

Retiring former world track champ Martyn Irvine says he shamed dopers by beating them fair and square.

Drain a Paris canal built by Napoleon, and what do you find? Bicycles, naturally.

Bike riders are braving Delhi’s infamous traffic, despite conditions that make LA seem like a breeze; meanwhile an ad for an Indian hospital sums up the health benefits of bicycling.

A 24-year old biology student works to become the first professional cyclist from Burkina Faso. If there are any bike makers reading this, send this guy a new racing bike. Now.

An Australian chief traffic cop questions whether older drivers belong on the road. It’s a tough call; some older people retain the vision and reflexes they need to drive safely into their nineties, while others should have their keys taken away.

Toyota’s new robotics expert was inspired to build crash-proof cars by seeing the aftermath of a bicycling crash as a child.

An Aussie expat living in Ho Chi Minh City has set out to ride every road connecting north and south Vietnam.

 

Finally…

Nothing like banning a doper after he stops racing. It doesn’t do a lot of good to sue the Forest Service for failing to maintain an illegal bike trail.

And evidently, the fastest way to improve bike safety is to get the damn bike riders off the road.

 

Morning Links: New laws are much ado about nothing, bad bicyclist behavior, and ride faster and save your sperm

Welcome back.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in the next few weeks, including more people describing their rides, and an in-depth look at bike collision stats.

And come back later today when we’ll announce BikinginLA’s first-ever free bicycle giveaway, courtesy of Hermosa Beach’s Beachbikes.net.

Now make yourself comfortable. We’ve got a lot of news to catch up on.

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Much ado about nothing.

Several recent news stories have focused changes in the laws affecting bike riders, particularly a ban on headphones and a requirement for bicyclists to pull over when they’re blocking traffic.

Except neither one is really new.

It was already illegal for bike riders, as well as drivers, to use headphones or earpieces in both ears; the new law only removes some loopholes by prohibiting any kind of earpiece on or in both ears, whether or not they’re actually in use.

Similarly, bikes were already covered under the existing requirement for slow moving vehicles to pull over to allow others to pass. The only change is explicitly adding the word bicycles to the law.

(Or maybe not; see correction below.)

However, the law only applies on two-lane roadways when five or more vehicles are trapped behind and unable to pass; if cars can safely go around, the law doesn’t apply. And you’re not required to pull over until it’s safe to do so.

You also don’t have to move over for speeding drivers if you’re riding at or near the speed limit.

The problem is most of the news stories fail to give adequate context or explain the limitations of the law, or point out that nothing has changed other than adding bicycles to the wording.

Which means we’re likely to see a jump in angry drivers demanding that bike riders get the hell out of their way, regardless of how many lanes there are or whether they can actually go around.

Correction: Serge Issakov, board member and secretary for the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, writes to correct the information about bicycle’s being added to the turnout law. 

According to Serge, not only has the story been blown out of proportion, it isn’t even a story to begin with. And he should know, since he provided the wording that was adopted, without changes, by the legislature.

See if you can spot it anywhere in the revised law. 

21656.

On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, any vehicle proceeding upon the highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time,  behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed.

I apologize for my error. Unfortunately, with all the madness over the holidays, personal and otherwise, I’m not sure where I got the information I used; regardless, it’s my fault for relying on a single source rather than verifying what I was told. 

But a better question might be why the CHP is blatantly misrepresenting the the law.

Thanks to Serge for the correction. 

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In other law changes, e-bikes are officially legal and allowed on bike paths; so are hoverboards.

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A Hermosa Beach bike rider is looking for the hit-and-run driver who left him with a broken arm in Rolling Hills Estates on Christmas Eve; unfortunately, there’s not much of a description to go on.

Then again, not even ghost bikes are safe from hit-and-run drivers; this one was at the site where Reynaldo Barajas was killed in Oxnard.

Photo courtesy of Danny Gamboa

Photos courtesy of Danny Gamboa

8408

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While we were gone, the Internet blew up over this video of bicyclists behaving badly on the popular Nichols Canyon Ride.

Cycling in the South Bay says behavior like this has to change because it’s better to attend post-ride coffee than a post-ride funeral. And Bike Newport Beach says this isn’t what we should be teaching young riders.

If you want my take, just don’t ride like a jerk. Ever.

Period.

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Ride faster. A new British study shows that slower bicyclists are more likely to be in a collision; people who ride at eight mph or less are three times more likely to get hit by a car than those who ride 12 mph or faster.

And in what may be the most important cycling study ever, German researchers have determined that saffron supplements can help prevent sperm damage caused by bicycling.

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A powerful Australian ad uses a purposely misaligned bicycle as a metaphor to demonstrate what it’s like to have MS.

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Local

The LA Times’ Christopher Hawkins calls for converting the end of the 2 Freeway into an elevated park and solar arrays, along with a bikeway offering spectacular views. Meanwhile, an OpEd in the Times calls for closing a stretch of Hollywood Blvd at Hollywood and Highland to cars to create a much needed pedestrian plaza. Yes, to both.

Boyonabike looks at the best of bike and alternative transit news in 2015 and his hopes for the year to come, while CiclaValley looks back at the year in pictures.

There’s still one day left to vote for this year’s Streetsie Awards, including Advocacy Group, Advocate, Journalist/Writer, Civil Servant, and Livable Streets-Friendly Business of the year. Evidently, I’m a nominee emeritus.

Local residents pitch in to buy gifts and a new bicycle for a Redondo Beach family that lost their home in a fire just before Christmas.

 

State

Caltrans issues design guidelines for cycle tracks, while Calbike reports on their accomplishments for the past year.

A San Diego man had his bike stolen when he was beaten by a half dozen men at a trolley station.

A San Antonio website offers an in-depth analysis of the road conditions that led to a $5.8 million judgment the death of an Indian Wells bicyclist, concluding that 94% of traffic fatalities in the city are due to poor road design. And says the solution is slower speeds resulting from narrowing lanes and building more intersections.

The Jewish Journal takes an “epic” 29-mile bike ride from Ventura to Santa Barbara. Epic being a relative term; your epic ride might be someone else’s easy day. Or vice versa.

Sad news from San Jose, as a man became the state’s first bicycling fatality of 2016 in a collision between two cars on Saturday.

Also from San Jose, a man calls for bikes to be banned on a local highway; cyclists say they aren’t the problem, while a columnist fails to grasp that we all pay for the roads, whether or not we drive a car.

A Sacramento cyclist gets his stolen cargo bike back a week after it disappeared, after another rider spotted the distinctive bicycle across the river.

A bighearted Napa man sets out “karma kits” with tubes, air pump, energy bars and trash bags along popular riding trails for cyclists in need.

 

National

City Lab lists 10 traffic myths that should have gone away in 2015, but didn’t, including that bikeways slow traffic and drivers pay for the roads. See San Jose above.

The NFL is discovering what we already know. If you really want to get in shape, ride a bike; evidently, it works for the other kind of football, too.

Okay, it’s a little late for New Year’s, but it still helps to know how to ride with a hangover. Which is one of those key cycling skills every imbibing bike rider should master.

A noncom officer with the Oregon National Guard during the week, rising pro cyclist on the weekend.

A new protected bike lane in Lincoln NE is popular with bike riders, as well as the drivers it’s supposed to keep out.

Bicycling talks with former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan on how she transformed Gotham into a bike and pedestrian friendly city, even if not every driver gets it. Let’s hope LADOT gets it; we’re all still waiting to see similar changes on our own streets.

Massachusetts is considering a series of bike friendly bills, including a ban on parking in bike lanes and requiring side guards on trucks.

A historian puts the dispute over DC bike lanes in the context of the gentrification of a traditionally African American neighborhood.

North Carolina considers a series of anti-bike regulations, including forbidding cyclists from taking the lane, and requiring permits for large informal group rides.

Florida considers requiring solar-powered lights on any new bike paths.

 

International

Evidently, streets are no-fun zones limited to transport only, so bicyclists need to ride sedately. And after a whopping 125 London cyclists are convicted of blowing stops — in a city of 8.5 million — the same paper calls it a crackdown on “bully boys on bikes.” No, seriously.

A woman from the UK sets out to set a new women’s year record.

Caught on video: A London paper is inspired by a dog clinging to his bike-riding owner’s back. Of course, if that was a child they’d be after the cyclist’s head.

The BBC traces the British bike boom back to the 2005 London subway bombing; over two million people in the country ride at least once a week.

Once again, someone has sabotaged an English bike path; a man riding with his toddler in a trailer was nearly garroted by a wire strung at neck height across the trail. Acts like this aren’t pranks — they’re deliberate attempts to seriously injure or intimidate riders to frighten them off trails they’re legally entitled to use.

Now that’s a bicycling superhighway. Germany has approved plans for a 62 mile bikeway connecting ten cities and four universities; the first five kilometer stretch has already opened.

Cycling is more popular than soccer among Spaniards.

Cyclists in Malta say drivers have to be held accountable, and call for adoption of a presumed liability law; the tiny island nation is one of just five countries in the European Union that hasn’t adopted some form of the law.

The best way to promote bicycling in Abu Dhabi — or anywhere else, for that matter — is to teach it in schools and instill a passion for riding in families.

Try not to fall off your bike while riding Down Under when you’re four sheets to the wind, or over six times the legal limit. And try to keep breathing, while you’re at it.

A Thai nurse gave up her vacation to save the life of a German bike tourist who suffered a heart attack.

 

Finally…

Who needs an e-bike when your car’s rear wheel can convert to an electric unicycle? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em; if someone steals your bike for the third time, just go out and steal a replacement.

And despite what the press says, having an erection in public while wearing spandex makes you an exhibitionist, not a cyclist. But maybe he really did have a banana in his pocket.

………

Thanks to Mark Jones for making 2015’s last donation to BikinginLA. While the Holiday Fund Drive is over, you can still contribute anytime.

 

Morning Links: Cyclist injured in apparent non-hit-and-run, and LA bicyclists appear to be fair game

It looked like a hit-and-run.

But for a change, there doesn’t seem to be anyone else involved.

Police spent Tuesday night searching for a driver who fled the scene after a passerby found a man lying critically injured in a Van Nuys crosswalk, still wrapped around his BMX bike. After further investigation, however, they concluded that he fell and hit his head while riding under the influence.

Of course, as always, the question is why he fell; whether he was simply too drunk to stay upright or if there was some other factor that caused him to lose control of his bike.

Regardless, let’s hope he makes a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

……….

The Times reports on the bike-riding Long Beach man who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies after one deputy accidently shot his partner in the leg during a scuffle.

The recently released video shows Noel Aguilar struggling with the officers, who had apparently disarmed him before opening fire, despite Aguilar’s insistence that he didn’t shoot anyone.

And once again, the DA’s office declined to press charges against police officers, despite the video evidence. Just like the case of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino in 2013.

Or the Milt Olin case, for that matter, where a deputy plowed into Olin’s bike from behind as her was distracted by the car’s onboard computer just after texting with his wife.

Which raises the question of whether the DA refuses to prosecute cops. Or just doesn’t give a damn about people on bikes.

………

Apparently, I’m the mixed metaphor minion-master Obi-Wan Kenobi of LA bicycling.

………

‘Tis the season.

Donations now total over $16,000 for the bike-riding Colorado busboy who turned in $3,000 in cash a customer had left behind; make that $22,000. Evidently, honesty really does pay.

Texas police collect over 100 bicycles to distribute to children.

An Oklahoma police officer repaired a girl’s damaged therapy tricycle after it was stolen and thrown over a fence; her parents couldn’t afford the $5000 it would take to replace the bike for their daughter, who suffers up to 60 epileptic seizures a day.

Pennsylvania police give a new adaptive bicycle to a six-year old special needs boy.

An anonymous donor gave the equivalent of $150 to replace a British girl’s bike for Christmas after hers was stolen.

Around 150 Brits dressed up like Santa for a bike ride to raise funds for a children’s hospice.

After a paralyzed Welsh stunt biker tried to sell his bike to raise money for his rehabilitation, over £50,000 — roughly $74,000 — in donations poured in from fans.

And a Santa Rosa cyclist uses Strava to wish you a Merry Christmas.

………

Local

CiclaValley is justifiably angry about the death of pedestrian on Riverside Drive, where the city installed new bike lanes while simultaneously making the street more dangerous. Kind of like Vision Zero in reverse.

Richard Risemberg says Burbank made the right decision in requiring riders to walk their bikes across a dirt-covered bridge used by equestrians; although he notes that if horses could be trained to charge into battle for the past 7,000 years, they should be able to tolerate someone on a bicycle.

Reseda Blvd receives a nomination from Streetsblog for the nation’s Best Urban Street Transformation of 2015. While it’s a huge step for auto-centric LA, it doesn’t begin to compare with the best work elsewhere. Or where we need to be, for that matter.

LA Weekly ranks the city’s new Mobility Plan number one on its list of why this was a banner year for new ways to get around in LA. Although they screw up the timeline; the plan has already been approved by the city council, first with, then without amendments, with more under consideration.

The jerk who stole a bicycle out of the hands of a boy who had just won it in a Halloween raffle makes LAist’s list of Southern California’s biggest jerks for 2015.

A Santa Monica man was severely beaten by a bystander after dropping the bike he was walking onto his own dog, accidently or otherwise.

Long Beach’s Danny Gamboa writes about the ghost bike movement for Bicycling Magazine. Danny is one of the heroes of the local bike movement, even if he prefers to give the recognition to others.

 

State

As of the 1st, it will be legal to ride your e-bike on California bike paths.

After the father of two Santa Ana teens were hit by a car while riding his bike, they responded by forming the Bike It! Santa Ana campaign, which was recently awarded a $2.7 million grant for three projects, including two protected bikeways. Makes you wonder why adults have so much trouble getting things done.

A Santa Barbara man invents a new dog carrier for his bike — bicycle or motorcycle — which allows your dog to ride safely tethered inside. Now I know what to get the Corgi for Christmas.

A proposal to cut back on street sweeping in Davis would mean more flat tires for bike riders.

 

National

As she nears retirement, the founder of Trips for Kids reflects on the group she founded 27 years ago; the national organization works to get kids out on mountain bikes.

After a five-year old Idaho boy was seriously injured in a collision while riding his bike, the state agrees to put more bicycling questions on their driving test.

A Los Angeles man keeps fighting for a bikeway in Grand Teton National Park, where his 13-year old daughter was killed by a distracted driver 16 years ago. Somehow, a roadway doesn’t harm the environment, but putting a protected bike lane on or next to it would.

The Department of DIY strikes in Rhode Island, as city officials move to quickly rip out a BMX track secretly built in the woods.

Baltimore residents can’t seem to figure out the city’s new parking protected bike lane.

Fort Lauderdale becomes the latest US city to embrace Vision Zero, and the first in Florida.

A Florida cyclist films the hit-and-run driver who ran him down from behind, without slowing, while he was riding on sharrows. The video is hard to watch, leading right up to the point of impact. And if you’ve ever wondered why I’m no fan of sharrows, this is a damn good reason.

 

International

A Canadian website says investing in bicycle infrastructure is one of the smartest investments a city can make. Meanwhile, Toronto is leading the way with a year-round network of protected bikeways.

Brit rider Mark Cavendish wants to cap his riding career with a medal in track cycling at the Rio Olympics.

In an usual case, a 13-year old British boy is charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist by intentionally riding his bicycle into the path of a car; the driver stopped in time to avoid him, but the victim hit the car.

Now that’s more like it. A Swedish university suggests paying people to ride bikes in the most congested part of Stockholm by using congestion charges from motorists.

A writer looks at the recent Tour of Rwanda, where police beatings and the country’s recovery from genocide overshadow the action in the peloton.

An Aussie writer says the government must stop its war on cyclists, and stop actively discouraging people from riding.

 

Finally…

If you want to spot the trendy new neighborhoods, just follow the fixies. Don’t bust out a car window, even if the jerk driver honks and nearly hits you for riding in the traffic lane.

And if you’re going to burglarize a shed and steal a mountain bike, it’s probably best if you don’t leave your mobile phone behind.

………

It’s the last day of the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Thanks to David Wolfberg, Christian Hesch, Calla Weimer and Carmen Tellez for their generous support, along with everyone who has so generously contributed this past month.

Seriously, thank you.

Who could turn down a face like that?

The Corgi thanks you for your support. And she’s glad it’s the last day of the Holiday Fund Drive so she can attempt to reclaim her dignity.

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