Archive for Bikes & the Law

Morning Links: The wages of road rage sin, bike thieves get busy (and get caught), and how car wrecks happen

Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas observes that we don’t need to call LA’s bike boogeyman Doctor Christopher Thompson anymore.

In the good ex-doctor’s case, the wages of sin were several years in prison, loss of his medical license and a substantial civil settlement. Just in case you were wondering if road rage was worth it.

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Bike thieves are in the news this week, as Santa Monica police catch one in the act, and two men are arrested for poaching a Palm Springs bait bike. Less luck in San Diego, where several bikes have been stolen since the first on the year.

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The CHP lists the 11 most common causes of collisions — 10 of which can be avoided simply by changing driver behavior.

And few, if any, of which probably will be.

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You’ve got just a few more days left to win this one-of-a-kind, belt-driven titanium bike.

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Local

Flying Pigeon notes that nothing happened on North Fig until the rabble rose up and demanded action.

LA’s Multicultural Communities for Mobility show how community organizing can help improve health through bicycling.

Ciclavalley offers thoughts on the Valley CicLAvia.

A stretch of Venice Blvd west of Western has been freshly repaved and should soon get the bike lanes called for in the 2010 bike plan.

The LACBC shares photos from Wednesday’s Operation Firefly in DTLA, and announces dates for future light giveaways.

Bikerowave hosts their monthly open house today.

Metro plans to select a vendor for the coming bike share network in LA and Pasadena.

 

State

An Anaheim cyclist was injured in a collision Thursday morning; the driver fled the scene but came back an hour later. And no, that should not excuse the hit-and-run; drivers are required to stop and render aid, as well as exchange insurance information, in the event of a collision.

San Clemente approves plans to upgrade their beachfront bike path.

East Bakersfield gets 20 miles of new sharrows. While I have walked the streets of Bakersfield, I have yet to bike them, sharrowed or otherwise.

Paso Robles’ Great Western Bicycle Rally begins this coming Monday.

An apparently invisible Santa Maria cyclist suffers major injuries when he’s hit by an unlicensed driver.

Palo Alto approves plans for two new bike boulevards, the first of 20 planned safety improvements.

The San Francisco Examiner says enforcement of the state’s new three-foot passing law is off to a slow start. Actually, nine citations in the first four months is pretty good; cyclists in other states often complain that police haven’t issued any.

 

National

Former Charlotte mayor and current US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx challenges America’s mayors to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

How to print your own carbon mountain bike.

Honolulu businesses say a new protected bike lane is harming sales, despite numerous studies that say they’re good for business.

Add South Dakota to the list of states considering a three-foot passing law.

The most interesting car at the Detroit Auto Show isn’t one.

A banjo playing musician bikes 1,400 miles along the Mississippi River for a gig in New Orleans.

Grist looks at Louisville KY’s new underground bike park. We can’t do that here because it would disturb the Lizard People.

After a Georgia cyclist is hit by a car while trying to cross a street, he gets a ticket for riding in the street — which is legal in every state in the US.

Miami cyclists demand safety improvements after yet another rider loses his life on the city’s deadly Rickenbacker Causeway; the allegedly drunken hit-and-run driver returned 20 minutes later, reportedly crying hysterically.

A 72-year old Florida woman shoots three times at a man riding his bike home from work in an attempt to scare him, for reasons apparently known only to her.

 

International

Ouch. Calgary cyclists say don’t compare their bike-friendly city to bicycle-challenged Houston.

London’s Evening Standard looks at the latest tech devices that promise to transform your ride. Or you could just, you know, go out and ride your bike.

A Brit cyclist has his $2,500 mountain bike stolen while lying on the street after being struck by an SUV.

We’ve all thought about it, right? A British cyclist argues with a motorist, then gets off his bike and snaps off the driver’s key in the ignition before riding away; police are looking for the suspect.

A 21-year old cyclist rides over 4,300 miles across Egypt in four months.

Great. Now even using a bike bell to alert pedestrians to your presence is considered rude by some Aussies. Personally, I find polite voice warnings work better, anyway, with rude ones when called for.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me: if you’re carrying crystal meth on your bike, don’t ride salmon. More proof bicycling is becoming mainstream, as even Spongebob is doing it.

And Elly Blue asked Twitter users what difficulties they went through when they first learned to ride a bike, then Storified the responses; my own comment wraps it up.

 

Morning Links: Rolls Royce driver shot by bike rider, Times looks at North Fig politics, NFL bike victory lap

Well, I wanted to live in a more exciting neighborhood.

Friday night, the sirens on the streets and news helicopters hovering above Hollywood signaled something big was up; as it turned out, LA real estate investor Kameron Segal was shot while sitting in his Rolls Royce, just blocks from out new apartment.

Fortunately, he’s expected to survive.

To make matters more interesting, the shooter was riding a bike, described variously as a 10-speed or racing bike.

Evidently, no one involved has ever heard of a road bike.

Or maybe seen a bike in the last 30 years.

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The Times examines the political conflict over the cancelled North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes, asking if it’s better to aggressively confront an elected official or work quietly behind the scenes.

Personally, I’d suggest all of the above, thank you.

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In a video that’s gone viral around the world, Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett commanders a police bike to celebrate the Seahawk’s come-from-behind victory on Sunday to secure a spot in the Super Bowl.

Naturally, the Taiwanese animation is just a little more dramatic.

Correction: I initially misidentified the animation as coming from Japan, when it’s clearly identified as Taiwan on the YouTube page. Thanks to James for the correction

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Local

The LA Weekly suggests a cheaper, and possibly better, way to patch LA’s crumbling streets.

Long Beach homeowners complain a new pedestrian path paralleling the beachfront bike path is too damn close to their homes.

El Monte is just the latest area city to step up police enforcement to prevent bike and pedestrian injuries; Anaheim is doing it, too.

KNBC-4 looks forward to March’s first-ever Valley CicLAvia, while the Weekly simultaneously holds their nose and says it’s about time.

You’re invited to ride with the Milt Olin Foundation and Yield to Life on February 22nd.

 

State

A Laguna letter writer says it’s those damn cyclists that make the streets unsafe, not all those angelic, law-abiding drivers. Well, okay then.

Back-in parking is much safer for cyclists and drivers — and so easy an 80-year old could do it.

Ten new bike infrastructure projects will be coming to the Bay Area this year.

Oakland rallies support for that bike rider who was robbed of his wallet after being hit by a truck; it’s worth noting the driver had his stolen, as well.

Natomas volunteers build bikes for 50 kids in honor of Martin Luther King day.

A Fresno-area man is arrested for threatening people with a knife while riding his bike inside a market. And mothers everywhere were proven right when his face did freeze like that.

 

National

City Lab looks at the problems associated with Biking While Black.

NPR says food bikes are crowding into food trucks’ turf.

A Portland company has developed a $50 bike counter that could revolutionize bike planning; LADOT should order a thousand or so.

That hit-and-run Baltimore bishop has checked into rehab after posting $2.5 million bond; these days, that’s the first resort of a scoundrel.

A German cyclist receives a $21 million settlement for the life-changing injuries he suffered when he was hit by a truck in Virginia while on a tour of the East Coast.

A representative of the Bike League sees first hand just how bike friendly Southwest Florida isn’t.

 

International

That UK van driver caught on video attacking a cyclist turns himself in to police, but the victim declines to press charges.

A British teacher quits his job to go on a 5,000 mile bike tour of Europe.

A new bike light projects an image of a bike ahead of you to alert drivers of your presence; the BBC talks with woman who developed it.

Even in The Netherlands, a driver flees the scene after running down eight bike riding teenage girls from behind, sending two to the hospital.

An Aussie cycling fan channels his inner superhero, preventing an inflatable arch from collapsing while using his other hand to catch a bike that was knocked off a team car.

Cadel Evans retires as Australia’s greatest ever pro cyclist.

The bikelash is in full effect Down Under, as a news columnist tells cyclists to get off their high horses since there was this one woman who got hurt when she evidently stepped out in front of a bike — never mind how many cyclists are hit by cars every day. And get off our tall bikes would seem more appropriate.

 

Finally…

Pubic enemy #1: A Florida woman crashes her car while shaving her genitals on the way to meet her boyfriend — with her ex-husband holding the steering wheel, no less. Ride a penny farthing in Bagdad by the Bay and the local weekly will call the cops on you; bet that doesn’t happen when Jay Leno takes one of his antique cars out for a spin.

And pro cyclist Mark Cavendish finally snaps when asked if biking is really, truly 100% clean; well, maybe not 100%. Then again, Stuart O’Grady, like Bill Clinton, only did it once. Honest.

 

Morning Links: Justice denied and threats against cyclists, and it’s time to give up some of that good bike blood

Sometimes there seems to be a common thread in the day’s news.

This time, it’s a tale of threats and justice denied. At least, if you’re on a bike.

In a must read from Colorado, a cyclist describes the collision that totaled his bike — and nearly totaled him — when he was rear-ended by a driver doing an estimated 35 mph.

Yet when an officer from the highway patrol showed up, he had apparently decided what had happened before he even got out of his car. And gave the rider a $24 ticket for not getting the hell out of the way of the truck that hit him.

Then there’s the case of a Virginia driver who was convicted on two misdemeanor counts after buzzing a group of cyclists, then threatening them with a gun.

Yet despite threatening the lives of five innocent people, he walks away without even a single day behind bars.

And don’t even get me started on the schmuck who robbed an Oakland bike rider as he lay unconscious in the street after being hit by a truck; the victim’s mother says a heart defect has compounded his injuries and left her son clinging to life.

Hopefully they’ll catch the thief, lock him up and shove the key where the sun don’t shine.

Then there’s the idiot who tossed tacks on a busy Portland bridge popular with bike riders for the second time this week.

It may not sound like a big deal.

But a sudden flat can cause a cyclist to lose control and fall, possibly resulting in a serious injury. Or worse, if it causes him or her to fall in front of oncoming traffic. And even a sudden swerve after spotting the tacks in the roadway could be dangerous.

Police tend to treat incidents like this as a simple prank. When they should be investigated as an assault. Or at least an attempt to intimidate — if not terrorize — people exercising their legal right to ride a bike.

But at least authorities are taking the case of the drunken hit-and-run Baltimore Bishop seriously, holding her on $2.5 million bond.

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Red Kite Prayer urges you to perform a life saving act by donating blood, and putting those bulging bike riding veins to good use during National Blood Donor Month.

I couldn’t agree more.

I used to donate on a regular basis until health issues forced me to stop, losing count at somewhere north of five gallons of my own high test A-positive over the years.

Way north. Because after awhile, how much just didn’t matter anymore.

What did matter was that it was, perhaps, the only entirely selfless thing most of us will ever do; all you’re likely to get out of it is a good feeling and a cookie or two.

I have no idea what happened to that blood, who might have gotten it or why; I can only trust that it went to people who needed it. And hopefully made a difference.

With the exception, that is, of a single pint that went to my own wife before her own major surgery.

Thankfully, she came through with flying colors.

But showed no more interest in riding a bike than she had before.

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San Francisco bike bag and clothing maker Mission Workshop is opening up on Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake.

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No. Just no.

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A new website and Twitter account promises to cover all things bike in the San Fernando Valley.

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Local

Richard Risemberg looks at the proposal for five blocks of complete streets on North Figueroa.

KCET will air a report on last December’s South LA CicLAvia next Wednesday.

Been awhile since we’ve heard from the Department of DIY, which took it upon itself to remove sand blocking the usually bikable shoulder on Lincoln Blvd. Seriously, it shouldn’t be up to bike riders to keep our streets safe to ride.

Congratulations to Cindy Decker of Performance Bike in Long Beach on winning one of ten Women’s Bicycle Mechanic Scholarships; the winners were selected from over 800 applicants nationwide.

 

State

Orange County pulls the plug on Fullerton’s less than successful bikeshare program, which cost taxpayers $800 a ride.

Apple could be planning to take on GoPro with a more aero cam that can be mounted on a bike helmet. And would undoubtedly connect to your other Apple gear.

How slow can you go? Marin County is reducing the speed limit on a popular bike path to just 10 mph to cut down on conflicts with pedestrians.

 

National

Note to world: Racism ain’t funny. And yes, “jokingly” accusing black people of riding stolen bikes is racist. Especially when biking while black is still a problem in this country.

You may be able to tour Mesa Verde National Park on a rented bike next time you go.

Nice story from my home town, as two bike shop owners pitch in to replace a little girl’s stolen bike.

Four Texans are under arrest for running a high-end bike theft ring; one member stole $70,000 worth of bikes in seven cities.

VeloNews calls Sunday’s rain-delayed national cyclocross championships a disaster.

If you build it, they will ride. Bike traffic is up 81% in a single year after a protected bike lane was installed on a Minneapolis bridge.

New York is reworking streets and intersections, and adding 50 miles of protected bikeways, as part of its push to reduce traffic deaths — something LA will have to do if the city’s newfound commitment to Vision Zero will ever be more than a vague promise.

 

International

British authorities search in vain for a cyclist who may have been swept out to sea by a rogue wave.

An Irish writer says it shouldn’t be a matter of us versus them when 80% of cyclists have a drivers license and one in five drivers ride a bike.

Italian soccer team Cesena will wear pink this Sunday to honor legendary cyclist Marco Pantani.

More progress, as an African team will compete in the Tour de France for the first time this year, after participating in last year’s Vuelta.

An Aussie columnist says bike licenses are worth trying to curb bike-born bullies; after all, it’s worked so well to stop bad behavior by motorists. Or maybe it’s the drivers who really are arrogant.

 

Finally…

The bikelash is alive and well in Down Under, even popping up on the Aussie version of Family Feud. Your new Bern could bear the mark of Wu Tang.

And caught on video: Probably not the best idea to steal an unattended Philadelphia police bike; they tend to take that shit seriously.

Morning Links: New hope for North Fig and Santa Monica Blvd; bike rider attacked on San Gabriel River trail

Maybe bike lanes on North Figueroa aren’t dead after all.

According to the LACBC, discussions with Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office have yielded a number of safety improvement options for a five block stretch of the roadway — including a possible road diet and bike lanes.

Of course, a five-block bike lane unconnected to a longer bikeway, let alone a network of lanes, won’t do anyone much good.

But at least it’s a step in the right direction, and it opens the possibility for further improvements.

That is, assuming the councilmember is sincere in working with bike riders, after giving cyclists the cold shoulder after taking office and accusing bike advocates of bullying in an open council session.

And leaving them feeling jerked around — if not stabbed in the back — during the process of needlessly examining, then killing, what was already a fully approved, funded and shovel-ready project.

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Meanwhile, it looks like bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd survive for another day.

After a vocal turnout by bike riders at Tuesday’s city council session in the Biking Black Hole, the proposed Beverly Hills Greenway appears to have gained traction (pdf, scroll down).

As usual, local advocacy website Better Bike offers the most complete recap of the day’s events, as well as reviewing local coverage of the story — including a highly biased piece from the Beverly Hills Courier that should have been printed on yellow stock.

Or maybe toilet paper.

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Allyson Vought forwards word of a bike rider who was assaulted by a pedestrian on the San Gabriel River bike path in Seal Beach earlier this month.

The man reportedly stepped into the pathway and punched the cyclist in the face hard enough to knock him off his bike, then proceeded to pummel him severely before casually walking away. The victim was discovered by another rider crawling up the rocky embankment leading to the river, bleeding from the face, head, arms and legs.

Disturbingly, police never showed up in response to the 911 call, even though riders followed the attacker for over 20 minutes.

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Once again, you can win a ride with Laemmle Theaters president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle.

Just explain why you want to ride with Greg, and you could win free entry to the 2015 Climate Ride, and $2500 towards your fundraising requirements, along with an Unlimited Laemmle Movie Pass for the rest of this year.

Not a bad deal.

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When is it too muddy for cyclocross?

When parks officials in Austin TX, home of this year’s national championships, decide to postpone the final day’s events because of wet conditions; stunned riders who refused to leave the park were threatened with arrest.

Donations are being raised for competitors who hadn’t budgeted for the extra day.

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The New York Times looks at Baltimore’s allegedly drunken and texting hit-and-run Bishop; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link.

The Baltimore Sun reports she was charged with manslaughter, hit-and-run and DUI, after blowing nearly three times the legal limit. As of Friday, she was in custody, being held on $2.5 million bond.

Meanwhile, a local letter writer says shock does not excuse the moral depravity of refusing to stop after hitting someone. Well put.

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Local

LA’s long promised bike share system could actually come to DTLA next year, with the first test stations opening as early as October of this year.

Santa Monica police are expanding patrols looking for violations that threaten the safety of cyclists, regardless of whether they’re committed by drivers or bike riders.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition offers a questionnaire for candidates in the city’s mayoral race; they’re also participating in a forum for mayoral candidates on the 14th. The LACBC should have a questionnaire for candidates in LA’s council elections soon.

Milestone Rides hosts a session on Bike Touring 101 at Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia on Saturday the 17th.

 

State

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition names Long Beach-based folding bike maker Tern as their Community Partner of the Year for the company’s support of the city’s CicloSDias open streets event.

San Diego’s bike share program is about to put 1,500 bikes on the streets.

Davis police recover 69 stolen bikes, but need to find the owners so they can press charges.

Sadly, a Folsom fireman is fighting for his life after being struck from behind by a bike rider while out running on a pathway.

 

National

The new Close Call Database tracks driver-on-cyclist hate. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent me this link, so please accept my apologies and thanks.

A Portland cyclist says bicycling won’t change the symptoms of menopause, but it does make it more fun.

Bicycling contributes over $3.1 billion — that’s billion, with a b — to the economy of Washington state.

You’ve got to be kidding. An Oklahoma City councilman proposes a three-foot passing law — except this one requires cyclists to keep three feet from motor vehicles.

A Tulsa man dedicated the last two decades of his life to the belief that every kid should have a bike; sadly, he passed away last week.

A Chicago cyclist explains why bicycling tends to be less popular among African Americans. And how it helped rescue his own life.

Bad enough when a cyclist is killed in a collision; even more heartbreaking when a 74-year old PA man dies nine months after he was hit by a car.

The Washington Post offers a thoughtful examination of why cyclists break traffic laws, which basically boils down to trying to stay safe on roads that weren’t designed with us in mind. Thanks to LACBC board member Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

 

International

A new rain-proof riding jacket will indicate your turns for you. And your bike can now keep you upright, no matter how clumsy or balance challenged you may be.

A Canadian study shows helmet use doesn’t impact your overall risk of injury while riding a bike, since they only protect against head injuries. The study, evidently conducted by Obvious University, concludes the biggest injury risk factor cyclists face is… wait for it… getting hit by a car.

A Brit cyclist is convicted of punching another rider in a fit of bike rage, then doing it again to someone else just nine months later.

Increasing cycling rates could save at least 80 lives a year in Stockholm.

The seat and handlebars vibrate on a new bike from the Netherlands when fast moving objects get to close; on most LA streets, that could make it a virtual mobile sex toy.

Firefighters pedal bikes to the blazes in Varanasi, India. But do they get to make siren noises when they ride to the rescue?

The debate over scofflaw cyclists rages on, even in the UAE.

New Zealand’s national women’s cycling championships was nearly decided by a poodle peloton pile-up.

 

Finally…

You can now buy a ridable bike for the equivalent of just $10, as long as you don’t mind if it’s made of cardboard. Nothing like a bike rack on the back of your Lamborghini.

And if you thought playing Jingle Bells on a bike was something special, how about a veritable bike orchestra?

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Thanks to John Hall for a generous donation to support this website.

Your generosity is what allows me to keep doing this.

Morning Links: CicLAvia sued over Wilshire hit-and-run; LaBonge keeps Glendale-Hyperion Bridge dangerous

Maybe you remember.

It was during the June, 2013 Wilshire CicLAvia when a bike rider was hit by a hit-and-run driver during the ostensibly car-free event.

Now CicLAvia has been sued by the rider, who suffered three broken vertebrae when an impatient motorist drove through the barricades blocking a cross street and sped across the boulevard, striking him in the process.

No arrest was ever made, making it impossible to sue the person actually responsible for the injuries. So instead, the victim’s lawyer is going after the nearest deep pockets, which is what lawyers are paid to do. Although how deep CicLAvia’s pockets are remains to be seen.

Presumably, the non-profit organization has insurance to cover cases like this, so it’s unlikely that it will affect future events. Although increased costs for insurance coverage and security are likely to make them more expensive to stage.

And don’t expect to hear CicLAvia respond to the suit. They’ve undoubtedly been advised by their attorneys not to comment publicly on the case.

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It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from erstwhile bike blogger Will Campbell, now an animal cop with the spcaLA.

Will explains that the local spcaLA is not associated with the national ASPCA, and any donations made in response to the ubiquitous ad with the sad-eyed dogs and cats won’t benefit homeless or abused animals here in the City of Angels.

He invites you to guess how many coins are in a jar he plans to donate to the society; the winner can have the donation made in their name. Or you can donate directly through the society’s website.

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with bikes.

But it’s a damn good cause.

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‘Tis the season.

A Turlock, CA group puts together 50 bikes to donate to the Salvation Army for underprivileged kids. A mountain bike group donates dozens of bikes to kids at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Grand Rapids MI volunteers give away 1,500 free bikes. Three-hundred Miami kids from needy families get new bikes, thanks in part to Walmart.

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Local

Outgoing 4th District councilmember Tom LaBonge’s insistence that no traffic lanes be removed from the soon-to-be redesigned Glendale-Hyperion Bridge force dangerous compromises to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The best solution may be to wait a few months until someone else sits in his seat.

The Eastside Bike Club hosts a ride on Sunday, January 4th to protest CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s misguided comments to the council that bike riders represent the 1%; let’s show him that real Angelenos — and voters — of all types ride bikes. Thanks to Jaime Kate for the tip.

Better Bike discusses how Beverly Hills fails to take California’s three-foot passing law or cyclist safety into account in a planned redesign of Santa Monica Blvd; you’re invited to discuss a new complete streets proposal for the boulevard at 7 pm tonight in the Beverly Hills Public Library. And maybe the topic of how political accountability takes a holiday in the Biking Black Hole will come up, as well.

A 26-year old Pomona bike rider was killed in a drive-by shooting. Bad enough we have to dodge cars; no one should ever fall victim to bullets.

 

State

An Irvine woman walks out of jail just hours after being sentenced to nearly a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop. If the courts won’t take a vehicular assault on a cop seriously, what hope is there for the rest of us?

A San Diego bike rider makes a remarkable recovery from an Ocean Beach hit-and-run that nearly took her life just two months ago.

A Bakersfield bike rider is killed in an early morning hit-and-run on Saturday.

Palo Alto proposes striking designs for a planned bike/pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

 

National

Close associates of ex-six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by ex-one-time Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, agreeing to pay the Feds $541,000.

Tucson bike ambassadors give away bike bells, arguing that the bells sound nicer than saying “on your left.” And every time one rings, an angel gets his wings.

The National Parks Service proposes allowing bikes to use a six-mile pathway in Bryce Canyon. However, a recent NPS rule change could mean cyclists could be banned from nearby roads if the bikeway is approved.

As if the state’s highways weren’t risky enough for cyclists, South Dakota expands the use of rumble strips to make them more dangerous.

Massachusetts’ state parks department approves a half-million dollar study on how to better accommodate bikes, recognizing that bicycling is a growing form of both transportation and recreation.

Pittsburgh installs a new stop box for cyclists, but fails to tell motorists what it’s for.

A North Carolina judge rules a motorist gave a cyclist enough passing distance — even though the car’s mirror knocked the rider off her bike. I’d hate to see what he thinks is too close.

It takes a real jerk to steal bikes from Florida foster kids.

 

International

Volvo announces a new safety system to provide proximity alerts between drivers and cyclists; of course, it only works if both are using the same system.

Aussie pro Simon Gerrans is out of commission for the next few months after breaking his collarbone while training.

Now that’s a big heart. A Kiwi cyclist forgives the motorist who ran him off the road and assaulted him before running over his bike.

Caught on video: A Chinese bike rider miraculously walks away after getting run over by a semi in a right hook; warning, though, you may find the video hard to take. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

Aussie police conduct a drunk driving crackdown over the weekend, but the most wasted person they caught was riding a bike. Lance insists he would never cheat, at least not at golf; didn’t he used to say the same thing about bike racing?

And bad enough that bike riders have to dodge dangerous drivers; not even ghost bikes are safe. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent this one to me, but thank you, anyway.

 

Morning Links: Arrest made in Anaheim hit-and-run; saddle up for Selle’s Christmas party in San Diego

An arrest is finally made in the hit-and-run death of an Anaheim mother early last month.

Daniella Palacios was riding her bike across the street just blocks from her home when she was run down by a white pickup, whose driver fled the scene without stopping.

Now 30-year old Buena Park resident Junior Lopez has been arrested for the crime. He’s being held on $50,000 bond, and his Ford F-150 truck has been seized as evidence.

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If you find yourself in San Diego tonight, make your way to the Selle Anatomica Christmas Party at 7939 Silverton Ave, Suite 806, from 6 to 9 pm. Just bring a canned good for the San Diego Food Bank and a “funky” item for the schwag exchange. RSVP in advance to fred@selleanatomica.com.

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Irvine and Riverside personal injury legal firm Avrek Law introduces the BikeSafe Bicycle Accident Reporting App, allowing you to report bike-related incidents throughout the SoCal region, or search for collision data by year or type. And yes, it does make an impact to see all those wreck sites on a single map.

Although I wish lawyers, of all people, would learn to call them collisions instead of accidents, since accident implies that no one is at fault.

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The LACBC is teaming with Better Bike to host a meeting on Monday on how to create a more bike friendly Beverly Hills. Personally, I’d start with a major attitude adjustment at City Hall.

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Lois forwards this photo of a gray-haired Burbank man who appears to be riding a ghost bike, right down to the RIP sign attached to the frame.

Stolen or not, I’d say that’s tempting fate just a little too much.

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Longtime LA Times columnist Patt Morrison says local bike riders should be required to get an “info license” to make them learn the rules of the road.

Aside from the fact that only the state can impose licensing requirements — cities can license bikes, but not riders — it’s an interesting, if muddled, unnecessary and ultimately unworkable idea.

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Local

Streetsblog reports on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s snub of bicyclists as the City Council unanimously approved the city’s Call for Projects list. Meanwhile, Across LA asks who the real one-percenters are. And Richard Risemberg aptly describes Cedillo’s method of governing as a “tantrumocracy.”

The USC Bike Coalition unveils first bike repair station and pump on the traditionally bike-unfriendly campus.

UPS makes Burbank deliveries by bike.

Now that the San Gabriel Valley bike plan has been approved by all five cities involved, Monterey Park cyclists could see improvements as early as next spring.

Three Baldwin Park bike thieves are under arrest after the owner spots his stolen bike for sale on Craigslist.

 

State

An Irvine woman gets just a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop.

San Diego neighborhoods battle over plans to close an off-ramp to make room for a bike and pedestrian corridor, as local merchants fail to grasp that people on bikes spend money, too.

Paso Robles plans a L’Eroica Vintage Bicycle Event next April; participants are limited to riders on steel frame bikes built before 1987.

An Oklahoma man stops in Petaluma after riding 7,500 miles with his dog in support of animal shelters.

That’s a good problem to have, as a Bay Area Caltrain station struggles to keep up with demand for bike parking.

The civil trial begins in the case of a San Francisco bike rider killed in a collision with a 13 ton delivery truck. Police initially blamed the cyclist until the SF Bike Coalition found security camera footage that police hadn’t bothered to look for.

‘Tis the season, as a Turlock real estate agency donates 23 bikes for less fortunate children.

 

National

Requiring sideguards on large trucks could save the lives of countless cyclists and pedestrians.

People for Bikes looks at the nation’s 10 best protected bike lanes, including one right here in Temple City.

Biking pop star Katy Perry gets a custom painted ride.

DC bike riders are most likely to be white or Hispanic, and either wealthy or low income.

 

International

The ugly Christmas sweater fad spreads to bike jerseys. Although hideous might be a better word.

A heartbraking story from the UK, as a father is accused of killing his own bike riding son by passing too closely.

Unbelievable. An injured British cyclist is kept waiting over two hours before an ambulance finally arrived.

Good thing the peloton has been cleaned up. An Italian pro cyclist is caught using testosterone, despite serving an 18-month ban for doping. Meanwhile, banned cyclist Riccardo Riccò says it’s impossible to win a grand tour without doping; scary thing is, he may be right.

A Japanese cyclist is banned from riding his bike for 90 days after crashing while under the influence of quasi-legal drugs.

 

Finally…

Once again, a driver mistakenly assumes that gas taxes pay for the roads, let alone the bikeways on them, and blames scofflaw cyclists for breaking the law — unlike all those law abiding motorists. Bike riders are often turned away from drive-through widows; evidently, it helps if you use a gun and ask for the contents of the cash drawer.

And caught on video: Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas plays Jingle Bells using bike bells.

 

Bikes Have Rights™*

The Danger in Dog Day Afternoons

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

   
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP 
 

Recently, at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Open House, JJ Hoffman was telling me a story about her daily encounter with dog a couple of years ago. JJ said every day when she was riding to work she’d meet up with this same woman who was walking her dog unleashed.

Every day the dog took after JJ, which set the woman off who would run yelling behind her dog. It got so bad that JJ had the pepper spray out before she got to the street where she’d meet up with the dog. All that dog wanted, JJ said, was a taste of her calf.

JJ really didn’t want to spray the dog, though spraying the owner was tempting, and, luckily for everybody, JJ never actually had to take action.

Like JJ, I really like dogs. The dogs are doing what their instincts tell them to do: to chase prey. Irresponsible dog owners are another matter. They put the cyclist, the dog, and especially themselves in danger.

Bitten by a Dog

In California, if you are bitten by a dog, the owner is at fault. It doesn’t matter if the dog is leashed or not. It doesn’t matter if the owner knew or didn’t know that the dog had a “vicious nature.” California holds owners to “strict liability.” If you are bitten, the owner is liable for your injuries. There is no “free bite” in California.

Collision with or because of a Dog

When a dog begins chasing a cyclist, most cyclists tend to try to outrun the dog. When that happens, the dog’s brain goes into get-the-fleeing-prey mode, and the race is on.

Whether or not you can really outrun the dog, the real danger is in possibly colliding with the dog or colliding with something else because you lose control of the bike or you hit a pot hole or even getting hit by a motor vehicle when swerving or not being able to stop at a light or an intersection.

If you suffer serious personal injuries or your bike is damaged, again, the dog owner can be held liable. Your bicycle accident attorney should be able to obtain compensation for your injuries.

Compensation for Dog-related Collisions or Bites

The dog owner may be held negligent for:

  • Ineffective control of the dog.
  • Violation of the leash law and other Animal Control Ordinances.
  • Inadequate supervision or management of the dog.
  • Putting the dog in a condition in which the owner could have seen that the dog could cause injury to somebody.

Individual cities also may have their own animal control ordinances. For instance, one city limits the number of dogs that can be walked by one person at a time and a number of cities consider it a misdemeanor if a dog is tied to a parking meter, sign or bus bench without food or water nearby.

Some cities have ordinances specific to a breed. In Santa Monica a pit bull on public property must be muzzled.

The dog owner may be held responsible for compensating you for:

  • Medical bills from doctors, emergency rooms, hospitals, therapists, plastic surgeons, and for prescriptions.
  • Future medical bills to remove scars or to repair disfigurements. If the money for medical care is not recovered at this time, your health insurance might not cover any future medical procedures you need later, calling them “cosmetic.”
  • Time you had to take off from work resulting in lost income.
  • Lost future earnings because of disfigurement or disabilities.
  • Emotional counseling.
  • Pain and suffering.

Of course you can only recover compensation for injuries you suffer and care you actually need.

Hesitations to Holding an Owner Liable

One of the major hesitations a cyclist who is bitten by a dog often has in reporting a dog bite is the fear that the dog will be destroyed. A dog that has no history of biting is rarely “put down.”

The court takes into account the severity of the bite and the number of times it has bitten. It may rule that a dog must be muzzled in public or restrained in a particular way, such as kept behind a certain type of fence of a certain height.

Self-Defense

We all have heard that we have the right to defend ourselves against an attack from another person. What few people realize is that the law says you can defend yourself as much as is necessary to foil the attack. Your defense must be proportionate to the attack, and when the danger is past, so is your right to defend yourself.

This is a common law concept, and there is no explicit statement in common law that this also applies in a dog attack. More and more dog owners are counter-suing for compensation when their dog has been injured either intentionally or through someone else’s negligence.

So if you are going to use self defense, be sure that it is proportionate to the attack and that once the attack is over you stop, similar to how you would defend yourself with a human. That is a legally defensible act, though you could still find yourself in a lawsuit with the dog owner.

Personally, I subscribe to the belief that it’s rare to find a bad dog, but bad owners are much too plentiful.

*Sponsored post

 

Guest Post: A view from the courtroom

It’s one of the more heartbreaking cases in recent history.

It was just two days before Christmas last year, when a young Australian man working in Chicago was flying back home for the holidays, leaving his girlfriend of five years behind. Faced with an extended layover at LAX, James Rapley decided to rent a bike on a sunny Sunday morning for a ride along the beach.

He never made his flight home.

Rapley was riding in the uphill bike lane on Temescal Canyon Blvd when he was run down from behind by another young man, who was allegedly under the influence at 9 am, and reportedly admitted to texting behind the wheel when he drifted into the bike lane, taking the Aussie’s life in an instant.

I’ve often wondered what James Rapley’s thoughts were in those last few moments as his life drifted away. Whether he thought of the woman he loved, or the family he would never see again.

Or just wondered why.

Mohammed Kadri, the driver who took his life, was recently charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent volunteered to be in the courtroom for Kadri’s Preliminary Setting on Thursday. Here’s her report.

……..

This morning, Mohammed Kadri was actually present in court. I didn’t see anyone in the tiny courtroom who looks 20 years old, because Kadri is kind of hirsute, so he looks older; the kid probably has a 5 o’clock shadow by noon. He’s not very tall, but his suit fit well, and posture is good and it indicated that he understands the gravity of his situation.

The Deputy DA assigned to the case requested a continuance. The judge asked a little impatiently why they shouldn’t proceed today. The prosecutor stated that she needs time to speak with the victim’s family. (Because what better time than the holidays?!?) The next court date is Friday, January 16th.

Incidentally, the prosecutor is Danette Meyers. She’ll prosecute viciously. The victim impact statements will be absolutely integral to the case, though. Even if the family can only provide written statements.

From the glass elevators at the courthouse, you can see planes coming in to LAX. I looked at those tubes of tin and thought of all the souls on board. James had flown into LAX a day early because he was worried that bad weather would delay his flight home to Australia. I wondered if any of today’s arrivals had chosen an early flight for the same reason, to play it safe so they can get home to their families for the holidays. And then I prayed every single one of them will be on their connecting flights. Because James Rapley never got the chance.

Just as an aside, and I could be wrong, but… In the hallway outside the courtroom, an older guy intercepted Kadri’s lawyer as we (me & the guy who turned out to be the lawyer) reached for the courtroom door at just about the same moment. This older guy may be a relative. Right after Kadri’s appearance, I went into the hallway to type some quick notes on my laptop. This same older guy walked by, very clearly looking down at the screen. I scowled at him and he pivoted away. I think he noticed the LACBC sticker on the front and suspects I’m some agent of theirs. Well, let the defense worry that so many eyes are on them.

I’d love to see Kadri quake beneath the gaze of an angry guardian angel the size of the Bike Coalition.

The Airport courthouse has no bike parking, but the security at the garage entrance suggested locking up to the handicap parking sign. The courthouse is conveniently nestled in the armpit of the 105/405 interchange, and miserable to reach by any way but car. If you look at Google Maps, it’s right there by the Green Line station, but you can’t access it by 116th street (unless you scale two chain link fences, and people clearly do this.) Nope, you have to go down to 120th and head back north. If you’re on a bike on 120th & La Cienega, it’s terrifying to wait in the eastbound left turn lane (whose sensor doesn’t register bikes), because the westbound traffic shooting out from the freeway underpass seems to be COMING RIGHT AT YOU thanks to the wacky angle at the intersection. By the time that oncoming wall of FedEx truck zoomed at me like Jaws, my heart rate was about 160. It’s not much lower right now, what with the rage about how we practically require vehicular manslaughter defendants to arrive at the courthouse by automobile.

……..

After I got her report, I emailed a member of Rapley’s family in Australia to let them know about the January 16th court date.

The response I received broke my heart.

The next court date will be just days after the one year anniversary of his funeral. And six years to the day that he’d been with his girlfriend. 

……..

The ghost bike for James Rapley is still there, 355 days later.

Maybe you’ve seen it at the corner of Temescal and PCH, and wondered who it was for, or stopped to read the inscription.

It’s been maintained all this time by a grieving father from Oxnard, whose own six-year old son was killed while riding his bike. Since then, Anthony Novarro has dedicated his life to remembering other bike riding sons and daughters who have lost theirs.

He stops by every few weeks to clean the site, and remember a young man none of us ever knew.

But all ghost bikes are removed or stolen sooner or later; it’s unusual that one lasts this long.

There’s a discussion currently underway to make the memorial permanent by installing a bike rack in the shape of a bicycle in Rapley’s honor.

So far it hasn’t gotten past the discussion stage.

But its another reminder that James Rapley hasn’t been forgotten in the City of Angels, even if he died a stranger to us all.

……..

Something else that hasn’t gotten past the discussion stage yet is a proposal to build the city’s first parking-protected bike lane on that uphill side of Temescal Canyon where Rapley lost his life.

Such protected bikeways were just approved by the state legislature earlier this year, and signed into law by Governor Brown. This would be the ideal location for one, with no conflicting intersections or cross traffic for nearly mile from PCH to Palisades High School.

Whether it would have saved Rapley’s life at that early hour is impossible to say; there may not have been enough beachgoers parking their cars to form a protective barrier so early on a winter weekend.

But it might help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

And if there’s a better way to honor someone who needlessly lost his life in the few short hours he spent in our city, I don’t know what that would be.

……..

Update: A comment below from Jeffrey reminds us that a memorial fund in Rapley’s name has raised over $15,000 for Australia’s Amy Gillett Foundation to improve bike safety, with a goal of eliminating bicycling deaths. And it tells his all-too-brief life story, letting us know just who this man we never knew was.

More impressively, his family donated his life insurance and joined with friends to contribute over $250,000 to establish a scholarship at Whitley College for a Rural Student studying either Engineering or Science at Melbourne University.

But more funds are needed to increase the amount of the annual award, and help make a difference in the world that James Rapley never got the chance to make.

 

Morning Links: LASD to bar deputy distracted driving before they kill again; successful South LA CicLAvia

About damn time.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department finally proposes cutting back on onboard computer use by their deputies, which would be illegal for anyone other than emergency workers. And for damn good reason.

Unfortunately, it comes too late for Milt Olin, killed by a deputy who was using his to text with another officer when he drifted into the bike lane Olin was riding in one year ago.

Not too surprisingly, the department’s union agues for the need for deputies to keep using their computers while they drive, rather than rely on the radios police officers have used with relative safety for decades.

Evidently, Olin’s death doesn’t mean any more to them than it did the DA’s office.

……..

South LA merchants wonder if CicLAvia would ruin business for the day; experience shows that businesses that reach out to participants thrive, while those who don’t, don’t.

An anonymous donor contributes $400,000 for future events.

Unfortunately, the Times gets it wrong; CicLAvia is not a bike festival, as they suggest, but an open streets event that welcomes anyone without a motor. On the other hand, KABC-7 gets it right, and has the video to prove it.

……..

Local

Glendale will hold a workshop on Thursday to discuss where to put a bridge connecting Griffith Park and the LA River bike path with the east side of the river.

A bike rider is critically injured in a fall while riding with a group of cyclists on a mountain road above Altadena; he was airlifted to Pasadena for treatment.

CICLE’s next adult bicycling class is scheduled for Sunday, January 18th; that might make the perfect holiday gift for the bike-curious person on your list.

 

State

Two San Francisco cops are convicted of stealing $30,000 from a drug dealer. But it’s okay, one of them planned to use his share to buy a bike.

A San Francisco writer says the new three-foot passing law hasn’t really changed anything.

 

National

Honolulu gets its first cycle track, while residents worry what effect it will have on pedestrians. Maybe they should read this report from People for Bikes.

A Seattle red light camera catches a car and a bike running the light, but only the driver gets a ticket.

The mother of a Boise girl killed while riding her bike in a crosswalk files suit against the local police department for blaming the victim, rather than the operator of the big dangerous machine.

Nice. A new Colorado bike path runs along a reconstructed highway, allowing cyclists to ride 18 miles car-free from Boulder to the Denver area.

A sleepy Iowa town gets rediscovered thanks to a shiny new bridge and bike trail.

A female ex-con New Hampshire bike rider is under arrest for stabbing two women in a road rage incident.

Vermont proposes a statewide bike plan; long past time Caltrans did more than consider it.

Bono wasn’t dressed as a Hassidic Jew when he had his New York bike accident after all; turns out band mate The Edge was just pulling our collective leg.

 

International

Lance says he and his teammates had to cheat if they wanted to compete with other doping teams. Problem is, given the pervasiveness of cheating during the doping era, he’s probably right. And we all believe it’s over, right?

Irish cyclists talk about the problems they face on the road. Sounds like nothing is really different over there than it is here.

The mayor of Paris proposes spending the equivalent of $122 million on bike lanes. And making the city center nearly car-free.

A round-the-world cyclist says Australia is the world’s worst place for bike riders. I’m sure we could nominate a few spots that might compete.

 

Finally…

A Florida man flees by bike after stuffing his pants with stolen meat; I really don’t want to go to his house for dinner. See what it looks like to ride a World Cup cyclocross from a first-person perspective.

And in case you’ve forgotten, this is what it feels like to ride a bike for the first time.

 

Weekend Links: CicLAvia comes to South LA Sunday; new LAPD video says don’t get killed running a stop sign

It doesn’t look like I’m going to make Sunday’s South LA CicLAvia, even though it’s shaping up as possibly the best CicLAvia ever.

So go in my place. Have fun.

And say hello to LA’s historic undiscovered country south of the Santa Monica Freeway.

……..

CicLAvia leads KNBC’s list of things to do this weekend. The South LA community looks forward to their big day on LA’s center stage, while Streetsblog looks at what’s on tap all along the route.

The Militant Angeleno offers his must read guide to the South LA CicLAvia route; seriously, no one knows LA’s history and significant cultural sites better. No, really, click on the damn link, already.

And the new Silverlake Shinola hosts a neighborhood block party to celebrate its Grand Opening just as CicLAvia comes to a close; Angel City Brewery will be there to aid your post ride recovery.

……..

If CicLAvia isn’t in your plans, you can show your respect for a fallen rider killed by an LA sheriff’s deputy — who escaped without even the usual slap on the wrist — with Sunday’s Ceremonial Spin with the family of Milt Olin.

……..

The LAPD introduces a new traffic safety campaign.

Do I really need to mention that the first ad blames bike riders for getting themselves killed — even though none of the 11 cyclists killed in the city this year died as a result of running a stop sign?

……..

Local

The response from drivers to the LA Times’ recent story about bike-involved hit-and-runs is to blame the damn cyclists for getting hit. So evidently, they think running away after running down a cyclist is justified? Now that’s scary.

LA’s new bike lanes are just a step in the right direction towards improving traffic congestion and air quality.

Two LA city councilmembers introduce motions to fix those bad roadway patches that can make a bike ride miserable or take a rider down.

 

State

Calbike comes up with an aggressive agenda for next year, including requiring insurance companies to pay for collisions drivers cause, even if they aren’t directly involved.

The OC Weekly misinterprets the Newport Beach safety crackdown as targeting bad bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, even though the plan is to target all violations that endanger vulnerable users, whoever commits them.

 

National

GoPro is trying to, uh, go pro.

The Women’s Road World Cup will come back to the US next year.

People for Bikes reaches one million riders; you’ll find my name somewhere around the first thousand or so.

Tucson cyclists now enjoy over 1,000 miles of bicycling infrastructure. Although I’m not sure bike routes should count.

St. Paul hopes to catch up with its bike friendly twin city with a comprehensive new bike plan.

Tension still exists between cyclists and drivers in bike friendly Chattanooga. Just like everywhere else.

Orlando cyclists illegally stick to the sidewalk because they’re afraid to ride in the street.

 

International

The BBC says Bolivia’s Death Road has become the hot new route for risk-taking mountain bikers; the photos alone are worth the click.

We’re winning, at least overseas. Bikes are creating more jobs in Europe than carmakers in the US.

Even getting filmed kicking another London rider off his bike into rush hour traffic isn’t good enough for more than a warning.

Sometimes expensive mechanical problems aren’t.

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers. Rome’s bike-riding mayor may have to start taking a limo to the office after his life is threatened by mobsters.

A Helsinki study shows what I’ve always suspected — slower speed limits move traffic more efficiently.

An auto-centric Aussie coroner responds to the death of a cyclist by saying bikes should be banned from the motorway he was riding on, rather than suggesting motorists could conceivably drive more safely.

 

Finally…

At 1,500 an hour, the best way to burn off those holiday calories could be fat biking. Bring your Christmas tree home by bike. Ride inside this winter with your own DIY rollers for just $32.

And in case you were wondering, the AP says Kris Kringle should be spelled with a double S, and Chanukah without the C; meanwhile MAMIL makes the Oxford English Dictionary, along with carne asada and Secret Santa.

 

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