Archive for Law Enforcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t even know where to start.

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

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

So much for that ticket.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that has to change.

Now.

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

South Bay cities meet to talk bike corrals on Thursday.

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

Four US mayors explain why better bike networks matter.

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

Morning Links: LA sheriff’s agree PCH cyclists belong in the lane; women could race in 2015 Pro Challenge

Don’t tell Seth Davidson.

But he’s rapidly turning into one of Southern California leading bike advocates.

After meeting with the police chief of Santa Paula on Friday, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, in the aftermath of the recent anti-bike You Tube fiasco, the author of Cycling in the South Bay followed up with Sunday’s Sheriff’s Department ride-along on PCH.

Along with members of Big Orange Cycling, Davidson organized a demonstration of why large groups of cyclists belong in the traffic lane, riding abreast, rather than hugging the curb or weaving in and out of the lane while riding single-file.

In a result that should surprise no one, with the possible exception of most motorists and many law enforcement personnel, the deputies agreed that riding abreast in the lane was far safer than the other alternatives, and posed fewer problems for the drivers around them.

Which means that riders on PCH can expect fewer unfair and unfounded tickets for violating the requirement in CVC 21202 to ride as far to the right as practicable, which doesn’t apply on non-sharable lanes.

And the deputies agreed that the right lane of PCH is too narrow for a bike to safely share with a motor vehicle. Especially once the new three-foot passing law goes into effect in September.

As he points out, this is less a victory than a step in the right direction.

But it’s a damn big step.

And we all owe Seth, and the other riders involved, a round of thanks for fighting for our rights and helping them take it.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

……..

Now that Kazakhstan-based Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali has won it, the Central Asian country wants to host the Tour de France. After a fan lost his helmet cam while filming stage three of the Tour, Europcar rider Kevin Reza films himself finishing the stage, then returns it to the owner. A team founded by Jock Boyer, the first American TdF rider, hopes to be the first all-African team to compete in the race. Jens Voigt looks back on the last of his 17 Tours.

And following the successful Le Course women’s race at the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge may consider letting women race next year.

……..

Local

A Freedom of Information request confirms an LAPD officer had no basis to claim bike lanes would delay emergency response times on North Figueroa, despite what he said during a sham hearing put on Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

CicLAvia is working on a route through several cities in southeast LA County for spring of 2016.

A new urban cycling bike shop is opening in Santa Monica, with a pre-grand opening happy hour on Wednesday.

Two Long Beach riding groups will meet Wednesday to discuss how to get more women riding in the city.

 

State

The Palm Springs area could get its own bike share program.

Mountain View is looking for a new Mobility Coordinator. I’ll take the job if I can do it from here.

 

National

A six-year old Portland girl makes her own sign criticizing the thief who stole her father’s bike.

My already bike-friendly Colorado hometown is getting buffered bike lanes.

Red Kite Prayer remembers mountain bike framebuilder Tom Teesdale, who died of a heart attack during Iowa’s RAGBRAI.

A question I’ve often asked myself — should you speak up when you see someone riding in a risky manner?

New York’s Citi Bike is cheaper than other transportation options, and faster than most.

 

International

Moving story of yet another bicycling visitor to this county whose life was cut short by an American driver; this time a young Toronto man run down outside Memphis.

The son of a fallen cyclist asks London’s mayor to stop promoting bicycling in an unsafe city.

A new Indian concept bike could fit in a backpack, and be reassembled in just 10 minutes.

Could a single bad decision ruin Tokyo cycling forever?

 

Finally…

A Boston-area cop begs to differ when a rider claims he can’t be arrested for refusing to give his name after running a red light. And a nice story, as LA Sheriff’s transit deputies and support staff buy a new bike for disabled Reseda man after his is stolen from the Chatsworth Orange Line Station. Nice work, guys.

 

Morning Links: The battle over Santa Paula cop’s anti-bike video is over, but we may have lost the war

And then it was over.

Less than 36 hours after the flap over a bike hating Santa Paula reserve police officer blew up online and in her face, she found herself unemployed by the department.

Apparently her own choice, much to the displeasure of countless riders who were out for blood. And not in a mood for ritual career hari-kari.

I first became aware of the video in question when Bike Snob tweeted about it on Saturday morning.

Meet Laura Weintraub, horrible person, incompetent videographer, and utter moron: 

Like countless others, I watched in varying degrees of horror and outrage as she laughingly expressed her hatred of bikes, bicyclists and spandex, as well as her desire to run us all off or into the road.

After tweeting about it a few times myself, I made plans to express my own outrage on here. Only to discover the video had been taken down before I could get to it, leaving nothing to link to and no copy to repost.

Meanwhile, the proverbial defecation had hit the fan.

It didn’t take long for someone to discover that she worked as reserve officer for the Santa Paula PD, compounding the outrage that a uniformed cop would express such offensive thoughts in a cheap and badly failed attempt at humor.

Although cop is stretching it; someone sent me a link to a page showing Weintraub had made less than $100 working for the department in recent weeks.

Countless riders — and others who simply didn’t like the idea of killing or maiming innocent people for giggles — inundated Weintraub’s Facebook page, as well as the SPPD, with calls, emails and online comments.

She responded by removing the offensive video without comment, followed by what seemed like a sincere apology. Or at least, a damn good job of faking one.

I would like to apologize to all those who have been offended by what was intended to be a satirical video on cyclists. It was never meant to be hurtful or harmful in anyway, I am a human being, I made a mistake, I have learned from this and ask for your forgiveness. The responses have shown me overwhelmingly just how hurtful my comments were to some and that is not at all what I intended. As soon as I knew, I removed the video immediately.

The response from the cycling community has made me aware of the sport and its safety issues and challenges with drivers on the road of which I was completely unaware. My heartfelt apologies to those that have been offended and to those who face these very real challenges.

Then again, you’d think any reasonably sentient being would get that calling for violence against anyone for the simple crime of riding a bike would likely be taken the wrong — or in this case, the right — way.

For some inexplicable reason, though, many drivers don’t seem the grasp the fact that people don’t just bounce back after being knocked down; what would be a simple fender bender if they hit another car could be catastrophic if they collided with a cyclist or pedestrian.

Although you’d certainly think a cop — even a lowly reserve officer — would grasp the damage motor vehicles can do in the wrong hands.

At the same time, we can only imagine Chief Steven McLean’s reaction, as whatever community relations he had managed to build up in his year on the job were seemingly undone in a single afternoon by someone who barely worked for him.

Once his head undoubtedly finished exploding, the long-time veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department responded by suspending Weintraub pending investigation. Along with another reserve officer who snarkily answered the criticism by complimenting her videos and suggesting cyclists need to obey the law.

At that point, the controversy appeared to be over. The video was down, the woman in question appeared to have learned her lesson, and the chief had done the right thing.

And then the media picked up the story, further fanning the justifiable outrage long after the fact, and leading to countless calls for Weintraub’s job, if not her head.

The final shoe dropped Sunday evening when Chief McLean posted on Facebook that he had accepted her resignation effective immediately — whether she volunteered it or he demanded it was left unstated.

So allow me to offer a contrary opinion.

I’m sorry to see her go.

Had she remained on the job — or even in limbo for awhile — we would have had a rare opportunity for a teachable moment.

If she truly got what she did wrong, and listened, as she said, to the many reasons why her attempt at humor wasn’t funny, she might have become more sympathetic to cyclists and a positive influence on her fellow officers. Or at the very least, unlikely to make a similar mistake a second time.

Not that she didn’t deserve to lose her job. But I’ve found that forgiveness is often more effective than vengeance in the long run.

Meanwhile, Santa Paula cyclists would have had a rare opportunity to demand a meeting with the chief and his officers to discuss the rights of riders and explain the risks we face in employing our legal and moral right to the road.

That door is probably closed now.

Chief McLean is likely to conclude that the matter has been concluded now that Weintraub is no longer a part of the department. And given the entirely justifiable vitriol dumped on him and his officers, he’s unlikely to open his door to our representatives anytime soon.

Which is not to say the anger wasn’t justified.

It was.

I was just as livid as anyone else when I viewed the video. However, we need to learn to direct that anger effectively, not just to get a young woman who did something incredibly stupid fired.

But to use it as an opportunity to build better relations with those charged with enforcing our rights. And achieve long-lasting changes that can and will improve safety and courtesy for everyone on the roads.

We won the battle.

But in doing so, we may have shot ourselves in the foot. And cost us an opportunity for dialogue that may not come again.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story; there are simply far too many to thank each of you individually.

……..

Local

The media seems to be coming down on the other side of Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa road diet — a veto that may or may not be legal.

Construction delays are keeping a new section of the LA River Greenway from opening.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride rolls through Lakewood on Sunday, August 3rd.

Neon Tommy looks at how bikes empower women.

 

State

New Seal Beach bike paths help close some of the final links in Orange County’s 66 mile OC Loop. Note to Press-Telegram: bike riders can actually ride anywhere they want in Downey, or anywhere else for that matter.

Caltrans will widen bike lanes through Chico to improve a dangerous section of roadway.

 

National

Google Maps now allows you to check elevations on your route, whether you want to seek out hills or avoid them.

Colorado Springs CO cyclists are tired of riding in the killing zone.

If you want to talk with the mayor of Fort Worth, you’d better get on your bike. Meanwhile, neighboring Dallas has a new bike czar.

New Orleans riders rally to demand safer streets.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer says cyclists aren’t a menace on the roads, comparing the one Canadian killed by a bike in 2010 with the 2,227 killed by cars. He’s got a point.

Indian army cyclists ride over 400 miles through the Himalayas, at altitudes up to 19,000 feet in an attempt to set a new record.

Talk about a good cause. A cyclist is planning to spend a full year riding across Ghana to meet 25,000 people and raise funds to provide shelter and healthcare for the county’s homeless street kids.

A young Kiwi rider overcomes diabetes to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

Cyclist deaths expose a culture clash on the congested streets of Sydney, Australia; thanks to New Colonist for the heads-up.

The best way to see Beijing is by bike.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Before you build that bike jump, put a little thought into how you’re going to land. A Dutch pro miraculously avoids death on both Malaysian Airlines disasters.

And a special thanks to Cycling in the Southbay’s Seth Davidson for his very kind words and high praise.

 

LA Sheriff’s deputies ticket PCH cyclists in clear violation of the law; LACBC demands fair and legal treatment

The law is very clear.

Yet somehow, the LA County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t get it. Or maybe they just don’t care.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports that sheriff’s deputies have been ticketing cycling groups for failing to ride to the right in violation of CVC 21202 — despite the fact that the law doesn’t apply on lanes that are too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Like the right hand lane on PCH.

And despite the fact that they already know the law doesn’t apply, having previously agreed in a meeting with bike advocates to stop the practice.

Despite personal assurances given by Captain Patrick Devoren, assurances made in the presence of me, Gary Cziko, and Eric Bruins of the LA County Bicycle Coalition, the department has stepped up its illegal ticketing and harassment campaign against cyclists. Even worse, the captain and his deputies have targeted the Big Orange cycling club in a brazen attempt to use force, threats, and fines to frighten cyclists out of the roadway…

After being promised by Captain Devoren at a meeting in January that we would no longer be cited by deputies for obeying the law, the same abusive deputy — Deputy Duvall — pulled over David Kramer on June 29, 2014 while he was legally riding two abreast in the far right lane on PCH.

David was part of a 20-person contingent, and Deputy Duvall cited him for violating VC 21202, which requires a cyclist to stay as far to the right of the lane as practicable unless the lane is of substandard width or unless the lane cannot safely be shared by both motorist and bicycle. If these either of these conditions apply — and both did — cyclists are not required to ride “FTR” (as far to the right as practicable), and they are allowed to use the full lane pursuant to the section of the Vehicle Code that gives bicycles the same travel rights on roadways as motor vehicles.

Davidson goes on to cite additional instances in which riders were ticketed in clear violation of the law. And apparently, with the full knowledge on the deputies part that the law did not support their actions.

In one case, a rider even received a ticket for simply riding in the roadway instead of on the shoulder. Even though anything to the right of the limit line is not legally considered part of the roadway.

While cyclists may ride on the shoulder if they choose, they are not required to, and no law enforcement agency has the right to force any bike rider to do so.

And they know that.

As an attorney, Davidson has agreed to represent the cyclists on a pro bono basis. And asks for your help in defending their right — and yours — to ride in a safe and legal manner.

  1. Click here and select the “subscribe” (to Cycling in the South Bay) link in the upper right-hand corner. Your monthly $2.99 donation will be used to defray the legal expenses of defending David and Scott and to promote activities that oppose harassment by the LA Sheriffs Department.
  2. Email me at fsethd@gmail.com if you are willing to actively oppose this illegal harassment of law abiding cyclists. Activities will include letter-writing, phone calls, organized full-lane rides on PCH, and mass meetings of cyclists with the sheriffs department to demand that they stop their illegal harassment.
  3. Notify me if you or someone you know has been cited for a VC 21202 violation so that I can try to arrange pro bono representation in defending their citation.

……….

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has taken the fight directly to the top, with an open letter to acting Sheriff John Scott.

Sheriff-21202-Page-1

Sheriff-21202-Page-2

 

It’s also worth noting that Long Beach police chief Jim McDonnell, the leading candidate to replace Scott as LA Sheriff, has already agreed to many of the LACBC’s requests in responding to the Coalition’s candidate survey.

All of which serves as a reminder that the LACBC is LA’s only countywide bicycle advocacy organization, fighting for the rights and safety of all riders on a daily basis. No matter how or where you ride.

Which is exactly why you should support the LACBC. And become a member, if you’re not already.

Because as this case clearly shows, your right to the road is only as good as the people fighting to protect it.

 

Morning Links: Santa Monica cracks down on cyclists again; OCSD drags its feet charging threatening driver

Once again, police in bike friendly Santa Monica show a less friendly face to cyclists.

As they have done in recent years, the department announced a crackdown on law-breaking bike riders in the month of July, as part of a rotating focus on behavior they believe causes traffic collisions. Even though they say the other party is usually at fault when it comes to bike wrecks.

Just a slight logical disconnect there.

But the real problem is that bike riders are people, not behaviors. And that makes the crackdown questionable, at best.

The department has every right to ticket cyclists who violate the law, just as they do anyone else on the road. And we’ve all seen reckless riders who probably deserve to be written up by making the roadway more dangerous for themselves and everyone around them.

The problem comes when they target their actions at a specific group, rather than a specific type of violation.

If the SMPD were to focus on people who fail to observe red lights and stop signs, for instance, they could justifiably ticket everyone who failed to stop, on a bike, on foot or in a motor vehicle. But directing their efforts towards a specific group, whether bicyclists, motorists or hipsters with handlebar mustaches makes it selective enforcement.

And that’s against the law.

They are required to treat everyone equally, without regard to race, creed, color, sexual orientation or socio-economic status. Or mode of transportation.

They can no more single out cyclists for selective enforcement than they can anyone else.

That’s not my opinion. That comes directly from conversations I’ve had with high-ranking members of other, apparently more enlightened local departments, including the LAPD.

Evidently, Santa Monica didn’t get the memo.

In the meantime, I’d recommend holding on to that news story announcing the crackdown.

Because that could be your best defense if you get a ticket while riding in Santa Monica this month.

……..

Bike safety website Look! Save A Life offers an open letter to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which has been dragging its feet in investigating the driver who was caught on viral video threatening the life of cyclist Bryan Larsen in Dana Point.

As the letter points out, while officers are normally required to witness a traffic violation in order to ticket the driver, this goes far beyond a mere traffic infraction. And similar video evidence has been used to charge drivers across the country for threatening bike riders.

There should be no question that a charge of assault with a deadly weapon is more than warranted in this case. The only question is why it hasn’t been filed already.

The proof is there. All they have to do is view the video.

And take the safety of cyclists seriously.

……..

A fund has been established to help pay burial expenses for 12-year old fallen San Bernardino bike rider Tewon Woods. Sadly, as this goes online, it has only raised $112 out of a hoped for $5000.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. 

……….

Marcel Kittel takes the first stage of the Tour de France’s UK start, but Mark Cavendish suffers a separated shoulder in a crash and has to abandon the tour. Nibali wins the second stage, while the peloton asks fans to just back off. And stop taking selfies, already.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire has it’s own unique ways to welcome the first UK start of Le Tour.

And instead of starting his first TdF, cycling scion Taylor Phinney faces a long and painful road to recovery.

……..

Local

Knitting the city together, bike lane by bike lane.

A new road diet and bike lanes are coming to Pacific Ave in San Pedro.

Construction begins on a new bike lane and bike route improvements in west Malibu.

Pasadena is formally studying protected bikeways in the city.

Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club lead a Riff Raff Ride into snooty San Marino over the holiday weekend, the San Gabriel Valley town too good for bike lanes and the people who use them.

 

State

Get a discount on registration for the Bike MS Coastal Challenge: Santa Monica to Santa Barbara through July 13th.

Laguna residents band together to demand safer streets following the death of cyclist Greg Colvin.

You wouldn’t think you’d have to worry about getting killed by a drunk driver in Auburn at 6:40 on a Friday morning. But you’d be wrong.

 

National

Science says bicycling can help you lead a happier, healthier life and make you a better person. But we already knew that, right?

A single Universal Bike frame adjusts to fit multiple riders and riding style configurations. But how does it ride?

Lenient and/or uncaring courts keep a dangerous New Mexico driver on the road, despite killing a cyclist and multiple DWI arrests.

Someone is vandalizing an Albuquerque ghost bike, apparently because his widow is speaking out to demand justice.

 

International

Someone is sabotaging Vancouver Island streets by stringing fishing line where they can severely injure bike riders.

An anonymous writer for the Guardian says the worst thing about bicycling is other cyclists.

Dublin is installing special bicycle traffic lights to give cyclists a jump on traffic at busy intersections.

Bangalore gets protected bike lanes.

An average of three bike riders a day are knocked off their bikes in Australia’s New South Wales.

 

Finally…
In an absolutely disgusting assault, a car passenger uses a high-powered urine-filled water gun to soak a bike rider after signaling him to come over. A Winnipeg rider crashes into a parked car, then stabs the driver when he gets out to see if the cyclist is okay.

And NPR’s Scott Simon tweets himself in the foot by equating scofflaw cyclists and Lance Armstrong to demonize us all.

Seriously, Scott, you should know better.

 

Weekend Links: Is the LA County Sheriff’s Department trying to hide the results of the Milt Olin investigation?

So what, exactly, are they trying to hide?

It’s standard practice in public relations that when you want to hide something bad news, you release it on a Friday afternoon where it can get lost on the weekend news cycle. And when you really want to hide something, you release it on a Friday just before a three-day holiday weekend.

That’s exactly what the LA County Sheriff’s Department did today.

The department has been highly criticized for investigating their own deputy in the December death of cyclist Milt Olin, rather than turn it over to independent investigators from the CHP, which usually handles traffic fatalities for the LASD.

Now, after sitting on the news for over a week, they finally announced that the results of their foot-dragging investigation into the former Napster executive and entertainment lawyer’s death were turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation on May 15th.

Why it took over five months to conduct an investigation that probably wouldn’t have taken five days if it was an average citizen behind the wheel is anyone’s guess. Let alone why the announcement wasn’t made last week, unless they were deliberately attempting to time it for the holiday weekend.

The incredibly cryptic announcement doesn’t offer a clue as to the results of the investigation, leading many in the cycling community to suspect the department may be attempting to cover-up its own culpability in Olin’s death. And hoping we won’t notice.

Good luck with that.

I’ve heard from a number of riders since the news broke late Friday afternoon, all of whom suspect something fishy is going on. And virtually all of whom question why the LASD chose to investigate itself, knowing the results would be held in doubt unless they unexpectedly come down hard on the department itself.

And yes, I’m told the CHP was more than willing to step in to assist or take over the investigation, but were never asked.

Meanwhile, the Times cites the coroner’s report as saying Olin appeared to be wearing earphones connected to an iPhone, which would be in violation of state law permitting an earpiece to be used in one ear only.

What bearing that could possibly have in the investigation is highly questionable, unless they’re trying to make a case that Olin should have somehow been able to avoid the patrol car that drifted into the bike lane and ran him down from behind.

Even eyes in the back of his head, let alone perfect hearing, probably wouldn’t have helped in that case.

The paper also notes that the Sheriff’s Department has publicly apologized to Olin’s family. As well they should.

But what they really owe them, and us, is an open and honest investigation, rather than a five month cone of silence followed by deliberately trying to bury the press release when it was most likely to go unnoticed.

On the later, they failed miserably.

On the former, the jury is still out. If it ever gets to one.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story.

………

The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer a new animated bike safety video; Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen says it was made by people who hate bicycling.

Seriously? Seems pretty innocent to me.

………

You’ll find a free bike valet at the annual Fiesta Hermosa in Hermosa Beach, which makes biking along the beach by far the best way to get there.

I’ll try to catch up on updating the Calendar over the weekend.

………

This weekend marks the US Cycling Pro National Championships in Chattanooga TN.

Cycling scion Taylor Phinney is a favorite, but can we please stop calling him the next big thing and/or the future of American cycling and just let him prove himself on the race course, or not, as the case may be?

………

Local

Great news on the Westside, as the popular San Vicente bike lanes are being extended through Brentwood. I rode through there myself on Friday, and even unfinished, it feels a lot more comfortable than the usual Friday traffic madhouse.

A Burbank resident writes a paean to the Chandler bikeway.

More on the planned Downey Bicycle Master Plan, which plans to borrow ideas from nearby Long Beach. Good ones, I hope.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer looks at the recent Campy Gran Fondo San Diego.

CalBike lobbies the state legislature for protected bikeways and a vulnerable user law.

Merced police pitch in to buy a cerebral palsy patient a new bike after his is stolen.

This one definitely wins the prize for California’s best named bike tour. Welcome to the Tour de Manure.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer says bike style has the power to capture the imagination.

 

National

The hit-and-run epidemic spreads to Seattle, as a bike rider suffers serious injuries while the cowardly driver flees the scene.

Denver’s mayor leads cyclists on a test ride of the city’s first protected bike lane.

The popularity of Chicago’s bike-friendly mayor sinks to just 29%, evidently because voters don’t like bike lanes.

Jersey City moves some bike lanes to the left side on one-way streets.

A speeding New Orleans driver is indicted on negligent homicide and negligent injury charges for killing an Atlanta firefighter in town for an Ironman competition and injuring another rider. Apparently they’re taking this case seriously, since he was taken into custody on a total of $600,000 bond.

After a North Carolina bike rider confronts a cop to deny running a red light, the officer takes him down, breaking his arm in the process.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer insists roads are for cars and bikes don’t belong there. So there.

A UK motorcyclist riding in a bike lane knocks down a bicyclist, then blames the victim before posting video of the incident online — which clearly shows his mirror clipping the rider’s arm.

Bike Radar profiles the essential kit for bike commuting. Yes, tires are essential; the rest, maybe not as much.

A Sydney newspaper calls a study showing bike lanes carried the same amount of traffic as the lanes next to them a two-wheeled fraud.

A Thai driver walks with a one year probation and a 10,000 Bhat fine — the equivalent of just $307 — for killing two bike riding British tourists on an around the world tour. I’d like to say life is cheap there, but I’ve seen just as bad right here in the US.

 

Finally…

A North Carolina TV station says Chapel Hill police seek expensive bike thief. So how much are bike thieves going for these days? And after an Alabama truck driver idiotically posts videos online showing himself threatening cyclists, he’s arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment; needless to say, other idiots rush to his defense.

 

Morning Links: Still no end to Milton Olin investigation, US House committee goes after bike/ped funding

So what the hell is taking so long?

Nearly six months after cyclist and former Napster CEO Milt Olin was killed by a sheriff’s deputy while riding in a Mulholland bike lane, investigators still haven’t sent the case to the DA, claiming they’re just being thorough.

The sheriff’s department raised a lot of eyebrows by deciding to investigate their own officer in Olin’s death, rather than turn the investigation over to an independent agency such as the CHP; I’m told the CHP — which usually handles traffic fatalities in the area — was more than willing to step in but was never asked.

The endless delay just raises more questions about whether the department is leaving no stone unturned in a search for the truth, or simply trying to find a way to exonerate one of their own.

Or perhaps the department itself, since many have suggested that it’s department policy for deputies to use the patrol car’s onboard computer while driving, which would be illegal for anyone not in uniform. And dangerously distracting for anyone, regardless.

Then again, maybe they’re just hoping that once they finally release the results, no one will care anymore.

Not gonna happen.

………

Once again, small minded representatives in the US House Appropriations Committee vote to gut bike and pedestrian funding. The proposed appropriations bill would turn the popular TIGER grant program into just another roads bill.

More proof, as it it’s needed, that too many of our elected leaders know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

………

Local

In advance of tonight’s community meeting to discuss bike lanes vs sharrows on dangerous North Figueroa, Richard Risemberg says your life, health and prosperity are at stake. And astutely calls sharrows the junk-food of bicycle facilities.

On the other end of Figueroa, the Times says the MyFigueroa project could result in a bikeable, walkable LA. And we shouldn’t settle for OK Streets instead of Great Streets.

Streetsblog offers five changes to improve the proposed LA mobility plan.

After wrapping what may have been its final season, the entire crew of Lifetime’s LA-based Drop Dead Diva — from grips to the stars of the series — are given new bikes.

A federal judge says you no longer have to pay a fee to bike or hike in undeveloped regions of the Cleveland, Los Padres, Angeles and San Bernardino national forests.

 

State

The Newport Beach Committee investigating restricting usage of the city’s Back Bay Drive has issued their report. I haven’t have a chance to read it yet, but you can download your own copy here.

A lightless, sidewalk-riding 73-year old Thousand Oaks cyclist is injured in a left cross collision with a 75-year old driver.

A casual cyclist embraces Bike to Work Day, as San Francisco prepares to celebrate theirs a week before we do.

The Bay Area’s Bicycle Coffee delivers fresh roasted coffee by bike; a new “chapter” plans to open in Silver Lake in three weeks.

 

National

Strava plans to sell its data to urban planners and advocacy groups; problem is, their data only shows where Strava users ride, not other types of riders.

Pharrell rides a bike in an undisclosed location. And yes, he looks sort of happy, maybe.

Boulder CO cycle track uses standard, inexpensive parking stops to form a protective barrier.

A New York lawmaker proposes increasing penalties to treat cyclists who flee the scene of a collision the same as hit-and-run motorists.

Cyclists may not have discovered DC’s new two-way cycle tracks, but drivers have. Meanwhile, a DC-area cyclist is ticketed in the hospital after she’s hit by a car when a witness claims she came out of nowhere, didn’t have lights, wasn’t in the crosswalk and was in the middle of the road. Sounds like maybe that witness was the driver who ran her down.

In a case of man bites dog, a Hattiesburg, Mississippi cyclist is the victim of a hit-and-run — and witnesses identify the suspect vehicle as a marked police car.

And these new compression shorts come complete with a fillable codpiece. Make of that what you will.

 

International

Most Toronto residents — and Canadians in general — want to require licenses for bike riders.

Former Amgen Tour of California winner Robert Gesink has surgery to correct the cardiac arrhythmia that has kept him off his bike in recent months. No word on when or if he’ll race again.

An Aussie writer says don’t feel sorry for careless cyclists, feel sorry for the poor innocent drivers who hit them — even though a study last year showed drivers were at fault in 79% of cycling collisions Down Under. Link courtesy of Opus the Poet, who’s Witch on a Bicycle blog you really should be reading if you don’t already.

 

Finally…

Following our discussion of scofflaw cyclists the other day, Priceonomics says it’s drivers’ fault that cyclists run stop signs. No, really.

And after an auto-centric writer for MotorSport magazine said the problem with cyclists is they get in your damn way and interfere with your right to zoom dangerously around winding roads, wiser heads prevailed and the story was removed from the website. But nothing ever really disappears from the Internet.

 

BOLO for Mission Hills hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bike rider

This morning we linked to a brief item about a bike rider who was seriously injured in a Mission Hills hit-and-run on Sunday.

Now more details have been added to the story.

According to the Daily News, the victim, identified only as a 53-year old North Hollywood resident, was riding west on Devonshire around 9:44 am when he attempted to cross Sepulveda Blvd on the green light. A white car headed north on Sepulveda stopped briefly at the red light before accelerating and crashing into the rider directly in front of him.

The paper reports he rolled onto the hood, smashing into the windshield, before being thrown to the ground when the driver braked before fleeing the scene. He was taken to a nearby hospital with broken bones, but no life threatening injuries.

The story also notes that the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Since he does not appear to have suffered a head injury, the Daily News is apparently under the impression that a bike helmet somehow would have prevented the collision or made a rider impervious to any injury, including broken bones in other parts of the body.

An alert from the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division describes the vehicle as a white four-door Jaguar, no model given, with black rims. The driver is described as Hispanic male with dark hair, around 30–40 years old.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Valley Traffic Division Detectives at 818/644-8020; anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800/222-8477).

Keep your eyes open for a white Jag with front-end damage, especially if you ride in the North San Fernando Valley. Let’s help the LAPD bring this heartless SOB to justice.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

And best wishes to the victim for fast and full recovery.

Morning Links: BOLO alert for Brentwood hit-and-run driver

The LAPD wants your help in tracking down the hit-and-run driver who seriously injured a bike rider in Brentwood last November.

Brentwood BOLO

Then again, they might have better luck if they didn’t wait five months to ask for help next time.

Just a suggestion.

……..

Local

The LA Times offers the latest reminder about this weekend’s Finish the Ride to call attention to the problem of hit-and-run.

Wrap up next month’s Bike Week with the first Bike Night at Union Station.

KCRW’s beginning LA bike rider takes a Confident City Cycling course and concludes that drivers need bike education, too.

The Bike League looks at the Santa Monica Bike Center, now a Platinum-level Bike Friendly Business. And managed by the instructor of the afore mentioned CCC course.

Long Beach police are on the lookout for a bike riding groper.

 

State

Mark your calendar for the Honor Ride Irvine this August.

San Francisco motorists demand the restoration of balance in the city’s transportation planning; in other words, a return to all cars all the time.

I like it. San Francisco police virtually dare thieves to steal a bait bike. And pass out “Is this a bait bike?” stickers to post on your bike to make thieves think twice.

San Francisco’s bike share program expands to the East Bay despite the Bixi bankruptcy.

California’s proposed bike tax becomes a potential $5 fee on cars to repair and maintain bike paths in regional parks. Although I wonder how many voters, aka drivers, will be willing to tax themselves to fund bikes — especially when it requires a two-thirds majority.

 

National

This should be fun, as recently retired pro Dave Zabriskie commits to riding this year’s RAAM to promote Yield to Life as part of the Legends of the Road team.

A petition asks online fences websites Craigslist and EBay to require serial numbers on all bike ads. Of course, sellers could just lie about them, but still.

USA Today names Davis CA the best cycling town in America; my hometown comes in at number two.

Portland teens injure two people by throwing bricks at passing bike riders; one victim nearly loses an eye.

Ottumwa, Iowa Shriners are expecting 70 – 80 riders for a 30-mile Ride With the Clowns. Something like that could draw hundreds here; just don’t sniff any flowers.

Submitted without comment. North Carolina’s 21-time national champ admits to doping with amphetamines, synthetic testosterone and EPO. At age 62.

 

International

A Vancouver company plans bicycling sunglasses with a heads-up display.

A new World Health Organization report says if London achieved Copenhagen-like riding levels, it could save 500 lives a year and create 8,000 jobs.

David Hembrow looks at the good, the bad and the ugly of on-road bike lanes.

This time the tainted meat excuse actually works, as former Aussie world time trial champ Michael Rogers is cleared of doping charges after blaming Chinese meat.

 

Finally…

For the English-challenged members of the media, there is a big difference between “watch out for bike riders” and “beware of bicyclist.”

Seriously.

 

SoCal cops to bike 300 miles in memory of fallen officers next month

Sometimes, what you’re looking for shows up exactly when you’re not looking for it.

I’ve been seeing online comments from various LAPD officers training for the Police Unity Tour of Southern California Challenge Ride. And made a mental note to ask about it after CicLAvia.

Instead, as I stopped at one of the smaller hubs, I looked over to my right. And there was a booth manned by LAPD officers promoting exactly that.

Olympic Division Senior Lead Officer Eric Mollinedo explained the purpose of the bike tour, which runs nearly 300 miles from New Jersey to Washington DC, is to raise awareness and honor officers who have died in the line of duty. As well as to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial.

I can’t think of a better cause.

I’ll let Mollinedo explain in a letter he wrote seeking donations.

Dear friends and family,

On May 10, 2014, I will join nearly 1500 law enforcement officers from throughout the country who will bicycle along varying routes, each nearly 300 miles, to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC. This year, the Police Unity Tour – Southern California Chapter will have nearly 100 police officers representing the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and police departments from Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Estates, and Pasadena.

On May 10th, we will depart from Somerset, New Jersey and travel through Philadelphia, Baltimore, and ultimately into Washington DC. On May 13th, we will join over 50,000 people at the National Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil. During the ceremony, the names of every officer who died in the line of duty during 2013 will be read and his/her name officially added to the Memorial, which already contains over 19,000 fallen heroes.

The primary purpose of the Police Unity tour is to raise awareness about the police officers that have died in the line of duty. Our motto is, “We ride For Those Who Died.” The secondary purpose is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Since its inception in 1997, the Police Unity Tour has raised over $14 million to support the Memorial. It is because of your incredible level of support and financial contributions that I will be able to participate in the 2014 Police Unit Tour and ensure that the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice are not forgotten.

I am seeking your financial support in order to allow me to ride in this incredibly worthwhile event. Each rider must raise approximately $2500 in order to participate in the Tour. The first $1850 is paid to the Police Unity Tour. This money includes a $1000 donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and $850 to cover support services, ground transportation, overnight lodging, and food while we ride. Donations to the Police Unity Tour are tax deductible (Tax ID# 22-3530541). If you are not concerned about the tax deduction, you may write a check directly to me, which will be applied to the cost of airfare and other expenses that I am responsible for. Any donated monies in excess of what is used for airfare and expenses will be donated to the Police Unity Tour.

Thank you so much for your consideration in supporting the Police Unity Tour. If you have any questions… please send me an email.

Sincerely,

Eric Mollinedo
31754@lapd.lacity.org

(Note: To protect the officer’s privacy, I’ve removed any contact information other than his email address.)

You can also donate through PayPal in the name of Mollinedo, or a long list of other officers, by clicking here.

A couple of names jumped out at me from that list; South Traffic Division bike liaison Sgt. Jon Aufdemberg and Valley Traffic Division bike liaison Sgt. Steve Egan are both listed among the participants. And both are men I can personally vouch for; you can find their email addresses on the Resources page.

One other note. Mollinaedo told me he’s riding in memory of fallen LAPD officer Nicholas Lee, who was killed in a crash on Sunset Blvd in Beverly Hills last month.

Sadly, another LAPD officer lost his life yesterday, as 27-year veteran Chris Cortijo died from injuries he suffered when his motorcycle was hit by a driver allegedly high on cocaine.

In a case of tragic irony, he had arrested over 3,000 DUI suspects before becoming victim to one.

 

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