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

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

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

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

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

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

Redqueeninla says making space for bikes benefits everyone.

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

……..

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

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

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

……..

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

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Local

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

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

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

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

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

 

Morning Links: Pasadena bike club refuses to support Gran Fondo in bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills

I’ve made the same argument more than once.

While I’m normally willing to back any event that promotes bicycling, it just doesn’t make sense to support a bike event in a city that doesn’t support us.

Like the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, for instance, which hosts the Gran Fondo Italia at the end of this month. And where anti-bike councilmembers have blocked plans for desperately needed bike lanes on a soon-to-be-reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd.

Nice to see I’m not alone.

Wesley Reutimann, president of the Pasadena Athletic Association bike club, forwards an email he sent in response to a request that the club actively promote the event among its members.

Thank you for reaching out to our club.

As President of PAA cycling, a 350 member bike club, I am unable to promote this event or any other in the City of Beverly Hills as long as its elected leaders and City staff do not take the safety of ALL road users seriously.

Over the past few years the City of Beverly Hills has repeatedly failed to support local efforts to improve the safety of its streets. At the same time neighboring LA, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica have made significant investments to protect vulnerable road users like bicyclists (e.g., bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd).

Until the City can address these issues (e.g., existing bike lane gap on Santa Monica Blvd), I will be compelled to take my business elsewhere, as well as encourage that of our entire membership to do so as well.

Please feel free to relay my message to your contacts in the City.

Best regards,

-Wes

Exactly.

Meanwhile, Better Bike offers their typically insightful take on the same subject.

Update: Just to clarify, I’m not asking anyone to boycott Beverly Hills or the Gran Fondo; I trust you to make your own decisions.

However, if you haven’t already registered for the ride, consider planning your own ride with friends or your club that day, and donate the money you would have spent on registration to Better Bike or the LACBC to keep up the fight for bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.

If you have registered, or want to ride the Gran Fondo anyway, ask ride officials to use their influence to demand better accommodations for bikes in Beverly Hills.

……..

Semi-equality at last? Both the Amgen Tour of California and Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge consider multi-day women’s races.

……..

Local

KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks about the new three-foot passing law, and eventually gets it mostly right, while the Times offers one last look before it takes effect today.

Watts wears pink on October 4th as the East Side Riders Bike Club and Los Ryderz ride for cancer awareness with LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

Yet another bike rider is injured in a collision on PCH in Malibu over the weekend.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts a meet and greet from 6 pm to 8 pm this Thursday.

 

State

San Diego’s long delayed bike share program may be the most expensive in the US.

A Sacramento writer says if cyclists want respect, we need to act like we deserve it — something no one ever says that about motorists, no matter how many laws they may break. And someone should tell him that bike riders are already subject to all existing traffic laws, including hit-and-run.

A San Francisco supervisor suggests making the NACTO Design Guides the official policy of the city.

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue looks at the Kentucky cyclist wrongly convicted for riding in the traffic lane, and offers advice on how to prevent future miscarriages of justice.

Bicycling says the worst city for cycling isn’t a city at all. And only 40 miles from their pick for the best.

Writing for City Lab, Sarah Goodyear says a little bikelash may be a good thing.

A new bike helmet is designed to act like a black box in a crash.

Kansas City considers a new law banning harassment of cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

A blues musician is pedaling a 1,200 pound piano bike the length of the Mississippi.

Louisville KY plans the world’s largest underground bike park.

A New York TV station disputes claims that bike lanes improved traffic times.

 

International

A UK writer says cars are the real wheeled pests, not bikes.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers their uniquely comprehensive roundup of bike blogs, here, there and everywhere.

An Aussie writer says there is no war between motorists and cyclists because many of us have a foot in both camps.

 

Finally…

Turns out the Columbia men’s cycling kit sucks almost as much as the women’s. Nice way to celebrate the big day, as a Des Moines wedding party attacks a 68-year old bike rider.

And Omaha police refuse to charge a driver for hitting a cyclist because he didn’t have lights or reflectors on his bike — four minutes after sunset.

 

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

The fight for justice goes on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

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

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

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

……..

Local

The upstart LA Register says fat bikes are big business.

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

New York bicycling injuries drop despite an increase in ridership.

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Even I could get a conviction with evidence like that.

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

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

Though we can speculate.

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

Especially not if there’s a cop involved.

And that’s the real tragedy.

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

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

2. Snail mail to:

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

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

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

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

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

……..

Lots of writers are weighing in on bikes this weekend.

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

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

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

……..

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

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

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

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baton Rouge gets bike wayfinding signage right.

 

International

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

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

An Aussie advocacy group calls trucks wheels of mass destruction.

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

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

Okay, so I’m taking the day off.

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

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

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

I won’t go into the details here.

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

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

C’est la vie, mais non?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

……..

Local

Curbed offers 10 underrated locations for possible bike share locations.

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

The birth of mountain biking in Marin County.

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t even know where to start.

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

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

So much for that ticket.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that has to change.

Now.

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

South Bay cities meet to talk bike corrals on Thursday.

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

Four US mayors explain why better bike networks matter.

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Lawndale collision; details unknown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe there’s justice after all.

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

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

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

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

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

Clearly, it’s not enough.

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

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

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

You can write Kim at:

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

……..

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

No word on how much time she could face.

……..

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

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

……..

Now that was close.

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

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

 

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