Tag Archive for 4th of July

Morning Links: Have a great, safe 4th, looking for a bike riding stickup man, and LiLo crashes Citi Bike — literally

Have a great 4th of July.

Just remember there will be more drunk and distracted drivers on the road this weekend, so ride with a little extra care.

I want to see you back here in one piece on Monday.

………

Local

The LAPD is looking for a bike riding Canoga Park stickup man.

New designs are unveiled for a bike and pedestrian friendly 6th Street Viaduct, though the process seems to leave much to be desired.

Elite cyclists return to the South Bay on Sunday for the 53rd Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

 

State

Redlands police are beefing up bike patrols.

Tragic news, as a Good Samaritan cyclist is beaten to death when he comes to the aid of a Fresno woman being attacked by twin brothers; hopefully, they’ll get twin cells.

A Sunday ride through the Napa Valley wine country.

 

National

Three best practices for successful protected bike lane pilot projects.

Bicycling’s Bob Mionske writes about the Alabama man convicted of harassing cyclists and posting the videos online, while the magazine finds out what it means to ride like a girl.

Make your own DIY brake light for your bike.

Samsung works with Trek to bring tech to everyday cyclists.

Life is cheap in Utah. Run a red light and kill a teenage bike rider while texting, and get a whopping $700 fine and community service.

Big hearted Chicago family man tells a bike rider he hopes she gets killed by a semi after she chastises his group for blocking the bike lane.

Lindsey Lohan suffers some minor Citi Bike injuries on her birthday ride.

Pittsburgh cyclists will get new two-way protected bike lanes by Labor Day.

A fleet of 122 bicycle sculptures crafted by a Mexican artist are popping up around New York City.

A look at the growth of all-diabetic Team Novo Nordisk from a local Athens GA team to international competitors. If only I was younger. And faster.

 

International

The Guardian offers advice on how guys can look good on a bike.

The head of Britain’s Team Sky says by anyone’s assessment, the UK is now the world’s number one cycling country. Which should come as a surprise to most Brits, as well as everyone else in the world.

Scotland’s Town Mouse is still dealing with an angry, bike-hating raptor; maybe coping with LA drivers isn’t so bad, after all.

Tour de France officials vow to fight doping at this year’s tour. Meanwhile, you, too, can ride the route like the pros, though I assume doping is optional.

Bike riders may be worse off under a new Aussie 1-meter passing law that also tripled traffic violation fines for cyclists.

Australian government minister continues to call for licensing cyclists, even though his own ministry apparently doesn’t support the idea.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. When you’re armed with a knife and carrying meth and a loaded syringe — and already wanted by police — stop for the damn stop signs, already.

And Portland’s famed Voodoo Donuts now offers a frosted bike donut, with proceeds supporting a local cycling center. Great idea for any LA shops that want to support the LACBC or CICLE; after all, we help keep enough of ‘em in business.

 

How to play in the street — Part 3: when not to ride

One more quick thought before we call it a day. Or a week.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check, in which the good doctor sent two cyclists to the emergency room — a crime for which the accused has yet to be tried.

And it marks a full week after the L.A. Wheelman’s Grand Tour, in which Rod and Christian Armas were struck by an allegedly intoxicated hit-and-run driver, resulting in the death of the father and severe injuries to the 14-year old son.

Holidays offer a great opportunity to ride, but the risk on the roads remains, and often increases as more people hit the streets. Other people are likely to be focused on things besides the road and who they’re sharing it with — and just as likely to be frustrated by the traffic and crowds, and ready to take it out on the first innocent person who gets in their way.

Which could very well be you.

Add alcohol to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

My rule of thumb is to ride early in the day on holidays, especially ones that traditionally involve drinking — Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day. And yes, the 4th of July.

Get out, ride, enjoy yourself. Just get back home before the crowds and traffic get out of control, and the people who’ve spent the day drinking decide to get behind the wheel.

And while riding a bike is a great way to glide past the inevitable traffic jams before and after the fireworks, be extra careful as you make your way through the streets tomorrow night. Wear bright clothing. Use every light, flasher and reflector you can find. And watch out for drivers who may not be watching out for you.

Because it only takes one mistake to ruin the celebration.

And I need all the readers I’ve got.

……….

Brayj takes the mayor to task for not putting his environmental money where his mouth is. Bob Mionske questions what good is a bicycle safety law if the police won’t enforce it. UCI releases confusing new equipment rules for the racing community. Evidently, the Twilight heartthrob knows his way around a bike, at least when it comes to walking it. San Francisco offers the 2009 bicycle plan — one that actually works, unlike some cities we could name. Idaho adds an entire section on cycling to the new driver’s education manual, while Boise creates a bike safety response team in reaction to a recent rash of deaths. A Colorado letter writer argues that bikes should pay a registration fee or be banned from narrow roadways. Finally, this year’s Le Tour kicks off Saturday, and for once, Lance isn’t a favorite.

L.A. has a bicycling community? Who knew?

Imagine my surprise. Here I’ve pictured myself a lonely voice crying in the bicycle wilderness, and it turns out I may not be so lonely after all.

As part of the continuing coverage of the July 4th Mandeville Canyon incident, KABC-7 did a follow-up report on yesterday’s evening news (thanks to laist.com for posting the link — if KABC has it online, they’re doing a damn good job of hiding it). As part of that report, they mentioned that L.A. city council member Bill Rosendahl has endorsed the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights.

Say what?

That sent my little fingers running to the Google, as our fearless leader calls it, which told me I could read all about it here. Not only did I discover an effort by my fellow cyclists to help keep us all safe and alive, I found out there is actually a community of writers focused on bicycling.

Obviously, I’ve got some reading to do. For instance, here’s a good post on California bike laws and road safety.

Meanwhile, this Cyclist’s Bill of Rights seems to make a lot of sense, and it beats the heck out of my best idea, which was to wear a jersey reading “Thank you for not killing me today.”

Personally, I’m fond of Nos. 3 & 4, based on my own personal experience (see my post from July 8, Road rage against the machine).  But the whole thing makes a great platform for future city planning, as well as giving cyclists a voice in the community, and — finally — the equal protection under the law even, yes, bicyclists are promised under the Constitution.

Frankly, I thought my rabble-rousing days were long over, but it looks like we’ve all got some politicking to do. You can contact the Mayor of Los Angeles here — just don’t expect anyone to actually get back to you (again, based on my own personal experience) — and you can find contact information for city council members here.

And if you ride Mandeville Canyon, don’t forget to attend Rosendahl’s Town Hall meeting on Monday, July 14 starting at 6:30p to discuss how bicyclists and residents can co-exist in the canyon. (Thanks to la.streetsblog.org for posting the notice, since even Rosendahl’s own website doesn’t make any mention of it yet.)

 

The few. The proud. The obnoxious.

Not surprisingly, the 4th of July incident in Mandeville Canyon was one of the main topics of conversation on Craigslist yesterday. Or at least it started out that way, before quickly devolving into the usual hate rants and death threats that typically characterize CL’s Lord of the Flies mentality.

One of the more rational posts — okay, one of the few — took riders to task for failing to ride safely. He (she?) gave the example of San Vicente Blvd., the Westside’s bicycle highway to the sea, ranting about “pretentious assholes” who insist on riding in traffic lanes despite the presence of a bike lane virtually the entire way.

Problem is, he’s got a point.

We’ve all seen them.  While the vast majority of us are happy to ride safely and courteously, there are always a few who seem to feel that traffic laws and the mores of a civil society — let alone common sense — don’t apply to them.

Like the guy I saw on San Vicente awhile back, who insisted on riding in the left lane the entire way down the hill. And then proceeded to blow through the red light at the bottom, despite the fact that he had to pass between cars crossing from the other direction. Without a helmet, of course.

Or the idiot I saw drafting a few feet behind a city bus through downtown Santa Monica. Of course, as buses usually do sooner or later, it came to a sudden stop — forcing him to dart into the other traffic lane without warning, and nearly causing a chain reaction collision as drivers braked to avoid him. (This is the same jerk who used to try to draft on me on the way up San Vicente, without ever taking a pull himself, let alone saying thank you. Or even hello, for that matter.)

The point is, riders like these are the exception. But they’re the ones most drivers notice, just like we notice the one or two drivers who cut us off or pass too close, rather than the countless cars that passed us safely or waved us through the intersection. And then they assume that we all ride that way.

It’s not true, of course.

It does tend to be a self-correcting problem, though. Because no one who rides like that rides that way very long.

But it leaves the rest of us dealing with an image we don’t deserve. And angry drivers who blame us for problems we didn’t create.

Road rage against the machine

Here’s the problem with biking in L.A. Okay, one of ‘em, anyway.

This is a city where the car is God, and any heretic who gets in its path is taking his life in his hands. Sure, the law gives us a right to the road. But that only extends as far as the bumper of the cars around us.

L.A. is a town full of angry drivers, already upset about slogging their way through heavy traffic and steaming about the last driver(s) who cut them off — let alone the high cost of fueling their Hummers. And when they find there route momentarily slowed by people shrink-wrapped in ridiculous spandex outfits, that rage often boils over.

Latest case in point: the recent 4th of July incident in Mandeville Canyon, in which two local riders were intentionally injured by a driver who sped around them, then slammed on the brakes just feet in front of their wheels. As you might expect, both riders were badly injured, one eating the pavement after clipping the car’s fender, while the other did a face plant in the rear windshield, nearly losing his nose in the process. The driver — a doctor, no less — just stood there screaming at the injured riders and refusing to offer any medical care to the people he injured.

At least this time, the local gendarmes made an arrest.

We’ve all been there. Anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time riding the mean streets of the misnamed City of Angels has their own stories to tell of drivers who’ve intentionally doored, dinged or otherwise dusted them in some fashion. But very few of us can tell a story of the L.A.P.D. actually doing something about it.

Like there was the time some gang bangers knocked me off my bike in Venice and circled around me as I lay on the pavement. Lo and behold, I looked up and just a few feet away stood an L.A. cop. I yelled for help and the gangsters took off running — right past the officer, who stood there watching them run. So I yelled again for the cop to stop them because they had just attacked me, and I swear to God, he looked at me and said “So what do you want me to do about it?”

His job would have been nice. But I suppose what was too much to expect.

Then there was the time a driver got pissed off that I was impeding her progress on an otherwise empty street, and couldn’t be bothered to go a few feet out of her way to pass me. Instead, she followed me for about a block, honking and screaming the whole way. When I got to the stop sign at the next corner, I turned around for a moment to look at her, then signaled for my right turn (granted, I only extended one finger, but still…).

Next thing I knew, her bumper was in my back wheel and I was on the pavement. Once I gathered my wits, I blocked her path so she couldn’t leave, whipped out my cell and dialed 911. A crowd gathered. Helicopters circled. The police, finally, arrived.

Yet when the dust cleared, the local constabulary did absolutely…nothing. They accepted her contention that I had simply fallen over — from a dead stop, no less — injuring myself and causing the damage to my bike.

And instead of taking her into custody — or even writing a ticket, for chrissake — I was threatened with arrest for A) making a false 911 call and B) threatening her life; somehow, my comments of “You tried to kill me,” got twisted into “I’m going to kill you.”

Why I would want to kill a total stranger if I had simply fallen over on my own was never explained to me.

So, I may not be a rocket scientist, but I’ve learned my lesson. No more fingers. When confronted with an angry driver, just stop and let him or her pass.

And never, ever count on the L.A.P.D.

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