Tag Archive for Alhambra

Get a ticket for not signaling? Maybe you didn’t really break the law

Maybe you don’t have to signal your turns after all.

Turns out drivers don’t.

Like many Californians, I have long labored under the assumption that all road users — motorists and bicyclists alike — are required to signal every turn or lane change.

Something many, if not most, fail to do.

After all, there’s no point in tipping off total strangers about where you’re headed.

Still, it’s not uncommon for bike riders to be ticketed for failing to stick an arm out — preferably with multiple fingers extended — to let those around them know which way they’re going to go.

But as it turns out, it may not be illegal.

The section of the vehicle code that specifies our right to ride on the roadway, CVC 21200, clearly states “a person riding a bicycle… has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle….”

In other words, any law that applies to a driver applies to a bike rider. And drivers don’t have to signal their turns unless it affects other vehicles.

But don’t take my word for it. It says so right here in CVC 22107

22107.  No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

So if your turn doesn’t interfere with the movement of other road users, a signal isn’t required.

For instance, if you’re making a left turn onto a street with no vehicle traffic, there should be no legal requirement to signal. The only exception would be if there were cars in front or behind you on the first street whose movement might be affected by knowing if you’re going to turn or go straight.

Or say you’re turning right onto a street with a designated bike lane. A turn signal shouldn’t be necessary, even if there are cars on the street you’re turning onto because they aren’t legally allowed to drive in a bike lane, and therefore shouldn’t be affected by your movement.

Of course, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you won’t get a ticket for it.

But as bike lawyer Bob Mionske pointed out recently, if you get a ticket for something like that and you can afford to fight it, you probably should.

There’s a good chance that the officer who wrote the ticket won’t show up in court and the case will be dismissed. Or even if he or she does, the officer may not clearly remember the case — which is yet another reason to never argue with a cop so your case doesn’t stand out in his mind.

But assuming he does, ask the officer to diagram the location of every vehicle on the street at the time of the alleged infraction. And explain exactly which ones were affected by your failure to signal, and how.

If he can’t do it, the case should be dismissed.

Key words being, should be.

Because as we should all know by now, the courts don’t always bend over backwards to ensure justice for those of us on two wheels.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t signal your turns.

You should.

It’s smart. It’s courteous. And it’s usually safer, though there are times when prudence dictates keeping both hands on your handlebars.

And lord knows, you don’t want to argue with Prudence.

But you may not be breaking the law after all. Even if you don’t lift a finger.

Update: Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious points out that this law could be read to refer to movement of the vehicle, rather than a requirement to signal. The problem is, the law was written in the 1950s, evidently prior to the invention of punctuation, which could have clarified the meaning.

………

Then again, if you ride in Alhambra, you may be breaking the law.

But only if you live there.

That city is one of a rapidly dwindling list of towns that still requires registering your bike, even if does only cost a dollar to do so.

But despite what their city ordinance says, you can’t legally be ticked for riding your bike in Alhambra if you live in another city and haven’t licensed it in the city you live in. If your city even requires it.

That’s because their law is illegal.

The section of the state vehicle code that allows cities to require bike licenses, CVC 39002, clearly states that any such licensing requirement applies only to residents of that particular city. And therefore, may not be applied to anyone biking in or through that city who doesn’t actually live there.

So you live in Alhambra and get a ticket for not licensing your bike, pay it.

If not, once again, fight it.

………

Laemmle Theater president Greg Laemmle, your host for Team LACBC at Climate Ride

Laemmle Theater president Greg Laemmle, your host for Team LACBC at Climate Ride

Here’s your chance to take part in the upcoming Climate Ride for free.

And maybe even have your required fundraising done for you.

Laemmle Theaters invites you to ride along with company president and LACBC board member Greg Laemmle on the five-day fundraising ride through Northern California to benefit sustainable transit and green energy.

Four winners will have their entry fee paid as members of Team LACBC, and win a free pass for two at any Laemmle Theater for the remainder of this year.

And one of those four winners will receive the grand prize, meaning the company will contribute the minimum required fundraising amount of $2400 on your behalf.

Which means you’ll not only ride for free, but all your required fundraising will be done for you. Of course, you’re still welcome to raise more money on your own; it is a good cause, after all.

You just have to fill out the simple form on the link above, and explain why you want to ride with Greg.

Entries are due by April 5th.

………

Finally, after riding through the Biking Black Hole both ways on my way too and from a meeting in Downtown L.A. on Wednesday night, I have a suggestion for their new city motto:

Beverly Hills. Where the bike lane ends.

Update: PCH claims another life — bike rider killed by Metro bus in Malibu; 2nd rider critically injured in Alhambra

It’s the fear of countless cyclists on Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway.

A door opens unexpectedly. A patch of gravel causes a loss of control. A pothole or too-close pass leaves a rider precariously unbalanced.

Followed by a deadly fall in front of unforgiving, high speed traffic.

We may never know why a cyclist fell in front of a Metro bus on PCH today. But the tragic result was entirely predictable.

According to KNBC-4, the 36-year old rider, identified only as a Los Angeles resident of “Latino descent,” was riding on PCH near Puerco Canyon Road at 1:50 pm. She reportedly lost control of her bike and fell into the roadway, where she was struck by an oncoming Metro Bus at 25019 Pacific Coast Highway, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The story does not report which direction she was riding; however, Malibu Patch says southbound PCH was closed for several hours between Puerco Canyon Road and John Tyler Drive, suggesting that the collision occurred on the west side of the highway.

Patch reports that a Sheriff’s spokesman said it’s too early to determine who was at fault. The story also notes that deputies were unsure if she was wearing a helmet; given that the victim was hit by bus, there’s very little chance a helmet would have made any difference in the outcome.

This is the 65th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth fatality in the past week. It’s also the 21st bicycling death in Los Angeles County since the beginning of the year, 12 of which were due to traffic collisions, and the second on PCH in the Malibu/Santa Monica area.

My heartfelt prayers and sympathy for the victim and her family. 

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

Update: Malibu Patch quotes a Metro spokesman as saying they don’t know if the bus driver was male or female, what the driver’s previous safety record was, or whether there were any passengers on the bus at the time of the collision. Hint to Metro: when you don’t have anything to say, you’re usually better off not saying anything.

The Pepperdine University Graphic identifies the bus line as the 534, which seems to be more than Metro knows.

Update 2: A press release from the Sheriff’s Department confirms the collision occurred on South/Eastbound side of PCH.

Update 3: According to a comment from Alma Valencia, the victim was Marisela Echeveria of Cypress Park.

Truly saddened to read this report. The Los Angeles resident of “Latino decent” was my friend. Her name was Marisela Echeveria a Cypress Park resident enjoying a ride along PCH. She was an Ironman athlete, architect and was truley an angel taken from us much too soon. We are all in shock and pray for strength for the days to come.

Update 4: Many people have expressed grief over Marisela’s tragic death, as well as anger over a comment below urging riders to avoid dangerous roads like PCH. While I strongly disagree with her comments, the writer does have a right to her opinion, and has not crossed the line into personal attacks or blaming the victim; disagree as much as you want, but please keep responses respectful.

The best thing you can do to channel your anger and grief is to take a few moments to participate in the Malibu PCH bike safety study, which will be online through November 12th. By making PCH safer, we can help prevent future fatalities, and bring some good from this horrible tragedy.

Also, consider writing the Governor to express your anger over his two-time veto of the state’s proposed three-foot passing laws. If the bus had been required to stay a minimum of three feet from the cyclist, she might have been able to fall beside, rather than in front, of the bus. And this needless tragedy might never have happened.

Update 5: Finally, some real news, as KCBS-2 reports Echevaria was training for an Ironman triathlon when she was killed on PCH Saturday afternoon. According to the station, she lost control of her bike when she was passed by some trucks and caught her handlebar on a parked car; she then veered into the bus and was dragged underneath.

This may be the first fatality we can lay directly at the feet of Governor Jerry Brown since his most recent veto of the state’s proposed three-foot passing law.

In order for the trucks to have caused Echerveria to lose control, they had to be close enough to either startle her or interfere with the safe operation of her bike — although to be fair, larger trucks should give a hell of a lot more than three feet, due to their massive size.

And the bus driver may or may not have been passing too close, depending on how far she was thrown into the roadway after clipping the parked car.

If there are witnesses who can show the trucks passed too closely to her bike — and it sounds like there may be — the driver(s) can and should be charged with vehicular homicide.

Anyone with information is urged to call the L.A. Sheriff’s Department Malibu/Lost Hills station at 818/878-1808.

Update 6: According to Malibu Patch, the Coroner has ruled the death an accident resulting from multiple traumatic injuries; however, as I understand it, that does not halt the investigation or preclude charges.

Update 7: Echeveria’s death may not have been due to a close pass, and it appears it may not have been her fault, either. 

Video evidence has surfaced that reportedly shows her bike tire getting caught in a seam in the roadway as she attempted to go around some parked cars. More in tonight’s follow-up report.

……..

Clearly, it was a bad day for L.A. County bicyclists, as another rider was critically injured while riding salmon in Alhambra.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, the 44-year old rider, who has not been publicly identified, was riding north on southbound Palm Avenue at Main Street when he was struck by a northbound Mercedes Benz turning left from Raymond onto Main around 12:45 pm.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation; however, riding on the wrong side of the roadway didn’t help.

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