Tag Archive for angry drivers

Morning Links: Manhattan Beach declares war over LA roadwork; Better Bike celebrates SaMo Blvd bike lanes

Manhattan Beach has declared war on Los Angeles.

According to a Facebook post from the group fighting to reverse the changes on Vista del Mar, the Manhattan Beach city council voted to go to the mattresses in a battle with the City of Angels.

Remarkably, the comments to that post blame the free parking on the roadway — which has always existed — with an apparent increase in trash, which has always been there. But which they apparently never noticed before because it was hidden by parked cars.

Thanks to Peter Flax for the screen grab

Meanwhile, the Argonaut reports on the road rage over the road reconstruction on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, and four streets in Playa del Rey, including Vista del Mar. And illustrates it with a photo showing, not just no traffic backup on Venice, but virtually no motor vehicle traffic at all.

Rather than give these projects a chance, the motor maniacal NIMBYs want to rip them out right away. And if that’s not possible, they want to rip popular Westside Councilmember Mike Bonin out of the seat he was just overwhelmingly re-elected to.

On June 13 more than 100 residents of Mar Vista, Playa del Rey and Westchester lambasted the changes during a boisterous Mar Vista Community Council meeting, many of them peppering Bonin mobility deputy Jesse Holzer and Great Streets senior project manager Carter Rubin with a mix of questions and insults.

“Will a recall petition affect the pilot project? How quickly can we get rid of this dumb idea?” asked Edwin Ortega.

Morgan Pietz, a civil litigator who lives in Ladera Heights and works in Century City, said he’s creating a political action committee to fundraise for a campaign not only to restore traffic lanes on Venice Boulevard, but also to oppose any future lane reductions elsewhere.

So rather than just reverse the beachside street projects he objects to, Pietz wants to halt all road diets and Complete Streets projects anywhere in the city, whether local residents want them or not.

And Vision Zero be damned.

But as the Manhattan Beach council vote illustrates, most of the people fighting these projects, particularly in Playa del Mar, live outside the City of Los Angeles, many in homes far beyond the reach of average Angelenos. And commute to their jobs miles away in Santa Monica or Century City, demanding the right to continue their unsustainable lifestyle, and expecting LA to pay the price — financially and environmentally, as well as in human lives.

Maybe instead of a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to fight the road projects, they could pitch in to pay the next massive legal judgment against the city the next time someone gets killed. And buy a little compassion while they’re at it.

It cost Los Angeles $9.5 million to settle the most recent lawsuit over the death of a 16-year old girl killed crossing Vista del Mar, in part because of the complete lack of crosswalks along the deadly street.

And it will cost the city many times that to settle the next one if nothing is done to improve safety, since the city clearly knows about the dangers on the street. Hence the urgency in making the changes.

Never mind that it’s the right thing to do to place the safety of human lives over the inconvenience of drivers, which will pass as people adjust to the changes.

Speaking of adjusting, any guesses how many of the people complaining about the horrendous traffic backups actually carpool to reduce congestion and their carbon footprint? You can probably count them on one finger. And yes, I’d suggest using that one.

Bonin explained his actions in a thoughtful, detailed and moving email yesterday, which should be required reading for anyone on either side of this debate. One demonstrating the political courage and decency that’s long been missing from most of LA’s elected leaders.

He promises to hold a community meeting in a month to discuss the changes, and to be there in person — in a city where officials usually hide from angry constituents.

By that time, LADOT should have actual statistics to show if the projects have been successful in reducing injury collisions, rather than the apocalyptic anecdotes thrown out by opponents.

And traffic congestion should have begun to dissipate as people adjust to the changes.

So hopefully, by then cooler heads will prevail and they’ll be able to discuss this like rational adults, instead of petulant children whose favorite toys have just been taken away.

Yeah, I know. As if.

Meanwhile, the LACBC’s next Sunday Funday ride on July 2nd invites you to explore the new street reconfigurations in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey that South Bay drivers seem to consider a sign of the end times.

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This year’s Tour of California champ George Bennett is just the latest cyclist to be hit by a car while training; fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries.

A women’s cyclist discusses the things she doesn’t miss now that she’s retired from competition, along with a few things she does.

No, poop doping isn’t likely to be a thing anytime soon; a professor at UC Davis calls the story ridiculously irresponsible. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

When banned dopers Lance Armstrong and former US Postal manager Johan Bruyneel oppose the re-election of UCI chief Brian Cookson, it seems almost like an endorsement.

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Local

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot takes a well deserved victory lap, reporting on the Beverly Hills City Council’s surprising unanimous vote to install bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. And the even more surprising vote to paint them a hi-visibility color, to the undoubted chagrin of the film industry.

Streetsblog reports the Santa Monica Blvd bike lanes should be installed next year, while crediting a handful of advocates for keeping up the ultimately successful fight.

You can let Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse know just how happy you are with the council’s decision when she hosts a public bike ride on August 20th.

Long Beach improves the complicated five-way intersection of Walnut Avenue, East 20th Street and Alamitos Avenue to benefit pedestrian and bicycle safety, and pave the way for a planned bike network.

 

State

Del Mar is rolling out preliminary designs for a facelift of the downtown area, including new bike lanes on Camino del Mar and some side streets.

A Redlands minister discusses the cross-country bike ride he took last year to raise funds for a new playground at his church.

A Santa Cruz cyclist is suing just about everyone who had anything to do with developing a traffic circle where she fell and broke her hip, alleging there were no warning signs about the train tracks where she apparently caught a wheel.

It was a tragic day for bike riders in Central and Northern California yesterday, as three riders lost their lives in separate collisions.

Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious reports that Chinese bikeshare company Bluegogo has suspended their planned invasion of the Bay Area, and will be withdrawing from American shores.

 

National

A new research paper suggests there’s a one-to-one relationship between new highway lane capacity and traffic increases, yet planners fail to take induced demand into account when designing new projects. Hopefully there’s a one-to-one relationship with removing lane capacity, as well.

It’s been too long since we’ve heard from Elly Blue, who’s started a Kickstarter campaign to fund Bikequity, described as a feminist bicycle zine about class and social justice.

People for Bikes wants your help to choose a new name for Bike Boulevards. Los Angeles calls them Bicycle Friendly Streets in the city’s mobility plan. But doesn’t seem to want to build any.

Instead of building a traditional street, Portland has built a 130-foot long street just for bicycles to connect three new buildings in the downtown area.

Don’t plan on going to Interbike in Las Vegas without a pass this year; the bicycle trade show has stopped allowing the public in on the final day of the show, as they have the past few years.

A New Zealand man is on his way back home after being seriously injured when he was hit by the driver of an SUV atop a Colorado pass while riding across the US; he’s now stuck with a $150,000 bill for medical expenses until a settlement can be reached.

An Iowa city has officially opened a new bike path segment, part of a 3,000 mile trail along the Mississippi River.

Relatives of a Chicago bike rider insist he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver, even though police say he just fell off his bike.

A new Minneapolis study shows there’s safety in numbers for pedestrians, as well. Unless this jackass happens to be around.

After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, a Massachusetts man is devoting whatever time he has left to fixing up bicycles to give to local kids.

It really shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that riding a bike is at least as fast, if not faster, than taking a cab in New York City; researchers used data from cabs and the city’s Citi Bike bikeshare to reach that conclusion.

A bighearted Virginia sheriff’s deputy buys a new bike for a four-year old girl after hers was stolen.

A New Orleans cyclist was stabbed in the arm and accused of stealing the bike he was riding, by a man who then stole the bike he was riding.

Awhile back, we mentioned the man who was riding his bicycle across the US to visit every major league baseball stadium; sadly, his journey ended when he was hit by a car in Alabama, suffering serious injuries. Thanks to J. Patrick Lynch for the link.

 

International

London’s mayor plans to make the entire city emissions-free by 2050, through a mix of zero-emission vehicles and increasing the mode share for bicycling, walking and transit to a whopping 80%, while cutting motor vehicle traffic by 3 million miles a day.

A London cyclist says hell is a city full of non-cyclists on bikeshare bikes.

There’s now a £2,000 reward — the equivalent of over $2,500 — to capture the British bike rider who was caught on video recently nearly getting smashed by a train when he climbed over the crossing barricades, after the near miss left the engineer with psychological trauma. Maybe it was the man shaking his fist at the train that nearly hit him that pushed the engineer over the edge.

So much for your GPS and Strava. A Dutch company has developed a new bike lock that blocks the cellular network for your mobile phone while you ride, releasing it once you lock your bike using the related app. Now if we can just require every driver to use one.

 

Finally…

How to achieve udder comfort on your bike. Now you, too, can own your very own old media publishing empire.

And if you’re going to fire a toy gun at a group of cyclists, make sure none of them are the king of a foreign country first.

 

Morning Links: Angry drivers and bikelash in Playa del Mar, sinkhole on Angeles Crest, and Bike Life in DTLA

A little bikelash and road diet rage were to be expected.

This is LA, after all.

Which is why it should come as no surprise that drivers are angry they can no longer speed on deadly Vista del Mar, or use the beachfront street as a virtual highway on their cut-through commutes from South Bay cities.

Streetsblog examines Monday’s angry backlash over the changes designed to slow speeds and improve bike and pedestrian safety in Playa del Rey — including one bighearted person who shouted that people killed crossing the deadly street had it coming.

Just in case you wondered what kind of person would oppose desperately needed traffic safety improvements.

After all, who really cares about saving the lives of a few total strangers if it means your commute gets a few minutes longer? Although one person says traffic on his Vista del Mar commute is actually lighter than usual.

Once again, there are dueling petitions both opposing and supporting the changes. And once again, the nays are winning in a landslide.

Meanwhile, The Argonaut considers the resistance of some drivers to the road diet and bike lanes just completed on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista, where over 48 bicyclists and pedestrians have been injured since 2011.

Including one truly bizarre statement that it took someone 45 minutes to drive the half mile from Beethoven to Centinela. Which would only seem possible if s/he stopped for coffee and donuts along the way. And had to wait while they made them.

Because really, why wait a few weeks to see if the changes will actually work when you can just demand they rip ‘em out before the paint is even dry?

And yet people wonder why it’s so hard to change anything in LA.

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If you were planning to ride Angeles Crest this weekend, start making other plans. Caltrans reports the highway is closed until further notice between Grassy Hollow and SR-39 due to a sinkhole in the roadway. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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Since you can’t ride Angeles Crest, head over to Grand Park this Saturday for a one-hour beer and taco-free gathering of the LA bicycling community.

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Once again, a cyclist competing in an open course time trial has been killed in a collision with a motor vehicle; this time the victim was a 69-year old man in the UK.

More bad news, as a French cyclist was killed in a car crash, and another injured, shortly after taking first and third in a criterium last Thursday; both riders were veterans of the popular Red Hook Crit series.

The New York Times looks at the rise of Columbian cyclists, saying some compete for their county, and some in spite of it.

The Des Moines Register profiles a competitor in next week’s RAAM, saying don’t call her Wonder Woman.

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Local

LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian celebrates how a chain reaction hit-and-run crash brought an unlikely group of Angelenos together. And a bike rider walked away thanks to the falling skills he learned riding a skateboard.

Helen’s Cycles will host their monthly mountain bike ride this Saturday.

Also on Saturday, learn how to advocate for Complete Streets at The Tripping Point, a free conference sponsored by Investing in Place, AARP California, Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition, Los Angeles Walks, Pacoima Beautiful and Tree People.

 

State

Anticipating an increase in funding, the California Active Transportation Program is looking for shovel-ready bike and pedestrian projects. Like LA’s North Figueroa and Lankershim Blvd road diets, and the bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, for instance. Oh, wait.

Newport Beach police will be focusing on bike and pedestrian safety enforcement this month, with extra officers on duty June 14th and 26th. You know the drill; ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Riverside will host the Santa Ana River Trail Bike Ride & Festival this Sunday.

The Pleasanton city council votes unanimously to adopt a new bicycle and pedestrian master plan.

San Mateo plans to double the size of its bikeshare program, the only one in the Bay Area not part of Ford’s 7,000 bike system.

 

National

NACTO is sponsoring a year-long initiative to identify problems that “slow the implementation of transformative transportation projects in cities across the country.” I can save them the trouble: blame NIMBYs who value parking spaces and faster commutes over lives and livability.

Streetsblog says algorithms to improve dangerous intersections are great, but we already know what needs to be done to improve safety.

A new study shows even regular coffee drinkers can get a performance boost from caffeine.

Not surprisingly, Oregon bike retailers are trying to stop plans for a tax on bicycles over $500.

An online travel service ranks Denver the tenth most bike-friendly city for tourists. Not surprisingly, Minneapolis ranks number one; more surprising is Los Angeles getting a nod on the Most Improved list.

Texas finally gets around to banning texting while driving, six years after then governor and now US Energy Secretary Rick Perry vetoed it.

Kindhearted Arkansas cops take the time to help a kid fix his bike.

Life is cheap in Illinois, where a driver charged with reckless homicide in the death of a 16-year old bike rider walks with nothing but probation following a plea deal. Seriously, whoever agreed to this should be ashamed.

After a Chicago boy’s bike was stolen while he was at work, his friends mowed lawns, did chores and donated their allowances to buy him a new one.

Michigan Live offers a complete wrap-up of their extensive coverage of the one-year anniversary of the drug-fueled Kalamazoo massacre.

Indiana police are looking for a road-raging bike rider, though they won’t say what happened or why.

Baltimore’s mayor pledges to look into charges from some residents that bike lanes would make some streets too narrow for fire equipment. Even though parking spaces already do.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers 15 reasons why you should ride your bike this summer. Or maybe ten, they’re not really sure.

A London advocacy group calls on the city to modify safety barriers that have been placed in bike lanes on three of the city’s bridges.

A Scottish newspaper says the silence was deafening during a minute of quiet to protest the death of a young woman on her bike.

A new Dublin study shows enormous health benefits to bicycling, while noting that the risk to male riders between 20 to 29 increases with every mile, and may outweigh the benefits for some.

Coke is turning to e-cargo bikes to make deliveries. In the Netherlands, naturally.

A cyclist on a French river cruise takes a bicycling tour of the historic city of Rouen, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

An Aussie judge calls a driver a moronic bogan — the rough equivalent of trailer trash in the US — after the man pled guilty to beating and demanding an apology from the bike rider he’d just crashed into. But still let him off with just a fine.

 

Finally…

Training bike cops for the coming zombie apocalypse. If you really want to encourage bike commuting, free donuts and bacon should do the trick.

And nothing like a phalanx of school kids on unicycles unexpectedly rolling past your window.

Guest Post: Why do motorists hate bicyclists (a rant)

I want to share something that was sent to me recently. The author asked to remain anonymous, but trust me, he knows what he’s talking about.

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Why do so many drivers hate bicyclists? Bicyclists force drivers out of their normal stupor, making them pay attention to the road around them. Drivers recognize, if only subconsciously that they have to change their behavior or risk killing someone. How does one react when being told to change their behavior. I find my 5 year old nephew’s reaction is likely the same for many adults. Denial, Anger, Projection, depression and acceptance.

Denial. The first reaction is naturally defensive; I did nothing wrong! The cyclist appeared out of nowhere, as if they were transported off the Starship Enterprise. Or the mixture of lights, reflectors and bright colored clothing just happened to blend into the color of the asphalt while the sun completely blinded me going 40 mph when I couldn’t see a thing because I was texting on the cell phone, yet decided to speed anyway. See. Not my fault. A freak act of god (small g).

Anger/projection. Because they remain in denial, the anger is often projected outward towards the cyclist. This “fault” ends up being they are all lawbreakers. If they see another motorist run a stop sign, the first thought is that the motorist must also be a cyclist.

Lycra is the new symbol for a bike riding street gang on the same level as some nationwide criminal gangs, threatening you with taunts such as “Hey buddy, nice car. It would be a shame if it got my blood all over it.” The driver then races off in fear, peeling rubber as the bicyclist chases after them at a dangerous 12-15 mile per hour pace. Yes, they remember reading “The Tortoise and the Hare” and it didn’t end well at all for the hare.

Worse are the confrontations that happen at this stage. Adrenaline abounds on all sides after a near collision.

Bargaining. This is actually when recovery really starts, as the motorist is now thinking of solutions, albeit clouded by denial and anger so solutions must benefit the driver and punish cyclists. When they think about how they can resolve the issue, they offer such non solutions as registration fees, gas tax equivalents. Somehow, if bicyclists would only pay the $3/year for registration, drivers would welcome them onto the streets, pass safely, offer free donuts at stop lights and offering the occasional come hither look (hey, a cyclist can dream right?).

Depression. As much as I would enjoy the schadenfreude, being called out on his poor behavior that a driver would, like my five year old nephew, fling and then bury himself into the back seat of the car, crying and kicking.

Wait, let’s just pause for one moment to visualize that, (sigh) ok, moving on.

Depression is a good thing. Drivers are now noticing bicyclists on the road, and while peppered with anger and frustration at the occasional lawbreaker, they are noticing bicyclists and watching out for them, seeing how the rhythm of bicycle/motor vehicle occurs.  Perhaps they are noticing where the road could be designed a little better to get cyclists out of their way. (I admit, I often perform mental bike audits when I am driving)

Acceptance. This is where the motorists truly recognizes the right of the bicyclist to be on the road, anticipate bicyclist behavior and act accordingly. Allow me to digress slightly to make my point. Years ago, when I first started taking transit, I would sit in the front row of the bus (to watch my bike on the rack), and I would gasp, hiss and cringe every time a car cut the bus off, or the driver had to hit the brakes quickly. Recognizing my frustration (and being annoyed by it), when we stopped at a light, he turned back towards me and said, “relax. I’ve got this.”

I call this the Tau of the Bus Rider. You can’t control everything so you must put your faith in other people to do the right thing. Bicyclists need to be predictable. Motorists need to pay enough attention to be able to predict what bikes are going to do and react accordingly.

In summary, motorists should pay more attention while driving, quit whining and just accept bicyclists as normal roadway users. but until that time, expect a lot of juvenile behavior.

They drive among us…

Help keep the Corgi in kibble this holiday season.

If you don’t give, the angry anti-bike cranks win.

My apologies for no Morning Links today.

Attending a Wednesday night meeting meant putting off my meds in order to remain at least semi-functional until I got home. Which inevitably means paying the price later.

And I am.

So instead, let me leave you with this piece from the Tolucan Times, in which a self described former Disney Exec takes a break from telling the kids to get off his lawn, and goes on a rather remarkable rant against “nasty, radical bike Nazis.”

No, really.

It’s people like this we share the roads with, in case you wondered what the impatient, angry driver who just buzzed you or laid on his horn was thinking.

Feel free to offer your comments. I’d offer my own thoughts, but the meds are finally kicking in, and I’m going to go curl up in a ball for awhile.

Can’t wait to see part two next week.

War on cars (Part I)

BY GREG CROSBY ON DECEMBER 4, 2015

We’ve had the war on poverty, the war on drugs and the war on women. Politicians and their marketing consultants for purely selfish political interests have invented every single one of these “wars.” None of these so-called “wars” can ever be won because they are bogus.

The poverty and drug “wars” have had billions in federal funds poured into slogans, ad campaigns and bureaucratic committees and programs for decades.

The “war on women” is totally made up, invented by the Democrats as a way of rallying their base by vilifying Republicans as the party who hate women and want to keep them down.

But we have a new political “war” quietly going on across our country and this one is for real. I call it the “war on cars.” This war is being waged by a coalition of liberal opportunistic politicians and radical environmentalists. To borrow the Obama phrase, they want to “fundamentally transform the United States” from a car-centric nation to a country dependent on public transportation, bicycles and walking.

The difference between those other bogus political wars and this one is that this is one they are winning.

After having returned from a three-week road trip all over California I can honestly say that our highways and streets are being taken over by bicyclists (not sweet little families happily jingling their bicycle bells as they peddle their Schwinns around the Leave It to Beaver neighborhood, I’m talking nasty, radical bike Nazis). These bicyclists with major attitudes and an elite sense of entitlement purposely ride two and three abreast and do anything they can to frustrate motorists, like riding in the middle of a lane on a mountain road where there’s no place to go around them.

Everywhere we drove we encountered these selfish bicycle jackasses in their spandex outfits and European-style alien helmets.  They look like giant skinny mantis insects on wheels. We drove on all kinds of roads and it seemed no matter where we went, we would run into them (not literally, but sometimes it came close). They were on country roads, narrow high mountain roads, city streets, and get this—ON STATE HIGHWAYS. That’s right; California Highway 101 is now open to bicyclists.

I’m not taking about some quiet parts of sleepy little coast Highway 1 along the beach, (although the bike people are there too). No, I’m referring to a major four-lane each way, 80 mile an hour, truck route freeway. Highway 101 is a major, congested freeway and now the idiots that run the state of California are allowing bicycles on it.

They are not simply “letting” this happen, they ENCOURAGE it.

The official road signs are posted all along our highways and city streets now: “SHARE THE ROAD.” Some have images of bicycles and pedestrians on them.  Other signs demand that autos “SHARE THE LANE” because now bike riders have as much right to use ALL LANES in the streets as do the cars and trucks.

The California Bicycle Coalition website says: “Bicyclists can ride wherever they want if they’re traveling at the speed of traffic. If traveling slower than the speed of traffic, they can still position themselves wherever in the lane is necessary for safety. The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as safely practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. CVC 21202.”

You can see there is lots of wiggle room for the bike riders.  While it is true that the California law states “bicycles may not be ridden on freeways and expressways,” they’ve added a loophole.  The law goes on to state, “where doing so is prohibited by the California Department of Transportation and local authorities.” So when the state has posted signs that say, “SHARE THE ROAD” on these busy highways, it sends the message that it’s okay for bikes to use them.

More on this next week.

It gets better.

Greg Crosby is a writer and cartoonist and former executive at the Walt Disney Company.

Thanks to Mike Kim and Todd Munson for the links.

Morning Links: Don’t confront angry drivers, salmon cyclist injured in Boyle Heights, near miss in OC, and CicLAvia!

Some stories are just too outrageous for words.

That was the case with yesterday’s murder of a bicyclist by a road-raging SUV driver who fled the scene after running down the victim near Expo Park following an argument.

We won’t rehash the whole story here.

But it serves as a tragic reminder that you never know who you’re dealing with on the roads. And if you encounter an angry driver, it’s better not to engage if possible.

Just pull over, and let them go on their way. A lesson I learned the hard way, after bouncing off the bumper of a road raging driver when I made the mistake of responding to her anger with a single raised finger.

Rule #1: Never flip off the driver behind you.

If they come after you, try to ride to a public place. Take your bike into a store if you need to.

Make a public display of calling 911, or ask witnesses to call the police.

I’ve also found that taking a photo of the driver and the license of the vehicle with your smartphone will diffuse most situations. Although pointing out that you’re recording everything on your helmet cam seems to have the opposite effect.

Try to speak calmly. Don’t yell or get into a shouting match. Just find a way to get out of the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I don’t mean to preach.

That advice is a reminder for me as much as it is for you or anyone else.

I’ve got a long history of standing my ground and fighting for my right to the road through words and gestures. Even going so far as to block offending drivers with my bike and body, and shoving car doors closed to keep drivers or passengers from getting out and kicking my ass.

I’ve somehow managed to get away it. Except for that one time.

But as that case and this one make clear, it’s just not worth the risk.

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A salmon cyclist suffered major injuries in a head-on collision in Boyle Heights Monday night.

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A drunk driver lost control of his car and went off PCH in Huntington Beach, coming to rest in the sand; the driver and a passenger were arrested trying to flee on foot.

A friend reports she would have been passing through that exact spot at the time of the crash as she rode her bike home along the beach, if she hadn’t stopped to watch the lightening display and ended up talking with a driver who’d pulled over to watch, as well.

It’s funny how often little things like that can make all the difference in getting home safely.

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CicLAvia returns to the scene of the crime for the fifth anniversary of the original Heart of Downtown event.

Speaking of which, the Militant Angeleno is back with his epic guide to Sunday’s CicLAvia route. Seriously, you need to memorize this, print it or download it to your phone before you head out on Sunday.

And there will be a feeder ride to CicLAvia from Culver City.

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In pro cycling, the Tinkoff-Saxo cycling team is now just Tinkoff, as the team lost Saxo Bank after eight years of sponsorship.

And it’s not just the riders facing a doping ban anymore, as USA Cycling extends a zero tolerance policy to its staff and contractors.

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Local

The Alliance for Community Transit is hiring an Organizing Coordinator, and a Campaign and Communications Coordinator. And they’ll be hosting a community event in Grand Park on Monday to discuss what a sustainable, transit-rich LA could look like.

Jimmy Kimmel gives a non-bicycling staff writer a bike riding lesson behind his Hollywood studio.

Great news from the Valley, as design work begins for another 12 miles of bike paths along the LA River. Although the story doesn’t say if it will connect with the existing LA River bike path.

CiclaValley says Metro has plans for a bigger, bolder, and hopefully more bikeable NoHo. Let’s hope those plans include the long promised Lankershim bike lanes that were squashed by the unlamented Tom LaBonge.

It’s official. South Pasadena will host the second stage of next year’s Amgen Tour of California.

Long Beach needs volunteers for its eighth annual bike count on Sunday, which unfortunately takes place the same time as CicLAvia.

 

State

A Huntington Beach bicyclist suffered critical injuries when he was rear-ended while riding in the bike lane on Warner Ave.

Newly bike friendly San Diego is ranked as the 12th greenest city in the US.

A Santa Cruz writer plays Miss Manners for mountain bikers for a day.

San Francisco cyclists have an interesting new transportation option, as they can now lease a $2000 e-bike for $79 a month, including a lock, theft insurance and unlimited maintenance.

A Rancho Cordova cyclist is lucky to survive a collision with a light rail train.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Granite Bay man celebrated his 90th birthday by riding his 200,000th mile on his bike. By my calculations, I only have somewhere around 18,000 miles and a few more decades to go.

 

National

Microsoft is working on predictive intelligence to prevent bicycle collisions before they happen. Except when they have to reboot the system, download and install upgrades or fight off a virus, that is.

CNET looks at the growing popularity and expanding choices in e-bikes.

Next City offers eight images and videos it says will make you fall more in love with bikeshare.

A new Portland apartment building is only 80% leased, but the bike parking is already overflowing.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho police are looking for a hit-and-run cyclist who plowed into a jogger after calling “on your left,” then not doing it.

The driver who nearly killed a Denver bike cop who was protecting protesting high school students faces up to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular assault; he lied about an existing medical condition when he applied for a drivers license.

An Arkansas county sobriety court has started their own bikeshare program — actually more of a bike library — to provide transportation for drivers who’ve had their licenses suspended for DUI.

The Minneapolis StarTribune talks with Stephen Clark, the bicycle-friendly community program specialist for the League of American Bicyclists.

Evidently, not everyone loves Detroit’s Slow Roll Bike Rides.

A New York truck driver was high on coke when he killed a cyclist in an apparent right hook.

The NYPD doesn’t just think bike lanes are for parking, they’re also a dump for precinct garbage.

A Brooklyn paper offers a by the numbers look at bicycling in the borough.

City Lab says that DC church’s claimed opposition to bike lanes for religious freedom is really all about free parking. Oddly, I don’t recall Jesus saying anything about being able to park right in front of a house of worship.

 

International

City and state governments around the world are finally using data to harness the benefits of the bicycling boom.

Two Winnipeg men are under arrest for attacking a car after the right-turning driver had hit a bike rider as she came off the sidewalk.

A Toronto writer reflects on the intersection of bicycling and jazz, including a hair-raising ride from Hollywood to attend a recording session in Studio City with the great Lee Ritenour, aka Captain Fingers. I’ve often thought riding through traffic felt like a jazz improvisation, as you slide in and out of ever expanding and collapsing spaces, speeding up and slowing down with the flow around you.

The UK’s Cycling Weekly offers advice on winter riding, some of which actually applies in sunny Los Angeles.

Horrifying crime from Austria, as four masked men push a bike rider to the ground and carve a swastika into his forehead.

A commuter in Malta tried five different forms of transportation before concluding that riding a bike was the most efficient way to get to work.

A Singapore judge suggests cracking down on rash cycling with jail time or a fine up to the equivalent of $1800.

Aussie cops take the country’s mandatory helmet law to a ridiculous extreme by fining a helmet-wearing woman $70 because her strap wasn’t tight enough.

Only in Japan would separated bike lanes be intended to protect cyclists from pedestrians instead of cars.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying a knife, sawed-off shotgun, drugs and trafficking paraphernalia, don’t ride on the sidewalk and put a damn bell on your bike. If you’re hiding a meth pipe on your bike, maybe it’s better not to ride with a .22-caliber rifle strapped to it.

And it may be smart, it may be electric, it may be a foldie, but if it doesn’t have pedals, it’s a freaking scooter, not a bike.

 

A new video — and change of heart — from the formerly bike-hating former reserve Santa Paula police officer

Now she gets it.

Maybe you remember a couple weeks ago when the internet blew up over a bike-hating video from a woman who was quickly identified as a reserve Santa Paula police officer.

Even though, as it turned out, Laura Weintraub was only peripherally associated with the department, helping out around the office a few hours a week. She was never a patrol officer, and never in a position to enforce the law, fairly or otherwise.

And the bike-friendly department she barely worked for got an undeserved black eye based on the comments of someone who should have known better.

It wasn’t like the anger we all felt wasn’t justified.

Weintraub’s failed attempt at humor fell into a long list of shock jocks, newspaper columnists, comedians, online commenters and just plain anti-social jerks who can’t seem to understand that bike riders have as much a right to the road as they do.

And that we’re all just people trying to get from here to there in one piece.

They somehow seem to think the idea of running us over or off the road is outrageously funny. And fail to grasp the concept that a simple tap that would be nothing more than a fender bender between cars could result in serious injury — or worse — if it was with a cyclist, instead.

I was as outraged as anyone.

Yet somehow felt that in our anger, we were missing out on a teachable moment. One that could allow us to reach out to the Santa Paula police, and maybe even drivers like Weintraub herself, to educate them on our rights and how to drive safely around us. And why.

Turns out, a lot of people read that piece.

Including Laura Weintraub.

So I was surprised when I opened my inbox a few days later to find an email from the alleged bike hater herself, asking if we could talk.

When we spoke on the phone a few days later, I found a very caring and contrite young woman who realized she’d made the biggest mistake of her life. And had listened to the angry comments directed her way, and truly got just how and why she was so wrong, and why we were all so upset with her.

A typical motorist, she had never seen us from anything other than a windshield perspective, unaware of our right to the road and the dangers we face on a daily basis from drivers just like her.

She’d never put herself in our position, literally or figuratively, she said.

But she wanted to.

So I agreed to meet with her, and take her on a ride through the relatively quiet streets of Santa Monica and Venice, unwilling to throw a neophyte rider into the deep end on more challenging streets.

Even that brief tour through tame traffic scared her. But somehow, she held her own, remembering the riding tips she’d gotten from me, as well as cycling instructor Stanley Appleman the day before.

She also picked my brain in an attempt to truly understand the dangers we face, and what we can do to make peace on the roads with people like her.

Or at least, like the way she’d been a few weeks before.

She’s changed. She truly gets it.

She’s doing her best to make amends. Not to improve her badly tarnished reputation, but to fix the mistake she made.

And talk to the people out there who might have found the humor in her previously video, and explain to them and other like-minded drivers that we’re all just people, on two wheels or four.

But don’t take my word for it.

Take a look at her latest video, and decide for yourself.

And let’s stop the death threats. Against her or anyone else, no matter how deserved you think they may be.

Just like her earlier video, it’s not funny.

And never appropriate.

 

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.

 

The more things don’t change, the more they remain the same; LA driver confesses to threatening cyclists

Here's a picture of my dog, who could have done a better job of moving my blog than the people I hired to do it.

Here’s a picture of my dog, who could have done a better job of moving my blog to a private server than the people I hired to do it.

So much for that.

As we left off last week, I promised this blog would be transferred to a private server over the holiday weekend, as the first phase of long-gestating plan to remake it into an advertising-supported website.

Long gestating, indeed. Many species have their babies in a lot less time than this process, which started in August, has taken.

But as you’ll see, either the transfer was done so perfectly that nothing has changed, or nothing has changed.

Smart money is on the latter.

Over the weekend I received an email from the web-hosting service I’d hired to do the transfer that they too lacked the capability to move it to their servers. This, despite sworn assurances from their sales staff that they’d done it many times before, and would have me up and running in a matter of days.

Turns out they hadn’t. And wouldn’t.

But at least I got my money back.

So the transfer is on hold for now. Hopefully, it will get done later this week, by another company that doesn’t have its head so far up it’s own ass knows what it’s doing and is a little more honest about its own abilities.

I’ll let you know more when I do.

………

It’s not everyday someone confesses to assault with a deadly weapon on National Public Radio.

But that’s exactly what self-proclaimed life-long LA driver Jackie Burke did in an otherwise positive piece about LA Bike Trains.

The story focused on the founding of the program by New York transplant Nona Varnado, who has become a leader in the local bicycling scene in the short time she’s been here — though I do miss her incredible design work for women cyclists. Along with the success the program has had in helping beginning bike commuters take to the roads.

Not that everyone welcomes new riders to the roads.

Like the aforementioned Ms. Burke, for instance.

“It’s like they enjoy taking up the lanes,” says Jackie Burke, who has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. She says bicyclists drive her crazy when she’s in a car and has to slow down for them.

“It’s very frustrating, to the point where I just want to run them off the road,” Burke says. “I’ve actually done one of those drive-really-close-to-them kind of things to kind of scare them, to try to intimidate them to get out of my way.”

Let’s start with the fact that neither Burke, nor anyone else, has a right to the roadway, let alone a right to drive unimpeded. And as Niall Huffman points out, bikes aren’t hard to pass — as long as you’re not the kind of sociopath who’s willing to intentionally threaten another human being for the crime of slightly inconveniencing your commute.

Because that’s exactly what Burke has admitted doing.

By her own account, she used her vehicle as a weapon in an attempt to intimidate another person using the roadway in a legal manner. She could, and perhaps should, be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Except that she would undoubtedly deny her own words, which is currently the only evidence against her.

In order for charges to stick, her victim or an independent witness would have to come forward who could testify that Burke threatened the rider with her car, and could place her — or at least her vehicle — at the scene of the crime.

Because a crime is exactly what it was.

Her words also place her in violation of LA’s groundbreaking cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, which allows a cyclist to file a civil suit against deliberately threatening drivers. But again, that would require Burke’s victim(s) to come forward, and be able to identify her as the attacker.

Not likely, given the challenge of taking down a license number as a rider struggles not to get run off the road. Let alone over.

Which means, despite her very public confession on national radio, she’s likely going to get away with it. Just like all the other otherwise decent people who somehow turn into blood-thirsty, road-raging sociopaths once they get behind the wheel.

Although the DMV should seriously look into permanently pulling her license. Or at least until she can learn to drive without threatening the lives and safety of complete strangers who have the misfortune of sharing the road with her.

Perhaps more frightening, though, is that Alex Schmidt, the reporter on the piece, didn’t even bother to challenge her comments.

Because attitudes and actions like hers are far too common. And far too accepted in our society.

And if that doesn’t scare the crap out of every American, it should.

Today’s post, in which I rant on anti-bike fallacies

Because one cyclist cut him off, in what may or may not have been a right-hook on the driver’s part, an Austin writer once again trots out the common fallacies that a) cyclists don’t pay for the roads, and b) we’re not held accountable because we’re not required to ride with large numbers on our backs.

Driver, please.

One of the biggest lies told in this country is that drivers pay for the roads they use through gas taxes and license fees.

The fact is, the federal gas tax, which isn’t indexed to inflation, hasn’t been raised in nearly 20 years, and doesn’t begin to cover the costs of building and maintaining federal roadways. And the overwhelming majority of funds used to build and maintain roads on the local level, where motorists do most of their driving — and cyclists do most of their riding — comes from the general tax fund.

In other words, we all pay for the roads. Even those who’ve never bought a gallon of gas or been behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, and never will.

Since the overwhelming majority of cyclists are drivers, as well — and virtually all of us are taxpayers — we already pay for the roads in multiple ways, just as other drivers do. And those who don’t drive are subsidizing those who do.

Never mind the other costs associated with driving, as pointed out in a letter from Micah Posner to the Santa Cruz Sentinel (which has since been deleted from their website, unfortunately).

But roads are not the biggest expense that society takes on for cars. For every mile driven in a car, cyclists pay 4.8 cents to subsidize car parking, 3.5 cents to subsidize accidents caused by cars, four cents to pay for the effects on human health, etc. Every mile driven costs society as a whole 32.9 cents, not including wars over oil. Only .5 of these costs are paid for by driver user taxes. That’s why gasoline is taxed much more heavily in most other industrialized countries.

Then there’s that whole licensing issue that continues to rear its ugly head far too often.

I won’t get into the abundant arguments against licensing cyclists, except to say that licensing would discourage cycling at a time when it is in everyone’s best interests to have more riders on the road to cut congestion, decrease pollution and improve overall health in our overly obese society.

Instead, let’s just consider the common fallacy the Austin writer brings up, that vehicle licenses enable enforcement of traffic laws, and that cyclists can’t be held accountable because we don’t have them.

So tell me, when was the last time a police officer knocked on your door and handed you a ticket for a traffic violation that occurred hours, or even days, before?

Because, excluding red light and speed cameras, where legal, a traffic violation must be observed by a police officer in order for the driver to be ticketed.

It doesn’t matter how many witnesses are willing to testify that the driver ran a red light, or wove dangerously in and out of traffic at an excessive speed. If a cop didn’t see it, he can’t write a ticket — even if everyone else on the road copied the license number of the offending vehicle and called it in to the police.

Yet somehow, a number on a cyclist’s ass is supposed to allow police to ticket or even arrest him or her based on eyewitness reports?

Not gonna happen.

Police have exactly the same authority to ticket cyclists as they do anyone else. If they see the violation, they can pull the rider over and write ‘em up. And contrary to the perception of far too many motorists — and cyclists — they do.

We’ll also ignore his absurd observation that whoever pays makes the rules, which applies exactly nowhere else in American law.

Then there’s this comment I received last night in response to an old post in support of SB 910, the three-foot passing law vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown last year.

Aside from the usual bike-hating blather — including a comment that a law should be passed requiring cyclists to stay three-feet from motorists — he argues that a three-foot passing law will increase congestion. And that we don’t belong on the roads in the first place.

This law will have an adverse affect on commerce and create even more grid lock on our roadways. After all, the roadways were built to support interstate commerce and paid for with motor vehicle and fuel taxes. The roads were not built for your cycling entertainment.

Never mind that roads were not built for cars.

Very few state and local roads, where most cyclists ride, play any role in interstate commerce. And even if that standard was applied, it would result in most motor vehicles being banned along with bikes, since only a small part of traffic is engaged in commerce at any given time — let alone of the interstate variety.

And don’t get me started on the absurd misconception that bikes are only ridden for entertainment.

While many cyclists do ride for fun and health — which should be encouraged as a means of combating rising societal health costs due to obesity and related health problems — many others ride for transportation, and far more do both.

And even with California gas prices hovering well over $4 a gallon, I haven’t heard anyone call for a ban on recreational driving. Even though that contributes far more to traffic congestion than every cyclist on American roads combined, whatever reason they ride.

If you don’t believe me, just try finding parking anywhere near the beach on a sunny weekend. Or counting cars buzzing by on a popular scenic byway with no commercial centers in sight.

I’ll be riding my bike to a meeting tonight, and expect to enjoy the trip far more than I would if I was driving.

So does that make it transportation or recreation?

Other than a relative handful of bike haters, who really cares?

………

As for that meeting, I hope you’ll join me at the first meeting of the LACBC’s newly formed Civic Engagement committee.

The committee is being created to allow the LACBC to play a role in local elections in the city and county of Los Angeles. While the non-partisan committee will not endorse or work for individual candidates, our plan is to get candidates on the record through the use of questionnaires, as well as candidate forums, socials and debates.

The meeting will take place from 6:45 to 8:45 pm on the Mezzanine level of LACBC headquarters, 634 South Spring Street, with future meetings to be held on the last Tuesday of every month, location to be determined.

Participation is open to everyone, member or not. And candidates are welcome to stop by to introduce themselves, at tonight’s meeting or any future meetings, though time restrictions may limit speaking time.

………

Claremont Cyclist notes that Andy Schleck has backed into his yellow jersey. Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal takes home Canada’s first grand tour victory; Mark Cavendish misses the Giro’s points title by one point.

Evelyn Stevens wins the inaugural Exergy Tour women’s pro stage race, which should put her on the U.S. Olympic team. And Tim Duggan is your new national pro road race champion, while Dave Zabriskie wins the time trial once again.

………

The L.A. Weekly notes the neighborhood where a 19-year old cyclist was shot in Koreatown last weekend is ground zero for one of the city’s most notorious gangs. Will Campbell offers a time lapse of his annual ride to remember the real reason for Memorial Day; hint: it’s not barbeque, beaches or shopping. Bikas spots new bike lanes on White Oak Avenue. The Ballona Creek bike path will be closed in Culver City for two months beginning tomorrow. Glendale officers ride to remember one of their own. Long Beach gets a bike-friendly promotion.

Let’s Go Ride a Bike profiles San Diego’s Brown Girl in the Lane. Is roadway bullying just a matter of boys will be boys? A San Francisco cyclist is acquitted of hit-and-run in a collision that injured an elderly pedestrian. Wrong way cycling may seem safer, but it’s far from it. California’s proposed three-foot passing law advances after being watered down in the Senate.

Grist says Congress gives young cyclists the middle finger. Ten reasons to ride your bike. An unlicensed Washington driver swerves to avoid a skunk and kills a cyclist. Mountain bikers head to Colorado’s Grand Valley. A South Dakota political candidate is cited for DUI after hitting a seven-year old cyclist. Once again, a select group of cyclists will retrace the Trail of Tears. Chicago adopts a bold Vision Zero plan, committing to zero traffic deaths — bike, pedestrian or motor vehicle — within 10 years; so far, I only know of one L.A. candidate or elected official who even knows what Vision Zero means, let alone has called for it. David Byrne looks favorably on bike share in New York. Eight years ago, a 12-year old girl was promised a new dog if she won her age group in the national cycling championships; today, that dog helps pay for her college education.

An upcoming conference says children have a universal right to ride. Ottawa cyclists complain about non-bikes in the bike lane, just like cyclists in every other city. Utterly useless article in the great helmet debate, as a Vancouver writer refers to a number of studies to support his position without linking to or citing any; a Euro study suggests adverse health effects from a drop in cycling will outweigh benefits of a mandatory helmet law. Prince Charles rides an ebike. There’s something seriously wrong when the police are afraid to ride. Relatively inexpensive mirrors could help cyclists avoid truck blind spots. The Wall Street Journal says Asia is a hub for bikes.

Finally, rather than lock up his family’s bikes, a Nebraska man writes a stern letter to the thief or thieves; thanks to Todd Munson for the heads-up. And the Dutch don’t wear helmets or lycra, and they don’t ride racing bikes.

Except when they do.

Update: Cyclist describes brutal Sunday assault by road raging Ventura Blvd driver

A cyclist reports being brutally beaten by a driver in front of Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks on Sunday.

According to comments from someone claiming to be the victim, the assault took place after he stopped to confront the road raging driver who had angrily buzzed him moments earlier.

I was almost done with my ride, and on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks. It is not the best street to ride on, but it has multiple lanes, and a car can pass around. I usually don’t ride on it during mid-day hours but the side street I was on had a fallen tree a little bit before and was closed which caused me to turn onto Ventura.

The guy in the pickup wanted to pass me (honking alot), and he wasn’t interested in changing lanes. With parked cars on one side there was no place for me to go. I had the right to use the lane and he could have gone into the left lane to pass. Instead he decided to pass me leaving about two inches of clearance. I didn’t yell or do anything, but I noticed the car and license plate. I eventually saw him pull over at the diner, I guess to eat lunch, so I stopped to let him know I didn’t appreciate what he did. I wasn’t picking a fight, but after about 1.5 seconds he came over to me, knocked me over and then started beating me mostly with kicks to the face. I’m glad my helmet stayed on. Once my skin broke blood was all over the place. I’m sure the witnesses would agree with my story. And people that know me know that I’m not a voilent (sic) person. I never got in a fight in my life.

The writer claims to have the full plate number of the Oregon driver’s truck, as well as his attacker’s phone, which was dropped at the scene. Yet he says that as of Tuesday, the detective assigned to the case hadn’t begun looking into the case.

The guy also dropped his cell phone on the scene, so that is another important piece of evidence. I called the LAPD detective yesterday, and he didn’t even start looking into the case yet. He also didn’t seem interested in tracking down the cell phone information (and there is a good chance is has phone numbers on it of places he may be staying in Los Angeles).

Really this guy could have been caught within 10 minutes of the incident since he has an easily recognizable car with out of state plates, if the police would have acted quickly after talking to the witnesses.

As a number of comments in the long, long thread made clear, stopping to confront an angry driver is never a good idea.

Even if that is something I do myself far more than I should.

You never know who you’re talking to. Or how short a fuse the driver or his or her companions may have.

And yes, I’ve been threatened by angry women almost as much as angry men. In fact, the driver who ran me down in a road rage assault was an otherwise pleasant — or so I’m told — middle-aged woman.

If you see someone who threatened you or drove dangerously around you, the best course of action is usually to let it pass, and just chalk it up to another unpleasant experience on the road. Or if you think it’s serious enough, call the police and let them handle it — bearing in mind that there’s usually not much they can do if they didn’t witness it themselves.

If you do stop, keep your bike between yourself and the person you’re talking to; it could give you just enough time to get away.

I’ve also found the quickest way to defuse an angry confrontation is to pull out your cell phone and snap a photo of the other person and their license plate.

Whatever you do, don’t throw the first punch. Or any punch, for that matter — especially if you were the one who started the confrontation.

If any time has passed between the initial encounter and when you stopped to talk to the driver, the police will consider it a separate event. Which makes you the aggressor, rather than the angry idiot who just tried to run you off the road.

Not fair, perhaps. But they would argue that you had a chance to avoid the confrontation, and didn’t do it.

Meanwhile, it’s a little scary to think a rider could give the police that much information, and nothing has been done two days later. Let alone an arrest made.

Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in.

Update: I’ve received word from a third party confirming that there were several witnesses to the beating in which the victim did in fact receive significant injuries, and that a police file has been opened; unfortunately, a heavy case load raises fears that the attacker may flee the state before police can get around to this case.

Don’t blame the cops this time. Blame the budget cutbacks that have left the department understaffed, and officers unable to do their jobs in a timely manner.

Thanks to Weshigh for the heads-up — and my apologies for failing to credit him sooner. 

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