Tag Archive for anti-bike bias

Guest post: BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey reports on efforts to undo the Chase Street road diet and bike lanes

Last week we alerted you to an attempt by the Panorama City Neighborhood Council to sneak in a last minute vote on removing the road diet and bike lanes on Chase Street through the San Fernando Valley neighborhood.

Despite the late notice, a number of bicyclists emailed to protest the blatant attempt to bypass legitimate discussion of the issue, and a handful of riders were able to attend the meeting.

Glenn Bailey, Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, offers his report on the matter.

………

Existing bicycle lanes in Panorama City were under attack last week as both the Arleta and Panorama City Neighborhood Councils voted to support efforts to “restore” two additional lanes of motor vehicle traffic along a one-mile stretch of Chase Street between Van Nuys Boulevard and Woodman Avenue. The bicycle lanes, installed a year ago, link a major commercial district in Panorama City with the existing bicycle lanes on Woodman Avenue, and will provide a future connection for the proposed bicycle lanes on Parthenia Street, which will extend west to Canoga Park. The Chase lanes also serve the adjoining Chase Street Elementary School and nearby Panorama Recreation Center.

The removal of the bicycle lanes has been spearheaded by the Arleta “Looky Loo” Neighborhood Watch group, even though the lanes are located in Panorama City and not in Arleta. They claim traffic is delayed “up to fifteen minutes during rush hour.” (Alternatively, bicycling the route at any time of the day only takes four to five minutes.)

The Panorama City Neighborhood Council (PCNC) held its regular fourth Thursday monthly meeting last week but the Chase Street bicycle lanes item was not listed on the agenda distributed three days earlier. Instead, the PCNC issued a second agenda for a special meeting that was not publicly distributed via the City’s Early Notification System until less than 11 hours before the meeting start time.

Generally, these “special” sessions are only called pursuant to State’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, to consider items that become known within two to three days before a regular meeting. However, public records indicate that the Chase Street bicycle lanes have been agendized by the PCNC at least twice over the last two years: in April 2013 and in October 2014. The issue was most recently considered by the PCNC Public Safety Committee at a meeting held on March 11, 2015 and yet the item was not included on the agenda for the next full Board meeting held on March 26, 2015. Instead, it mysteriously appeared six weeks later with virtually no advance notice for the public.

Despite the lack of public notice, the PCNC President, Viviano Montes, reported that the Board had received about twenty emails that afternoon supporting the bicycle lanes.   Two bicyclists who live in Panorama City and who use the Chase Street bicycle lanes on a daily basis did attend and spoke passionately in favor of keeping the lanes.

Two persons spoke against the bike lanes and apparently neither live in Panorama City, but rather in neighboring Arleta.  One speaker said the bicycle lanes should be “shared” with motor vehicles, apparently unaware that a five-foot lane width is too narrow to accommodate cars and that such use is a violation of the State Vehicle Code. She claimed to have petitions with 250 signatures to remove the lanes, but apparently a copy was not provided to the Neighborhood Council so the Board doesn’t know if the signers are actually from Panorama City or not.

But that was enough to influence some of the PCNC Board members who said they would vote to represent the wishes of the “majority.”  The vote was 10-1-3 (yes-no-abstain) to “ask the city to restore Chase Street to four traffic lanes between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard” which would necessitate the removal of the bicycle lanes. (A similar motion was passed the previous Tuesday by the Arleta NC on a 7-1-1 vote.)

According to the U.S. Census, the current population of Panorama City is 70,749 so if the Neighborhood Council wants to represent a true majority, they will need to hear from at least 35,250 more of their constituents.

Instead of undoing the road diet and removing the bicycle lanes, the City’s Department of Transportation should conduct a traffic and safety study and make recommendations to improve the flow of traffic, if necessary.  For example, the complaints about delays at the four-way stop signs could be addressed by installing roundabouts at those intersections.

The bicycle lane opponents vowed to submit their petition signatures to the local City Councilmember Nury Martinez (6th District) so stayed tuned as this story unfolds.

 

Action Alert: Panorama City NC sneaks in agenda item to remove bike lanes on Chase Street at tonight’s meeting

I just received news that the Panorama City Neighborhood Council will discuss removal of a recently installed road diet and bike lanes on Chase Street.

The group has already requested removal of the lanes in one section; now they’re planning to ask for removal of the entire road diet.

Worse, they’re trying to sneak this past the public without any real discussion by inserting a last-minute “special agenda” at the end of the previously published agenda. And allowing only eight minutes to consider the matter, effectively eliminating any possibility of legitimate discussion.

5. Consideration and possible action on the recommendation of the Public Safety committee that the Board ask the city to restore Chase Street to four traffic lanes between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The Board has already taken action to request a return to four lanes between Wakefield Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The council had opposed lane elimination in that area when the street restriping was still in the proposal stage. Now that the restriping has occurred, a dangerous condition has also arisen at the Woodman end, where parent traffic blocks the street while waiting to turn into the alley behind Valor Academy Middle School to pick up children. The through-street’s traffic capacity reduction is also causing huge backups along the street during rush hours, and a dangerous diversion of cut-through traffic to Parthenia Street between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. That section of Parthenia has now changed from a quiet residential street to an arterial street. For all of these traffic disruptions, very few bicycles are ever seen occupying the two bike lanes that replaced the two traffic lanes. [8m]

If you live, work or ride in the area, you’re urged to attend tonight’s meeting:

PANORAMA CITY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING AGENDA

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 6:30 PM
Mission Community Hospital, Medical Office Building, 2nd Floor, Room 208 14860 Roscoe Boulevard, Panorama City, CA 91402

If you can’t make it, email your comments — and your outrage at the sneak attack — to PCNC@EmpowerLA.org; blind copy (Bcc) LA BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey at glennbicyclela@gmail.com.

Demand that they allow legitimate public discussion before taking any action.

And that they allow the bike lanes to remain until people in cars and on bikes both have a chance to adjust to the new road design — and give up this ill-advised attempt to revert the roadway back to a more dangerous state.

 

Morning Links: NoCal meat man meets justified anger from cyclists; getting ready for Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

Once again someone who should know better has written an anti-bike screed in a failed attempt at humor.

And once again, it blew up in his face.

Adam Parks, the owner of Victorian Farmstead Meats in Sebastopol, posted the blog piece over the weekend — and on his company’s website, no less – apparently not considering that the people on “the $10,000 graphite-framed” bikes, clad in a “$500 spandex onesie,” are exactly the ones who could actually afford his high-end artisanal meats.

Never mind all the wine country chefs who ride bikes, who will now be significantly less inclined to by his products.

The single cyclist, he said, was bad enough; laying on his horn was enough to move a rider into the ditch.

Worse, in his mind, were the riders the peloton — a word he was proud to have looked up. Those should be considered fair game if they failed to ride single file or remain on the right side of the solid white line, in his humble opinion.

Even though cyclists have every bit as much ride to the road as he does. And even though anything to the right of the line is not legally considered part of the roadway.

Why some people that think inciting traffic violence against other human beings is funny will forever be beyond me.

Needless to say, his website, Facebook page and email inbox immediately blew up with thousands of angry comments.

His first reaction was to say on Facebook that he never apologizes for anything he writes, before doing just that and deleting the post.

If only someone, somewhere had save it as a pdf so you could download and read it.

Oh wait, I did: Cycle of Life | Victorian Farmstead Meat Company.

In his apology, which came after a long sleepless night, he said he was sorry for the hurt he had caused, anddonate $500 to a fund for injured cyclists, if one existed. Or start one, if it didn’t.

Actually, the only problem is selecting which of the many cyclists injured in traffic collisions most deserves his help.

Let’s hope he’s sincere in changing his beliefs, now that he’s been made aware of the dangers cyclists face on the road. And not just saying it to save his business, which went from a four star rating on Yelp to 1.5 overnight.

After all, others have make mistakes like that, and tried to turn it into something positive.

………

You are going to Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia, right?

CiclaValley has created an in-depth a guide to the ride, with stops both on and off Lankershim and Ventura Blvds.

The Source offers a list of discounts available along the route.

And if you get off to an early start, you can join a feeder ride with State Senator Bob Hertzberg. And maybe catch his ear about why that proposed bike helmet bill should find it’s way to the legislature’s trash bin.

………

Every time a city suggests removing parking to make room for a bike lane, merchants rise up in anger insisting it will harm their business.

Which is exactly what happened on Westwood Blvd, where Councilmember Paul Koretz acceded to the demands of local business and homeowners to kill a much needed bike lane on the Blvd.

Yet those business owners may have shot themselves in the foot.

City Lab has complied a list of twelve studies from around the world showing that at worst, removing parking for bike lanes has no effect on business. And can even result in an increase in sales as the street becomes more accessible for everyone, rather than just those in cars.

We should all bookmark this page.

And cite it verbatim the next time someone claims we’re trying to kill their business.

………

Local

The Canyon News looks at Damian Kevitt’s successful completion of the LA Marathon on Sunday, and reports that Kevitt hopes the support he received translates to support for Finish the Ride next month.

Santa Monica’s City Council will consider accepting USDOT Secretary Foxx’s challenge to create safer streets at tonight’s council session. Sounds like something no one would oppose, which means someone inevitably will.

The Santa Monica Bike Center now offers guided tours of the city, with six options including a street art tour and a foodie tour of Main Street.

 

State

The California Bicycle Coalition lists 10 reasons why California is becoming a great place to bike.

Camp Pendleton’s Hellfire mountain bike race returns this Saturday.

A writer for Orange County’s Chapman University school paper opposes SB 192, California’s proposed mandatory bike helmet law. For many of the wrong reasons, but still.

A Santa Barbara truck driver who doesn’t get “that crazy pack riding” says everyone is safer when cyclists ride alone or single file, not realizing that often increases the risk for riders.

An 18-year old Sonoma woman prepares to meet the hit-and-run driver who killed her father when she was just seven years old.

 

National

A new national study finally breaks down that old “interested by concerned” statistic reflecting who would like to ride their bike more; actually, every demographic wants protected bike lanes.

Now that’s my kind of triathlon — an ultra marathon along Alaska’s famed Iditarod Trail by fat bike, foot and ski.

A former LAPD homicide cop now patrols the BYU campus by bike.

Colorado becomes the latest state to work towards eliminating traffic deaths; of course, the question is whether any of the over 35 states that have made that commitment will actually do what’s needed to stop the slaughter on our streets and highways.

Evidently, cops in my bike-friendly hometown could use a refresher course in bike law. Not unlike cops just about everywhere else.

Call it a cic-Yellowstone-lovia, as the National Park opens its roads to bike riders before the park officially opens in the spring.

The Idaho legislature passes a bill that would bar the use of eminent domain to build greenbelts and bike paths. But not, evidently, highways.

According to a Minnesota letter writer, people who want bikable and walkable trails are special interest groups, while those who want five lane streets aren’t. And says it’s the trails that will bankrupt the city, not the exponentially more expensive streets.

Connecticut considers modifying, but not removing, the requirement to ride to the right in order to allow protected bike lanes and contraflow lanes.

 

International

Toronto’s new cycling manager says women are the indicator species for cycling safety in the city. Actually, humans of all genders, orientations, ages, races and socio-economic status are; in other words, our streets won’t be safe until anyone feels comfortable riding them.

Once again, someone has strung wire at head level across a British bikeway, in what should only be seen as an attempt to seriously injure or kill unwary riders. Let’s hope police treat this like the serious crime it is.

An Aussie driver is just mortified at his “overreaction” after he deliberately crossed onto the wrong side of the road to run down the cyclist who cracked his windshield during an argument. I wonder if he’d be as mortified if he hadn’t been caught.

 

Finally…

Scofflaw cyclist Arnold Schwarzenegger rides the streets of Melbourne on a bike share bicycle sans the country’s mandatory bike helmet; the local police directed him to a nearby 7-11 to buy a $5 helmet. Evidently, money makes you mean; a social psychologist found all the drivers in inexpensive cars stopped for pedestrians in a beachfront LA crosswalk, while half of the drivers in expensive cars didn’t.

And thanks to my friends at CLIF Bar for sending me their new less-sweet organic energy foods to try out. Although I have to admit to approaching some of those flavors with just a tad of trepidation.

SAMSUNG

Morning Links: Atwater paper calls legal cyclists lane hogs, a handful of links and a long list of upcoming events

photo from Atwater Village News Facebook page

photo from Atwater Village News Facebook page

First up, a local newspaper manages to get it wrong. And brings out the ire of the Facebook cycling community.

The Atwater Village News posted a photo on its Facebook page, showing four bike riders taking the lane on a two-lane ramp, labeling them “Lane Hogs.” Then cites CVC 21202(a), which says that cyclists are required to ride as close to the right as practicable when traveling below the speed of traffic.

If only they’d read a little further, they would have seen the many exceptions contained in sections 1 ­through 4, particularly the one that says that the law doesn’t apply on substandard width lanes. And defines substandard width as any lane too narrow for a bike and motor vehicle to safely share while traveling side by side.

Kind of like the one shown in the picture.

So for any journalists, police officers, motorists, online commenters or anyone else who’s still unclear on the concept, let’s get it straight.

Bicycles aren’t in the way of traffic, they are traffic as defined by law, with a legal right to the road.

Bikes are required to right as far to the right as practicable whenever traveling below the normal speed of traffic. Which does not mean as far to the right as possible, but only as far as is safe under the current circumstances, allowing riders to position themselves further to the left to avoid gravel and glass, potholes and swinging car doors.

However, cyclists aren’t required to ride to the right if they’re traveling at the speed of traffic — which means the legal speed limit, or less if traffic is moving slower than that. Or if the lane is too narrow to safely share, which is defined as a safe distance from the curb, plus the width of the bike and any motor vehicle, along with a three-foot passing distance.

By that standard, most right lanes in the LA area are substandard.

There is also nothing in California law that requires cyclists to ride single file. Not one word. Bike riders can travel two, three or more abreast, as long as they remain within a single lane, and that lane is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Doing so improves safety by making the riders more visible while forcing motorists to change lanes to pass.

And the law requiring slower traffic to pull over to allow faster traffic to pass only applies when there are five or more vehicles stuck behind and unable to go around. Which means it doesn’t apply on any road with two or more lanes in the same direction, where a driver could simply change lanes to pass.

Got it?

Thanks to LA Bicycle Advisory Committee member David Wolfberg for the heads-up.

………

Let’s catch up on some of the upcoming events.

Helen’s Cycles and ThinkCure! are holding a training ride tomorrow for The Life Ride; the two day event will roll in March to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

Also on Saturday, the Eastside Bike Club is teaming with Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia and the Monrovia Cyclists Against Diabetes to ride down to the Tour de Cure Kickoff at the Reef in Long Beach.

Pasadena Complete Streets holds their monthly meeting on Monday, February 2nd at Day One, across from Pasadena City Hall.

Speaking of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 3rd at Hollywood City Hall; BAC meetings are always open to the public.

Helen’s is also hosting a 2015 Cannondale demo and group ride on Saturday, February 7th on Mulholland Drive; another will be held in Westwood, with a ride up world famous Nichols Canyon on the following day, Sunday the 8th.

Also on the 8th, Stan’s Bike Shop is the kickoff point for a fun ride celebrating the birthday of GoBici president Jorge Rodriguez. But aren’t most bike rides fun?

The Eastside Bike Club brings back their Friendship Love Ride on Saturday, February 14th.

Streetsblog is celebrating the seventh anniversary of LA’s most influential transportation website and champion of livable streets on Saturday, February 21st.

The Sakura Ride will be held at Lake Balboa on March 14th to honor the fourth anniversary of the disastrous March, 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

And LA’s favorite fundraising ride, the annual LA River Ride, is set for Sunday, June 28th to benefit the LACBC.

………

A few other quick notes:

We’ll soon find out if it’s really true that you should use a car if you want to get away with murder. Notorious — as the LA Times calls him — rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with deliberately running down two men with his truck following an argument on a movie set, killing one.

An LA cyclist who lost his leg in a collision with a big rig truck is awarded a whopping $33.8 million settlement.

KPCC is once again auctioning off a chance to ride with political reporter and triathlete Sharon McNary, with your choice of beach cruise or coastal bike tour. I had a chance to join in on last year’s beach cruise until my diabetes knocked me on my ass, dammit.

Two cyclists came to the aid of an unconscious woman being raped on the campus of Stanford University; the riders caught the suspect, a member of the university swim team, as he tried to run away. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Portland officials use magnetic sweepers to pick up the tacks someone is spilling on a popular bike route.

In an extreme case of driveway rage, a Nevada man boils over when his neighbor’s son uses his driveway as a turning point for the kid’s bike. And shoves his pistol down the neighbor’s throat to make his point.

Maybe the cop can’t read. A New York cyclist fights a ticket he got for riding on a bike path; the officer wrote him up for disobeying a sign — right next to one saying bikes were allowed there.

A Florida man fights a ticket for riding in the traffic lane, and wins.

Finally, even elected officials can’t catch a break when they ride, as a Toronto city councillor — yes, that’s how they spell it up there — sees the case against the driver who hit her dismissed because the police forgot to give the driver a ticket.

 

Weekend Links: Trucker blames victim in Chinese video, and registration opens for Finish the Ride 2015

Perspective is everything.

Recently, we linked to a horrifying security cam video of a Chinese bike rider being run over by a massive semi-truck; fortunately, the victim miraculously survived, apparently unscathed.

To a bike rider, it seems pretty obvious that the truck overtook the rider before right-hooking him.

Yet from a trucker’s perspective, it’s the cyclist’s fault for riding into the truck’s blind spot, and not looking over his shoulder before crossing the intersection.

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

Because far too many people excuse dangerous driving and instead blame the victims; the writer even acknowledges that the truck driver never seemed to notice the cyclist on the road directly in front of his truck as he turned.

Yet somehow, it’s the rider’s fault.

It shouldn’t be up to the rest of us to stay the hell out of the way of the big dangerous machines.

Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

……..

It’s happened again.

An Oregon driver faces manslaughter charges after hitting a man crossing a busy street, then driving 11 blocks with the dying victim on the roof of her car before stopping to dump his body and flee the scene.

At least this time it wasn’t a cyclist. Not that it makes it any better.

……..

‘Tis the season.

Fontana groups give new bikes to over 200 low income kids. Four hundred bicyclists take part in the second annual Riverside Christmas Ride. Volunteers in National City donate dozens of bikes to kids in the community.

Santa Cruz police replace a bike stolen from a middle school girl who had earned it by making good grades. Los Banos police donate seven refurbished bikes to fourth and fifth graders. Eighty-five Oroville kids get refurbished bikes in an annual giveaway program from the local sheriff’s office.

Chicago bike messengers help deliver over 1,000 toys donated to the Marines’ Toys for Tots program. And a North Carolina man gives more than a thousand new and refurbished bikes to kids.

……..

Registration is now open for the 2015 edition of Finish the Ride, now billed as a Ride, Run, Walk ‘N Roll, to call attention the epidemic of hit-and-run and make the streets safer for all of us.

Last year’s event had a huge turnout, and this year’s on April 19th event promises to be even bigger and better, with more options and more challenging courses available.

And yes, I plan to see you there.

……..

Local

Rick Risemberg says you’re not so special anymore, because more of them are becoming us.

The LACBC is asking for your signature on a petition to create a world-class Beverly Hills Greenway on Santa Monica Blvd through the Biking Black Hole, instead of keeping it the same dangerous street it is now, as city officials seems to prefer. And yes, I’ve signed it.

Streetsblog wants your help determining the city’s Livable Streets Business of the Year; personally, I’d throw the extremely bike-friendly Timbuk2 store in Venice into the mix, as well.

 

State

A petition urges Governor Jerry Brown to amend state law to allow drivers to briefly cross a double center line when safe to do so in order to pass a cyclist. Brown previously vetoed an earlier version of the state’s three-foot passing law because it contained that exact provision. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Riverside officials discuss a possible pedestrian bridge over Highway 91; it’s not clear if it would be open to bikes, as well.

Palm Springs is scheduled to become more bike friendly next year, including 250 miles of marked bike lanes.

A Santa Barbara cyclist suffered head injuries when she was hit by a car; for a change, police respond by urging everyone to slow down.

Sad news from Santa Cruz, as a bike rider was run down from behind and killed by a hit-and-run driver; it takes until the second paragraph of the story for the local TV station to acknowledge that the truck was not acting on its own. Thanks to John McBrearty for the tip.

A Calaveras woman’s bike is stolen six weeks before a planned cross-country ride, so she decides to backpack through Oregon, instead.

 

National

Honolulu struggles to keep drivers from parking in a new protected bike lane; it might help if they moved the parking meters next to the cars instead of leaving them on the curb next to the bike lane.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske talks bike light requirements, at least as they apply in Oregon; most of what he says applies here, as well.

New York district attorneys prove to be the weak link in the city’s Vision Zero plan.

 

International

A British Columbia court awards $100,000 to a cyclist injured by a road raging driver.

The man who would be king, Britain’s Prince Charles, says streets must be reclaimed from cars.

A Danish study suggests hi-viz can reduce your risk of a collision nearly 50%.

Bike crashes are up in Melbourne, except on the city’s most popular street for cyclists.

 

Finally…

Bono brings the arm he shattered in a New York cycling collision out in public for the first time. Although it looks more like he’s trying to hide it and himself from the paparazzi than trying to show off anything.

……..

Thanks to Karen Scott for her extremely generous gift to help support this site

Morning Links: CM Cedillo turns a deaf ear to pleas of bike riders, portraying cyclists as bullies from the 1%

Evidently, 1st District Councilmember Gil Cedillo doesn’t understand how democracy works.

Word from yesterday’s LA City Council session is that Cedillo turned a deaf ear to the pleas of bike riders begging for a safer street on North Figueroa, and instead went forward with a plan to install diagonal parking rather than the bike lanes called for in the city’s already approved bike plan.

As anyone who has ever ridden or driven past cars attempting to back out of an angled parking space can attest, that does the exact opposite of improving safety.

Standing in the same chamber where retired councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously declared that “the culture of the car is going to end now!,” Cedillo insisted that he would not be bullied by cyclists.

I didn’t know that the pleas of a traffic minority group begging for a safe place to travel on our streets amounted to bullying; it seems more like a constituent group lobbying an apparently uncaring elected leader for relief, to me. Which is the very definition of democracy in action.

But what the hell do I know.

Cedillo also described bike riders as “the one percent,” deliberately miscasting cyclists with a term used to imply social and economic exclusivity, based on census data that bike riders make up just one percent of LA’s commuter traffic.

Never mind that the one percent stat only refers to rush hour commuters, and does not count the many people who ride to school or to do errands. Or the many low income, often immigrant, riders in his own district who ride to and from their jobs any hour of the day, often because they have no other way to get there.

And this from a man who publicly professes his support for immigrants to anyone who will listen.

Of course, no one should be surprised by the cold shoulder bicyclists received from Cedillo. Ever since his election last year, it has been clear that he intended to renege on the promise he made to support bike lanes on North Figueroa, back when he still needed our votes.

Cedillo has evidently made the political calculation that he doesn’t need our support to retain his office, in a city where incumbent councilmembers almost never lose elections.

Let’s hope we can prove him wrong.

More disappointing is that no one else on the council, or in city government — all the way up to the mayor’s office — has had the courage to stand up to the real bully in the room.

On that day nearly five years ago when LA bike riders finally found the voice we so desperately needed at City Hall, Rosendahl proclaimed, speaking for the full council, “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”

Unfortunately, Rosendahl has left the council.

And the support for cyclists appears to have gone with him.

……..

Be careful riding in Glendale, which once again ranks near the bottom on a list of America’s worst drivers.

……..

Local

Who says no one rides in the rain?

LA Curbed offers a look at the design finalists for the planned bike/ped bridge over the LA River at the Glendale Narrows.

The Mid City West Community Council is teaming with the LACBC to offer a bike safety class on Sunday, January 11th.

Streetsblog spinoff Longbeachize celebrates its first anniversary tonight with a happy hour at the Blind Donkey in Long Beach.

 

State

An arrest is finally made after at least six cyclists were knocked off their bikes by a thief who then rode off on the bicycles in San Francisco’s Panhandle area.

Another would-be bike thief is busted after trying to wrestle a bike from a man inside a store in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

 

National

Cycling Savvy offers ten tips for successful bicycling in traffic.

Bounce back from your next hard ride with a little tart cherry juice.

More Denver residents are biking and walking to work, thanks in part to the city’s investment in better bike infrastructure.

An 18-year old Boston hit-and-run driver was allegedly under the influence of prescription drugs when he took out a cyclist and five parked cars while fleeing police; the rider is expected to survive, no word on the cars.

In more bike thief news, a Louisiana man is busted for burgling a $5,000 bike from a Mandeville bike shop.

 

International

We all know about the most popular bicycling movies, but what about the top five unknown cycling films?

No, really, the doping era in pro cycling is over. Even though a Mexican rider was arrested smuggling EPO through an airport.

Turns out bicyclists in the UK’s north may be marginally tougher than their southern counterparts.

Excerpts from a new book reveal the ugly drug-fueled final days of Italian cycling legend Marco Pantani.

 

Finally…

No, seriously, if you’re going to rob a pedestrian while riding your bike, make sure he’s got more than $7 on him first. It might have been more helpful if advice on how to bike home with your Christmas tree had come before most people had already bought one.

And caught on video: A cyclist survives a collision with a hit-and-run deer that violated his right-of-way, then fled the scene without stopping to render aid or exchange IDs.

Morning Links: San Diego cyclists get blamed for collisions, and accused Eagleson killer enters not guilty plea

Evidently, it’s our fault.

Mostly, anyway.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, an analysis of San Diego bike crashes since 2011 shows cyclists at fault in nearly 60% of collisions.

Of course, those stats are based on police collision reports. And as the story notes, the results are subject to question.

Their accuracy depends largely on the individual officer’s knowledge and interpretation of bike law, ability to properly investigate bike collisions — especially when the injured cyclist is often unable to give his or her side of the story — and a lack of bias.

The simple fact is that few California police officers receive adequate, let alone in-depth, training in the rights and responsibilities of bike riders, as evidenced by the frequency with which riders are ticketed for things that aren’t actually illegal, such as riding in the traffic lane or two or more abreast.

And none are trained in the unique forensics of bicycle collisions, which differ dramatically from typical automobile crashes.

As for bias, with the exception of bike cops and officers who ride on their own time, most cops see the world from the same windshield perspective as other motorists.

All of which means that stats like this may provide support those who want to write bike riders off as law-breaking scofflaws.

But until we demand better bike training for traffic investigators — and police officers in general — they will have little basis in reality.

………

Local

Not even zoo animals are safe from LA’s hit-and-run drivers, as a big horn sheep is killed after escaping its enclosure, and the jerk behind the wheel just keeps on driving.

Velonews reports on the first day of the CXLA Weekend at the Greek, with victories by Katerina Nash and James Driscoll in the elite races. Cycling Across LA offers video of the race.

A ride will be held on December 7th to honor fallen cyclist Milt Olin, roughly three months after the DA dishonored him by refusing to file charges in the case.

BikeSGV delivers their monthly newsletter filled with upcoming events in the San Gabriel Valley

 

State

Neil Storm Stephany entered a not guilty plea Friday in the alleged intoxicated hit-and-run death of cyclist Shaun Eagleson in Newport Beach last month. Stephany faces a well-deserved murder charge based on a prior DUI conviction.

Short-sighted San Clemente votes not to include bike lanes in a coming reconstruction of Calle Frontera, apparently not realizing that giving people an alternative to driving could reduce traffic.

‘Tis the season: A Pismo Beach man donates 57 bikes to the local sheriff’s department to give away for Christmas.

 

National

Great news from Tucson, as former Rep. Gabby Giffords gets back on her bike three years after the near-fatal shooting.

A road raging Seattle driver faces just three to nine months in jail following her conviction for second-degree assault for intentionally running down a cyclist in a horrific attack.

An allegedly very drunk Chicago bike share rider is critically injured after being hit by two cars.

Turns out that Wolverine-playing song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman is one of us, as he goes for a cold weather ride on the streets of New York.

A father and daughter finish their 4,200 mile trip from Washington to Key West to benefit wounded vets.

 

International

E-bikes are on a roll in Europe, but just starting to catch on in the US.

Bikes will be banned from a bucolic garden bridge over the Thames because they would allegedly spoil the peaceful walking atmosphere. And as we all know, it’s impossible to ride a bike peacefully.

Caught on video: A London cyclist captures a first-hand perspective of what it’s like to be hit by an unseen cab; the footage is evidence in a civil case.

Down Under girls just want to have fun on fixies. That is, if they’re not collecting a menagerie of bikes.

A newborn Aussie baby is safe, thanks to the cyclists who discovered him hidden in a storm drain where he had been abandoned up to five days earlier.

 

Finally…

Turns out rocket powered cyclists are nothing new. British cyclists have a better knowledge of road safety than motorists do; not surprising, since people on bikes are a lot more vulnerable on the roads those who can rely seat belts, air bags and crumple zones.

And a Boston man confronts the thief who’s stealing his bike, and wins.

 

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.

 

Morning Links: Biking backlash to misguided WaPo bikelash, and a fund for injured Manhattan Beach racer

Nice.

The transportation beat reporter for the Washington Post responds to yesterday’s anti-bike screed from a fellow WaPo writer.

Here’s my bias: No matter how you go — bike, car, bus, train, boat or plane — I want you to get there safely.

I’m sick to death of people who take risks with other people’s lives.

And lately I’ve become disgusted with all the venom aimed at cyclists.

It’s a great piece. Take a few moments to read it.

I’ll wait.

Back already?

A writer for the Washingtonian offers his own response. The editor of Greater Greater Washington — the site that innocently set off the misguided screed — suggests letting understanding win over hatred. The Brooklyn Spoke says embracing the crazy is the best way to stop the bikelash.

And Streetsblog USA cites still more sources giving the misguided rant the smackdown it deserves.

……..

Great Le Tour coverage from VeloNews.

Defending champ Chris Froome is out after falling on rain-soaked cobbles, his third crash in two days; Team Sky’s decision to leave Wiggins at home is looking pretty foolish, despite what the team manager says. Then again, things aren’t looking so good for the Spaniards, either. American Tejay van Garderen is growing into his role as team leader for BMC.

And China’s first Tour de France rider is hanging in there, while Garmin-Sharp domestique Jack Bauer says in a Bicycling video that Wednesday’s Stage Five was as bad as it gets.

……..

A fund has been set up for SoCalCycling.com Team rider Ronnie Toth, who was severely injured in the final sprint of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix this past Sunday.

……..

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton adds to the discussion of the OC cyclist threatened with arrest for swearing at the road raging driver who tried to run him off the road.

……..

Local

Bike liability lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Jim Procrass answers an intriguing question on Streetsblog: Can city council members be held liable after killing bike safety improvements?

PCH remains a dangerous place, as a 58-year old rider is injured in a collision in Pacific Palisades; thanks to Barry Goch for the heads-up. Meanwhile, a writer for the Weekly says riding a bike in LA can be deadlier than Mumbai or Shanghai.

Protesters march on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office to demand a safer North Figueroa.

Levi’s will open a pop-up bike commuter hub in Los Angeles next month; other hubs will open in Brooklyn and London.

Bike in to the Frog Spot on the LA River bike path in Elysian Valley.

Santa Monica police insist their announced July crackdown on bike riders is about education, not writing tickets. So remind them about that if they pull you over; I’m sure they won’t mind.

Long Beach police catch a thief with a taste for $1000 bikes.

Santa Clarita will add more off-road bike trails to their existing 76-mile network.

Westlake Village resident and former pro rider Dave Zabriskie, aka Captain America, calls on everyone to use common sense to improve safety for cyclists.

 

State

A Newport Beach bike rider goes from collision victim to wanted criminal after whacking the driver with a bottle.

Turns out that USA Today report listing San Diego as one of America’s top 10 bicycling cities was based on a single bike path across the bay in Coronado. But admittedly, it’s a nice path.

A writer for Wired takes a three-day, 77-mile journey through the Mojave Desert.

When you’re a known Ukiah meth user on probation with a recent firearm arrest, stop for the damn police car already. Or at least, don’t ride in front of it.

 

National

An NPR producer describes the lessons learned from her high-speed solo cycling fall. Like know your limits and stop when your body says enough.

A Portland rider discovers the risks of falling of your bike include contracting flesh eating bacteria.

Nice to see some businesses get it. Instead of fighting bike lanes, a group of Portland business owners ask for a protected bike lane in front of their storefronts.

Lance gets props from cops for trying to help catch a notorious Austin bike thief.

Instant Karma? An Atlanta thief is severely injured doing a faceplant while trying to ride off with a purloined bike.

 

International

Caught on video: After a speeding motorist nearly runs down a Brit cyclist, he tries again. In reverse.

Scotland’s Town Mouse takes the long way home through the rural countryside. Looks like a lovely ride; maybe she can show me the way someday.

Corking intersections may be controversial, but a network of new bike lanes in Cork, Ireland should be reason to celebrate.

 

Finally…

Don’t get drunk and ride through the middle of a police investigation. Just don’t. Bikeyface says it’s hard to talk to a machine, let alone understand what it’s trying to say.

And bike friendly Beverly Hills toasts their 12th annual Cycling Classic with a special brew. No, sadly, not that Beverly Hills.

……..

Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to support this site. Your donation to BikinginLA or advertisement on the site will help to keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming to you every day.

In fact, if your business had an ad on here, it would have been seen by over 10,000 people yesterday alone.

%d bloggers like this: