Tag Archive for anti-bike bias

Morning Links: Fanning the fires of bike hate, LB hit-and-run suspect busted, and bike smash seen round the world

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It doesn’t take much to bring out the bike hate.

Especially when people are allowed to post their comments anonymously.

Yesterday’s LA Times featured a well-reasoned Op-Ed from Tom Babin, author of “Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling,” and the bike blog Shifter.

In it, Babin argued that the laws governing traffic weren’t written with bicycles in mind, and don’t always work effectively for people on two wheels.

It’s true that Los Angeles is finally taking its first serious steps toward making the city more bike-friendly. But the focus is on building bike-dedicated infrastructure, which can be slow and expensive to build.

The Idaho stop law shows there are other ways for municipalities to encourage cycling while their infrastructure catches up. Cities around the world are demonstrating that simply changing the rules in favor of cyclists can make roads more welcoming.

He continues,

Yet streets are already governed by different rules for different users, such as laws that require slower speed limits for big trucks, or that mandate school buses to stop at uncontrolled railway crossings. Rather than demonize cyclists for their inability to conform to rules designed for cars, laws should recognize that riding a bike is different than driving.

All in all, a reasonable request to simply acknowledge that bikes are different that cars, yet bicyclists are forced to act like motor vehicles, regardless of whether it makes sense.

Yet based on some of the comments, you’d think he declared war on anyone who doesn’t ride a bike.

Like this from OptimisticOrgan, for instance. (Unfortunately, the Times makes it impossible to link to any one comment.)

Stop sign being a yield is fine by me. Cycling culture needs to change, though. Too many jerks are going 15 in a 45 in the middle of the lane. Then they act like yr the bad guy for being annoyed by the fact they’re impeding traffic flow. It’s like “I’m sorry brother, trying to stay far enough behind you,” but the cyclist is still pissed that your car is faster than his bike and projects ill will toward you.

Many commenters went great pains to point out that Los Angeles isn’t Idaho, with many times the population, in case we had somehow missed that point. Apparently failing to notice where he pointed out that the Idaho Stop Law is now in effect in auto-clogged Paris, with it’s 2.24 million population, and a reputation for roadway rudeness that makes our streets seem downright polite.

Other, such as feaco11, apparently couldn’t grasp Babin’s key point that bikes and cars are different.

Better yet, let’s change the law so that motorists can treat a stop sign as a yield sign. Just think of the gas that will be saved if our cars do not have to lose momentum going through an intersection. Maybe the same could be applied to red lights. It would certainly free up the court system because there would be less tickets written.

Then there’s this confession to illegal harassment from boneme8978.

i would not consider riding a bike on a suburban street . but i love the people that do . keeps me laughing all the time . you should see them jump when i blast them with my train horn ! the 300 i spent at ‘summit racing ‘ to buy that bad boy was worth every penny !

And it goes on and on, ad nauseum, just like on any other pro bike piece that appears online, filled with constant reminders of that one time a bike rider broke the law, which somehow projects onto every person on a bicycle who ever lived.

Damnable scofflaws, all.

It’s a reminder of who we share the road with. As well as the Internet.

Protected by layers of glass and steel on one, anonymous pseudonyms on the other.

Spelling and punctuation challenged though they might be.

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Long Beach police arrested a hit-and-run suspect at gunpoint after he was found hiding under a car. Witnesses said the speeding driver hit a bike rider after running a red light, then drove erratically, running red lights and nearly striking pedestrians as he attempted to escape.

Both the victim and the driver were transported to a local hospital; no word on their conditions.

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Turns out the bicycle smashed in two by an angry rider in Milan’s Red Hook Crit wasn’t even his.

Deadspin calls it the pinnacle of human rage, though anyone who has dealt with a road raging motorist — or an angry online commenter — would probably disagree.

Meanwhile, VeloNews puts it in the context of other great bike throws in recent years.

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Local

Bicycling finally gets around to posting last year’s profile of LACBC executive director Tamika Butler online.

LAist calls the coming My Figueroa project the city’s first truly protected bike lane.

Bike the Vote LA offers a guide to the candidates in November’s Santa Monica city council election.

In the latest round of anti-developmentism, Redondo Beach residents could vote on whether to cancel ambitious plans to redevelop the city’s aging waterfront, including plans for an improved bike path through the area.

 

State

New tests from Stanford conclude the unnamed Hövding airbag helmet actually works. And reduces impact up to six times over conventional bike helmets.

A Chico couple propose to replace their daughter’s ghost bike with a sign memorializing her, along with the phrases “How to save a life? Don’t Drink and Drive” and “Share the Road, Drive with Care,” pending approval from Caltrans. Which is not likely, unfortunately.

 

National

A Portland Op-Ed writer complains about car-hating social engineering, while completely missing the point of Vision Zero.

After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a Nebraska man takes up bicycling and a better diet, and loses 75 pounds while bringing his illness under control.

An Arkansas paper takes a look at bikepacking.

A road raging DC driver gets offended when a cyclist slapped the back of his car after he deliberately tried to run her off the road, then gets out and repeatedly slaps her before stealing her phone when she tried to call 911.

 

International

A body found near a Halifax trail could be a missing mountain biker who disappeared without a trace two years earlier.

A Scottish parliament member says even a small increase in bicycling could lead to an improvement in air quality, while calling for a decrease in speed limits around schools and residential areas.

At least it’s a creative protest. A Scottish man shows his objection to a new separated bike lane by rowing in it.

Any writer who uses the tired cliché that bike safety is a two-way street should receive a six-month sentence in journalist jail.

A San Francisco rider joins 400 other cyclists in the Haute Route timed cycling event in the Pyrenees; a US event is planned for the Rocky Mountains next year.

Glamour admires the glamorous Iranian women defying the religious edict against bicycling in public.

A South African provincial transport minister says bicycling must be seen as a form of mobility, disputing plans by the mayor of Johannesburg to halt bike lane construction in the city.

 

Finally…

You can’t compete in your first pro race if you’re stuck in traffic. If you’re fleeing police on your bike, you really just need two legs.

And your next helmet could give a whole new meaning to helmet hair.

Or you could let your kid steer you like a bike.

 

Weekend Links: WaPo’s anti-bike drivel, hit-and-run reward fund, and don’t invite cops to see your dope

Got to hand it to the Washington Post.

This is one of the single most biased pieces of anti-bike drivel I’ve read.

Somehow, as they see it, the 1,557 bike riders caught running stop lights on DC’s red light cameras equates to the 84,000 drivers who did the same thing.

Never mind that the risk posed by a law-breaking driver outweighs the risk from a scofflaw cyclist by about two tons.

Let alone the sheer absurdity of painting all bicyclists as aggressive and entitled militants based on the misperceived attitudes of a few, projected from behind the windshield. Sort of like accusing every mom driving her kids to soccer practice of being no different than this guy.

It shouldn’t need to be said that everyone should obey the law. And that the safety of everyone on the road depends on the give and take codified in the vehicle code.

Which means stopping for red lights.

Period.

But if you can’t manage that, at least observe the right-of-way so you don’t end up a bug on someone’s windshield, or force drivers to take dangerous evasive actions to avoid you.

The Post used to be a great paper.

But crap like this is just more evidence that Woodward, Bernstein and Graham have left the building.

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David Drexler forwards a reminder from Surf City Cyclery in Huntington Beach about the gofundme account for injured Encinitas cyclist John Abate; the account has raised over $6,400 for a reward to find the hit-and-run driver who ran him down last month.

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No leadership changes in the Vuelta, despite a breakaway that finished half an hour before the peloton, who must have stopped for tea along the way.

Bicycle design could get a lot more interesting as UCI scraps a key rule limiting the shape of frames.

Clearly, it’s not just the pros who dope. A gold medal-winning Aussie Paralympic cyclist has been sent home from Rio after testing positive for EPO.

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Local

Caught on video: Evidently, bike riders aren’t the only victims of road raging drivers.

Richard Risemberg attends a meet-and-greet for city council candidate Jesse Creed, and comes away convinced Creed deserves your vote if you live in CD5. Then again, considering the alternative is re-electing career politician Paul Koretz, it’s an easy choice.

Smorgasbord LA is now offering a bike valet every Sunday for the gourmet food fest at the Alameda Produce Market in Downtown LA.

Nice move from the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which donated 69 refurbished bicycles to ministers in Watts area to help kids get to school safely.

Bicyclists say the bike lanes on Santa Monica’s new and improved California Incline are indeed a big improvement, though they could be a little wider.

Speaking of SaMo, the Bike League wants to know what you think, as the city applies for an upgrade in its bike friendly city status. Thanks to Kent Strumpell for the heads-up.

 

State

Caught on video too: A bicyclist passes, then drops, a group of motorcyclists on a 50 mph descent somewhere in California. Then again, it’s not the first time that’s happened.

Oceanside responds to residents complaints about a dark underpass on the San Luis Rey Trail with promises to install solar powered lights to help protect nighttime riders.

Freemont traffic engineers somehow believe placing a green bike lane in between two right turn lanes, so right-turning drivers in the left one have to cut across the bike lane, is better than no bike lane at all.

Napa is seeing a rash of bike thefts, with 24 bikes stolen in three months. Or as we call that in LA, Wednesday.

More heartbreak in the UC system, as a second faculty member lost his life when a UC Davis professor was killed after he was right hooked by a garbage truck while riding in a bike lane. A Nobel Prize winning UC San Diego researcher died last week on an Oregon bike trail. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

Consumer Reports lists ten ways to avoid a car crash. None of which include remaining sober, paying attention to the road or putting your damn phone down.

A cyclist in one Utah county can credit his life following a heart attack to a requirement that sheriff’s deputies must also be trained as paramedics.

Only five percent of incoming freshmen at Colorado State University know the difference between a bike lane and a walking path.

Chicagoist says the recent Tribune editorial calling on bicyclists and motorists to obey the law and share the road safely creates a false equivalence dressed up as diplomacy.

A lawsuit accuses 89-year old former New York Mayor David Dinkins of hit-and-run after he apparently sideswiped a bicycle delivery man; however, the mayor sees it the other way around.

A New York couple ditches the limo and rides away from their wedding on matching bicycles. Although judging by the photos, matching may be a relative term.

 

International

The Financial Times examines whether urban cycling is worth the risk in a series of articles.

The daughter of a Bangladeshi diplomat was killed in a right hook on what was considered one of Ottawa’s safest bikeways.

Caught on video three: A Toronto bicyclist is doored by the passenger of a transport truck in what is supposed to be a protected bike lane; fortunately, she’s not badly injured.

Somehow, the bicycle Virgin owner Richard Branson crashed has magically become a motorbike. Maybe it’s just too shocking to believe a billionaire adventurer would actually ride a bicycle.

Welcome to Bizarro World. Bicyclists in Seville, Spain are fighting bike lanes, but welcome sharrows.

A Romanian minister promises any new roads built in the country will now have bike lanes, and existing roads will be made bike friendly.

 

Finally…

Before the crash, a mountain biker; afterwards, a competitive beard champion. A shirtless, feuding Rhode Island man opens fire on his neighbor’s house with a corncob-shooting potato gun, nearly taking out a girl on a bicycle in the process.

And if you’re riding your bike under the influence while carrying a machete, maybe you shouldn’t give police permission to go into your home, where the marijuana plants are, to get the ID you forgot to bring with you.

I’m just saying.

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Barring any breaking news, BikinginLA will be taking the rest of the holiday weekend off. So enjoy the weekend, ride your bike, spend time with family and friends, and try to remember this is the one holiday established to honor America’s much maligned working men and women.

And stay safe out there. We’ll see you back here bright and early Tuesday morning.

Morning Links: One year for killing OC cyclist, new video of LAPD beating bike rider, and bike hating sportswriters

We have way too much news for one day. So grab yourself a cuppa Joe and buckle in, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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Just one year for the hit-and-run death of a Laguna Beach bicyclist.

Twenty-one-year old Dylan Thomas Rand-Luby plead guilty Monday to one count of felony hit-and-run with injury and one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of John Colvin over two years ago.

Sure, you could call death an injury.

Rand-Luby swerved his car out of his lane and into the bike lane where Colvin was riding, striking him from behind, then continued on for another mile with a windshield too shattered to see through before finally pulling over.

He had faced up to four years in prison, but accepted a plea deal calling for just one year behind bars, with three years formal probation upon his release.

You can read the OC District Attorney’s full press release here, including the very moving impact statements from Colvin’s family.

Thanks to Edward M. Rubinstein for the heads-up.

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The LA Times released security camera video of the beating of South LA bike rider Clinton Alford, Jr. by an LAPD officer following a brief chase on bike and foot.

Yet despite what you see, the LA District Attorney’s office inexplicably let the officer who kicked Alford in the head, beat him for several seconds, then kneeled heavily on his back for a couple minutes — even though Alford was in handcuffs and laying face down on the street the whole time — off with community service and a $500 fine.

And he could have his felony conviction changed to a misdemeanor once he completes the terms of his plea deal.

This is the third time DA Jackie Lacey has let a cop off with a slap on the wrist — or less — in a case involving a bike rider, following her refusal to charge the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, and the three Gardena cops who fatally shot the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim.

Clearly, the DA has someone’s back.

But it’s not ours.

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Where to even begin with this one?

The online bike world blew up over the weekend when not one, not two, but three sportswriters felt a need to display their ignorance, anti-bike bias or just plan willingness to risk the lives and safety of those on two wheels.

Starting with a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King showing his co-worker driving in the bike lane in order to get to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium for an interview. A move that did not sit well with a number of people, including the San Diego Police Department.

Properly chastised, King apologized on Monday. Although generally, if someone is truly repentant, they don’t bury the apology at the bottom on an exceptionally long column.

Then there’s Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who felt compelled to chime in, saying it’s hard not to drive in a bike lane down there since it’s all they have, claiming there’s 10,000 miles of bike lanes for just ten bicyclists.

Never mind that San Diego ranks third nationally for bike commuting among cities over one million population.

This is what San Diegan Frank Lehnerz had to say in an email to Canepa’s colleagues at the U-T.

No, it’s not okay to violate CVC 21209 as Mr. King bragged on social media last weekend. There are plenty of normal traffic lanes for motorists to use. Bike lanes are far from “all we have.” Nearly every mile of freeway in the city prohibits cyclists and the infrastructure is only usable to only the most competent and attentive cyclists.  If your colleague can’t learn, respect, and follow the laws, he should do the public a favor and surrender his driving license. In addition to the few dangerous drivers, bicyclists here in San Diego have to deal with potholes, train tracks, cracks, non-functioning signals, and bikes lanes which end all the sudden at intersections and where roads cross over freeways. Personally I’ve dealt with several close calls of people driving motor vehicle swerving into the bike lane in order to pass stopped traffic or get a head start on making a right hand turn. These drivers often do this with no turn signal or with a cell phone in hand. It’s not a joke when a cyclist is struck and injured or killed. In some cases it’s a hit and run, in others the cyclists is either dead or unable to recall the actions and thus his or her side of the story is never told.

Motorists should not be in the bicycle lanes unless it’s for one of the exemptions given under CVC 21209 and after they’ve ensured the lane is clear of cyclists.

And last, and certainly least, there’s former footballer and current NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, who may have absorbed one hit too many before hanging up the cleats.

Because it was Evans who took it a step further by expressing his desire to run down people on bikes, apparently because he was briefly delayed by a couple cyclists in Venice.

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Funny how no one ever says they want to kill motorists because they were stuck on the 405 for hours, but a few seconds behind someone on a bike is enough to bring out murderous rage.

Like King, but apparently, not Canepa, Evans apologized after debating the matter with rightfully enraged members of the Twitterati, even as he expressed bewilderment that bikes don’t actually belong on the sidewalk.

It’s worth a few minutes out of your day to read what Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has to say on the subject. And even New York’s famed Bike Snob couldn’t resist adding his two cents to the West Coast blow-up.

Because, as ignorant as these comments and actions were, these are the people we share the streets with.

And as much as we might like to think they’re extreme examples, the attitudes they express are a lot more common than any of us would like to believe.

Thanks to Cuong T. for the tip.

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Good luck to Mark Friis, formerly the Executive Director of the Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance.

Friis recently stepped down from his position, and yesterday the reason became clear. He’s about to embark on an around-the-world bike tour.

You can follow his journey on his new website. And contribute to his efforts online, if you’re so inclined.

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Still more kindhearted people.

Pomona police dig into their own pockets replace the bike a 12-year old boy was rebuilding after it was stolen; it only took 20 minutes for eight cops to step up after the call went out looking for officers willing to pitch in.

Clovis police recovered a boy’s stolen bicycle after it had been dismantled, so they rebuilt it themselves before returning it to him.

Bighearted volunteers in Calgary are refurbishing donated bicycles to provide reliable transportation for Syrian refugees.

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Local

CiclaValley takes a late night ride with Walk Bike Burbank’s Midnight Ramble.

Pasadena is taking steps to become more bike friendly in the next 10 to 15 years — apparently not five as the headline suggests — by conducting road diets and installing buffered and protected bike lanes.

Damien Newton’s latest podcast talks with Claremont Mayor Sam Pedroza and Jose Jimenez, Education Director for Bike SGV.

 

State

Cyclelicious says thank you, but he did not coin the term Idaho Stop, although he was among the first to popularize it.

San Diego’s CicloSDias open streets event returns on October 30th after a two year hiatus. Meanwhile, San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood will get a new bike co-op, including a weekly bike valet.

The San Diego Union-Tribune looks at the state of protected bike lanes in the US, and around the world.

Sunday marks the ninth annual Bike the Bay in San Diego, offering riders a once-a-year opportunity to ride across the arching San Diego – Coronado Bridge. Although you’ll find yourself among the bizarrely anti-bike Coronado denizens once you get to the other side.

A law firm is offering a $25,000 reward for information in the hit-and-run death of Moreno Valley resident Duane Darling as he rode his bike in Mead Valley last month.

The Redlands cycling community mourns Randy Stephenson, who was killed by a driver fleeing sheriff’s deputies in Loma Linda last week; the long-time member of the Redlands Water Bottle Transit Co bike club had just left Don’s Bike Shop in Redlands when he was run down.

 

National

The Bike League looks at how cycling can help solve global warming.

A Chicago website reports on the booming, spandex-free underground bike scene that roams the city every Monday night.

Eleven cities in the US and Canada are now using the sonar system developed by the Chattanooga Police Department to measure whether drivers give bicyclists the three-foot passing distance required by law. Sadly, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

The New Yorker looks at the challenges of transforming the Motor City into a bike making center.

A Rochester NY minister is offering a $1,000 reward for his stunt BMX bicycle that apparently fell off his car on the way back to his church — after using it to jump over a helicopter into a burning wall.

New York needs a better system for removing abandoned bicycles clogging up the city’s bike parking.

Tragic irony, as a Florida man who served time for killing a man in a road rage incident was himself the victim of a road raging driver.

 

International

Bike Radar says the formula for how many bikes you need is N+1 = CX, offering five reasons why your next bike should be a cross bike.

New cars should be able to see you by 2018, even if their drivers don’t.

A Columbian startup is rewarding riders in Bogotá and Mexico City with points for each kilometer they ride, which can be exchanged for discounts at participating merchants; they will expand into Vancouver next.

A Toronto sportswriter tries riding the new Rio bikeways without luck, including the rebuilt cliff-side trail that collapsed earlier this year, killing two people.

Winnipeg bike riders are advised to use two locks when they lock up, as bike thefts jump nearly 75%.

A Brit bike rider claims to have set a new world record for the longest distance traveled on a bikeshare bike in a single hour, at just over 20 miles.

A British woman wants signs posted in a park warning pedestrians about bikes after she was knocked down by a bike rider. Seriously, anytime there are pedestrians around, slow the hell down.

Apparently not satisfied with winning most of the cycling medals in the Rio Olympics, British Cycling looks to build on its success.

 

Finally…

Everything you need to know about getting back on your bike after a vasectomy. No, those aren’t bike shorts.

And if you’re going to use an axe to try to hack through a bike lock in broad daylight, try not to whack the bike.

 

Morning Links: A bike hate blast from the past, take your baby skid lid back, and ready answers to bike myths

Thanks to a couple of new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition yesterday, we’re now up to 21 people who’ve joined in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just three more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make it 24 new members by May 24th.

As you’ll see below, the bike coalition is active in getting political candidates on the record for their support for bicycling, as well as getting you discounts at businesses throughout the county. And if you sign up through this site, you’ll get some great bike gear to wear when you vote or chow down.

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Clearly, bike haters are nothing new.

My Altadena-based friend Tim Rutt sends proof in the form of a 1987 column by political satirist P.J. O’Rourke, in which he calls for an examination of “the actions necessary to license, regulate or abolish entirely” the bicycle menace.

Our nation is afflicted with a plague of bicycles. Everywhere the public right-of-way is glutted with whirring, unbalanced contraptions of rubber, wire, and cheap steel pipe. Riders of these flimsy appliances pay no heed to stop signs or red lights. They dart from between parked cars, dash along double yellow lines, and whiz through crosswalks right over the toes of law-abiding citizens like me.

In the cities, every lamppost, tree, and street sign is disfigured by a bicycle slathered in chains and locks. And elevators must be shared with the cycling faddist so attached to his “moron’s bath-chair” that he has to take it with him everywhere he goes.

On the other hand, his skills at prognostication leave something to be desired.

Bicycles are quiet and slight, difficult for normal motorized humans to see and hear. People pull out in front of bicycles, open car doors in their path, and drive through intersections filled with the things. The insubstantial bicycle and its unshielded rider are defenseless against these actions. It’s a simple matter of natural selection. The bicycle will be extinct within the decade. And what a relief that will be.

Actually, we’re still here.

So deal with it, P.J.

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If you bought your baby’s Schwinn bike helmet at Target, take it back; the infant helmets have been recalled due to a choking hazard. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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A new British bike website provides instant answers to refute any bicycling myth bike haters and NIMBYs can throw at you.

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The New York Times looks at the movement to call collisions crashes instead of accidents. But doesn’t promise to make the change themselves.

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VeloNews asks if Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk can hold onto the pink leaders jersey in the Giro d’Italia.

The financial fallout from pro cycling’s doping scandals continue, as another team will fold at the end of this year for lack of sponsorship.

Who says the men’s pro tour is too tough for women? A Ukrainian woman will team with a group of 13 other riders to take on every stage of the Tour de France one day before the men get there.

CiclaValley looks at the fun side of last week’s Amgen Tour of California.

A comment from tdf65 suggests we should continue to link to stories about bike races here, but withhold the actual results, since some people record the races and don’t get to view them until later. However, I’ve always assumed it was safe to mention winners and losers, since the daily nature of this site means we’re at least a day behind the race’s finish.

But what do you think? Are we spoiling the fun by saying who won, or do you want to know now?

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Local

The Expo Line may be convenient, but it still doesn’t beat a bike from Downtown to the beach.

The LACBC posts a response to their candidate survey from County Supervisor District 4 candidate Janice Hahn, who promises to follow through with the county Bicycle Master Plan.

The LACBC also talks with the bike-friendly owner of Uli’s Gelateria in DTLA, who offers a discount for members of the bike coalition. Just one more reason to click that link above and sign up today.

CicLAvia posts a great collection of photos from the recent Southeast Cities CicLAvia. Which only makes me more disappointed that I had to miss it with a bad back.

Los Angeles Magazine looks at plans for Metro’s coming bikeshare program in DTLA, as well as a system — not a network, since there are no east/west routes currently planned — of protected bike lanes.

A Pasadena group considers the possibilities if Caltrans would kill the unneeded and unwanted extension of the 710 freeway, and build a sequel to the city’s popular Old Town instead. Maybe we could even see bikes running through there instead of semi-trucks.

 

State

The San Diego cyclist paralyzed in a drug-fueled wrong way collision is suing the city for maintaining dangerous conditions on Fiesta Island where the wreck occurred.

A San Diego letter writer suggests drivers are entitled to be rude to bike riders because we’re all scofflaws and cyclists are just a middle-class affectation. No, really.

Damien Newton’s latest podcast talks with Dave Campbell of Bike East Bay, sponsors of what may be the “biggest, baddest Bike to Work Day in the world.” Newton also offers advice on how to make a Livable Streets presentation to little kids.

The Sunnyvale actor accused of nearly killing a Berkeley bike rider while high on weed finally turns himself in to face charges.

 

National

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sees a gradual shift away from car culture. Which can’t come non-gradually enough.

Seven tips for how to teach a child to ride a bike. All of which work for adults, as well.

A Cincinnati councilmember says a parking protected bike lane can stay, but needs improvements to avoid the city’s easily confused motorists.

If you drop something on the railroad tracks with a train coming, just leave it there for crying out loud. Seriously, nothing you own is worth dying for. Things can be replaced, lives can’t.

Sixteen-hundred Buffalo bike riders take a leisurely slow roll around the city to support a plan for 300 new bike lanes in the next ten years.

A New York letter writer shows just how much she doesn’t get it, insisting that bike lanes don’t help pedestrians and that Queens Blvd was not intended to be a playground. Because obviously, no one ever rides a bike to actually get anywhere or anything. And bike lanes really do slow traffic and improve safety for everyone, while providing a cushion to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles.

Call it the not-quite naked Pittsburgh bike ride.

Philadelphia will host a national conference next month on how to improve equity in bikeshare systems.

A DC website says if you’re crushing on a fellow bike commuter, try crashing into ‘em. Or just, you know, talk to him or her.

NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson is one of us, finishing a 103 mile South Carolina ride with a 10,000 foot elevation gain in just over six hours.

A Mississippi bike camp helps children with disabilities learn how to ride a bike.

A bighearted stranger insists on buying a Florida boy a new bike his parents couldn’t afford, after learning the child was recovering from heart surgery.

 

International

Fashion designer Paul Smith is one of us as well, as a new book features his extensive collection of classic cycling jerseys.

Nothing like finding a secret Canadian cycle track hidden in plain sight on the roadway.

A London cyclist has started an online gallery of no- and lo-viz bike riders to capture the archetypical inner city road user.

Brit cyclist Chris Boardman says the country needs to invest more than the price of a cup of coffee to boost bicycling in the county.

A group of friends are riding over 1,500 miles from Brighton, England to Lagos, Portugal to honor a popular 21-year old British surfer who drowned riding the waves in Bali.

Maybe you should take your next family bike vacation in the Netherlands. And bring me with you.

A writer says if you plan to ride your bike in Zagreb, Croatia, bring five locks and a security guard if you’re going to leave it outside. Sounds a lot like LA, too.

Caught on video: Adventure cyclist Rebecca Rusch rides and climbs 19,341-foot-tall Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief.

A Kiwi man gets just 13 months for a drunken attack on two separate bicyclists, despite a whopping 118 previous convictions; he claimed he punched them repeatedly because he was fighting off wasps.

An Aussie Roads Minister says a high number of bicycling tickets proves bike riders aren’t doing the right thing, while only four tickets for unsafe passing means drivers are. On the other hand, it could just show that police are targeting people on two wheels and ignoring more dangerous violations by the ones on four.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be solar powered, if you don’t mind riding with a couple of massive solar cookie sheets attached. No matter how close a driver cuts you off, don’t follow him home and stab his spare tire to death.

And if you successfully escape from a halfway house by bicycle, just keep going next time.

 

Weekend Links: More on the ongoing Camp Pendleton saga, and the most asinine anti-bike bill yet

In the ongoing story of the pending Camp Pendleton restrictions on bicycle access, attorney Edward M. Rubinstein forwards this email from the Marines Public Relations Office.

Update: Cycling Through Camp Pendleton

Currently cyclists are permitted to ride through Camp Pendleton, going to and from Oceanside, upon presenting proper IDs. This is about to change. The new policy as presented by the Camp’s Public Affairs Office follows:

Camp Pendleton wanted to give you an update on our visitor access policy. We value the great relationship we have with the area cycling community and wanted to develop a process allowing bicyclists’ continued access to Camp Pendleton.  By March 1, bicyclists will be required to register in order to have access to the base.  An online process will be complete mid-February and base access will be good for one year.  Bicyclists will need to re-register every year.  Until the registration process is finalized, bicyclists will still be able to enter the base with their U.S. or State government issued identification card just like now.  After March 1, all bicyclists will need to be registered and show their U.S. or State identification when entering the base.  Once the registration process is up and running in a few weeks, we will share the link.  Our goal is to maintain a great relationship with area riders but also balance that with security and protection for our Marines, Sailors, civilian employees and families.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

………

Speaking of Pendleton, Alan Thompson sends the following notice from the Orange County Transportation Authority, aka OCTA.

Temporary Bikeway Closure: January 25 – 29

Due to military operations, the US Marine Corps plans a temporary closure of bikeway access through Camp Pendleton between Las Pulgas Road and Basilone Road for construction on Interstate 5.

Please call the Caltrans shuttle at (619) 385-3267 for transfers during the closure.

Click here to download a PDF version of the map.

bikeway_closure_cp

………

Congratulations to South Dakota for proposing the most asinine anti-bike bill yet.

The legislation would require bicyclists to dismount and move off the road to allow faster vehicles to pass if they’re riding in a no-passing zone without an adequate shoulder.

So does that mean that other slow moving vehicles would have to do the same? Can we now expect farmers to get off their tractors and push them off the roadway so speeding cars and trucks can zoom on by?

Looks like some SD legislators need to find a new line of work.

………

On a personal note, it’s now Me 2, Skin Cancer 0.

I’m rehabbing from my second skin cancer surgery, on my calf this time, a product of years of riding back in the days when the sun was supposed to be good for you, and sunscreen was something you hung over the window for more shade.

So let this be a painful reminder to slather it on before you head out for a ride.

………

Local

Streetsblog asks if you would vote for Metro’s proposed sales tax increase to fund transportation projects if it doesn’t contain dedicated funding for bicycling and pedestrian projects. We fought for dedicated funding in Measure R, and lost; I won’t support another one without a significant set aside for active transportation.

A report from KPCC says you can ride in the rain if you plan ahead. And it can even be fun, if a tad damp.

The LACBC is looking for a new Development Director.

If you hurry, you may still have time to catch bike-friendly LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s bike ride in the San Fernando Valley if it doesn’t rain this morning; CiclaValley may or may not be there.

A community workshop will be held later today to discuss the Inglewood Active Transportation Plan at the Inglewood City Hall Community Room.

Mark your calendar for the first ever Los Angeles Bicycle Festival on May 7th; Momentum Magazine calls the $10 in advance festival a “two-wheeled Bicycle Disneyland.”

 

State

San Diego Magazine cites the city’s move away from auto-dependency — including bikeshare, a bike-riding mayor and a $200 million bike plan — as just one reason to love the city.

More madness from Coronado, as the mayor suggests 1960s street planning as a solution to a dangerous street, apparently because he’s afraid of proliferating traffic signals.

Sad news from Porterville, as a bike rider was killed trying to illegally cross a four lane divided highway. Note to Porterville: if people are getting killed trying to cross there instead of the overpass a quarter mile away, maybe your crossing is in the wrong place.

A 79-year old San Jose man has been charged with murder in the hit-and-run death of a cyclist; he allegedly knew the man he hit with his truck, then intentionally backed over again before fleeing the scene.

A Bay Area broadcaster looks at bicyclists behaving badly by rolling stops in spite of the mayor’s veto of the Idaho stop law. Maybe he should take a look at how few drivers actually come to a stop in my neighborhood.

Nothing like living in a tourist town like Sausalito and then complaining about all the tourists, including those on bikes.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to use pepper spray to defend yourself while riding your bike. And says you’re probably overinflating your tires, especially the front one.

People for Bikes provides a sneak peak at NACTO’s new transit guide that shows how protected bike lanes can work in conjunction with transit projects.

A Seattle driver rants about the cyclist who spit on her windshield — apparently unprovoked, of course — after rudely riding in the middle of the lane. Something tells me there’s another side to that story. But please, keep your phlegm to yourself.

Evidently, bikes break down a lot in Idaho, as residents of the state Google the term “bike repair” more than any other state, while Massachusetts Googles “bike courier.” On the other hand, California Googles “lion tamer” for reasons that escape me.

Boulder County CO hosts a Winter Bike Week next week. Funny how a cold weather county encourages winter time riding, and a warm weather one like LA doesn’t.

Texas Ranger pitcher and Bakersfield resident Colby Lewis is now 25 pounds lighter after taking up bicycling to rehab his surgically repaired knee.

Bicycling looks at what New York got right with Vision Zero, and how it can be improved.

 

International

Rampaging bikers tear up a town, just like in the Wild One. Except in Canada. And on bicycles. In 1897. Hey Johnnie, what are you rebelling against?

Life is cheap in Ontario — no, the one in Canada — where a hit-and-run driver got just nine months for the death of a cyclist; even the judge apologized for the light sentence.

When is a Toronto bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s also a parking lane.

London’s Brothers on Bikes program works to get mostly male members of minority groups out on bikes.

A UK driver keeps going after knocking a cyclist off his bike, but it’s the victim who faces charges after catching up to the car and smashing the passenger window with his U-lock when the driver refused to give his insurance information. I’ve said it before — just take down the license number and let the police deal with it; retaliating only gets you in trouble.

Botswana bicyclists demand protection from the country’s dangerous roads and the drivers on them.

There’s a new women’s hour record holder, as Australia’s Birdie O’Donnell rides 46.882 km — 29.131 miles — in one hour.

 

Finally…

When you’re already high and riding your bike with meth, morphine and dope in your backpack, put a damn light on it. You can’t escape windshield bias, even in trust planning.

And it looks like my new riding kit is being recalled.

 

Morning Links: Ask for your $1,100 road rebate, and SGV Bicycle Education Center officially opens

The next time someone says bicyclists need to pay their share of the road, ask them to give you $1,100 instead.

That’s the amount a new report says every household pays to subsidize car ownership, whether or not they drive.

Which means, instead of not paying our share, bike riders are dramatically overpaying. Especially those who don’t own cars.

………

Bike advocacy group Bike SGV officially opened the new San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Education Center on Sunday.

Plans are for the center to offer classes for bike riders of all levels, along with bicycle repair courses.

They also intend to go beyond education by offering bike repairs and rentals of donated bicycles. Along with serving as a central point for bike advocacy in the San Gabriel Valley.

The SGVBEC is open Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm inside El Monte’s Jeff Seymour Family Center, 10900 Mulhall St.

………

A paddle out was held Sunday for Logan Lipton, the 12-year old Oceanside surfer killed in a collision while riding his bike to school on Thursday.

………

In a heartbreaking piece, the tragic and needless death of a local rider makes a Pittsburgh woman examine her own mortality, and the real-world costs of our dangerous streets.

Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

………

Local

A Vancouver website looks at six ways LA is looking beyond the automobile.

A Long Beach cyclist is finishing a seven-month, 3,000-mile trip to the other Long Beach in New York to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.

 

State

The Victorville city council agrees to cover a $274,000 shortfall to construct a key connector in a proposed regional bike path network.

Oxnard police will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety operation Monday afternoon. Someone should tell them that bicyclists aren’t required to wear helmets unless they’re under 18, though.

Police decide a Milpitas high school student was somehow at fault for a minor collision, even though he was in a crosswalk and the driver admitted he didn’t see him.

The US Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis is preparing to induct its newest class of honorees next month.

A San Francisco writer insists on pitting Millennials against Baby Boomers, saying the city does not consider the needs of older people, and that it’s hard to ride a bike safely when you get older. Even though countless older people do exactly that every day, and if they can’t manage to pedal uphill, an e-bike provides an effective alternative.

 

National

A Portland bike rider finds a hit-and-run driver who injured another cyclist. This is why police need to release information even on hit-and-runs that don’t qualify for a Yellow Alert; we have a lot more eyes on the street than they do.

Casper WY responded to the death of a bicyclist by creating a new bike master plan calling for over 100 miles of street improvements; the city’s first road diet, with bike lanes on either side, opens this week.

More bighearted people, as community members pitch in to replace a bike stolen from an Ohio special needs girl.

A writer for the Nashville paper takes a six-day, 150-mile bike tour through the Great Allegany Passage.

Negotiations have hung up on acquiring a railroad right-of-way that will be part of a Maine to Massachusetts bikeway, eventually lead to a coastal pathway stretching from Maine to the Florida Keys.

A man was critically injured in a collision with a bike rider on the University of Delaware campus. Ride carefully around pedestrians; they’re the only one more vulnerable on the streets than we are, and less predictable.

 

International

Bikes are making a comeback on the crowded streets of Central America. So is bike-friendly former Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa, who was re-elected to the post after 14 years in the politcal wilderness.

The CBC investigates whether cyclists should be required to have licenses. Must have touched a nerve; at last count, there were over 450 comments in less than 24 hours. Although being Canadian, many were excruciatingly polite.

Once again, cyclists are heroes, as an Ottawa man jumps into a river to save the life of an 83-year old man who had fallen in.

Caught on video: A British bike rider captures a helmet-cam view as he’s hit by a right-turning car. Although rather than slowing down as he approaches the intersection, he forces a couple of jaywalking pedestrians to run out of his way. And he probably wouldn’t have been hit by the car if he had waited for them to cross.

A 71-year old English woman has died after going over her handlebars in a collision with another cyclist while riding on a bike path. Another tragic reminder that bike paths can be dangerous places, even if there aren’t any cars.

Dutch racer Theo Bos expresses his gratitude to the United Arab Emirates woman who not only paid for his medication after a fall, but drove him back to his hotel, and stopped at a restaurant to buy him food on the way; she said any Emirati woman would do the same.

A new video from Australia’s Tasmania state puts the1.5 meter passing distance — the equivalent of a five-foot passing law — into perspective.

A new one meter, or three foot, passing law goes into effect in South Australia, so police naturally warn cyclists instead of drivers. Meanwhile, an Aussie rider tests it out and gives drivers a passing grade.

A Kiwi writer says do like the Dutch and get on your bike, even if it could be safer.

A 28-year old man is riding across India to spread a message of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation.

An elderly Chinese man publicly beats and humiliates a bike-riding boy who accidentally ran into him on his way to school.

 

Finally…

Palm Spring seems shocked to see local homeowner Leonardo DiCaprio riding a bike around the city. Probably not the best idea to post a photo of yourself flipping off the cops while standing over a stolen police bike on your Facebook page.

And why bother riding your bike when you can use it to clean up before bed?

 

Morning Links: San Diego police blame bike mob; unconfirmed report of bicycling fatality on PCH in Malibu

No bias here.

Not from the press. And certainly not from the San Diego Police Department.

According to San Diego’s ABC 10 News, a female driver called 911 to report a “mob” of nine or ten bicyclists had chased her down and smashed her car window.

It must have seemed frightening to the people huddled at home watching the broadcast.

But the real story is hidden in the details.

The bike riders were using the sharrows in the city’s Normal Heights neighborhood when the driver came up behind them and began harassing them by honking nonstop, which is a violation of California law. Even though they were exactly where they were supposed to be.

She then broke the law again by passing too close, striking one of the bikes; fortunately, the rider was able to jump off just in time to avoid serious injury.

The riders then chased down the hit-and-run driver as she dragged the bike for several blocks, banging on her window in an attempt to get her attention and keep her from fleeing the scene.

Pedestrians and other motorists are often called heroes when they stop a fleeing driver under similar circumstances.

Instead, these riders were portrayed as a crazed mob, and threatened with prosecution on vandalism charges for punching and kicking the car.

So it’s okay for the driver to mangle a bike after running down the rider. But not for riders to break a window, apparently inadvertently, in an effort to make her stop.

Got it.

Police refused to even ticket, let alone arrest, the woman, despite obvious violations for

  1. harassing the cyclists
  2. breaking state law governing the use of a horn
  3. violating the three-foot passing law
  4. destruction of property
  5. failing to stop and exchange information following a collision

And yet somehow, she’s portrayed as the victim, with the people on bikes her attackers.

It’s sadly reminiscent of a case that marked the first stirrings of the bicycle rights movement here in Los Angeles.

Andres Tena was riding with a group of friends in the spring of 2009 when they were confronted by an impatient Hummer driver, who attempted to flee the scene after striking Tena’s bike and injuring him enough to require hospitalization. The other riders chased the driver down and blocked his way; in response, they were threatened with an unseen gun before the driver ran over their bikes in an effort to escape.

When police arrived, they somehow concluded that Tena had crashed into the side of the Hummer — which would have required backing into it at a high rate of speed, since he was thrown forward by the impact and suffered significant damage to the rear of his bike.

And that the driver was justified in attempting to flee, because he was frightened by all those scary bike riders, despite being safely ensconced within his multi-ton urban assault vehicle.

The cop on the scene took it a step further, saying if the cyclists had surrounded him like that, he would have done the same thing the Hummer driver did.

In fact, the only criminal prosecution that was even contemplated was a misdemeanor charge against a cyclist for “throwing his bike at the Hummer.”

Funny how some things never change.

It took years of sometimes difficult negotiations, but now LA’s bicycling community has a much better relationship with the LAPD than we did back in the dark days of just six short years ago.

But clearly, San Diego police haven’t gotten the memo.

And as this case clearly shows, they have a long way to go before cyclists can feel like they have the same support from law enforcement that drivers have come to expect, and are considered equal road users rather than two-wheeled pirates.

None of us are safe on the streets if we can’t count on the police to be there when we need them. And to do it fairly, without an obvious — and repugnant — windshield bias.

According to a tweet from BikeSD, they’re working with the San Diego Bicycle Coalition to arrange legal representation for the bike riders.

They may need it.

And sadly, the angry hit-and-run driver who started it all won’t.

………

The publisher of the Malibu Times mentioned Tuesday that a bike rider had been killed on PCH near Busch Drive, but didn’t have any details.

However, the report cannot be confirmed at this time.

There have been no other reports in the press, and repeated web searches have turned up empty. And there has been no response yet to a request for information from the CHP.

Meanwhile, he goes on to criticize cyclists for riding with inadequate lighting on their bikes. While he has a point, it is irresponsible to bring it up in response to the unconfirmed report of the bicycling fatality without knowing if a lack of lights had anything to do with it.

Or if it even happened.

It’s no better than if someone went off on a rant against speeding, texting drivers after hearing about a traffic collision without knowing if those were contributing factors in the wreck.

Yes, we should all ensure that we are visible to those we share the road with, especially after dark or in the late dusk or early morning hours when it can be most difficult to see.

But it’s wrong to imply, intentionally or not, that it may have had anything to do with a wreck that can’t even be confirmed.

………

I don’t even know what to think about this.

TMZ reports the DA’s office is unlikely to file charges against Caitlyn Jenner for a fatal collision on PCH last February, since they wouldn’t even file charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin while using his onboard computer.

………

Just like anyone else, Alejandro Valverde used Google to plan his route to victory in stage four of the Vuelta.

And after the Feds drop fraud charges against the other disgraced former Tour de France champ, Floyd Landis — remember him? — still has to repay nearly half a million dollars to the 1,700 people who donated to his defense fund when he was still pretending he hadn’t doped.

………

Local

A Texas study says LA has the second worst traffic in the US, costing commuters 80 hours a year lost to traffic delays. To which bike commuters respond, “So?”.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks Vision Zero with LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds in the latest #DamienTalks podcast.

For those who read español, a nice profile of Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club; Morales saved his own life by losing 250 pounds riding a bike, and now works to spread the gospel of bikes and health to others. For those who don’t, Google Translate offers a passable translation.

 

State

Congratulations to the newly announced Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Southern California, including Santa Monica ad agency Ruben Postaer and Assoc, Giant Santa Monica bike shop, and the San Diego Association of Governments.

San Diego police bust a bike-riding bank robber. Or maybe they just assume everyone on a bike is a criminal.

Apparently, not everyone in Coronado opposes a bike path along the beach. Nice to see a rational, non-NIMBY response for a change.

The El Cerrito Planning Commission approves an Active Transportation Plan, including bike boulevards, traffic calming on narrow streets and a bike route providing access to the Bay Trail surrounding the San Francisco Bay.

 

National

Bicycling offers tips on how to avoid helmet hair, as well as advice on meditating to get more out of bicycling. Meditation will also improve your health. And life. Trust me.

A Utah man is ordered to pay a whopping $8,000 restitution for intentionally running down a man on a bike over a property dispute. Twice.

Turns out that despite vocal opposition, 57% of Boulder CO residents support the right-sizing of a city street to make room for protected bike lanes; bike traffic is up 38% in just the first three weeks, while average vehicle speeds have dropped from 39 mph to 37 mph — in a 30 mph zone.

Colorado transportation officials plan to improve bicycle safety on a major street by turning it into a high speed virtual freeway and forcing bikes off it. Memo to Colorado DOT: The auto-centric ‘70s are over.

In a bizarre assault, a Boise man who was driving erratically shouted at a bike rider at an intersection, then made a U-turn, drove up on the sidewalk and punched the rider in the face before driving over his bicycle.

A Wisconsin driver faces charges for running over a bike and a child’s bicycle attachment following a dispute after passing a father and his two kids too closely; the driver claims the father threw his $2,000 bike in front of the truck’s wheels. Sure, that’s credible.

No bias here, either. Two people were killed and eleven injured in seven separate Chicago shootings, yet the headline only mentions the one involving a bike.

It’s bicycle back to school time. Indiana’s Purdue university opens its own bikeshare system, while the University of Florida is offering to rent students a bike, helmet and lock.

Pittsburgh’s transit system will open its third bike garage, which will hold up to 80 bikes on pneumatic, spring-loaded double-decker racks.

Over 800 Philadelphia bike riders are planning to participate in a PopeRide when the city’s downtown streets will be shut down for the papal visit.

A Staten Island website questions whether bikes, recreational or otherwise, should ply the island’s narrow colonial-era streets. Never mind that bikes are better suited for narrow streets than cars and SUVs, or that they could provide an alternative to heavy traffic.

The mayor of an Alabama town lost his bid for a fifth term two weeks after he was bopped in the head with a baseball bat for schtupping the wife of a bike riding attorney.

 

International

A Quebec cop is charged with killing a bike rider last September; he faces charges of reckless driving and criminal negligence, even though witnesses say he backed into the victim’s bike on purpose.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 90-year old British man still rides every day on the 1939 Triumph bicycle he got for his 14th birthday.

People get killed or injured by being passed too close, and some post video of those dangerous passes online. Evidently, a group of British filmmakers who posted a YouTube style parody online think that’s funny.

Caught on video: A Brit bike thief makes off with a bicycle in less than a minute after casually joking with the staff at a gym, where the owner had gone in to take a shower.

A writer from the UK says she belongs on the road as much as any man, and despite the harassment she faces, the freedom of bicycling more than makes up for it. All cyclists are subject to harassment, but the added sexual component woman face is one of the factors that helps keep bicycling a predominately male form of transportation.

The Smithsonian recommends touring Kaohsiung City, Taiwan by bike, calling it one of Asia’s best cycling cities, with a world-class bikeshare program.

 

Finally…

Painting eyes over a bike rack helps prevent thefts, although the thieves just seem to go somewhere else. If you’re going to “borrow” a bike to get to work, make sure it’s not a cop’s patrol bike first.

And a Baltimore writer finishes dead last on what the Smithsonian calls the world’s “most difficult feat in uphill cycling.” But he finished.

Then again, they probably never heard of LA’s own Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer.

 

Juries, Judges and Your Bike Crash

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP 

Jury box

This may well be the most controversial blog post I’ll ever write. It’s likely that many of you are going to hate reading this. Some of you will tell me that what I say here isn’t fair and that I’m blaming the victim.

Be assured, I’ve represented many bicycle riders in bike crashes and I know as well or better than anyone how the system is stacked against them. As to fairness, well, it isn’t fair that I don’t have the same head of hair that I had as a younger man either, but that’s the way it is.

What I’m going to tell you is the hard truth. It’s not fair, but it IS an undeniable, regrettable fact: many people have strong, negative feelings about cyclists. If you are in a bike crash and it goes to trial, the judge and/or jurors will probably not be cyclists.

Though the people on your jury and the judge presiding over your trial have probably encountered hundreds – if not thousands – of law-abiding bicyclists, those aren’t who they remember. They remember the helmetless cyclist who cut them off or rode through a red light and saluted them with a middle finger as they blew by. It’s always that “one” ne’er-do-well who people remember.

The U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmark Report, commissioned by People for Bikes, reported that though the number of Americans ages 3+ who rode a bicycle last year is larger than had been previously thought, 30% of these cyclists rode 5 days or fewer in 2014.

The chance of getting a cyclist on your jury or a judge is probably even worse when you add the number of seniors who willingly sit on juries. (Think of that the next time you attempt to get out of jury duty or complain about being called for jury duty.)

The result is that the judge and jurors, more than likely, are going to be people who are biased against cyclists. When I am questioning potential jurors in a bicycle case, some of the most common comments I get from people are:

  • Bike riders ride recklessly, not stopping at red lights or stop signs.
  • Bike riders should ride on the sidewalk and stay out of traffic.
  • Bike riders ride too fast on the sidewalk.
  • Bike riders ride in car lanes, sometimes side-by-side or as a group, which interferes with traffic.
  • Roads are for cars, not bikes.

You know all this. If these things have never been said to your face, you’ve read them in comments on articles and posts on social media.

These are the people who are going to decide your legal case. Their inclination is going to be to blame YOU – the cyclist – for your own “accident.” Furthermore, insurance adjustors and defense attorneys know this, and they are going to cater to this bias.

It would be nice if more people understood the rules of the road. “Fair” doesn’t enter into the equation. In a trial, we have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt, and in most bike crash trials, it’s contending with the prejudice against our cyclist client.

To be successful in trial it is critical for your trial lawyer to understand how people perceive you. As a trial lawyer, I have numerous strategies I utilize to attempt either to overcome this bias or to focus the jurors on the person the cyclist is, not his/her activity. I want the juror to see the cyclist as a person who has more in common with the jurors than s/he has different. An experienced trial lawyer utilizes specific strategies in every part of the trial, from jury selection at the beginning of the trial to how jury instructions are crafted near the end of the trial, and everything in-between.

I believe we can change these preconceptions, but it isn’t easy, and it isn’t going to happen tomorrow, next month, or even next year.

As a cyclist – whether you ride for recreation or as a commuter – you can be part of the solution. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Join the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and your local bicycle advocacy organization. Even better, get involved. These people are on the frontline of change. At the very least, sign up for the LACBC’s e-newsletter (no membership required) and join these advocacy organizations’ Facebook pages. (And in a shameful plug, “friend” the FB Pocrass & De Los Reyes Bicycle Law page, too.)
  1. I suggested above that you join your local advocacy organization. Many of these are chapters of LACBC, all of them work together. Almost all cities have such organizations, including Claremont, Pomona, the Eastside, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Santa Clarita, and many more.
  1. Join the California Bicycle Coalition, our state-wide organization that is instrumental in lobbying for biking conditions and laws for California cyclists.
  1. Get involved with SAFE (Streets are for Everyone). The nonprofit advocates for changes in the law to make streets safe for bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, and everyone else.
  1. Know and follow the Rules of the Road. The LACBC has a wonderful wallet-sized brochure that explains what these are. They are available at every event attended by the LACBC. The organization also is offering FREE bicycle safety classes through the end of September throughout the Southland. Don’t be that one cyclist who will be burned into the brain of those who come in contact with him/her for his/her bad behavior.
  1. Cyclists over the age of 18 are not required by law to wear a helmet when they ride. We strongly urge you to wear one, regardless of your age. The obvious reason for wearing a helmet is that it very likely increases your chances of surviving or limiting brain injury should you crash. A less obvious reason is that not wearing one adds to the jurors’ and judge’s biases that you SHOULD HAVE BEEN wearing a helmet and if you had been wearing one, it would have protected you so your injuries “are your own fault.” (Don’t kill the messenger, please. I said I was going to talk reality here.)
  1. Think before you post on social media. Specifically, insurance companies and defense attorneys troll your social media accounts to see what can be used against you. What you write on social media will come back if you’re ever a plaintiff in a jury trial. Generally, furious posts filled with expletives (I understand the urge, believe me), reinforce non-cyclists’ attitudes about the “arrogance” of cyclists.
  1. Educate the non-cyclists you know. Back up your arguments with facts and statistics. Try to be calm and rational in the discussion, but the one-on-one discussions are the best way to change perceptions. Remember, no one goes out to kill someone with their car (okay, almost no one), but most drivers are angry because they’re scared. No one taught them how to share the road. No one taught them how to drive sharing the road with a cyclist. You can say that’s not your problem, but the truth is, it’s everybody’s problem.

Often when I read bikinginla.com and see the slap on the wrist so many drivers get for hitting cyclists, I am frustrated by the slowness of the process to eliminate cyclist bias. But it’s coming, and by working together, I believe we can make it happen.


 

Jim Pocrass Trimmed

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

For more than 30 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at info@pocrass.com or visit www.pocrass.com.

 

 

Morning Links: Busting on Beverly Hills and its San Diego soulmates, and a Chitown writer busts on bikes

Just too much to catch up on after yesterday’s breaking news.

So hold on to your handlebars, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

………

Looks like everyone is condemning Beverly Hills for their shortsighted, misguided and wrong-headed refusal to put bike lanes on the soon-to-be-rebuilt Santa Monica Blvd; even a realty website is getting in on the act.

And its a 70’s era traffic planning blast from the past from their like-minded contemporaries in Carlsbad, as the local Planning Commission says roads are for cars, and they’re tired of hearing about bikes. Thanks to The Editors for the heads-up.

………

Evidently desperate for click bait, a bike-hating Chicago writer calls people on bikes “reckless terrorists,” and “rude, vulgar and violently intimidating” “imbecile muff monkeys.” And says bicyclists should be forced to carry a special ID at all times, and face fines up to $1000 and a year in jail just for riding on the sidewalk.

No, really, that’s what he said.

………

VeloNews lists five winners and losers from the just completed Tour de France. And Bicycling finishes their long, long five-part story on who punched the great Eddy Merckx. Did I say it was long?

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Local

Hats off to Streetsblog guest writer Michael Fleming, who calls out Westside Councilmember Paul Koretz for his hypocritical support for fighting climate change while blocking bike lanes on Westwood Blvd.

The LACBC is hosting a feeder ride to the RevisitReseda Blvd celebration this Thursday.

Metro is holding a series of weekly contests asking people illustrate how you walk or bike instead.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Club is hosting a Bicycle Photo Scavenger Hunt next week.

 

State

Our old friend Rick Bernardi looks at the problem of cyclists getting buzzed by CHP officers, and cops who don’t know bike laws. Or care.

An El Cajon cyclist was seriously injured in a hit-and-run crash; police are looking for an older, grey 3-Series BMW.

A Las Vegas writer rides San Diego’s coastal North County.

A day after a Hollister boy was killed by a bus while riding his bike, local restaurants pitch in to raise funds for the victim’s family, and a Hollister councilwoman bemoans kids riding and skating without helmets — even though she has no idea if the victim was wearing one.

Evidently, getting dragged from your home and beaten by San Francisco police for the crime of biking on the sidewalk while black is only worth a $20,000 settlement.

San Francisco police ticket bike riders for squeezing past a several-block queue of backed-up cars on the left, even though there’s no valid alternative for it, and even though lane splitting is legal in California. In a brilliant move, cyclists plan to protest the police crackdown by riding legally en masse.

No bias here. A Bay Area website says a cyclist riding downhill was injured when he crashed into the windshield of a car.

A 61-year old Sacramento cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run.

A Chico man confronts bike thieves with his own vigilante bait bike program.

 

National

It’s the 30th anniversary of many people’s favorite bike movie. So here are 20 things you didn’t know about Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.

The National Law Review considers one of the burning questions of jurisprudence: How often should your bike helmet be replaced.

A Portland bike shop employee spots a stolen track bike, wrestles it from the thief and the thief into submission, all before the police arrive.

Caught on video: A Seattle bike rider captures the hit-and-run driver who left crossed him on his helmet cam; not only did the driver flee the scene, but he was caught looking at his phone as he turned. A Minnesota writer responds by questionng if a safe bike ride is too much to ask. Thanks to @BrianMScott for the heads-up.

A dump truck driver from my hometown faces a vehicular homicide charge for attempting to pass a bike rider despite a double yellow line, then cutting back because of oncoming traffic, trapping the victim under his truck.

Boulder CO says not so fast on right-sizing those streets to make room for separated bike lanes; they want to see how the first one works out first.

San Antonio TX wants more hikers and bikers, and less motor vehicle traffic. Well, who doesn’t? Aside from Beverly Hills and Carlsbad, of course.

A Chicago woman is suing another bike rider for causing a three-bike pileup on a bike path. Proof you’re not always safe even when you’re protected from cars.

Anyone can tell you how to keep from getting hurt on your bike; an Indiana TV station offers tips on avoiding injuries after a long bike ride.

An Albany NY website says a new protected bike lane is for all kinds of people, and that the city’s first one shouldn’t be the last. They’re preaching to the choir.

A New York advocate says bike lanes should be a default feature of street designs under the city’s Vision Zero Plan. The same goes for LA’s Vision Zero, which is supposed to be officially announced next month.

This is why you never lock your bike to a tree, as a Brooklyn bike thief chopped down a 25-foot tree to get the bike chained to it. Not only did the cyclist lose his bike, but the rat bastard killed the damn tree in the process.

A Pennsylvania cyclist is behind bars pending trial for the crime of obstructing traffic by riding in the lane, and getting pissed off when impatient drivers tried to pass him. Since when are traffic violations a criminal offense? And unless he threatened or attacked motorists, swearing was protected by the First Amendment, last I heard.

Philadelphia plans to sweep away abandoned bikes so they won’t besmirch the streets when bike-riding Pope Francis comes to call. Meanwhile, a Philly lawyer offers a detailed look at the problems faced by bicyclists and pedestrians in the city, and what can be done about it short of papal intervention.

A new policy passed by hard-hearted city officials in Durham NC requires ghost bikes to be removed after just 45 days, or even sooner if someone complains; not surprisingly, friends and relatives of bicycling victims object.

Thanks to a law change, it’s legal to ride without holding on to your handlebars in Florida. Shouting “Look ma, no hands!” remains optional.

 

International

A new Canadian study confirms that traffic lanes 10 to 10.5 feet wide improve safety at intersections, while still allowing traffic to move efficiently.

No bias here, either. A Calgary website calls the victim of a hit-and-run a “pedestrian,” but the driver who may have killed her is a “person.”

Caught on video: A Toronto pedestrian kicks a cyclist’s bike and punches him in the face after the rider collided with him on a shared waterfront pathway.

Three Ontario sisters are stopped by police for riding their bikes topless; after pointing out that it’s legal in the province, the cop says he was really just doing a light and bell check. Right.

Evidently, life is cheap in the UK, as a British driver who killed a cyclist on the Isle of Man walks away — literally, perhaps — with a suspended sentence and a three-year driving ban. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

A road raging Brit cop is accused of knocking a cyclist off his bike, then throwing him into a store window. Then again, it goes both ways, as London police are looking for the road raging bike rider who attacked a driver with a glass bottle; the victim appears to have survived getting whacked in the knee.

Caught on video: A motorcyclist catches a London woman somehow managing to drive while simultaneously talking on the phone and eating cereal.

The Dutch are riding further after getting a boost from their e-bikes.

New Zealand parents are rightfully upset after their six-year old son isn’t allowed to bring his bike onto an otherwise empty bus.

More proof cyclists are tough. An Aussie man rides his bike home after being stabbed by a woman.

 

Finally…

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. An Ohio man fled from the coppers on his bike after stealing two rolls of copper, and was caught after getting hit by a car making his escape. If you’re going to flee the scene on a bike you pulled out of the trunk of the stolen car you just crashed into a telephone pole, it helps if you’re sober enough to ride it.

And one last caught on video, as a Brazilian cyclist takes a car parked in a bike lane into his own hands. Literally.

 

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.

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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.

 

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