Tag Archive for anti-bike bias

What the f*** is wrong with Beverly Hills??????

Excuse me if I’m a little livid.

Okay, mad as hell, to the point that my head may explode.

Because once again, a story has surfaced of a cyclist seriously injured on the streets of Beverly Hills. And once again, the local gendarmerie is either incompetent, or just doesn’t give a damn about a bike rider bleeding on their streets as a heartless motorist just drives away.

It’s an all-too-common complaint I’ve heard from far too many bike riders. They get hit by a car in the Biking Black Hole, and there’s little or no follow-up by the Beverly Hills police.

And as a result, little or no justice.

The latest case comes courtesy of L.A. Streetsblog, as they follow-up with Paul Livingston, a rider so critically injured in a hit-and-run that he’s able to walk only through the miracle of modern medicine.

Let alone still alive.

The last thing Paul remembers that day is being put on a stretcher before he woke up in a hospital bed six days later. He suffered spinal and pelvic fractures. His pelvic bone, broken in half and pushed upwards into his bladder had severed blood vessels causing him to bleed internally. When he was first admitted to the hospital he was hypotensive, which means his organs were shutting down with the lack of blood and his body was going into shock. Paul underwent three abdominal surgeries within the first two days just to stop the bleeding. On the fourth day, the doctors were able to fix his pelvis and then he went through spine surgery only to have pelvic surgery once again to get it back to its original position. Paul also suffered from post-operative infection from the abdominal surgeries. Finally, with his fever gone, he was healthy enough to have his spinal fusion – as a result, Paul is a bit shorter now.

You’d think that any competent police agency would conduct a thorough investigation of such a serious felony, and do everything necessary to bring the near-killer driver to justice.

You’d think.

I ask him about the person who hit him, self-identified as Victoria Chin. He tells me that during the time of his recuperation, he had been in touch with the Beverly Hills Police Department to find out what was going on with the woman who hit him and then ran. Apparently, they were dropping the ball on his case as they never even processed her car for evidence. And her explanation for not stopping, as given to the BHPD, “There was no place to park.”

The technical loophole that Victoria Chin falls into is that no one could properly identify her even though the day after the collision she called the BHPD herself. The police officer she spoke to said she had to come in to the police station to turn herself in. She then called back saying she would be in tomorrow. The police officer reminded her to bring her car in for processing. The next day, Chin showed up without her car and with a lawyer. She only admitted to being Victoria Chin refusing to say anything else. Her lawyer asked the police officer if they were going to book his client. BHPD said no. So, the lawyer asked if they were going to arrest his client. BHPD said no.

They let Victoria Chin go. No arrest. No charges.

It’s far from the first time something similar has happened.

Beverly Hills police and courts have repeatedly dropped the ball on cases involving cyclists. And while they have responded to pressure from riders, it shouldn’t be up to us to force them to do their damn jobs.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I’m not anti-police.

In fact, I have a great deal of respect for most cops, and have often been impressed with the responsiveness of the LAPD when I’ve dealt with them on various issues. While there are always a few bad apples, I’ve found overwhelming majority of officers are caring and committed to doing their best to protect the public and bring justice to those who have been wronged.

With the obvious exception of the NYPD, who the Beverly Hills police are evidently trying to emulate in their lack of responsiveness in incidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

But there is simply no excuse for any department dropping the ball so badly in so many cases where bike riders are run down on their streets. And given that it happens so often, the question arises whether it’s the fault of a few incompetent cops, or if there is a willful, systemic bike-blindness within the department that emanates from the top down.

It’s not a question I can answer right now.

Fortunately, charges were finally filed in the Livingston case, despite the failure of the department to conduct the most basic investigation.

In late august 2012, over a year after the crime, Don Ward wrote about the crash here at Streetsblog and elsewhere informing people about Paul’s situation and called on the cycling community to join them at the Beverly Hills City Council Meeting to draw attention to his case.

For a moment, Paul pauses his story, speechless, he swallows and then tells me that four months later, after the public outcry and the persistency of his lawyer, Otto Haselhoff, the DA of Beverly Hills is finally pressing charges. The helplessness that Paul describes to me, all his suffering, mental and physical anguish, had begun to lift. He quit drinking, started jogging, he was able sleep through the night.

“Knowing that something can be done, that there will be some kind of justice, this changed my life.”

Maybe so.

It’s long past time for Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden and new Mayor John Mirisch to meet with bicyclists to find some solutions to the dangers we face on their streets. And the apparent lack of support we get from the police.

In the meantime, I will continue to avoid Beverly Hills as much as possible. Not just because of their failure to provide a single inch of bikeway anywhere in the city.

But because I don’t trust the police to give a damn conduct a thorough and honest investigation if I end up bleeding on their streets.

Update: Monday’s ride, in which I catch the county breaking the law

Just because they post a sign doesn't make it so.

Just because they post a sign doesn’t make it so.

Sometimes it’s the government itself that breaks the law.

A recent planned ride down to Manhattan Beach was interrupted by construction on the bike path, as barricades diverted cyclists onto busy Vista del Mar at Dockweiler State Beach.

That didn’t come as a surprise. The beachfront Marvin Braude bike path has been undergoing much needed reconstruction over the past several months.

Up to this point, however, riders were directed to virtually unused South Marine Avenue, providing a low-stress detour around the construction work.

However, that changed last week as the construction work moved further south, past the point where Marine Ave ends. South Bay cyclist Jim Lyle gave me the heads-up last week, so I knew the pathway would be closed when I got there.

I knew if I wanted to reach my planned destination, I’d have to ride a street that is notoriously unfriendly to cyclists. And pass the exact point where bike rider George Loudon was killed in a still-unsolved hit-and-run less than two years earlier.

The only accommodation to cyclists forced to detour around the construction were some newly added Share the Road signs on Vista del Mar. Not enough to tame the high-speed traffic, or make most riders feel safe on a roadway already known for dangerous traffic.

Myself included.

So rather than add needless stress to a ride intended to reduce it, I decided I’d gone far enough for one day, and would save Vista del Mar for another ride later in the week.

On a whim, though, when I turned back, I decided to ride through the county-owned RV park along the bike path to see if it would allow me to bypass the construction work. Or at least add a little more to my mileage count for the day.

And that’s when I saw it.

Right at the entrance to the park was a sign banning bikes, in clear violation of state law.

Under California law, bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of motorists, and are allowed to use any public roadway where cars are permitted. The only exception is some limited access freeways, where bikes can be banned as long as signs are posted.

And which some cyclists have been known to ride, anyway.

Since there were numerous cars and RVs visible right in front of me, it was clear that motor vehicles were allowed in the RV park. So the only question was whether the park was public or private property.

And a simple look online quickly answered that question.

In other words, an RV park owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles bans bikes from the roads, in clear violation of state law. That presumably applies to people paying to camp there, just as it does to any stray riders looking for a shortcut.

So if someone wants to ride their bike from their campsite to El Segundo or the LAX area via surface streets, and rides on the roadway through the park to get there, they’re in violation of the ban.

Which is in violation of the law.

Even if the RV park is privately operated under a county contract, the roads within it remain public property, and so are subject to state law.

Which brings up the question, when the government itself is either unaware of, or doesn’t care about, the laws of this state, who exactly is responsible for enforcing them?

Let alone protecting the rights of its citizens, on two wheels or otherwise.

Update: I just received the following notice from the county Department of Public Works:

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1ADVISORY NOTICE
The County of Los Angeles will be closing a segment of the Marvin Braude Bike Path for reconstruction work until April 12th.  The limits of the beach bike path closure are from Imperial Highway in the City of Los Angeles to 45th Street in the City of Manhattan Beach.
To accommodate bike path users during this closure, a detour has been provided along Vista del Mar.  The most seaward of the 4 vehicle travel lanes (closest to the beach) will be barricaded and dedicated as a bike lane for both directions of bike path traffic for the duration of the work.
For information contact us at (626) 458-3110, (626) 458-4967 or visit http://dpw.lacounty.gov/bikepathclosures

Good news that they’re going to give cyclists a dedicated lane on Vista del Mar; however, that barricade did not seem to be place when I was there on Monday.

……..

One other quick note.

On Monday’s ride, I found myself chatting with a bike rider who had just flown in from Washington DC earlier that morning, and was enjoying a ride on a beautiful SoCal day.

Then last night, on a ride to a bike meeting in Downtown L.A., I struck up a conversation with a woman riding in her work attire, as she made her way from 7th and Fig to pick up the Gold Line for her commute home.

Nothing extraordinary about either event.

Except I can’t recall ever talking with a total stranger from behind the wheel of a car for any longer than it took for someone to ask directions before the light changed. Or exchange angry epitaphs with another driver.

That’s one of the rare joys of bicycling, as it allows a genuine interaction with our cities and those we share the road with, however briefly.

And helps make our city a better place to live, whichever and wherever that may be.

Today’s post, in which I follow Metro’s lead and issue a challenge to bike lane-averse merchants

I’ve been surprised by the opposition from local businesses to the planned bike lanes that could bring them more business.

Yes, I fully expected some blowback to plans to install bike lanes on busy streets like Westwood, Bundy and Figueroa. Auto-centric residents who can’t comprehend any other means of getting to and from their homes can be counted on to rise up in NIMBYist opposition to any suggestion of reducing traffic flow to a more rational level, or providing a safe alternative to getting behind the wheel.

Even though they don’t have to get out of their cars to enjoy the benefits. But just make it practical for other people to leave their cars behind so they can move more freely in theirs.

But the vehemence of the opposition from the merchants who would benefit from bike lanes has come as a very unpleasant surprise.

It doesn’t take a Masters in Business Administration to realize that anything that enables more customers to come to your door is good for the bottom line. Never mind that bike riders have been shown to visit merchants more often, resulting in higher sales over the long run.

Or that calming traffic — one of the many secondary benefits of bike lanes — can make a shopping district more attractive to everyone, And at the same time, replacing cut-through drivers with destination traffic more likely to actually stop and spend money.

So I was intrigued this morning when I received an email from Metro announcing that this year’s Bike Week will take place from May 13th to 19th. And that a new feature in 2013 will be the first Bike Weekend, in which merchants will be encouraged to offer a discount to bike riders.

Metro invites you to be part of Bike Week LA by offering discounts to any bicyclist who mentions “Bike Week” during Bike Local Weekend, Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19, 2013. This is a FREE advertising opportunity to attract and encourage customers to eat, shop, and play locally. Metro wants to promote you as a destination location for Bike Local Weekend through our website, social media network, and other media channels.

Did you know that bicycling is great for local business? Studies show that people who travel by bicycle actually make more visits to small businesses than people who travel by car. These visits add up – cities all across the U.S. are discovering that when bicycling increases, sales revenue does too. In San Francisco and New York City, for instance, retail sales along certain bike lanes is up as much as 50%! Because bicyclists travel at slower speeds than cars, it’s easier for them to stop and smell the coffee. (It also helps that they don’t have to pay for parking).

If your business would like to participate in Bike Local Weekend, please sign up here no later than May 1, 2013. The earlier you sign up, the better we are able to promote you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions at bikeweekla@metro.net or 213.922.5634.

So let me issue a challenge to business owners who oppose bike lanes in front of their shops. Especially those who have been most outspoken in their opposition, like Galcos in Highland Park and A Little Taste of Hoboken in Westwood.

Just give it a shot.

Offer a discount to bicyclists that one weekend.

If you don’t notice any difference in sales, maybe you’re right. You can come to the next meeting and argue that you tried to market your business to bike riders, and it didn’t do any good.

But if, more likely, your business goes up that weekend, you’ll have solid evidence that we bicyclists spend money at places that make us feel welcome.

And that, rather than the highway to financial ruin you fear, a bike lane in front of your business could be the pathway to higher profits. Let alone a better, safer and more livable business district.

The best part is, you have nothing to lose.

Except your misconceptions.

But don’t be surprised if we complain about the lack of bike parking.

Pleitez literally runs — and bikes — for mayor; WA Representative blames bikes for global warming

After a busy and needlessly heartbreaking week, I finally have a chance to catch up on all the latest bike news.

So put your feet up and get comfortable.

This could take awhile.

………

Pleitez riding to Venice on Saturday; note his helmet cam.

Pleitez riding to Venice Saturday; note helmet cam.

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez is running for office this weekend.

No, literally.

Long considered the fifth place candidate in Tuesday’s mayoral election, the 30-year old Pleitez is running and biking 100 miles across the city to promote his campaign and connect with voters.

He rode 22 miles from Boyle Heights to Venice with a group of supporters on Saturday, mostly along Venice Blvd. Sunday you’ll find him walking from LMU to the Watts Towers, while Monday takes him down to San Pedro.

Is it working?

We won’t know until Tuesday night — or most likely, sometime Wednesday — when the votes come in. But in a five-way race, it doesn’t take a lot of support to work your way into a top-two runoff.

While it may be a stunt, it’s the best one I’ve seen in the 20-plus years I’ve called this city home. It also beats the hell out of the mudslinging his fellow candidates have substituted for actual campaigning in recent days.

And it’s making me take a second look at a campaign I’d dismissed weeks ago.

Pleitez team setting off; Emanuel Pleitez is in the center.

Pleitez team setting off; Emmanuel Pleitez is in the center.

………

The LACBC isn’t just getting L.A. candidates on the record these days.

Local affiliate chapter South Bay Bicycle Coalition deserves major credit for getting responses from several candidates for that city’s council.

Although I’d like to think one of those who responded could offer a tad more detail than the 43 words he submitted.

………

If you want to see a clear example of why you should cast your vote carefully, consider this exchange between a bike shop owner and a Washington state representative.

Republican Representative Ed Orcutt says he’s not a fan of most tax plans, but supports a proposal to slap a $25 tax on all bike sales over $500.

Because of the greenhouse gases emitted by breathing bicyclists.

Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclists (sic) has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider.  Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.

Yes, far better to put all those riders back in cars where they’ll do less harm to the environment, right?

And don’t even get me started on that same old — and long disproven — argument that drivers pay for the roads and we don’t.

Let alone that most bike riders are drivers.

………

A 72-year old San Diego area cyclist suffered a life-threatening head injury Saturday morning when he fell from his bike in Torrey Pines State Preserve north of La Jolla.

And a Lakewood bike rider is collateral damage in a collision between an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy and another driver on Friday.

………

The Glendale News-Press offers the most in-depth coverage yet of the hit-and-run collision that cost cyclist Damian Kevitt his leg after he was dragged onto the freeway near the L.A. Zoo. Kevitt was riding with his wife on their way from the L.A. River bike path to the zoo when he was struck.

It’s frightening how quickly a pleasant bike ride can turn to horror at the hands of a heartless human being — if you can use that word to describe someone who could do this to another person.

A letter writer says the overpass where Kevitt was hit is a potential death trap for cyclists and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, friends and fellow students of fallen Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar mourn his death.

………

Bike blogger and wreck survivor Opus the Poet is having a rather unusual contest on his blog: design a tattoo to cover up a large scar on his leg and you could win $500. The appendage in question goes up on his website Sunday.

………

Streetsblog says kiss your buffered bike lane in front of formerly bike-friendly LAPD headquarters goodbye. An interactive guide to the last 139 years of Los Angeles transportation. Evidently, you can carry anything on a bike, even a cello. Flying Pigeon considers the argument that bike lanes might delay drivers ever so slightly, and finds it sadly lacking. LA Weekly reviews the new Spring Street parklets, and concludes they need more bike parking. CD5 city council candidate Mark Herd threatens to shoot someone with his antique gun if they try to put a bike lane on Westwood Blvd; load up, dude, while I paint a target on my ass. Santa Monica students will track their car-free miles as they pledge to bike or walk to school. Culver City-based Walk and Rollers needs your support to win a $5000 grant from the Lakers Youth Foundation. CLR Effect says just open the new tunnel on the San Gabriel River Trail already. Women on Bikes wants you to take their spring survey even if you’re not a woman; you could win a handcrafted bracelet, again, even if you’re not a woman.

Are drivers in Corona del Mar speeding through previously quiet neighborhoods just to avoid sharrows on the Coast Highway? An Orange County writer says drug testing should be eliminated in professional sports. San Diego will enjoy its first ciclovia — make that CicloSDias — in August. Riverside considers a road diet, including bike lanes. Just Another Cyclist says knock off the fear mongering already. A San Francisco writer offers advice on how to drive around cyclists, including instructions to stay the f*** out of the bike lane. BART will give bikes another test run. A Merced cyclist is killed in a rear-end collision after the driver saw him riding on the side of the road, but hit him anyway. How to take photos of bike racing.

Turns out the National Highway Safety Board hasn’t made a single bike safety recommendation since I graduated from junior high; trust me, that was a long damn time ago. NPR looks at the benefits of bicycling as part of a healthy lifestyle and smarter transportation. Shouldn’t pedestrians at least be safe from cars on the sidewalk? Women rise to the forefront of the bicycling movement at next week’s National Women’s Bicycling Forum; so wait, we’re a movement now? A first hand, or rather helmet, view of a white tail deer cyclocross collision. An Austin planned community goes green, as in bike lanes. Now why couldn’t Baton Rouge have gotten bike friendly when I lived down there, instead of making me dodge doors and flying beer cans? A hero Louisiana bike shop owner waddles into a burning house in bike shoes to save a woman’s life. After a Chicago cyclist is doored, then run over by a second driver who fled the scene, the original driver is cited — not for carelessly opening his door, but for failing to yield to a horseback rider. The New York DMV correctly determines that collisions aren’t accidents. Two New York men decide they, not you, own the sidewalk, offering penalty cards for anyone who doesn’t use it the right way, or rather, their way. New York wants to put speed cameras on the streets; a few of those on my street could balance L.A.’s city budget in a couple weeks. A Massachusetts driver gets out of his car and slaps a cyclist after Jerry Browning him. A proposed Maryland mandatory helmet law could make streets less safe. Charlotte streets are growing progressively less safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

Every city should have it’s own Lucha Libre superhero defender of the public pedestrian right-of-way. Should Vancouver cyclists be allowed to roll stop signs? The local press says hell no. A bike riding UK father survives a hit-and-run road rage attack. Edinburgh surgeons cross scalpels over the benefits of helmet use. A Scot writer demonstrates his massive heart by wishing he’d thought sooner to shove a pipe through a rude cyclist’s spokes, or elsewhere; note to writer, violence isn’t witty. Turns out Scarlett Johansson enjoys drunken bike bar hopping in Amsterdam. Strasbourg plans a spider web of bikeways, guaranteeing a minimum cruising speed of 12.4 mph. An Aussie triathlete says most drivers would give cyclists a meter of space — or roughly three feet — if they saw them as real people. New Zealanders call for calm in the wake of a road rage attack that left a triathlete seriously injured. A driver and cyclist debate the battle on New Zealand streets; a Christchurch pathologist says you can’t just look for bikes, you actually have to see them.

Finally, when one helmet cam just isn’t enough, how about seven cameras recording in every possible direction. It turns out that massive crocodile a cyclist spotted in the River Thames was a prop from a Bond film.

And a masturbating seat stalker proves that even bike paradise has its sick f***s deeply disturbed individuals.

L.A. bikes the vote, kneejerk anti-bike bias rears it’s ugly head, and a massive weekend list o’ links

A busy week of bike meetings and breaking news meant pushing back a lot of stories.

So grab a cup and settle in for a full weekend worth of the latest bike news from L.A. and around the world.

………

The LACBC provides responses to candidate surveys from 13 candidates for L.A. city council; surprisingly, some very bike-friendly candidates, such as Odysseus Bostick in CD 11, failed to respond.

Meanwhile, a writer for the L.A. Times offers a one-sided windshield-perspective look at the CD 11 candidates; I thought the Times had outgrown that sort of crap in recent years.

And I’m sick to death of people who don’t ride a bike stating with presumed authority that no one would ever ride from the Westside — or the Palisades — to Downtown when there are riders who do that, or its equivalent, every day.

I make the Westside to Downtown ride several times a month myself. And find it easier, cheaper, faster, more enjoyable — and yes, safer — than driving a car. But it’s so much easier to claim no one would do it than talk to someone who does.

As for the race for L.A. Mayor, Streetsblog offers video interviews from all five leading candidates. And the Times sort of makes up for their misstep above by getting them on the record for their stands on transportation issues, including bicycling.

If you want to do more than just cast a vote to ensure the city’s next leaders support bicycling — or any other city in L.A. County for that matter — come to the the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 26th at 6:45 pm at the Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.

………

Has it really been two years since L.A. adopted a new bike plan? The city is making real progress, but anti-bike critics remain.

LADOT considers floating bike lanes for Westwood Blvd, but an LA Observed writer with a terminal case of windshield perspective says those damned bike lanes are going to ruin the streets for the rest of us. Examined Spoke responds, while Boyonabike smells anti-bike bias.

Rampant anti-bike NIMBYism rears its ugly head at the Westside bike lane meeting, as local neighborhood councils and business owners came in with minds already made up and their ears closed. On the other hand, Rancho Park Online offers a surprisingly well reasoned analysis of the Westwood proposal.

Meanwhile, Eagle Rock business owners question whether bike lanes are good or bad for business; that pretty much depends on whether their business can benefit from bike riders’ money. The Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council says keep bike lanes off Lankershim and put them on Vineland, instead; if you want to see a perfect example of irrational anti-bike bias, read the comments — seriously, elitist bike Nazis? And NoHoArtsDistrict tries to get the facts straight.

………

In one of the most outrageous cases in recent memory, a Buenos Aires driver runs down a cyclist, then flees with his victim’s body still on the hood of his car for 17 kilometers — 10.5 miles — until he’s stopped at a toll both.

And when the attendant pointed out he had a body on his car, he responded “Does that mean you’re going to charge me twice?”

Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Glendale News-Press finally reports on last Sunday’s horrible hit-and-run collision in which a cyclist was knocked off his bike and dragged onto the 5 Freeway by the fleeing minivan; I’ve updated the original story.

………

Even pro teams are victims of violence these days.

According to Cycling News, the Jamis-Hagens Berman team was on a training ride outside otherwise bike-friendly Tucson when a car pulled up next to them and the driver started swearing at them.

The car then swerved into the lead riders before speeding off, causing the riders to crash; fortunately, no one was seriously injured. And just as fortunately, the team car was following the paceline and managed to get photos of the driver’s license plate.

Hopefully, there will be an arrest — and serious charges — soon.

………

KNBC-4 recommends the LACBC’s ‘80s Bike Prom this Saturday, as do I; if I wasn’t still keeping a close eye on my wife thanks to her foot-dragging insurance company, I’d be there myself. Streetsblog is hosting a fundraiser with outgoing councilmember Bill Rosendahl the same night. A Midwestern transplant discovers you can bike in L.A. without dying, and borrows this blog’s name in the process. Here’s your map for April’s CicLAvia to the Sea; there will be a community meeting to discuss it next Thursday. New pavement and bike lanes for Cypress Park. Burbank adopts its new general plan; naturally, the only no vote came because the plan includes a bigger bike network. Universal Studios will fund projects to alleviate Burbank traffic caused by their expansion, and extend the L.A. River bike path they’ve long tried to block. Long Beach wants to help you become a street savvy cyclist.

A La Habra teen is stabbed by two men for his bike. Huntington Beach plans to widen Atlanta Avenue and add bike lanes in both direction; hopefully they won’t follow the murderous OC pattern of striping wide lanes to encourage more speeding drivers. A Coronado driver says yes, it is my job to make you obey the law. Not so fast on those new bike lanes on the Coast Highway in Leucadia. San Diego plans to add bike lanes and sidewalks to fix a dangerous stretch of road in San Ysidro. Temecula’s Sarah Hammer takes gold in the women’s individual pursuit at the World Championships. This has got to be the crappiest name ever for a bike ride; no, I mean literally. Camarillo adds two miles of bike lanes. Cambria riders push Caltrans to fix the damage they did to one of California’s favorite riding routes. Turn any shoes into cleated bike shoes. Cyclists on San Francisco’s King Street are at the mercy of cars once the bike lane ends mid-block. San Francisco police bust a fugitive sex offender for riding on the sidewalk. Supporters of a fallen Oroville cyclist says it’s time to end hit-and-runs.

The man whose name graces my bike says he wants to get back into the business; makes sense since he’s now America’s only Tour de France winner. Not surprisingly, traffic fatalities rose nationwide in 2012. The USDOT questions whether dead cyclists and pedestrians count enough to count. L.A.-style bicyclist anti-harassment laws are spreading nationwide. Dave Moulton says lighter isn’t always better. Ninety members of my old fraternity plan to bike across the county to raise awareness for disabilities this summer. Sorry Wired, fat bikes don’t huck and bikes can’t outrun wolves. Washington considers a $25 fee on the sale of any bike over $500; even the woman who wrote the bill doesn’t support it. A bike rider is killed by a train because a Utah driver couldn’t be bothered to clean the frost off her windshield. Rocky Mountain National Park considers its first off-road bike trails. If you’re stopped for biking under the influence on your birthday, it’s probably not a good idea to celebrate by strangling the cop. A Chicago newsman panics over planned bikeways and bus lanes on the Loop. Now that’s more like it, as an Indiana driver gets 18 years for killing two teenage bike riders after smoking meth. New York plans a crackdown on bike delivery riders. Former Bogota mayor Enrique Penalosa says Gotham could be more livable. A Philly writer wisely suggests that instead of focusing on how to get women to ride, we should consider what works for everyone; Elly Blue says just invite everyone to the party. Bike safety goes down in flames in Virginia legislature. Wannabe Latin pop star Carlos Bertonatti finally pleads guilty in the 2010 drunken hit-and-run death of a Miami cyclist; Bertonatti faces up to 35 years, but it’s unlikely he would have changed his plea if there wasn’t a deal in place.

Once again, a study supports the obvious conclusion that lower speeds and separated bike lanes significantly reduce the risk of cycling injuries. Five lessons from the world’s most bike friendly city, winter edition. How to travel with your Brompton. Looks like next year we can look forward to the Giro d’Eire. A look at the five best Hollywood bike scenes from a Brit perspective, without mentioning Breaking Away, American Flyers or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. A major failure of education and traffic planning, as English children are banned from biking or walking to school. A New Zealand writer asks if hi-viz makes you a target. Australia, which mandates bike helmets for everyone, also requires bike bells in an apparent attempt to help more angels get their wings. Adelaide police statistics show drivers are at fault in an overwhelming 80% of all collisions; thank God Aussie cyclists have their bells to protect them.

Finally, this is why some people hate lawyers. A defense attorney claims his client wasn’t impaired when she killed a cyclist, but only took the drugs afterwards — apparently to cope with just having killed someone while driving distracted at over 70 mph.

Or maybe you just need a little bike rap to kick off your weekend; the language may be offensive to some, including heavy abuse of the dreaded n-word.

………

Thanks to Chris and the gang at the Westwood Helen’s, I no longer have a busted bearing in my bottom bracket. And neither does my bike.

If you’re looking for a great LBS, tell ‘em I sent you.

Big surprise — ex-LAPD cop killer doesn’t like bikes, either; big silence from Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus

You knew there had to be a bicycling connection in there somewhere.

Here in L.A., local news reports have been commandeered by the manhunt for Chris Dorner, the former LAPD officer who allegedly murdered three people in a bizarre attempt at getting justice for his firing.

Note to anyone considering a similarly unhinged rampage in an attempt to set the record straight: It won’t work. All it will do is convince the world that you’re crazy, and that they were right all along.

In an attempt to justify his actions, Dorner posted a rambling online manifesto (trust me, you’re better off with the Cliff Notes version) in which he professes his support for Tim Tebow, Charlie Sheen, Dave Brubeck’s Take Five and Michelle Obama’s bangs. Not to mention his love and admiration for a long list of female performers, and his thanks to unnamed individuals for some great and not-so-great sex over the years.

Oh, and a list of those deserving of death at his hands.

But surely, anything that long and convoluted has to mention bikes somewhere, right?

Dorner does not disappoint.

Near the end of his meandering philippic, he vents his spleen on those of us who take to two wheels.

Cyclist, I have no problem sharing the road with you. But, at least go the fucking speed limit posted or get off the road!!! That is a feasible request. Livestrong you fraudulent assholes.

How surprising that a former cop wouldn’t understand our right to the road. Then again, he was fired before the LAPD released its groundbreaking bike training video for its officers.

I guess we should just be glad that we didn’t make it onto his high-value target list.

But he’s not completely irrational. He does call for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammo clips.

You know, to keep them out of the hands of people like him.

And Streetsblog notes that coverage of the story shows the need for a separated bike lane in front of LAPD headquarters.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

………

Still no follow-up from Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus about the complaint I filed this week, following Monday’s close call in which I found myself sharing a bike lane with a speeding bus.

Despite leaving my phone number when I filed the complaint, as well as leaving it on the voice mail of their head of security, I’ve heard absolutely nothing from them. Which is even more disturbing since the woman I spoke with refused to view my video of the incident or take down a link to the video, saying they have their own cameras on every bus.

Maybe so.

But they don’t have anything that shows it from the perspective of a bike rider who came less than two feet from getting run down by a driver who should never have come close to the bike lane. Let alone passed me with two wheels inside it.

Kind of makes me wonder if they just don’t give a damn.

But we’ll see.

………

Bike Portland say new LACBC board member April Economides is bringing bicycling to business. L.A. wants your help to eradicate wheel-grabbing storm drain covers. New parklets open up on Spring Street next to the semi-green bike lanes; one features stationary bikes so you can pedal in place while other people ride by. They’re not the first ones in L.A., though. CD 11 candidate Mike Bonin promises to keep building out the district’s bicycle network if he’s elected. Flying Pigeon hosts its monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride this weekend. Training tips for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race; nothing about chugging green beer at the finish line, though. USC’s first feeble stab at accommodating — or perhaps channeling — bikes gets mixed reviews; the school’s Neon Tommy looks at the proposed My Figueroa project. Learn how to track ride with an intensive six-week course at the Encino Velodrome. Turns out there’s a city election in WeHo next month, as well; at least one candidate charges they’ve neglected East West Hollywood. A badly decomposed body is found next to the San Gabriel River bike path; why are bike paths such popular places to dump bodies? CLR Effect interviews an Irish rider with the local Full Circle Cycling team. Boyonabike reviews City Cycling.

The 15th annual Tour de Palm Springs rolls this Saturday. A cyclist is injured in a collision on the Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, but apparently not badly. San Diego commits to making the city safer for cyclists; considering the high speed virtual highways that pass for surface streets, they have a long way to go. San Luis Obispo students conduct a mock trial in a fake hit-and-run case that left an imaginary cyclist injured. Yes, it’s illegal to run over a cyclist, no matter how much he or she may annoy you; you’d probably get away with it, though. San Francisco cab drivers are learning to make room for bikes. A Tracy cyclist is killed by a hit-and-run driver as he tried to get back on his bike after a fall.

Forget road diets, the goal is now right-sizing streets to create great public spaces. Oh how the mighty have fallen, as Lance is now the most hated athlete in America. Can Seattle have a successful bike share program with a mandatory helmet law? Denver offers cyclists a separated bike lane complete with bike boxes, green mixing zones and a special signal giving riders a head start on vehicular traffic at a dangerous intersection, yet local bike advocates say it’s not good enough; someone should tell them not to let the perfect be the enemy of the pretty damn effing fantastic. Even tiny Hays Kansas — population 21,000 — is getting a bike-friendly makeover. Des Moines plans to make the bikeable city even better. Bikes may use full lane, except in New York. A Louisiana driver kills a 14-year old cyclist while drunk, and a grand jury concludes it’s no big deal. Maryland cyclists oppose a proposed mandatory helmet law.

Uruguay tries to cut violence by trading bikes for guns. Evidently, life is cheap in London, as a driver gets a six month suspended sentence for carelessly killing a cyclist, but at least he won’t be able to legally drive for the next three years; on the other hand, his victim won’t ever drive again. A rising young British cyclist was killed after losing control and crashing into a stone pillar at 40 mph at a dangerous corner, which should have been fixed long before someone got killed. A UK truck driver attempted to delete the texts he was sending when he killed a 13-year old bike rider. Cycling deaths and serious injuries are headed the wrong way in the UK. A lawyer says a new bike superhighway could make things more dangerous for British riders. Current Tour de France champ Bradley Wiggins is voted Britain’s funniest celebrity. It’s hard to obey the cycling restrictions if you can figure out what the hell they are. Can Scotland copy the Netherlands success in cycling; then again, can anyone? Speaking of the Netherlands, the risk of death for Dutch riders over 80 is 80 times higher than for younger riders. A Kenyan pick-up driver disappears after a bike is crashed beyond repair in a collision; unfortunately, so was the person riding it. A new documentary charts the rise of the Rwanda national cycling team. A new national map of dooring spots is making waves in New Zealand. A Kiwi bike racer rides away from a terrible drug and gang-related past, including prison, molestation and the murder of his father.

Finally, Gotham insults don’t travel well when a young rider moves to the Midwest. And if your winter beard gets caught in your bicycle’s components, you’ve let it go too far.

Singh sentenced to 15 – life for drunken killer multi-hit-and-run; NY writer calls bike lanes cancerous

For once, the sentence for a killer driver fits the crime.

The Ventura County Star reports that Satnam Singh has been sentenced to 15 years to life for the drunken hit-and-run death of 20-year old cyclist Nick Haverland last year.

Yes, I said life.

In addition, he must serve two years for DUI before he can begin serving his sentence for the second degree murder conviction, effectively making it a minimum 17-year sentence.

Singh had a blood alcohol level nearly five times the legal limit when he went on a serial hit-and-run spree at speeds up to 90 mph, culminating in the collision that took Haverland’s life as he rode to take a college final.

Something Singh claims not to remember, as a result of an “accidental” dose of depression medication.

Then again, given the amount of alcohol in his system, it’s surprising he remembers his own name, let alone his homicidal hit-and-run Hummer joyride.

Yet remarkably, despite his actions, the judge received over 100 letters attesting to his fine character.

For those unconvinced, the first collision might — might — have been unintentional. The two that followed, including the one that took Haverland’s life, flowed directly from his drunken attempt to avoid responsibility.

A real prince, that guy.

And I’d like to know just how does someone get that drunk by accident. Let alone gets behind the wheel when he’s too damn wasted to walk, let alone drive.

I’d like to think this sentence will send a clear message to everyone to stay the hell away from the driver’s seat after drinking. Let alone drinking yourself to oblivion.

Not to mention stopping after your first collision, rather than continuing to run after the third.

But I fear too many drivers will look sadly at Singh, convinced they’d never do anything like that.

Then celebrate the season with one more for the road.

………

Gotham cyclists are up in arms over an assault on both bikes and rationality by New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo, who compares bike lanes to cancer and bike riders to sociopaths.

New York Curbed artfully deconstructs Cuozzo’s highly biased arguments, while Gothamist takes it apart paragraph by scurrilous paragraph. New York Streetsblog fears he’s lost his marbles. The Brooklyn Spoke says, despite his negative assertions, bike delivery people do count and have as much right to safe streets as anyone else.

And it all brings up a great column from the New York Times Magazine, which offers a point-by-point guide to writing a biased anti-bike hate piece of your very own.

………

The 7th Annual All City Toy Ride takes place this Friday; couldn’t recommend a better reason to ride. Just be careful, because some cops didn’t seem to have a lot of Christmas spirit last year.

………

More women than men now have driver’s licenses, which is good news according to the Times, since women drive less and have fewer fatalities per miles driven.  Southside cyclists take L.A. city planners on a bike tour of Watts. Phase one of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk opens. LADOT Bike Blog is thankful for Alex Baum’s bicycle advocacy; aren’t we all? Last weekend’s Santa Monica Family Bike Fest is declared a success. Malibu proposes an esplanade with walkways and bikeways connecting the Malibu Pier with Surfrider Beach; wait, a bikeway in Malibu? Seriously? Hermosa Beach revisits the Aviation Blvd bike lanes they turned down earlier this year (scroll down). A look at Long Beach’s Bikeway Route 10. UC Irvine police bust a pair of suspected bike thieves. The Laguna Beach paper calls for more bikeways and a complete streets approach. Plans stall for an Agoura overpass including bike lanes, sidewalks and five lanes of traffic. Bakersfield city planners are looking for cyclists input on improving bike lanes. Natomas CA sprouts signs declaring the city bike friendly; thanks to Amy Senk for the heads-up.

In their new book City Cycling, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler argue that “cycling should be made feasible, convenient, and safe for everyone.” The Feds finally get serious about counting cyclists and pedestrians; unfortunately, that doesn’t mean much until individual states and cities do, as well. It’s okay to be the only non-traffic engineer in the room. Tour Hawaii’s Big Island by bike. Reno bike advocates are successfully reshaping the city. A more than comprehensive list of women’s bike blogs. Bicycling grannies ride in small town Wyoming. Spandex bikewear for the closet super hero. A writer for the Chicago Tribune defends his column calling out scofflaw cyclists and ridicules anyone with the audacity to disagree. A Michigan man is finishing the cross-country bike ride his father was on when he was killed. Your next bike could glow in the dark. A Virginia auto repair shop says it doesn’t make sense to require it to install bike racks, even if the city is trying to be bike-friendly.

London’s transportation department calls on the mayor to develop the world’s largest cycle network. Six steps to survive cycling in London. Cyclists in a BBC documentary on the conflict between drivers and cyclists were paid — and choreographed — to ride as recklessly as possible. An open letter to motorists from UK cyclists. Drinking and riding is a bad idea with a long history. Town Mouse goes temporary bike shopping. The all-time highlights of the Giro d’Italia.

Finally, maybe there is such a thing as too cold to ride. And who knew a simple bike ride was part of global plot to force bike lanes on unsuspecting Americans?

Maybe Cuozzo’s onto something, after all.

………

A special thanks to Margaret for making a contribution to help defray the costs of operating of this blog; I can’t begin to tell you how much it’s appreciated. If anyone else wants to help support my work here on BikinginLA, I’ve set up at PayPal account to accept contributions like hers. You can transfer funds through your PayPal account or major credit card by directing them to bikinginla at hotmail dot com.

And yes, I’m totally blown away that she even thought to do that.

Many thanks, Margaret.

Fatal bike assault finally explained as case goes to trial; anti-bike Chicago columnist goes off deep end

The Valley News finally offers an explanation for why police believe the death of a Riverside County cyclist earlier this year was an intentional act.

Anaheim resident Anthony Ray Lopez was charged with deliberately running down and killing 68-year old Herman Armando Villalobos of Home Gardens. Now Lopez faces trial for first degree murder with great bodily injury allegations for the January 15th death; a jury was empanelled on Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, Lopez had spent the afternoon drinking with a friend while watching a football game at a Corona bar before driving home; on the way, he crossed paths with Villalobos, who was riding home after shopping with grocery bags on his handlebars.

Villalobos reportedly rode in front of Lopez, forcing him to brake sharply. After exchanging glares, Villalobos rode off, with an enraged Lopez following behind and cursing at the cyclist.

When that failed to get a response, Lopez bumped the rider’s bike; witnesses say his bike jumped but Villalobos was somehow able to maintain control. Lopez then floored his pickup and slammed into Villalobos, running him over and dragging him and his bike 30 feet before fleeing the scene.

He is currently being held jail on $1 million bond. We can only hope he’s been there since he was arrested, and will never again see the light of day.

Frankly, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for someone who could do something like that.

………

Oh please.

In an absolutely idiotic proposal, a self-proclaimed visionary newspaper columnist proposes that a) cyclists pay tolls to use bikeways, b) stop sign cameras be installed to automatically ticket scofflaw cyclists, c) cyclists be required to pay hefty fees to use city-owned bike racks, and d) that cyclists buy a handlebar-mounted transponder that would allow them to bypass toll booths.

Brilliant.

As long as your plan is to discourage bike use, with the resulting increase in vehicular traffic, traffic congestion, more traffic collisions and a decrease in air quality, as well as a jump in obesity and other related health problems.

But other than that, his plan is pure genius.

Visionary, indeed.

And by the way, Chicago Tribune, do I really need to tell you where you can put your pay wall?

………

Century City bankruptcy attorney Stanley E. Goldich reports an all too typical interaction with an elderly driver while riding on PCH.

On PCH last week, heading South on PCH near Cross Creek a car coming from the Malibu Sea Colony street on the west merged into PCH without any regard to me – I was not going fast so it was not dangerous. He hit the light and I knocked on his window and could see it was an elderly man. I nicely said that he needed to yield to cyclists as well as cars – he responded that he would need to see the cyclist first.

………

Tom Danielson won stage three of the USA Pro Challenge in a bold breakaway, riding the last 20 miles alone after cresting Independence Pass; Christian Vande Velde and Tejay van Garderen are tied for the lead. Danielson and Vende Velde give credit to Dave Zabriskie. Italian rider Daniele Callegarin is back riding with Team Type-1 a year after suffering a serious crash when he hit a cattle guard in last year’s inaugural Pro Challenge.

Meanwhile, Simon Clarke edges Tony Martin following a long breakaway to win the fourth stage of the Vuelta; Joaquin Rodriguez holds the overall lead, with Chris Froome second.

And CNN offers a recap of the witch hunt case against Lance Armstrong.

………

September’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride will be the group’s first Sunday FunGay ride. Flying Pigeon urges cyclists to give their tires a little love. Long Beach votes to establish a $12 million bike share program with Bike Nation; combined with the Anaheim and upcoming L.A. programs, we could be on the verge of a pan-SoCal bike share network. Solana Beach residents and visitors are urged to leave their cars at home this Saturday. A 16-year old San Diego cyclist is injured in a hit-and-run; his brother reports hearing the truck rev its engine just before the collision. Local bike advocates look at what it will take to make Sacramento even more bike friendly. The 81-year old road raging driver who ran down a cyclist on a Santa Rosa golf course is out on bail, and people who’ve encountered him say he has a hair-trigger temper; anyone want to bet he gets rearrested before his case even goes to court? The Santa Rosa paper calls on drivers to share the road. A helmetless Santa Rosa cyclist pulls an endo trying to avoid a head-on collision; thanks to Witch on a Bicycle for the link. Tahoe police throw the book at a hit-and-run driver who critically injured a cyclist before fleeing the scene, leading them on a dangerous chase and crashing her car.

Safer cars may mean reduced safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Oregon police try to circumvent state law in order to ticket cyclists for leaving bike lanes. An OR woman seeks the hit-and-run driver who killed her bike-riding friend. A Colorado woman is charged with DUI, hit-and-run and other crimes when she turns herself in after seriously injuring a cyclist. Now that’s what I call a good looking Denver off road bikeway. A Pueblo CO girl is impaled on the gooseneck of her handlebars; for something described as a freak accident, this sort of thing seems to happen far too often. A Missoula MT detective commandeers a bike to capture a fleeing suspect; the Sheriff’s department paid to repair “significant” damages to the bike. A Wisconsin Catholic priest is killed while riding his bike. Chicago cyclists will soon enjoy a protected bike lane and special bike red lights on the city’s famed Loop. An Ohio man credited with developing the bike helmet mirror has passed away. A recumbent racer bounces back from a near-death infection to set a world record. After a Rochester NY BMX rider is hit by a car, police ticket him for riding on the sidewalk. A Kentucky cyclist suffers repeated attacks from an aggressive owl. A North Carolina cyclist captures the national crit championship in the 75 and older group. If you’re fleeing by bike after stealing a TV, keep your eyes on the road so you don’t crash into a police car.

Yesterday, a protected bike lane made of red Solo cups; today, a bike lane made from garbage — and both work. Popular UK bike website Bikeradar.com pulls support for an insurance company-backed plan that would require cyclists to pass a proficiency test before being allowed on the roads. The rich get richer: Dutch cyclists get a floating bike roundabout to avoid a busy intersection. In the wake of a recent cycling death, Singapore officials warn cyclists to be careful on the roads, rather than urging drivers not to kill them; drivers say it’s not their fault, while a cyclist(?) says we don’t belong on roads with speed limits over 31 mph. Vietnam turns back to bikes.

Finally, after she’s stuck in traffic, a Baton Rouge surgeon borrows a child’s bike to ride to a scheduled operation. A Russian cyclist rides the world’s smallest bike. And a Florida cyclist can’t stay off — or on — his, after police warn him not to ride while drunk.

Two big bike races at once, a perfect example of press anti-bike bias, and a whole lot of link love

It can’t be Wednesday already, can it?

The week’s halfway over, so weekend riders can start looking forward to their next ride, while those of us who ride during the week can finally enjoy some cooler temperatures.

And everyone can limber up their clicking fingers and settle in for some serious bike links.

………

Sounds like a great race is going on overseas, as Valverde holds off the newly reinstated Contador for a stage victory in the Vuelta.

Meanwhile, BMC’s Tejay van Garderen takes the leader’s jersey to go along with his stage two victory in the USA Pro Challenge; great to see the next generation of pro cyclists stepping up to the podium.

………

In a highly biased story, police won’t file charges against a group of cyclists who struck a driver’s car and shouted obscenities when she merely tapped her horn at them. However, the original story notes a broken mirror and dents on the passenger side, which might give an explanation for the riders reaction if they resulted from getting Jerry Browned by a sideswiping driver.

Then again, this sort of bizarre narrative in which a wholly innocent driver is assaulted by a group of crazed cyclists never ceases to astound me. You’d think someone — anyone — would question why the riders reacted that way, but too often, no one ever does.

Thanks to Bill Strickland and LadyFleur for the links.

………

City of Lights shows how to install bike racks. L.A.’s Pure Fix Cycles introduces a $399 glow-in-the-dark fixie. Just when the Ballona Creek bike path finally reopens after construction work in Culver City, it will shut down again for maintenance work between National and Overland. Wolfpack Hustle sponsors a ride to the opening of Premium Rush this Friday. A salmon cyclist is seriously injured in a Baldwin Park collision, though it’s far more likely that it was the cyclist, and not the bike, that collided with the driver’s windshield; thanks to Witch on a Bicycle for the link. Boy on a Bike embraces his inner bike geek and gets a mirror. Registration is open for the National Women’s Bicycling Summit in Long Beach next month.

Orange County authorities are cracking down on drunk drivers. Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch looks at California’s proposed three-foot passing law. A San Diego writer explains sharrows to the chronically clueless; despite the hateful tone, he gets it mostly right. San Diego State University works to become a bike-friendly campus. S.D. police are looking for a bike path groper. Paso Robles considers becoming a bike-friendly city. Confusing signage leads a bike path rider onto the Facebook campus where he’s hit by a car. San Jose sets out to build the Bay Area’s most bike-friendly downtown; something L.A. can and should do down here. A Rancho Cordova teenager is dragged 50 feet after a car hits his bike, suffering life-threatening injuries; once again, all blame falls on the victim — who can’t speak for himself — for riding into traffic. A Lodi flautist rides solo across country. How Santa Rosa police tracked down the hit-and-run driver who ran down a cyclist on a golf course.

The founder of Bikes Belong has passed away from cancer; one of the few things I hate more than dangerous drivers. NPR explores ghost bikes. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske looks at the newly available bike insurance. When you’re on a bike, the direct route is seldom the best route. Despite a confession from the driver, AZ police still haven’t filed charges in a hit-and-run that left a cyclist severely injured and the suspect vehicle torched in the desert. After a Utah cyclist is killed, apparently auto-centric police want to know why he was riding a bike, let alone at that early hour. You know you’re a bike-friendly community when even the bank robbers get away by bike. Attention guys: cyclists — especially women cyclists — really don’t need your unsolicited advice. A 10-year old Michigan boy rides his bike wearing just his underwear to get help for his highly allergic father after he’s stung by bees (I originally wrote he rode his bike in his underwear; thanks to Joe Linton for questioning how he got his bike in there). Two-thirds of New Yorkers say bike lanes are a good thing. Even red solo cups can be enough to separate a bikeway. Gossip Girl star Blake Lively bikes beautifully in NYC. Fewer bike collisions on Hilton Head island.

The former Attorney General of Ontario CA — no, the other one — who killed cyclist Darcy Allen Sheppard as the victim clung to his car has written a book to tell his side of the story, but the victim’s father doesn’t approve; no matter how hard the incident was on the AG, I suspect it was a lot worse for the guy he killed. A British cyclist clips a traffic cone, and falls beneath a tailgating 17-ton truck; in case anyone ever wondered why drivers need to give us some space, that’s why. UK cyclist fakes a fall to distract driver while partner steals from her car. A Glasgow cyclist is stabbed in the neck after stopping to speak with an apparent stranger.

Finally, a Denver hit-and-run driver claims he thought he hit a dog when he killed a cyclist — even though he dragged the victim’s bike under his car for several blocks.

Call me crazy, but I think all the sparks and grinding of the bike underneath his car should have tipped him off. And I don’t know many dogs who ride a bike.

Are police in bike-friendly Santa Monica holding a dooring victim to a different standard?

Are cyclists being held to a different standard?

So it would seem in bike-friendly Santa Monica.

This past Friday, a cyclist was critically injured when he ran into a car door while riding south on 11th near Oak, just below Ocean Park Blvd.

The rider, identified only as a man in his 40s, reportedly flew over the door and landed directly on his head, suffering a life-threatening head injury.

It’s worth noting in this particular case that he wasn’t wearing a helmet, as the story points out; this is exactly the sort of slow speed collision bike helmets are design to protect against.

And then the officer goes on to immediately blame the victim, accusing the rider of being drunk at the time of the collision.  According to Santa Monica Patch, SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis said,

“Alcohol played a big role,” Lewis said. “We do not know that he is going to survive.”

He goes on to add,

“There will not be any criminal charges,” he said. “It appears to be an accident.”

Witnesses said that the rider had been swerving in and out of traffic lanes before he hit the car door, which had been left open for several seconds.

By reading the news stories, it certainly sounds like the riding was completely at fault; a drunk rider collided with a car door that he should have seen and been able to avoid.

And maybe it happened just that way.

Then again, maybe it didn’t.

While the police spokesperson suggests the rider was drunk and there’s a reference to a blood test being done at the hospital, there’s no report of just how high his blood alcohol level was. He may have had a couple of drinks, or he may have been plastered.

Then again, it may not really matter.

One thing I’ve learned dealing with the LAPD on other cases is that under California law, whether or not a driver is drunk is a secondary factor unrelated to the cause of a collision.

For instance, let’s say two cars collide at an intersection, and one of the drivers is drunk. If the drunk driver ran the red light, he caused the collision by running the light — not by being drunk. His drunkenness might be why he ran the light, but it’s not the cause of the collision under the law.

On the other hand, if it was the other driver who ran the light, the fact that his victim was drunk is entirely unrelated to the cause of the collision.

Yet in this case, police are suggesting that drunkenness was the cause.

Even though state law prohibits opening a driver’s-side car door if it interferes with traffic. And then, only as long as necessary to get in and out of the vehicle.

22517.  No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open upon the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

The Times story reports that the driver left the door open while she gathered her things, which would seem to be a clear — yet non-cited — violation of CVC 22517.

The driver should have gathered her things before opening the door, or she could have moved around to the other side of the car where the open door would not have interfered with traffic.

We’ve also learned from the CHP in the Carol Schreder case that witness reports of what a driver was doing in the moments leading up to a collision have little or no relevance to the actual collision.

In that case, numerous witnesses said they saw the driver operating his truck at a high speed and in a careless manner for several miles prior to hitting Schreder’s bike. Yet police didn’t even talk to those witnesses, as they said what occurred a few miles away had no bearing on what actually caused the collision or the charges the driver eventually faced.

I might argue that point. In fact, I have.

But if that’s the way the law is applied to drivers, that’s how it should be applied to cyclists.

So the fact that the victim had been drinking wasn’t the cause of the collision. Nor were the comments that he was weaving in and out of traffic prior to the collision.

The cause of the collision appears to be a car door that was left open in violation of the law, as well as a possible careless cyclist who may or may not have been able to see the door in time to stop safely.

There’s one other thing we should note.

On the Patch site, there’s an imbedded video showing the police investigation at the site of the collision. At the end of that, there is what seems to be a local resident blaming the narrow road and lack of a bike lane in the direction the victim was traveling.

It’s entirely possible that traffic on that narrow street caused the victim to ride in the door zone and could have prevented him from swerving out of the way when — and if — he saw the door blocking his path. It’s also possible that he may have tried to brake to avoid the door.

Bikes seldom leave the skid marks police use to determine if a vehicle tried to stop, which can lead them to erroneously conclude that a rider didn’t brake prior to a collision.

Which is just one more reason why every police traffic investigator should be trained in the unique physics and forensics of bicycle collisions.

This wreck could have occurred exactly as the police suggest. It’s entirely possible that the victim could responsible for his own injuries through his own drunken carelessness.

Or he could be the victim of a careless driver and bad road design.

We’ll probably never know.

But it certainly looks like the police may be going out of their way to blame the victim and let a dooring driver off the hook.

Thanks to Evan G for the heads-up. And say a few prayers for the victim; reading between the lines, his outlook doesn’t sound good.

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