Tag Archive for bicycle collisions

Morning Links: Sorry Mr. Garcetti, no endorsement from Bike the Vote; and LA County releases collision study

Still more election news, as Bike the Vote LA released their endorsement for mayor in next month’s election.

Or rather, didn’t.

The group graded each of the mayoral candidates who responded to their questionnaire, but concluded that no one reached a sufficient level to earn their endorsement.

And yes, we’re looking at you, Mr. Mayor.

The first term of Mayor Eric Garcetti has been a surprising disappointment for livability advocates. Garcetti clearly understands the health, equity, quality of life, empowerment, and economic benefits to making city streets safer for all road users. But beyond splashy announcements and wonkish technical studies, there has been a frustrating lack of visible action to improve mobility options for those on foot and on bikes….

Like other major metropolitan mayors, Mayor Garcetti’s name is frequently floated as a future national political contender. So far on safe streets, he does not meet the standards set by mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York, Rahn Emanuel of Chicago, Michael Hancock of Denver, Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, or Charlie Hales of Portland. If Garcetti earns a second term as Mayor, Los Angeles residents deserve a more impassioned and resourceful effort on active transportation to build a healthier, more sustainable, and more livable city.

Here’s how they rated each of the candidates, with a link to the candidate’s response the questionnaire.

Although the F grade for government gadfly Zuma Dogg shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s spent much time around City Hall.

My take is that Eric Garcetti has done enough to earn a second chance. But he has to do a lot more in this next term to justify that faith in him.

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LA County has released a study of traffic collisions in the county, for the period from January, 2011, to August 2016. These figures will be used to form the basis of the county’s Vision Zero program, due to be released in June of 2018.

A few of the more interesting points from the study:

  • Collisions resulting in death or serious injury are headed in the right direction, dropping from 309 in 2012 to 275 in 2015, although partial figures from 2016 suggest it may have gone up last year
  • Bicycles were involved in 5% of injury crashes, but accounted for 7% of deaths or serious injuries
  • Most serious bike collisions appear to be centralized around East LA, and the areas around Huntington Park/South Gate, Hawthorne/Gardena, La Mirada, and West Covina/City of Industry
  • The primary cause of serious collisions were unsafe speed, followed by improper turning, and driving under the influence
  • Approximately 25% of all collisions were hit-and-runs

It looks like a good start. The question is how this will influence the next steps, and whether they will come back with a more concrete Vision Zero plan than the city did.

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Today’s common theme: bike thieves.

Santa Monica police bust a bike thief after the victim watched the thief make off with her bike; he was arrested while ghost riding the bike, and carrying meth and burglary tools.

A Bay Area bike thief gets busted when the bike’s owner spots it for sale on Craigslist.

A former around-the-world bike rider had all of his belongings, including his “entire life’s work” stolen when someone took his bike in London.

A group of bored kids are blamed for breaking into an Australian school for children with intellectual disabilities and stealing 15 bikes and helmets.

That’s a good boy. A bike thief is busted Down Under when a police dog tracks him down after he fled from police.

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As long as you don’t mind moving to Gotham, New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare is looking to fill eight positions.

Or if you’re not doing anything this summer, Rapha is looking for someone to run their mobile clubhouse at events throughout Europe.

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VeloNews asks if there’s a home field advantage in cycling. It certainly can’t hurt to be familiar with the local roads.

The Paralympic Movement offers a brief history of para cycling leading up to the world championships in LA next month.

Lance Armstrong’s seemingly endless legal battles continue, as a judge rules the feds’ $100 million case against him will go to trial. Cycling in the South Bay does not seem very sympathetic.

Evidently, a lifetime amounts to just 14 years in pro cycling, as former cyclist Tammy Thomas has her lifetime suspension for doping cut to time served.

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Local

Los Angeles officials break ground on the Venice Blvd Great Street, which aims to transform a typically over-engineered, auto-centric roadway into a Complete Street that benefits everyone; it will eventually include a parking protected bike lane.

Evidently, Bella Thorne got her flat fixed. And this time, appears to have actually ventured off the sidewalk.

Los Angeles Magazine asks why we aren’t doing the Dutch Reach here.

Popular pub Tony’s Darts Away becomes the location for Burbank’s first bike corral.

Next month’s 26-mile 626 Golden Streets ciclovía/open streets event through the San Gabriel Valley now has it’s own app, available for Android and Apple devices.

An appeals court ruled that a judge was correct in releasing dash cam video of trigger-happy Gardena police shooting the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim; despite the mistaken identify and lack of a weapon, no one was ever held accountable for the shooting.

 

State

Redlands and Highland are working together to improve connectivity for bike riders, using a $3.6 million state grant to build a bike route between the two cities across the Santa Ana River.

Sad news from Visalia, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a semi-truck.

 

National

Seattle’s city council is pushing for bike lanes in the downtown area. Unlike, say, Los Angeles, where a trio of councilmembers demanded the removal of bike lanes from the city’s Mobility Plan.

My now bike-friendly hometown still has a pedestrian-unfriendly problem with narrow sidewalks.

Houston is moving towards approving an ambitious $500 million bike plan; as always, the problem is figuring out where the money will come from.

The first — and probably only — transgender mayor in Texas is one of us.

Chicago police blame the victim when an officer in an unmarked car hit a bike rider last month, but her lawyer suggests dash cam video may tell a different story; a witness says police stood around questioning her after the crash, rather than getting her medical attention.

 

International

Over 7,000 people demonstrate for safer streets in Costa Rica, and form a human graphic calling for respect.

A pair of British men get their father on a bike to save his life from complications from type 2 diabetes.

Not surprisingly, eight of Britain’s most dangerous locations for bike riders are in London, including a roundabout that’s the country’s worst spot.

A Russian triathlete has gone into hiding after beating his cyclist ex-wife in a dispute over child support. Seriously, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for jerks like that.

Caught on video: An Aussie rider goes on a swearing rant at a driver who passed him with about a foot clearance; the uncomprehending driver says he slowed down and “left plenty of room.”

Shanghai, China is blocking kids from renting bikeshare bikes; the city bans children under twelve from riding on the streets.

 

Finally…

How to explain bicycling to your dog. If you’re going to steal a purse while riding double on a BMX, make sure your victim is not carrying hot coffee.

And don’t try this at home. Seriously.

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Happy Valentines Day to all you lovers out there. And happy riding to everyone, regardless of your relationship status.

Morning Links: Good news on LA bike collisions, and Floyd Landis goes from doper to dope purveyor

My apologies for the late post; blame a late night Internet outage that kept me offline until this morning.

……….

A couple of interesting tidbits from yesterday’s LAPD bike liaison meeting.

While traffic collisions are up overall in the San Fernando Valley compared to last year, there’s been a 23% decrease in bicycling collisions. And a 37% drop in collisions resulting in serious injuries to bike riders.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of bike lanes in Downtown LA has resulted in an overall slowing of traffic speeds, as well as improved compliance with traffic laws by bike riders. Demonstrating once again that if you want bicyclists to obey the law, just give them a safe place to ride.

Speaking of the department’s bike liaison program, you can find email addresses for each of the bike liaisons for the city’s four traffic divisions listed on the Resources page.

These officers are here to help if you have any problems resolving bicycling issues involving the police. So feel free to reach out to them when you need help, whether it’s dealing with harassment or dangerous traffic conditions on your ride, unfair treatment by police, or officers refusing to accept a report or complaint.

No, seriously. That’s what they’re here for.

………

Disgraced ex-Tour de France champ Floyd Landis used to insist his Mennonite upbringing meant he wouldn’t have doped.

Now he’s in the dope business.

Landis, who won the 2006 Tour on an artificial hip, has teamed with former teammate Dave Zabriskie to create a new line of marijuana-laced lotions called Floyd’s of Leadville to treat pain and inflammation.

So far, it’s only available in Colorado, where virtually all things marijuana are legal.

But we may eventually see it here under California’s medical marijuana laws.

………

An Italian judge concludes that cycling great Marco Pantani really did die of a cocaine overdose and wasn’t murdered by the mob.

An Aussie pro cyclist says living the lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, explaining why she’s stepping away, if not retiring, at the ripe old age of 20.

All those crashes in the Amgen Tour of California are finally explained; the riders were running on Microsoft.

………

Local

If you want your kid to perform well in school, buy ‘em a bicycle.

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds testifies before the US Senate on the Internet of Things.

CiclaValley feels the sting of bicycling in bee season.

Monrovia is expected to adopt a new bike plan next month, including seven miles of protected bike lanes.

Just one day after a bike rider was shot and killed in Compton, another bike rider shot three men in a car, killing one.

Forty cyclists ride to protest a lack of infrastructure and police action to protect bike riders in Palos Verdes Estates by scrupulously obeying the letter of the law; one driver who clearly didn’t get it swore at riders because he had to go around them. Which is kind of the point.

 

State

Someone on a bicycle attacked two homeless people in San Diego using a rock and a golf club.

After partying all night, an Oceanside driver crashed into a pedestrian and kept going for nearly a mile — with his body still embedded in her windshield.

Solvang puts a planned bike and pedestrian bridge on hold after Caltrans finds deficiencies in a nearby vehicle bridge, which could require replacement while costing the city $600,000 in funds allocated for the bike/ped project.

A Visalia woman was critically injured when her bike was rear-ended by a car.

San Francisco cyclists pen a letter to the mayor asking for safer streets.

A Sacramento salmon cyclist is lucky to walk away from a crash with a light rail train.

 

National

The Atlantic says America’s automotive hegemony is insane.

An East Coast group is working on completing a continuous bikeway stretching from Florida to Maine. We can’t even get a continuous bikeway across Los Angeles.

An anonymous bicycling superhero rides to the rescue of a paint-covered kitten someone abandoned in an Albuquerque dumpster. Which is exactly what should happen to the person who put it there. Without the rescue part.

A Michigan paper asks if the Kalamazoo bike crash reflects a statewide trend, where bike-involved collisions were up 57% last year.

A Boston drunk driver gets eight to twelve years behind bars for the collateral damage death of a teenage bike rider, after he crashed into a car stopped at a red light and knocked it into the waiting cyclist. Although someone should tell Patch that when a person drives drunk, whatever happens as a result is not an accident.

No bias here. An upstate New York paper blames a cyclist for crashing into the side of a car, which apparently wasn’t moving and didn’t have a driver.

Famed bike-riding New York fashion photographer Bill Cunningham passed away at age 87 after suffering a stroke; a petition calls for naming a Gotham street corner after him, while the Financial Times says he should be admired for his principles.

A New York judge rules it violates a driver’s constitutional rights to require them not to crash into people.

A writer for the Washington Post offers tips on traveling in a car with a bike on the back.

Hammering out the Democratic Party platform be a messy process, but at least they reached unanimous agreement on the need for more bike paths.

Battling petitions circulate in Lafayette LA, calling for the removal, or not, of a bike lane that’s part of a citywide loop.

 

International

Who says Rapha doesn’t support women cyclists?

Cycling Magazine lists bicycling’s 14 most influential Canadians.

Police in Ottawa, Canada are using a sonar device to help catch drivers who pass too close to cyclists.

A crazed Brit cyclist who was deliberately holding up traffic reached in and stole the car keys from a BBC presenter who was acting in an entirely reasonable manner. Or at least, that’s his version of the story; something tells me the rider in question might see it a little differently.

Rome plans to create a 27-mile inner city bicycling route linking the city’s tourist attractions. Unlike LA, where there’s no viable way for most tourists to visit the city’s many attractions by bike.

Apparently, Pakistani bike riders need a helmet with front and rear cams, blind spot detection, brake lights, turns signals, Bluetooth and WiFi, and built-in GPS. But no word on whether it will actually protect your head if you fall off your bike.

An Aussie driver’s grandmother says he just made a mistake and he’s terribly sorry for fleeing the scene after killing a bike rider. Which makes it all okay, of course.

 

Finally…

It takes a real loser to slap a six-year old in the face in a dispute over a bicycle. Sometimes it’s nice just to ride your bike and fiddle around.

And congratulations, you are now superfluous.

 

Morning Links: Bike collisions down across LA, hit-and-runs up in IE, and special offer on a new lighted backpack

How about some good news for a change?

According to LAPD statistics presented at yesterday’s bike liaison meeting, bike-involved collisions are down dramatically throughout Los Angeles compared to this time last year.

  • 49% reduction in bike collisions in the Valley Traffic Division, with serious injuries down 83%
  • 18% reduction in bike collisions in the Central Traffic Division
  • 30% reduction in bike collision in the South Traffic Division
  • No stats were available from West Traffic.

No reason was given for the sudden improvement in bike safety; as one officer said, it might just be luck.

But it’s a good way to start the year.

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Meanwhile, things aren’t looking as good in the Inland Empire.

Hit-and-run collisions involving pedestrians are up 73% in San Bernardino County and 51% in Riverside County over the last five years, while hit-and-runs involving cyclists are up 34% and 40%, respectively.

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An Anaheim bike rider was critically injured in a collision while crossing South Beach Blvd Thursday evening.

Let’s all hope he’s okay.

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I’m normally not a big fan of the visibility arms race, in which it seems like every rider has to outdo everyone else to capture the attention of drivers.

But this new backpack seems like a great idea.

The Bluetooth-enabled Aster backpack from India’s Lumos Design Technology, currently raising funds on Indiegogo, lights up the night with side and rear LED lights, as well as forward white lights on the front straps. Not to mention turn indicators and automatic brake lights.

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It also functions as a commuter backpack, unfolding completely to provide easy access to your stuff, while offering helmet and U-lock holders, and a detachable shoe compartment.

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And it was designed for use in the US, and product tested right here in California, with feedback from 50 or so riders from the Bay Area.

As a special offer for BikinginLA readers, the first person to pledge at least $75 on the Aster Indiegogo page will also get their Lumos Thrillseeker Solar Daypack, designed to convert sunlight into electricity to charge your USB devices while you ride. Just include “BikinginLA” in the comments when you make your pledge.

But remember, this offer is limited to the first person to make a $75 or higher pledge; there’s no way of knowing if someone may have beaten you to it.

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Local

The LACBC’s Eric Bruins says that as planned, Metro’s proposed transportation tax increase will “build a fantastic system that people won’t feel safe walking and biking to.”

CiclaValley recaps Wednesday’s Traffic Safety Summit in Valley Village.

The LA River is slowly coming back to life in the San Fernando Valley, with plans for a walkway on one side and a bike path on the other.

Monrovia police bust a hit-and-run driver who left a cyclist with minor injuries. Thanks to DreamWaveDave for the link.

The lead guitarist for the band Pennywise is suing Uber after he was doored while riding in Hermosa Beach last year; the passengers stayed to help, but the driver fled.

Bike-friendly Long Beach wants to extend bicycle improvements to the city’s Southeast Area.

The Armenian Youth Federation’s annual Cycle Against Denial will be held in Santa Monica for the first time on April 10th; the event marking the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide had previously been held in the San Fernando Valley.

 

State

San Diego horses can be trained to share trails with bicycles, unlike the ones that use Burbank’s Mariposa bridge, apparently. Maybe they have smarter horses down there.

Temecula’s Sarah Hammer is the first American cyclist to qualify for the Rio Olympics; the multiple silver medal winner hopes her third Olympics will bring gold. Although she may have trouble winning anything if they don’t get the track installed in time.

The OC Register suggests a two-wheeled wine tasting tour through the Santa Barbara wine country.

A Contra Costa county bike rider is under arrest for randomly hitting and blocking people on a local pedestrian pathway.

Sunnyvale’s mayor accepts a student’s challenge to ride a bike to a local high school, and sees first hand what students have to deal with.

San Francisco’s red transit lanes are forcing cyclists out of the right lane and into traffic.

After a speeding tour bus driver crashed into pedestrians and a cyclist in a crowded San Francisco neighborhood, injuring 19 people, police basically say “oops.”

Fremont becomes the latest California city to adopt a Vision Zero plan, while Daly City considers it.

Someone must not like mountain bikers in Folsom Lake. Three riders were forced to take cover when bullets flew over their heads, even after they called out to stop shooting.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on riding during your period. Or maybe gel for your hoo ha would help.

Treehugger says the cargo bike is the new family car.

The Department of DIY strikes in Portland, as someone puts up fake speed limit signs saying 20 is plenty.

A Washington bike commuter suggests it’s your own damn fault if you get hit by a car if you’re wearing dark clothes and not using lights.

Police in my hometown finally make an arrest in the case of the courteous hit-and-run driver who apparently moved a bike and backpack to the curb, but left his victim lying in the street.

A protected bike lane in Nebraska suffers $2,500 in damages when a wrong-way driver plows into the concrete divider. On the other hand, without it, that could have been a bike rider.

When a Pennsylvania man walked over to the local police station to see if they’d found his stolen bike, a bighearted cop dipped into his own pocket to buy him a new one. Thanks to Mike Bike for the heads-up from his home town.

 

International

Bike Radar looks at ambitious mountain bike products that failed big time.

Folding bike maker Brompton calculates it costs the equivalent of $62 a month to store a bike in your London home. Not that you have a London home, of course. And not like they have a vested interest in suggesting you might want a bike that takes up less space.

A British cyclist is riding 1,400 miles across England to collect signatures for the Queen’s birthday card.

A new Irish study says the perception that you’re only riding a bike because you can’t afford a car is slowing efforts to get people out of theirs.

 

Finally…

When police can’t identify the vehicle a piece of plastic came from, the Internet can. If you take your imaginary friend for a ride, does he need his own bike?

And if you’re going to flee the scene after a drunken wreck, maybe it’s best not to be painted gold from head to toe.

 

Morning Links: Rough week for LA bike riders, Streetsie Award celebration, and more sexist bike marketing

Last week was a rough one for LA area cyclists.

Santa Monica police are looking for the hit-and-run driver who rear-ended a bike rider on Ocean Avenue last Wednesday; anyone with information is urged to call Traffic Investigator Jason Olson at 310/458-8954.

An 82-year old cyclist from Marina del Rey was seriously injured when he was hit by a car in Palos Verdes Estates on Friday.

And a bike rider suffered major injuries when he was hit by a UPS truck turning into a driveway in Baldwin Park Friday evening.

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Streetsblog will honor two of their 2015 Streetsie Award winners this Thursday, Santa Monica’s Cyclehop/Hulu for the Breeze bikeshare program, and CA Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

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Specialized builds the bike of the future, sort of.

Yet that doesn’t seem to be the only thing they specialize in, as they somehow resort to the sexist marketing of the past to promote their new e-bike.

Maybe bike companies should be required to hire women to head up their marketing departments so the industry will finally stop shooting itself in the foot.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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German pro cyclist Marcel Kittel says there’s no longer a systematic doping culture in the sport. Then again, that’s what Lance said.

Of course, doping isn’t the only way to cheat; France’s Arnaud Demare is accused of getting a tow from a team car before winning Saturday’s Milan-San Remo race in a tight finish, while the peloton rode through a wall of smoke along the way.

If you have a USA Cycling license, your personal data may have been hacked.

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Former pro Phil Zajicek remains in a medically induced coma after losing an arm when he apparently crossed the center line and crashed into a pickup while riding with a group in Boulder CO; he also sustained facial fractures, broken ribs, a shattered femur and an undisclosed head injury.

A gofundme account has been started to raise $300,000 for his medical care and to support his family.

………

Local

Streetsblog reviews Sunday’s Beach Streets open streets/ciclovía in Long Beach; a commenter calls it more relaxed and less bike-oriented than most CicLAvias. Meanwhile, the Press-Telegram says over 50,000 people turned out to enjoy the day. Which is over twice as many as supposedly attended last year’s far more crowded Culver City to Venice CicLAvia.

Investing in Place and the LACBC call for more funding for walking, biking and safe routes to school in Metro’s proposed transportation sales tax measure.

Joel Epstein writes that density is LA’s destiny, and says a proposed anti-growth measure comes at the wrong time as Los Angeles is embracing its bike, pedestrian and transit-oriented future and putting it’s auto-centric focus in the past.

LA’s Pure Fix offers advice on how to photograph your bike.

You know the new Ovarian Psychos documentary has had an impact when their story reaches Pakistan.

Caught on video: A Long Beach cop walks away when a BMX rider schools him on the law allowing bikes on the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade.

 

State

Orange County’s Transportation Authority has $20 million to invest in boosting bikeways in the county.

The Marines finally got around to releasing some of the mountain bikes that were seized for trespassing on trails crossing the Miramar base in North San Diego, after reaching agreements with the owners.

If you’re still jonesing for open streets, head out to El Centro in the desert north of Mexicali this Saturday.

Unbelievably, Fremont uses Safe Routes to Schools funding to make the street in front of a high school less safe by removing a bike lane to make room for a left turn lane. Update: It turns out the bike lane removal is only temporary during the construction, although using SRTS funding for a turn lane is questionable; thanks to Robert Prinz for the heads-up.

Sausalito continues to struggle with how to deal with bike-riding tourists.

 

National

The AP looks at lax penalties for errant drivers who hit cyclists. About damn time the press finally noticed.

Good idea. An Austin TX company offers e-bike foodie tours of local restaurants.

A Minnesota reporter wonders why the state shouldn’t adopt the Idaho Stop law now if it improves safety for bicyclists, and police aren’t enforcing the law against riding through stop signs as it is. Apparently, a British cardiologist would concur.

Jeffrey Tanenhaus explains why he left his corporate job behind and rode one of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare bikes across the country.

A TV station asks if DC is moving fast enough on bike lanes; local cyclists say not really.

 

International

A new kind of bike rack promises to block bike thieves; since they were installed at a London stadium and park, not a single bike has been stolen. Can we get some here? Pretty please?

After a British bike courier was injured by a distracted hit-and-run driver, he turns to a crowdfunding site to raise money to pay his rent; so far he’s raised over five times the original £300 goal.

An Irish cyclist is injured in yet another anti-bike attack, as someone strung a wire at neck height across a bike bridge. Note to press everywhere: a deliberate attempt to injure or kill someone riding a bike may be many things, but a prank isn’t one of them.

A disabled Indian cyclist tries to crowdfund the money he needs to compete in the Rio Paralympic games.

Israeli cyclists ride in honor of the legendary Gino Bartali, following the route he rode from his home in Italy to the convents of Assisi, where he passed on documents that were hidden in his bike to save Jews in WWII.

A Kiwi website asks if it’s time to reevaluate New Zealand’s and Australia’s mandatory bike helmet laws. Although they may provide some protection from dead kangaroos.

An Aussie feels guilty about the bike he used to get home from a drunken night out, and takes out an ad to find the owner he stole it from.

The next time someone calls for registering bikes and licensing cyclists, remind ‘em that’s the way North Korea does it.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to leave an explosive device on a bike path, make sure police can’t defuse it by simply unscrewing the cap. When you’re riding after dark, try to keep your candles blowing out.

And evidently, they have some very bad swans in Florida.

 

Why Attorneys Tell You To Never Admit Guilt

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

Pocrass Photo 6-15

Immediately after any type of motor vehicle “accident” (bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycle, car), most people have two reactions: 1.) to blame the other person or 2.) to say “I’m sorry; it was my fault.” As a personal injury lawyer, I counsel people to NEVER admit guilt after a crash of any type. Whether you are or are not liable, I guarantee such a statement will come back to bite you in ways you never expected.

The most important reason for not admitting guilt, which is, in legal terms, admitting liability, is because you probably don’t really know the cause of the collision.

Example: We recently had a client who was in a Santa Monica bicycle collision. He came up to a four-way stop and rolled slowly through it, getting halfway through intersection. Meanwhile, an 80-something-year-old woman drove up to the intersection, stopped, and went, hitting our client in the intersection.

During the deposition, the woman insisted that she never saw anyone or anything in the intersection. (I admit, I laughed inside at the insurance company lawyer’s expression.) The insurance company settled for a five-figure settlement.

This was an unusual situation, but the point is, you really don’t know exactly what the complete cause of your bike collision is, and, therefore, who is liable. Yes, you might be partially liable if you do not follow the rules of the road, but there may be extenuating circumstances that contributed to the collision. These could be:

  • Road Design: the road or signage was not designed well, maintained, in disrepair, or missing.
  • Product Liability: your bike or the other vehicle could have defective parts or been repaired, maintained, or manufactured incorrectly.
  • Other Driver: also might not be following the rules of the road.

If any of these conditions exist, your case — even if you are partially liable for the collision — could allow me as your bike lawyer to argue for comparative liability.

California recognizes comparative liability, which states that each party might hold some responsibility for the collision. If your case were to go to trial, the judge or jury decides IF each party is liable for the collision and, if so, what percentage of liability each party is responsible for.

Consider this hypothetical situation: You are riding your bike at night. You have no lights on your bike. As you ride past a parked car, the driver opens his door and you are “doored.” You suffer serious personal injuries and your bike is trashed. The case goes to a jury trial.

The jury decides that because you were riding at night without lights — clearly against the law — you are partially liable for the collision. They may determine that you are 10% responsible and the driver is 90% liable. In that situation, if they awarded you a $100,000 verdict, you would receive $90,000 from the driver’s insurance company rather than the full $100,000.

Once you have admitted guilt at the scene (or in follow up conversations with the other driver’s insurance company), it becomes more difficult for your attorney to argue comparative negligence. It also means that it is more likely that the insurance company will either refuse to settle or low-ball its offer.

Trials are always more expensive in cost and in time than settlements, so if a fair settlement is possible, that is the more desirable route. (Of course you wouldn’t say THAT to an insurance company either because if it thinks you’re not prepared to go to trial you’re back to them either refusing to settle or low-balling their offer. It’s all a chess game with serious consequences for you.)

I have a friend who is a criminal attorney. He once told me the most difficult part of his job is trying to undo what his clients have told the police. As a civil attorney, I understand. It is very difficult to “unring a bell.” So, please, don’t admit liability or guilt. Let us sort that out later.

 

Jim Pocrass TrimmedFor 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 [email protected], or visit www.pocrass.com.

 

 

Guest post: Detailed analysis of 2013 bike collisions in the City of Angels

Now the study is complete.

A few weeks ago, long-time LA bike advocate Dennis Hindman wrote a detailed analysis of the city’s bike-involved collisions, based on partial data for the year 2013. 

Now he has finished his analysis of every bike collision listed in the state’s SWITRS traffic collision database last year.

The results are eye opening, and should give insight on how safety efforts should be directed for the greatest impact.

Or better yet, no impact between cyclists and motor vehicles. 

But let’s be clear about one thing.

As impressive as Hindman’s study is, it shouldn’t be up to a single person, or organization, to analyze how collisions occur on our streets. 

It should be the responsibility of our city government. Because if they don’t know how these collisions happen, they have no idea how to prevent them. 

And traffic safety shouldn’t be left to guesswork. 

……..

I have finally completed a list of all the types of 2,421 bicycle involved collisions that were reported by the LAPD in 2013. This was mainly done by just manually counting them. All of these collisions involved injuries.

There were 2,597 pedestrian involved collisions with motor vehicles and 2,277 for bicyclists (some of the reported 2,421 bicycle collisions for the year did not involve motor vehicles). Eighty of those pedestrian involved collisions were fatalities and fifteen were fatalities for bicyclists. There was one bicyclist collision with a train that was fatal. That brings the total reported collision fatalities for bicyclists reported by the LAPD at 16 for 2013.

Bicyclists riding the wrong way are 569 of the collisions. Drivers turning right were involved in 239 (42%) of these collisions. I did not count all the different ways the collisions occurred in this case since the bicyclists were not traveling in the correct direction. Its rather obvious from the raw data that the main danger when riding the wrong way is motor vehicles turning right.

A bicyclist will sometimes ride through a crosswalk in the opposite direction of motor vehicle traffic. From what I have observed, a motorist turning right will frequently just look to their left to see if a motor vehicle is coming and not to their right before proceeding.

Subtracting the wrong way riders from the total leaves 1,852 bicycle involved collisions.

From experience I know that the vast majority of bicyclists are riding between the parked motor vehicles and the front right quarter panel of moving vehicles. Few are riding directly in front of moving motor vehicles in the middle of the moving lane. Since that’s where most of the bicyclists are riding, then it would make sense that most of the collisions would involve cyclists riding in that position on the road. That does not necessarily mean that it is much more dangerous to be riding this way.

The following information does not include the raw collision data of wrong way bicycle riders.

According to some bicycle riders, the danger of being right hooked by drivers is greatly increased when you ride between the parked vehicles and moving vehicles because drivers are much less likely to see you there compared to riding directly in front of them in the middle of the motor vehicle lane. I counted almost as many collisions for bicyclists with motor vehicles turning left (326), as there were for motor vehicles turning right (337). It would appear that drivers tend to not see the bicyclist when turning in either direction before colliding with them.

Parked cars are also sighted as a major hazard by those advocating riding in the middle of motor vehicle lanes. I counted 155 collisions involving bicyclists and parked motor vehicles. I don’t know how many of these involved doors swinging open in front of the bicyclists.

If that sounds particularly hazardous, there were also 55 bicycle collisions with motor vehicles stopped, 125 sideswipes, 16 collisions involving drivers backing up, 7 drivers slowing and the bicyclist hitting them, 6 improper passes by drivers, 5 drivers parking, 17 unsafe driving speed, 72 rear end collisions, 23 lane changes by drivers and 20 lane changes by a bicyclist. That’s 346 collisions. Well over double the amount of bicycle collisions involving parked motor vehicles.

Another argument against riding to the right of moving vehicles and next to parked vehicles is the danger from cars exiting driveways. There were 78 bicycle involved collisions with motor vehicles entering traffic. I presume those to have mainly occurred due to vehicles pulling away from the curb, exiting driveways and freeway off-ramps. Adding this to the parked vehicle collisions still doesn’t come close to the amount of other types of collisions I mentioned above.

There were also 20 head-on collisions where the direction of travel was either E/W or N/S and 367 collisions where both driver and bicyclist were heading straight (typically intersections) but in different directions (not head-on).

Drivers making a U-turn collided with bicyclists 12 times and 3 U-turns by bicyclists involved a collision with a motor vehicle.

Four collisions involved bicycles passing motorists and 6 were unsafe turns by bicyclists.

Bicyclists entering traffic involved 104 collisions.

Right turns by bicyclists were 25 of the collisions and left turns 47.

LAPD reported 29 pedestrian collisions with bicycles. No pedestrian was killed.

Bicyclists hitting an unknown object, slipping and falling or hitting a pothole involved 39 injury reported collisions.

Bicyclist involved in a collision with another bicyclist was reported 7 times.

There were 12 collisions where the primary factor was unknown.

There was one case where a bicyclist hit the driver and the driver (88 years old) was the only one with an injury and also one collision where the passenger of the vehicle was the only one who had an injury when it involved a bicycle rider.

Lastly, a bicyclist injury occurred from colliding with an animal.

My total count is larger than the 2,421 bicycle involved collisions due to counting such things as entering traffic, turning by bicycles and motorists separately for each collision. Each collision could involve a turn by both bicycle and motorist or entering  traffic and a turn.

The variety of types of collisions reinforces to me that the Dutch safety principle of separation by mass, speed and direction when possible is the way to go to improve safety. Bicycle riders should not be mixed with motor vehicles that have a much greater mass and are going at a much greater average speed than the bicyclist.

Having more than one motor vehicle lane in each direction on a street increases the likelihood of a higher motorist speed, increases the chance of lane change and also increases the possibility that the driver will get distracted by all of the different actions going on around them. That’s why the Dutch national Crow manual for bicycle infrastructure advises to have a cycle track or bike path built if there is more than one motor vehicle lane in each direction on a street.

……..
Hindman followed-up with a look at the bicycling fatalities reported to the state for 2013 in the city of LA.

Here’s a list of the 16 reported bicycle collision fatalities by the LAPD in 2013 and the primary factors for the collisions:

  • 1-bicyclist unsafe speed
  • 1-driver unsafe speed. Both driver and bicyclist headed west. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-train
  • 2-parked vehicle
  • 1-driver alcohol/drugs. Both driver and bicyclists headed east. Three bicyclists involved.
  • 1-driver alcohol/drugs. Both driver and bicyclist headed east.
  • 1-driver headed east/bicyclist headed north.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver moving south/bicyclist headed west. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed west/bicyclist headed south. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed south/bicyclist headed west.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed north/bicyclist headed west.
  • 1-stop sign/signal. Driver headed south. Direction of travel for bicyclist not indicated. Bicyclist 90 years old. Hit and run driver.
  • 1-unknown primary collision factor. Both driver and bicyclist making left turn.
  • 1-right turn driver/bicyclist entering traffic.
  • 1-right turn driver/bicyclist proceeding straight.

This shows some of the wide variables in collisions. A bicyclist cannot avoid all of these situations. A barrier between the bicyclist and driver would decrease the potential for drivers and bicyclist to hit each other when changing lanes, rear-end collisions or merging. Removing the parked vehicles from arterial streets or a buffer between the bicyclist and parked vehicles would reduce some of the conflicts. Different signal phases for bicyclists/pedestrians and drivers at the intersections would decrease the potential conflicts further.

……..

Thanks to Dennis Hindman for caring enough about your safety and mine to assume this responsibility himself.

 

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

Evidently, it’s our fault.

Mostly, anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

Local

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

What to do when the road rages and bumpers bite — part 2

I thought I knew what to do if I was ever in a cycling collision.

I was wrong.

Yesterday I wrote about defusing a road rage incident, based on what I learned as a result of my own run in with a raging driver. A case in which I did just about everything wrong, costing me any chance of a settlement — as well as blowing any shot at a criminal prosecution.

Hopefully, it’s something you’ll never run into. But if you ever find yourself sprawled on the pavement looking up a looming bumper, maybe you can avoid making the same mistakes I did.

After all, it’s so much more fun to make your own.

Let the driver leave.

No, seriously. After knocking me to the pavement, the driver who hit me started to flee the scene. So I jumped up and blocked her from driving off until she finally turned off the engine and got out of the car.

Wrong move. Not only did I put myself at risk of getting hit a second time, it might have been better if she had run away. Police usually take a hit-and-run far more seriously than they do a mere traffic accident, even if you say it was road rage. Hopefully, any driver would have enough decency to stick around, but if not, just note the license number and get out of the way.

Don’t move anything until you have to.

First, make sure you’re out of traffic or that someone is directing cars around you. Then ignore the people who tell you to move it, and leave your bike exactly where it is. And try to keep the driver from moving his car, as well.

Both are now evidence, and the relative positions between them could help show what really happened. Move either one before the police tell you to, and you’ve eliminated a key part of the puzzle. Or at the very least, pull out your camera phone and take photos of everything before anyone moves anything. Trust me, you’ll need them once the lawyers get involved.

Shut the hell up.

This isn’t a bike ride anymore; it’s a legal case. Who was at fault has yet to be determined — and you are just as likely to be blamed as the driver who hit you, if not more. So remember that anything you say can, and probably will, be used against you.

In my case, I tried to attract attention and keep the driver from fleeing the scene by yelling that she’d tried to kill me. But someone told the police that I’d threatened to kill her, instead. As a result, they refused to give me her contact information — and threatened me with arrest if I tried.

So make sure everyone else is okay. Exchange information. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Listen closely if the driver or passengers say anything, and write it down if you can find a pen and paper. But keep your own lips zipped until it’s time to talk with the investigating officer.

You’re the victim. So act like it.

As soon as the driver got out of her car, she screamed that it was my fault for being in her way. So I found myself yelling back to defend myself against my attacker. Or at least, that’s how it felt from my perspective.

But as bystanders began to arrive, what they saw was a grown man yelling at a middle-aged woman — with no knowledge that she had just used her car as a weapon to run me down. So guess which one they felt sorry for?

I’m not suggesting that you lie or exaggerate. But how sympathetic you seem to the bystanders will determine whose side they’re on — and could influence what they tell the police.

Never refuse medical care

The fact is, you probably are hurt. But you may not know it yet, as the adrenalin and endorphins flooding your brain mask any pain.

So when the paramedics ask if you want to go to the hospital, the answer is always yes. The charges the driver may face will depend largely on the severity of your injuries, as will any future settlement you might receive. And the police will take the case more seriously if they know you’ve been injured.

I refused transportation to the hospital, so the official police report said I was uninjured. And that never changed, even after I was diagnosed with a broken arm and permanent vascular damage.

Be prepared for bias

As I waited for the police to arrive, I was surprised to hear bystanders, who had no idea what happened, say it was my fault because those aggressive, arrogant cyclists never obey the law.

But I was shocked to hear similar comments come from the supposedly impartial officer conducting the investigation. Even though I was stopped at a stop sign when she hit me, the driver claimed I’d run the stop sign and fell over while turning onto the cross street. The investigating officer said he believed her because “all you guys run stop signs.”

Expect to explain the evidence

The simple fact is, many, if not most, police officers don’t receive adequate training in investigating bike accidents. So chances are, they may miss or misinterpret key evidence proving who was really at fault.

In my case, the officers didn’t understand that it wasn’t possible to fall to my left while making a high-speed right turn, as the driver had claimed. And they didn’t grasp that the imprint of the chainwheel on my calf could only have occurred if my foot was firmly planted on the ground at the time of impact. So be prepared to walk them through the evidence. But don’t be surprised if they don’t believe you.

Don’t take no for an answer

This was probably the biggest mistake I made. After conducting their investigation, the lead officer said it was a “he said, she said” situation, and let the driver go without a ticket or charges — then tried to intimidate me by saying I could be charged with filing a false police report if I continued to argue with their decision.

It worked.

So I settled for an incomplete and inconclusive police report that virtually eliminated any chance of justice, financial or otherwise. What I should have done — and what you should do in a similar situation — was insist on talking to a supervisor and demanding a fair and unbiased examination of the evidence.

And if you still don’t get satisfaction, call the station and ask to talk to the watch commander.

Maybe if enough of us do, things will start to change.

Update: The LAPD now has four bike liaisons representing each of the four Traffic Divisions. You can find their email addresses — which is the best way to contact them — on the Resources page.

One more bit of advice.

Since my road rage incident, I’ve taken to wearing a helmet cam and recoding all the time I spend riding in traffic. It may look silly, and it may be awkward and inconvenient, but it’s your best way to prove what really happened in any traffic situation.

If nothing else, you’ll end up with lots of stupid driver tricks to post on YouTube.

 

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