Tag Archive for bicycling collisions

Morning Links: Insurance owes squat if a hit-and-run driver misses, more on SB 986, and more kindhearted cops

Bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen uncovers an insurance loophole that victimizes hit-and-run victims a second time.

In a piece he penned for a law journal, Cohen points out that insurance companies aren’t required to pay for hit-and-run crashes caused by drivers if the car doesn’t actually make contact with the victim.

He illustrates it with the story of a bike rider who was forced into a stopped car by an inattentive driver.

The client pulled into the number two lane behind the last car stopped. He intended to pass the bus and vehicles stopped behind it in the number one lane once the traffic light turned green. The light turned green. Suddenly the client heard a car accelerate toward him from behind. The driver behind him did not notice him and was bearing down on him. The driver’s car came within inches of the client. The client took his last clear chance and veered back into the lane to his right. He got injured when he crashed into the stopped car to his right.

The driver of the car that caused the crash recognized he was at fault. He pulled over, took out his driver’s license and insurance card, and waited. An ambulance came and took the client away. The police never came. The offending driver left the scene, rendering the case a hit and run. But not exactly: there was no hit. It was a near-miss and run.

The victim’s insurance company denied his claim under the uninsured motored coverage on his policy, which requires actual physical contact — despite the state’s three-foot passing law.

Cohen says the easy and obvious solution is to remove the physical contact clause from the state’s uninsured motorist statute, saying it places an undue burden on vulnerable users.

Sounds right to me.

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While we’re on the subject of bad laws, a lawyer writing for the prestigious National Law Review warns that careless wording in California’s proposed SB 986 could put pedestrians at risk if drivers are allowed to legally roll through red lights to make right turns. CiclaValley takes up the subject, as well.

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More kindhearted cops.

LA County sheriff’s deputies team up to replace a bike stolen from a 41-year old San Dimas man with Down’s Syndrome. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Minneapolis police arrange for a new bike for a ten-year old boy whose bicycle was stolen by an older kid who punched him in the face.

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Spoiler alert: We’re going to talk about the men’s and women’s road races from the Rio Olympics. So if you still have them on your DVR or waiting to download, skip down to the next section.

Broken-hearted American Mara Abbott just missed a medal as she was caught by three riders within sight of the finish line, as Holland’s Anna van der Breggen took gold.

Abbott had been riding with Annemiek van Vleuten when the Dutch rider suffered a horrific crash; as of Sunday night, van Vleuten was in intensive care with a fractured spine, though Dutch officials said she was okay and conscious.

Belgian cyclist Greg van Avermaet took the gold in the men’s race after leaders Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao hit the pavement less than seven and a half miles from the finish line on the road course’s crappy pavement.

Australian Ritchie Porte is out of the time trial after breaking his shoulder in Saturday’s race, while Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali will have surgery for a broken collarbone. Rwandan team captain Adrien Niyonshuti failed to finish, blaming his bike for the early exit.

Meanwhile, American Andrew Talansky entered the final stage of the Tour of Utah with the lead, but ended up losing the race to Aussie Lachlan Morton.

As Deadspin says, cycling is cruel.

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Local

After years of promises, Wilshire Blvd finally gets new pavement and buffered bike lanes through the Condo Canyon area formerly known as “the gauntlet” for its speeding cars and bad pavement, connecting with the existing one whole block of bike lanes east of Beverly Glen. Odd that we’re told that Westwood Blvd has too much traffic and too many buses for bike lanes, while Wilshire gets bike lanes despite having far more of both.

Fallen cyclist and music teacher Rod Bennett lives on in his music at Santa Clarita’s LA SummerFest, even if no one showed up to listen.

Long Beach plans for greater density, sidewalks and bike lanes along an industrial stretch of PCH.

An 18-year old Long Beach man could be 26 before he rides a bike again after using his in a string of cellphone thefts.

 

State

A Redlands couple are halfway through a 10,000 mile tandem ride around the US.

After a 21-year old Chico woman was killed riding her bike, her parents find a bucket list in her bedroom and decide to live it out for her.

 

National

Bicycling talks with President Obama’s bike commuting chief of staff.

Missed this one last week, as CNN says distracted driving goes way beyond mere texting. Thanks to Victor Bank for the link.

A competitor in the Boulder CO Ironman was killed when she was struck by a car during the bicycling portion of the race. The course was not closed to motor vehicles, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look up and see there’s a damn race going on. Thanks to Penny Sputh for the tip.

A Denver bike cop credits his helmet with saving his life when he was run down by a driver who was having a seizure nearly two years ago; the driver got six years in a halfway house for failing to disclose his condition when applying for a driver’s license.

One of the benefits of putting cops on bikes is their ability to respond quickly, as demonstrated by the El Paso bike cops who arrested a bank robber while he was still at the teller window.

Cyclists ride outside the White House to “bike around the bomb” on the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing; they were joined by people riding around the Sepulveda basin here in LA.

 

International

An Edmonton, Canada bike rider accepts an apology from the driver who got out of his car to hurl a racial slur. Somehow, we’re all expected to believe the man was deeply remorseful, and not just trying to prove to the world he’s not really a racist after the video went viral. Not to mention avoid prosecution.

Caught on video: A London cyclist somehow manages to ignore the driver hurling obscenity-laced abuse at him.

Caught on video too: Another London bike rider learns the hard way not to splash water in the face of a driver he was arguing with, when the driver swerves into him and forces him into oncoming traffic. Similar to my greatest lesson, which was never flip off the driver behind you. For reasons which should be painfully obvious, and for which I still have the scars.

One Direction’s Harry Styles is one of us, as he takes to the streets of London on a classic Raleigh tri bike.

An Indian writer says bike commuting hasn’t caught on because owning a car is a symbol of moving from poverty into the middle class in the developing country.

An Israeli reporter asks the US State Department if Israel should pay a Palestinian girl $100 for the bicycle that border guards took from her and tossed into the bushes. Seriously, is this even a question? Just buy the girl a new bike, already.

Aussie motorcyclists are beating traffic by illegally using suburban bike paths, putting bicyclists and pedestrians at risk.

An Australian paper says new studies suggest being visible is less important than whether drivers are actively looking for people on bikes, giving more support to the safety in numbers theory.

Once again, police crack down on the victims, as Hong Kong police respond to recent bicycling deaths by chasing down law breaking bike riders.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to get high and shitfaced drunk, try not to stop your bicycle in the middle of a traffic lane in front of a school bus. Pro cyclists may not have better legs than you do, just better brains.

And no, you can’t actually live tweet an Olympic road race while you’re competing in it.

 

Morning Links: An in-depth look at PCH bike wrecks, helmets make you blow up balloons, and they’re onto us

Let’s take a look at one of Southern California’s most popular riding routes.

And one of the most dangerous.

Ed Ryder* has taken a remarkable look at bicycling collisions on the coast highway, sifting through 12 years of SWITRS data complied by the CHP from 2004 through September, 2015. And by whatever name it’s known as it winds through San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, whether Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Highway 1, Route 1, Coast Highway or Route 101.

Although you’d think someone, somewhere, would have the good sense to pick one name and stick with it.

As Ryder is quick to point out, local police agencies report injury collisions to SWITRS on a voluntary basis, which means it’s likely that some collisions don’t get reported, and therefore aren’t included in the database. In addition, data is still coming in from the years 2013-2015.

So all of these stats should be read as “at least;” actual figures may be higher. And the quality of information is only as good as what was included in their report.

Types of collisions involved in Ryder’s study include

  • bike vs. car
  • bike vs. bike
  • bike vs. pedestrian
  • bike vs. fixed/movable object
  • bike vs. animal

PCH-Chart-1

So let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

The most common type of wrecks were

  1. broadside collision, 34%
  2. undefined “other,” 23%
  3. sideswipe, 11%
  4. rear end, 9%
  5. striking an object, 8%,
  6. overturned, 6%
  7. collision with a pedestrian, 3%
  8. not stated, 3%
  9. head-on, 3%

The relatively low ranking of the last one may be due in part to the divided design of the highway in many places. And as he notes, when “other” and “not stated” reflect a combined 26% of the totals, it makes it hard to come up with solutions to prevent them.

PCH-Chart-4

Surprisingly, Malibu isn’t the most dangerous city for cyclists on the highway; even when combined with Los Angeles, they only rank second to Newport Beach, which is far and away the riskiest place to ride a bike on the coast highway. Only one city from San Diego County made the top ten.

  1. Newport Beach, 27%
  2. Long Beach, 16%
  3. Huntington Beach, 15%
  4. Los Angeles, 10%
  5. Malibu, 8%
  6. Encinitas, 7%
  7. Laguna Beach, 5%
  8. Oceanside, 5%
  9. Seal Beach, 4%
  10. Redondo Beach, 3%

PCH-Chart-3

Not surprising, however, is who or what is hitting people on bikes, or vice versa. The only surprise is that trucks rank so low on the list.

  1. Moving cars, 74.6%
  2. Solo crashes, 12%
  3. Other riders, 5.7%
  4. Parked vehicle, 3%
  5. Motorcycles, 1.8%
  6. Pedestrians, 1.8%
  7. Trucks, 0.8%

PCH-Chart-4

The good thing is it seems to be getting a little better out there.

PCH-Chart-5

As you would expect based on the earlier chart, Orange County leads the way in bike-involved collisions on the highway, followed closely by Los Angeles County.

PCH-chat-1a

Where fault was assigned, drivers got most of the blame in OC, and cyclists in LA, which could reflect the long-assumed windshield bias of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. San Diego County found more bike riders at fault, but blame was more evenly distributed than in the other two counties.

PCH-Chart-County

And with just a few exceptions, bicyclists were most likely to get the blame, regardless of the type of collision; only in the case of sideswipes were drivers most likely to be found at fault.

PCH-Chart-6

On the other hand, you’re more likely to be the victim of a hit-and-run in LA County.

PCH-Chart-Hit-And-Run

There’s a lot more information in the report — 30 pages worth, in fact. All of it fascinating.

And all of it should be required reading for city and county officials, and anyone else concerned with improving bike safety on one of Southern California’s most scenic and vital riding routes.

You can download the full report here.

*Ed Ryder describes himself as just another bike rider who would like to help make our transportation infrastructure safer for the variety of people who use it, by providing decision makers quality quantitative information with which informed decisions can be made.

Update: An earlier version of this piece mistakenly relied on a previous draft of Ryder’s report, that has been updated to reflect the latest draft.

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A new study shows that if you wear a bike helmet, you’re more willing to over-inflate a balloon than if you wear a cycling cap. And somehow, extrapolates that to mean you’ll take more chances riding your bike, too.

Sure, let’s go with that.

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They’re on to us, comrade.

A writer with a severe case of windshield perspective in convinced bicycle riding is just a series of microaggressions stemming from our hatred automobiles and fossil fuels, and designed to physically obstruct traffic.

Never mind that most cyclists drive cars, as well.

All because bike riders in Minneapolis have called for lowering the speed limit a whole 5 mph in order to improve safety for everyone, including those behind the wheel.

Maybe he’d feel better if he got out of his car a little more.

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Local

A meeting will be held at 6 pm tonight at Venice High School to discuss LA’s Westside Mobility Plan. Show up to demand the bike lanes we were promised on Westwood Blvd, and other key routes in West LA.

LADOT Bike Blog offers a detour guide to get around the closures on the LA River bike path. If it looks complicated, don’t worry. It is.

The LACBC looks at how much bike and pedestrian funding is needed in a proposed transportation sales tax ballot measure, while Damien Newton talks with active transportation advocate Jessica Meaney about efforts to ensure the tax would be used to create stronger communities and address regional mobility needs.

West Hollywood moves forward with plans for putting bike lanes on Fairfax Ave between Fountain and Willoughby.

Better Bike reports the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills voted to make updating the city’s 1977 Bike Master Plan a priority for this year. The old plan, which was never implemented, called for routing bike riders through alleys in the downtown district.

Bike SGV is hosting a free two hour bike commuting and safety class this Saturday.

 

State

The Cal Health Report says, despite the Governor’s lofty rhetoric about climate change, his new budget focuses almost totally on cars and does virtually nothing to promote active transportation.

Family members remember Sidney Siemensma as someone who practically lived for bicycling, a day after his body was found on an Irvine bike path, the apparent victim of a homicide.

The madness continues in Coronado, where the city’s mayor refuses to do anything to improve safety on a dangerous street in apparent fear of self-multiplying traffic signals.

A Victorville bike shop lost nearly $13,000 of high-end bicycles in a burglary.

A judge rules 61 Santa Rosa homeowners have the right to ban bikes, but not pedestrians, from a pathway through their private development.

As expected, San Francisco’s mayor has vetoed the city’s proposed Idaho stop law; the SF Chronicle says it was the right move. Meanwhile, a state legislator tries to make running red lights more legal for motorists. Evidently, stop means stop only if you’re on a bike.

 

National

Bicycling says badass bike patches are back, and recommends five breeds of trail dogs for your next off-road excursion.

A new mountain bike advocacy group forms to fight for access to federal wilderness areas.

Good news from Colorado, as the USA Pro Challenge will go on as planned this year. Evidently, the Challenge refers to finding funding to support the popular, but money-losing race.

Boulder CO councilmembers demand more safety data before transportation officials install street treatments, only to remove them later.

Now that’s more like it. A bike shop in my hometown applies for a beer and wine license to serve suds to their customers.

People for Bikes says the Missouri proposal to require a 15-foot fluorescent flag on all bikes isn’t as funny as you think. I never thought it was funny, myself; idiotic, perhaps, but not funny.

A New York alternative transportation group says the city isn’t doing enough to stop traffic deaths, and at the current rate, won’t meet it’s Vision Zero goals until at least 2055.

A Baltimore letter writer says a recently painted bike lane won’t keep riders safe as long as it forces riders to switch lanes 15 times in 1.2 miles as it moves back and forth to accommodate parking.

 

International

Victoria BC merchants oppose bike lanes on a key street if it means the loss of parking spaces. Because as we all know, customers never, ever arrive on bicycles, and bike riders never spend money anywhere.

A Quebec coroner calls for side guards on trucks and more bike boxes, as well as making riders aware of the dangers of riding into a truck’s blind spot.

A writer for the Guardian wonders why Rapha is the brand so many riders love to hate. Meanwhile, another writer considers the propriety of wearing Lycra into the office following your commute.

Caught on video: Evidently running out of things to be offended by, the British press is shocked! shocked! when a bike courier goes on a profanity-laced tirade at the cab driver who ran over his bicycle — two months ago. As the owner of another currier service pointed out, while his reaction may have been over the top, the rider had a right to be upset since it could have been him under the van.

The former Governator plans to ride the streets of Edinburgh before attending a $2100 per plate black-tie dinner.

A tech website looks at Norway’s 450-foot long bike elevator.

 

Finally…

Your next bike shorts could tell you when you’re doing it wrong. You’re the reason they’re having trouble developing driverless cars.

And a Burbank burglary suspect kindly puts herself where bike thieves belong.

 

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