Tag Archive for bicycling

Morning Links: LA sheriff’s agree PCH cyclists belong in the lane; women could race in 2015 Pro Challenge

Don’t tell Seth Davidson.

But he’s rapidly turning into one of Southern California leading bike advocates.

After meeting with the police chief of Santa Paula on Friday, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, in the aftermath of the recent anti-bike You Tube fiasco, the author of Cycling in the South Bay followed up with Sunday’s Sheriff’s Department ride-along on PCH.

Along with members of Big Orange Cycling, Davidson organized a demonstration of why large groups of cyclists belong in the traffic lane, riding abreast, rather than hugging the curb or weaving in and out of the lane while riding single-file.

In a result that should surprise no one, with the possible exception of most motorists and many law enforcement personnel, the deputies agreed that riding abreast in the lane was far safer than the other alternatives, and posed fewer problems for the drivers around them.

Which means that riders on PCH can expect fewer unfair and unfounded tickets for violating the requirement in CVC 21202 to ride as far to the right as practicable, which doesn’t apply on non-sharable lanes.

And the deputies agreed that the right lane of PCH is too narrow for a bike to safely share with a motor vehicle. Especially once the new three-foot passing law goes into effect in September.

As he points out, this is less a victory than a step in the right direction.

But it’s a damn big step.

And we all owe Seth, and the other riders involved, a round of thanks for fighting for our rights and helping them take it.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

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Now that Kazakhstan-based Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali has won it, the Central Asian country wants to host the Tour de France. After a fan lost his helmet cam while filming stage three of the Tour, Europcar rider Kevin Reza films himself finishing the stage, then returns it to the owner. A team founded by Jock Boyer, the first American TdF rider, hopes to be the first all-African team to compete in the race. Jens Voigt looks back on the last of his 17 Tours.

And following the successful Le Course women’s race at the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge may consider letting women race next year.

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Local

A Freedom of Information request confirms an LAPD officer had no basis to claim bike lanes would delay emergency response times on North Figueroa, despite what he said during a sham hearing put on Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

CicLAvia is working on a route through several cities in southeast LA County for spring of 2016.

A new urban cycling bike shop is opening in Santa Monica, with a pre-grand opening happy hour on Wednesday.

Two Long Beach riding groups will meet Wednesday to discuss how to get more women riding in the city.

 

State

The Palm Springs area could get its own bike share program.

Mountain View is looking for a new Mobility Coordinator. I’ll take the job if I can do it from here.

 

National

A six-year old Portland girl makes her own sign criticizing the thief who stole her father’s bike.

My already bike-friendly Colorado hometown is getting buffered bike lanes.

Red Kite Prayer remembers mountain bike framebuilder Tom Teesdale, who died of a heart attack during Iowa’s RAGBRAI.

A question I’ve often asked myself — should you speak up when you see someone riding in a risky manner?

New York’s Citi Bike is cheaper than other transportation options, and faster than most.

 

International

Moving story of yet another bicycling visitor to this county whose life was cut short by an American driver; this time a young Toronto man run down outside Memphis.

The son of a fallen cyclist asks London’s mayor to stop promoting bicycling in an unsafe city.

A new Indian concept bike could fit in a backpack, and be reassembled in just 10 minutes.

Could a single bad decision ruin Tokyo cycling forever?

 

Finally…

A Boston-area cop begs to differ when a rider claims he can’t be arrested for refusing to give his name after running a red light. And a nice story, as LA Sheriff’s transit deputies and support staff buy a new bike for disabled Reseda man after his is stolen from the Chatsworth Orange Line Station. Nice work, guys.

 

Morning Links: DUI drivers get well-deserved extended sentences, and a careful Menifee cyclist mourned

Good news as a couple of outrageous high-profile legal cases come to a conclusion.

A Chula Vista car thief is sentenced to 14 years, 8 months in prison for the death of bike rider David Voigt. Michael Reyes, who was already on probation for car theft and meth possession, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty earlier this year to gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, auto theft, possession of methamphetamine and other charges.

Reyes was behind the wheel of a car he had just stolen after a day of drinking when he crossed onto the wrong side of the road and hit Voigt head-on, killing the husband and father before crashing into a tree and power pole.

And a Colorado woman gets a well-deserved 10 years for killing a cross-country cyclist after falling asleep while driving with cocaine and anti-depressants in her system — while on her way to a court hearing on a previous DUI arrest.

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Menifee remembers fallen cyclist Matt Carp for his caring and passion for riding, while a friend describes him as the safest bike rider he’s ever ridden with.

Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not enough.

Compounding the heartbreak, Carp’s oldest son took his own life following his father’s death, in a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

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As expected, Vincenzo Nibali rode to victory on the Champs Elysees after dominating the Tour de France from the first stage to the last. He says he couldn’t have won without improved drug testing to level the playing field.

Improvements in bike technology are increasing the risk of serious injuries in the peloton. And the legendary Jens Voight calls it a TdF career after 340 stages.

The Wall Street Journal looks at Sunday’s big race in Paris; no, the other one. As expected, Marianne Vos took the inaugural women’s La Course race, as British favorite Lizzie Armistead crashed out near the end. The NY Times notes Vos won a race she worked to get started.

Meanwhile, Brit rider Emma Pooley observes that women’s cycling is an underdeveloped asset.

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Local

Mayor Garcetti promises urban acupuncture to transform the city’s future Great Streets; I know exactly where I’d like to stick the first needle or two.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot offers an insightful response to the recent Times editorial criticizing Councilmember Gill Cedillo’s ill-advised veto of the planned North Figueroa road diet. Two other letter writers, not so much. As often happens, a pair of self-proclaimed bike riders insist no one will ever ride to work or to go shopping simply because they can’t imagine themselves doing it, ignoring the fact that countless others cyclists do it every day.

A sarcastic Burbank letterset decries planned bike lanes on Verdugo, saying it doesn’t matter how many motorists or homeowners are inconvenienced if it placates bike riders. Sounds about right to me.

A Pasadena rider suffers serious head injuries when he’s hit by a car while walking his bike across Los Robles Ave; fortunately, he’s expected to survive. This is why I always prefer to ride rather than walk my bike across an intersection; on foot, you’re a sitting duck.

 

State

A Santa Ana cyclist vows to fight after he’s ticketed for not registering his bike and riding on the sidewalk; several SoCal cities — including LA — cancelled their bicycle registration requirements after police used them to target bike riders.

Newport Beach asks cyclists to comment on the city’s proposed bike plan.

A Riverside cyclist is rescued after intentionally riding his bike off a paved pathway on Mt. Rubidoux.

An Oxnard cop becomes a Facebook hero after he buys a little girl a new princess bike to replace the one she had stolen.

The family of a fallen San Luis Obispo cyclist files suit against the driver who took his life.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offers advice on how to avoid dooring and what to do if it happens anyway.

 

National

People for Bikes asks why don’t more African-Americans ride them?

How to teach anyone to ride a bike in five easy steps.

Remarkably, an Oregon rider is back on his bike after three surgeries for benign brain tumors.

An Indiana man keeps riding at age 83.

A North Carolina rider says every cyclist lives with “the fear.”

 

International

Canada is missing the boat — or rather, the bike — on cycling tourism.

A Vancouver pedestrian suffers a broken back when she’s hit by a speeding cyclist and knocked off a seawall. Seriously, show some extra caution around people on foot; some pedestrians may be clueless, but they’re the only ones more vulnerable than we are out there.

The Guardian follows a single New York Citi Bike around the city for a day; here’s what happened when they tried the same experiment in London.

Yet another young driver tweets about running down bike riders, yet another employer pays the price for her stupidity.

An American cyclist who spent the last two decades circling the globe to promote world peace is killed by a drunk driver near Moscow.

Tokyo looks to London for bicycling inspiration.

 

Finally…

An Indian army officer sets a new record for riding a bike 103 kilometers — 64 miles — with a bottle of water balanced on his head; not surprisingly, there was no old record. And an Illinois bike rider is pleasantly surprised when a cop tickets the tailgating driver behind him. Thanks to my aspiring filmmaker nephew Adam Sputh for the heads-up; if there are any admissions officers for the USC film school reading this, save him a place in the class of 2019.

 

 

BOLO Alert: Trek hybrid stolen in Hollywood area; advice on what to do if your bike is stolen

One thing you can always count on here in LA. No matter where you park your bike, there’s potential thief nearby looking for an opportunity to take it.

Antonio Fernandez learned that the hard way yesterday when his bike was stolen from the hallway of his Hollywood apartment building. The theft most likely occurred sometime late Thursday night or early Friday morning near the intersection of Sunset Blvd and North Poinsettia.

The bike is described as a blue Trek hybrid, year and model unknown, with flat handlebars. The one clear distinguishing feature is a University of Indiana registration stick on the seat tube; not many bikes here in Los Angeles will have that.

If you see the bike, call the LAPD Hollywood Division at 213/972-2971, then email me or leave a comment here and I’ll forward it to Fernandez. Or you can reach him via Twitter @anfed.

Fernandez-bike-1

Fernandez-bike-2

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I’m often asked what to do if your bike gets stolen.

1. Always be prepared by keeping records of all pertinent information, including year, make and model of your bike, serial number and any distinguishing features. I recommend keeping current photos of your bike — including a photo of the serial number — on both your computer and your cell phone. And consider signing up with a bicycle registration service, like Bike Shepherd or the National Bike Registry.

2. Once you discover your bike is stolen, contact the police and file a report. Sometimes they will try to discourage you from filing a theft report, but insist on it. Then send me the details, and I’ll list your bike here.

3. Contact your insurance agent. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, your bike should be covered if the value exceed the deductible.

4. Start scouring Craigslist, eBay and the Penny Saver for any bike that matches the description. And look at other nearby areas; thieves will often move a hot bike out of the area where it’s less likely to be recognized.

5. Visit any local bike shops in the area and ask them to be on the lookout for your bike. Thieves will often take a stolen bike into a shop for repairs or try to sell it.

6. Check out garage sales and street vendors in the area, and keep an eye open for anyone who may be riding your bike or park it on the street. If you see it, call the police and let them deal with it. While there are many stories of people who’ve recovered their own bikes, there are just as many of people who’ve gotten in over their heads; getting your bike back isn’t worth risking your own safety.

 

Morning Links: Woman-less Tour de France is all but over, and way too much national bike news for one day

Nibali demolishes the field on the famed Hautacam, just like that guy Lance used to do, virtually cementing his victory in the Tour de France. Orica-GreenEdge rider Michael Albasini insists he’s not a racist and did not say what they say he said.

The Washington Post notes the total lack of women competing in the Tour de France, other than a token separate but unequal race on the final day. NPR says the Tour is a 2,200 mile test of epic eating.

And an expert says cycling is winning the war on doping, apparently while managing to keep a straight face.

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Local

Plans are underway to improve accessibility to Union Station from surrounding neighborhoods by bike and on foot.

Streetsblog looks at yesterday’s press conference for AB 47, a proposed bill to create an Amber Alert-style warning system for serious hit-and-runs.

The annual Brentwood Gran Prix rolls Sunday, August 3rd, along with an associated community ride to explore the upcoming Expo Line.

Pasadena needs volunteers to test bicycle detection systems at intersections.

Great editorial from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune says smart growth is our future — including bike lanes in LA, Pasadena and other cities in the SGV.

 

State

A San Diego bike rider is seriously injured in a left cross collision, yet the headline puts the blame on the cyclist.

Now that the courts have reaffirmed that the reckless driving statute applies to bikes, San Francisco Streetsblog wonders when the local DA will apply it to drivers.

In a reversal of a bizarre ban, it’s finally legal to park your bike in your own garage in San Francisco.

 

National

A new Portland study says the air is cleaner for bike riders at 11 mph.

Even a platinum-level bike friendly city can be a dangerous place to ride, as a cyclist in my hometown is critically injured by a red light-running driver.

A Colorado hit-and-run driver gets six years for killing an 11-year old pedestrian; the defense says he’s a good boy who only ran away so he could go home and hug his mom. No, really.

An Iowa writer says bicycling helped heal her broken heart.

Despite what some on the far right might claim, bikes aren’t a symbol of anything.

A New York artist asks which kind of cyclist would you be?

Now that’s more like it, as an upstate New York driver faces 25 years to life after being convicted for killing a cyclist in a drunken hit-and-run, then fleeing police with the victim’s body still embedded on his truck.

A five-year old New Orleans boy is lucky to be alive after a brakeless rider slams into him and his two-year old brother.

 

International

Low fence creates a protected bike lane in Beijing.

A Toronto street is a cyclists’ door zone, as doorings increase but prosecutions don’t.

A London tailor creates a breathable, bike to boardroom bespoke suit for cyclists.

Maybe that Dutch cyclist who twice cheated death on doomed Malaysia Airlines flights didn’t after all; no record can be found that he ever bought a ticket for either flight.

 

Finally…

After refusing to apologize to the cop who tried to stop him, salmon cyclist Alec Baldwin has his case scheduled for dismissal if he can just avoid getting arrested for the next six months; good luck with that.

And talk about a great kid, as an eight-year old boy finds a way to include his disabled brother in all three events in a triathlon.

 

Morning Links: Wolfpack Hustle debates bike lanes with John & Ken, and Calbike forms state’s 1st bike PAC

Wolfpack Hustle’s Don Ward — aka Roadblock — debates bike lanes with KFI-640’s bike-hating John and Ken.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to this one myself yet, but knowing Don, it should be well worth the listen. If you can tolerate the willful indignorance of the hosts, anyway. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers constructive criticism of the Times’ pro-bike plan editorial criticizing District 1 councilmember Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa road diet and bike lanes.

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Is there a problem with racism in the Tour de France peloton?

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Local

The Times looks at the proposed law to create a much needed alert system for serious hit-and-runs.

Books on bikes could be coming to Boyle Heights.

Culver City Safe Routes to School hosts a family-friendly Bike, Walk & Scoot Festival this Saturday.

Santa Monica will install new green bike lanes on 2nd Street.

 

State

Calbike forms a political action committee to intervene in elections on behalf of bike riders. Maybe they can finance a recall in CD1.

Costa Mesa police are looking for a bike riding purse snatcher.

A Rialto cyclist is seriously injured in a collision with a dump truck.

Big Bear will host a bike festival and Gran Fondo on upcoming weekends.

The Bay Area’s largest bike festival comes to Oakland.

 

National

Bicycling reviews performance popsicles for cyclists.

New self-powered bike trailer takes the work out of towing.

Portland plans to rely on bicycles in case of disaster.

Evidently, it’s open season on pedestrians and bicyclists in NYC.

New York’s financially troubled Citi Bike is on a the verge of a large cash infusion and expansion.

 

International

Studies from around the world show investing in bicycling pays.

A letter writer says Montreal cyclists put up with a lot from drivers, while another asks what about pedestrians?

A British roadie website offers five reasons to become a cyclist. And then there’s cake.

Designed to be deadly? An Irish girl is the latest child to be impaled by the handlebars of her bike, a so-called freak accident that seems to happen on a regular basis.

Amazing idea, as the Cold War-era Iron Curtain is being turned into a 4,225 mile bike trail. Those of us old enough to remember the bad old days could never have imagined something like this.

Cyclists are trying to claim a piece of the road in Dar es Salaam.

A Brisbane rider looks at mirrors for bike riders.

 

Finally…

A merry band of beery brothers bikes 426 miles through the Colorado Rockies. And caught on video: A truly horrifying first person view of the UK equivalent of a left cross; amazingly, the rider walked away.

 

Morning Links: Reckless driving laws apply to bike riders, too; LA Times comes down hard on Gil Cedillo

No, your bike isn’t a vehicle under California law.

But that may not matter as far as traffic regulations are concerned.

In a case involving an LA cyclist, a Los Angeles appeals court has ruled that the statute prohibiting reckless driving applies to bike riders, as well.

Even though the state defines bicycles as devices, rather than vehicles. And even though the most reckless rider poses far less risk to those around him or her than a reckless driver.

Jorge Velasquez, Jr was over twice the legal limit when he left a Dodger game in April of last year, riding brakeless on the hilly streets. He swerved to avoid a car, and slammed into a jogger while on the wrong side of the road, leaving her in a coma for 10 days with serious facial injuries.

Rather than charging him with biking under the influence, which carries just a $250 fine and no points against the rider’s drivers license, prosecutors charged Velasquez with reckless driving, with a penalty of up to three years in jail.

His public defender argued, reasonably, that the reckless driving statute was specifically written to apply to operators of motor vehicles who act in a manner likely to injure or kill others.

But the court ruled that CVC 21200, which gives cyclists with all the rights and responsibilities of drivers, meant that all traffic laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists — unless the law is specifically written to exclude bicyclists, such as the statue setting separate penalties for riding under the influence.

In some ways, the ruling works to our benefit by reconfirming our right to the road.

If the court had ruled that the reckless driving statute didn’t apply to bikes, it could be argued that other laws that work in our favor don’t either, such as the right to ride on any road where cars are allowed — with the exception of some limited access highways — or to use any lane when appropriate, just as drivers do.

On the other hand, not everyone agrees with the ruling.

Cyclist and Century City attorney Stanley E. Goldich, a frequent contributor to this site, thinks the court missed the mark.

My two cents on the opinion.  I read the prior 1980 Clingenpeel opinion in addition to the ruling of the CA Court of Appeal in the Jorge Velasquez (pdf) matter.  The central question seems to be whether the additional reference to Division 17 in the 1982 amendment to Section 21200 is sufficient to satisfy due process requirements by making clear “to persons of ordinary or common intelligence” that cyclists can be charged with reckless driving of a vehicle under Vehicle Code section 23103 notwithstanding that a bicycle is not a vehicle under the Vehicle Code.

I think in order for cyclists to be subject to prosecution and criminal penalties for reckless driving of a vehicle there needs to be an explicit reference to reckless driving of a vehicle in Section 21200 as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment with the language “driving under the influence of intoxicating liquors or drugs, or the combined influence thereof.”  I don’t think it is sufficiently clear that cyclists are subject to criminal prosecution for reckless driving of a vehicle by the vague reference to Division 17, particularly in light of the last phrase in section 21200 “except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.”  I read this last phrase to mean that cyclists are not subject to punishments for driving of a vehicle because a bicycle in not a “vehicle.”  Certainly, without an explicit reference to reckless driving as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment, there is ambiguity whether the general reference to Division 17 is intended to make cyclists liable for reckless driving of a vehicle.  This general reference does not give fair warning required for criminal statutes. In addition, there are not less severe penalties for bicyclists as was done for driving while intoxicated that takes into account that bicyclists do not pose the same dangers as motorists.

Certainly the actions of Jorge Velasquez in riding a fixed gear bike without a handbrake in traffic after the Dodger game with a blood alcohol level of 2.18 was extremely reckless. However, while he can certainly be prosecuted for biking while intoxicated (and should be subject to civil liability to the pedestrian he hit for his reckless conduct) I don’t think the criminal statute for reckless driving of a vehicle is applicable and criminally charging Velasquez or other cyclists for this violates due process of law. It is also curious that this issue has not arisen in the 32 years after Section 21200 was amended.   I wonder if there have been previous instances where cyclists in CA have been prosecuted for reckless driving of a vehicle. I certainly would welcome having the legislature address this and provide for prosecution of cyclists for reckless bike riding in conjunction with determining an appropriate penalty or penalties as was done with biking while intoxicated.

Unless the California Supreme Court agrees to take up the case, the ruling will now be law throughout the state.

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Red Kite Prayer offers an open letter to now ex-Santa Paula reserve officer Laura Weintraub, saying no, you are not forgiven.

And hat’s off to Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who responds to my post about the whole imbroglio being a teachable moment. And reaches out to a surprisingly receptive Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean; he’ll be meeting with McLean, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, on Friday to help build a better relationship between the department and bicyclists.

I hate to sound like part of a mutual admiration society, but if you’re not reading Seth’s blog, you should be.

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The LA Times Opinion page comes down hard on CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo and his single-handed attempt to derail the already approved road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa.

Unless some demonstrable miscalculation was made in the bike plan, or unless there’s a real safety issue, individual City Council members should not be tinkering with the plan, which was designed carefully with the whole city in mind. Currently, Los Angeles has 337.62 miles of dedicated bike lanes. Cedillo is looking at alternatives to the Figueroa corridor, but the city planners chose these designated routes for specific reasons; nearby streets, they say, won’t work. The idea is to create a seamless network of bike lanes that allow cyclists to travel continuously from one point to another.

It’s a good read, and well worth a few moments of your time. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, KFI’s John and Ken demonstrate how little they know about the subject in this segment from Monday’s show, beginning at roughly the 11-minute mark.

Personally, I didn’t have the stomach for it, tuning out shortly after they disregard studies proving road diets improve safety simply because they choose not to believe them. Life is too short for that kind of indignorant anti-bike drivel; maybe you can tolerate it better than I could. Link courtesy of Erik Griswold.

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After giving up his dream of winning a grand tour, Australia’s Michael Rogers wins Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France. France’s Thomas Voeckler stops mid-race to berate a heckler. And BMC’s Peter Stetina is ready to step up and deliver Tejay van Garderen to a place on the podium; but only if TvG can manage to keep the rubber side down.

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Local

London’s Guardian looks at Nona Varnado and LA Bike Trains.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says new LADOT chief Seleta Reynold’s outside perspective could help overcome LA’s self-defeatist attitude.

Downtown LA could get a new 84-station bike share system and a bike hub at Union Station, courtesy of Metro.

Better Bike looks at three newly approved types of bike facilities and wonders if any will ever come to the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills. Don’t hold your breath.

A Santa Monica bike theft is caught on video; this is why you never secure your bike to a parking meter with a cable lock.

Construction begins on an improved bike route on PCH in west Malibu.

Pedestrian and cycling safety will be a major focus of new Glendale councilmember Paula Devine.

Walk Bike Burbank forms in response to the city’s decision to shelve a planned bike and pedestrian path.

 

State

KCBS-2 looks at last weekend’s Orange County memorial ride to remember fallen cyclists.

A Laguna Beach group proposes a two-way bike path as path of a plan to beautify downtown.

Sonoma County’s bike commuter of the year isn’t who or what you’d expect.

 

National

A new national bike website is for women only.

Even Arizona is driving less and bicycling more.

Lafayette CO police apologize for ticketing a cyclist for riding in a crosswalk, which isn’t against the law in the state.

Even Philadelphia police can be victims of bike theft; the clueless thief abandoned the bike after attempting to sell the clearly marked police bike to someone around the corner.

Not surprisingly, people who live near bike lanes exercise more than people who don’t — although the results may not be immediate.

 

International

Seven innovative ways cities are transforming themselves to improve bicycling.

The Telegraph offers advice on how to avoid common bicycling injuries.

A Kiwi writer calls cars the logical and inevitable solution to cycling injuries and dung-covered streets, and says it’s madness to expect bikes to share roads with cars. Oh, well okay, then.

 

Finally…

When the satirical Bike Lobby twitter account claims credit for two white flags that mysteriously appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge overnight, the media takes them just a little too seriously. And an easily offended Seattle driver assaults a cyclist to defend the honor of another driver. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

 

Morning Links: Famed LA pediatrician dies six months after bike collision; more from Santa Paula police chief

Where do you put the ghost bike for someone who died months after he was hit by a car?

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, when much loved LA pediatrician Paul Fleiss died this past weekend, it was due to complications from injuries he received when he was hit by a car six months earlier.

The father of infamous Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, he reportedly rode with a friend every Sunday until that collision. An earlier story from a Chicago paper — which has since disappeared from online — quoted a family cousin as saying he appeared to have been recovering from his injuries before having difficulty breathing on Saturday.

No word on how or where to collision occurred, or just what injuries the 80-year old rider suffered.

My prayers and condolences for Paul Fleiss and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the heads-up.

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More on the controversy over Santa Paula’s bike-hating — and now dismissed — reserve cop Laura Weintraub, as the city’s police chief responds in the Santa Paula Times.

“The Chief of Police as well as the Santa Paula Police Department did not condone this video and are extremely embarrassed by it. This video did not and does not express the views of the Santa Paula Police Department nor the Chief of Police, Steve McLean,” the agency noted in a Sunday news release…

“Don’t hold us to Ms. Weintraub’s views, period,” McLean added…

“Some people are trying to paint us as anti-this or anti-that, especially bicyclists that we welcome here. We love them here and we treat them well… I don’t think we’ve ever given a recreational bicyclist a ticket ever. We’re fighting crime and drug dealers.”

Santa Paula, said McLean, “Is a friendly town that has made accommodations for bicyclists,” including the Bike Trail where there are racks for riders to park and secure their bikes and visit the downtown.

“I’ve been here a year,” said McLean, “and we’ve never had an incident with a bicyclist…”

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Cities throughout California are bypassing Caltrans to install protected bike lanes, LA included; the state bill to officially legalize such lanes continues to move forward.

Meanwhile, a Delaware study (pdf) shows they’re good for business.

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Local

Even pedestrians aren’t safe from hit-and-run drivers on LA sidewalks.

Meetings will be held tonight, tomorrow and Thursday to help plan how to integrate buses and bikes with the new Expo Line extension into Santa Monica.

Redondo Beach is finally preparing to tear down the wall that marks the end of the Hermosa Beach Strand, allowing the bike path to be extended south along the harbor.

 

State

Rose petals cover PCH like tears for the fallen at last weekend’s memorial ride for John Colvin and Debra Deem.

Santa Barbara police promise strict enforcement during the city’s popular, but unsanctioned, Fiesta Cruiser Ride. Meanwhile, the city’s bicycle coalition buys their headquarters building, while morning the death of a long-time advocate.

Silicon Valley cyclist fights greedy insurance companies after getting screwed following a bike collision in 2007.

 

National

Donations are being sought for an Oregon framebuilder seriously injured in a solo fall last weekend; Rob English won Best in Show in last years North American Handbuilt Bike Show.

Sixteen teams are announced for Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge next month.

Advice from my hometown on what to do if you’re in or see a bike crash.

Central Texas cyclists ask the public to protect the rights and safety of bike riders.

A Chicago alderman proposes putting Segways in bike lanes, which isn’t likely to go over well with the city’s bicyclists.

A dispute between legal and illegal rental bike vendors in New York’s Central Park leads to threats of decapitation.

 

International

The BBC looks at a new folding e-bike, and uses the opportunity to take a slap at American soccer fans.

A writer for the Telegraph asks if the law is too soft on drivers who kill cyclists. The answer there, as here, is yes.

Aussie cyclists go beyond creating a bicycle PAC to form their own political party.

 

Finally…

It’s now legal to ride three sheets to the wind in Hungary. A fun piece, as a Chicago bike blogger takes her dog on a ride fit for a king.

And I can’t help it. When Dennis Christopher — yes, that Dennis Christopher — retweets my comment about Breaking Away, it just kind of makes my month.

 

Morning Links: The battle over Santa Paula cop’s anti-bike video is over, but we may have lost the war

And then it was over.

Less than 36 hours after the flap over a bike hating Santa Paula reserve police officer blew up online and in her face, she found herself unemployed by the department.

Apparently her own choice, much to the displeasure of countless riders who were out for blood. And not in a mood for ritual career hari-kari.

I first became aware of the video in question when Bike Snob tweeted about it on Saturday morning.

Meet Laura Weintraub, horrible person, incompetent videographer, and utter moron: 

Like countless others, I watched in varying degrees of horror and outrage as she laughingly expressed her hatred of bikes, bicyclists and spandex, as well as her desire to run us all off or into the road.

After tweeting about it a few times myself, I made plans to express my own outrage on here. Only to discover the video had been taken down before I could get to it, leaving nothing to link to and no copy to repost.

Meanwhile, the proverbial defecation had hit the fan.

It didn’t take long for someone to discover that she worked as reserve officer for the Santa Paula PD, compounding the outrage that a uniformed cop would express such offensive thoughts in a cheap and badly failed attempt at humor.

Although cop is stretching it; someone sent me a link to a page showing Weintraub had made less than $100 working for the department in recent weeks.

Countless riders — and others who simply didn’t like the idea of killing or maiming innocent people for giggles — inundated Weintraub’s Facebook page, as well as the SPPD, with calls, emails and online comments.

She responded by removing the offensive video without comment, followed by what seemed like a sincere apology. Or at least, a damn good job of faking one.

I would like to apologize to all those who have been offended by what was intended to be a satirical video on cyclists. It was never meant to be hurtful or harmful in anyway, I am a human being, I made a mistake, I have learned from this and ask for your forgiveness. The responses have shown me overwhelmingly just how hurtful my comments were to some and that is not at all what I intended. As soon as I knew, I removed the video immediately.

The response from the cycling community has made me aware of the sport and its safety issues and challenges with drivers on the road of which I was completely unaware. My heartfelt apologies to those that have been offended and to those who face these very real challenges.

Then again, you’d think any reasonably sentient being would get that calling for violence against anyone for the simple crime of riding a bike would likely be taken the wrong — or in this case, the right — way.

For some inexplicable reason, though, many drivers don’t seem the grasp the fact that people don’t just bounce back after being knocked down; what would be a simple fender bender if they hit another car could be catastrophic if they collided with a cyclist or pedestrian.

Although you’d certainly think a cop — even a lowly reserve officer — would grasp the damage motor vehicles can do in the wrong hands.

At the same time, we can only imagine Chief Steven McLean’s reaction, as whatever community relations he had managed to build up in his year on the job were seemingly undone in a single afternoon by someone who barely worked for him.

Once his head undoubtedly finished exploding, the long-time veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department responded by suspending Weintraub pending investigation. Along with another reserve officer who snarkily answered the criticism by complimenting her videos and suggesting cyclists need to obey the law.

At that point, the controversy appeared to be over. The video was down, the woman in question appeared to have learned her lesson, and the chief had done the right thing.

And then the media picked up the story, further fanning the justifiable outrage long after the fact, and leading to countless calls for Weintraub’s job, if not her head.

The final shoe dropped Sunday evening when Chief McLean posted on Facebook that he had accepted her resignation effective immediately — whether she volunteered it or he demanded it was left unstated.

So allow me to offer a contrary opinion.

I’m sorry to see her go.

Had she remained on the job — or even in limbo for awhile — we would have had a rare opportunity for a teachable moment.

If she truly got what she did wrong, and listened, as she said, to the many reasons why her attempt at humor wasn’t funny, she might have become more sympathetic to cyclists and a positive influence on her fellow officers. Or at the very least, unlikely to make a similar mistake a second time.

Not that she didn’t deserve to lose her job. But I’ve found that forgiveness is often more effective than vengeance in the long run.

Meanwhile, Santa Paula cyclists would have had a rare opportunity to demand a meeting with the chief and his officers to discuss the rights of riders and explain the risks we face in employing our legal and moral right to the road.

That door is probably closed now.

Chief McLean is likely to conclude that the matter has been concluded now that Weintraub is no longer a part of the department. And given the entirely justifiable vitriol dumped on him and his officers, he’s unlikely to open his door to our representatives anytime soon.

Which is not to say the anger wasn’t justified.

It was.

I was just as livid as anyone else when I viewed the video. However, we need to learn to direct that anger effectively, not just to get a young woman who did something incredibly stupid fired.

But to use it as an opportunity to build better relations with those charged with enforcing our rights. And achieve long-lasting changes that can and will improve safety and courtesy for everyone on the roads.

We won the battle.

But in doing so, we may have shot ourselves in the foot. And cost us an opportunity for dialogue that may not come again.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story; there are simply far too many to thank each of you individually.

……..

Local

The media seems to be coming down on the other side of Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa road diet — a veto that may or may not be legal.

Construction delays are keeping a new section of the LA River Greenway from opening.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride rolls through Lakewood on Sunday, August 3rd.

Neon Tommy looks at how bikes empower women.

 

State

New Seal Beach bike paths help close some of the final links in Orange County’s 66 mile OC Loop. Note to Press-Telegram: bike riders can actually ride anywhere they want in Downey, or anywhere else for that matter.

Caltrans will widen bike lanes through Chico to improve a dangerous section of roadway.

 

National

Google Maps now allows you to check elevations on your route, whether you want to seek out hills or avoid them.

Colorado Springs CO cyclists are tired of riding in the killing zone.

If you want to talk with the mayor of Fort Worth, you’d better get on your bike. Meanwhile, neighboring Dallas has a new bike czar.

New Orleans riders rally to demand safer streets.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer says cyclists aren’t a menace on the roads, comparing the one Canadian killed by a bike in 2010 with the 2,227 killed by cars. He’s got a point.

Indian army cyclists ride over 400 miles through the Himalayas, at altitudes up to 19,000 feet in an attempt to set a new record.

Talk about a good cause. A cyclist is planning to spend a full year riding across Ghana to meet 25,000 people and raise funds to provide shelter and healthcare for the county’s homeless street kids.

A young Kiwi rider overcomes diabetes to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

Cyclist deaths expose a culture clash on the congested streets of Sydney, Australia; thanks to New Colonist for the heads-up.

The best way to see Beijing is by bike.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Before you build that bike jump, put a little thought into how you’re going to land. A Dutch pro miraculously avoids death on both Malaysian Airlines disasters.

And a special thanks to Cycling in the Southbay’s Seth Davidson for his very kind words and high praise.

 

Weekend Links: Our anonymous correspondent visits the Frog Spot, and a busy weekend for SoCal cyclists

Note: I am aware of the bike-hating video posted by a reserve Santa Paula police officer. I saw the video shortly after it went online when Bike Snob tweeted about it, and had originally intended to include it as part of this post.

However, the video had been taken down before I was able to link to it. Since then, the woman responsible for it has apologized, and been suspended by the SPPD pending review. 

Since it’s no longer an urgent matter, I’ll offer my thoughts when I post again on Monday. Thanks to everyone who has reached to me about the story. 

……..

We’ve mentioned the new Frog Spot on the LA River bike path a few times already, as the Friends of the Los Angeles River open a new gateway welcoming walkers, riders and visitors to the Elysian Valley.

This week, I received an email from a regular correspondent, who prefers to remain anonymous, and who stopped by last week to check things out.

There’s a new pit stop on the LA River Path in Elysian Valley! I’ve missed all the soft hours they’ve had, but Friday afternoon, I saw peeps still there finalizing things, so I swung around and got to speak with none other than FoLAR’s Director of Development Jennifer Kang, as well as Edgar, the handsome young man who’ll be supervising the workers hired from the City’s HIRE LA’s Youth. Elsa’s Bakery is providing coffee and Antigua is providing coffee containers. There’s ice water, coffee, snacks, popsicles, WiFi, sunblock, simple emergency bike repair stuff available. And seating under pretty shade banners, so you don’t have to plunk your butt on the revetment.

http://folar.org/frogspot/

Excitingly, there are RESTROOMS!!!!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation marks for this. The ladies cannot just duck into the willows like some brakebeam tourist. And parents will no longer have their youngster’s nature walks cut short. It’s no exaggeration that my heart nearly leapt out of my chest to hear that there’ll be a clean, reliable, safe place to answer the call of nature, without miles of detour off the path. This is groundbreaking, because despite its new mantle as a public recreation area, the river has lacked this simple, necessary amenity.

Incidentally (sorry in advance for oversharing) I did once, in fact, dive behind the arundo to pee, because I never would’ve made it over that horrid, violently bumpy Riv-Fig bridge without flooding the roadway. Oh, the pain that day. Too much pain to even cuss at the many tree-root bumps on the path. I believe I speak for all the ladies when I express overwhelming gratitude for this simple dignity we’ve been denied for too way too long.

When I returned Saturday morning, I chugged coffee & ice water, but it was so warm & humid, I sweated out any chance of trying the new porta-potties. While waiting, I stood at the entrance by the river path yelling “Free ice water! Come on in!” with the two multi-talented, all-purpose hired hands on duty, who took turns luring in passers-by. The great assortment of visitors included spandex guys, fixie trash (me included), walkers, super friendly canine guests, and families who invariably had difficulty convincing the younger members it was time to leave.

There’s a bocce court. There’s cornholes (that’s what it’s called; it’s a very Midwestern bean-bag toss game, properly played with little sacks of popcorn kernels), which were very popular with the younger visitors. Art supplies are handy for budding young artists to enjoy under a shade tree. There are friendly, knowledgeable folks who’ll answer every question you could possibly have about our beautiful river. And the pups weren’t forgotten, either! Fido can rehydrate, and if you left the poo bags at home, they’re available at the Frog Spot!

Did I mention the restrooms? In addition to comfort and dignity, there’ll be music and poetry and history and bikes all summer, right next to the mortally dangerous concrete-smothered flood control channel we’ve been “protected” from for so long.

The only thing I don’t care for is the Frog Spot’s lovely, blinding, sparkly, alabaster gravel, but this is just personal preference, and I’m still totally willing to brave snow blindness for a safe restroom.

Anyway, it’s worth checking out even though you’re not in that neck of the woods very often. Corgis love rivers. Maybe Ballona will get something similarly awesome someday.

Check it out for yourself when the Frog Spot hosts a Sunset at the Oasis fundraiser for FoLAR from 5 pm to 8 pm tonight, and every Saturday. A minimum $15 donation will get you live music, two drinks — beer, wine or soda — and light snacks; Palmdale band Vista Point will be playing tonight.

……..

Haven’t had a chance to update the Calendar for awhile, but there’s a lot going on with Bike LA this weekend.

First up, it’s late notice, but if you’re up early, you may still have time to join the LACBC and the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles for a 45-mile round-trip tour of the world-famous beach and surf communities of Orange County on Saturday morning.

Visit some of Downtown’s most famous and hidden film locations, as Metro, CICLE and Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles sponsor an LA film history ride on Saturday evening.

The newly formed LA Explorers Club leads a ride to explore the origins and history of Downtown LA, also on Sunday.

Mark your calendar for Long Beach’s Bicycle Drive-In on August 2nd, part of the city’s Summer and Music series.

The Gran Fondo Italia returns to bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills on September 28th. Evidently, the city wants to bask in the prestige cycling brings, as long as they don’t actually have to deal with the great unwashed masses on bikes. Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up. 

And after a return to DTLA and a new foray into South LA, you can look forward to CicLAvia coming to Pasadena and the Valley next year.

……..

Nibali takes Friday’s stage of the Tour de France, extending his lead to 3:37 and positioning himself to become just the sixth rider to win all three major tours. Tejay van Garderen gets a big confidence boost. The Telegraph examines the life of a domestique.

And some guy named Lance, who claims to have won a few Tours himself, is reportedly cooperating with doping investigators.

……..

Local

KCET offers the definitive examination of Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa Fig4All project. Seriously, nice work by Krista Carlson.

Instead of increasing funding for active transportation, Metro agrees to come up with a funding strategy after studying the matter.

Culver City police are looking for the owners of some hot bikes and Razor scooters after busting a bike thief.

 

State

A new study from the University of Colorado says wrecks didn’t decrease in the first six months after California banned hand-held cell phone use. Maybe because the law is still almost universally ignored.

Newport Beach moves forward with the city’s proposed bike plan.

More on bike riders storming the Laguna Beach City Council session earlier this week.

Two hundred days in jail for the Santa Cruz County Tesla driver who lost control and killed a cyclist, then blamed the new car smell for making him fall asleep.

 

National

A new app could be the best way to track actual trips, whether by bike, foot, transit or car.

Buffered bike lanes and contraflow lanes finally get approval from NACTO for inclusion in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the standard guidebook for traffic planners.

Iowa is becoming a bicycling destination as RAGBRAI kicks off next week.

When you’re vomiting blood the morning after a bike collision, it’s probably a sign you might have been injured, after all.

 

International

Fewer than half of UK drivers convicted of killing cyclists ever see the inside of a jail.

British ministers say taxpayers should fund improvements for bicycling.

A Brit woman gets four years for killing a cyclist as she attempted to chase down the lover who dumped her.

 

Finally…

Bikeyface examines the real bicycle face. And the Daily Show offers an insightful and entertaining look at Washington’s failure to increase the gas tax.

 

Morning Links: LA Times catches up on Fig4All, Timbuk2 opening on Venice’s bike-friendly Abbot Kinney

The LA Times finally picks up the story of Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s single-handed decision to kill the already approved, funded and shovel-ready road diet on North Figueroa.

They get most of it right in what reads like an attempt to be overly even-handed. Although they incorrectly frame the debate as being over bike lanes, when the lanes themselves are just one tool in a plan to reduce the roadway’s overcapacity in an attempt to slow traffic and improve safety.

They also fail to challenge Cedillo’s unsupported claim that the road diet would increase emergency response times, even though that is not the position of either the LAPD or LA Fire Department. Or his bizarre claim that the city’s bike plan that was unanimously approved by the city council — before Cedillo sat on it — was developed by just 1,000 people, despite numerous public meetings and presentations, as well as months of online comment.

And since when are bike riders who simply want a safe route through Northeast LA considered “activists” — a loaded word most likely to be used in a disparaging manner by those opposing the project?

But it’s a lot better than the Boulevard Sentinel’s labeling them “extremists,” I suppose.

Meanwhile, LA Biz offers their own look at the controversy, while the Times provides an interactive map demonstrating just how dangerous the area is for cyclists and pedestrians.

……..

Popular custom bike bag manufacturer Timbuk2 opens their first SoCal store next week, across from Linus Bike on increasingly bike friendly Abbot Kinney.

The store has a soft opening next Saturday, July 26th, at 1410 Abbot Kinney, with an official Grand Opening celebration scheduled for the weekend of August 16th and 17th.

Designed by award-winning design and architecture firm Gensler, the new store will include features such as

  • Custom design workshop with over 60 fabrics options.
  • Floor to ceiling street-facing glass wall, bicycle and product design art installation and custom-crafted display tables and fixtures.
  • A designated hub for community events and group bike rides.
  • San Francisco-inspired indoor parklet for relaxing and refueling.
  • Access to bike tools, bike pumps, bike maps and extra tubes for community cyclists.

Sounds like they’ll fit right in on the trendy street. And be a great addition to the LA bike scene.

……..

Nibali continues to hold the yellow jersey as the Tour de France heads into the Alps, with a lead of more than two minutes over his nearest competitor.

Meanwhile, Brit rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is banned for two years and fired from Team Sky for doping. Nice to know the sport has cleaned itself up and no one would ever dream of cheating anymore, right?

……..

Local

Advocates — not “activists,” thank you — gather to learn about CicLAvia coming to Leimert Park.

Neon Tommy looks at three local groups supporting LA’s “fearless” cyclists.

Bike riders and pedestrian advocates make a statement in calling for fair funding for active transportation from Metro.

 

State

One hundred cyclists storm the Laguna Beach City Council to demand safer streets.

Caltrans surprisingly invites cyclists to consult on a realignment project for Highway 1 in Cambria.

Catch up on everything Calbike is working on in their latest report.

 

National

Bixi’s bankruptcy means no expansion for Alta-operated bike share programs this year.

Caught on video: A Texas rider captures the hit-and-run truck driver who Jerry Browned him and left him lying on the side of the road.

Trek president John Burke calls on Wisconsin’s governor to take down a campaign ad that allegedly defames the company; the governor is running for re-election against Burke’s sister.

Pro cyclist Ted King introduces pure maple syrup energy gels, promising natural vitamins and minerals with a lower glycemic index than other gels.

An Atlanta man faces charges including attempted murder for intentionally running down a bike rider; his girlfriend is charged with evidence tampering.

 

International

Canadian letter carrier goes postal on a woman who stopped to complain about his parking in a bike lane.

In a bizarre accident, a British cyclist barely survives getting impaled with her brake lever.

Three-quarters of Scot cyclists report a near miss on the roads.

Italy honors legendary cyclist Gino Bartali, aka Gino the Pius, for his role in saving hundreds of Jews from the Nazis in WWII. Isn’t it time the Vatican honored the devout Catholic?

German cyclists lost over 300,000 bikes to thieves last year; naturally, police blame the victims.

To encourage more cycling, Qatar’s bicycle master plan requires dedicated bike infrastructure, including separated bikeways, on all major roads when possible.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying hash oil and marijuana on your bike, and already wanted on multiple active warrants, put a damn light on it, already. And amazingly, a very lucky 17-year old Russian bike rider walks away after being run over by a large truck in a terrifying video.

 

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