Tag Archive for Big Blue Bus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dorner does not disappoint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Maybe so.

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

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

But we’ll see.


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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday’s ride, in which I nearly left a Big Blue load in my pants

Talk about scaring the crap out of a guy.

I was returning home from a quick ride along the coast, riding in the bike lane on eastbound San Vicente Blvd when I was Jerry Browned by a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus.

No warning.

I hear a large vehicle coming up on my left. And next thing I know, there’s a bus actually sharing the bike lane with me — without slowing down.

Not only did I not get a three-foot passing margin, thanks to our governor’s two-timing veto pen, but my position in the middle of the bike lane meant the bus passed me at less than an arm’s reach before I bailed to the right.

In a sense, I was never in any real danger; the whole thing was over and I was safe — scared to death, but safe — in less than a second, tops. But another foot or two to the right, and I might not be here now to complain about it.

And no, I haven’t filed a complaint with the bus company yet.

But trust me, I will.

Friday’s ride, in which I dodge cars, help prevent a collision and thank a bus driver

It didn’t take long to realize it was going to be one of those rides.

Within the first three miles, I’d been right hooked, left crossed, and squeezed out of a left turn lane by a driver who inexplicably decided there was enough room for both of us.

So I made a point of riding extra carefully, assuming that every car could be a threat and every driver might do exactly the wrong thing in any given situation.

Most of the time they weren’t, and didn’t. But I ran into enough minor traffic kerfuffles and acts of sheer stupidity that the extra caution more than paid off before I got home.

Including one last one, as I rode back on Ohio about a mile from my home.

Just east of Westwood, the road goes up and down over a couple of short, steep hills. As a result, I make a point of taking the lane through there, since it’s too narrow to share a lane and I can usually get down one hill and up the next long before the cars behind me.

On occasion, though, some rocket scientist will decide to pass me anyway.

Like the one today who evidently decided I wasn’t moving fast enough, even though I was doing 23 mph — uphill — in a 25 mph zone.

I heard an engine rev behind me, and sure enough, I looked back to see a minivan start to zoom around me on the wrong side of the road. And I knew that section of road well enough to know that was an exceptionally bad idea.

Then again, it’s usually not a good idea to drive on the wrong side of the road, anyway — especially not on a hill that completely blocks the driver’s view of oncoming traffic.

So I threw my hand out in what I hoped would be seen as warning to stop, though it could just as easily have been interpreted as a left turn signal. Either way, he seemed to get the message and quickly cut back in behind me, just as two cars came over the hill from the other side.

Cars he would have hit head-on if he’d continued trying to pass me.

Yeah, those bike haters are right.

We’re the problem, alright.


Funny how life repeats itself sometimes, but with vastly different outcomes.

Last December, I filed a complaint after I got dangerously buzzed and right hooked by a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus in front of Franklin Elementary School on Montana Ave.

On Friday’s ride, I found myself in exactly the same situation, in exactly the same location.

As I rode up Montana around 2:45 pm, I found myself being followed by another Big Blue Bus. And once again, the driver felt a need to pass me as soon as the roadway widened, even though I was riding nearly as fast as he could legally go.

Then just like the last time, as soon as the bus passed me, the driver spotted someone waiting at the bus stop by the school. But instead of cutting over to the curb — and cutting me off in the process — the driver stopped right where he was in the traffic lane, leaving me a clear pathway to proceed on his right.

And it was only after I’d cleared the bus — number 3810, route 3 — and gave the driver a wave of thanks that he pulled safely to the curb.

So it’s only fair.

Last time I called to complain about the driver who cut me off. So on Monday morning, I’m going to call to compliment the driver who didn’t.


Mark Cavendish sprints to victory in Stage 18 of the Tour de France, his fourth of this year’s Tour after overcoming months of hardships. Saturday’s individual time trial will determine whether Schleck or Contador rides into Paris as the winner; the sprinter’s title is still up in the air, too. Cruise and Diaz join Contador on the podium. Backstage notes from the Tour, and the unwritten rules the riders live by.

And in today’s pro doping report, some fans hope the cheaters get caught.


The driver in last week’s death of Santa Ana cyclist Michael Nine faces charges of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and driving without a valid license, and may be subject to deportation.

On the other side of the country, a leading Charleston bike advocate was critically injured in a SWSS; Dave Moulton says the story doesn’t make sense for such an experienced cyclist. Just before I posted this, news broke that the rider, Edwin Gardner, passed away on Friday.


Click to enlarge

In upcoming events, Walk and Ride for a Safer 4th Street on Saturday. Or you can help plan two new parks in downtown Santa Monica.

The LACBC is hosting the 2nd Regional Meeting for bike activists from around the region on Wednesday, July 28th. And on Thursday, August 12th, join the LACBC for the 1st Annual City of Lights Awards Dinner.


Two cyclists are cuffed and one ticketed for not having a headlight — even though the officer himself had turned it off. More fallout from the campaign to ticket cyclists in Malibu. Courtesy of Streetsblog, Joe Linton and Josef Bray-Ali offer thoughts on the new bike plan and Thursday night’s Webinar. Dancer a la Mode is looking for volunteers for an easy biking experience; all you have to do is ride a little slower on alternate days. Bicycle Fixation suggests turning 4-way stops into 4-way yields. Grist looks at our falling-off-a-bike mayor, and has the exceptional good taste to quote yours truly. Speaking of the mayor, turns out he broke his elbow in eight places, but he’s back to a regular schedule. Cyclelicious has the details on the Colorado Heaven Fest from traffic hell that banned bikes and pedestrians in favor of cars. A Jacksonville writer admits to being a vehicular segregationist. A suspended Portland bus driver explains why he blogged “Kill this bicyclist.” How to get that tight little bike butt. A Kansas writer says can’t we all just get along — or at least not try to kill each other? A bike riding conservative says even righties can ride, regardless of what some people insist. London’s Guardian newspaper offers a look at five new European biking adventures, the best Brit bike trips and a guide to Europe’s best bicycling cities — and advises you to insure, lock and yes, deface your bike to fight theft. The final three Toronto secrets to cycling in traffic; ride with others, avoid the right hook and practice your route. Detailed advise on how to get better at climbing.

Finally, a look at frequent linkee and bike advocate Cecil Yount, author of Zeke’s Great Smokies 2-Wheeled Adventures and co-founder of his local bicycle advisory council.

Today’s ride, on which I get right-hooked by a bus in Bike Friendly Santa Monica

It’s the holiday season.

When the city takes on a festive glow, and visions of sugar plums dance in countless heads, even if no one seems to know what those are anymore. And stressed out, distracted and/or intoxicated drivers hit the road, with the possible presence of cyclists the furthest thing from their minds.

I have no idea if that had anything to do with the problem I ran into today. I only know I arrived home simultaneously mad as hell and thanking God I was in one piece.

It’s not like I wasn’t prepared.

Experience has taught me that driving gets worse the closer we get to the holidays. In fact, the last Friday before Christmas — tomorrow, in other words, or possibly today by the time you read this — is often just this side of a demolition derby as people stumble out of countless office parties and into their cars.

So I wasn’t too surprised when a driver nearly right-hooked me. Or even when a pedestrian stepped right out in front of me without ever looking up, forcing me into a panic stop that ended with his extremely startled face just inches from mine.

But what I wasn’t prepared for was the bus driver who cut directly in front of me — apparently on purpose — in what seemed from my perspective like a road rage assault. Then again, maybe she was just an incredibly crappy driver.

I first encountered her as I rode through the commercial district on Montana Avenue in the Bicycle Friendly City of Santa Monica, headed east in the bike lane. One of the city’s Big Blue Buses was loading passengers at a bus stop, then pulled out and cut me off as soon as I started to go around it.

It happens.

I wasn’t happy about it, but that’s almost to be expected. I see buses do the same thing to drivers on a daily basis.

Then a few blocks down the road, I moved ahead of the bus while it waited at a red light, since it was clear the driver was going to pull over at a bus stop just past the light. That put me safely out of its path, and I left the bus and its driver far behind me.

Or at least, that’s what I thought.

A few blocks further down the road, I could feel the bus coming up behind me. By that point, though, the bike lane had ended and the road had narrowed down to a single lane in both directions, with parking on each side. I had already taken the lane, since there wasn’t room for a car to pass safely — and certainly not enough for a bus.

I wasn’t too worried about it, though. While I don’t enjoy having a bus on my ass, I was doing over 20 mph in a 25 mph school zone, so it wasn’t like I was holding anyone up.

Evidently, the driver disagreed.

The moment we cleared the center divider, she gunned her engine and cut around me on the left — way too close for my comfort — then immediately cut back in front of me to pull over to the bus stop in front of the elementary school.

At that distance, stopping was not an option; I would have rear-ended the bus, which would not have been pretty at that speed. So I squeezed my brakes and leaned hard to the left, just clearing the rear bumper of the bus and zooming past; if I’d clipped its bumper, I would have been thrown into oncoming traffic, and probably wouldn’t be here to write this.

Again, not exactly a desirable outcome.

About half a block down the road, I thought better of it, though, and turned back to take down the number of the bus — 3830 — and the route number (3). Then I sat back and waited for the bus pass, somehow managing to keep both my words and fingers to myself.

After all, it wasn’t like she hadn’t known I was there. She’d just followed me for about a block, then sped up to go around me — even though it would have been much smarter to simply wait a few seconds and pull over safely behind me.

Somehow, though, I suspect that my safety was the last thing on her mind. Then again, pulling a stunt like that in school zone suggests she wasn’t too concerned about the kids, either.

I’ve already filed a complaint. And been assured by the very pleasant woman who answered the phone that they take things like this very seriously.

We’ll see.


Update to the recent item about Andrew Wooley, the San Diego cyclist wrongly convicted of violating CVC21202 for passing a short line of cars in the right turn lane on the left, even though he was riding faster than the current speed of traffic.

In a surprising turnaround, the San Diego City Attorney’s office issued a formal position clarifying the law and reversing the undeserved conviction. Bike San Diego discusses the lessons learned, and interviews Wooley about the case — including the frightening revelation that the officer involved visited Wooley’s work and filed a complaint with his boss after Wooley had discussed the case with the officer’s supervisor.


In what may be a sign of the apocalypse, L.A.’s mayor endorses cycling, or at least CicLAvia. Bike Girl offers a cautionary tale about choosing your battles. Burbank adopts a new bike plan that actually connects to other cities. A 30 minute car commute now takes 20 minutes by bike. A 9-year old Thousand Oaks boy is injured in a hit-and-run, while 39-year old Camarillo father is killed in a cycling collision; for a change, the driver stuck around. Conejo Valley volunteers give away 160 refurbished bikes, while Temecula’s Rotary Club gives away 39 shiny new ones this holiday season. Ridership in America’s bike paradise goes down for the first time in five years. Cyclists and drivers fight over Santa Rosa’s first bike boulevard; in Austin, it’s cyclists vs. business people. An innocent Chicago cyclist is killed when caught between road raging drivers. If New York’s South Williamsburg Hasidic community though cyclists were scantily clad before, just wait until this weekend. Arizona cyclists win the right to take the lane on appeal. New Bikes Allowed Use Of Full Lane stickers on sale now – which brings up the new Federal standards for bicycle signage. A Toronto man gets roughly one day in jail for each 3.3 of the 3,000 bikes he stole. British Cycling announces the first 50 members of its new Hall of Fame. Finally, the plot thickens as a cyclist hit by a car containing actress Anne Hathaway may have been a paparazzo intent on getting a photo. No wonder he didn’t stick around.

Way too close for comfort

I’d like to give a big shout out to the driver of the #4 Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, who ran me off the road about an hour ago.

You were exiting the VA grounds around 12:50 pm, waiting at the light to cross Ohio. There was several feet of clearance on your right, so I was riding past you to make my way up to the intersection, where I would be more visible — and thus safer — than being hidden behind a bus waiting for the light to change.

But then the light changed as I was still beside you, and instead of going forward, you suddenly lurched to the right with no warning — without signaling and for no apparent reason — forcing me to grab ahold of the fence to my right and pull myself up out of your way.

Maybe there was a car partially blocking your path that you were trying to get around. Or maybe there was some other reason for your sudden move to the right. All I know is that if you had bothered to check your right side mirror first — as any driver should do before making a move like that — you would have seen me there.

Instead, you cleared me by less than a few feet before straightening out and driving off. Leaving me clinging to the fence for dear life, with a bicycle dangling between my legs.

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