Tag Archive for bike collisions

What You Need to Know about Police Reports

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

 

A close up view of a traffic collision report form.

I settled a Malibu bike collision case in which the driver of a motor vehicle made a left turn into the cyclist. The accident happened at dusk; it was not dark out yet. The police report states that the cyclist was cited for “unsafe speed conditions” because the cyclist was wearing all black.

When I was taking the sheriff’s deposition, I asked him why he cited the cyclist for wearing all black. He told me he asked another officer at the station who told him that because the cyclist was wearing all black, he was going too fast for the conditions.

The cyclist was going 15 – 20 mph! This conclusion is absolutely wrong. What the cyclist was wearing had nothing to with “unsafe speed conditions” (VC 22350).

More recently I represented a woman who suffered serious personal injuries in a pedestrian collision. My client was crossing in the crosswalk, with the light, when she was struck by a motor vehicle. When I took the deposition of the police officer I asked him why he didn’t take a witness statement from the friend who was walking next to her at the time of the collision. His answer was that as a friend of the victim he figured the witness would be biased and would just back up whatever the victim said. Regardless, it was the officer’s responsibility to take statements from all witnesses.

I have represented hundreds of cyclists. The one constant in all of these cases is the police report. I’d estimate that 60 percent of the time, the police reports I see blame the cyclist for the collision.

So is it worth getting a police report? Simply, yes.

Though police officers are often biased against cyclists, they usually get the facts of a bike collision correct. Such details as: the time, place, weather, what direction each participant was going and where they were located when the accident happened, contact information for witnesses, confirmation of insurance, and any physical evidence at the scene, is usually recorded correctly.

It is the police officer’s conclusion that is typically wrong. Though I would much rather police officers would lose their cyclist bias, filing a police report is still beneficial to your legal case and to your insurance claim because it sets out in writing the basic facts.

If the police refuse to come to the scene or they come to the scene but refuse to take a police report, I suggest you go to the nearest police station and file a report yourself.

Police reports with tainted conclusions or incorrect facts also need to be addressed. You can go to the police station and file a Supplemental Statement. This allows you to correct the facts and is attached to the original report. Though the police won’t change their police report, at least your version or the correct facts will be in the report.

The filing of a biased or incorrect police report will make the handling of your case or insurance claim more difficult, but the police report and the opinions and conclusions of the police officer are not admissible in court since in most instances the officer did not see the accident themselves. This makes most police reports hearsay and not admitted into evidence.

Where police reports have an effect is on the insurance company. When the insurance company reads the police report and accepts the officer’s conclusions, it may refuse to settle your case or offer you much less compensation than which you are entitled.

The result is that we have to file a lawsuit, gather evidence, and take the police officer’s deposition to prove the officer was wrong. Frequently it is during or after the deposition stage that the insurance company will offer to settle the case to avoid going to court.

Now a days a number of cities – including the City of Los Angeles – will not send an officer to the scene of the collision if there are no injuries (and you should NEVER comment on injuries or guilt to ANYONE, including a police officer).

If you are in a collision and the police refuse to come to the scene, but you want a police report taken, you will need to go to the nearest police department to file a report as I mention above. Getting the facts on the record is always helpful.

Remember, filing a police report does not mean you have to file a legal case. It can assist you in collecting compensation for damages you incurred in the bike collision and, should you decide to take legal action later, a police report will be of value to your bike collision lawyer as he is pursuing your case.

 

*California Vehicle Code 21200: A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle. . .

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

For more than 25 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers in America and to Southern California Super Lawyers lists for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at [email protected].

 

Morning Links: The aftermath of a bike collision, bikeshare’s really happening, and cop dogs behaving badly

Great news! We’re now up to 17 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

So who wants to be the next to sign up now or renew your membership and get it up to 20 today? It’s worth it just for the great LACBC gear you’ll get — let alone the difference you’ll help make on our streets and in our communities.

………

Mike Wilkinson, who frequently forwards news tips — and graciously serves as my unpaid proofreader — came upon the immediate aftermath of what thankfully appears to have been a relatively minor bike collision on Monday.

Yesterday while out for my lunch time “blast” I came upon the scene of a collision just a minute after it happened. The photo shows what I saw as I arrived. Look carefully, and you may see that the car’s rear view mirror is broken, and there is a dent above the front wheel.

Collision

I’m not going to write about the details of what I saw and heard. I will say that the things I saw and heard reminded me of the importance of gathering information immediately after any kind of collision, even if the collision seems to be minor. The following items seem important to me:

  1. Get a picture of the other party’s driver’s license.
  2. Take a picture of the other party’s insurance ID.
  3. Take pictures of all vehicles involved, including the licenses plates.
  4. Get contact information from any potential witness.
  5. Don’t say anything about who may be at fault for the crash.

I’m sure that more experienced minds have more comprehensive lists. Remember also that the state of California DMV requires notification for any crash that results in injury, no matter how minor, or damage exceeding $750.

Finally, be careful!

I’ve offered my thoughts on what to do if you’re in a collision here and here, based on my personal experience. And BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass provided expert advice from a bike lawyer’s perspective.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly said a crash must be reported to the DMV if there was property damage over $500, rather than $750, and failed to note that injuries must be reported, no matter how minor. 

………

Metro’s still unnamed bikeshare system is finally becoming a reality; thanks to Erik Griswold for the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-04BsfnNgk&feature=share

Meanwhile, West Hollywood decides to name its new bikeshare WeHoPedals. Although the rejected WeHoGo name was a lot better. Or maybe even Zuzu’s Pedals.

And Global Green celebrates Bike Month with Santa Monica’s much better named Breeze bikeshare, and the coming of the Expo Line this Friday.

………

Let’s catch up on Bike Months news here in the LA area and around the US.

Commuting on Bike to Work Day is about to get a little easier as a new BikeHub opens in Covina on Thursday.

At least 20 Santa Clarita businesses will compete against one another to see which can get the most employees to ride to work.

An OpEd in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says every month is Bike Month, and education is the key to encouraging more, and safer, bicycling.

A Minneapolis bike commuter offers practical advice on how to do it yourself.

And a Louisiana radio personality explains why he bikes to work. Anyone who names his dog named after a zydeco legend has my undying respect.

………

This time it’s a four-legged cop, and a cop’s dog, behaving badly.

An Orange County sheriff’s deputy shot a CHP officer’s pit bull after the dog bit his 12-year old son as the family was getting ready for a bike ride.

And a Mississippi police dog chewed his way out from under a fence, and bit a boy riding his bike.

………

First year pro Giulio Ciccone won the 10th stage of the Giro, while Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels moves into the leader’s jersey. The race now moves into the brutal climbs of the Dolomites, as a writer remembers falling in love with his first Giro.

Twenty-three-year old French rider Julian Alaphillipe won Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California on the slopes of the famed Gibraltar climb above Santa Barbara, dropping American Peter Stetina with an uphill sprint to take the leader’s jersey.

CiclaValley offers some great pictures from Monday’s Stage 2, while a Santa Barbara website posts photos of Tuesday’s Gibraltar finish.

Sacramento is looking forward to the added exposure of hosting the finish of both the men’s and women’s races in the ToC.

Cycling Tips has a preview of the four stage women’s tour, which starts Thursday in South Lake Tahoe. But good luck if you actually want to watch it if you can’t be there in person.

And you’d ride faster if there was a guy in a chicken suit chasing you, too.

………

Local

MyFigueroa offers an update on the long-delayed project which will result in what would have been DTLA’s first protected bike lane, if Los Angeles Street hadn’t jumped to the head of the line.

The Daily News looks at tonight’s Ride of Silence in the San Fernando Valley.

The LA Weekly provides a slide show from Sunday’s CicLAvia. Not bad for a publication that wrongly predicted the first one would create a traffic nightmare.

 

State

Westminster’s mayor pro tem recounts the journey to convert a rundown two-mile strip of Hoover Street into a landscaped recreation corridor for biking and walking.

The head of CABO teaches a 14-hour bike safety class tailored to San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood.

The San Francisco cyclist hit by a police car last week says the city must do more to protect bike riders, and do it faster.

A Sacramento ER doc wants you to ride your bike, but put on a helmet when you do; he also says to follow the rules of the road and ride defensively. And a physician with the Cleveland Clinic says make sure it fits correctly.

 

National

Redfin ranks the nation’s most bikeable downtownsBut forget finding LA or any other SoCal city on the list.

Bike lanes build jobs.

A new line of women’s bikewear from Scott promises to eliminate road rash, at least on the parts it covers.

Now that’s more like it. A travel company is offering a trio of bike tours leading to the some of the nation’s leading microbreweries.

Tejano music legend Emilio Navaira was one of us, as he passed away in Texas Monday, despite riding his bike every day to get back into shape.

Sinead O’Connor lashes out at her family following her disappearance on a Chicago ebike ride.

Leave the car at home and join an organized group bike ride to see the Indianapolis 500. Now if they could just get the drivers to ride to work.

A Philly cyclist makes the argument that crashes aren’t accidents and can be avoided, while the Associated Press finally agrees, more or less.

Pennsylvania releases a new interactive mapping tool that combines detailed bike routes, traffic volumes and speed limits, and as well as state parks, forests and trails.

A New York website calls Janette Sadik-Khan the prophet of bike lanes, and lists the best things about biking in the city. Meanwhile, Sadik-Khan’s heirs at NYDOT make plans to put bikeways and improved sidewalks on bridges connecting Manhattan and the Bronx.

A New Orleans bike rider barely survives a robbery attempt, after a gun misfires when a trio of men force him off his bike and rifle through his pockets.

 

International

Thirteen cities around the world where bicycling is gaining modal share. None of which are named LA. Or anywhere else in North or South America, for that matter.

A Winnipeg woman gets back on a bike for the first time in 18 years, and likes it.

A London bike rider is mugged by moped riding thieves.

Paris ups the ante in its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, including cleaning up the Seine River and building a bike path linking venues for the games. Your move, Los Angeles.

Lawyers for an Australian woman argue she shouldn’t face jail for killing a cyclist while high on meth because she has a 10-month old baby, even though her actions left the victim’s three children without a mother.

What the hell did Aussie officials think would happen when they protected pedestrians from bicyclists, instead of protecting riders from cars?

 

Finally…

Don’t throw a fit if your bike doesn’t fit in a Fit. Nothing like a bike path where bicycling is banned, unless it’s telling Danny MacAskill he’s no Danny MacAskill in a nearly undecipherable brogue.

And yes, we cyclists are just here to fuck you up.

 

Morning Links: How the economy and bike lanes affect bike wrecks, and fight the bikelash over Rowena road diet

Maybe the economy is the reason you might get hit by a car.

And more bike lanes could be the reason you don’t.

An interesting piece in Saturday’s LA Times suggests that traffic collisions surged in the first six months of this year, reversing a long-term drop, because an improved economy and lower gas prices — except in California, of course — has resulted in more people on the roads.

In fact, American’s drove a record 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of the year, beating the previous high water mark set eight years ago.

The story notes that the increase in miles driven doesn’t totally explain the jump in collisions here in California, suggesting that distracted driving also plays a significant role.

Interestingly, Dennis Hindman recently came to a similar conclusion, digging into SWITRS data submitted by the LAPD to conclude that pedestrian-involved collisions dropped when the economy tanked, while bike collisions jumped.

And that bike wrecks started to fall when more bike lanes were installed in Los Angeles.

The first chart below was created using California Highway Patrol SWITRS data of motor vehicle involved collisions reported by the LAPD within the city of Los Angeles.

Notice how the amount of pedestrian involved collisions with motor vehicles started to drop in 2009 when the economy went into a recession. Then the pedestrian involved motor vehicle collisions began to increase as the economy started to recover.

The motor vehicle involved collisions with bicycles rose in 2008 when a sharp increase in the price of gasoline very likely contributed to a large increase in the amount of bicycle commuters. The bicycle involved collisions kept increasing in the recession from 2009 through 2011, unlike the pedestrian involved collisions with motor vehicles.

The LADOT started to greatly increase the miles of bike lanes installed per calendar year beginning with 20.94 miles in 2011. Then 62.42 miles of bike lanes were installed in 2012, 96.6 miles in 2013 and 23.3 miles in 2014.

The motor vehicle involved collisions with bicycles had a much lower amount of increase in 2013 of about 1% compared to a 7% increase in 2012 and then declined by about 6% in 2014. This occurred even though there was likely a large increase in the amount of people bicycling due to the miles of bicycle lanes installed.

The percentage of the total motor vehicle collisions that involved bicycles has gone from 3% in 2007 to 6% in 2014.

Chart one

The second chart below, created from SWITRS data, shows a decline in the motor vehicle involved collisions involving other motor vehicles reported by the LAPD during the recession. Unlike the pedestrian involved collisions, these motor vehicle collisions have not increased to the pre-recession level in 2008 as the economy recovered. A contributing factor in this could be the increased level of safety for occupants of cars that car manufacturers are required to install. This may not have lowered the amount of collisions involving motor vehicles, but it could have reduced the number of LAPD collision reports due to a lower incidence of injuries to motor vehicle occupants.

Chart 2

Comparison of motor vehicle involved fatalities from collisions with other motor vehicles or pedestrians.

Chart 3

Of course, before someone else points it out, we should note that correlation is not causation. But the data does suggest it’s worth considering.

Thanks to Dennis Hindman for his analysis. Not many people have the skill, or the patience, to wade through complex data like that, and actually make sense of it.

………

Writing for Flying Pigeon, Richard Risemberg offers a warning about the bikelash rearing its ugly head at tonight’s town hall meeting to discuss the successful Rowena road diet, which has cut injury collisions by half.

Ivanhoe Elementary School Auditorium
2828 Herkimer St, Los Angeles, CA 90039
6:30 – 8:30pm

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Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson gets a big markdown on a citation for blowing a stop on a group ride, but wonders if the ticket will count against his license.

Which serves as a reminder to always make sure any traffic ticket you get while riding clearly indicates you were on a bike. Bicycling infractions should never count as points against your driver’s license, since no license is required to ride a bike.

But if it’s not marked, the DMV may assume you were in a car, and wrongly assign points against your license for the infraction.

………

People say cyclists dress funny. I’ll take sausage-casing spandex festooned with logos over fashionista haute couture any day.

………

The Vuelta was won — and lost — on Saturday’s final mountain stage as race leader Tom Dumoulin cracked, losing nearly four minutes to fall out of contention for the podium, and allowing Fabio Aru to secure the overall victory.

Dumoulin’s performance over the first 19 stages has the Dutch dreaming of Tour de France glory. And a Madrid thief earned himself a striped jersey when police spotted a $13,600 bike stolen from the Orica Greenedge team for sale in a second hand store for one-tenth its value.

Meanwhile, American Shelley Olds sprinted to victory in the first Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, a token 54-mile circuit race on the final day of the men’s tour.

Germany’s Andre Greipel took the seventh stage of the Tour of Britain in a photo finish, then was stripped of his victory the next day.

Forty-two-year old American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling set a new women’s hour record in Mexico City, breaking the old mark that had stood for a dozen years.

And Bicycling magazine finally catches up with the No Podium Girls movement, and agrees that offering up hot women as the spoils of victory send the wrong message to women, as well as men.

………

Local

LADOT released their annual report for the last fiscal year, saying safety is their priority. Which is a welcome change from the old LADOT that focused strictly on moving as many cars as quickly as they could, safety be damned.

A Santa Monica High School student is working to promote bike helmet use with a new website, along with a 20% discount on helmets at Helen’s Cycles if you mention the site.

Bad news from Pasadena, as bike rider described only as an Asian man in his 20s is in critical condition after somehow colliding with a parked car with enough force to shatter the rear windshield; he suffered severe head and neck injuries despite wearing a helmet.

Next month’s Richard Selje Ride4Recovery in Pasadena will raise funds to make treatment more affordable for men who want to get clean, with rides of 25, 62 and 100 miles.

The Daily Breeze looks at the Redondo Beach man building custom bikes with steering wheels instead of handlebars; so far he’s only raised just $10 of a requested $10,000 with a month to go. Call me crazy, but I’d think a steering wheel would make the handling awfully twitchy.

CLR Effect’s Michael Wagner goes for a dirty ride, and looks forward to the coming SoCal Cross season.

 

State

A new poll says most Californians think local politics are pointless. And that’s how we get stuck with people like Gil Cedillo, when only a handful of people turn out to vote.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition reports the Santa Ana River Trail is open again, after riders were detoured for construction work.

A writer for the San Diego Free Press says the city’s North Park neighborhood should be bike friendly, but isn’t.

San Diego’s Bike SD will benefit from this weekend’s 35-mile Bike to the Border.

Scofflaw Santa Cruz cyclists attend bike traffic school, just like their counterparts on four wheels. A bill to allow similar bicycle traffic diversion schools statewide passed the legislature last month and awaits the governor’s signature.

Caught on video: A plant-killing San Francisco bike messenger was apparently doing other cyclists and the native environment a favor by stomping out fennel.

 

National

Two Special Forces vets are riding cross-country to raise money to help the families of special ops soldiers, while 10 cyclists are setting out from San Diego today on a ride across the US to raise awareness of mental illness.

Portland opens a new bridge for trains, buses, bikes and pedestrians, but motor vehicles need not apply; the lights on the bridge change according to the river flow and temperature.

A dozen blind Iowans team with sighted cyclists for a tandem bike ride.

Just days after complaining to the local press about the danger of motorists driving in a dedicated bus and bike only lane, an Ohio cyclist was injured in a fall when a driver blared on his horn while hugging his back wheel. Although the driver, who claims he didn’t know about the lane restriction, says he just “beeped at the gentleman and he fell off his bike.” Right.

Nearly 500 cyclists ride from Ground Zero to Boston to remember victims of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, raising half a million dollars for the families of police officers.

A Boston area livable streets group wants to connect the area’s existing pathways to create a 200 mile bike and pedestrian network.

 

International

British police are looking for a driver who got out of his car and punched a bike rider in the face, breaking his cheekbone in an unprovoked attack.

A Brit bike rider uses his to deliver blood, breast milk and meningitis fluid to hospitals.

The new leader of the UK’s Labour Party isn’t just unabashedly liberal, he’s also car-free and rides a bike; in fact, he owns two.

One-hundred-fifty Indian med students ride their bikes to promote bicycling and other forms exercise to prevent heart attacks.

Bicycles are helping young Bangladeshi women eradicate gender disparity by providing the opportunity to get an education.

A New Zealand study said MAMILs — Middle Aged Men In Lycra, for the uninitiated — were keeping people from riding bikes, as just the thought of wearing skintight togs was enough to scare some people off. Spandex serves a purpose, especially if you plan on long, fast rides. But bicycling isn’t a fashion show; wear whatever the hell you feel comfortable riding in.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei takes his impressive bicycle art sculpture to Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria. I can’t help thinking that those 1,500 bikes would be even more impressive on the streets with people riding them, though. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride your bike to rob a bank, at least do it right; a New York man tried to rob six New York banks in just two days, but only managed to ride off with a lousy thousand bucks. Evidently, pointlessly sexist ads for children’s bike are out of fashion these days.

And no. Just… no.

 

Morning Links: LA River bike path gets greener, more on Gardena shooting, and analysis of York Blvd bike wrecks

Great news for anyone who rides the LA River bike path.

And for the city of LA, as the Army Corps of Engineers approves a $1.8 billion plan to restore the river to a more natural state.

Which means maybe you’ll see more natural habitat and wildlife along your route, and less graffiti-ridden concrete slabs.

Although the question of who’s going to pay for it, and how, remains to be determined. As does just how long it will take before they get started, let alone finish.

………

The Times explains how the city arrived at the $4.7 million settlement for the death of Diaz-Zeferino and the wounding of Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez, and looks at the differing interpretations of what happened in the 27 seconds before officers opened fire. And whether the shooting could have been avoided.

Meanwhile, a writer on City Watch calls the video a damning and graphic look at the cold-blooded shooting of an innocent man.

And yet, the three officers who opened fire on the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim haven’t been charged — or even disciplined — and are still patrolling the streets.

………

LADOT Bike Blog looks at collision data for York Blvd over a 12-year period, noting that drivers were responsible for over 56% of collisions involving cyclists.

Most of the wrecks where drivers were at fault were the result of failure to yield or improper turns, while the overwhelming majority of collisions where the bike rider was at fault resulted from riding salmon.

It’s also worth noting that hit-and-runs on the boulevard declined by 38% after a road diet was implemented in 2006, more evidence that infrastructure influences behavior.

………

A new vegan cookbook co-written by LA’s own nutritionist and endurance bike racer Matt Ruscigno — the man behind the city’s toughest hill climb challenge — gets an overwhelmingly positive review.

The again, it’s about cooking with chocolate and cacao, so what’s not to like?

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A new app promises to make you more visible while you’re walking.

Designed by a former Fire Chief and a former Public Works Supervisor, who experienced first hand the results of drivers treating people on foot as if they were not there, the free PedSafe app was developed to make pedestrians more noticeable while walking. It provides a random amber flashing light & pedestrian symbol on a smartphone to alert drivers that someone is walking & crossing a street.

Sounds like it could also act as a backup flasher if yours goes out or you get caught without lights while riding after dark.

Thanks to Frank Colin for the heads up.

………

The Guardian offers a timeline of Thursday’s stage 12 of the Tour de France. The Alps could be the last obstacle for Chris Froome, after his dominating performance up to this point.

A pair of retired riders point an accusing finger at Froome, while others whisper about the still theoretical crime of motor doping. In his defense, Froome insists he’s clean and has never tested positive. Which is exactly what Lance used say, isn’t it?

VeloNews sums it up nicely, saying Froome is the only one who can ever know for a fact if he’s riding clean; the rest of us can only believe.

Twenty-three-year old French rider Warren Barguil may be in a lot of pain after a spill, but he’s also in 11th place in his first Tour. No explanation for why Vincenzo Nibali is faltering after winning last year’s TdF, though.

And Bicycling asks what kind of bike race fan you are. I’m more the sit in front of the TV watching the race while wishing I was out on my bike instead type.

………

Local

A bike rider was seriously injured Thursday morning when he was hit by an off-duty LAPD officer on his way to work at Central Ave and Washington Blvd just south of DTLA. The officer was reportedly rattled by the collision, saying the rider came out of nowhere. Amazing how many bike riders are able to defy the laws of physics and just materialize out of thin air. And if he’s rattled, just imagine how the cyclist feels.

Registration for the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit opens today.

Malibu’s Los Virgenes Road is undergoing a year-long widening project, and will re-emerge with a bike lane on the east side.

A writer for the Beach Reporter gives the new Redondo Beach Gateway Project high marks from both a cyclist’s and driver’s perspective, failing only as a site for an illegal run in the street.

The Temple City Tribune recommends a ride on the 1.5 mile semi-paved Duarte bike path this summer.

A writer from LMU says you shouldn’t have take home a six-figure income to afford bike share. Are you listening, Metro?

 

State

Twenty percent of San Diego roads could be candidates for road diets.

The Rim Nordic mountain bike park near Big Bear is now officially open for business.

San Francisco could remove a short section of bike lanes to improve safety, while a police captain promises a crackdown on cyclists rolling stop signs, rather than directing resources where it might save more lives as part of the city’s Vision Zero.

A letter writer on a Marin website says dump the Prius and get a bike, already.

The Sacramento Bee says texting behind the wheel is dangerous, and reminds us that Governor Brown twice vetoed bills to toughen the law against it.

A Chico woman gets her bike back thanks to a sharp-eyed bike shop employee who recognized a thief he knew, then the bike the thief was riding.

 

National

Writing for Gizmodo, Alissa Walker makes the argument that there are no accidents, and says the word should be dropped from use to describe crashes. The Colorado Highway Patrol is already on board.

A Senate committee passes a Complete Streets amendment to accommodate all road users in street designs, including cyclists and pedestrians, as well as approving a provision allowing bikes to be rolled onto Amtrak trains. This would be a huge step forward if it makes it to the final bill.

A writer for the Wall Street Journal says you can eat like a normal person, ride a regular bike and live your life, and still be a serious cyclist.

A Seattle cop has written over 1,100 cycling tickets in just an eight year period — including 17 to the same bike messenger.

An audit says bike-friendly Denver’s bike plan is suffering from a lack of funding and a slow pace in implementing a planned 270 miles of bikeways.

An Austin TX driver flees the scene after deliberately brake checking a bike rider; he reportedly honked first and yelled at the rider to get in the bike lane, which was blocked by vegetation.

It’s happened again. A 19-year old Dallas driver is under arrest after hitting a cyclist and driving nearly a mile with his victim lodged in the windshield, before dumping him in an alley to die. He’s only charged with causing an accident resulting in death. If there’s any justice, that will be upgraded to a 2nd degree murder charge.

An Illinois cyclist is hospitalized after colliding with a goose, followed by a collision with another rider. No word on the condition of the goose.

A Michigan transplant patient takes his new heart on a two-day, 70-mile bike tour.

Pittsburgh’s mayor says more bike lanes are coming, despite the bikelash.

Unbelievable. A New York judge says a repeat hit-and-run drunk driver who has already killed two people should be allowed to get his driver’s license back. Evidently, the judge wants to go for three; if you even wonder why people keep dying on our streets, judges like this would be a good place to start.

Savannah police are looking for the thief who was caught on video stealing a $7,000 Time bike; it was the fourth time in 10 years the owner had a bike stolen. Yet he still left his high-end bike unlocked on a stair rail after finishing his ride? Seriously?

Nice story, as a Tampa cop gives a mentally disabled man a ride to work after his bike is stolen, then teams with his partner to buy him a new one.

Miami bike crashes nearly doubled over a two year period.

 

International

Treehugger says bikes are not cars, and infrastructure is better than helmets.

Cycling Weekly looks at reader’s most embarrassing moments on a bike. Mine was probably early in my riding career, when I was watching an attractive woman instead of the road and pedaled into the back of a parked car.

Calgary bike thefts are up 60%.

Caught on video: UK police are looking for a clumsy bike thief who rode into a parking barrier as he made his escape.

Belfast cyclists are looking forward to the city’s first ciclovía.

An Indian proposal would make bikes subject to seizure if the owner rides in the roadway instead of a cycletrack.

A group of DIY fixie and single speed riders are bringing Soweto bike style to the streets of Johannesburg.

An Aussie cyclist keeps riding his tandem despite blindness, impaired hearing and Type 2 Diabetes.

Singapore authorities plan a bikeway that would provide a seamless commuting route serving 400,000 people.

 

Finally…

Your next helmet could have turn signals and an automatic brake signal. It’s a lot easier to make the podium in your first mountain bike race when there’s only three people entered.

And road rage knows no bounds, as a pair of Balboa Island bike riders are harassed by a driver. In a golf cart.

 

Guest Post: Deep data analysis reveals the real causes of LA bike collisions

The key to improving bike safety is understanding how and why collisions occur.

Which has been almost impossible to figure out here in Los Angeles, where no one was keeping track of such vital statistics until recently. Let alone analyzing them.

I tried digging the data out of the statewide SWITRS traffic collision database before giving up, as have others before and since.

Now long-time LA bike advocate Dennis Hindman has dug through data compiled by the Los Angeles Police Department to uncover the causes of collisions — at least as determined by LAPD traffic investigators — with surprising results.

And makes the commonsense suggestion bicycling infrastructure should be installed first where cyclists ride, and collisions occur. At least until we have a fully built-out bicycling network.

I’m sharing the results of Hindman’s investigation, with his permission.

It’s a must read for anyone who cares about bike safety, and ensuring that everyone who goes out on a bike ride comes back home in one piece.

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The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data results from 2007 through 2013 have a doubling of commuting by bicycle from 0.6% to 1.2%. Los Angeles Police Department reported 1,335 bicycle collisions in 2007 and 2,413 in 2013. That’s a 81% increase. Although the bicycle collisions have significantly increased, the rate of collisions per total number of bicycle riders has no doubt fallen.

I did a totaling of type of collisions in the first 100 pages (about 500 collisions) of the 484 page 2013 bicycle collision report that mentions each collisions individually and found the reported collision type or primary factor in the collisions to be:

  • 220 broadside
  • 110 wrong side (usually got hit by driver turning right)
  • 146 Right of Way auto
  • 70 stop sign
  • 40 improper turn
  • 48 sideswipe
  • 30 head on
  • 22 rear end
  • 10 improper turn
  • 8 too close
  • 5 improper driving
  • 10 lane change
  • 29 unsafe speed (usually unclear when that refers to bicycle or motor vehicle)

I haven’t seen anything in the report that mentions hitting a parked car door. There are several reports about hitting a parked vehicle though. I’ll try to figure out how many times that occurred in the total. Its much less frequent than getting broadsided.

Right of Way auto and broadside I assume would mean a bicycle running a stop sign or running a red light and a motor vehicle that had the right-of-way hitting the bicycle. I have yet to see a collision report state ROW bicycle, although it occasionally mentions ROW pedestrian.

The report does mention collisions when a motor vehicle was making a right-turn as a bicycle was going straight. I’ll try to see how frequently that occurred in relation to all types of collisions. This also seems to be a small proportion compared to the number of broadsides.

A Los Angeles Department of Transportation bikeway traffic engineer recently stated that they do not do treatments for bicycles at intersections. The bike lanes are striped where there are no crossing points for motor vehicles such as driveways, freeway on and off ramps, and cross street intersections.

The MIT Media Lab made a great looking map of all the LAPD reported bicycle collisions for 2012:

http://youarehere.cc/p/bicycle-accidents/losangeles

When I look at that map it seems to me that the bulk of the LADOT resources for bicycling should be concentrated in the areas of the city where the bicycle collisions are densely packed together. That’s also where the most bicycling occurs. If there are few staff members and a very small budget, then why try to install bicycle improvements across the whole city at once. That dilutes the effect by spreading out the improvements so much that they don’t connect into a network of any sort and the quality of the infrastructure won’t be as good because the emphasis is on quantity.

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Hindman followed-up with a brief email providing a little additional information and clarification. 

When I mentioned 70 crashes involving a stop sign it should be stop sign or traffic signal. I’m getting better at understanding the abbreviations in the crash data and hopefully I can tabulate the primary collisions factors and collisions types for 2013. I counted 16 bicycle fatalities for 2013.* One pedestrian was killed by a bicycle rider in 2007 and in 2012, but none in 2013. Both of these pedestrians were in their 80’s.

Spot checking the MIT Media Lab results of 54 bicycle crashes for Van Nuys Blvd I noticed that any time the LAPD bicycle crash data mentions Van Nuys as the primary or secondary street it was counted by MIT as a crash on Van Nuys Blvd. I have to assume that all the street crashes mentioned were totaled the same way.

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*Editor’s note: My records show 18 bicycling fatalities in the City of Los Angeles in 2013. The discrepancy may be due to one rider killed in a train collision, and another who was walking his bike when he was hit by a car; it’s possible neither was classified as a bike collision in the LAPD stats. Two of the cyclists killed in 2013 died as a result of doorings.