Tag Archive for Bike to Work Week

The problem with Glendale and riding on the sidewalk; more on Bike Week

Clearly, there’s more to the Glendale bike death wrist slap than there appeared last week.

According to the Glendale News Press, Naira Margaryan was charged with a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter for the death of Gerardo Ramos, who died 13 months after she ran a stop sign and struck his bicycle as he rode through a Glendale crosswalk.

Infuriating cyclists in the middle of the city’s Bike Month, Glendale authorities assigned equal blame for the death on both parties; to make matters worse, a police spokesman incorrectly said that Ramos shared the blame because riding on a sidewalk is a violation of California vehicle codes.

But as Damien Newton pointed out on Streetsblog, California delegates the decision on whether to allow or ban riding on the sidewalk to local jurisdictions — despite what the DMV’s Driver Handbook says.

So that everyone is clear about the law, here is the relevant section from the California Vehicle Code:

21100. Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution regarding the following matters:…
… (h) Operation of bicycles, and, as specified in Section 21114.5, electric carts by physically disabled persons, or persons 50 years of age or older, on the public sidewalks.

Ok, but that doesn’t mean anything without knowing Glendale’s laws.  Here is the section on sidewalk riding in Glendale:

Glendale Municipal code 10.64.025 Bicycle riding on sidewalks. No person shall ride or operate a bicycle upon any public sidewalk in any business district within the city except where such sidewalk is officially designated as part of an established bicycle route. Pedestrians shall have the right-of-way on sidewalks. The prohibition in this section shall not apply to peace officers on bicycle patrol. (Ord. 5116 § 1, 1996)

As Dj Wheels pointed out, the intersection where Ramos was struck looks very residential.

And that’s exactly the problem. Because section C of CVC 240 defines a business district as virtually anything that isn’t made up of exclusively of single family homes.

(c) All churches, apartments, hotels, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings, other than schools, shall be deemed to be business structures.

In other words, a definition so broad that it brings into question the enforceability of any ordinance based on it, since it would be almost impossible for a rider to know whether or not he could legally ride on the sidewalk in any given spot. What would be legal on one block might be illegal on the next — or even on different sections of the same block, as he rides past single family homes and apartment buildings, schools and churches.

Whether or not that played a role in the decision to blame to Ramos for the collision that killed him has yet to be determined — as is whether anything can be done about it.

What is clear is that Glendale cyclists are stuck with a bad law that is almost impossible to obey; and that legal authorities continue to hold cyclists and drivers equality responsible for actions that contribute to collisions — even though careless drivers pose a risk to everyone around them, while even the most careless cyclists pose a risk predominantly to themselves.

Meanwhile, master framebuilder Dave Moulton weighs in on the Gerardo Ramos case, noting that cyclists have to take responsibility for our own safety and stay off the sidewalk.

He’s right.

Studies show there’s a significantly higher risk to bicyclists riding on the sidewalk compared to street — with or without bike lanes or other infrastructure.

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Another day, another fatal hit-and-run in LA; this one involving a pedestrian in Koreatown.

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More Bike Week news:

Will Campbell proves himself a better man than I am by attending the Blessing of the Bicycles, and credits it to protecting him during a perfect unplanned sliding dismount; I let an hour long rush hour ride from the Westside in a cold, steady drizzle dissuade me. So if anyone knows any freelance bike-friendly priests, ministers and/or rabbis on the Westside, my bike is still in serious need of blessing.

LAPD provides a podcast of Chief Beck’s Bike Week remarks. Green LA Girl continues her excellent coverage of Bike Week throughout the LA area. The Source calls attention to Wednesday’s Downtown L.A. Ride; better hurry, because it starts at 8 am. Stephen Box astutely looks forward to the day when Bike to Work Week won’t be necessary anymore. Bicycling offers a no-excuse guide to bike commuting, while UCLA Transportation provides a five minute video look at the same subject.

Announcing a major victory for bike commuters timed for Bike Week, Metro plans to drop the rush hour ban on bikes on trains, replacing it with unlimited bikes in the articulated sections between cars, and releases a pretty new map of local bikeways, busways and train lines — though more street-level detail would help. And you can finish off the week by taking Metro to the L.A. stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Saturday; then again, you could just ride there.

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American Tyler Farrar wins his second stage in the Giro; Vinokourov keeps the leader’s maglia rosa. On the left edge of America, Dave Zabriskie wins Tuesday’s stage of the Amgen Tour of California and takes the overall lead; Brett Lancaster won yesterday’s rain soaked stage.

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On the political front, Claremont Cyclist endorses the LBVLA, while Damien takes an in-depth look at transportation issues in the 36th Congressional District. LACBC recruits cyclists to test ride LA’s soon-to-be-sharrowed streets; meanwhile, volunteers are wanted to make snowballs in…well, you get it. A UCLA survey question about biking and driving distances could have been phrased a lot better, and offered a better prize as well. LA Cycle Chic reports on a small but successful Mom’s Ride. Gary updates the state of cycling in semi-bike friendly Santa Monica, including a softening on bike licensing and the need for city agencies to work together; meanwhile, you’ll find more bike parking on the Promenade and throughout Downtown. George Wolfberg forwards a story from the NY Times about the ever-present fear of crashing among pro cyclists. Your word for the day: Aggromuter. An East Coast blogger asks if Boston is the new Portland; didn’t Long Beach already beat them to it? Tucson Bike Lawyer trades rings with a trike-riding toddler. A New Jersey cyclist barely avoids injury when she’s knocked off her bike by cups of ice thrown from a passing car; Texas high school students could have faced charges for assaulting cyclists with bananas. Springfield Cyclist celebrates the city’s newfound status as a bike-friendly community. Transport for London turns down an offer of help from the founder of 3FeetPlease; evidently, they have that rash of London cyclists killed by large trucks under control. Fashionable clothes, a toned bum and a tanned face equal cycle chic. Will 2010 be the Summer of Cycling? A Montreal paper says cyclists should be banned from regular roads because we’re all scofflaws — even though less than 20% ran red lights in their own study. And it wasn’t a cyclist who killed three riders in Quebec last week.

Finally, Wednesday night marks the annual Ride of Silence honoring cyclists who have died on America’s streets. Memorial rides will take place in cities throughout the country; local events will take place in Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, Ventura, Rancho Cucamonga, Irvine and Temecula. I have other obligations, or I’d join the ride in Santa Monica, maybe someone can take my place. And lets make sure there’s a ride in Los Angeles next year.

Bike to Work Week, a triple tragedy in Quebec, more L.A. hit-and-runs and the LBVLA is born

It’s Bike to Work Week.

The one time during the year when our local governments and various agencies fall all over themselves to prove they’re bike friendly — often in direct contrast to the other 51 weeks of the year.

And it all starts today.

I won’t waste your time with a recap of all the various events going on around town when so many others have already covered it in far more detail; just click on the links below for more information.

LACBC Bike to Work Day/Bike Week

Metro L.A. Bike Week

Bike Week Pasadena

Glendale Bike Month

Long Beach Bike Week

Claremont Bike to Work Week

Additional coverage at LA Streetsblog, the Source, the L.A. Times, Travelin’ Local and Green L.A. Girl, who notes the Sierra Club’s Bike-ku bike giveaway contest, as well as events south of the Orange Curtain in the Orange County Register. As for Bike to Work Day, there’s bound to be Pit Stop location near you.

And in honor of Bike to Work week, LAPD Chief Beck asks drivers not to run over us, noting that sharing the road is the law.

As for me, I’m looking forward to Good Sam’s Blessing of the Bicycles on Tuesday; after the ride I had on Friday — two right hooks, one left cross, one speeding buzz and a barely averted high speed crash — I’ll take all the help I can get. On the other hand, I’m still debating whether I want to spend an hour bucking L.A. rush hour traffic to ride there. So what do you think about this route?

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Three female triathletes were killed and three others — a man and two woman — seriously injured in a horrific collision while riding on a Quebec highway. Observers blamed the crash on the lack of a paved shoulders along the highway, forcing cyclists to share a lane with high speed traffic. The driver was a volunteer firefighter who attempted to give first aid to the victims. Alcohol has been ruled out, but cruise control may have played a role, while cyclists say local drivers are “cowboys” on the roads. They may be right, as another cyclist is killed by a drunk driver just a day later.

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The League of Bicycling Voters held its inaugural meeting at UCLA on Saturday, and took its first steps as a real political organization.

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Tragic proof over the weekend that hit-and-run collisions affect everyone, not just cyclists.

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Vinokourov gets the pink jersey back — and keeps it — in the Giro. Cyclelicious reports on the first day of the Amgen Tour of California, won by Mark Cavendish, while Tom Boonen gets skinned in a crash. Oh, and some guy named Lance raced, too. The ToC comes to L.A. with a Downtown time trial and bike Lifestyle Festival on Saturday the 22nd.

Of course, that will conflict with the Inner City Sports Festival & Health Fair the same day.

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Volunteers needed to ride pre-sharrowed streets. Cyclists discover the Valley’s Foothill Boulevard on Saturday. Flying Pigeon now carries classic Dutch-style Velorbis Bikes. The Times examines the intersection of biking and real estate. Pasadena plans to become even more bike friendly, with help Ryan Snyder Associates. L.A. Creek Freak reports on the slow progress of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path. Will observes a modern version of the loaves and fishes while riding Saturday, as a $50 bread purchase turns into $1000 of food for the needy. Riding on the sidewalk may be legal, but it’s not safe — and often rude. A San Francisco Grand Jury says it’s time drivers and cyclists got along, and encourages police to ticket more cyclists. A cyclist suffers non-life threatening injuries at a notorious San Francisco intersection. Today Show weatherman Al Roker rides. Cleveland PD offers great advice on how drivers can share the road. An 11-year old Texas girl gets warning signs on a dangerous road for cyclists. Collisions are up in Boulder intersections — including a cyclist who swerved to avoid car and got ticketed for an illegal lane change. An 86-year old driver faces a $75 fine after killing a teenage cyclist and critically injuring two others. Springfield Cyclist recounts a tandem tour of the Outer Banks. A Scottish company invents a new kind of bike seat; I’ll let someone else try it first. A Brit store refuses to sell a patch kit to a 17-year old for fear he might sniff it instead of fixing his flat. A man steals a bike, but is too drunk to remember what he did with it. Four British firefighters will ride non-stop from Edinburgh to London to raise funds for a cancer charity; as an aside, Santa Monica bike blogger JHaygood documents his brother’s battle against a rare form of cancer. A bike flash mob invades a Brussels train station with Queen’s Bicycle Race.

Finally, a German cyclist has been touring the world for 24 years, 38 countries and 320 flat tires and isn’t done yet; he credits his energy to drinking his own urine every morning. And yes, you read that right.

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