Tag Archive for bikes may take full lane

Morning Links: Bike theft victims wanted, how to use LA micromobility, and your right to take the lane

Just six days left in the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

Time’s running out to support SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy. Donate in just minutes via PayPal, or through Zelle with the banking app that’s already on your phone, using the email address you’ll find on this link.

Any amount will help, and is truly and deeply appreciated, no matter how large or small. 

Or if you own a business, consider buying an ad on BikinginLA to show your support for this site, while you spread your message to thousands of bike riders in Southern California and around the world.

Not to mention you can write off the full cost as an advertising expense on next year’s taxes.

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If you’ve had your bike stolen, the new 24-hour Spectrum 1 News channel wants to talk to you. 

Reporter Jada Montemarano is looking to talk to current and former victims for a possible story on the bike theft epidemic. 

You can email her at [email protected] if you’ve got a stolen bike story to tell. 

Maybe shining a little light on bike theft will get the city to actually do something about it. 

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LA Curbed offers everything you need to know to use bikeshare, e-scooters and dockless bikes in the City of Angels, but probably hadn’t thought to ask. 

The field has gotten more crowded in the past weeks, as Jump has dumped both ebikes and e-scooters onto the streets, while Lyft and Razor — yes, that Razor — have jumped into the LA scooter wars. 

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Cycling Savvy has released a new video just for California bike riders spelling out our legal right to take the lane under most circumstances. 

As instructor Gary Cziko explains, 

“The exceptions to the far-to-the-right requirement of CVC 21202 provide clear recognition by the vehicle code that bicycling far to the right often exposes bicyclists to unnecessaryrisk, and makes it legal to avoid this risk by controlling the lane.”

Thanks to Cziko and our old friend Karen Karabell for the heads-up. 

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The LACBC is hosting their last Operation Firefly event to provide free bike lights in Pasadena tonight. 

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‘Tis the season.  

Canadians are taking their Christmas trees home by bike

Thirty Santas, elves and other assorted holiday types turned out for a Santa ride in the unlikely location of Fethiye, Turkey.

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Local 

An op-ed in the LA Times says Los Angeles doesn’t have to be a city of parking lots, in part thanks to bicycles, bike lanes and the growth of micromobility. UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup has said DTLA has more parking per acre than anywhere else on Earth. So why are we wasting valuable curb space to provide car storage at the city’s expense when it could be put to better use?

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from the LA Daily News, which takes a look at the safety improvements, including separate bike lanes, along La Tuna Canyon in the San Fernando Valley.  

How the popular Rock Store survived the Woolsey Fire that scorched the section of Mulholland Highway known as The Snake

State

The CHP highlights changes in traffic laws on January 1st, including one that removes any doubt that bike riders are subject to hit-and-run laws on Class 1 bikeways. In addition, bike riders under 18 will now get fix-it tickets if they’re caught riding without a helmet, while adults will no longer need one to ride an e-scooter. But you still can if you want. 

Great offer from the San Diego Bicycle Coalition. They’ll give the first 100 people who donate $50 to the group a free Boomerang CycloTrac GPS anti-theft system

National

A writer for Boing Boing sums up his experience commuting by ebike, calling it a total game changer for non-cyclists. 

Smart Cities Dive gazes deep into its crystal ball to look far into the future, and predicts what’s in store for dockless bikes and scooters in the year to come

A Hawaiian woman celebrates her 40th birthday with a 40-mile uphill ride into the wind from the ocean to the top of Maunakea on the Big Island, finishing in a not-so-speedy eight hours. 

Seattle questions whether the city’s water taxi service should charge extra to bring bicycles onboard

Uber executives were warned in advance that its self-driving cars were too dangerous not long before one hit and killed Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona. That jackpot sound you hear is her lawyers calculating just how much that bit of information will cost Uber in the inevitable settlement

La Crosse WI will remove bike lane markers along one of the city’s busiest streets to avoid confusion caused by new bulb-outs. Which, of course, will probably cause more confusion

The vice mayor of Cambridge MA calls for lowering speed limits to 20 mph throughout the city, while bike riders would be happy just to get cars out of the bike lanes. 

International

The Conversation says Toronto history proves that induced demand works for bicycles, too. 

A rose by any other name. London will rebrand their cycle superhighways to “detoxify” the image that they’re nothing more than motorways for Lycra louts. 

London announces a five-year plan to triple the amount of protected bike lanes to form a single, unified bike network across the city to get more people onto their bikes. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has its own 25-year bike plan to get more people riding, which is currently on the shelf gathering dust, and likely to stay there for the foreseeable future

A Welsh driver admits to running over the 75-year old mother of British cycling hero Chris Boardman after she fell off her bike in a roundabout. 

British insurers are surprised to learn they’re going to be offering a discount to bicyclists who pass the country’s Bikeability class.  

A Polish radio station is holding an on-air auction today to benefit 72-year old former Olympic cycling medalist Ryszard Szurkowski, who was paralyzed after crashing in a masters race in Germany last June. 

Over 5,000 people have signed up to use the 300 ebikes in New Delhi’s new bikeshare system

Competitive Cycling

The toughest rider in this year’s Tour de France tells his story firsthand for the first time, as American Lawson Craddock describes what it was like to ride the entire race with a broken collarbone.

VeloNews talks with the incredible Katie Compton about her 15th consecutive national cyclocross title. Next year they should just hand her the trophy, and let everyone else fight it out for second place

Finally…

That feeling when your endo goes viral in a friend’s selfie. And the perfect bicycle for when you have an extra ten grand burning a hole in your bike budget.

Or you could just buy five to ten pretty damn good bikes, instead. 

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Thanks to Anne F, Dennis E and George W for their generous donations to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive to keep this site coming to your favorite screen every morning! 

Update: Bike rider dies four days after he was rear-ended in Long Beach crash

People on bikes are taught to take the lane to improve their visibility and safety.

Sometimes that’s not enough.

And sometimes, all the doctors and nurses in world aren’t enough to undo the damage that can result.

According to a release from the Long Beach Police Department, 39-year old Crestline resident Bryan Lembke died Sunday, four days after he was struck by a driver.

Lembke was riding in the center of the right lane on westbound Spring Street through El Dorado Park around 4:40 am last Thursday, when he was run down from behind by a driver as he approached the San Gabriel River.

In other words, he was exactly where he was supposed to be. And was rear-ended anyway.

He suffered major injuries to his head and body, and was taken to a local hospital where he died.

The driver is identified only as a 53-year old man from Cypress. He remained at the scene, and was released pending further investigation.

No word on whether Lembke had lights and reflectors on his bike in the early morning darkness. And no word on whether police have obtained a warrant to check the driver’s phone to see if he was driving distracted.

Anyone with information is urged to call Accident Investigation Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562/570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted through LA Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800/222-TIPS (8477) or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.

This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 23rd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: A comment below from the mother of Lembke’s son indicates that he did have front and rear blinking lights on his bike, as well as a solid white headlamp on his helmet. 

A crowdfunding campaign raising funds for his son’s education has raised over $15,000 of the $25,000 goal.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bryan Lembke and all his loved ones.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up. 

 

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

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10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

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It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

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South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

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