Tag Archive for car vs. bike

Action Alert: Panorama City NC sneaks in agenda item to remove bike lanes on Chase Street at tonight’s meeting

I just received news that the Panorama City Neighborhood Council will discuss removal of a recently installed road diet and bike lanes on Chase Street.

The group has already requested removal of the lanes in one section; now they’re planning to ask for removal of the entire road diet.

Worse, they’re trying to sneak this past the public without any real discussion by inserting a last-minute “special agenda” at the end of the previously published agenda. And allowing only eight minutes to consider the matter, effectively eliminating any possibility of legitimate discussion.

5. Consideration and possible action on the recommendation of the Public Safety committee that the Board ask the city to restore Chase Street to four traffic lanes between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The Board has already taken action to request a return to four lanes between Wakefield Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The council had opposed lane elimination in that area when the street restriping was still in the proposal stage. Now that the restriping has occurred, a dangerous condition has also arisen at the Woodman end, where parent traffic blocks the street while waiting to turn into the alley behind Valor Academy Middle School to pick up children. The through-street’s traffic capacity reduction is also causing huge backups along the street during rush hours, and a dangerous diversion of cut-through traffic to Parthenia Street between Woodman Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. That section of Parthenia has now changed from a quiet residential street to an arterial street. For all of these traffic disruptions, very few bicycles are ever seen occupying the two bike lanes that replaced the two traffic lanes. [8m]

If you live, work or ride in the area, you’re urged to attend tonight’s meeting:

PANORAMA CITY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING AGENDA

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 6:30 PM
Mission Community Hospital, Medical Office Building, 2nd Floor, Room 208 14860 Roscoe Boulevard, Panorama City, CA 91402

If you can’t make it, email your comments — and your outrage at the sneak attack — to PCNC@EmpowerLA.org; blind copy (Bcc) LA BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey at glennbicyclela@gmail.com.

Demand that they allow legitimate public discussion before taking any action.

And that they allow the bike lanes to remain until people in cars and on bikes both have a chance to adjust to the new road design — and give up this ill-advised attempt to revert the roadway back to a more dangerous state.

 

Morning Links: NoCal meat man meets justified anger from cyclists; getting ready for Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

The too typical attitude towards bike riders in Wine County — and elsewhere. Photo by Janet Lafleur.

Once again someone who should know better has written an anti-bike screed in a failed attempt at humor.

And once again, it blew up in his face.

Adam Parks, the owner of Victorian Farmstead Meats in Sebastopol, posted the blog piece over the weekend — and on his company’s website, no less – apparently not considering that the people on “the $10,000 graphite-framed” bikes, clad in a “$500 spandex onesie,” are exactly the ones who could actually afford his high-end artisanal meats.

Never mind all the wine country chefs who ride bikes, who will now be significantly less inclined to by his products.

The single cyclist, he said, was bad enough; laying on his horn was enough to move a rider into the ditch.

Worse, in his mind, were the riders the peloton — a word he was proud to have looked up. Those should be considered fair game if they failed to ride single file or remain on the right side of the solid white line, in his humble opinion.

Even though cyclists have every bit as much ride to the road as he does. And even though anything to the right of the line is not legally considered part of the roadway.

Why some people that think inciting traffic violence against other human beings is funny will forever be beyond me.

Needless to say, his website, Facebook page and email inbox immediately blew up with thousands of angry comments.

His first reaction was to say on Facebook that he never apologizes for anything he writes, before doing just that and deleting the post.

If only someone, somewhere had save it as a pdf so you could download and read it.

Oh wait, I did: Cycle of Life | Victorian Farmstead Meat Company.

In his apology, which came after a long sleepless night, he said he was sorry for the hurt he had caused, anddonate $500 to a fund for injured cyclists, if one existed. Or start one, if it didn’t.

Actually, the only problem is selecting which of the many cyclists injured in traffic collisions most deserves his help.

Let’s hope he’s sincere in changing his beliefs, now that he’s been made aware of the dangers cyclists face on the road. And not just saying it to save his business, which went from a four star rating on Yelp to 1.5 overnight.

After all, others have make mistakes like that, and tried to turn it into something positive.

………

You are going to Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia, right?

CiclaValley has created an in-depth a guide to the ride, with stops both on and off Lankershim and Ventura Blvds.

The Source offers a list of discounts available along the route.

And if you get off to an early start, you can join a feeder ride with State Senator Bob Hertzberg. And maybe catch his ear about why that proposed bike helmet bill should find it’s way to the legislature’s trash bin.

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Every time a city suggests removing parking to make room for a bike lane, merchants rise up in anger insisting it will harm their business.

Which is exactly what happened on Westwood Blvd, where Councilmember Paul Koretz acceded to the demands of local business and homeowners to kill a much needed bike lane on the Blvd.

Yet those business owners may have shot themselves in the foot.

City Lab has complied a list of twelve studies from around the world showing that at worst, removing parking for bike lanes has no effect on business. And can even result in an increase in sales as the street becomes more accessible for everyone, rather than just those in cars.

We should all bookmark this page.

And cite it verbatim the next time someone claims we’re trying to kill their business.

………

Local

The Canyon News looks at Damian Kevitt’s successful completion of the LA Marathon on Sunday, and reports that Kevitt hopes the support he received translates to support for Finish the Ride next month.

Santa Monica’s City Council will consider accepting USDOT Secretary Foxx’s challenge to create safer streets at tonight’s council session. Sounds like something no one would oppose, which means someone inevitably will.

The Santa Monica Bike Center now offers guided tours of the city, with six options including a street art tour and a foodie tour of Main Street.

 

State

The California Bicycle Coalition lists 10 reasons why California is becoming a great place to bike.

Camp Pendleton’s Hellfire mountain bike race returns this Saturday.

A writer for Orange County’s Chapman University school paper opposes SB 192, California’s proposed mandatory bike helmet law. For many of the wrong reasons, but still.

A Santa Barbara truck driver who doesn’t get “that crazy pack riding” says everyone is safer when cyclists ride alone or single file, not realizing that often increases the risk for riders.

An 18-year old Sonoma woman prepares to meet the hit-and-run driver who killed her father when she was just seven years old.

 

National

A new national study finally breaks down that old “interested by concerned” statistic reflecting who would like to ride their bike more; actually, every demographic wants protected bike lanes.

Now that’s my kind of triathlon — an ultra marathon along Alaska’s famed Iditarod Trail by fat bike, foot and ski.

A former LAPD homicide cop now patrols the BYU campus by bike.

Colorado becomes the latest state to work towards eliminating traffic deaths; of course, the question is whether any of the over 35 states that have made that commitment will actually do what’s needed to stop the slaughter on our streets and highways.

Evidently, cops in my bike-friendly hometown could use a refresher course in bike law. Not unlike cops just about everywhere else.

Call it a cic-Yellowstone-lovia, as the National Park opens its roads to bike riders before the park officially opens in the spring.

The Idaho legislature passes a bill that would bar the use of eminent domain to build greenbelts and bike paths. But not, evidently, highways.

According to a Minnesota letter writer, people who want bikable and walkable trails are special interest groups, while those who want five lane streets aren’t. And says it’s the trails that will bankrupt the city, not the exponentially more expensive streets.

Connecticut considers modifying, but not removing, the requirement to ride to the right in order to allow protected bike lanes and contraflow lanes.

 

International

Toronto’s new cycling manager says women are the indicator species for cycling safety in the city. Actually, humans of all genders, orientations, ages, races and socio-economic status are; in other words, our streets won’t be safe until anyone feels comfortable riding them.

Once again, someone has strung wire at head level across a British bikeway, in what should only be seen as an attempt to seriously injure or kill unwary riders. Let’s hope police treat this like the serious crime it is.

An Aussie driver is just mortified at his “overreaction” after he deliberately crossed onto the wrong side of the road to run down the cyclist who cracked his windshield during an argument. I wonder if he’d be as mortified if he hadn’t been caught.

 

Finally…

Scofflaw cyclist Arnold Schwarzenegger rides the streets of Melbourne on a bike share bicycle sans the country’s mandatory bike helmet; the local police directed him to a nearby 7-11 to buy a $5 helmet. Evidently, money makes you mean; a social psychologist found all the drivers in inexpensive cars stopped for pedestrians in a beachfront LA crosswalk, while half of the drivers in expensive cars didn’t.

And thanks to my friends at CLIF Bar for sending me their new less-sweet organic energy foods to try out. Although I have to admit to approaching some of those flavors with just a tad of trepidation.

SAMSUNG

Morning Links: Unfortunate irony on the Milt Olin Ride, and still more on the proposed helmet law

Unfortunate irony, indeed.

A bike rider is hit by an apparently distracted driver on a ride to remember a bike rider killed by a distracted-driving sheriff’s deputy.

Fortunately, the cyclist should be okay, despite being pretty banged up.

………

It’s starting to look like this story isn’t going to go away.

A columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle says bike advocates are splitting hairs in opposition to SB 192, the bill that would mandate helmet use for all riders. Although someone should tell him that the law requiring helmets for minors, which he calls a success, is often blamed for why so few California children ride bikes, which is a major contributor to the obesity crisis in our youth.

The Daily News prints letters on both sides of the issue; once again, licensing people on bikes rears its ugly head even though it has nothing to do with the question at hand.

San Diego’s KPBS public radio station discusses both sides of the question, as well, while Santa Monica Spoke comes out in opposition to the bill. Digital Slurry echoes Copehangenize with a tongue-in-cheek call for walking helmets.

And if you still have any doubt whether the proposed helmet law is a bad idea, Streetsblog’s Melanie Curry nails it.

………

Local

USC’s Neon Tommy says a watered down MyFigueroa won’t be finished until the end of next year.

Next City is suitably impressed that Ed Begley, Jr. biked the Oscars in the rain Sunday night. So I am.

Move LA and the SFV Council of Governments are hosting a San Fernando Valley Town Hall on Thursday to imagine our transportation future in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.

Westwood’s Hammer Museum invites you to design your own bike to suit the environment in a family friendly workshop this Sunday.

 

State

A Santa Ana coalition wants to empower local residents to transform the streets to make them safer for bike riders and pedestrians.

A Bakersfield driver faces four charges, including two felony counts, in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider.

A Modesto letter writer insists there will never be safety for bicyclists as long as we’re required to ride with traffic; someone should show him the safety stats for salmon cyclists.

The new director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition intends to push the fight for Vision Zero.

 

National

Kids added their voices to bike advocacy at the national Youth Bike Summit in Seattle.

Now here’s an idea LA should steal copy, as Houston opens a Bicycle Museum this week. I’d gladly pay to see Connie Carpenter’s gold medal-winning bike from the ’84 LA Olympics, along with one of the bikes that beat a JetBlue jet to Long Beach and made Wolfpack Hustle a household name among local cyclists.

An Omaha flying saucer-shaped building is set to become a new bike shop operated by a non-profit group. Actually, most local bike shops are unintentional non-profits these days.

A Minnesota man prepares to ride next week’s 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational along a portion of the famed sled dog trail.

An Ohio fat bike rider doesn’t let freezing temperatures — or a frozen beard — stop him.

Bike riders recreate the legendary Selma to Montgomery civil rights march on two wheels.

New York’s CitiBike workers want the raises they were promised by the bike share’s former owners.

 

International

Must be something in the water, as a racist UK jerk hurls abuse at a bike rider and threatens to set his dogs on him, and a big hearted Londoner is caught on video saying bike riders are their own worst enemy and deserve to die.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 93-year old British WWII vet still rides up to 5,000 miles a year; last year he notched 3,500, which is a lot more than I managed.

A Brit thief steals a bike, and uses it to break through the window of a toy store.

 

Finally…

Roseville bike thieves simply ride off with bikes being sold through Craigslist. An apparently anti-bike OKC city councilmember follows up on his failed attempt to force bike riders to keep three feet from cars with an ordinance allowing police to ticket lane splitting cyclists.

And if you’re drunk off your ass and get caught trying to take a shortcut through a fenced-off business lot, don’t ride salmon and crash into the police car trying to stop you from getting killed by riding into the path of a truck.

Seriously.

 

Morning Links: Justice denied and threats against cyclists, and it’s time to give up some of that good bike blood

Sometimes there seems to be a common thread in the day’s news.

This time, it’s a tale of threats and justice denied. At least, if you’re on a bike.

In a must read from Colorado, a cyclist describes the collision that totaled his bike — and nearly totaled him — when he was rear-ended by a driver doing an estimated 35 mph.

Yet when an officer from the highway patrol showed up, he had apparently decided what had happened before he even got out of his car. And gave the rider a $24 ticket for not getting the hell out of the way of the truck that hit him.

Then there’s the case of a Virginia driver who was convicted on two misdemeanor counts after buzzing a group of cyclists, then threatening them with a gun.

Yet despite threatening the lives of five innocent people, he walks away without even a single day behind bars.

And don’t even get me started on the schmuck who robbed an Oakland bike rider as he lay unconscious in the street after being hit by a truck; the victim’s mother says a heart defect has compounded his injuries and left her son clinging to life.

Hopefully they’ll catch the thief, lock him up and shove the key where the sun don’t shine.

Then there’s the idiot who tossed tacks on a busy Portland bridge popular with bike riders for the second time this week.

It may not sound like a big deal.

But a sudden flat can cause a cyclist to lose control and fall, possibly resulting in a serious injury. Or worse, if it causes him or her to fall in front of oncoming traffic. And even a sudden swerve after spotting the tacks in the roadway could be dangerous.

Police tend to treat incidents like this as a simple prank. When they should be investigated as an assault. Or at least an attempt to intimidate — if not terrorize — people exercising their legal right to ride a bike.

But at least authorities are taking the case of the drunken hit-and-run Baltimore Bishop seriously, holding her on $2.5 million bond.

………

Red Kite Prayer urges you to perform a life saving act by donating blood, and putting those bulging bike riding veins to good use during National Blood Donor Month.

I couldn’t agree more.

I used to donate on a regular basis until health issues forced me to stop, losing count at somewhere north of five gallons of my own high test A-positive over the years.

Way north. Because after awhile, how much just didn’t matter anymore.

What did matter was that it was, perhaps, the only entirely selfless thing most of us will ever do; all you’re likely to get out of it is a good feeling and a cookie or two.

I have no idea what happened to that blood, who might have gotten it or why; I can only trust that it went to people who needed it. And hopefully made a difference.

With the exception, that is, of a single pint that went to my own wife before her own major surgery.

Thankfully, she came through with flying colors.

But showed no more interest in riding a bike than she had before.

………

San Francisco bike bag and clothing maker Mission Workshop is opening up on Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake.

………

No. Just no.

………

A new website and Twitter account promises to cover all things bike in the San Fernando Valley.

………

Local

Richard Risemberg looks at the proposal for five blocks of complete streets on North Figueroa.

KCET will air a report on last December’s South LA CicLAvia next Wednesday.

Been awhile since we’ve heard from the Department of DIY, which took it upon itself to remove sand blocking the usually bikable shoulder on Lincoln Blvd. Seriously, it shouldn’t be up to bike riders to keep our streets safe to ride.

Congratulations to Cindy Decker of Performance Bike in Long Beach on winning one of ten Women’s Bicycle Mechanic Scholarships; the winners were selected from over 800 applicants nationwide.

 

State

Orange County pulls the plug on Fullerton’s less than successful bikeshare program, which cost taxpayers $800 a ride.

Apple could be planning to take on GoPro with a more aero cam that can be mounted on a bike helmet. And would undoubtedly connect to your other Apple gear.

How slow can you go? Marin County is reducing the speed limit on a popular bike path to just 10 mph to cut down on conflicts with pedestrians.

 

National

Note to world: Racism ain’t funny. And yes, “jokingly” accusing black people of riding stolen bikes is racist. Especially when biking while black is still a problem in this country.

You may be able to tour Mesa Verde National Park on a rented bike next time you go.

Nice story from my home town, as two bike shop owners pitch in to replace a little girl’s stolen bike.

Four Texans are under arrest for running a high-end bike theft ring; one member stole $70,000 worth of bikes in seven cities.

VeloNews calls Sunday’s rain-delayed national cyclocross championships a disaster.

If you build it, they will ride. Bike traffic is up 81% in a single year after a protected bike lane was installed on a Minneapolis bridge.

New York is reworking streets and intersections, and adding 50 miles of protected bikeways, as part of its push to reduce traffic deaths — something LA will have to do if the city’s newfound commitment to Vision Zero will ever be more than a vague promise.

 

International

British authorities search in vain for a cyclist who may have been swept out to sea by a rogue wave.

An Irish writer says it shouldn’t be a matter of us versus them when 80% of cyclists have a drivers license and one in five drivers ride a bike.

Italian soccer team Cesena will wear pink this Sunday to honor legendary cyclist Marco Pantani.

More progress, as an African team will compete in the Tour de France for the first time this year, after participating in last year’s Vuelta.

An Aussie columnist says bike licenses are worth trying to curb bike-born bullies; after all, it’s worked so well to stop bad behavior by motorists. Or maybe it’s the drivers who really are arrogant.

 

Finally…

The bikelash is alive and well in Down Under, even popping up on the Aussie version of Family Feud. Your new Bern could bear the mark of Wu Tang.

And caught on video: Probably not the best idea to steal an unattended Philadelphia police bike; they tend to take that shit seriously.

Morning Links: Bike-friendly LAPD chief reappointed, suspected DUI driver hits 8 riders in San Diego

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has been reappointed for another five year term.

It was Beck who worked with cyclists to establish the department’s bike liaison program and bicycle task force when he was first appointed five years ago, resulting in a training module to teach patrol officers the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

And helping to make the LAPD one of the most progressively bike-friendly police departments in the US.

They may not always get it right.

But things are a hell of a lot better than they used to be.

……..

A wrong way driver crashed head-on into a group of cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, sending six riders to the hospital with undetermined injuries; two others declined to be transported. Reports are as many as 16 riders hit the pavement trying to avoid the car.

Not surprisingly, the driver has been arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Meanwhile, Riverside hit-and-run victim D’Andre Sutherland remains on life support as police looks for suspects.

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The latest round in the battle over bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd in the Biking Black Hole takes place on Thursday, August 21st at 8 am as the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce takes up the debate.

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It seems like the whole world is mourning the unexpected death of Robin Williams. But the loss may be hitting a lot of cyclists a little harder than most.

Because, as Cyclelicious notes, he was one of us. And he’s got the photos to prove it.

Williams never hid his love of riding, even going so far as to describe himself as a bike-sexual.

Red Kite Prayer notes he was a customer of Santa Monica’s Bike Effect and City Cycle in San Francisco; I saw tweets Monday saying he was favorite customer of I. Martin, and had stopped by the Bicycle Kitchen at least once to buy T-shirts.

The mere fact that someone like Robin Williams had even heard of the Kitchen — let alone stopped by to support it — speaks volumes about who he was and how important bikes were to him.

He was even stopped by police in New York for riding on the sidewalk. And let go with a warning as soon as officers realized who he was.

As for myself, I had one wordless, non-bike interaction with Williams when I worked in a jewelry store in Denver’s most exclusive hotel back in the 80s. The one where everyone who was anyone stayed when they passed through what was still an oil and cow town.

And where I met celebrities ranging from politicians and religious leaders, to the day’s leading movie stars and models, rock stars and blues immortals.

I was polishing rings in the back room, which faced a secluded hallway often used by hotel guests to escape the press and hoi polloi.

I looked up to see Robin Williams coming down the hall in the company of a woman. And was startled to see his stricken, almost fearful expression when he realized I recognized him, as if begging just to be left alone.

So I nodded, and he looked back at me with a half-smile and a look of relief, clearly grateful to retain a brief moment of privacy before disappearing out the door.

And I learned a lesson that has served me well in my life here in the figurative, if not literal, Hollywood. That being famous shouldn’t mean a loss of privacy, and that even the rich and famous have a right to be left alone.

Robin, you will be missed.

……..

Local

LADOT expands their Bicycle Friendly Business program throughout the city.

Downtown bike shop Just Ride LA forms a new cycling club.

An online petition calls on the DA to prosecute the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin on Mulholland Highway. Personally, I’m less concerned with prosecuting the driver than holding the department responsible if it can be shown that their policies, official or otherwise, put us all at risk.

The new LA Times new publisher is one of us; former assistant mayor Austin Beutner suffered a serious biking injury while riding in the Santa Monica mountains a few years ago.

Wolfpack Hustle calls on everyone who cares about safety to write city officials to demand buffered bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the soon-to-be rebuilt Hyperion Bridge.

 

State

Bid on a one-of-a-kind 8-speed Linus + SeaVees bike, and all the proceeds will go to benefit the California Bicycle Coalition.

Paso Robles votes to install a four-block bike lane.

A 14-year old Fresno-area bike rider riding with his father is killed in a collision with an 82-year old driver; needless to say, the driver insists the victim inexplicably swerved in front of him.

The leader of the state’s most successful bicycle advocacy group, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, will leave at the end of the year.

Here’s an idea. Keep a bike on both ends of your commute, and you never have to take one with you on the train.

 

National

Thirty-six bike share programs throughout the US, resulting in a combined 23 million rides — and despite the panicked predictions, not a single fatality.

After a Spokane man steals a bike when his gets stolen, the internet helps bring him to justice.

A DC blogger says the Post’s bike-hating columnist may have ridden a bike, but he didn’t learn much.

 

International

A Belizean cycling legend is executed during a rash of gun violence in the Central American country over the weekend.

A new app could help design bike lanes in Germany’s most bike-unfriendly city.

Bike share is booming in Poland.

 

Finally…

Even the trees are out to get us, as a Brit rider barely survives a falling branch. Athens GA police chase a drunken, lightless bike rider.

And two German artists finally claim credit for the white flags that appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge last month, and led the Manhattan DA to subpoena the Bike Lobby parody account.

 

A new video — and change of heart — from the formerly bike-hating former reserve Santa Paula police officer

Now she gets it.

Maybe you remember a couple weeks ago when the internet blew up over a bike-hating video from a woman who was quickly identified as a reserve Santa Paula police officer.

Even though, as it turned out, Laura Weintraub was only peripherally associated with the department, helping out around the office a few hours a week. She was never a patrol officer, and never in a position to enforce the law, fairly or otherwise.

And the bike-friendly department she barely worked for got an undeserved black eye based on the comments of someone who should have known better.

It wasn’t like the anger we all felt wasn’t justified.

Weintraub’s failed attempt at humor fell into a long list of shock jocks, newspaper columnists, comedians, online commenters and just plain anti-social jerks who can’t seem to understand that bike riders have as much a right to the road as they do.

And that we’re all just people trying to get from here to there in one piece.

They somehow seem to think the idea of running us over or off the road is outrageously funny. And fail to grasp the concept that a simple tap that would be nothing more than a fender bender between cars could result in serious injury — or worse — if it was with a cyclist, instead.

I was as outraged as anyone.

Yet somehow felt that in our anger, we were missing out on a teachable moment. One that could allow us to reach out to the Santa Paula police, and maybe even drivers like Weintraub herself, to educate them on our rights and how to drive safely around us. And why.

Turns out, a lot of people read that piece.

Including Laura Weintraub.

So I was surprised when I opened my inbox a few days later to find an email from the alleged bike hater herself, asking if we could talk.

When we spoke on the phone a few days later, I found a very caring and contrite young woman who realized she’d made the biggest mistake of her life. And had listened to the angry comments directed her way, and truly got just how and why she was so wrong, and why we were all so upset with her.

A typical motorist, she had never seen us from anything other than a windshield perspective, unaware of our right to the road and the dangers we face on a daily basis from drivers just like her.

She’d never put herself in our position, literally or figuratively, she said.

But she wanted to.

So I agreed to meet with her, and take her on a ride through the relatively quiet streets of Santa Monica and Venice, unwilling to throw a neophyte rider into the deep end on more challenging streets.

Even that brief tour through tame traffic scared her. But somehow, she held her own, remembering the riding tips she’d gotten from me, as well as cycling instructor Stanley Appleman the day before.

She also picked my brain in an attempt to truly understand the dangers we face, and what we can do to make peace on the roads with people like her.

Or at least, like the way she’d been a few weeks before.

She’s changed. She truly gets it.

She’s doing her best to make amends. Not to improve her badly tarnished reputation, but to fix the mistake she made.

And talk to the people out there who might have found the humor in her previously video, and explain to them and other like-minded drivers that we’re all just people, on two wheels or four.

But don’t take my word for it.

Take a look at her latest video, and decide for yourself.

And let’s stop the death threats. Against her or anyone else, no matter how deserved you think they may be.

Just like her earlier video, it’s not funny.

And never appropriate.

 

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

And then it was over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, the proverbial defecation had hit the fan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So allow me to offer a contrary opinion.

I’m sorry to see her go.

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

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

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

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

That door is probably closed now.

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

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

It was.

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

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

We won the battle.

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

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

……..

Local

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

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

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

Neon Tommy looks at how bikes empower women.

 

State

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

New Orleans riders rally to demand safer streets.

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

The best way to see Beijing is by bike.

 

Finally…

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

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

 

What to do when the road rages and bumpers bite — part 1

I’m going to do something today I usually try very hard not to do.

Repeat myself.

But lately, I’ve heard and seen a lot of reports about conflicts between bike riders and road raging drivers, and sometimes, riders taking out their frustrations on motorists, deserving or not. 

A few years back, I offered my own advice on the subject, as well as advice on what to do if you’re the victim of a collision, based strictly on my own personal experience. 

The advice still stands. But unless you’ve been following this site from the beginning, chances are, you may not have seen it before. 

And even if you have, a refresher might be in order to help keep you safe on the roads, and protect your interests if the worst ever happens.

……..

“Boy, boy, crazy boy, get cool boy! Got a rocket in your pocket, keep coolly cool boy!”

— Cool, from West Side Story

On a good day, nothing beats a good ride.

Days when the sun is shining and traffic effortlessly parts to let you glide by. And you find yourself offering a nod and a wave to express your gratitude for the courtesy of others on the road.

And there are the other days.

Days when traffic snarls and tempers flare. When horns become curses and cars are brandished like threats.

In most cases, that’s as far as it goes.

But when steel and glass impact flesh and bone — intentionally or otherwise — how you respond in the first few minutes before and after can go a long way in determining whether you finish your ride. Or whether you have a case.

I was the victim of a road rage attack a few years back, and in retrospect, I did almost everything wrong. Over the next couple days, I’d like to share some of the painful lessons I learned so you’ll know what to do if, God forbid, it ever happens to you.

Maybe you’ll be smarter than I was and find a way out that doesn’t pass through the emergency room. Or lose your case before it starts.

Let’s start with those precious few minutes before the impact, when there’s still time to de-escalate and find an exit strategy — or at least find a way to protect yourself and your legal rights.

Ride courteously

Let’s face it. There are hotheads on the road. A driver might be mad because he had a fight with his significant other. Maybe he’s an aggressive driver who doesn’t want to share the road. Or maybe he — or in this case, she — is just a bike-hating jerk. How you react to them can go a long way in determining whether that anger gets directed towards you. So always ride courteously. And if you see signs that a driver may be angry or acting in an aggressive manner, try to give them a very wide berth.

Ride legally

I won’t to tell you how to ride. But I will make one simple point: As Bob Mionske observed, whether or not you obey traffic laws could determine whether you have a legal case in the event of a collision or road rage incident. Simply put, if you run a stop sign or red light, or fail to signal a turn or lane change, chances are, you will be found at least partially at fault regardless of what the driver may have done.

And not just during the incident; police and lawyers will look for anyone who may have seen you riding in the miles and weeks leading up to the incident. So the red light you blew through half an hour before, or even last week, may be used to show that you probably didn’t stop at the stop sign when you got hit — even if, as in my case, the physical evidence shows you did. It may not be fair, but that’s the world we live in.

Keep your fingers to yourself

It’s a bad habit, one I’ve struggled to break with limited success. Unlike drivers, we don’t have horns to express our fear and anger, so it only seems natural to flip off someone who’s just cut you off or threatened your safety in some way. The problem is, it doesn’t work. I’ve never seen anyone respond to a rude gesture with an apology; instead, it only escalates the situation. At best, they may ignore you or respond in kind; at worst, it gives an angry driver a reason to retaliate.

And never, ever flip off a driver behind you.

Let dangerous drivers pass

You have a right to the road, no less than anyone with a motor and four wheels. And you have every right to take the lane when the situation warrants it; drivers are legally required to follow or pass safely. But just because it’s the law doesn’t mean that’s what they’re going to do. So the question becomes whether it’s better to stay where you are and fight for your right to the road, or pull over and let the driver — and the situation — pass.

Before my road rage incident, I would have stayed right where I was and held the lane. But I’ve learned the hard way that cars are bigger than I am, and they hurt. So when you find an angry driver on your ass, pull over and let the jerk pass. Then take down the license number, pull out your cell phone and call the police.

Snap a photo

Your camera phone may be one of the most important safety tools you own; I keep mine within easy reach in a Topeak case attached just behind my handlebars. When tempers flare, simply pull it out and snap a photo of the other person, as well as the license of their vehicle. Instantly, you’ve established a record of the incident and documented the identity of the driver — destroying the sense of anonymity that allows most violent acts to occur.

I’ve used mine on a number of occasions. And in every case, the driver has backed down and driven away.

Next: What to do after a collision

 

Today’s post, in which I catch up on all the latest news, including cyclists who come out of nowhere

I can’t even tell you how much stories like this piss me off.

According to the Daily Pilot, a Costa Mesa rider suffered major injuries when she was hit by a car before sunrise Monday morning.

The driver was headed east on Bay Street when he turned right on Newport Blvd and heard a loud noise, then found 44-year old Michelle Lounsbury trapped underneath his car.

In other words, he had no idea she was anywhere around when he made his turn.

Now, it’s always possible that it could have been her fault, at least in part.

She may or may not have been using lights in the early morning darkness. She may or may not have been properly positioned on the roadway, and riding in safe manner. The story doesn’t offer enough information to know what really happened.

On the other hand, if she’s close enough to run over, she should be close enough to see.

Every driver has an obligation to be aware of anyone and everyone else on the roadway. If someone is capable of being seen, it’s the driver’s obligation to see them — especially before making a turn.

Too often, that doesn’t happen.

Too often, someone gets hurt as a result. Or worse.

And too often, police accept “I just didn’t see her” as the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, as the last line of that story may suggest.

Best wishes to Michelle Lounsbury for a full and fast recovery.

………

I’ve gotten several reports of other serious SoCal bike collisions that have left riders badly injured over the past few days, so far without any follow-up.

In cases like this, no news is usually good news. So let’s hope that continues to be the case.

But some prayers or good thoughts might be in order if you’re so inclined.

………

After Mayor Garcetti lets LADOT chief Jaime De La Vega go, the Times questions whether NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan might be the right replacement. Word is Chicago’s exceptional DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein is about to become available, as well.

That’s a hint, Mr. Mayor.

Meanwhile, the LACBC’s Executive Director Jen Klausner offers an OpEd in response to a Times opinion piece claiming LA will never be a bike-friendly place. According to Klausner, our streets aren’t safe enough, but we’re getting there.

……..

Thanks to John Stesney for sending word of an upcoming bike race at the StubHub Center. Since he did a pretty good job of describing it, I’ll let him tell the story.

The Los Angeles Grand Prix will be held at the Velo Sports Center (i.e., the velodrome)  at the StubHub Center in Carson, Friday, November 22, through Sunday, November 24. It’s a UCI event, with UCI points, which means international fastest-of-the-fast fields. It isn’t free, but it’s not expensive either, especially since you can see the whole race, and you actually get a seat. (It beats standing alongside a road for hours just to watch the guys come by once.)

………

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition calls on the city to move beyond low-hanging fruit in building bikeways, and sponsors a petition calling for cycletracks in LA. Cracks begin to show in official support for the deadly, highway speed proposal to remake the Hyperion-Glendale bridge complex, as CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell promises mores study; meanwhile, the LACBC calls for action. A new bike corral opens in Atwater. You’re invited to ride in the NELA Holiday Parade December 1st. Streetsblog says the new 7th Street bike lanes are looking good. A look at the Dia de los Muertos altar to fallen cyclists in Grand Park over the weekend; thanks to Joni for the link.

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition needs your help to help create a more livable Coastal Rail Trail. Cyclelicious looks at the ideology of bicycling. It looks like the beavers are back to destroy Bakersfield’s Kern River bike path. Boyonabike enjoys a car-free Santa Barbara weekend, along with several thousand other Open Streets participants. Cyclists say the recent fix for Caltrans’ Highway 1 chip sealing disaster has been a failure. San Luis Obispo is getting a $64 million bike plan. Turns out electric cars are just as deadly as the other kind — especially if the driver is asleep behind the wheel. A 12-year old Berkeley bicyclist rides the entire Left Coast to draw attention to climate change. It’s that time of year to focus on being seen after dark.

How to work with police for smarter enforcement. How Complete Streets became hip. A new bike alarm uses a sort of crowdsourcing to recover your stolen bike. A look at bicycle insurance and the nation’s most dangerous states for riding. The battle to make Yuma bike friendly. The “six kids and no car” mom has her bakfiets stolen. Bike Portland offers an ode to bicycle butts. Portland tests solar powered lights to call attention to a bike path; reviews are mixed. Mad City offers cyclists a choice of bike path or bike lane along the same route. Building right hooks by design in Chicago. The Chicago Reader offers an in-depth look at a fallen cyclist, the driver who killed him and our lenient drunk driving laws. A Columbus OH reporter and bike blogger is critically injured in a cycling collision; the driver is charged with his second DUI in two weeks — but amazingly, it’s just a misdemeanor offense. Seriously? A New Hampshire hit-and-run driver ran over and killed her former boyfriend; just a coincidence, right? A Boston cyclist has a dangerously close encounter with a spoiled motorist and her driving dog. Ridership is up for New York’s Citi Bike bike share program, which isn’t the death trap critics had feared, or perhaps, hoped for, in some cases; but no jokes about riding Brooke Shields, please. Delaware no longer says Share the Road.

Canadian pediatricians call for mandatory helmet laws for everyone, perhaps hoping to reduce the rate of cycling, as well as injuries. Is Toronto’s bike-hating mayor a crack-smoking serial drunk driver? If you build it, they really will come; study shows investing in bikeways results in increased journeys while reducing motor trips. The rate of cyclists killed or injured on London streets went up 18% last year. Bristol England prepares to go Dutch. Indian cyclists are getting crushed — sometimes literally — in the nation’s rush to prosperity. An Aussie site asks if the media helps whip up anti-cyclist rage; well, duh.

Finally, how to survive the coming Zombie Apocalypse through bike share, including advice that wearing a helmet makes it harder for zombies to feast on your brain. On the other hand, how you ride your bike could offer prospective employers insight into yours.

Last night’s ride, in which I flip off an impatient driver

In retrospect, I should have been further out into the lane.

Instead, I tried to be polite and let cars move up next to me, not anticipating that one incredibly impatient driver would deliberately right hook me.

She couldn’t wait two seconds — literally — for the light to change. And it was worth it to her to risk the life of a total stranger because I didn’t get the hell out of her way.

I don’t recommend flipping off anyone.

But this one earned it.

If I’d gone when the light turned green, I’d be in the hospital right now.

Or worse.

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