Tag Archive for Culver City Chamber of Commerce

How to (usually) stop a charging dog in its tracks; Culver City Chamber President offers non-apology

Back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I found myself living in Baton Rouge, a couple hours north of New Orleans.

That’s where I bought my first adult bike from the local outlet of what was then the nation’s oldest continuously operated bike shop, thanks to a tax refund courtesy of a conservative president far too liberal for many of today’s conservative voters.

One of my favorite riding routes out into the Louisiana countryside required passing a ramshackle shack with the rusted hulk of a car in the front yard, and a massive Doberman on the front porch. An unleashed Doberman, I might add, who had no love of bike riders passing by on the road in front of his home.

Inevitably, the dog would sprint out of the yard, chasing me down the street snarling and snapping, and striving to bite anything he could get his teeth on.

Including me.

I tried everything I could think of to defuse the situation, from pedaling furiously to outrun his snapping canines to squirting him with my water bottle, and tossing dog treats behind my bike.

At best, I only managed to distract him long enough to sprint away. And he’d be waiting right there on my way back.

That changed the moment I finally remembered a lesson learned growing up in a house full of dogs.

So one day, as the dog was bearing down on me, instead of running away, I pulled up short and stopped in front of him carefully placing my bike between us, just in case. And as he prepared to lunge at me, I shouted out a single word.

“Sit!”

And to my everlasting surprise, he did.

The dog stopped on the spot and sat there in front of me, watching me intently and waiting for my next command.

So I said, as authoritatively as possible, “Go home!”

He did, sadly turning tail and slinking back to his own yard, apparently disappointed that I didn’t want to play anymore.

After that, I didn’t need to get off my bike any more; it was enough to shout “go home” as I rode by. Eventually, the dog didn’t even bother to chase me any more, accepting that it just wasn’t worth the effort.

That’s when it sank in through my sometimes dense brain matter that almost every dog know certain key commands. And they instinctively want to obey, even if they’ve never seen you before.

Since then, I’ve tried the same technique with countless other dogs. And it’s worked almost every time, almost without fail.

Some dogs are just incorrigible.

The key is to issue a command, not a request.

No matter how big or angry the dog may be, try not to show any fear. Then use your best drill sergeant voice to order it to sit or go home.

“Leave it” is also a popular command that works with a number of dogs these days, mine included; for some reason, “stop” doesn’t seem to work at all.

And not everyone can pull it off.

But if you can, it’s the most effective tool I know to stop a dog dead in its tracks.

………

He just doesn’t get it.

Yesterday, I linked to a letter written by Culver City Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rose, in which he criticized Metro’s “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” campaign, trotting out a number of the common fallacies typically employed by bike haters.

Wednesday afternoon, he offered a non-apology, professing to have been misunderstood, and that his comments reflected his personal opinion and did not represent the Culver City Chamber of Commerce.

Right.

The problem is, he cites his position to give gravitas to his opinions. But in doing so, he links them to the organization he represents, whether he wants to or not.

If he doesn’t want his comments to reflect on the Chamber, all he has to do is drop the title and identify himself simply as a Culver City businessman.

But the moment he identifies himself as Chamber president, he inevitably links his comments to the Chamber of Commerce, despite any protestations to the contrary. And rightly or wrongly, makes it appear the Chamber shares his opinions.

As for those opinions, he is correct that cyclists are required to obey the same traffic regulations motorists are. The problem comes when he suggests it is up to us to use extra caution when we ride, once again placing responsibility on cyclists for the actions of those we share the roads with.

Because the key to bike safety isn’t obeying the law, using reflectors or wearing helmets. It’s not getting hit by cars.

And we’re only part of that equation.

So I’ll say it again.

Collisions are hard to have. If you drive safely and obey the law, and I ride safely and obey the law, it’s almost impossible to have a collision.

Yes, many riders could show more courtesy to others on the roads. But placing the responsibility for safety on those of us on two wheels is just blaming the victims, and ignores the dangers posed by those who are far more capable of causing serious injury or death.

He may be a responsible driver.

But responsible observer of the situation on our streets is another matter.

When he wants to follow up his letter with one calling on drivers to share the road, pass safely, signal their turns, check their mirrors, obey the speed limit, look for riders before opening doors, and give cyclists the same right-of-way they would any other vehicle, then, and only then, will his comments be worth taking seriously.

And not reflect negatively on the organization he claims to represent, but not speak for.

………

Finally, a 73-year old spree killer faces charges in Mesa AZ.

The woman driver fled the scene after hitting and killing a bike rider, only to blow through a red light and kill another motorist just six minutes later.

Hollywood’s anti-bike green lane myth rises again; Culver City Chamber pres comes out against bikes

Just in time for April Fools Day, the myth of the Hollywood-destroying green bike lanes rears its ugly head once again.

A brief biased story appeared on the website of the L.A. Times over the weekend, quoting a representative of the Teamsters union decrying the buffered lanes designed to keep cyclists safe as they ride south through Downtown.

The man, who represents unionized Hollywood location scouts, claimed the particular shade of green used for the bike path made it impossible to use Spring Street as a location to represent any other city in America, or any time in the past, as it was somehow impossible to cover-up, shoot around or remove in post production.

Evidently, according to him, that particular shade can’t be removed in post, even though green screens are exactly what are used for special effects. And even though others who work in Hollywood have said it shouldn’t be a problem.

Yet somehow, a multi-billion dollar industry that for over a century has created creatures, cities and worlds that don’t even exist is apparently stymied in their ability to cover up a little green paint.

Or maybe they somehow can’t squeeze the relative pittance it would cost into their bloated multi-million dollar budgets without adversely affecting the producer’s cut or maybe the lunch budget.

Then there’s the location scout quoted in the article, who, despite being described as a veteran scout, has absolutely no idea that green bike lanes exist in any other city in the country.

Evidently, she’s never been to Santa Monica. Or Long Beach.

Not to mention, as a commenter to the story pointed out, Portland, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Boulder, DC, Arlington, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

You’d think a decent location scout might know about something that appears in such a broad spectrum of the country, with even more on the way.

So let me offer a low tech, low cost and multi-use solution.

The city’s film authority, FilmLA, should have a mat made to match the color and texture of the surrounding pavement, and rent it out to film crews ridiculously apoplectic over the presence of green on the street.

Sort of like film crews have done for decades to cover up train tracks, as well as countless other street markings.

Or use any one of the multitude of techniques Hollywood has used for decades to hide things they don’t want you to see in the final footage. Or just accept that these are rapidly becoming common markings that shouldn’t shock or offend anyone living in Iowa, or in this century, for that matter.

Then again, as the head of FilmLA pointed out last year, the last time this myth circulated, the real objection was never that the lanes interfered with filming.

It was that they interfered with parking.

Film crews have long been used to free parking along L.A. Streets. And didn’t want to have to pay to park their production trucks, or go through the relatively easy process of getting a permit allowing them to block the bike lane.

And cyclists don’t want those trucks blocking the few feet of street dedicated to keeping us safe, and forcing us into traffic lanes with drivers unwilling to safely share them.

In other words, exactly what happens pretty much every day. And every night.

And yet, still hasn’t stopped a boom in ridership.

It’s bad enough that a few misguided Hollywood types want to park in our bike lanes, and can’t manage to find a solution to the federally mandated shade of green.

It’s worse that the writer for the Times didn’t bother to talk with anyone who might have presented another side of the story.

And evidently, didn’t have access Google, Bing or any other search site that might have allowed him to fact check the crap they were feeding him.

………

Speaking of bike lanes, Flying Pigeon calls on cyclists to help save planned Northeast L.A. bike lanes from kneejerk anti-bike NIMBYist opposition with two vital Neighborhood Council meetings this week, one today and another on Thursday.

In possibly the most asinine story in the history of the bike lane debate, here or anywhere else, an Eagle Rock pot shop advocate comes out against the proposed bike lanes on Colorado Blvd because, wait for it, his arch rival pot shop opponent is for them.

Seriously, I’ve checked the date on the story several times hoping this was an April Fool joke, rather than just a massive waste of cyberspace and credibility.

And as long as we’re citing Flying Pigeon as the source for news on important meetings, the quarterly Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) meeting takes place from 2 pm to 5 pm this afternoon at City Hall East, 200 Main Street; the link also has instructions how to participate online.

………

Evidently, at least some members of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce would be just as happy if bikes didn’t sully their streets.

Despite the local Chamber signing on as a supporter of CicLAvia, its president has joined with the usual bike haters in coming out against Metro’s new Every Lane is a Bike Lane campaign.

Stephen J. Rose, president of the chamber, offered his own thoughts in a letter published on the Culver City Patch website.

Here are a few points I would like to ask about bicyclist’s responsibility:

  • Insurance in case of an accident. Is my uninsured motorist insurance going to be raised because of bicyclists’ rights?
  • Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets. Are all bicyclists?
  • Why can a bicyclist ride in the street and then on the sidewalk and then back on to pedestrian walkways?
  • Bicyclists should not only have lights on the front and rear of their bikes, but lights that can be seen from a legal distance.
  • Should bicyclists be allowed to straddle the white line and then stop in front of vehicles at a red light?
  • Why do bicyclists not stop at stop signs, as vehicles legally must do?
  • How do we tax bicyclists for maintenance of the right of way, as motor vehicle owners have to do?

Just a few thoughts as the rights of bicyclists may become more important than motorists.

I’m not going to bother correcting the errors in his comments. Particularly since there’s little else there.

Others have already taken him to task in the comments to the story. And Just Another Cyclist has done a great job of dissecting the letter, slicing and dicing the fallacies until there’s nothing left but the signature.

And even that comes into question, because, despite the disclaimer that those are Rose’s own comments and don’t reflect the attitudes of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, he does exactly that by identifying himself as its president.

Personally, I always thought that the purpose of any Chamber of Commerce was to promote business interests in the city.

But all Rose has done with his misguided letter is suggest that maybe we should take our business somewhere else.

Update: In my rush to get this online last night, I inadvertently left out the link to the original letter on the Patch website; thanks to Margaret for the correction.

………

An Echo Park fixie rider collides with a pedestrian, sending both to the hospital with apparent serious injuries; the cyclist’s riding partner said they’d both been drinking before the crash. Better Bike says change may be in the air for cyclists in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills, where the bike lane ends. Santa Clarita cyclists ride to raise funds for the Child and Family Center. Our coastal neighbor to the south will host a day long Green Prix of Long Beach on April 20th, including free bike valet, raffle and group ride. Carlsbad is widening bike lanes to give riders more room. A San Diego School Board Member calls for transforming one of the city’s most dangerous boulevards into a world class greenway, including cycletracks. San Diego becomes the latest California city to remove a bike licensing requirement, at a cost of a whole $260 dollars from city coffers. A bike riding child was injured in a Ventura collision last week; thanks to Steve Herbert for the link. Cyclelicious offers a roundup of biking April Fools jokes.

Bob Mionske provides additional advice on how and when to fight a ticket. Bike Snob says Portland kinda makes him want to puke. Vancouver WA cyclists fight to keep bike lanes from being replaced with sharrows. A Boise bicyclist survives a Dr. Thompson-style brake check. What it’s like to own and ride a bakfiets, which is pronounced like what I have to wipe off after walking the Corgi on rainy days — back feets. This is why you always ride with ID, as Erie police try to identify a bike rider seriously injured in a collision with a car. The not-exactly bike friendly NYPD sticks a popular bike nonprofit bike ride with a $1 million bill to provide security. A Georgia bicyclist is apparently killed by an Escalade-driving hit-and-run motorist leaving a showing of The Croods with two small children. Baton Rouge police will hold an online auction of abandoned and seized bikes this month, but you have to pick up your bike in person.

Vancouver drivers are up in arms over a whopping $3000 spent to provide bike repair stations for commuter cyclists. Totonto cyclist doesn’t make it through a crosswalk before a right-turning semi; needless to say, authorities blame the victim. A former Brit champion cyclist still rides his tricycle at age 100. Shortly after an Irish man returns from an extended visit to the U.S., he’s killed riding to the local pub on Easter Sunday. Fabian Cancellara, aka Spartacus, breaks the competition one by one to win the Tour of Flanders. Meanwhile, second place finisher Peter Sagan is roundly criticized for grabbing the ass of a podium girl; he’s really, really sorry, but the better question is, why do we still have podium girls to begin with? Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up. A Swedish study shows elderly riders should use step through frames — not women’s bikes, thank you — to avoid injuries. Kind of sad that this is a big step forward, as Saudi women finally get the right to ride a bike, but only in restricted areas; thanks to Rex Reese for the tip.

Finally, if you’re going to use a bike as your getaway vehicle, wouldn’t you want something a little faster than a beach cruiser?

And one last thought.

The oft-expressed idea that there’s a war on cars makes as much sense as mice declaring a war on elephants. The elephants might be afraid, but it’s the mice who are in danger.

%d bloggers like this: