Tag Archive for cycle chic

A little this, a little that — a rash of road rage, a Cycle Chic kerfuffle and a scofflaw driver on video

Maybe it’s something in the water, as today’s news brings a rash of road rage and otherwise intentional assaults, mostly involving cyclists.

First up, a Leavenworth KS driver pulls a Dr. Thompson, slamming on his brakes before backing up and swerving his truck into a group of cyclists; thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

A pregnant Michigan cyclist may have been intentionally targeted in a hit-and-run last month. A Florida driver is dead after attacking a cyclist with an ax handle in a road rage attack, then collapsing after taking a punch to the face. A UK driver is convicted of beating up a cyclist who clipped his mirror, even though the rider didn’t cause any damage.

Not surprisingly, when an off-duty cop gets killed riding his bike, they consider it homicide; when anyone else does, it’s just an accident.

An Oregon man arrested for repeatedly sabotaging a popular mountain bike trail. And a Tiburon man is arrested for trying to run over a pedestrian because he didn’t his plaid jacket.

No, really.

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There’s been quite a conversation about the Cycle Chic movement going on online over the past few days, sparked by a critique Copenhagenize’s Mickael Colville-Andersen offered by the incomparable Elly Blue.

The Reno Rambler calls it fascism, while Modal Mom defends the movement. And the over 50 comments to Blue’s original article are well worth reading, including this one by Lizbon.

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter what you ride, where you ride, how you ride, why you ride or what you where.

Wear whatever you want, and just ride.

Then again, there’s more than one way to express cycle chic.

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I thought I had reported on this story last week, but can’t find it anywhere.

According to KTLA-5, an arrest has been made in the case of Alex Patrick Silva, the 25-year old Fontana cyclist who was killed in a Rancho Cucamonga hit-and-run earlier this month.

Fifty-seven-year old Fontana resident Mark Sanders reportedly turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies at the Rancho Cucamonga station while detectives were searching his home after serving a warrant. He was booked on a charge of hit-and-run resulting in death, and is now free on $100,000 bail.

My apologies for not reporting this earlier.

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A San Francisco photographer asks your help to finance a project on Kickstarter to capture images of ghost bikes throughout the East Coast and Midwest.

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The Bicycle Film Festival returns to Los Angeles this October, with a kick-off party at historic El Cid in Silver Lake on the 11th, followed by the debut of The Contender, the first BFF-produced film at Cinefamily on the 12th.

Other screenings will take place at the Downtown Independent theater from 11 am to 10 pm on Saturday the 13th, with an all-ages DTLA block party the next day from 10 am to 6 pm. Convergence rides are planned for the various events. Email volunteerla@bicyclefilmfestival.com for more information or to volunteer.

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I had an interesting meeting this morning with Odysseus Bostick, who just announced his candidacy for L.A. City Council in District 11, currently held by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl.

It should be an interesting race; Bostick is a cyclist and a strong supporter of bicycling, while Rosendahl has been the L.A. cycling community’s best friend on the council.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers an exceptionally in-depth two-part interview with L.A.’s bike and transportation-oriented mayor. A Pasadena Gran Fondo rider says that cop didn’t need to ticket him for running a stop sign — just to be clear, there is no requirement in the California Vehicle Code to put your foot down to come to a full stop; thanks to Meghan Lynch for the tip.  San Diego cyclists ride to call attention to the dangers on local streets, urging cyclists and divers to use the roads safely. A writer makes a wise call for greater safety in the cycling community.

Traffic fatalities are up over 13% for the first quarter of 2012. How to file a claim for bike damage following a collision. An Oregon rider asks if you have a mangina. The Alaska schmuck man who repeatedly punched a seven-year old girl to steal her bike has been convicted. A Boulder CO intersection claims a second cyclist in just three years. Red Kite Prayer reports on RAGBRAI. A Boston writer decries the 400 bikes soon to be added to the city’s bike share program. A DC study says the way to encourage employees to bike to work is to provide showers and bike parking.

A writer calls Australia’s mandatory helmet law a disaster. The tragic dooring of a New Zealand cyclist leads a coroner to ask if bike riders should be required to use bike lanes.

Finally, if you really want drivers to see you at night, skip the hi-viz clothing and get a glow-in-the-dark bike. And everyone knows only cyclists run stop signs or use the wrong side of the road, right?

Today’s post, in which I take notice of cycling chic

Awhile back, I found myself riding down Ocean Blvd in Santa Monica, below the pier, where the bike lane passes in front of a number of hotels and restaurants.

As often happens there, a taxi was double parked in the bike lane, blocking my way.

I glanced back over my shoulder and saw a car coming up on my left, so I signaled to indicated that I was coming into the lane ahead of her. She responded by slowing down, giving me room to make my lane change, and courteously following at a safe distance until I could pull back over before resuming her speed.

When I stopped at the next red light, I found myself right next to her open window. So I leaned over and thanked her for driving so safely and sharing the road.

Her reaction surprised me, though.

“Thank you, but I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said. “I never saw you back there.”

Of course, her actions contradicted her words. She had clearly seen me and responded to my actions, since hers had matched mine perfectly; yet for some reason, I had never entered her conscious awareness.

And I finally understood why so many drivers think we all run red lights and ride aggressively.

They may see us and respond appropriately. But when we ride safely — and legally — we’re just so much background road noise, never entering their conscious awareness.

But when a rider cuts in front of them without warning or blows through a red light without slowing down, they’re shocked out of their musings — or their hand-held cell calls — and the image becomes firmly imprinted on their consciousness, with a notation indicating that’s what cyclists do.

All of us.

Don’t believe me? Consider London, where cyclists have a reputation as two-wheeled scofflaws who never stop for lights — except maybe for the current mayor, who’s earned a reputation as a knight on a shining bicycle. And women cyclists, who appear to risk their lives simply because they do stop for red lights.

Yet a recent government study found that 84% of London riders stop for traffic signals.

Or consider Mebourne, where cyclists tend to be held in lower esteem than a rabid dingo. But even there, a full 89% of bike riders observe red lights. Even in bike hating New York, nearly two-thirds of cyclists stop for red lights, at least long enough to determine whether it’s safe to proceed.

Now contrast that with something else I saw recently while riding.

A young woman was cruising down the street on her bike, stylishly attired in a dress and heels. And yes, she looked good, like she’d just pedaled off the pages of a magazine.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed, either. Almost every driver — male and female — slowed down and turned their heads to look at her.

Lately, though, there’s been some controversy about the Cycle Chic movement online, in which bloggers post pictures of stylishly dressed, usually female cyclists, or discuss their own life and style as people who ride their bikes everywhere, often well dressed and made-up for work or an evening out.

One writer even went so far as to call it bike-porn.

I understand where the negative comments are coming from. It took me awhile to understand why a woman would get dressed up and get on a bike. After all, I’m from the old school, in which the point of riding is to work hard and sweat as much as possible.

But it shows that cycling is a viable form of transportation, whether you’re commuting to work, running errands or out on the town. It’s also helping to expand the biking community by drawing in women riders who may not be interested in donning spandex and joining the local bike club.

And for a change, it makes drivers notice cyclists who are actually riding safely and courteously.

And that can’t be bad.

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A cyclist was killed when he ran a red light in Long Beach Friday evening, according to police; I wonder if anyone other than the driver who killed him saw what color the light was. Meet the new chief of the LAPD in Mar Vista tomorrow night. Help promote transit safety by biking the route of the new Eastside Extension of the Gold Line this coming Friday. A close examination of the study of car/bike collisions in my hometown reveals how to get killed on a bike — or how not to. Portland now has an Episcopal shrine to the patron saint of bicyclists; is the local diocese paying attention? L.A. isn’t the only place where cyclists and drivers compete for limited canyon road space. Bogota, Columbia shows what a real bike plan should result in. A grandmother pedestrian is killed by a cyclist in Australia. Finally, confection giant Cadbury delivers 5,000 bikes to Africa, while a local university, grocery chain and radio station combine to show we can do the same thing right here in SoCal.

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