Tag Archive for Dan Whiting

A Register writer points the finger, bike crime fighting councilmembers, and a trail full of bike links

The OC Register’s Dan Whiting calls for better etiquette from riders after a couple of roadies yell at a group of children scattered on the wrong side of the Santa Ana River trail.

While yelling at children who may not know any better is never the right thing to do, I question if the parents involved — and Whiting, for that matter — considered the danger uncontrolled children pose to themselves and those around them on shared trails.

Personally, I consider it child endangerment when parents allow their kids to run around on pathways oblivious to the presence of other path users. I’ve gone to the ER myself when I had to lay my bike down to avoid a small boy who darted out in front of my bike with no warning.

Whiting’s explanation is that the cyclists were simply unwilling to slow down. Having been there too many times, I’d suggest it’s far more likely they were worried about a collision that could have sent both them and the children to the hospital.

And responded in a predictable, if inappropriate, manner.

Yes, the situation he describes was a violation of trail etiquette, as well as safety. But he may be pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

While there are no shortage of rude riders — and walkers, drivers, skaters, equestrians and humans in general — as Rashomon makes clear, there are multiple perspectives to every story.

And please, enough with that bike bashing “Lance Armstrong wannabe” crap, already.

Meanwhile, Lovely Bicycle gets it pretty much right on how to share pathways with pedestrians.


After dragging on… and on… and on… it looks like we may finally see white smoke on the new federal transportation bill.

Despite rumors that negotiators were going to cave in to the more radical anti-bike and pedestrian elements in Congress — even though 83% of Americans support continued funding, as do over 70 national organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and 13 state governors — at least some protected funding for non-motorized traffic appear to have made it into the final bill.


A New York cyclist and bike researcher says it’s insane for the city to offer a bike share program without mandating helmet use, while the city’s CFO calls for mandatory helmet use, but gets the numbers, among other details, wrong.

So let me get this straight. Anyone wanting to rent a bike would have to bring their own helmet, or share one with the all the greasy haired, lice-ridden riders who used it before you?

Count me out.

Besides, there are other ways to keep cyclists safer.


Evidently, local politicians are going the extra mile to get the bike vote, as a Santa Cruz city councilmember chases a bike thief during a break in yesterday’s council session. And a Costa Mesa council candidate calls police after spotting a bike thief, leading to his arrest.

The bike thief, not the council candidate.


David Hembrow compares L.A.’s new bike plan to the Netherlands and finds it, not surprisingly, lacking. Streetsblog looks behind the scenes at the upcoming, and somewhat questionable, Bike Nation L.A. bike share program. Better Bike reports on the bike studies presented at the LACBC’s recent grad night. KCET Departures rides the L.A. River bike path, while the Orange Line bike path gets a four mile extension. South L.A.’s Real Rydaz are doing more than just getting paint on the street. The Source says potholes are good for nothing and we should get them fixed before they hurt someone; good advice, even if the repair is sometimes worse than the hole. Former BMX rider Stephen Murray still loves the sport that nearly killed him. Local riders prepare for the first Pasadena Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia; thanks to Matthew Gomez for the heads-up. Cyclists from Cal Tech are asking for east-west bikeways through Pasadena. Alhambra moves forward with the city’s first bicycle master plan. A Long Beach company is looking for test riders for their new bike.

AAA’s Westways magazine talks bikes this month. OC Girl Scouts create their own biking map of San Clemente. An allegedly drunk cyclist is seriously injured in a Hemet collision. Inspiring story as a former Camarillo CHP officer qualifies for the Paralympics cycling team five years after his spinal cord was severed by a drunk driver. A San Luis Obispo woman intentionally runs down a cyclist following an argument in a parking lot. Six women cyclists will ride the Tour de France course one day ahead of the men. Sunnyvale could be the third city to pass an L.A.-style bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance. A San Francisco attorney is charged with felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor manslaughter for leaving a cyclist to die in the street; at least he shouldn’t have trouble getting a lawyer. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske writes about the Strava racing San Francisco cyclist charged with felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of a pedestrian, and follows-up by answering questions about the case in detail. A 68-year old Sonoma cyclist was killed last week in an apparent SWSS after reportedly signaling for a left, then making his turn directly into the path of a big rig coming from behind.

Bicycling looks at Americans riding in this year’s Tour de France; we’re not so parochial as to only cheer for our fellow countrymen, are we? Bicycling’s Bill Strickland falls in love with the new, nearly $12,000 Trek Madone. Washington AAA now offers bike assistance; if they’d do that down here, I might reconsider renewing my membership — if they promise not to use my dues to lobby against bike safety legislation. American cycling scion Taylor Phinney takes his appointment to the U.S. Olympic team seriously. One Colorado highway, three world-class bike parks. The Colorado wildfires force postponement of a mountain bike race in my hometown, but don’t seem to affect the city’s Bike to Work Day. A Knoxville cyclist is sideswiped, then beaten by an angry driver — apparently for touching the car to keep his balance. A Louisiana man pleads not guilty to killing one cyclist and critically injuring another, despite a BAC of .307. Twitter gets a writer’s bike back just hours after it was stolen. Good news for New York drivers, as it’s still legal to kill a cyclist with your car door. Our North Carolina friend Zeke has lost his cycling mojo; any suggestions on how to get it back would likely be appreciated.

Bike advocates head to Vancouver for Velo-City. The Toronto Sun calls mandatory helmet laws a no-brainer; so is finding a new editorial writer if they can’t get past that tired no-brainer cliché. Or maybe the solution is to require helmets for drivers. A group of 25 Canadian opera singers are biking around the country to promote their art. Bookmark this page — a UK cyclist offers an extraordinarily detailed response to virtually every objection a motorist could have to bike riders. British bike traffic is up 18%. NBC re-ups to cover the Tour de France for another 10 years. An Aussie Olympic cyclist gets a slap on the wrist after being convicted of drunk driving in Spain. A German physician guesses there’s a high rate of drunk cycling crashes in his town. Here’s your chance to compete in a one day race in the Himalayas against the prince of Bhutan; one word of advice, it’s not always a good idea to finish ahead of the local royalty.

Finally, the Economist looks at the great Agenda 21 conspiracy in which a single sidewalk or bike lane will inevitably lead to one-world government.

They’re on to us, comrades.

Pomona hit-and-run killer arrested, OC Register’s Dan Whiting questioned, and a Westwood pothole fail

The driver who killed Rafael Perez in a Pomona hit-and-run on Wednesday has turned himself in to the police.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 67-year old Chino resident Rodger Allen Karcher walked into the Pomona Police Station around 8 pm Thursday. Police speculated that Karcher turned himself in after hearing media coverage of the collision, in which the victim was dragged half a block under Karcher’s SUV.

The Tribune reports that his SUV was also located, and matched the evidence found at the seen.

Karcher was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run causing death, and was being held on $50,000 bail; arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday in Pomona Superior Court.

Yes, that’s a lousy $50,000 for dragging a man half a city block to his death.

And of course, Karcher may — or may not — have been drunk as a skunk when the collision occurred. But if he was, he had plenty of time to sober up in the 26-and-a-half hours before he turned himself in.

Thanks to Opus the Poet for the heads-up.


I’m still hearing from cyclists about David Whiting’s recent columns about bicycling in the Orange County Register.

As I’ve said before, Whiting seems to have his heart in the right place. I have no doubt that he genuinely cares about keeping riders safe, and ending the seemingly eternal conflict between riders and drivers behind the Orange Curtain — one that has contributed to a nearly one a month rate of biking fatalities in the county.

On the other hand, that’s a hell of a lot better than the 21 riders killed on OC streets in 2006, or even the 15 killed the following year.

The problem is that Whiting seems to blame the victims, placing more than our share of responsibility firmly on the helmets and wheels of riders. And interpreting bike laws in an overly conservative manner, including a common misconception that riding two or more abreast is against the law — even though that isn’t mentioned anywhere in the California Vehicle Code.

Mark Loftus, author of the insightful riding website The C-Blog — I particularly like his explanation of why we roadies wear such ridiculous clothes — copied me on an email he sent to Whiting in response to his latest column on bicycling.

I have a quick observation that I was hoping you might see fit to print in the future…

There are several comments from readers included in your piece (referenced above) that go something like this:

  • I saw cyclists doing this (breaking a perceived law).
  • I saw cyclists run this light.
  • I saw a cyclist run that stop sign.
  • I saw cyclists do that.

And then these comments conclude with something akin to:

  • Cyclists should not be allowed on the road.
  • Cyclists should ride on bike paths.

I will not debate the validity of these observations except to say that many comments, on many different websites (not just your article) put out a cyclist “infraction” and it’s not really against the law anyway because the writer apparently doesn’t know/understand the law.

At any rate, why is it, in articles that draw out comments such as these, we don’t see comments also saying:

  • I saw a car driver not stop at a stop sign.
  • I saw a car driver texting while driving.
  • I saw a car driver blocking the whole lane and they wouldn’t let me pass. I had to pass on the shoulder or into oncoming traffic.
  • I saw a car driver run that red light.

And then, these comments could conclude with:

  • Car drivers should not be allowed on the road.

Food for thought, I should think.

Whiting responded positively, indicating that he’s written critically about drivers in the past. And may do so again soon.

Now that’s something I’ll look forward to reading.


Finally, a major Streets Services fail in Westwood.

In the roughly 18 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood, I’ve noticed a repeated problem at the corner of Manning and Ohio Avenues.

A near constant flow of water through the gutter on the west side of the intersection results in a massive recurring pothole undermining the eastbound lane — in fact, you can even see it in this Google satellite photo.

For nearly two decades, I’ve watched as the city would send out a crew to patch the pavement, without ever doing anything about the root cause of the problem. And every time, the patch would only hold for a few months — or in some cases, weeks — before washing out again under the continual barrage of water and traffic.

Never mind that if they figured out where the water was coming from, they might be able to actually solve the problem, and save a fortune in perennial pothole repair.

Maybe they’re finally catching on.

Instead of patching the pothole once again, after doing it yet again just a few months earlier, the city responded by placing warning signs directly over the potholes.

In the middle of the traffic lane.

So instead of investing a few bucks worth of asphalt for yet another temporary fix, they’ve decided to avoid the issue entirely.

And hope drivers manage to avoid the signs placed directly in their path, forcing them to go around by either cutting into the heavily trafficked pedestrian crosswalk on the right. Or cut around the signs on the left by entering the oncoming traffic lane.

Neither of which is a reasonable — or even rational — expectation.

And never mind that the second option places motorists directly in the path of vehicles coming over a blind hill, at an intersection where drivers frequently roll through the stop in all four directions.

And of course, when the inevitable collision occurs, if it hasn’t already, it will be your tax dollars that will pay the city’s share of the damages.

All because some rocket scientist thought putting a warning sign in a traffic lane was a better idea than patching the damn pothole one more time. Let alone finding the problem causing the posthole to keep coming back.

And fixing it.

Best wishes to all for a very healthy, happy and prosperous new year!

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