Tag Archive for entitled drivers

Morning Links: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek; LA Times criticizes selfish drivers fighting traffic safety

Cars aren’t the only threats people on bikes have to face.

One of the constant themes repeated by the people fighting bike lanes in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey is that, in their humble opinion, bike riders would be better off riding away from traffic on the Ballona Creek bike path than risking getting hit by cars on the streets.

Never mind that Ballona Creek bypasses all the shopping and employment centers between Culver City and the beach. Or that limited access points makes it harder for people to get where they need to go.

Which makes it more practical for recreational riding than for people who need to get somewhere, in most cases.

But there’s another recurring problem with the Ballona Creek bike path.

The isolation the path, below public view, makes it an ideal hunting ground for criminals. Which has been a problem on the path since at least 1990.

Every few years, there seems to be another rider attacked on Ballona Creek. And every few years, calls go out for police patrols on the pathway.

But nothing ever happens. And no government agency ever seems to want to take responsibility for the path.

Which leads up to what happened two weeks ago, when Jesus David Orozco was riding home after attending to Mar Vista Community Council meeting to discuss the Venice Blvd Great Streets project.

Something has to be done to ensure safety for everyone on the Ballona Creek bike path.

And done quickly.

Because just like on the streets, people won’t use it if they don’t feel safe there.

Especially if they actually aren’t.

Update: I’m told that Orozco posted on Facebook that he has returned to work today, and that, thanks to the physicians that treated him, is feeling good and looking like himself again. 

I’m not sharing the post, since I haven’t requested his permission to use it.

But the only things that would make this news any better is if the police caught the people who did this, and the county and cities along the trail committed to improving safety so it doesn’t happen again.

Thanks to Jonathan Weiss for the heads-up.

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The LA Times really nails it this time.

In a surprising editorial, the paper calls on LA leaders to find the courage to fight back against “selfish” motorists opposed to street safety projects.

And let’s be clear. This is the official editorial voice of the publisher and paper, not merely an Op-Ed.

The paper complains about the callousness of too many commuters, and the risk that kneejerk opposition to change will override good policy. And possibly even reverse the city’s Vision Zero plan.

Vista del Mar wasn’t an official Vision Zero project – it didn’t go through the standard community outreach and input process that is an essential part of any road reconfiguration. Still, it quickly became the rallying cry for opponents of road diets and other projects that might slow traffic. It’s worth noting that some of the loudest critics of the Vista del Mar reconfiguration and another nearby Vision Zero project in Playa del Rey don’t live in the community; they commute through it to avoid 405 traffic.

The paper goes on to criticize Roadkill Gil Cedillo’s cynical effort to gain veto power over any road diet or lane reconfiguration in CD1, as well as Paul Krekorian’s backtracking on the Great Streets project proposed for Lankershim Blvd.

Typical City Hall. It’s easy for Garcetti and council members to tout their progressive credentials and sign off on ambitious policies to transform L.A. It’s much harder to implement those plans. Too often city leaders fold in the face of opposition. We’ve seen this with the city’s Bicycle Plan. We’ve seen it with homeless housing. And that’s why so many ambitious plans remain unfulfilled.

City leaders, and Garcetti in particular, have to continually make the case that Vision Zero is about making the streets safer for walkers, bike riders, motorcyclists and, yes, even drivers. The mayor has been far too quiet in defending his program and council members who face blowback when they support road safety efforts. Projects downtown and in Silver Lake have demonstrated that road diets can help reduce injuries without significant traffic delays. There is a learning curve, and over time as more Vision Zero projects are completed, residents will likely see that the benefits of safer streets outweigh the lane losses and any effect on traffic flow.

Not to mention the attitude they attribute to motorists at the start of the piece is no exaggeration. It’s exactly what I’ve been dealing with on social media and in the comments on this site.

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In Orange County, they’re not actually attacking bike riders, just pretending to.

And likely, scaring the crap out of innocent people in the process, for the sake of a stupid prank.

An OC law firm reports that people in cars are zooming in close to bicyclists, then making a gun with their hands and yelling “Butt dart!” at the rider.

It’s just pure luck that someone hasn’t been startled or frightened into falling or crashing, with potentially serious consequences.

Thanks to F Lehnerz for the heads-up.

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Someone needs to explain the meaning of sharrows to the driver of a San Diego pickup. And remind him that brake checking a pair of cyclists was what got Dr. Christopher Thompson five years behind bars.

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LA’s own Coryn Rivera topped the women’s field to win the 2017 RideLondon Classique. More on the RideLondon festival in the International section below.

More proof that motor doping is a real thing, as an Italian masters rider was busted for having a concealed electric engine hidden in his bike.

More bad news on the ultra-endurance front, as endurance cyclist Frank Simons has been killed near the start of the European Transcontinental race, just 51 miles into the 2,500-mile race; he’s the third rider killed competing in an ultra-endurance race this year.

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Local

LA County is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of the bike-riding jackass who sexually assaulted a woman in the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Altadena Station rescued a mountain biker in Arroyo Canyon early Saturday. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

The Easy Reader posts great photos of kids participating in Sunday’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix.

The Press-Telegram provides a full construction schedule for the new bike boulevard being built on 6th Street in Long Beach

 

State

Meet the Huntington Beach man who invented the beach cruiser in the 1970s.

Mazda helped build and donate 120 bicycles for foster families in Orange County.

No bias here. The San Diego Union-Tribune wants to hear from readers about the city’s mythical war on cars.

A Fresno letter writer calls for greater enforcement of “maniac” drivers who put bicyclists at risk.

Sad news from San Jose, where a bike rider was killed in a collision with a train.

Chico proposes a dramatic new bike and pedestrian bridge over a wide, busy street.

 

National

No surprise here. A new federal study shows speed was a factor in 31% of all traffic fatalities; the study recommends making the penalty for speeding equal to the penalties for drunk driving.

The Colorado legislator who called for an annual registration fee for bicyclists, then backed off after a massive backlash, now says maybe there needs to be a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists. And suggests it’s not fair if owners of ATVs, boats and snowmobiles to have to buy registration stickers, and bicyclists don’t. Never mind that all of those have motors; if they’re going to tax cyclists, maybe they should make hikers, skiers and pedestrians pay a fee, as well.

Someone is sabotaging ebikes in Aspen CO.

Touching story from Texas, where an entire family is wearing bike helmets in solidarity with their new baby, who has to wear a helmet to treat flat head syndrome.

Nebraska’s governor is riding 150 miles with a group of mental health professional to help end the stigma surrounding children’s mental health. It’s a kickoff event for Break the Cycle, a 5,000 mile ride from Seattle to DC to raise funds for child and adolescent mental health initiatives.

More victim blaming. Minnesota police say a cyclist ran a stop sign before she was hit by a van; her GPS shows she actually slowed to 1.1 mph before accelerating again.

Kindhearted Duluth MN cops pitch in to buy a new mountain bike for a man when his was destroyed in a crash, after they discovered he lived in an assisted living home and it was his only means of transportation.

Just two weeks after launching in South Bend, Indiana, bikes from the new LimeBike dockless bikeshare are already ending up in a local river.

Off-duty police officers will patrol multi-use trails in an Ohio town, as residents say they’d be more likely to use them if there was a police presence, even though there hasn’t been a crime problem. Which might be an answer for Ballona Creek, and other off-road paths in the LA area.

A Tennessee hit-and driver caught on bike cam ramming a bicyclist on the Natchez Trace Parkway has been indicted on federal charges of reckless aggravated assault, lying to a federal agent, and obstruction of justice; he could face a total of up to 37 years in federal prison. Apparently, they didn’t buy his excuse that someone on the side of the road had thrown a bicycle at his Volvo. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the link.

The New York Times says bicycling has become part of the city’s culture, with over 450,000 bike trips every day; the city has committed to building an additional 50 miles of bike lanes every year — including ten miles of protected lanes — after more than doubling the number of bike lanes over the past ten years. Thanks to Victor Bank for the tip.

 

International

The massive annual RideLondon cycling event was expected to draw 100,000 participants this past weekend, with 24,000 riders taking part in the century ride, a decrease of 3,000 riders over last year to improve safety.

Caught on video: An Aussie bicyclist pulls an endo and just barely avoids falling in front of an oncoming car. Note to Daily Mail: Going over the handlebars isn’t caused by going too fast, but by squeezing the front brake hard before the back one, causing the front wheel to lock before halting the bike’s momentum.

Apparently “hordes” of Brit runners are taking up bicycling to protect their knees, including an Olympic 1,500 meters star.

The Guardian says swapping cars for bicycles will make a bigger difference in the fight against pollution than switching from diesel engines to electric.

Israel’s railway authority will be installing automated bike parking garages at heavily used stations across the country.

The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai is one of us, as Sheikh Mohammed stops to rescue a woman rider with a twisted chain.

The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is one of us too, as he leads 7,700 riders, including government officials, on a nine-mile route through the nation’s capital; cars were banned from most major Turkmen cities for the day.

The war on bikes continues, as someone has been pouring oil on bike paths in Melbourne, Australia, in an attempt to make riders slip and fall, which could result in serious injuries.

 

Finally…

Who needs a water bottle when you can weld a cup holder into your top tube. How to explain why you never forget how to ride a bike without really explaining anything.

And someone please tell the LA Times we have a Critical Mass down here, too.

 

Weekend Links: The Battle of Playa del Rey goes on, and felony hit-and-run on a Sacramento bike path — or not

The LA Times catches up with the road reconfigurations in Playa del Rey with the most detailed and even-handed story we’ve seen so far.

The paper reports that people angered by the changes are threatening to sue, even though the changes were made at the request of local residents who fear for their safety on the streets. And that the improvements on Vista del Mar were done at the urging of City Attorney Mike Feuer following the city’s $9.5 million payout for the death of a 16-year old girl in 2015.

Evidently, the residents of Manhattan Beach don’t care if the people of LA have to pay out even more the next time someone gets killed. Or even if someone gets killed.

Never mind that Manhattan Beach has narrowed a number of streets to improve safety and livability in the beachside city. As a matter of fact, it’s funny how Vista del Mar somehow loses two lanes once it enters Manhattan Beach and the name changes to Highland Ave.

But evidently LA beach communities can’t do the same thing.

Then again, this sort of irrational anger at traffic calming projects is nothing new in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, a Playa del Rey resident offers the best response yet to the hordes of angry Manhattan Beach commuters upset over the changes to area’s streets.

And if you read this early enough, there will be a bike ride in support of the changes departing from the Playground Lagoon in Playa del Rey at 10 am today.

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Sometimes, life — and the law — is just too bizarre for words.

As we mentioned earlier in the week, a Sacramento man was seriously injured when someone on a bicycle plowed into him as he ran on a riverfront path, suffering multiple facial and skull fractures, broken teeth and a broken hand.

The man who crashed into him hurriedly got back on his bike and fled the scene. But not before dropping his cell phone, which is now in the custody of the county DA’s office.

But this is where it gets weird.

If they open the phone, they should be able to find the person it belongs to in order to press charges. But they can’t open it without a warrant. And they can’t get a warrant unless a felony occurred.

And they’re not sure if it’s a felony to flee the scene after a crash on a bike trail, because they’re not sure if California’s hit-and-run statutes apply if the crash didn’t happen on a street or highway. Let alone if the vehicle involved was a bicycle.

And they can’t use the phone to charge the owner with a misdemeanor, because that would be an illegal search.

So they can’t do anything until they figure it all out.

Which seems kind of strange, since my understanding is that bike riders can be charged with hit-and-run if they flee the scene after hitting someone on a street. And drivers can be charged with hit-and-run if they leave after crashing into someone or something in a parking lot, which isn’t a street or highway.

So why can’t a bike rider be charged with fleeing the scene on a bike trail?

Of course, they could allege that the crash was intentional, which would make it felony assault, and bypass the whole issue.

But what’s the fun in that?

………

Great story, as women in India’s Assam province are changing their lives by breaking the taboo against bicycling.

A village cycle bank founded by a non-government organization allows the women to borrow a bicycle on a rotating basis, giving them freedom of movement they’ve never enjoyed before, and providing an opportunity to rise out of poverty.

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The US national road championships will roll through the streets of Knoxville TN today and tomorrow.

ESPN talks with cycling scion Taylor Phinney on the cusp of his first Tour de France, as part of the nine-man Cannondale-Drapac team.

Chris Froome says I beg your pardon, I was never offered triamcinolone.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An Atascadero man is expected to win this year’s edition of the 2,769 Tour Divide, despite being diagnosed with diabetes last year.

Bike Radar looks at LA ex-pro cyclist Phil Gaimon’s Worst Retirement Ever as he travels the US looking for Strava KOMs.

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Local

LA officials have filed plans to reconfigure traffic lanes on Temple Street in Historic Filipinotown, removing one lane in each direct, and adding 2.3 miles bike lanes and a center turn lane. Presumably, those are lane miles, so it would actually affect 1.15 miles of street.

The LAPD is investigating the apparent gang shooting of a man on a bike across from The Plant in Panorama City.

West Hollywood creates a new promotional video apparently intended to bore people into using alternative transportation. Very disappointing, coming from the people who brought you Alice in WeHoLand.

A worldwide non-profit group founded by two Pasadena brothers donated 17 bicycles to foster kids associated with a Cal State Northridge program.

Whittier will host its first Open Streets event the middle of next month.

 

State

A new Calbike survey shows even people who drive a lot want alternatives to driving; 78% support complete streets, and two-thirds believe cities should do more to encourage bicycling. Or maybe that should read “…especially people who drive a lot…”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a bike and pedestrian safety operation on Sunday, so watch how you ride in the county. For one day, anyway.

Some schmuck stole the bike a Santa Cruz writer used to travel the length of the left coast as documented in his book A Bicycle Journey to the Bottom of the Americas.

San Francisco bike rental companies feel threatened by the expansion of the Bay Area’s Ford GoBike bikeshare, which allows users unlimited rides in a 24-hour period for just $15.

A San Francisco public radio station talks with members of the DIY San Francisco Municipal Transformation Agency as they commit illegal acts of bike lane infrastructure.

 

National

A new study shows over riding to hard for too long could be bad for your bowels.

Another new study reports a slight increase in traffic collisions in states with legal marijuana.

A Seattle writer offers three reasons why bikeshare will work in the city, even though the city’s own bikeshare system failed.

Washington may be refusing to fund a 72-mile rail-to-trail conversion, but people are riding it anyway.

Most 10-year olds are happy to ride their bikes to a friend’s house. A Kansas boy just rode his 561 miles across the state.

An Austin TX city employee has developed a bike lane that lights up as a bicyclist approaches an intersection, making the rider more visible and alerting drivers that a bike is coming.

A New York man has been arrested for the apparently random attack on a bike rider that left him in a coma.

No bias here. After a Brooklyn bike rider knocks on the window of a police car to left them know they were drifting into his lane, they respond by giving him a ticket for disorderly conduct.

No bias here, either. Despite the recent deaths of two people riding their bikes, the NYPD doesn’t care enough to send anyone to a community meeting to discuss traffic safety.

Once again, a car has been used as a weapon, as a Pennsylvania man intentionally drove his car into a man on a bike after the two had argued, then drove off dragging the bike under his car.

Great idea. A Maryland county crowdsources feedback on the county’s bikeways, allowing them to plan improvements and flag problems they might not otherwise know about.

Sharrows are coming to South Florida for the first time, despite studies showing they may actually do more harm than good.

 

International

A Columbian village is sponsoring a bike race to promote its natural beauty as the country transitions to peace after decades of guerrilla war.

It’s taken a Canadian man eight years to get back on his bike after recovering from the injuries he received when a hit-and-run driver plowed into a group of five cyclists. Which is four times longer than the driver’s sentence.

A Vancouver college student says bike lanes are great, but shouldn’t come at the expense of nature.

In a study that should surprise absolutely no one, Montreal researchers concluded that people who ride their bikes to work suffer less stress on their commute and are more productive during the day.

Caught on video: Following a too-close pass, a London bicyclist responds by pressing the emergency shutoff button at the rear of the bus.

Even two black belts aren’t not enough to protect a competitor for the UK’s strongest man from an assault by teenage motorists while riding his bicycle.

A British soldier is riding and kayaking across the country to honor six fallen comrades — despite losing both legs and an arm in an Afghan bomb blast.

Teenage bike riders are terrifying drivers in a British town, who fear what could happen if they hit one. Which could be legitimate, although something tells me it might be worse for the kid.

An Australian boxer was banned from driving because of poor eyesight, but did it anyway, fleeing the scene after killing a 77-year old man as he rode his bike. It’s simply not enough to take away a driver’s license; as long as they have access to a car, too many will drive anyway.

South Koreans can now ride their bikes on a 1,677-mile network of trails without ever setting a wheel on roadway, which was built to appease a public angered by a massive river restoration project.

Two Korean men are riding across the US to call attention to the comfort women forced to work in brothels by the Japanese in WWII.

 

Finally…

Don’t ride past police carrying drugs on a stolen bike you weren’t on just a few minutes. When celebs screw up, they go into rehab; when a triathlete gets caught trying to sabotage a competitor’s bike, she checked into an eating disorder clinic.

And if you’re going ride a bikeshare bike naked, using the free seat cover is the least you can do.

Please.

 

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