Tag Archive for Eric Garcetti

Weekend Links: First Great Streets unveiled, say hello to Allo, and bikes as weapons of war

I wasn’t expecting any bike news in Mayor Garcetti’s State of the City address.

So I confess, I wasn’t paying that close attention as I worked on other things. Fortunately, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton confirmed what I thought I heard on Thursday.

And that is that six LA streets have been identified as the city’s first to be unveiled under the mayor’s Great Street’s initiative:

  • Crenshaw Blvd
  • Figueroa Street
  • Gaffey Street (San Pedro)
  • Reseda Blvd
  • Van Nuys Blvd
  • Westwood Blvd

Hats off to the mayor for selecting streets that represent a broad cross-section of the city. Only Westwood could be described as passing through an upscale neighborhood, while Crenshaw and Figueroa are every bit as iconic as Wilshire Blvd, home of last Sunday’s CicLAvia.

The goal is to make these streets accessible to everyone — including bicyclists, pedestrians and the handicapped — with green streets, plants, art and people-focused plazas.

It will be interesting to see how far Garcetti’s initiative gets in the face of Westwood’s infamous NIMBYism, and local Council Member Paul Koretz opposition to bike lanes on the street.

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The Kickstarter for the Allo combination speaker and handlebar cell phone mount has been fully funded, so you’ll soon be able to listen to music, use navigation, make phone calls or use any app you want while you ride. And now you can pre-order your Allo for $35 until the campaign ends on Sunday.

Personally, I’d rather keep my hands on the handlebars and my attention on the road in front of me.

But that’s just me.

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Local

Metro honors six-month bike commuter Nick Rosenblum as part of their monthly Why You Ride series.

How to report broken LA bike racks or other street repair problems.

USC’s Neon Tommy talks with Maria Sipin, one of the city’s leading — and one of my favorite — bike and transit advocates.

MIT Media Lab has combined LAPD records and Google Map data to create a detailed map of LA bike crashes. Not surprisingly, the worst streets are Olympic, Venice and Sunset Boulevards.

 

State

I shoehorned this one in at the last minute last night, but it deserves more attention. Historically risk — and modern times — averse Caltrans has adopted the forward-thinking NACTO Guide, which could be a real game changer for California streets and cyclists. Streetsblog explains why it matters.

Bike Newport Beach calls for more, and more visible, bike cops to improve safety. And they suggest taking your helmet off when you’re not actually on your bike.

San Diego County goes all eminent domain on property owners’ asses to build seven miles of bikeways, but regional leaders still think freeways first.

A memorial ride will be held Saturday for fallen San Diego cyclist David Voight, killed by a suspected drunk driver in a stolen car last month.

San Diego bike thieves target high-end bikes.

Stockton police are looking for a woman wearing a purple coat and head wrap, riding a purple bike, who whipped another woman in a dog dispute; no word on what her rival, or the dog, was wearing.

Ciclovia comes to Yosemite, as 17-mile Yosemite Road opens to bikes only this weekend.

 

National

A new Minneapolis study shows bike lanes don’t adversely affect vehicular traffic if you put them in the right places.

Wisconsin gets a new vulnerable user law; a similar bill is under consideration in California.

 

International

Maybe they need to bring back the mythical war on the car in Toronto. See below for just the bikes to do it with.

Brit advocacy group protests the incredibly light sentence given a youthful careless driver who took the life of a cyclist out for the maiden ride on his new bike.

The Guardian asks if shaming bike riders is a good thing when the cams are turned back on us.

A 125-year old Yorkshire cycling club discovers materials documenting members returning to bicycling after coming home from the war. In 1919.

David Hembrow says shared spaces don’t protect the vulnerable, but prioritize the powerful.

Former Amgen Tour of California and defending Vuelta winner Chris Horner suffered serious injuries when he was apparently hit by a car while training near Italy’s Lake Como.

 

Finally…

A new Japanese bike is designed to unfold into a wheelchair, allowing riders to turn into rescuers in emergency situations. Or it could come in handy the next time I attempt to ride Wilshire on a non-CicLAvia.

And Rex Reese forwards word that the peaceful, unassuming bicycle has had its place as a weapon of war in sometimes silly, sometimes frightening ways. Which could also come in handy the next time I try to ride Wilshire. Although that photo of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corp posing in Yellowstone in 1896 is seriously cool.

 

More on the 2nd-car death of Andy Garcia, no more green bike lane, and LA gets tougher on hit-and-run

Streetsblog attempts to clear up the confusing details over the hit-and-run collision that resulted in the death of Luis “Andy” Garcia.

Garcia was killed after 21-year old Wendy Villegas hit a group of five riders and fled the scene, leaving her victims lying in the street, where he was hit by a second vehicle.

Streetsblog writer Sahra Sulaiman talks with some of the other riders involved.

What they have to say contradicts some of the details in the official press release from the LAPD — including the fact that Mario Lopez, one of the riders hit in the initial collision, suffered a broken back, rather than the minor injuries the police report.

And paints a picture of a needlessly horrifying night that took the life of a young bike rider, shattered two families, and forever scarred the four surviving riders, as well as the three men who prayed over Garcia after their van took his life.

All because a young woman got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive, and fled like a coward after colliding with her victims.

Then again, there’s no such thing as being just a little drunk when you’re driving.

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Photo of no-longer green Spring Street bike lane shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Photo of no-longer green Spring Street bike lane shamelessly stolen from Niall Huffman

Also courtesy of Streetsblog, which has been very busy on the bike front this week, comes official confirmation that you can kiss your green Spring Street bike lanes goodbye.

The highly popular bike lanes barely survived an attempt by Hollywood filmmakers to have them removed entirely; regretfully, self-described bike supporter Council Member Tom LaBonge bought into the industry’s easily disprovable lies — as did our new bike-friendly Mayor Eric Garcetti.

If it wasn’t for the efforts of Council Member Jose Huizar and a few others, the bike lanes would have been removed entirely, rather than just stripped of their green paint.

Now they await a newly approved treatment that costs significantly less, but may not be as effective in capturing the attention of motorists.

We should all hold Hollywood — and our elected readers — accountable for any drop in ridership on the street.

Or increase in injuries.

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The LA City Council instructs the LAPD to take a tougher stance on tracking hit-and-runs. And will work at the state level to revoke the licenses of fleeing drivers, and forfeit their vehicles.

Which is exactly what I’ve long been calling for.

So whether someone has read my blog, or just came up with the idea on their own, thank you. Frankly, I couldn’t care less who gets the credit as long as long-needed changes are made.

Now let’s get it done. And put a stop to this deadly epidemic.

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The LA Times says the ball is in Governor Brown’s court when it comes to signing the three-foot passing law, noting that this is the fifth attempt at passing it in California. The first two never made it out of committee, while our esteemed governor vetoed the last pair.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog notes the Times promises more coverage of bicycling issues on their Opinion page. With all the bike-riding reporters and editors who work at the paper, the only question is what took so long.

Speaking of which, Streetsblog and the new Santa Monica Next are holding a fundraiser this Sunday.

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lb_market_valetKelly Heller sends word that the Long Beach Southwest Farmers Market will begin offering a bike valet this Sunday:

Since it doesn’t begin till next weekend, I cannot tell you anything about how the valet staff is or what the bike accommodations look like.

However, I certainly *can* attest to the fact that this farmer’s market has a significant car-traffic problem.  They are paying for at least three traffic guards, and the whole time we were locking up our bikes and readying our shopping bags we observed the frustration of both the drivers and the traffic guards as they yelled at each other and everyone struggled to find any remaining needle-in-a-haystack open parking spots.

It’s nice to see that someone did the math and figured out that putting up a free bike valet might be the ideal solution.

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There may be hope for the LA River yet, beyond the current unfinished bike path next to a graffiti-clad concrete river bed. The city breaks ground on a new park next to the river in Sherman Oaks that will include a short bike path. The city council approves a new $6 million bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridge over the LA River in North Atwater Village. Larchmont Village loses thirty — yes, 30 — bike racks in order to satisfy drivers who prefer parking meters. Residents want to tame traffic on Ave 64.

There will be a blood drive in honor of fallen OC cyclist Kurt Kirkey in Aliso Viejo on Wednesday, October 2nd. Bike Newport Beach looks at the different mindset for riding in Paris. A Bakersfield driver was using a legal hands-free device when she struck and killed a cyclist riding in a bike lane Tuesday night, in what has been a horrible year for Kern County cyclists and pedestrians; police say the driver was at fault. Sharrows or Supersharrows? When a cyclist is nearly decapitated by fishing line strung over a bike trail, it’s not a prank, it’s a terrorist attack.

Industry trade group Bikes Belong folds itself into its own People for Bikes subsidiary. Elly Blue offers five tips for the bike industry to increase ridership among women. Lovely Bicycle asks if it’s possible to have too short a ride. The Houston Chronicle asks how relatively ancient Chris Horner won the Vuelta. A Houston rider has his bike stolen when he’s mugged on a popular bike trail. Evidently, there’s a requirement in Montana that says drivers have to pass bike riders even when it’s not safe to do so. A Milwaukee man is shot and killed after spotting a man riding a child’s stolen bike. Apparently, more bikes really do mean safer streets, even if New York’s Daily News has trouble believing it. Evidently, you can do tricks on a bike share bike. Male riders outnumber women in Philly, like just about everywhere else. A Maryland rider explains what it’s like to be a cyclist on the state’s roads. DC could remove restrictions preventing bike shops from selling used bikes. A 77-year old Arlington VA driver threatens the cyclist he right hooked with a baseball bat; the driver claimed the rider should have signaled for the left turn he wasn’t making.

A Winnipeg law would absurdly force groups of 10 or more bike riders to get a parade permit. Beat the crap out of a UK bike rider in a road rage incident, and walk away with a fine. A three-year old Brit girl is banned from riding her bike because she might damage resident’s cars. Is Europe’s bad economy causing the boom in bicycling? After overseeing the worst doping era in bike racing history, Pat McQuaid says he’s the only one who can clean it up; I’d say let’s give him the same ban Lance got. The mother of racing great Marco Pantani thinks her son was poisoned after breaking pro cycling’s doping omerta. A Sydney paper continues its highly biased anti-bike reporting, including blaming bike lanes for a loss of handicap parking and cyclists for running red lights; apparently, objectivity and grammatically correct headlines aren’t attributes expected of the local press. Meanwhile, the Guardian says the anti-bike hysteria in the Sydney press has got to stop, and local cyclists fight back on Twitter.

Finally, this is one way to ride with a dog. And if you’re planning to burgle a flat screen TV, maybe a bike isn’t your best choice for a getaway vehicle.

My thoughts on yesterday’s election

If you’re coming here looking for my take on yesterday’s election results, you won’t find it.

That’s because, once again, I’m guest editing LA Streetsblog in Damien’s absence, which is where you’ll find my reaction to the city’s new mayor.

Oh, and Mr. Garcetti? If you’re looking for someone to help out with bike issues, I’m available.

Just saying.

Breaking news: L.A.’s groundbreaking bike anti-harassment ordinance passes full City Council

L.A.’s first-of-it’s-kind ordinance to protect cyclists from harassment by motorists by making it a civil violation has passed the full City Council by a unanimous vote. Now the measure goes to the Mayor’s office for his signature, which is expected. You can download the full ordinance here; no word on when it will go into effect.

There is no overstating just how important this innovative new law is. For once, L.A. is leading the way in protecting the rights of cyclists with an ordinance that is likely to be copied by cities around the world

The hearing for the ordinance lasted just 40 minutes, with moving comments from a number of cyclists and council members, including District 11th District Council Member Bill Rosendahl, who has shepherded the measure from its inception — and who learned to ride a bike again just two weeks ago after a break of over 40 years.

But Council President Eric Garcetti may have said it best when he suggested that this ordinance may be what it takes to move L.A. from Carmegeddon to Cycletopia.

Unfortunately, any urge to celebrate this important win is tempered by news of last night’s fatal bike collision Downtown — sources at City Hall tell me police have ruled out road rage as the cause — as well as news of two other SoCal cycling fatalities, and confirmation of the previously reported fatality in Santa Maria earlier this week.

I’ll try to catch up will all the news as quickly as I can.

Meanwhile, come out and join the LACBC Board of Directors at our annual public meeting at the Encino Velodrome to celebrate the victory and discuss what we can do to prevent more tragedies.

BAC Chair Emeritus Alex Baum and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl take questions surrounded by cyclists after the unanimous vote.

Groundbreaking L.A. cyclist anti-harassment law nears final approval

A first-of-its-kind new anti-harassment law could prove as inspiring as City Hall itself.

In the end it was a false alarm.

For a brief period Thursday afternoon, there was a flurry of online activity suggesting that the groundbreaking new Bicycle Anti-Harassment Ordinance had unexpectedly become law.

It hadn’t.

Instead, it was something almost as big, but not quite as final.

I first heard that this law was in the works when I appeared with LADOT Sr. Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery on Larry Mantle’s AirTalk program on KPCC back in November ’09. She told me confidentially that she had been working quietly behind the scenes with members of 11th District Councilmember Bill Rosendahl’s staff to develop additional legal protection for the city’s cyclists, though in a far different form from what we see today.

So give credit where it’s due. Because this wouldn’t be happening at all if she hadn’t been pushing for it.

Yesterday was that the City Attorney’s office officially unveiled the final draft of the ordinance. The confusion came from the inclusion of Council Rule #38 in the City Attorney’s letter accompanying the draft, which said that because it didn’t require enforcement by an city officer, board or commission, it didn’t require review by “any such City officer or entity.”

To those of us who lack a legal background and aren’t grounded in the minutiae of city regulations, that sounded like it might not need further approval by the City Council to become law.

It does.

Fortunately, after a mad flurry of emails, texts and tweets Thursday afternoon, City Council President Eric Garcetti and his staff helped us unravel what had really happened, and what the next steps will be.

It turns out that Rule #38 simply means that the ordinance doesn’t need to be reviewed by any other city department, such as LADOT or the police department. Instead, it will go straight to the Transportation Committee for review, leading up to a hearing before the full Council; if they approve it, it goes to the Mayor for his signature.

And assuming Mayor Villaraigosa signs off, it will then become law, most likely 30 days after signing unless otherwise noted. L.A. cyclists will then be protected by this innovative ordinance — as near as I can find, it’s the first of its kind anywhere that makes the harassment of cyclists a civil, rather criminal, violation.

Which means that you’ll be able to take drivers — or anyone else — who threatens your safety or refuse to recognize your right to the road to court yourself, rather than relying on the police to determine if a crime has been committed, and the District Attorney or City Attorney to file charges.

And because your case will be heard in civil court, it requires a lower burden of proof; just a majority of jurors will have to agree instead of the unanimous verdict required in criminal cases.

It also doesn’t preclude criminal charges, so you can pursue your own case against someone who threatens you without jeopardizing any possible criminal case.

Of course, it won’t work miracles.

While it sets a new standard for other cities and states to follow in ensuring cyclists a safe place on the road, you’ll still need to prove your case. As all too many of us have learned the hard way, it’s not easy to get the license number of a driver who just ran you off the road. And you’ll still need to gather evidence and witnesses so it’s not just your word against theirs.

But with a potential judgment of triple your actual damages or $1,000, whichever is higher, plus any punitive damages the court may impose, it should act as a significant deterrent to hot headed motorists.

In addition, the provision for attorney’s fees should make it much easier to find a lawyer who’ll take your case despite the relatively small potential judgment. Which means that whatever money you receive as a result will go to you instead of your attorney — something I learned about the hard way when the small settlement I received in a road rage case was eaten up by attorney’s fees; in fact, I would have owed him if he hadn’t written off the excess.

So it should be an effective tool to fight back against things like this that occur countless times every day in every part of the city. And it should also serve as a model for other area cities, since harassment and threatening behavior is hardly confined within L.A.’s borders.

We still have some significant hurdles to jump before this becomes law, though. While the drafting of the ordinance enjoyed unanimous support from the council, we haven’t heard from the motoring public, who may not yet be aware this law is being considered.

But now we finally have an actual draft in our hands.

It was a just over a year ago that Council President Eric Garcetti offered me his personal assurance that he would stay on top of the proposed ordinance and keep it moving forward. Yesterday he reacted to the release of the draft by saying “This is a long-overdue recognition that our streets are shared and bicyclists deserve to be free from fear on our streets.”

It looks like he’s kept his word.

As has Rosendahl, who has been driving — or perhaps, pedaling — this ordinance since the very beginning, famously declaring that “The culture of the car is going to end now!”

There are other people to thank, of course — not in the least of whom is Deputy City Attorney Judith Reel, who had the brilliant idea of treating harassment as a civil violation.

But let’s save that until we’ve actually crossed the finish line.

Because we still have some work to do in the meantime.

Learn more about the Anti-Harassment Ordinance in Chris Kidd’s excellent step-by-step analysis at LADOT Bike Blog. And I’ll give you as much advance notice of any hearing as possible.

.………

Here’s the full draft of the proposed ordinance:

ORDINANCE NO. _________

An ordinance adding Article 5.10 to Chapter IV of the Los Angeles Municipal Code to prohibit harassment of bicyclists because of their status as bicyclists.

THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Article 5.10 is added to Chapter IV of the Los Angeles Municipal Code to read as follows:

ARTICLE 5.10

PROHIBITION AGAINST HARASSMENT OF BICYCLISTS

SEC. 45.96.00. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

After public hearings and receipt of testimony, the City Council finds and declares:

That the City of Los Angeles wants to encourage people to ride bicycles rather than drive motor vehicles in order to lessen traffic congestion and improve air quality;

That harassment of bicyclists on the basis of their status as bicyclists exists in the City of Los Angeles;

That existing criminal and civil laws do not effectively prevent the unlawful harassment of bicyclists because of their status as bicyclists;

That riding a bicycle on City streets poses hazards to bicyclists, and that these hazards are amplified by the actions of persons who deliberately harass and endanger bicyclists because of their status as bicyclists; and

That because people have a right to ride a bicycle in the City of Los Angles and should be able to do so safely on City streets, it is against the public policy of the City of Los Angeles to harass a bicyclist upon the basis of the person’s status as a bicyclist.

SEC. 45.96.01. DEFINITIONS.

The following words and phrases, whenever used in this Article, shall be construed as defined in this Section. Words and phrases not defined herein shall be construed as defined in Section 12.03 of this Code, if defined therein.

A. Bicycle. A device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain or gears, and having one or more wheels.

B. Bicyclist. A person riding a bicycle.

SEC. 45.96.02. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES.

A person shall not do or attempt to do any of the following:

A. Physically assault or attempt to physically assault a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

B. Threaten to physically injure a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

C. Intentionally injure, attempt to injure, or threaten to physically injure, either by words, vehicle, or other object, a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

D. Intentionally distract or attempt to distract a Bicyclist because, in whole or in part, of the Bicyclist’s status as a Bicyclist.

SEC. 45.96.03. REMEDIES.

A. Any aggrieved person may enforce the provisions of this Article by means of a civil lawsuit.

B. Any person who violates the provisions of this Article shall be liable for actual damages with regard to each and every such violation, and such additional amount as may be determined by a jury, or a court sitting without a jury, up to three times the amount of actual damages, or $1,000, whichever is greater, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation. In addition, a jury or a court may award punitive damages where warranted.

C. Notwithstanding Section 11.00(m) of this Code, violations of any of the provisions of this Article shall not constitute a misdemeanor or infraction, except where such actions, independently of this Article, constitute a misdemeanor or infraction.

D. The remedies provided by the provisions of this Article are in addition to all other remedies provided by law, and nothing in this Article shall preclude any aggrieved person from pursuing any other remedy provided by law.

Sec. 2. Severability. If any provision of this ordinance is found to be unconstitutional or othervvise invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, that invalidity shall not affect the remaining provisions of this ordinance, which can be implemented without the invalid provisions, and to this end, the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable.

Sec. 3. The City Clerk shall certify to the passage of this ordinance and have it published in accordance with Council policy, either in a daily newspaper circulated in the City of Los Angeles or by posting for ten days in three public places in the City of Los Angeles: one copy on the bulletin board located at the Main Street entrance to the Los Angeles City Hall; one copy on the bulletin board located at the Main Street entrance to the Los Angeles City Hall East; and one copy on the bulletin board located at the Temple Street entrance to the Los Angeles County Hall of Records.

Sharrows hit the streets of LA; Bicycle Kitchen’s epic 5th Anniversary benefit concert

Aurisha Smolarski of the LACBC rides the city's first sharrows; photo courtesy of LACBC

Evidently, LADOT finally figured out what kind of paint to put on the street.

In an event as unlikely and seemingly miraculous as Moses parting the Red Sea, L.A. saw its initial sharrows hit the pavement on Fountain Ave. in Hollywood today — the first in what is promised to be six test sites, as Los Angeles gingerly explores a concept that has already been proven in cities around the world.

And despite LADOT’s expressed concerns over what kind of paint to use so cyclists wouldn’t sue after slipping on wet paint, they ended up using the same thermoplastic paint usually used for lane markings.

LADOT workers prepare to put well-researched paint on the pavement; photo courtesy of LACBC

Go figure, huh?

Others have already reported the story in detail; Joe Linton offers the full long, sad history of the cycling community’s fight for shared lane markings.

Suffice it to say that today’s pilot project marks a rare victory for local cyclists, for which much of the credit goes to City Council President Eric Garcetti, who championed the project, and the LACBC, which has unrelentingly led the fight for the last five years.

Of course, the fight’s not over.

L.A. cyclists — and drivers — need to prove that these projects are successful before we’re likely to see another drop of paint in our lifetimes.

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Click to enlarge

In upcoming bike events, Bicycle Kitchen celebrates their fifth anniversary with an Epic Benefit Concert and Silent Auction Saturday night.

Santa Monica Spoke invites one and all to their next meeting on Wednesday, featuring special guest Santa Monica City Council Member Terry O’Day.

Next weekend, Streetsblog holds it’s first fundraising ride on Friday, June 18, following the routes of L.A.’s old Yellow Car train lines through NELA. The next day, Saturday, June 19th, explore art and culture with the Folk Art is Everywhere Bike Tour, an easy 3.5 mile ride through Echo Park and historic Filipinotown.

And the second round of public workshops for the County Bicycle Master Plan continue throughout this month; next up is a meeting in Newhall on Thursday the 17th.

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No objections on the Transportation Committee to a motion requiring developers to count bikes and pedestrians as well as cars; even LADOT supported it. Flying Pigeon makes the scene at the SoCal premier of Riding Bikes with the Dutch. LACBC recaps last Sunday’s River Ride, with a link to another great Flickr set of photos. California cyclists get pelted by passing motorists in a pickup. Local bicyclists plan to fight the bike ban in Blackhawk CO. The joys of cycling include giving random strangers a high five as they hail a cab. A teenage driver kills a cyclist while untangling his flip flops and walks away without charges. DC’s DOT Director asks local cyclists to just take a breath. Your summer reading list: 10 great books about bicycling. RAAM is on the road, making good time through the western U.S.; India’s top endurance rider aims for a top five finish. Lance calls a proposal for even more drug testing at the Tour de France “bullshit.” Six-hundred riders prepare to roll across Britain. A grown man shouldn’t be afraid to ride a bike in the street. Pink rides through Deutschland sans skidlid. Germany’s Defense Minister rides das fahrrad. Polite police warnings in Copenhagen. Protect your pedals, ‘cause there’s few things worse than an insecure bike. A 15-year old pseudo cop jacks 14 bikes before getting caught. A Canadian bike rider gets bit in the butt by a grizzly bear.

Finally, LA Eastside’s El Random Hero outs himself as a new member of the cycling community. Glad to have you on board, but seriously, get a light if you’re going to ride after dark; after all, it’s only your life we’re talking about.

Rosendahl to Council: Car culture ends today

Just two weeks ago, L.A. City Council Member Dennis Zine said he didn’t know if L.A.’s car culture was ever going to change.

Today, Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl begged to differ.

In a powerful statement before the full council, Rosendahl said “The culture of the car is going to end now!” He reminded his fellow council members about the harassment cyclists face on the road, as well as the lack of support riders have received from the LAPD in the past. “We’re going to give cyclists the support they should have been getting.”

“This is my pledge to the cycling community.”

L.A. City Hall in January.

The subject at hand, which drew similar support from many of the council members in attendance, was a motion requesting the City Attorney to draft an ordinance prohibiting the harassment of bicyclists.

It didn’t take long to realize that this wasn’t going to be business as usual.

The first sign came when Council President Eric Garcetti noted that this matter had already been heard by both the Transportation and Public Safety Committees, which would normally mean no more public comments. But as Damien Newton had predicted, he quickly deferred to Rosendahl’s request to allow the handful of cyclists in the room to speak.

But first, Rosendahl and Public Safety Committee Chair Greig Smith agreed to what Damien called the three-step process, in which LADOT and the City Attorney will work with local cyclists to determine what the ordinance can and should contain, without conflicting with existing state traffic regulations. Then they will report back to both committees before drafting the actual ordinance, which will be subject to final council approval.

Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl addresses the council.

I argued against the extra step, since the City Attorney would, by necessity, determine what can legally be included in the ordinance during the process of drafting it.

But Rosendahl had already made it clear that he wouldn’t allow the process to drag on. He agreed with Smith to hold a joint session of the two committees to consider the recommendations. And pledged to have an ordinance drafted and ready for approval by the end of March.

That’s March of this year, in case you were wondering.

He also reminded the audience about a planned Transportation Committee session scheduled for February 24, in which cyclists will have a chance to speak with new LAPD Chief Beck. This is a chance to change, not just car culture, but that of the LAPD as well, he said, stating that future graduates from the police academy will receive training in bicycle law — including a copy of the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights.

In remarks a little later, Council Member Ed Reyes, co-sponsor of the motion, added that indifference has usually been the best a cyclist could hope for from the LAPD after being harassed or assaulted.

Fellow Transportation Committee member Paul Kortez suggested that it wasn’t enough to defer to the state to address the problem, saying the city needs to find a way to address harassment in its own laws and do whatever it can to put a stop to it. “We need to send a clear message,” he said.

When the floor was opened to comments, a brief parade of cyclists spoke about the problems they’ve faced on the road.

The LACBC's Aurisha Smolarsky offers her comments.

David talked about being harassed on the streets, while Iain told the council about an incident in which he was injured after being harassed by a driver — only to be told that by a police officer that it was his fault because he was riding with traffic.

Siku spoke of an incident in which she was buzzed by a driver, who yelled “Do you want to die?” at the next red light. And Michael, who described himself as a businessman, homeowner and taxpayer, cast it as a civil rights issue, saying he had been harassed by both drivers and the police.

In fact, every cyclist who spoke — including Aurisha of the LACBC, as well as myself — told of being harassed by drivers on the streets of L.A.

Rosendahl concluded the discussion by listing what he believes should constitute harassment under the proposed ordinance, including:

1. Knowingly throwing a projectile or discharge at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle;

2. Threatening any person riding a bicycle verbally or by use of his/her vehicle for the purpose of injuring, frightening or disturbing the person riding the bicycle;

3. Knowingly placing his/her vehicle within 3’ of a bicyclist while passing or following;

4. Making physical contact with a bicyclist from a moving vehicle or the roadway either by physical person or use of an implement;

5. Knowingly placing a person riding a bicycle in concern of immediate physical injury;

6. Knowingly engaging in conduct that creates a risk of physical injury or death to the person riding a bicycle.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Evidently, the council members agreed, voting 13 to 0 to approve the measure.

Afterwards, Eric Garcetti came up to me and offered his personal assurance that he will stay on top of this measure, and use his position as Council President to keep it moving forward.

And we can’t ask for much more than that.

Read more, including a wrap up on the Council’s discussion of the bike sharing proposal, on LA Streetsblog; LAist sums up the bike sharing discussion, as well.

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The Trickster offers an update on New Zealand’s cyber-bully Hummer Driver, who offers a half-hearted apology for threatening to kill cyclists — but only after the police get involved.

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Six cities that could go car free, including one right here in California, courtesy of Curbed LA. Designing better cities for bikes. Mixed results on Portland’s bike boxes. Boston Biker loses it after getting doored by a passenger bailing out in traffic. Virginia is the latest state to consider a three-foot passing law. New York cyclists are ticketed for delivering fried dumplings on the sidewalk. The great Hasidim v. hipsters debate goes on, and on — literally, this time. If bike lanes can tame New Dehli’s traffic, just imagine what they could do here. A UK driver is convicted of killing a rider competing in a time trial; as usual, she claims she never saw him. Brits petition the Royal Mail to let posties keep their Pashleys. Disgraced former Spanish cycling boss threatens to dope and tell. An Edinburgh cyclist hits a white van at 20 mph; maybe the driver thought he was a pothole. Finally, a great examination of how to fight biased — or just uninformed — police enforcement. And perhaps the best last line of any bike quote, ever.

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