Tag Archive for Hollywood vs. bikes

Stupid Driver Tricks — bizarrely impatient Brentwood driver; and knee-jerk Hollywood anti-bike hatred

Maybe it was something in the water.

Or maybe it was a little lunar lunacy in anticipation of tomorrow’s Blue Moon.

But Thursday’s ride to Manhattan Beach and back was marked with more Stupid Driver Tricks — and not just drivers, as a few cyclists and pedestrians insisted on getting into the act — than I usually see in a month.

But this one takes the cake.

All this woman had to do was wait a few seconds until the light changed, and she could have easily gotten out of that parking lot with her dry cleaning.

Instead, she pulled out directly towards the car in front of her. When that didn’t work, as he failed to magically disappear from her way, she backed up, pausing as I pulled up next to her. Then looked directly at me, and cut me off anyway — as the driver next to me and I both shook our heads, arms extended in the universal WTF gesture.

And yes, I may have made another gesture that didn’t show up on camera as I pulled up next to her.

No, not that one.

………

Streetsblog offers a good look at what you should do if you encounter my pet peeve — bike lanes needlessly blocked by Hollywood production crews.

Even though experience has taught me that Corgis make much better pets than peeves.

As they note, film crews are required to have a permit before they’re allowed to block a bike lane, or any other traffic lane, for that matter.

And yes, a bike lane is a legal traffic lane, albeit one reserved for bikes, just as HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with more than one occupant. Or people willing to pay for the privilege of driving alone.

Which means that, without a permit from the city — which is remarkably easy to get — film crews have no more right to block a bike lane than they do the center lane on Wilshire Blvd. Though that never seems to stop them from doing it anyway.

The story also notes, correctly, that you have every right to demand to see that permit, whether they like it or not. And that if they don’t have one, you’re entitled to call the police — or Film LA — and demand that they move the offending cones to reopen the bike lane.

Although getting someone to actually care enough to do something about it can be another matter.

Then there are the seemingly inevitable comments from film crew workers unwilling to even attempt to obey the law.

Including this one from a self-described Assistant Location Manager who threatens to have anyone who asks to see the permit arrested on false charges.

As an Assistant Location Manager, the guy whom you will probably be approaching for a film permit, which will then be followed by your venting hippie diatribe about why my working trucks are blocking your bike lane here’s what I am going to do….Ask to see my permit, which I will produce for you. Then it will be I who will call the cops and claim that you threatened my production company with extortion, which I will be able to produce witnesses for. I will also suggest to the officer who responds that we spotted you taking illicit drugs not far away from my set, which I will also produce witnesses for. Being that most bikers I know engage in the occasional to regular use of drugs, I will most likely be right. When your being cuffed and taken to jail, I will then sell your bike on ebay….I may even use the funds to put gas in my Ford F-150 (not a Prius). You guys want a fight, your going to get one…

Point is, we are losing production jobs everyday to other states and cities because of BS like this. My methodology may seem machiavellian but I will do whatever it takes to keep filming in Los Angeles, keep food on my family’s table, and not be forced to move to keep working in film industry which provides a much needed paycheck and health benefits to family and I. Be warned, if the working trucks are parked in a bike lane, bike around us and go on your merry way…

Nice way to put a good face on Hollywood, dude.

And summing up exactly why many people in this town are fed up with self-entitled production crews, regardless of the jobs they create.

Yes, we all want to put an end to runaway productions, and keep those high-paying jobs right here at home.

But Hollywood needs to take a long, hard look at itself, and accept that other people in this city have rights, as well.

………

Joe Devito forwards a photo of the ghost bike for Michael Vega, the 25-year old cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver earlier this week in Rancho Cucamonga.

And judging by the comments, it sounds like we’ve lost a great guy.

………

A few other quick notes:

Flying Pigeon looks at Tuesday’s meeting of the LACBC Civic Engagement Committee. Downtown is rapidly being redrawn to support bicycling. Glendale letter writer doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that bike lanes make streets safer, not the other way around. Three San Diego firefighters are on trial for beating the crap out of two bike riding brothers after calling one a bicycle faggot. A rocket scientist Ventura motorcyclist hates on California’s new three-foot passing law, missing the concept that it is actually possible to drive safely; and that emergency vehicles get an entire lane, while bicyclists only get three feet.

Trial has begun in the case of the driver who killed tandem cyclists Greg and Alexandra Bruehler, resulting in the single saddest photo I’ve ever seen. Here’s a good reason not the be an idiot, as a road-raging Detroit cyclist runs a red light, hits a truck, punches the driver — and gets fatally shot as a result. A PA cyclist is the victim of an early season drive-by pumpkining. Maybe cyclists should be licensed — and paid to ride. Ex-framebuilder Dave Moulton notes that doping has been around as long as competitive cycling.

Finally, I’ve always like fast women, as Bikeyface nails it once again. And it’s so hot, Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali is fixing bikes in his tightie whities reds.

Come back a little later in the day Friday, when we’ll have a giveaway contest to celebrate National Trail Mix Day. No, really, there actually is one. And I’ll see if the video came out on some of those other Stupid Driver Tricks over the next few days.

Green bike lanes aren’t worth a damn if they’re blocked by Hollywood production trucks

This is me, post nuclear.

I went just this side of ballistic this afternoon, when news broke on the KCET blog that an agreement had been reached that would allow Hollywood productions to continue shooting on Spring and Main Streets in Downtown L.A.

Those pretty green bike lanes were already as good as gone, victim of a claim that they would prevent the twinned streets, which had previously been among the most popular filming locations in the city, from continuing to pass for Anytown, USA.

In fact, the story quoted Paul Audley, President of FilmLA, saying that filming was already down 10% to 15% since the green lane was installed. Even though green is the color most easily removed in post-production.

But not this particular shade of green, evidently. At least not according to the filmmakers.

And even though the green lane was already doing a pretty good job of removing itself.

Still, it had become quite clear in recent days that the color-testing LADOT had promised us to ensure the green paint would last for more than a few days was not going to happen anytime soon. And while the bike lanes would remain, the green paint would soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, as the late, great Dale Carnegie once wrote, there are two reasons for anything a man — or a film industry, for that matter — does. One that sounds good, and the real reason.

And in this case, it didn’t take long for the bike-hating LA Weekly to ferret out the reason behind the reason.

While they weren’t happy with the city’s choice of USDOT-dictated green, the studios were actually upset that they’d lost their access to free curbside parking. Because, you know, all those Hollywood studios and production companies can’t manage to find offstreet parking for their massive production trucks.

Or afford to pay for it out of their mutli-multi-million dollar budgets.

Even though Downtown L.A. has more parking per acre than anywhere else on earth, according to UCLA parking maven Donald Shoup.

So having already won the Great Downtown Green War, there was only one battle left to fight.

According to the KCET story, Hollywood declared victory with an agreement permitting film crews to park those trucks on our beloved bike lanes. And nothing in that article suggested that it was limited to Spring and Main, implying that film crews could now park anywhere they damn well pleased, on any bike lane in the city.

And that, my friends, is when my head exploded.

For a change, though, I didn’t go ballistic. Instead I reached out to the people who should actually know what was really going on before going off on here. And used all my self control not to go off on them, either.

First to respond — in a matter of just minutes, in fact — was LADOT Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery, who assured me that permits would still be required to block any traffic lane, bike or otherwise. And that lane closures for film shoots should be limited to the minimal amount required for actual shooting, and not simply to provide parking for cast and crew.

I could feel my blood pressure dropping already.

A few hours later, I got a response from Paul Audley himself, who said the article got it wrong.

Dear Ted,
The article headline is incorrect.
The DOT is allowing film vehicles in the parking lane next to the bike lanes.
Nobody wants to injure bikers!  :)

Good to know. Although my own experience on the roads might suggest that at least some L.A. drivers might disagree with that last line.

Personally, though, as nice as they were, I don’t really give a damn whether the bike lanes are green, blue, black or pink. As long as they’re clear from obstructions and safe to ride.

But the problem is, a blocked bike lane is worse than no lane at all. Because drivers will expect you to ride in it regardless of whether or not it’s actually ridable. And aren’t likely to give you an inch if you dare to venture outside the lines.

So if Hollywood needs to change the color scheme, be my guest.

Just don’t park your trucks where they block our bike lanes.

And that goes for your little orange cones, too.

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