Tag Archive for L.A. County Sheriff’s Department

Morning Links: More details on $11.75 million Olin settlement; Venice writer says don’t over-regulate e-scooters

Yesterday’s press conference revealed more details about the nearly $12 million settlement from the County of Los Angeles for the death of bike-riding music executive Milt Olin, who was killed by a distracted sheriff’s deputy in December, 2013.

Citing new evidence, Olin’s family is asking the DA’s office to take another look at the case, after the DA had initially declined to file charges.

The DA had said there was no evidence the deputy was actually moving while he texted and used the onboard computer in his patrol car just prior to the crash.

However, new evidence shows Deputy Andrew Wood was traveling at over 40 mph on Mulholland Highway as he typed into his laptop to respond to a message from another deputy at the time of the crash. And had used his personal cell phone to text his wife just 15 seconds earlier.

Olin should have been visible to Wood for 21 seconds as the deputy drove down Mulholland — or would have been if he hadn’t been distracted. Wood initially said that Olin swerved in front of him before investigators placed the point of impact squarely in the bike lane.

Photo from the Milt Olin Foundation website, which was founded after his death to combat distracted driving.

………

A Venice-based writer for The Atlantic dons his best Raymond Chandler-esque prose to say e-scooters could ease traffic. But only if cities can avoid over-regulating them.

If Bird comes to your city, its detractors will cry foul.

They’ll lash out as if every Silicon Beach scheme to make some scratch is zero sum, call the code-enforcement coppers on anything without a business license, insist on “a comprehensive regulatory scheme” as if mere scooters require one, and remain so beholden to status-quo bias that they’ll hold Birds to standards they’ve never applied to Firebirds, Skylarks, Falcons, Cygnets, or Roadrunners.

Before throwing in with the skeptics, at least take a ride.

It’s a good read, and worth a few minutes of your day.

………

Local

CiclaValley catches a bike thief in action and gives chase, before losing the scoundrel in Griffith Park.

City Lab talks with UCLA parking meister Donald Shoup.

Beverly Hills will hold a Complete Streets Walk Audit on Saturday, June 9th to get input on the city’s Complete Streets process.

 

State

No news is good news, right?

 

National

Studies show that dockless bikeshare works best when it’s seen as an extension of the transit system. And that both dockless and traditional bikeshare can succeed in the same city.

Bicycling lists celebrities who ride bikes, from Pippa Middleton to George Clooney. If you have the patience to click through all 25 pages.

People for Bikes is looking for a part-time writer. And the best part is, it’s not an onsite position, so you can work wherever you are now.

A Seattle bicyclist got his stolen bike and tools back after online commenters pitched in with a description and location of the thief’s truck.

Three months after becoming the first woman finisher in this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational fat bike race, a Norwegian woman gets her $3,000 stolen carbon-fiber bike back after it was spotted in an Anchorage homeless camp.

A Pittsburgh public radio station considers what happens when construction work closes a bike lane or bike path; city policy requires developers to provide an alternate route. Unlike Los Angeles, where bike lanes are closed for construction work or movie shoots with no detour on a regular basis.

A New York man says he hasn’t bought a bicycle since the 1990s, even though he’s ridden all over the world. Then proves it by suggesting racing bikes cost just $600 these days.

The war on bikes goes on, as a New York man was attacked for the crime of riding his bike in a bike lane that was overflowing with pedestrians forced off a narrow, overcrowded sidewalk.

Boing Boing looks back on the bikelash panic that preceded the introduction of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare five years ago, none of which came to pass.

In the spirit of that earlier bikeshare panic, a Brooklyn paper says dockless bikeshare will bring chaos to Coney Island.

 

International

This is why you don’t lock your bike to a street sign. A Canadian man had his bike stolen when thieves unbolted the sign and slid then lock off. Then again, they also stole his next bike, even though it was locked to an iron railing.

No surprise here. The driver who plowed into four Canadian cyclists on a charity ride was under the influence at the time of the crash.

A writer for the Guardian says the problem in London isn’t a lack of diversity on bikes, it’s the lack of safe streets that keeps women and children from riding. Although a writer says the real problem on her bike commute is MAMILS.

The Guardian also examines the rise of ultra-cyclists, in advance of a 258-mile ride from London to Wales and back.

A British woman expects to become the first disabled woman to ride unsupported around the entire coast of Great Britain when she completes her journey today.

The Melbourne, Australia city council concludes that safety fears and a lack of decent bike lanes discourage many people from riding bikes. Meanwhile, a cycling commentator says policies that encourage more Melbourne commuters to bike to work will be a win for everyone.

Western Australia’s Road Safety Minister says there are no plans to require bicyclists to ride single file, there or anywhere else in the country, despite a petition from angry drivers.

A new Tokyo bar is designed for, and staffed by, road cyclists.

 

Competitive Cycling

A Canadian track cyclist says the five-month break she was forced to endure following a massive blood clot caused by a crash in the Rio Olympics has left her more grounded and focused on the Tokyo Games.

SoCal’s own Coryn Rivera is bouncing back after a challenging classics season, winning two stages of Germany’s Internationale Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour.

Chris Froome is confident about repeating as Tour de France champ this summer, after bouncing back from his “brutal” Giro win. If he doesn’t get a belated ban for a failed drug test at last year’s Vuelta, that is.

 

Finally…

Now you can ride your classic Schwinn cruiser inside. Or maybe ride outside to celebrate legal marijuana.

And we may have to deal with rude drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about rude ‘roos.

 

Morning Links: LA County settles Milt Olin case for $11.75 million, and sheriff’s deputies get it wrong on PCH. Again.

Five and a half years after music executive Milt Olin was killed by a distracted LA County sheriff’s deputy, his family has finally received some justice.

About $11.75 million worth.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Olin family will receive that amount in a settlement from the county.

Which is just slightly more than the $80,000 requested in their original lawsuit.

But possibly less than a jury would have given them if the case had gone to trial.

Olin was riding in a bike lane on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas when the deputy ran him down from behind while responding to a message from another officer on his onboard computer.

That came just moments after the deputy had been texting with his wife while driving. Which, remarkably, is legal for emergency personnel in California, even if the text has nothing to do with official business.

The LA County District Attorney refused to file charges in the case, or to hold the sheriff’s department accountable in any way for a policy that allowed deputies to use the onboard computer while driving, with predictable results.

That policy was changed as a result of Olin’s death.

Which, in the long run, may be worth much more than his family will receive in this case.

Photo from the Milt Olin Foundation website.

………

It’s a never-ending story.

Every few years, Malibu sheriff’s deputies insist on harassing and ticketing bicyclists who are doing absolutely nothing wrong, based on a flawed interpretation of California law.

And after various bicyclists, bike advocates and organizations explain the law to them, they back off. Until the deputies are transferred out, and new ones come in to take their place.

Then the cycle starts all over again.

Like it did this past weekend, when members of the Major Motion Cycling Club were harassed by a sheriff’s deputy, who used his loud speaker to insist that they ride single file in a non-existent bike lane.

So let’s go through this one more time.

CVC 21202 allows bicyclists to ride in the roadway, using the full lane when necessary.

Bike riders can, at their own discretion, ride on the shoulder of a roadway. However, nothing to the right of the limit line is legally considered part of the road, and bicyclists can’t be required to ride there.

And just because there’s a stripe on the side of the road, that doesn’t make it a bike lane.

It’s true that CVC 21202 requires anyone using a bicycle to ride as far to the right as practicable — not as far as possible, as it’s frequently misinterpreted.

However, it contains a number of exceptions when the ride-to-the-right rule does not apply, including in a substandard traffic lane. That means any lane that is too narrow to safely share with a bicycle and a motor vehicle, while allowing for a three-foot passing distance.

Like the lane shown in the video, which is clearly too narrow for a bike and a car to safely travel side-by-side. And like most of the other right hand traffic lanes in the LA area.

There is also absolutely nothing in California law requiring bicyclists to ride single file.

The CHP and LASD have often attempted to misapply the ride-to-the-right rule in CVC 21202 to say that anyone riding abreast is not riding as far to the right as practicable. However, as we noted, that requirement does not apply on a substandard lane.

It is actually safer to ride abreast under those conditions, because it increases the visibility of the riders and allows them to control the full lane, forcing drivers to change lanes to go around them.

And it makes the riders easier to pass by bunching closer together in a small group, rather than stretching out in a long line.

Finally, it’s impossible to obstruct traffic on a roadway with two or more lanes in each direction, where drivers can simply change lanes to go around.

But don’t take my word for it.

Below is the video the LAPD prepared to train its own officers in bike law and the rights of bicyclists.

Which should be required viewing at the Malibu/Los Hills sheriff station.

Thanks to Martin Blount for the video.

………

This is who we share the roads with.

An aggressive, road raging California driver flips off a bike rider and makes a punishment pass for no apparent reason.

Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the heads-up.

………

Local

Los Angeles police solved just 8% of hit-and-runs in the city last year. Which means 92% of hit-and-run drivers committed a crime and got away with it. But sure, let’s keep pretending it’s not a crisis.

The SGV Connect podcast discusses how to support people who bike at the University of La Verne.

Registration is open for this summer’s Tour de Laemmle, the annual 135-mile ride along with Laemmle Theaters president Greg Laemmle as he visits all of the theater chain’s nine LA area venues.

 

State

No surprise here. San Diego drivers are taking advantage of a new bike lane in Mission Valley for prime parking space, forcing riders out into high speed traffic; police are ticketing the cars even though No Parking signs haven’t been installed yet.

A San Francisco woman asks if bike riders are really welcome in Paso Robles after a road raging driver threatens to run her and her husband down unless they ride single file. Which they were.

A San Francisco supervisor follows through on threats to remove a bike lane to make room for more free parking.

Don’t ride your e-scooter on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Or any other freeway.

 

National

Distracted driving gets the blame for a 13.5% jump in traffic fatalities in the US; the United States was one of just five nations to see an increase in traffic deaths over a five year period.

Streetsblog says fire departments are now embracing safer street designs, rather than fighting much needed safety improvements.

An Oregon letter writer says bicyclists should be held to the same standard as drivers. So feel free to roll stop signs, ride through intersections after the light has changed, never signal, and ride ten miles over the speed limit while texting, just like the people in cars do.

A retired Los Angeles man says he’s given up on bicycling in the city, driven off the streets by road raging drivers, and moving to Tucson to take advantage of the city’s 131-mile off-road bike and pedestrian loop. Someone should send that to every member of the city council so they can see what we have to deal with on a daily basis.

A group of Ukrainian cyclists is passing through New Mexico on a ride across the US to promote adoptions.

Iowa bicyclists call for a law requiring drivers to change lanes to pass people on bicycles, and increased penalties for driving distracted.

A Chicago bike rider somehow assumes that bad bicyclist behavior is responsible for a dramatic increase in bicycling fatalities, and calls on his fellow citizens to yell at the miscreant riders.

Doctors in New York were able to save the leg of a nationally ranked junior cyclist after he developed an aggressive form of bone cancer, saving his dreams of competing in the Olympics.

A marathon runner is suing New York for $2 million after he broke his arm in a collision with a bike rider on the George Washington Bridge, claiming there’s not enough room for people on bikes and on foot on the bridge.

A Pennsylvania newspaper reminds drivers about the state’s four-foot passing law, and says there’s no excuse for disobeying a perfectly sound law.

The Voice of America looks at DC’s monthly Bike Party.

Apparently having solved the problem of distracted driving, Miami considers a campaign to reduce distracted bicycling, skateboard and moped riding. No, really.

 

International

Horrifying story from Ontario, Canada, where a man is fighting for his life, and a woman seriously injured, after a driver slammed head-on into four bicyclists on a charity ride; the driver was attempting to pass a slower vehicle, and reportedly never braked before hitting the riders.

A Canadian city is taking bikeshare to the next level by offering a free bike lending program, allowing users to check a bike out for a day.

In a bizarre comment, the head of London’s department of transportation apologized to drivers for the city’s hugely successful cycle superhighways, saying they were poorly thought out and rushed through under the previous mayor. Although he may have been talking about the construction delays, not the bikeways themselves.

London’s Independent recommends six of the coolest cycling destinations around the world to add to your bike bucket list.

When is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it can convert to other uses at different times of day, thanks to a new concept from a London design engineering firm.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes continues. Someone reportedly sabotaged a UK mountain bike trail by stringing wire across it, as well as placing logs and other obstructions on the trail.

Bike advocates in Malta complain about a limited and disconnected bike lane that doesn’t meet European standards. Proving once again that bicyclists face the same problems all over the world.

Over 82,000 people in Australia have signed a petition to require bicyclists to ride single file when in a group, and ban bikes from roads with speed limits over 50 mph.

 

Competitive Cycling

A member of the US Paralympic Cycling Team credits riding with lifting him out of a decade-long depression that began when he suffered a stroke as a teenager.

Britain announces a new campaign to stop doping and ensure public faith in cycling. Maybe they could start by taking a closer look at Team Sky. I’m just saying.

Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault doesn’t hold back, saying Team Sky star and Giro champ Chris Froome doesn’t belong with the legends of cycling, and shouldn’t be allowed to compete until his doping case is resolved.

 

Finally…

It’s now legal to bike through the drive-through for a Portland burger. Putting school parking — and senior pranks — to better bikeshare use; thanks to Campoy for the link.

And we’re not in danger of being replaced until these little guys learn to hold their line.

Morning Links: Lawyer disputes unarmed, bike-fixing Hawaiian Gardens man reached for deputy’s gun

The unarmed man who was fatally shot by sheriffs deputies in Hawaiian Gardens Sunday night was allegedly reaching for the officer’s gun when he was shot.

Even though the family’s lawyer says he was 20 feet away.

According to the LA Times, 42-year old Johnny Ray Anderson was working on his bike when deputies arrived in response to a prowler call, as well as an earlier report that gang members were smoking crack in a vacant house.

His wife explained that he ran from the deputies because the couple was living illegally in an abandoned house, and he was on a gang injunction list.

Hopefully, forensics will determine who is telling the truth.

……..

Race leader Tony Martin may have crashed out of the Tour de France on Thursday, as he limped across the finish line with a broken collarbone; no word on the condition of reigning champ Vincenzo Nibali, who was taken down by Martin’s crash.

Wednesday was another wet, crashed-filled day at the Tour, but the leading contenders managed to finish safely, although Australia’s Orica-GreenEdge team is on life support. “Break a leg” means good luck in the theater; in bike racing, not so much, as New Zealand’s Jack Bauer learned the hard way.

A photography website offers advice on how to shoot bike racing events like the Tour de France. Although you evidently need to be there in person, not just watching on TV.

Just in time for the TdF, Cycling Weekly looks at the seven best pro cycling temper tantrums.

And former All-American swimmer Hannah Ross has made a rapid rise in women’s pro cycling.

……..

Local

Downtown News says bikeshare has huge potential in DTLA, though we have reason to be skeptical. Tell me about it.

Flying Pigeon finds a relaxing and semi-historic North East Passage from NELA to Pasadena. Now if I could just find a non-stressful route from Hollywood to the LA River.

Yo! Venice says new city laws targeting the homeless could make it illegal to lock your bike to a city-owned rack.

Santa Monica Spoke is joining Spinlister this Saturday for the 2nd Annual Tour de Slurp, a 10-mile ride with stops at five 7-11s for the company’s Free Slurpee Day.

 

State

Los Alamitos Blvd could get safe bike and pedestrian access in the Mayberry of Orange County.

After a woman riding a handcycle was killed in Indio in January, the company that made her bike donated a new one to a disabled vet; now he’s helping other people with disabilities learn to ride.

Menlo Park installs bike lanes before building sidewalks. Then is somehow surprised by near-collisions between cyclists and pedestrians forced to walk in them.

Morgan Hill ends its experiment with complete streets due to a pending construction project; the city council will decide next month whether to make the bike lanes permanent.

 

National

Momentum Magazine offers six reasons why bikes are good for business and why business owners should support their two-wheeled customers.

Smart idea. A Portland high school is opening a bike co-op to engage at-risk kids to help keep them in school.

Bike Portland looks at what may one day be “the single most important hub of bicycling in the United States.”

My bike-friendly hometown seems to be getting less safe for cyclists; no word on whether the recent increase in fatal bicycling crashes could be due to an increase in ridership, however. Meanwhile, the 18-year old driver who killed a cyclist by swerving into a bike lane to avoid hitting a boat trailer — and possibly dozed off behind the wheel — faces a measly misdemeanor.

It’s not just cities. Even Indiana’s Purdue University will have bikeshare before LA does.

An Ohio man gets three years for killing his bike-riding neighbor with a single punch as the man rode away following a dispute.

Kentucky cyclist Cherokee Schill was ticketed for riding in the traffic lane, while another man may have lost his life because he didn’t.

If you’re planning to participate in Boston’s World Naked Bike Ride, please don’t use one of the city’s bikeshare bikes. I’d kind of hope that would go without saying.

Caught on video: Philadelphia cops give a black bike rider a serious beatdown, tasing him as he cries out for his grandma — apparently for the crime of talking to the wrong people and riding the wrong way on a one-way street.

A college study suggests the reason women are using New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare less than men goes back to not feeling safe on the streets, and that more protected bikeways could be the answer. No wait, a Toronto writer says it’s the sweat, so put pretty pink streamers on the bikes.

 

International

The Mounties may not always get their man, but they did help an Aussie tourist recover his stolen bike.

A group of Winnipeg city councilors take out an ad campaign decrying bike lanes as the end of all that’s good and holy in the city.

A London collision victim is just the latest to have his bike stolen by heartless thieves while he was being treated for his injuries; London bike-jackings are on the rise, as well.

Caught on video: A Welsh bike rider somehow stays upright after being clipped by a driver who undertook him, breaking off the car’s wing mirror in the process. NSFW? The story warns of strong language; however, the rider’s accent makes most of it incomprehensible to American ears, anyway.

Paris now allows bike riders to go through red lights on T-intersections, something that remains common, but illegal, here.

Famed Swiss chef Philippe Rochat died while bicycling with friends, most likely from natural causes; his restaurant had a rare three Michelin star rating for a 15-year period.

A writer for the Guardian struggles with a classic Gran Fondo through Italy’s South Tyrol region, while HuffPo celebrates Christmas in July with a reminiscence about cycling the Appian Way over the holidays.

Fewer cyclists are being ticketed for riding without lights in The Netherlands; not because more riders are using them, but because police have better things to do other priorities.

 

Finally…

When you’ve just stolen a bike while carrying two baggies of coke, maybe you should trying riding it instead of walking. If you’re going to just walk away from a collision after hitting a bike rider, don’t leave your ID behind in the car.

And when you’re an elected official, it’s probably not the best idea to flip off a group of riders after knocking two of them off their bikes.

Just a suggestion.

 

Morning Links: Founding father of BMX found dead in Indio; man fixing bike shot dead by LASD deputies

Sad news from Indio, as one of the founding fathers of BMX riding was found dead in a tent over the weekend.

A member of the BMX Hall of Fame, Scot Alexander Breithaupt had organized some of the first races while growing up in Long Beach in the 1970s, before going on to win a national championship and founding SE Racing bikes.

There was no sign of foul play.

He was featured in a 2005 documentary about the sport.

………

A Hawaiian Gardens man was shot and killed by sheriffs deputies reporting to a report of a prowler last night.

According to his wife, he was just fixing his bicycle when the officers arrived. Although she doesn’t explain why he jumped a fence in a apparent attempt to get away.

No weapon was found at the scene, and no reason was given for the shooting.

Meanwhile, the LA Times calls on Gardena to release the dashcam video of officers shooting the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim two years ago.

………

People for Bikes offers six reasons to watch the Tour de France, which kicked off on Saturday.

Aussie Rohan Dennis got a yellow bike to go with the yellow jersey he won in stage one of the Tour de France, while GoPro offers a first-bike view of the first stage.

Two of the four pre-race favorites are down, if not out, after just the second wind-swept, rainy stage in the Tour de France. Cavendish appeared to tank it at the end of the second stage, and blames everyone else.

Joaquim Rodriguez took stage three, as Chris Froome finished just behind and slipped on the yellow jersey this morning.

VeloNews says Andrew Talansky is riding back into form just in time. Bicycling asks if it’s safe to root for Tejay van Garderen or if he’ll break our hearts again. And looks back 40 years to when a fan punched the great Eddy Merckx, and kept The Cannibal from winning a record sixth Tour.

Turns out there’s another race going on right now. And unlike the other one, an American is in first place, as US Nat. champ Megan Guarnier takes the leader’s jersey after the second stage of Italy’s Giro Rosa.

………

Local

A bike-riding Pomona boy was seriously injured when he was hit by a car Sunday night.

A legally blind Santa Clarita vet rides a four-wheeled ‘bent led by his guide dog, and was honored as the 2014 National Veteran Volunteer of the Year.

Hundreds kick off the 4th with a bike ride in Long Beach’s Belmont Shore.

A 21-year old Harbor City man was killed in a bike-by shooting. Proof bike riders aren’t always the victims. Or the good guys.

Sounds like fun. Bike-themed restaurant Pedaler’s Fork hosts the 10-Speed Grinder ride, complete with BBQ lunch, on the 19th.

 

State

Inspirational story from Oakhurst, as a vet who lost both legs in Afghanistan — and nearly his life — is riding across the US on a recumbent handcycle to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund.

 

National

The Economist says America’s roads remain extremely dangerous. No shit.

Bike Radar discusses the nine things you should never ask a female bike shop employee.

Riding cross-country on a solar powered e-bike.

The Spokane sheriff concludes a deputy violated policy by driving 70 mph on a surface street without lights and siren. But somehow, that had nothing to do with the death of a teenage bike rider who went over his handlebars as the speeding car passed within one foot of him.

A Montana paper looks at how national bike routes bring bike tourists and cash to rural towns.

A Denver couple explain the benefits of going car-free.

Even tiny Norway, Maine — population 5014 — gets bike share before we do.

A West Virginia paper looks at one of the riders critically injured in the first responders bike race that took the life of a Brazilian police inspector.

Virginia police write a whopping 12 tickets for violating the state’s new three-foot passing law last year, but at least that’s up from two tickets for unsafe passing the year before.

 

International

The physics of how your bike can keep going without you.

A Canadian bike collector rescues an 1889 bicycle he found in a landfill.

The Toronto Star says too many bike riders are getting doored, and says it’s time for bike lanes everywhere. Those same stories could have been written right here.

A cyclist tries bicycling the path of the Thames on a path not intended for bicycling.

A British lord says a survey saying people don’t like spaces shared by cars, bikes and pedestrians is proof they’re a dangerous and costly folly. After all, there’s no point in relying on facts or anything.

A Brit driver is allowed to remain on the road with three-and-a-half times the number of points against his license for moving violations than the law allows. No point in taking dangerous drivers off the streets, either.

A record-setting adventurer rides 102 miles through the Scottish countryside on a Penny Farthing.

An Irish cyclist says everybody hates cyclists. Even cyclists.

A 10-minute mini-documentary explains how bicycles are helping to liberate women in war-torn Yemin.

Now that’s more like it. The man in charge of managing roadways for an Australia’s Victoria state says you can’t build your way out of congestion, and recommends getting a new job or riding a bike to avoid gridlock.

Aussie cyclists ride topless to protest the country’s mandatory helmet law. No, not like that.

 

Finally…

That’s one way to stop a breakaway. The CHP is called out to deal with a bull blocking a roadway — and a bike race; seems to be an epidemic of that these days. When you’re a convicted felon carrying coke, marijuana and a .357 on your bike, don’t ride salmon.

And don’t forget your ankle monitor when you ride.

 

Weekend Links: Super-secret discipline for Milt Olin deputy; SD’s Fiesta Island wreck caused by invisible boyfriend

We’ve got a lot to catch up on today.

So feel free to take a break and go out for a ride. This could take awhile.

……..

The LA County sheriff’s deputy who killed former Napster exec Milt Olin has been officially disciplined by the department. But since it’s considered a personnel matter, we’ll most likely never know what that discipline is.

And there will be no discipline for the department, which reportedly encouraged its officers to use their onboard computers while driving, despite an official policy against it.

……..

A psychiatrist says the alleged meth-using wrong way driver who plowed into 10 cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, leaving one paralyzed, “has bipolar disorder with chronic or long-standing mania and psychotic features, but also depressive features.”

Oh. Well, okay then.

She reportedly blames the crash on an invisible boyfriend who somehow popped up, apparently inside her car, before disappearing.

And she had a bag of meth in her vagina when she was arrested.

Allegedly.

Update: Despite the testimony of the psychiatrist, Theresa Owens was found competent to stand trial on Friday. 

……..

Three bikes take a 100 year journey to Bike Week LA, coming next month.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

……..

Update: I’ve been reminded that the OCTA Bike Festival will be held this Sunday from 9 am to 1 p in Huntington Beach.

Although how I can be reminded of something I didn’t know about to begin with is beyond me.

……..

Local

Note to CMs Gil Cedillo, Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz: A Virginia study confirms what we’ve been trying to tell you. More bikes on the streets will actually increase traffic congestion unless we have bike lanes to ride in. But hey, go ahead, keep blocking those planned bike lanes on North Figueroa, Lankershim and Westwood until traffic improves.

If you’re looking for a new job, CicLAvia is hiring a new head honcho; meanwhile, the Times talks with outgoing exec and founder Aaron Paley. Although I wish he could remember the role the LACBC played in assisting the birth of CicLAvia; one of the first votes I cast as a board member involved approving a cooperative agreement to help get the first event off the ground.

Caught on video: Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks a Malibu’s new bike lane on PCH, a first for the formerly bike-unfriendly city. Speaking of the LACBC, the coalitions’s Eric Bruins deserves much of the credit for the coastal city’s change in attitude.

 

State

California Streetsblog interviews Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who insists Governor Brown will sign a Yellow Alert hit-and-run notice this time around; he vetoed a similar bill last year.

Caltrans effectively unblocks protected bike lanes; the state transportation agency will hold a summit on the newly legalized Class IV bikeways next month.

Is someone targeting bike riders in OC? After a Santa Ana bike rider is shot in a possible gang-related driveby, he continued riding to a nearby residence for help; another man riding a bike was shot in the same city just a day later.

Huntington Beach police are looking for a man and woman who tried to steal a purse from a bike rider’s basket, then ripped it out of her hands when she fought back. Thanks to Louis for the tip.

The cities of Highlands and Redlands in San Bernardino County are working together to build a proposed bike lane connecting the two; a separated lane is one possibility.

Sad news from Palo Alto, as the 61-year old woman hit by a cyclist while crossing the street has died. The rider was descending around a blind curve at about 25 mph when he crashed into her; he has not been charged. The victim, Kathryn Green, was a noted philanthropist with local ties to the LA area; she was born in Santa Monica and grew up in the Palisades. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Streetsblog SF picks up the story of the Belmont bike rider blamed by auto-centric police for talking on a cell phone and riding sans-helmet — both legal — when he was left crossed by a car; the 90-year old motorist who illegally violated his right of way wasn’t held responsible in any way.

The Uber driver who allegedly ran down a San Francisco bike rider in a road rage dispute has surrendered his drivers license.

San Francisco’s director of transportation and public health director team up to explain the city’s Vision Zero policy. It would be nice if we could see something like that here; most Angelenos have no idea what Vision Zero is, let alone that the city has adopted it.

NorCal’s Arcata posts a YouTube video explaining the new bicycle boulevard running through the center of town. So why can’t we have nice things like that? See Cedillo, et al, above.

 

National

Phoenix cyclists agree with the city’s low ranking for bike-friendliness.

Organizers unveil the route for this year’s Tour of Utah, which includes a whopping two whole days of women’s racing. Which is better than none, I suppose.

A Houston bike rider has become the latest cyclist to be killed in a collision with a police car; the victim reportedly ran the red light.

Ever wondered what happened to the guy who inspired Breaking Away by almost single-handedly winning the 1962 Little 500?

An Ohio driver gets probation for the hit-and-run crash that left a bike rider seriously injured, and tampering with evidence to hide the crime afterwards. Evidently, life is cheap there. And the law seems pretty meaningless, too.

To celebrate the launch of Philadelphia’s bike share program, Uber brought bike riders a new helmet for just $10. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip.

Bike riders in South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island say harassment is common, after the arrest of a driver for yelling at a woman to get on a bike path, then getting out of his car and grabbing her arm to scream some more.

Caught on video: A Georgia truck driver gets out of his vehicle and pushes a bike rider over after the rider flipped him off for passing too closely; the driver claims he was in fear for his life after the rider kicked at his massive, multi-ton steel truck. Sure, let’s go with that.

Unbelievable. The 2013 police shooting of a Florida bike rider was caught on dash cam video; he was left paralyzed from the waist down — even though his only weapon was a cell phone.

The Justice Department will review the Tampa Bay police department’s ticketing of African American bike riders, who received 79% of the city’s tickets for bicycle violations even though they make up just 26% of city residents. The paper that broke the story asks if police will now stop the biased enforcement while the review is underway. Thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

 

International

They never learn. A young British driver becomes the latest to lose her job after tweeting about hitting a bicyclist without stopping.

A Brit woman may have suffered permanent scars resulting from a collision with a grinning hit-and-run cyclist.

A formerly morbidly obese man from the UK loses 210 pounds in a single year after taking up bicycling; he’s now planning to run a half-marathon — and have 14 pounds of excess skin removed.

Now that’s what I call fleeing the scene. An Irish driver gets six-and-a-half years for causing the death of a cyclist. He first fled to the UK, then Australia; he was arrested after being recognized in an ill-advised return to the UK.

Join the Army, and you too can experience the German equivalent of a ciclovía.

Kazakhstan-based pro cycling team Astana somehow manages to keep its top-tier racing status, despite a number of team members busted for doping.

Unbelievable. An Aussie man jailed for killing a cyclist in a 2011 hit-and-run killed another man in a second hit-and-run the same month, and hid his body under some bark and leaves.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A llama joins the peloton. In Canada, no less, where the animals aren’t exactly native.

If you’re going to climb into a driver’s vehicle and drive off after coming to blows in a road rage dispute — with the owner still clinging to the outside of his car — try to make a clean getaway without crashing into a parked car. But if you want to experience just one angry, honking driver on your ride to work, make sure you have a police escort.

And Bo Jackson says nobody’s perfect. Not even his buddy Lance.

 

(Late) Morning Links: LASD changes deputy distracted driving policy, CicLAvia is coming, and we’re #9

Why does someone usually have to die before common sense comes into play?

Even — or perhaps especially — when it comes to law enforcement agencies.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department has belatedly come to the obvious conclusion that their officers are no better at distracted driving than the rest of us, over a year after a cyclist was killed by a sheriff’s deputy using his onboard computer.

The Daily News reports that the department has issued a new policy that curbs, but does not eliminate, the use of department-issued computers while driving.

Officers are now expected to use their radios as the primary means of communication, with computers to be used only in emergency situations while operating a vehicle, or when a response can be given with a single touch of a button.

Of course, looking down at the screen for even the few seconds required to push a button still takes the driver’s eyes off the road long enough to kill someone.

Unfortunately, it comes too late to save the life of Milt Olin, who was rear-ended by a sheriff’s deputy who drifted into the bike lane while the entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive was riding on Mulholland Highway 16 months ago.

Let alone hold the driver accountable for his death.

And the new policy apparently does nothing to prohibit the use of handheld cell phones by officers, which is somehow allowed by an absurd loophole in state law that seems to assume police officers have superhuman multitasking powers that the rest of us mere mortals lack.

And yes, the sheriff’s deputy who took Olin’s life had also been texting with his wife in the moments leading up to the collision. But not, investigators concluded, at the precise time he struck Olin.

A standard which would seem to let most texting drivers off the hook.

The story notes the department is investigating further restricting the use of onboard computers by their deputies, including locking the devices when the car is moving or providing a heads-up display like the one used by CHP officers.

I’m still not sure if cops have the multitasking skills and lightening reflexes required to navigate busy traffic while reading messages that pop up on their windshield.

But anything would be an improvement.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg and BikinginLA sponsor Michel Rubinstein, who offers his own take on the policy change, for the heads-up.

………

Ready for CicLAvia yet?

LADOT is planning a one-day pop-up cycletrack on Chandler Blvd to give you a chance to offer your opinion on what riding in LA could — and should — be.

And CiclaValley finds support for the event even from car-related businesses along the route.

………

California is now ranked as the nation’s 9th most bike-friendly state, up from 19th. Which raises the question of whether this state has gotten that much better, or if other states just suck more.

………

More fallout from last week’s LA elections.

The Times says LA cyclists get at least some of the credit for CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar’s landslide victory in last week’s primary election.

Meanwhile, the CD4 race is likely to be between a city hall insider and an outsider to be determined; no word on the role biking the vote is likely to play in determining the outcome.

………

Local

The LA Times is the latest paper to check in on SB 192, the state’s proposed mandatory helmet law; the story by Laura J. Nelson is one of the few to offer a considered look at the subject.

The LACBC is offering a Women’s Basic Bicycling Skills Workshop on Saturday.

A high school student questions whether bike riders are being considered in the rush to autonomous vehicles.

Celebrity chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsay rides through the ‘Bu.

An El Monte bike rider suffered a head injury when he was hit by a minivan Sunday night. Police say the victim ran the red light; as always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver who hit him actually saw it. And the one time when it might be relevant, the story fails to mention if he was wearing a helmet.

Long Beach plans to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians by replacing a dangerous intersection with a park.

Bike couriers finally come to the area’s most bike-friendly city, and Longbeachize looks at the last LACBC Operation Firefly bike light giveaway of the year.

 

State

No news is good news? Only one California report from outside the LA area popped up in yesterday’s news feeds.

A Sausalito councilmember wants to limit the number bikes, especially rental bikes, that swarm the small city every summer. But evidently all those cars that jam the roadways are just fine with him.

 

National

Bike Route 66 is now fully mapped out and ready to ride.

An 81-year old Phoenix man is fighting for his life after being run down by a hit-and-run bicyclist; apparently hit-and-run isn’t a crime in Arizona if you don’t have a motor. Either way, if you hit another human being, just stop already.

A Billings, Montana couple win the Adventure Cycling Association’s Trail Angel Award for their kindness to riders passing through the city.

A Wisconsin driver gets a year in jail for killing a cyclist in his sleep. Yes, you read that right.

A proposed 76-mile Naples to Miami bike trail faces opposition, but no one seems to object to the already existing highway next to it.

 

International

A Chilean designer offers a line of book racks that double as a place to park your bike inside your home.

The mayor of Saskatoon chokes on the $225,000 price tag for a protected bike lane, apparently having no idea what the same amount of automotive infrastructure would cost. Or that you don’t build bikeways for the people who ride now, but for those who will use it once it’s finished.

London’s congestion charge not only reduced the number of vehicles in the city, it also cut crashes by 40% and made the city safer for cyclists; meanwhile, bicycling could be the secret weapon for London’s suburbs.

Cambridge, England residents complain that the city’s antisocial cyclists don’t read signs.

A Welsh cyclist is about to complete a round-the-world tour to raise money for cancer research; he did half the ride solo after his companion was injured — in LA, naturally.

Brussels cyclists film themselves crashing into the city’s street furniture to demonstrate the need for better bikeways. And no, that doesn’t mean sofas in the roadway.

An Australian paper says if the country is going to achieve its Vision Zero goals, emphasis has to shift from blaming dangerous drivers to designing roads that reduce risk as much as possible.

Aussie bike groups call for government-backed safety awareness campaigns following the dooring death of a cyclist.

 

Finally…

There once was a bike share in Limerick. A South African tourist explores the City of Angels, yet somehow places the Pacific Ocean on the east of the city, which probably won’t happen until climate change worsens or the Big One hits, whichever comes first.

And a series of Canadian traffic safety ads place the blame for distracted driving right where it belongs.

Crotches-Kill-Man

Morning Links: Cyclist critically injured in Laguna Beach; lawsuit filed against LA County, LASD in Milt Olin case

Late breaking news as this goes online.

According to the Orange County Register, a 55-year old bike rider was critically injured when he was hit by a car on Coast Highway near Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach around 7 pm Tuesday. Despite initial reports that the driver had fled the scene, he actually stopped a short distance away and waited for authorities.

No word yet on how the collision occurred; a satellite view of the street shows a wide parking lane or shoulder, but no bike lanes.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a full and fast recovery.

……..

The only real question is why they waited so long.

Not surprisingly, the family of fallen cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin has filed a lawsuit against LA County, the LA Sheriff’s Department, and the deputy behind the wheel when he was run down from behind while riding in a Mulholland bike lane last December.

According to the LA Daily News,

The family “suffered a profound loss, a loss of a wonderful husband and father, and actually a wonderful human being, as all his friends will tell you,” attorney Bruce A. Broillet, who is representing the family, said Tuesday. “We believe the sheriff (deputy) was operating his vehicle negligently, inappropriately and this never should have happened. We will be seeking to hold the county, the sheriff (deputy) and the Sheriff’s Department accountable for the death of Milton Olin.”

The claim seeks an unspecified amount in damages for loss of love, care, protection, moral support and financial support, among other things. It also seeks more than $30,000 in damages for medical, burial and funeral expenses.

Meanwhile, the DA’s office is still reviewing the Sheriff’s Department’s self-described unbiased investigation of their own officer nearly a month after the results of the five-month investigation were turned over to them.

No word on what conclusions they reached, if any, or when or if the DA will announce whether charges will be filed.

Or whether it was an official or unofficial departmental policy that resulted in Olin’s death, as many suspect.

……..

Local

In response to Metro’s advice for cyclists on how to share the road with buses, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers his own five astute points on how Metro can better interact with us.

The LACBC will be providing free bike valet at the Roaring Nights at the LA Zoo.

Claremont is sponsoring a free bike safety class for children and adults this Thursday.

Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies arrest two men for a string of armed bike path robberies.

 

State

The Coronado Historical Society is hosting a series of guided bike rides around the island this summer.

An OC businessman is riding 5,000 miles to raise funds to help end malnutrition, while a Menlo Park man is competing in the Race Across America to raise funds for the Stanford Cancer Institute.

Police arrest a bike rider for groping a Bay Area woman before riding off.

A sharp-eyed Sacramento-area man spots someone riding this daughter’s stolen BMX bike.

 

National

Speaking of RAAM, the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay looks at Dave Zabriskie and his four-man Legends of the Road team.

Momentum Magazine examines the next great bicycling cities; shocked! shocked! am I that LA failed to make the list.

CLIF Bar teams up with People for Bikes to get more people on bikes.

A writer for Crain’s Chicago Business says we all have to get along, no matter how many wheels we travel on.

A bike shop in the Windy City installs a 24-hour bike parts vending machine.

Memphis turns half a divided highway into a two-way biking and walking path along the Mississippi River.

The Alabama man who posted videos of himself running cyclists off the road pleads guilty to reckless endangerment. And gets off with a mere loving caress on the wrist.

 

International

An Irish man learns not to honk and swear at a group of cyclists. Because they might turn out to be off-duty cops.

Forty-one amateur riders prepare to ride the entire 2014 Tour de France route.

Caught on video: a bike riding Japanese schoolgirl learns the hard way to stop at the stop sign and look both ways before crossing an intersection

 

Finally…

Repeat after me: When you’re carrying six bags of meth and wanted on outstanding warrants, stop for the damn red light — but don’t do it directly in front of a pursuing police car after trying to flee.

And it takes a real schmuck to steal a 9-year old’s bike at gunpoint.

 

Embarrassing video shows Sheriff’s deputy doesn’t know what a sharrow is or what it means

They should be embarrassed.

Or maybe we should, since the LA County Sheriff’s Department is supposed to work for all of us.

Yet as this new YouTube video from WesHigh shows, at least one Sheriff’s Deputy has no idea what a sharrow is. Let alone that bicyclists aren’t required to ride to the ride on a non-sharable lane.

As the video points out, sharrows are not just wayfinding symbols that indicate a Class III bike route, but indicate the preferred position for bike riders within the lane. While you’re not required to ride on the sharrows, if you position yourself on the point of the arrow, you’ll be in the exact spot traffic engineers think you should be within the lane.

Those charged with enforcing the law should know that.

Yet from what I heard from other bike riders, the Deputy’s misconception, while an extreme example, isn’t that unusual for the department.

Many riders have complained about Sheriff’s Deputies demanding that they ride as far as possible to the right, in violation of CVC 21202, which only requires bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable. And then, only when traveling below the speed of traffic.

If you’re riding as fast or faster than the vehicles around you, you can legally ride anywhere you damn please, as long as you travel in the direction of traffic.

Yet even if you’re just crawling along, there are countless exceptions to the requirement to ride to the ride — including riding in a non-sharable lane, which is defined as any lane too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. And that includes allowing for sufficient space to avoid the door zone, which is one of those hazards the law refers to.

Which means that virtually every right lane in the Los Angeles area should be considered non-sharable. Especially if it allows parking on the right.

The officer is also mistaken in his insistence that the rider was obstructing traffic. Under California law, that only applies on two lane roadways, and by definition, requires five or more vehicles stuck behind the slower vehicle and unable to pass. If drivers can pass, or if there is another lane to the left they could use to pass if they chose to do so, the rider is not legally obstructing traffic.

As the video shows, this was a four lane street. And drivers were able to pass with ease — including the officer who dangerously chose to speak with a moving cyclist without pulling over to the curb first.

Unfortunately, this brings up a much bigger problem.

While the LAPD has worked with local bike riders to clarify the laws applying to cyclists, and developed a training session to train their officers in just how to — and how not to — enforce traffic laws relating to cyclists, the LASD, to the best of my knowledge, has not.

Just what training their officers receive in bike law isn’t known outside of the department and the officers who actually receive it. Or not.

And while the department may feel their officer training is adequate, this video — and complaints from bike riders around the county suggesting a lack of knowledge and inconsistent enforcement in various areas of the county — would suggest it isn’t.

It’s long past time for the Sheriff’s Department to step up and work with cyclists to ensure their officers understand bike law and enforce it correctly, and fairly.

In the meantime, this video prepared by the LAPD in conjunction cyclists participating in the department’s bike task force remains the state-ot-the-art for bicycle traffic law training among SoCal police agencies.

Even then, it’s only as good as department’s commitment to ensure every officer views it.

And learns it.

Update: Inglewood bike rider killed in early morning collision with Sheriff’s Deputies

Did L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies make a fatal mistake in trying to stop a bike-riding suspect?

Or did they use their patrol car as a weapon in a deadly use of force?

According to a very brief press release from the Sheriff’s Department, a marked patrol car collided with a bicyclist at 1:25 am today on the 3500 block of West 107th Street.

The deputies were reportedly attempting to contact the cyclist, who they believed was armed with a handgun; a search was underway for the weapon, which was not recovered at the time.

And yes, they did make contact with the victim, who has not been publicly identified.

Fatally.

The Daily Breeze reports the rider was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital in full cardiac arrest. The paper says Inglewood police are investigating the incident; the sheriff’s department patrols in nearby Lennox, which is next to where the collision occurred.

There’s no word on how the collision took place.

However, it’s not unusual for police to use their doors or patrol cars in an attempt to stop a bike rider, not realizing that a simple bump can have deadly consequences for a bicyclist. Any physical contact with a moving bike should be considered a use of force, and subject to the same restrictions as an officer firing his gun at a suspect.

This is the 62nd bicycling death in Southern California this year, and the 18th in Los Angeles County; the victim is the first SoCal cyclist killed due to the actions of law enforcement officers in recent memory.

My prayers for the victim and his family.

Thanks to Tim Rutt from Altadenablog and Danny Gamboa of ZKO Films for the heads-up.

Update: The victim has been identified as 45-year old Alfonso Cerda, a father of three who lived in the area where he was killed; he was reportedly on his way to a friend’s house when he was killed. No gun has been found; family members suggest he may have been carrying a flashlight.

According to LAist, authorities report the officers attempted to stop Cerda, who initially complied before taking off on his bike. They say he then pointed what the deputies thought was a gun at them; one officer took cover, while the other chased Cerda down with his patrol car, hitting Cerda as he attempted to get ahead of him.

A little this, a little that — social media bike thieves, a jerk cyclist and a leading blogger dumps on LACBC

They’re getting smarter.

According to an email circulating in the local cycling community, the L.A. Sheriff’s Department has broken up a bike theft ring that used social media to identify what bikes to steal.

The email reported that the suspects would identify bike owners through Facebook, Craigslist and geotagged photos, and exchange emails using a fictitious name and email address. Then they would research their victims and their homes online before driving to their houses at night, breaking in and stealing their bikes.

The thieves used the names Joe Wayne and Mark Silverstein, both using Yahoo accounts. They may have negotiated with their victims about buying a bike or just about riding; victims may have emailed them a photo of their bike before it was stolen.

According to the email, most of the bikes that were recovered have been stripped of their components; however, the Sheriff’s Department has around 40 frames and 100 wheels they hope to return to their owners.

I’m not going to post the name and contact numbers of the Sheriff’s Lieutenant who sent the email online; however, if this story sounds a little too familiar to you, email me at the address on the About page and I’ll send his contact information to you.

Thanks to Eric Bruins and the staff at Geklaw for the heads-up.

………

Mike tips us to the story of a hit-and-run of a different sort, as a volunteer working to help clean up the L.A. River is the victim of a cyclist who failed to stop after crashing into her.

So let’s make this very clear.

If you hit someone while riding your bike, you have just as much of an obligation to stop as anyone else. No matter who’s at fault.

And while it’s called the L.A. River bike path, it’s actually a multi-use trail, like most off-road bike paths in the L.A. area. Which means pedestrians have as much right to be there as you do, whether they’re cleaning up the river or out for a late night stroll.

And whether you like it or not.

Yes, they have an obligation to use the bikeway safely and watch out for other people, whether on two wheels or two feet.

Just like you do.

And anyone who yells at pedestrians to “get off the bike path” — let alone fails to stop after hitting one — is just a jerk.

Meanwhile, the comments offer the usual distasteful back and forth that seems to occur whenever anything involving a cyclist occurs.

As a famous L.A. area resident put it 20 years ago this week, can we all get along?

………

You’re invited to participate in a webcast with pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer at 1:30 pm on Monday, May 7th.

The webcast is open to the public; however, you must have a Ustream profile or log-in using your Twitter account in order to join the live chat, or ask questions using your Facebook account. And if Levi likes your question, you’ll win a limited edition Levi poster from CLIF Bar.

……..

In other upcoming events, this Saturday will see a free Tour de Palmdale Poker Run Fun Bike Ride to celebrate the city’s hosting of the 6th Stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

Riders will meet at Marie Kerr Park, 2723 Rancho Vista, and ride a 30 mile course through the city, picking up a playing card at each stop; the one with the best poker hand at the end of the ride wins. Thanks to Michele Chavez for the tip.

And everyone who rides PCH — or would like to — is invited attend a progress meeting on the design of the Pacific Coast Bike Route Improvements Project between Busch Drive and the western Malibu city limit. The meeting is scheduled for 10 am to noon in the Multi-Purpose Room at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road.

………

Erik Griswald forwards a couple of stories, as a Bay Area TV station goes after those damn law breaking and non-helmet wearing cyclists.

And an 18-year old Chandler AZ cyclist can thank the deity of his choice after he was right hooked by a 69-year old driver while walking his bike across the street — apparently with the light, and most likely in a crosswalk.

Even though he ended up with a broken collarbone and tire marks across his chest — and even though the driver assumed she had just hit the curb and kept going on her way to Famous Footwear — a police spokesperson said it was just a tragic accident, and no charges were likely to be filed.

So lets get this straight.

A woman fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, never even looking in the direction she’s actually turning. Then continues merrily on her way, oblivious to the fact that she’d just literally run over another human being.

And the police say it’s just an oops?

Just thank God you don’t live or ride in Chandler AZ.

………

Santa Maria cyclists are mourning the death of a popular club leader who was run down by an 84-year old driver who failed to negotiate a turn on PCH.

I suppose that will just be an “oops,” too.

………

Thanks to the multiple people who have sent me links to the many, many stories about the Berkeley hit-and-run that was captured by bike cam, leading to the arrest of a typical scumbag ex-con.

There’s really not much left to say about this one.

Except that it offers dramatic evidence that every cyclist should have a bike cam of their very own. I’m starting to consider it every bit as important as lights or a helmet.

After all, while lights can help keep you from getting hit and a helmet could offer some protection if you get hit, a cam could offer proof of what happened if you do get hit. And as this case shows, help catch the driver if he or she flees the scene —as happens in a third of all L.A. collisions.

And it seems to be absolutely necessary to build a case under the city’s still-untested cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, which still hasn’t seen its first test case.

Of course, I should talk.

I don’t have one yet myself, thanks to a budget so tight it squeaks. Maybe GoPro or Contour would like to sponsor a poor, lowly bike blogger.

Hey, it could happen. Right?

………

LA/2B and GOOD invite you to imagine your ideal car-free day in L.A.; the winner will receive $500 to make it a reality.

………

Finally, Mikael Colville-Andersen, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic — and arguably the world’s leading bike blogger — takes the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to task for its standard liability waiver for group rides, describing it as a “massive marketing/advocacy FAIL.”

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe Denmark is a far less litigious society that ours. Maybe he just doesn’t understand American legal culture. Or maybe his rabid campaign against bike helmets has led to a little confusion due to one too many falls.

But even so, he should have realized that the waiver form comes from the LACBC’s insurance company and was written by their lawyers, not the coalition’s. And that use of that form is a requirement to even get insurance, without which a non-profit organization such as the LACBC would be unable to host rides, since the legal fallout from a single fall or collision could be enough to wipe out the entire organization.

He’s right, though.

The form could be written a lot better. But that’s a matter to take up with the insurance companies and lawyers, not a non-profit leading the fight for safer streets and improved access for cyclists in L.A. County.

And which just wants to let local cyclists enjoy a simple bike ride.

Without getting sued.

Happy Bike Month!

%d bloggers like this: