Tag Archive for LA Streetsblog

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.

Streetsblog benefit in SaMo, Walk It or Lock It in Long Beach, better biking in Beverly Hills & outrage in TN

I’ve got a long list of legal matters to catch up on — including reader insights into last week’s road rage assault in Santa Monica, first reported by Mihai Peteu on Bikeside.

As well as a letter written by the underage, allegedly drunk driver who nearly killed cyclist Adam Rybicki in Torrance earlier this year. And the driver who called police pretending to be a witness to the collision that killed cyclist Hung Do before being arrested for the crime himself.

But in the meantime, as I rush from riding to meetings to work and back again — let alone trying to squeeze in a little sleep into to process — let me offer a reminder about today’s Streetsblog benefit at Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse.

As it turns out, I won’t be able to make it this time. But if you can make it, I strongly recommended heading to 2911 Main Street for some New Belgium beer, raffle, auctions and a cargo bike worth of fun. Along with a lot of good people having a good time for a good cause.

And yes, there will be a bike valet.

……..

Long Beach is kicking off the Walk It or Lock It campaign to remind cyclists that it’s against the law to ride bikes on the sidewalk in the city’s business districts.

Police will be handing out safety cards to instruct riders to either walk their bikes or lock them up in areas including Broadway and Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach, Atlantic Avenue in Bixby Knolls, Second Street in Belmont Shore, “Retro Row” on Fourth Street, and Cambodia Town on Anaheim Street.

And if you haven’t already, Long Beach residents are encouraged to take five minutes to complete the city’s 2011 Bike Safety Survey.

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Hats off to what — hopefully — will soon be the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

Along with a number of other bike advocates and local residents and business people, I attended last night’s meeting of the city’s Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee.

For a town that currently lacks a single inch of biking infrastructure, the representatives from Beverly Hills were surprisingly committed to changing the situation and getting test projects off the ground — or rather, on the ground — as quickly as possible. And remarkably open to suggestions, including innovative ideas that are just starting to gain acceptance elsewhere.

Make no mistake. They have a very long way to go, and still have to sell the idea of biking infrastructure to a city government and populace likely to cast a wary eye on two-wheeled interlopers in their city.

And the toughest challenge, recreating Santa Monica Boulevard in a format that will be inviting to cyclists — or at least less likely to risk our lives — still awaits discussion down the road.

But they’re off to a good start. And with a far more positive and approachable attitude than many other cities I could name.

If you live or ride through Beverly Hills — or would like to if it was a little safer and more inviting — sign up with LACBC affiliate Better Bike to get involved and stay abreast of the latest happenings.

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Finally, allow me a moment of sheer outrage, as a Tennessee woman is threatened with arrest for the crime of allowing her 10-year old daughter to ride her bike to school.

According to Bike Walk Tennessee, Teresa Tyron of Elizabethton thought her daughter had a reasonably safe 7 – 9 minute ride to school in the tiny town near the border with North Carolina.

Evidently, the authorities disagreed.

Teresa Tryon said, “On August 25th my 10 year daughter arrived home via police officer, requested to speak to me on the front porch of my home. The officer informed me that in his ‘judgment’ it was unsafe for my daughter to ride her bike to school.”

She followed up by contacting the mayor and chief of police. But instead of getting the apology any rational person would have expected, she was told that the officer would be contacting Child Protective Services — and that she could be arrested for child neglect if she allowed her daughter to ride to school in the meantime.

So let me get this straight.

A town of just 13,000 people is so dangerous that children can’t safely ride their bikes on the streets.

Of course, they don’t say whether the danger stems from the horrible traffic conditions, which surely must be far worse than those of the Los Angeles area, where children are encouraged to ride to class, though few actually do.

Then again, maybe the town is so overwhelmed with child molesters and other criminal sorts that it is unsafe for anyone to ever be outside of their homes day or night. Let alone a child.

Or maybe city officials have their collective heads so far up their own collective asses that the entire collective city government would have to visit a proctologist just to get their glasses cleaned.

If the problem is the condition of the streets, it’s up to the mayor and other city officials to make them safe — not parents to keep their children off them. If it’s a fear of criminal activity, the police should stop harassing parents and start arresting criminals until families don’t have to be afraid to let their children go out alone for less than 10 minutes on the way to and from school.

But if it’s the latter problem — which I would highly suspect — local residents should seriously consider riding the police chief, mayor and anyone else involved in this idiotic process out of town on a rail.

And replace them with far more rational people who understand that riding a bike to school isn’t a crime, and should in fact be encouraged in this day of rampant childhood obesity. And willing to do their damn jobs to make the streets safe for everyone.

Maybe they could use a little gentle encouragement to see the light.

See you tonight at Eco-Village for the Streetsblog fundraiser

Image stolen from LA Streetsblog; artwork by Joe Linton with Colleen Corcoran.

Friday night L.A.’s leading transportation blogger, Damien Newton, will host the first ever Streetsblog fundraiser at Eco-Village.

Rather than try to tell the story myself, I’ll let Damien fill you in.

The beer is chilled and sitting in the (gasp) car.  The sponsors are lined up for the raffle.  Heck, there’s even rumors that we’re going to have a band for part of the evening.  Tomorrow night from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. is the first Streetsblog fundraiser at the Eco Village, 117 Bimini Place.  Anyone not familiar with the Eco-Village should click on this link for directions, and note that it’s a couple of blocks away from the Beverly/Vermont Red Line Station.  The suggested donation is $25, but feel free to give whatever fits in your budget.

A lot of people have helped make this event happen.  A pretty awesome sounding buffet is being put together by a pair of caterers, Dawn Carey Newton and Deborah Murphy, with an Eco-Salad and some home cookin’ from my house as well.  We’ll have beer from our best friends at New Belgium Brewing and a non-alcoholic drinks courtesy of Trader Joe’s.  In addition to some good drinks, we’ll have a presentation including the handing out of four Streetsie Awards to Biking In L.A., the Eco-Village, City of Lights and the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, the debuting of the first L.A. Streetfilm that was written and produced right here in L.A., and a raffle with prizes sponsored by the Eco Home, Eco-Village and Orange 20 Bikes.

So if you’re looking for me tonight, I’ll be the one with the Streetsie Award in one hand, and a Fat Tire in the other.

And congratulations to the Eco-Village, the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and the amazing City of Lights Program.

………

Evidently, the driver in the Ed Magos case will be charged after all. L.A. could have had the Backbone Bikeway Network in place years ago; Bikeside LA discovers a 1977 L.A. bike plan that shows a virtually identical system. Some of L.A.’s leading bike and pedestrian advocates call for a moratorium on street widening and peak hour lanes. The hit-and-run case that left local biking leader Roadblock laying injured in the street moves to trial next week. Damien Newton looks at why only one local city made Bicycling’s list of bike-friendly cities; you only have to ride the streets to figure that out. What does bicycle culture really mean? Long Beach’s biking expats offer some classic bike touring videos. The proposed ban on texting while cycling will carry a lower fine than texting behind the wheel. A Florida man is injured after being chased by dogs; if it happens to you, try ordering it to “sit” or “go home,” since most dogs will respond to a firm command. A Boston cyclist gets blamed for being in a cab driver’s blind spot; yeah, it’s not the driver’s place to check that or anything. Follow step-by-step as a Boston blogger uncovers the details of what may be a fatal cycling collision; you may not want to see the photos. The “nicest man you’d ever want to meet” is killed by a Denver-area bus in what sounds like a classic left cross collision. Best advice I’ve seen on what to do if you’re involved in a serious collision. A Florida cyclist plans to fight the ticket after a cop tells her to get on the sidewalk — despite signs saying Bikes May Use Full Lane, and in an area where riding on the sidewalk is illegal. Good advice for beginning cyclists — or any cyclists, for that matter. Mathew Modine carries his bike through a NY fashion show; I just want to know what’s in the bottle. Ottawa Councillors are encouraged to get on a bike and see how bad the bike lanes really are. Evidently, we’re not the only ones trying to get cyclists to vote. Britain’s Conservative Party leader gets blame — and praise — for riding without a helmet; I’d be happy to see any U.S. conservative on a bike, helmet or not. Yet another Euro pro team comes under suspicion for doping. The family of the British cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver is reportedly devastated that she avoided jail because of pregnancy. Three cyclists were killed in Spain when a van plows into a group of 60 riders.

Finally, Reno Rambler reveals the secret behind the incredible lung capacity all champion bike racers possess.

Mark your calendar — there’s a whole lotta biking going on*

*With apologies to The Killer

A lot of big events coming up in the L.A. bike world over the next few weeks. So mark your calendar and make your plans.

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First up, simply because it is first up, is Bike Week at the Barnsdall Municipal Gallery, as Jennifer Moran, Brian Janeczko, Enci Box and Aurisha Smolarski present the collaborative project, In the Living Room of LA’s Bicycle Culture, through Sunday.

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Thanks to Zach Behrens of LAist for the reminder about this Saturday’s Ride to Arrest Cancer bike ride and wellness fair sponsored by the LAPD.

This is your chance to roll with the men and women in blue on routes of 15, 25 and 50 miles, starting at the Valley Traffic Division at the Plant in Panorama City and visiting various police stations throughout the Valley. Preregistration cost is just $25 for adults ($30 day of the ride) and $15 for kids under 12, and includes BBQ, a T-Shirt and official police escort.

The ride benefits the Los Angeles Police Cancer Support Group, which assists “members of the law enforcement community who are living with cancer, cancer survivors, family members, friends, or caregivers.”

I’m usually not a fan of mass charity rides, but this one sounds like a lot of fun. And after watching too many friends and family fight cancer, I can’t think of a more deserving cause.

………

Also on Saturday, the 2nd Annual ArtCycle, billed as a conjunction of art, music and bicycles. The free event takes place from 2 pm to 10 pm at the junction of Santa Monica and Madison in East Hollywood. Better yet, Santa Monica will be shut down to vehicle traffic in sort of a mini-CicLAvia, so bring your bike and check it out.

………

Next week marks the return of the new and improved Bike Summit — now expanded to include a broader view of non-motorized traffic and renamed the LA StreetSummit 2010, Biking, Walking & Beyond.

This was by far the most informative — and yes, fun — event I attended last year, whether on a panel or part of the audience. And a rare opportunity to connect with a broad cross-section of cyclists of every type, while listening to and meeting some of the leading authorities on a wide-range of transportation subjects.

It begins at 7:30 pm on Thursday the 18th with a keynote address at Occidental College’s Keck Theater by Janette Sadik-Khan New York City’s now legendary Commissioner of Transportation — the woman responsible for tripling the amount of bikeways in just 3 years, in one of the world’s most crowded, built-out and bike-unfriendly cities on the planet.

And like the song says, if they can do it there, they can do it anywhere. So hopefully every employee of LADOT and Metro, and every elected official in the city will be sitting in the audience taking notes right next to me.

Because this is one talk I won’t miss.

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On Saturday, March 20, Street Summit takes place from 10 am to 5 pm at Downtown’s LA Trade Tech College.

The morning session starts with featured speakers including Carl Anthony, the founder of Urban Habitat; Charlie Gandy, Mobility Coordinator for the City of Long Beach — which is rapidly on it’s way to becoming one of the nation’s most bike-friendly communities — and Lydia Avila of the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC).

That’s followed by a series of workshops in the afternoon, with sessions starting at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm, ranging from discussions on CicLAvia and the bike plan to diversifying the bike community and what the hell is happening in Long Beach. Along with about 26 others to suit virtually every taste and interest.

And yes, I’ll be attending.

In fact, I’ll be hosting a 1 pm workshop on bikes and politics with Aurisha Smolarski of the LACBC, Marcel Porras, Transportation Director for L.A.’s 13th Council District, and David Vahedi, a recent candidate for L.A.’s 5th Council District. More information on that next week.

And did I mention it’s all free? Even the lunch (insert “there’s no free lunch punchline” here).

But only if you pre-register by March 15.

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Also on the 20th — and also courtesy of LAist’s Zach Behrens — comes word of the Hit the Trail rides in Santa Clarita.

The City of Santa Clarita invites residents to join Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council for Hit the Trail on Saturday March 20, 2010. The 3rd annual community bike ride will kick off promptly at 10 a.m. from three convenient starting points across the City and culminate with an exciting Bridgeport Park Rally.

Hit the Trail offers the unique opportunity for residents of all ages to join in a leisurely community bike ride along the City’s extensive trail system. There is no cost to participate- just arrive at one of these three convenient starting locations by 10 a.m. for a fun-filled ride to Bridgeport Park:

Route 1 (6.1 miles) – Valencia High School (San Francisquito Creek Trail)

Route 2 (4.3 miles) – Placerita Junior High School (South Fork Trail)

Route 3 (7.1  miles) – Camp Plenty Trailhead at Camp Plenty Road and Soledad Canyon Road (Chuck Pontius Commuter Rail Trail)

………

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky reminds cyclists about Metro’s upcoming bike and pedestrian count on the Valley’s Orange Line Bikeway March 24 and 27. To sweeten the deal, they’re throwing in free pizza and T-shirts at the training/orientation session on the 22nd.

Free food and T-shirts? Damn! They’ve discovered our Achilles heel.

………

Next month, Streetsblog holds it’s first fundraiser at L.A.’s Eco-Village on April 9th, honoring the winners of this year’s Streetsie Awards, including the L.ACBC’S City of Lights program, the Eco-Village, ArtCycle and a certain bike blogger you may be acquainted with.

………

And a little further in the future —

May 2nd, you have a rare chance to ride the Vincent Thomas bridge across the L.A. Harbor — and help fight diabetes — with the 2010 Tour de Cure Ship-To-Shore Bike Ride.

The following month, help support the city’s leading bicycle advocacy group with what is probably the city’s most popular yearly bike ride, the 10th Annual Los Angeles River Ride presented by the LACBC on Sunday, June 6th.

………

In case you were wondering where I was all afternoon…

The LACBC reports on today’s meeting of the LAPD Bike Task Force, including the release of a document signed by Assistant Chief Paysinger marking the first steps in the department’s new bike training program.

………

And now, a long, long list o’links.

Follow up the Street Summit with the Street/Bike Summit After Party, just a short currently feasible ride to the north. Take a look at the city’s first graphic street maps of bike collision data, with more promised soon. Will confronts a jerk driver who nearly turned him into roadkill. An upcoming UCLA Rosenfeld Forum on bold solutions for L.A.’s traffic problems evidently neglects to consider cycling. If L.A. really can get sharrows on the street by summer, it will only have taken 2 years; LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery doesn’t think it’s possible — and if anyone cares, I vote for putting them on Abbot Kinney; low-traffic streets like Westwood’s Westholme Ave. don’t need them.

A Whittier cyclist dies over 2-1/2 years after the collision that killed him. Pro tips to help you master Google’s new bike maps; or try a video introduction, if you prefer. Refuting the myths that motorist use to fight cycling. Is San Francisco’s Muni driving more people onto bikes?

Dave Moulton asks what’s the problem with banning cell use while riding? A Connecticut cyclist sounds off about lazy drivers who put their dogs at risk. Colorado’s broken-ribbed cycling governor is officially back on the job. A teenager in Colorado is found guilty for shooting at a group of bike riders; the victim spit the bullet out of his mouth. Does a revival of the cruiser mean bikes are regaining acceptance as transportation? DC’s mayor gets a new Colnago EPS worth about $11,990 more than the limit he’s allowed to accept. Found outside a Boston-area Trader Joes, a handbuilt bike made of bamboo and gaffers tape. Very cool black and white photos of a slowly defrosting Windy city.

Contador throws down the Gauntlet for this year’s Le Tour by destroying the field in the 4th Stage of Paris-Nice. Marissa Tomei rides a bike through the heart of Italy. After the carnage leading up to South Africa’s Cape Argus bike tour, a rider argues that car keys and common sense seem to be mutually exclusive. A biking Vancouver city official is injured in a collision the day before he was due to open a bike lane he’d fought for. It’s not the Idaho stop, but London considers allowing cyclists to turn left (equivalent to our right) on a red; meanwhile, London’s mayor is urged to ban large trucks from key bike routes. Tesco unveils its first in-store bike shops; imagine a bike department between Produce and Dairy at your neighborhood Vons. Test riding the women’s spring-suspension model of the classic Brooks saddle. Jersey — think old, not New — narrowly avoids a mandatory helmet law for everyone, while passing it for riders under 18. A call to license all cyclists over 16 on the Isle of Man. A perfect cycle chic day on the streets of Copenhagen, brought to you by Biomega with an assist from Flying Pigeon.

Finally, it looks like Downtown’s Angels Flight funicular may finally reopen, nine years after a tragic accident killed an 89-year old man; I wonder if they’ll limit it to two bikes per car.

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