Tag Archive for L.A.P.D.

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

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10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

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It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

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South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

Morning Links: Blatant anti-bike bias from a director of the LAPD police union; LAX cyclist gets jet washed

We’re still at 19 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive following the weekend.

So we need four more people to sign up today or renew your membership to just to make it 23 new members by the 23rd, let alone meet our seemingly out-of-reach goal of 100 by the end of this month.

You only have to read the item below to realize how desperately the LACBC, and your fellow bike riders, need your support

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If you ever wonder if cops are biased against bike riders, consider this from the director of the union representing LAPD officers.

Finally, if you ride a bike, you’re supposed to share the road, not own it. The bicycle lobby is small but loud. They have purposefully impeded our ability to enforce safe speed laws by blocking the City’s ability to update its engineering and traffic surveys. Without current and valid engineering and traffic surveys, speed-measuring devices cannot be utilized. Speed is the No. 1 cause of traffic collisions.

The bicycle lobby is doing this to force the City to add more bike lanes and to convert traffic lanes into shared bike/car lanes. Putting aside the absolute traffic nightmare this would cause, their actions are making it more dangerous for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Our elected officials have allowed this special interest group to prevent the enforcement of safe speeds in our neighborhoods. Common sense must prevail here.

That comes from Officer Mark Cronin, a director of the LA Police Protective League, in a post on the union’s website.

Most of what he says elsewhere in the piece actually makes sense, as he explains that improving safety on our streets calls for greater stability in the leadership of the department’s traffic divisions, allowing traffic enforcement officers to crack down on unsafe drivers, and increasing the number of trained collision investigators in the department.

It’s just the part about bicycling that doesn’t make any sense.

Like his comments about bicyclists blocking the city’s ability to update its engineering and traffic surveys.

As near as I can figure out, he appears to be referring to the speed surveys of city streets required every seven years under the state’s 85 percentile rule, which mandates that speed limits be adjusted to the rate travelled by the average of 85% of traffic on a given street.

In other words, if 85% of drivers drive 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, the speed limit has to be adjusted to the higher level (although a recent change in the law allows cities to round down by 5 mph).

In effect, that puts speeding drivers in charge of setting speed limits. Which is like putting burglars and safe crackers in charge of bank security.

Failing to do that means the police lose the right to use speed guns to enforce the law on that particular street, giving lead-footed motorists a free hand to travel virtually unimpeded at any speed they like, pushing average speeds up even higher and repeating the cycle.

So the boogeyman bicycle lobby has nothing to gain by stopping enforcement; the higher speeds go, the greater the risk to everyone on the roadway. Especially cyclists.

And to the best of my knowledge, we don’t have the ability to stop those surveys even if we wanted to, since they are required by state law.

On the other hand, I have, along with other bike riders, argued against raising speed limits on some streets as a result of those speed surveys. Just as countless pedestrians, homeowners, business owners, traffic safety advocates and neighborhood councils have.

And usually failed.

Yet no one seems to criticize the pedestrian, homeowner, business or safety lobbies.

Why he would single out the people on two wheels is confounding. Especially when we are natural allies in repealing the 85% rule, which is a dangerous and deadly relic of California’s recent auto-centric past.

In fact, it was a group of bicycle advocates who fought with then state legislator Paul Krekorian, now an LA city councilmember, in a failed attempt to repeal the law a few years ago in order to return speed limits to sensible levels and allow the police to effectively enforce them everywhere.

Yet somehow, in Cronin’s mind, we are doing this dastardly deed in order to force the city to put in bike lanes and convert traffic lanes into shared bike/car lanes.

Never mind that almost no one likes sharrows. And that under state law, bicyclists already have the right to use the full lane on any right-hand traffic lane that is too narrow to be safely shared by a car and bicycle traveling side-by-side — which is the case on almost all of the streets in Los Angeles, according to the LAPD.

Which he would know if he completed the LAPD’s bike training module, which every street-level officer was required to do in 2011.

As for those bike lanes, they aren’t being added due to “fringe politics.”

They are included in the city’s Mobility Plan precisely for the reasons he advocates for in the rest of this piece: to improve traffic safety and save lives.

Bike lanes are a traffic calming measure that has been repeatedly shown to slow speeding traffic and improve safety for all road users, not just bike riders. And in many cases, actually improves traffic flow, rather than causing the nightmare scenario he fears.

And they are absolutely necessary if the city is to ever reduce, let alone eliminate, traffic fatalities under Vision Zero.

I tried to explain that to him when he responded to a tweet from someone else Friday night, attempting to point out that we wanted to same thing and should work together to repeal the 85th percentile rule.

What I got was a series of terse, if not surly, one-word responses, before he tweeted I was “mistaken & above all else misinformed.”

About what, he refused to explain.

And by morning, he had deleted his side of the entire conversation.

It’s frustrating to see these kinds of attitudes still in existence within the department after more than six years of working with the LAPD’s bike liaison program to correct this kind of anti-bike bias among officers. Let alone when it comes from a union leader with sway over the rank-and-file, counteracting the ongoing efforts of the department’s leadership to improve relations with the bicycling community.

Officer Cronin is wrong about us, and about the objectives of people who ride bicycles in the City of Angeles.

We don’t think we own the road. And we don’t want to. We just want to get where we’re going in one piece.

And we need the help of the police — the officers he represents — to make that happen.

Note: For some reason, Officer Cronin included his contact information on his piece, most likely because he assumed no one outside the department would ever see it.

Feel free to express your anger here, but please don’t call him, or email to insult or threaten him. Let representatives of the so-called bike lobby at the LACBC , and his superiors at the LAPD, handle it.

Taking him on yourself will only harden his attitudes and make it worse for all of us.

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As if LA’s drivers weren’t enough, now we have to worry about jet wash.

In a scene out of Top Gun, a bike rider heading home on last week’s Bike to Work Day was riding in the bike lanes on Aviation Blvd behind the runways at LAX, when he was knocked off his bicycle from the turbulence caused by an American Airlines jet taking off.

Fortunately, unlike Goose, there was no canopy to strike his head against upon ejecting, though he did get a good scare on his surgically repaired hip.

Maybe the airport should post some sort of warning for cyclists about the risk of riding there.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

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Important advice in a must-read from Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who says if you’re ever threatened by a driver — or worse — report it. Period.

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After an overnight scare, LA’s best known bakfiets was back with owner Josef Bray-Ali of the Flying Pigeon bike shop following an overnight theft on Saturday; someone in the neighborhood found and returned it to the newly minted city council candidate the following day.

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Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff outsprinted Peter Sagan for victory in Saturday’s Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California. Twenty-three-year old Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe held on Sunday to become the youngest winner of the AToC by a slim 23-second margin; his victory was forged on the slopes of Gibraltar.

Dutch great Marianne Vos sprinted to victory in the third stage of the women’s Tour of California by half a bike length, while US road champ Megan Guarnier took the overall title the next day.

Emigrants from Eritrea turned out to cheer a rider from their home country when the tour visited Santa Rosa. And the race gave a marketing boost to Lake Tahoe, as it created an estimate 4.25 billion — that’s with a b — impressions worldwide in over 200 countries.

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Local

An estimated 2,500 cyclists are expected to take part in next month’s annual AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to LA, which is on track to raise over $16 million to benefit HIV/AIDS services.

The Pasadena Star-News looks at last week’s Ride of Silence in Pasadena and North Hollywood. Thanks to BikeSGV for the link.

LA County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man on a bike who shot an officer in West Covina Friday night; fortunately, he’s recovering from his wounds and expected to survive.

The monthly Pedal Love podcast interviews Hollywood Reporter Features Editor and former Bicycling Magazine Editor in Chief — and author of an always entertaining Twitter account — Peter Flax.

 

State

A car meet was held in Downtown Ventura to remember the 14-year old boy killed in a double hit-and-run earlier this year; one driver has been identified but not charged, while the second is still missing.

A San Francisco bicyclist was the victim of a strong arm robbery, as four men knocked him off his bike as he rode on a recreation trail, kicked and punched him, then took his “property.” Whatever that means.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever would steal a custom tricycle from a 13-year old Sacramento boy with special needs.

A Yolo County driver will face trial on 19 charges — including assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run with injury, DUI and vehicle theft — for a five-day crime spree that culminated in deliberately running down three bike riders before fleeing the scene.

 

National

Felt has developed a revolutionary bike for the US women’s pursuit team at the Rio Olympics, with the pedals and chain on the left, instead of the right, to compensate for the banking of the track.

Business Insider says this seven-foot long, neon green cargo ebike could be your new car.

A cross-Oklahoma bike ride will pay homage to five Native American tribes by riding through the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations.

New York’s new bikeshare bicycles may be sleeker and faster, but the frames may be bending, cracking and warping.

Illegal parking evidently takes precedence over bike lanes and traffic safety on a New Orleans street.

 

International

How to cheat death mountain biking down Bolivia’s Death Road.

London’s Telegraph lists nine Italian climbs every cyclist must ride in their lifetime. None of which you, or anyone else, actually need to ride, as much as you might like to.

Taking bike theft to the extreme, a British thief pushed a mountain biker down a 20 foot drop to make off with his custom ride.

A Dublin bike advocacy group argues that lowing speed limits to just over 18 mph will save lives; naturally, the Irish equivalent of AAA begs to differ. Meanwhile, the city sees a record 11,000 daily bike commuters.

A blind bicyclist celebrated his 80th birthday while raising the equivalent of over $17,000 by riding 160 miles to Paris.

A Monaco exhibition is all about the fine art of bicycles.

Police in Australia’s New South Wales are doing their best to discourage bicycling by dramatically ramping up tickets following the state’s draconian jump in bicycling fines; penalties for riding without an approved skid lid totaled $350,262 for March and April, compared to just $50,000 last year.

 

Finally…

If a cyclist is wearing a helmet, is he really naked? If you’re going to steal a bike, make sure you lock it up afterwards.

And who says bike racing is just for humans?

 

Morning Links: Police shoot at a K-Town bike rider, Prince was one of us, and bicycle heroes in the news

Now the police are shooting at bike riders.

In a somewhat bizarre story, the Eastsider reports LAPD officers opened fire after stopping a man riding a bicycle in Historic Filipinotown Wednesday night.

The website says it’s not clear why police attempted to detain the man, who fled on foot after the shooting, and no reason is given for why the police tried to shoot him.

Then again, if cops were shooting at me, I’d run like hell, too.

The man was taken into custody a few hours later after police cordoned off the area; as of Thursday morning he had not been booked, and there was no information on what charges he might face, if any.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

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As everyone most likely knows by now, Prince was found dead in his Minneapolis home yesterday, just days after he got on his bicycle to show the world he was okay after a brief hospitalization for flu-like symptoms last week.

He also rode his bike to leave the stage between songs during his March solo concert in Oakland — not San Francisco, as I wrote earlier.

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Today’s news features a few hero bicyclists.

After two Polish women steal another woman’s purse, a cyclist chases them down and crashes into them to recover it, while catching the pursuit on his bike cam.

Closer to home, an OC rider uses his bicycle to take down a thief who had just emptied the cash drawer in a Huntington Beach restaurant.

And a different kind of hero, thanks to the efforts of a USC student, 37 high school students in need will receive bicycles impounded by the university; she got the idea after her own bike was stolen. Thanks to Patrick Pascal for the link.

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Episode 1Momentum Magazine says those overly graphic Phoenix bike safety graphic novels are gruesome and straight up appalling, while noting that the tone deaf AZ Department of Transportation inexplicably considers them a success.

If you can call frightening little kids off their bikes for life a success, that is; Streetsblog simply calls the brochures insane.

Meanwhile, prinzrob points out they’re not the first to use the scary graphic novel approach, as a 1972 comic book tells the tale of kid and his bicycle from hell — literally.

Although it does have a happy ending, since he learns to ride safely and grows up to be a hipster.

03

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Local

LA City Councilmember Jose Huizar is working to create a more walkable, bikeable and livable Downtown. Contrast that with LA’s Westside and Northeast LA, where councilmembers have actively blocked any significant improvements in their districts.

CiclaValley takes a slide through Topanga State Park.

A person of interest in a rash of bike thefts at Cal State Long Beach has been temporarily banned from campus after police spotted him casing bike racks; he’s subject to arrest for trespassing if he’s even seen on campus before Monday.

Culver City Walk & Rollers hosts a seven-mile Family Sweet Streets Ride to visit bakeries and ice cream and sweets shops in the city.

 

State

The Dana Point Gran Prix returns to the city’s Lantern District at the end of this month, with two days of family bike activities before the pros hit the streets.

Competitive bike polo comes to Fresno.

In a brilliant display of police work, Clovis police fail to conduct a sobriety test after a driver fatally runs down a cyclist from behind, in a bike lane and without braking; police initially said the driver “accidently bumped into” the victim. Kind of makes you wonder how well they know the driver, doesn’t it?

A free training class for League Certified Cycling Instructors in Monterey County will likely be postponed for lack of interest.

Chico police are planning to install cameras on a dangerous bike path near the local university; so far, only $4,000 of the required $20,000 has been raised so far. Even in a small town like that, $20,000 should be little more than a rounding error in the city budget.

 

National

A new NACTO guide on siting bikeshare stations says they should be accessible and convenient, and located within a three to five minute walking distance of one another. Let’s hope LA Metro picks up a copy.

Bicycling Magazine offers safety pointers for urban bicyclists, as well as tips on how to prepare for your first bike ride; meanwhile the Oregonian suggests ways to get ready to bike to work.

Ohio pediatricians are teaming with the state DOT to distribute 10,000 free bike helmets to children. Hopefully they won’t include the Arizona bike safety brochures along with them.

Once again, the NYPD seems to be bending over backwards to exonerate a truck driver in the death of a bike rider; first they said the victim was hanging onto the truck, which was not supposed to be on the narrow residential street, then suggest that the non-existent “wind force” of the slow moving truck sucked the rider underneath.

The New York Daily News says the NYPD, and Chief Bill Bratton — former head of the LAPD — needs to get onboard with the mayor’s Vision Zero plan. As the above story shows, the department’s extreme windshield bias means drivers are seldom held accountable for collisions with cyclists and pedestrians, continuing to put both at needless risk.

Somehow I missed this story from the New York Times, which examines the problem of motor doping in the pro peloton; thanks to George Wolfberg for finding it.

A pair of New Orleans men fight bike theft one Facebook post at a time.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a specialty handbike from a handicapped Tampa man.

 

International

Two people were killed when an elevated bike path built in advance of the Rio Olympics collapsed when it was it by a strong wave; a third person is missing while two others were rescued. ABC News says shoddy construction due to graft is an ongoing problem in the country, which could affect this summer’s games.

Montreal is working to improve safety for bike riders on 57 dangerous underpasses in the city, while Toronto’s war between cyclists and drivers seems to have ended.

A writer for the Telegraph says the UK could wipe out its national debt if they fined every driver who stopped in London’s bike boxes.

London cabbies team with cyclists to campaign for cleaner air.

Scotland expects a record turnout for the fifth Pedal on Parliament; last year’s ride drew 4,000 people calling for bike safety.

Caught on video: A London cop is enraged that a bicyclist chose to ride in the traffic lane rather than a crowded bike lane.

A new system in the Netherlands is designed to warn drivers that a bicyclist is approaching an intersection in order to help riders cross safely.

A writer for the Guardian looks at the war on bike riders in Australia’s New South Wales.

 

Finally…

Apparently, Americans aren’t too concerned about global warming because we like it. Is the shape of a bike-riding BBC presenter’s ass really more important than the ride she’s promoting to battle cancer?

And what if Chrissie Hynde was one of us, just a stranger on a bus?

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Thanks to Josh Cohen, aka Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney, for renewing his sponsorship for another year. Without the support of our sponsors, this site couldn’t exist in its present form.

And to all who observe Passover, Chag Sameach!

Attorney Solves the Great Mystery of the “No Biking In Crosswalk” Signs

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

USC Crosswalk Sign

Cyclists biking around the University of Southern California may once again be stopped and cited for riding their bikes in a crosswalk.

The officer stopping them, whether they are from the Los Angeles Police Department or USC security, when asked why they are writing a ticket might reference the sign that reads “Walk Bikes In Crosswalk” as the reason for citing the cyclist. What the officer apparently doesn’t know is that there is no such law, regardless of what the signs says.

At the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Open House a couple of months ago, I met a graduate student who attends USC and who is a cyclist. He told me about this sign at Jefferson and Royal, and a few others like it, near the USC campus. He wanted to know if these signs were accurate and enforceable. A few days later he took and emailed me the accompanying photo.

I knew this wasn’t a question of law as bicycles can be ridden – legally – through crosswalks. So where and how and why was this sign on the street?

We contacted Sgt. Flynn of the LAPD, Central Traffic Division, who said, “I do not know of any California Vehicle Code section that states you can’t ride your bike in a crosswalk.  The only section that someone could be cited for, if it is an official sign, would be CVC 21461(a)vc ‘Official Traffic Sign or Signal-failure of Driver to Obey Regulatory Provisions.’”

So where did this sign come from and why is it still there? What we found out after many, many telephone calls and emails, is that the sign is reflective of old laws that empowered officers to cite bicyclists for not walking their bikes in a crosswalk. But that law was taken off the books in 2006.

This is not a new issue, particularly in the USC neighborhood. In September 2009, the Daily Trojan reported that a task force of LAPD officers and USC security was being put together to regulate safety. This would include sting operations set up at intersections to cite cyclists riding their bikes in crosswalks. Citations could cost up to $250.

On Jan. 12, 2010, four months later, Streetsblog wrote a more extensive article on this same topic called “If You Want to Know Bicycle Law, Don’t Ask the California Highway Patrol, Part 2.” Streetsblog reported that, as we know, there was no law that stated that cyclists had to dismount and walk their bikes in crosswalks. Ten years later, since the 2006 change in the law, we’re still discussing these same issues.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over most traffic devices – signs and signals – in the City of Los Angeles. DOT employees confirmed that this sign is a DOT sign and it was installed by DOT.

LADOT’s Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowrey was one of the people involved in the 2006 modifications of the California Vehicle Code that resulted in the removal of the law that bicycles had to be walked through crosswalks.

When we asked Mowrey about this sign, she told me that whether or not it is reflecting the pre-2006 law, it is a non-standard sign.  Mowrey told us that though the sign doesn’t appear in any Caltrans’ manuals, a black-and-yellow sign, as it is, indicates that it’s a warning sign, not a regulatory sign, which is black-and-white. Citations can be issued only on regulatory black-and-white signs. That’s why speed limit signs are black-and-white and “Share the Road” signs are black-and-yellow.

An LAPD representative said the LAPD was not involved in the signs. We were told their opinion of the sign is that it is a safety recommendation. Our question, then, would be, do LAPD officers know that or are they still ticketing cyclists for disobeying the sign? We don’t have an answer to that question.

We talked to three different people at LADOT about why these signs were up. In essence, they all said that after the law was changed, in 2006, steps were taken to remove signs like these on all city streets. These signs were overlooked, apparently, and it was just an oversight.

Mehrdad Moshskar, LADOT’s central district engineer, was our next stop. We were referred to him to find out how to get the signs removed. Moshskar assured me that all of these signs in that area of town would be removed soon.

People have asked me if I thought the signs originated with USC. I have no idea, and no one knew or was willing to tell me.

The official answer came from Tim Fremaux in the LADOT Bicycle Coordination Department who said, “Anyone can submit any traffic-related request via myladot.lacity.org and it will be reviewed. If DOT approves the request, it will be implemented on our streets.”

There are Traffic Division and Bicycle Liason meetings held on a quarterly basis, which are open to the public. These meetings include representatives from LADOT, USC, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office and other public groups. For more information about these meetings, contact Lt. Chris Ramirez at 213-486-6000.

Meanwhile, if anybody goes past Jefferson and Royal, would you email me at info@pocrass.com and let me know if the sign is still up?

 

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

For more than 25 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at info@pocrass.com.

Morning Links: LA asks drivers to stay after they hit someone; suspect identified in North Fig hit-and-run

Sometimes I don’t even know what to say.

I mean, their hearts are in the right place. And it’s nice to see an outdoor advertising company give back to the city, after decades of ignoring every law on the books regarding their business.

Although the largesse of Clear Channel Outdoor in donating billboard space to the city couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the new billboard regulations currently under consideration.

Regardless of their motivation, the city teamed with CCO on Wednesday to unveil a new outdoor ad campaign designed to tackle the epidemic of hit-and-run in the LA area, apparently developed without the input of the many people who have been working to solve this problem.

Or anyone with any experience in advertising, for that matter.

The billboards, which will be posted in English, Spanish and Korean, politely ask drivers to obey the rules of the road and stick around after a collision because it might save a life.

Copied from KPCC website

Copied from KPCC website

Sure, that’s really going to motivate someone who just ran down a pedestrian after downing a few too many.

No moral authority. No threat of consequences. And not a hint at LA’s hit-and-run reward system, which pays up to $50,000 for information leading to the conviction of runaway drivers.

Let alone the state’s new Yellow Alert system, which could mean countless more eyes on the street looking for suspect vehicles.

No offense, but I’ve seen harder-hitting ads asking toddlers to switch diaper brands. And don’t get me started on the art direction, which looks like it was done on a PC in someone’s basement.

Hit-and-run is a serious problem, with serious consequences for the victims.

And we seriously deserve something better than this.

………

AR-151029487Police have finally identified a suspect (scroll down) in the hit-and-run death of Irma “Yolanda” Espinoza-Lugo as she crossed North Figueroa on September 18th.

They’ve asked the public to be on the lookout for William Armando Portales, described as a 49-year old Hispanic male, 5’ 6” tall and weighing 165 pounds.

And yes, there’s a $50,000 reward for anyone who helps bring him to justice.

………

I haven’t gotten involved in the My LA 2050 Challenge Grant Challenge on here, simply because there are so many projects that deserve your support.

It seems like a waste to make them battle it out for public votes, when the goal should be to find funding for as many as possible.

However, one of the more interesting proposals is one to build a bike and pedestrian bridge over Ballona Creek at McConnell Ave, which would help make the bike path a more viable commuter link connecting Culver City with Playa Vista.

Voting ends Tuesday, November 3rd.

………

Local

Not many artists get a chance to work in asphalt. LADOT is looking for an artist to provide creative thinking to help reduce traffic deaths; the position will pay $20,000 over two years. Which is about $20,000 more than most LA artists make.

The LA City Council approved a pilot program allowing people to lock their bikes to parking meters in Westwood Village and on some major streets. Assuming the world doesn’t end, it will hopefully spread throughout the city.

There’s only one thing worse than being stopped by the CHP for riding your bike on the 101 Freeway — having them call your mom to pick you up.

Caltrans will be teaming with SCAG and UCLA to host the 2015 California Transportation Planning Conference at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in DTLA this December; advance registration is a mere $400 unless you can manage to form a non-profit or get adopted by a tribal government before then.

Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare program — without the quotation marks, please — is set to officially open in two weeks.

Whittier has received funding to purchase land along a railroad corridor to extend the city’s Greenway Trail.

 

State

Newport Beach’s Avocado Avenue gets a road diet, with one lane in each direction and bike lanes with a buffer protecting riders from the door zone.

Eighteen San Diego County law enforcement agencies get nearly $5 million from the state to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

CiclaValley discovers riding in San Diego isn’t the Mayberry-like experience he envisioned.

Palo Alto continues to expand their network of bike boulevards. LA has a bike boulevard, sort of.

The Marin County cycling community remembers bike advocate and Safe Routes to Schools founder Deb Hubsmith, who died of leukemia this past August.

 

National

The majority of bicyclists in the US aren’t spandex-clad roadies, children or urban hipsters, according to a new report.

Already recognized as a gold level bicycle-friendly city, Scottsdale AZ looks to get even better, building on a long history with bikes.

A Denver magazine offers etiquette tips for riding the city’s streets, most of which have nothing to do with etiquette.

The University of Toledo offers students a free bikeshare program.

Formerly auto-centric Indianapolis reclaims its soul by transforming into a bikeable, walkable city. Just five years ago, they had one mile of bike lanes; today they have 90 miles of designated bikeways, including an 18-mile rails-to-trails conversion.

A New York physician reports on a study that shows the severity of bicycling injuries appears to go up after bike lanes are installed, contradicting previous studies; however, he stresses that bike lanes are still beneficial.

Seriously? The Philadelphia Enquirer enquires as to why low-income people use the city’s bikeshare program less than wealthier people. Maybe because they can’t afford it and don’t have credit cards?

A Baltimore bike shop joins REI’s #OptOutside movement in deciding to close on Black Friday. Let me know if any LA bike shops join in; I’ll be happy to promote your shop that weekend.

An Alabama writer asks why white people like Birmingham’s new e-bike bikeshare system so much, in a city that is 73% black.

 

International

British Columbia’s state insurance agency insists on blaming the victim in a bicycling fatality, even though the driver has been charged with driving under the influence, negligence and hit-and-run. The company first claimed the cyclist was drunk or high, then settled on claims that his brakes were bad, that he failed to ride far enough right, and didn’t warn the driver before the driver hit him.

A British bike safety group calls for allowing bike riders to make the equivalent of a right turn on a red light.

Not too shabby. An American cyclist becomes an Internet star in the UK mostly by saying “not too shabby” a lot.

Nice obituary for 86-year old Scottish cyclist Ian Steel, who won the 1951 Tour of Britain, as well as becoming the unwelcome winner of the Eastern Bloc’s equivalent to the Tour de France in the middle of the Cold War.

VeloNews talks with Dutch pro Tom Dumoulin after his near miss at winning the Vuelta.

It’s a painfully small world, as the wife of a New Zealand cyclist happens upon the scene just after her husband is hit by a car driven by a man who knows him.

 

Finally…

When you’re riding with cocaine and marijuana on your bike, don’t go through the damn red light. If you’re going to steal a bike, don’t do it in front of a former college linebacker turned sheriff’s deputy.

And a new GPS-enabled bike compass promises to make bicycling fun again. Riding a bike is, was, and always will be fun, with or without electronic gadgets.

 

Morning Links: 2nd officer faulted for beating of South LA bike rider, and a sad old song about careless drivers

According to the LA Times, another LAPD officer has been found at fault in the videotaped beating of a bike rider in South LA.

Clinton Alford fled from police when they ordered him to stop as he rode his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd last October; he claimed they failed to identify themselves as police officers, and only ran when someone grabbed the wheel of his bike.

Once they caught up to him, he reportedly laid down voluntarily and put his hands behind his back, making no attempt to resist as officers restrained him.

Despite that, an officer identified as Richard Garcia allegedly began kicking and beating him, reportedly lining up to kick his head like it was a football. Garcia faces an assault charge for the attack, which was captured on a nearby security camera.

Now the Police Commission has agreed with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck that a second unidentified officer also violated the department’s use of force policies by kicking Alford and standing on his feet.

It will be up to Beck to decide if either cop should face retraining, suspension or lose their jobs.

You can guess which one I’d vote for, although, as a personnel matter, we’ll probably never know what he decides.

Not surprisingly, charges against Alford for possession and resisting arrest were dropped once news of the beating surfaced.

………

Evidently, careless drivers have been a problem for a long time, as this song attests.

Maybe it’s time for a more modern remake.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

………

New Zealander Linda Villumsen won Tuesday’s women’s elite time trial at the world championships; American great Kristin Armstrong just missed the podium finish that would have guaranteed her a spot on the US team for next year’s Rio Olympics.

Germany’s Tony Martin looks to regain his world time trial title in Wednesday’s race, while Russia’s Artem Ovechkin pulls out due to the death of his mother. Former pro Matt Crane is content to watch from the sidelines of an event he competed in 11 years ago as a U23 rider.

Allie Dragoo was bumped from the American women’s team at the last minute in favor of her pro teammate Lauren Komanski after an arbitrator’s ruling; the explanation for the decision will come long after the championships are over. Something tells me one of them will have to find a new team for next year.

Cycling’s governing body announces reforms for the coming years; whether it is enough to stabilize the sport is TBD.

What happens when pro cyclists — and everyday riders — take a wrong turn or two. And things five pro cyclists do every day to stay on top of their game.

………

Local

You’re invited to attend a press conference to support Central Avenue bike lanes and safer streets in South LA today, starting at 5 pm at the intersection of Vernon and Central Aves. This comes after recent efforts by Councilmember Curren Price to remove planned Central Avenue bike lanes from the Mobility Plan, despite the obvious need for them.

Streetsblog looks at how LA can create a more walkable Downtown, which translates into better livability and bikeability, as well.

A member of the Burbank Transportation Commission says the planned Western Channel Bikeway Phase II pathway will improve active mobility access for people walking and on bikes. They could come up with a catchier name, though.

 

State

Streetsblog California looks at the newly signed bill allowing bicycle ticket diversion classes, and notes that the LACBC has expressed an interest in conducting classes here in LA. Curbed LA takes a look, as well.

Fullerton decides to install temporary bike lanes and traffic circles to test out how they work on a city street, with a goal of eventually establishing a bike boulevard. Testing things like that prior to permanent installation provides an opportunity to overcome the inevitable bikelash by showing the sky will not, in fact, fall.

It’s war over Complete Streets in Encinitas, as one member of the city’s Traffic and Public Safety Commission is essentially blackmailed to resign by a fellow commissioner for promoting a “bicyclist agenda.” He also describes Complete Streets as a “recreational religion” that’s too radical for the city. Even though Complete Streets is the official policy of the state, and contained in the current federal transportation bill.

The Coronado Inn encourages people to enjoy a tandem bike ride in the city where residents nearly revolted recently over plans for a bike path. I’ll pass, thank you.

The battle between equestrians and mountain bikers moves up to the East Bay, as cyclists campaign for the right to ride Lamorinda trails currently reserved for horses.

Sadly, a bicyclist lost his life in a Sacramento collision Tuesday morning; no details were available as of this posting.

 

National

A Portland cyclist meets the Good Samaritan who saved his life when he collapsed with a heart attack following a ride.

An Indiana man is arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance after leaving a badly injured bike rider lying in a ditch. The schmuck driver first claimed he thought he hit a deer — even though deer seldom use a red blinkie and a reflective triangle — then changed his story to say the cyclist veered into his path while riding from the opposite direction; police determined the rider was actually run down from behind.

The rich get richer. New York hit 1,000 miles of bike lanes on Tuesday, though not everyone is happy about it.

Comcast turns to bikes to get around traffic problems caused by the pope’s visit to Philadelphia. Speaking of which, the formerly bike riding pontiff will get a new bike with angelic chain guard from Philly’s own Breezer Bikes.

North Carolina bike advocates beat down an attempt to ban road diets in the state legislature.

 

International

Now this I like. A British company has designed a bike parking system that allows members to secure their bikes with a specially treated one-inch steel bar.

London is creating three new bike and pedestrian friendly mini-Hollands it hopes will spread throughout the city. Maybe LA should try that approach; other districts might beg for road diets and walkable, bikeable streets once they see what a difference it can make for businesses and livability.

The Guardian looks at five of the best scenic bike rides in Wales. One day I hope to take the Corgi to visit to her ancestral homeland so she can watch the herds of wild Corgis roam the Welsh Serengeti.

Caught on video: A Brit bike rider captures a first-person perspective of flipping over an empty wheelchair that was pushed into his path without warning; you can see the speed gauge on his Garmin go from 24 to zero within seconds as he flops onto the street.

 

Finally…

When you’re wearing body armor and carrying a concealed handgun and a broken-down shotgun on your bike, don’t stop to break into someone’s home as you travel on your way. If you’re getting low on your wife’s favorite coffee, it’s worth taking a ferry across the channel and biking along the coast of France to bring back 64 pounds of it.

And caught on video: Why carry your cross bike up the stairs when you can just bunny hop them in rapid succession?

………

In case you missed it, you can find yesterday’s late arriving and extremely lengthy Morning Links here.

Morning Links: LAPD handcuff South LA cyclist over traffic ticket; Taylor Phinney makes amazing comeback

Is it really necessary to handcuff a young black man to give him a traffic ticket?

Several LAPD officers are caught on video demanding that a 16-year old bike rider come out of his home, where he apparently fled when police tried to pull him over.

Despite the incessant anti-cop tirade by the man shooting the video, the young man eventually comes out voluntarily. And is promptly cuffed and led to a patrol car, where he is presumably ticketed.

For not wearing a bike helmet.

Yes, he broke the law.

And yes, he fled from the police.

But it looks like this could have been handled a lot better, with less antagonism on both sides.

In talks with the LAPD going back over five years, representatives of the bicycling community have repeatedly asked that the practice of routinely handcuffing bike riders — usually young minority men — during a simple traffic stop be halted.

The police have responded that their policy is to allow the officer making the stop to determine if handcuffs are warranted, such as if the bike rider appears to be a threat or may attempt to flee.

And yet drivers are seldom, if ever, ordered out of their cars, frisked and handcuffed because they ran a stop sign or neglected to use a turn signal.

Yes, it’s possible this young man might have tried to run away, though it’s unlikely since he came out of the house on his own accord. And he clearly didn’t pose much of a threat surrounded by over a half-dozen officers.

The LAPD has made great efforts to improve relations with minority communities under Chief Beck, as well as with bicyclists.

But it doesn’t take much to undermine those efforts.

And a little respect from both sides would go along way.

………

Now we know cycling scion Taylor Phinney is really back.

In the most exciting pro cycling news this year, Phinney came back from last year’s devastating crash — so bad that doctors told him he’d never ride again — to outsprint the field and win the first stage of Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge. His BMC team commemorated Phinney’s victory with a series of photos from the first stage, including a shot of his surgically repaired leg.

The Denver Post says this year’s Pro Challenge could be anyone’s race. Though not Ian Crane’s, who needed over 3,000 stitches after going chin first through the back of a support vehicle in last year’s race; he’s back on his bike, but a return to racing is a long way off. If ever.

The first black African cyclists to compete in the Tour de France say there are even better riders to come from bike-mad Eritrea.

Great news from Ivan Basso, who is back on his bike after recovering from testicular cancer. I wonder how many men have checked themselves after reading about Basso? Besides me, I mean.

Two cyclists set new course records in the legendary Leadville 100 off-road race. Sadly though, an experienced competitor died of an apparent heart attack just short of the finish line; Scott Ellis was a 19-time competitor in the race.

Women pros say the new pro tour format is a big step towards bringing equality to bike racing.

………

Local

UCLA’s Daily Bruin offers a good look at the city’s new Mobility Plan. Although seriously, enough with the 1% bullshit; the plan is designed to provide alternatives to driving, which will benefit everyone — not make it impossible to drive, or force anyone out of their car and onto a bike.

Those new buffered bike lanes on Vineland in the Valley seem to work better as a traffic bypass lane for impatient motorists.

 

State

A Vallejo man is under arrest for intentionally ramming a couple with his rental car as they rode on the sidewalk.

 

National

Somehow, it seems sadly inevitable that the popularity of fat bikes would lead to plus-sized bikes.

GQ offers advice on how to bike to work without ruining your suit. Yes, biking is exercise, but so is walking. A simple bike commute doesn’t have to be treated like it’s a century ride.

A Wyoming man travels 11,000 miles in a decade of riding across the country, assisted by an e-bike and an oxygen tank for the past two years.

It takes a real jerk to steal a home-made motorized bike from a disabled Oklahoma man.

A writer from Dallas discusses what she learned riding unsupported in Iowa’s RAGBRAI. Including that she can do it, and doesn’t want to do it again.

A Dallas-area teenager is pushing to require bike helmets for all bike riders under 18, after a 16-year old classmate is killed in a collision with a car driven by her sister. Yes, helmets are a good idea; not running over people on bikes is a better one.

A Michigan bike rider was killed in a collision with a pedestrian.

Unbelievable. A hit-and-run driver plowed into an Indiana family while they were riding on a bike path.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would steal a Rhode Island man’s bike as he lay unconscious following a collision. Fortunately, a local company has offered to replace it.

The Boston Globe calls on the city to take aggressive steps to improve safety for bicyclists.

 

International

Gizmodo explains the evolution of the bicycle.

Once again, someone has sabotaged a Brit road with thumbtacks, putting bike riders at risk of serious injury.

A pair of Indian teenagers on a speeding motorcycle kill a bicyclist crossing the road on his way home. So naturally, an official blames the bike rider for not using a crosswalk.

A “tired, sleepy and dreamy” Singapore taxi driver gets three months in jail and a seven-year driving ban after killing a cyclist when he fell asleep and drifted onto the wrong side of the road.

The Voice of America says the bike boom has come to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

Finally…

If you try to keep kids safe on their way to school by teaching them to ride in the gutter and the door zone, they may need that bike helmet. If you already got away with stealing four bikes in two separate break-ins from the same bike shop, don’t go back for the third time.

And Arlington VA police offer advice about who is allowed to park in a bike lane.

Arlington Police

Weekend Links: Cyclists help save missing woman, bike cop injured in fall, and Sac cyclists injured in car assault

Once again, bike riders are heroes.

Even if they are mentioned only in passing.

A Simi Valley woman was rescued Wednesday after her car went off the road in Latigo Canyon on Monday. She’d been missing for two days after driving to the beach for a run.

Her rescue came when a pair of unnamed cyclists heard her screams for help; something that anyone driving by would be unlikely to notice.

Motorists frequently complain about cyclists in the Malibu canyons.

But one owes them her thanks. If not her life.

………

Even bike cops are at risk on our streets.

Especially if they don’t maintain their bikes properly.

KTLA-5 reports an LAPD officer suffered an apparent head injury while riding in a residential Sherman Oaks neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

According to KNBC-4, the officer was leaving the scene of a three-hour police standoff when the brakes failed on both his and his partner’s bikes as they rode down a steep hill. He touched wheels with his partner’s bike and was thrown to the pavement.

While his injury is described as serious, the department tweeted that it does not appear to be life threatening.

And yes, he was wearing a helmet.

However, brake failures on one bike — let alone both — raises serious maintenance issues. Let’s hope the department isn’t risking the safety of its officers by ignoring basic inspections and service on their bicycles.

Let’s hope he makes a full and fast recovery; thanks to Rick Risemberg for the heads-up.

And evidently, it was a bad day for bike-riding cops, as a St. Paul MN cop was right hooked by a driver looking the wrong way.

………

It gets worse.

Wednesday we linked to a story about three Sacramento-area cyclists injured by a hit-and-run driver in a stolen car, who was later arrested with the help of a police dog.

Now it turns out he may have done it on purpose.

Thirty-eight-year old Alamar Houston faces multiple felony counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and DUI, as well as a host of other charges, for allegedly driving into the cyclists on purpose in two separate incidents, a quarter mile apart.

The Sacramento Bee reports he first swerved into a single rider, then plowed into two other cyclists from behind, leaving two teenage riders seriously injured, before fleeing the scene.

He pleaded not guilty to 17 separate charges on Thursday, while suggesting he needs mental health help.

No shit.

………

KCBS-2 managed to track down a hit-and-run driver who struck a 12-year old bike rider in a collision caught on stomach-churning security video.

Even though bystanders came to help, the woman never got out of her car or asked how the boy was doing before driving off.

According to the station, she said she assumed everything was okay after seeing the victim get up. Never mind that he could have had major injuries that might not have shown up until later. Or that every driver is required to stop, render aid and exchange information after any collision, no matter how slight.

Police have given her two weeks to respond to their investigation. Which is about 13 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes too long.

But regardless of whether charges are filed, anyone who’d drive off after hitting a kid doesn’t belong behind the wheel. Ever.

Period.

………

Sad news from the DC area, as a Brazilian police investigator was killed competing in a road race at the World Police and Fire Games. Reports indicate one rider blew a tire and crashed into two other cyclists; the other two victims are in critical condition.

No word on which rider had the blow-out.

………

Lots of racing news as we gear up for Saturday’s start of the Tour de France.

The Wall Street Journal says the world’s best riders are going downhill — literally — putting their lives on the line to gain a few seconds. GoPro is about to go where no camera has gone before, into the peloton where it will hang out with Big Data.

In the absence of Cadel Evans, the Aussie delegation is stepping up as key lieutenants in the Tour de France, while Teejay van Garderen leads the American delegation.

The Telegraph looks at how motor doping works, and the risk it poses to pro racing. A representative for one unnamed rider reportedly asked the maker of an e-assist bike if one could be surreptitiously incorporated into his client’s bike.

Dutch police wisely decide not to disrupt Le Tour after all.

And bicycling’s longest running soap opera continues, as Lance’s girlfriend is ordered to testify, and Floyd Landis must turn over records to the courts.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers good advice for new councilmember David Ryu.

Richard Risemberg says LA could learn from Long Beach, where bike boulevards and protected bikeways have resulted in increased sales for local business, rather than the disaster usually predicted by business owners in here in the City of Angels.

An LA bike commuter explores Copenhagen and Berlin, and finds Los Angeles does have a few advantages over its European cousins. But not many.

Police are looking for a bike thief who took a Trek Madone from Glendale Cycles out for a test ride and never came back, leaving behind someone else’s driver’s license and Visa card.

Sounds like fun. This month’s edition of the LACBC’s popular Sunday Funday Ride rolls Sunday morning for a tour of early LA history, led by board member Patrick Pascal.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will host a potluck on Monday.

 

State

LADOT Bike Blog talks with Caltrans about California’s new protected bike lane standards.

San Diego sheriff’s deputies bust three high-end bike thieves in an Encinitas hotel.

Mark your calendar for the second annual Big Bear Cycling Festival later this month.

Santa Barbara opens a new Bike Center to serve transit users.

A San Francisco cyclist was the victim of a double hit-and-run; she was hit by a driver fleeing from a collision with a bus.

 

National

Streetsblog explains the hows and whys that kept protected bike lanes and intersections from being implemented for 40 years after the first one hit the streets in Davis CA, laying the blame on organized groups of vehicular cyclists.

A writer for Mobility Lab says there’s no right or wrong way to be a cyclist. Seriously, ride how, where, and in and on whatever you like. Just do it safely and legally.

Bike Portland talks with outgoing Bike League president Andy Clarke.

Bicycling looks at devices that could save your life in a riding emergency.

Zagster raises funds to take their bikeshare program nationwide.

Former Arizona congresswoman and shooting victim Gabby Giffords is one of us.

A 79-year old Las Vegas man continues to ride 12 to 15 miles every day; he’s been riding the same route since he retired 28 years ago.

A Colorado bike rider was shot in the leg with a pellet gun from a passing car.

South Dakota cyclists get a shiny new three-foot passing law, which smartly increases to six feet at speeds over 35 mph.

Indianapolis cyclists fear the city’s support for bicycling will leave office along with their outgoing bike-friendly mayor.

Local officials in Massachusetts are offended by bike lanes mandated by the state on a highway leading to a casino.

Police have made a second arrest in the road rage attack on a Pennsylvania cyclist and his girlfriend by a pair of machete-wielding teens, who also broke all of the ground floor windows in the couple’s home and were trying to crawl in when police arrived.

Philadelphia bike commuters are about to get covered bike parking at regional train stations.

A writer for the Wall Street Journal remembers a dedicated cyclist who lost his life in an collision with another bike rider while running in New York’s Central Park. His bike-riding widow calls on cyclists to accept our responsibilities and protect the rights of other people.

Not everyone likes the idea of a 76-mile bikeway through the Everglades.

 

International

An Ontario letter writer says not only should bicyclists be licensed, but it should apply to children, as well.

With the help of friends, including stunt master Danny MacAskill, off-road legend Martyn Ashton gets back on a bike for the first time since he was paralyzed from the waist down in 2013. It’s worth watching the video, if only to see the huge smile on his face.

British bike scribe Carlton Reid says northern UK cities are falling behind by catering to motorists alone.

In an important and chilling read, London’s Guardian looks at the toxic bias against bicyclists in the media, and how it’s led to potentially deadly sabotage of cyclists.

A Scottish woman gets five years for killing a cyclist while chatting on her cell phone; she allegedly deleted the record of the call in an attempted cover-up.

A new documentary looks at bi-polar former world pursuit champ Graeme Obree and his effort to break the bicycle speed record on an odd bike he designed and built himself.

It’s five years in prison for the taxi driver who killed South African Olympic mountain biker Burry Stander. Which is four years more than his blade running fellow countryman served for shooting his girlfriend.

 

Finally…

Bad karma. The same day an Ohio prosecutor crashed the bike he got from a bike riding judge, the judge wiped out on his new one; both injured their ribs and a shoulder. VH1 is looking for 150 sets of bicycling twins to set a tandem riding record this month.

And your next bike could be a three-wheeled T-Rex.

………

Enjoy your holiday weekend; the forecast promises near-perfect riding weather.

Just be careful out there and ride defensively. Drivers are likely to be focused on finding a parking space for the fireworks or near the beach rather than looking out for you.

 

Morning Links: LAPD cop charged in beating of bike rider, Biking While Black in FL, and Facebook bike drama

An LAPD officer has been charged with assault in the October beating of a South LA bike rider.

Twenty-two-year old Clinton Alford, Jr. fled from officers when they tried to stop him because he allegedly matched the description of a robbery suspect.

According to Alford, he ran when someone grabbed the back of his bike because the officers failed to identify themselves, and he only became aware of who they were when he was being held down and handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

After all, why would anyone look back to see who was chasing him as he fled for his life?

It was while he was face down trying to surrender that LAPD officer Richard Garcia allegedly kicked him in the head, repeatedly, in an attack that was captured on a nearby security camera. Police say they have no intention of releasing the video, despite the demands of Alford’s lawyer for it to be made public.

According to KTLA-5, he was kicked so hard he lost a filling from his teeth; other officers at the scene called the attack horrific, describing it as like someone kicking a field goal, with Alford’s head as the ball.

Garcia has entered a not guilty plea. He faces up to three years in jail if he’s convicted.

The LA Times reports three other officers and a sergeant have been relieved of duty and assigned to their homes while the investigation continues.

All charges against Alford, for possession and resisting arrest, have been dropped.

………

Shameful.

Fifty years after Selma, people are still ticketed for Bicycling While Black, as eight out of ten of the 2,504 bike tickets written in Tampa FL in the last three years — more than Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined — went to African American residents.

Seriously, it’s long past time this country put this kind of crap behind us. No one should face fear for riding a bike, especially not from police.

………

KCBS-2 offers a good report on Sunday’s Finish the Ride; for a change, someone in the media actually seems to get it.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers an update on the current status of hit-and-run, saying we’ve made progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

………

Major Facebook drama, as an apparent cyclist fires back after Burbank racer Troy Templin posted a photo of a BMW that he says nearly ran him over because, as he claims the driver said, “you were in my way.”

Someone identifying himself as Peter Richardson professed to tell his version of what really happened, claiming Templin “committed multiple acts of violence” simply because the woman honked to let him know she was there, and he had to be run off by a security guard when he wouldn’t let her exit the car. He even includes stills from a security camera to support his claims.

However, the view in the photos is so distant it could show anyone, and it’s impossible to tell from them what may or may not be happening.

And as a commenter to Richardson’s post points out, the photos on his Facebook page were lifted from other websites, raising questions as to whether he actually exists, or if the persona was created simply to go after Templin in retaliation for the photo.

It is curious that his timeline only goes back to April 15th, two weeks after the original photo was posted online.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

………

Local

The Times belatedly catches up with the news that the proposed California helmet law has been converted to a study of helmet use by the CHP and the state Office of Traffic Safety; BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein offers his take on it.

The Daily News lists bicycling as one of the top five eco-friendly ways to get around in LA, while Slate asks if LA can sell the myth of a green, sustainable city.

Alhambra police bust a thief who tried to escape with one of their own bikes on Sunday; the apparently remorseful man wrote of letter of apology from his jail cell.

 

State

A 24-year old San Jose woman is under arrest for slamming into a Miltipas bike rider who was standing on the sidewalk, then crashing into a mini-golf course before fleeing in another car.

An elderly Palo Alto woman was seriously injured in a collision with a cyclist; the rider was coming around a blind curve at speed when he ran into the woman as she crossed the street.

A San Francisco cyclist was seriously injured when he was deliberately rammed by an Uber driver following a violent road rage dispute in which he reportedly pounded on the driver’s car and pushed its mirror in. Seriously, I’m as hot tempered as anyone, but resorting to violence only makes things worse.

Marin County’s new bicycling museum will open this June; maybe they’ll include one of those rental bikes that Sausalito councilmember wants to get rid of.

 

National

A new study shows drivers are more likely to ignore crosswalks at speeds over 30 mph. I wonder what a similar study would have to say about bike lanes and sharrows.

An Anchorage cyclist says ride defensively, because your life may depend on it; good advice anywhere.

If cops in my hometown are reluctant to ticket cyclists because they feel bad about writing tickets that can reach $170 including fees, imagine how the riders feel about getting them.

Minnesota researchers determine that bike lane density — the measure of bike lanes within a given area — matters more than connectivity when it comes to encouraging ridership.

A Knoxville TN bicyclist suffers multiple non-life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by an SUV, but the only thing a local TV station seems to care about is his lack of a helmet.

Mashable looks at a decade of ghost bikes, while New Yorkers conduct the 10th Annual Ghost Bike Memorial Ride, visiting some of the 150 memorials to people who have lost their lives riding in the city.

Just like countless bicyclists everywhere, Shreveport bike riders says motorists need to be more aware of cyclists and the laws governing bikes. Especially the requirement to ride in the street where sidewalk riding is illegal — and the right to do so everywhere else.

 

International

Vancouver’s Van City Buzz gets it right, saying the media’s focus on shiny new safety gadgets is no substitute for proven safety measures like traffic calming and an effective bicycle infrastructure network.

Guardian readers relate their heart-stopping near-misses on the road; unfortunately, that’s something we can all relate to. Meanwhile, hundreds of people turn out for a vigil demanding a stop to killing cyclists; even so, Britain’s Labour Party may be backpedalling in its support for bicycling.

A soccer player is killed when a train smashes into on of those pedal-powered multi-passenger beer bikes in The Netherlands.

Turkey’s president rides through Istanbul to kick off the country’s 51st Presidential Tour of Turkey; he promised to make the city more bike friendly, while saying they “couldn’t manage to make people love the bicycle.”

A road raging Aussie driver hits a woman participating in a charity ride, then drives off with the mangled bike still trapped under her car.

Taking ciclovía to the next level, as one neighborhood in a Korean city bans cars from the streets for a full month.

 

Finally…

Now you can wear matching outfits when you ride with your dog. A word of advice: don’t try to use a mountain bike as a getaway vehicle if you can’t manage to ride it.

And a Portland BMX rider could be facing an expensive bill after riding over a parked $350,000 Lamborghini; the owner says he’s getting estimates to repair damage to the windshield.

Unless it’s all a publicity stunt, of course.

 

Morning Links: Bike helmets alone don’t prevent injuries, scofflaw cops in bike lanes, and upcoming bike events

Someone please forward this to state Senator Carol Liu, author of SB 192 that would mandate helmet use by all bicycle riders.

A new medical study concludes that bike helmets alone can’t prevent serious bicycling injuries, and the solution may lie in separating cyclists from motor vehicles.

Because just trying to tame traffic and get motorists to drive safely would never work.

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Great piece on risk communcation from Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, who says yes, bicycling may be dangerous, but no more than driving. And so is walking, bathing and shopping.

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CiclaValley discovers scofflaw cops parking in downtown bike lanes, forcing riders to protect and swerve.

He said it, not me.

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Lots of great bike events coming up.

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition is hosting their first fundraising event this Saturday, with the South Bay Bike Night and Bike City Awards, honoring Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Lawndale for their efforts to become safer and friendlier for bike riders. The proceeds will be used will be used to pay for the SBBC’s bike helmets for kids program,  bike education classes for elementary school students and adults, and advocacy for safe biking practices, infrastructure and enforcement.

More on this weekend’s bike and hike-a-thon to raise funds to provide orphans throughout Africa with bikes; the charity was founded by a La Canada high school student.

Don’t forget this Sunday’s Pastrami Ride, which sounds like the tastiest LACBC Sunday Funday ride yet.

Mark your calendar for March 14th, when the LACBC will host a two-hour women-only bike safety workshop.

San Diego’s St. Paddy’s Palomar Punishment, billed as the city’s most fun cycling event, rolls on March 7th to benefit the San Diego Humane Society, with rides from 10 to 97 miles.

Looking further ahead, Good Samaritan Hospital’s annual non-sectarian Blessing of the Bicycles will be held on Tuesday, May 12th as part of Bike Week/Month. Because a little divine intervention couldn’t hurt.

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Local

Streetsblog reports the highlights from Monday’s Live Ride Share Conference to discuss shared mobility, including bike share.

Richard Risemberg says nobody bikes in LA. Except for all the people who do.

LA Magazine is waiting impatiently for the MyFigueroa project, noting the much-needed changes can’t come soon enough.

Good news for PCH riders, as the highway is expected to reopen this week after a nine-mile section was closed down to repair storm damage.

KCBS-2 reports on last Sunday’s Milt Olin ride.

Long Beach officials hosted the LACBC’s Operation Firefly bike light giveaway Tuesday night.

 

State

For once, bike lanes win out over parking, as the Vista city council votes to remove parking spaces on Civic Center Drive to make room for bikes. Motorists are undoubtedly getting out the torches and pitchforks as we speak.

Carlsbad police are looking for witnesses to a Valentines Day hit-and-run that left a bike rider injured.

Bad news from Oakland, as a 60-year old bike rider is killed in a collision with a pickup truck.

Oakland bike riders get secure bike parking at the new Bike Station; parking your bike will be free during the day and just $5 overnight.

San Francisco considers closing down streets in popular entertainment districts on weekends, something that should be seriously explored here.

 

National

The Friendship Circle’s Great Bike Giveaway will provide bicycles for hundreds of special needs kids.

Denver considers a two-way protected bike lane on one of the city’s busiest streets.

Evidently ignorance is bliss, as Wyoming legislators vote not to collect data on bicycle safety or explore building a statewide bikeway.

Iowa considers changing the law to require a rear-facing light on bikes after dark, rather than allowing reflectors; that’s also under consideration here in California.

An Indiana cycling instructor calls for ticketing irresponsible bike riders, while acknowledging that cyclists are much less likely to cause harm than motorists.

A Cincinnati letter writer says let’s develop a network of bike paths for recreational riders, but keep those crazy transportation cyclists off the damn roads, already.

A Baltimore bicyclist clearly explains the vigilance cyclists have to maintain, and what it’s like to share the road with motorists.

 

International

Bike Radar offers up five reasons mountain bikers should try skinny tired bikes.

London authorities list the city’s most dangerous intersections for cyclists, as the city sets aside the equivalent of $140 million to re-envision bicycling in the suburbs.

Judging by these letter writers, bicycling in Ireland isn’t any better than it is here.

Good problem to have, as Amsterdam plans an underwater bike parking garage because they’re running out of spaces for bikes.

Unbelievable. A New Zealand cyclist may have died because a truck company placed advertising on the passenger side window of their vehicles.

Thai cyclists demand changes in the country’s laws to protect people on bikes.

 

Finally…

Okay, so it’s got three wheels, but you could hit 100 mph with this pedal powered electric-assist car. Speaking of assists, if your bike doesn’t fly, just add a few fans.

And this is so not the way to promote a bike race to women. Or anyone, for that matter.

 

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