Tag Archive for road rage

Morning Links: San Diego police blame bike mob; unconfirmed report of bicycling fatality on PCH in Malibu

No bias here.

Not from the press. And certainly not from the San Diego Police Department.

According to San Diego’s ABC 10 News, a female driver called 911 to report a “mob” of nine or ten bicyclists had chased her down and smashed her car window.

It must have seemed frightening to the people huddled at home watching the broadcast.

But the real story is hidden in the details.

The bike riders were using the sharrows in the city’s Normal Heights neighborhood when the driver came up behind them and began harassing them by honking nonstop, which is a violation of California law. Even though they were exactly where they were supposed to be.

She then broke the law again by passing too close, striking one of the bikes; fortunately, the rider was able to jump off just in time to avoid serious injury.

The riders then chased down the hit-and-run driver as she dragged the bike for several blocks, banging on her window in an attempt to get her attention and keep her from fleeing the scene.

Pedestrians and other motorists are often called heroes when they stop a fleeing driver under similar circumstances.

Instead, these riders were portrayed as a crazed mob, and threatened with prosecution on vandalism charges for punching and kicking the car.

So it’s okay for the driver to mangle a bike after running down the rider. But not for riders to break a window, apparently inadvertently, in an effort to make her stop.

Got it.

Police refused to even ticket, let alone arrest, the woman, despite obvious violations for

  1. harassing the cyclists
  2. breaking state law governing the use of a horn
  3. violating the three-foot passing law
  4. destruction of property
  5. failing to stop and exchange information following a collision

And yet somehow, she’s portrayed as the victim, with the people on bikes her attackers.

It’s sadly reminiscent of a case that marked the first stirrings of the bicycle rights movement here in Los Angeles.

Andres Tena was riding with a group of friends in the spring of 2009 when they were confronted by an impatient Hummer driver, who attempted to flee the scene after striking Tena’s bike and injuring him enough to require hospitalization. The other riders chased the driver down and blocked his way; in response, they were threatened with an unseen gun before the driver ran over their bikes in an effort to escape.

When police arrived, they somehow concluded that Tena had crashed into the side of the Hummer — which would have required backing into it at a high rate of speed, since he was thrown forward by the impact and suffered significant damage to the rear of his bike.

And that the driver was justified in attempting to flee, because he was frightened by all those scary bike riders, despite being safely ensconced within his multi-ton urban assault vehicle.

The cop on the scene took it a step further, saying if the cyclists had surrounded him like that, he would have done the same thing the Hummer driver did.

In fact, the only criminal prosecution that was even contemplated was a misdemeanor charge against a cyclist for “throwing his bike at the Hummer.”

Funny how some things never change.

It took years of sometimes difficult negotiations, but now LA’s bicycling community has a much better relationship with the LAPD than we did back in the dark days of just six short years ago.

But clearly, San Diego police haven’t gotten the memo.

And as this case clearly shows, they have a long way to go before cyclists can feel like they have the same support from law enforcement that drivers have come to expect, and are considered equal road users rather than two-wheeled pirates.

None of us are safe on the streets if we can’t count on the police to be there when we need them. And to do it fairly, without an obvious — and repugnant — windshield bias.

According to a tweet from BikeSD, they’re working with the San Diego Bicycle Coalition to arrange legal representation for the bike riders.

They may need it.

And sadly, the angry hit-and-run driver who started it all won’t.

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The publisher of the Malibu Times mentioned Tuesday that a bike rider had been killed on PCH near Busch Drive, but didn’t have any details.

However, the report cannot be confirmed at this time.

There have been no other reports in the press, and repeated web searches have turned up empty. And there has been no response yet to a request for information from the CHP.

Meanwhile, he goes on to criticize cyclists for riding with inadequate lighting on their bikes. While he has a point, it is irresponsible to bring it up in response to the unconfirmed report of the bicycling fatality without knowing if a lack of lights had anything to do with it.

Or if it even happened.

It’s no better than if someone went off on a rant against speeding, texting drivers after hearing about a traffic collision without knowing if those were contributing factors in the wreck.

Yes, we should all ensure that we are visible to those we share the road with, especially after dark or in the late dusk or early morning hours when it can be most difficult to see.

But it’s wrong to imply, intentionally or not, that it may have had anything to do with a wreck that can’t even be confirmed.

………

I don’t even know what to think about this.

TMZ reports the DA’s office is unlikely to file charges against Caitlyn Jenner for a fatal collision on PCH last February, since they wouldn’t even file charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin while using his onboard computer.

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Just like anyone else, Alejandro Valverde used Google to plan his route to victory in stage four of the Vuelta.

And after the Feds drop fraud charges against the other disgraced former Tour de France champ, Floyd Landis — remember him? — still has to repay nearly half a million dollars to the 1,700 people who donated to his defense fund when he was still pretending he hadn’t doped.

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Local

A Texas study says LA has the second worst traffic in the US, costing commuters 80 hours a year lost to traffic delays. To which bike commuters respond, “So?”.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks Vision Zero with LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds in the latest #DamienTalks podcast.

For those who read español, a nice profile of Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club; Morales saved his own life by losing 250 pounds riding a bike, and now works to spread the gospel of bikes and health to others. For those who don’t, Google Translate offers a passable translation.

 

State

Congratulations to the newly announced Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Southern California, including Santa Monica ad agency Ruben Postaer and Assoc, Giant Santa Monica bike shop, and the San Diego Association of Governments.

San Diego police bust a bike-riding bank robber. Or maybe they just assume everyone on a bike is a criminal.

Apparently, not everyone in Coronado opposes a bike path along the beach. Nice to see a rational, non-NIMBY response for a change.

The El Cerrito Planning Commission approves an Active Transportation Plan, including bike boulevards, traffic calming on narrow streets and a bike route providing access to the Bay Trail surrounding the San Francisco Bay.

 

National

Bicycling offers tips on how to avoid helmet hair, as well as advice on meditating to get more out of bicycling. Meditation will also improve your health. And life. Trust me.

A Utah man is ordered to pay a whopping $8,000 restitution for intentionally running down a man on a bike over a property dispute. Twice.

Turns out that despite vocal opposition, 57% of Boulder CO residents support the right-sizing of a city street to make room for protected bike lanes; bike traffic is up 38% in just the first three weeks, while average vehicle speeds have dropped from 39 mph to 37 mph — in a 30 mph zone.

Colorado transportation officials plan to improve bicycle safety on a major street by turning it into a high speed virtual freeway and forcing bikes off it. Memo to Colorado DOT: The auto-centric ‘70s are over.

In a bizarre assault, a Boise man who was driving erratically shouted at a bike rider at an intersection, then made a U-turn, drove up on the sidewalk and punched the rider in the face before driving over his bicycle.

A Wisconsin driver faces charges for running over a bike and a child’s bicycle attachment following a dispute after passing a father and his two kids too closely; the driver claims the father threw his $2,000 bike in front of the truck’s wheels. Sure, that’s credible.

No bias here, either. Two people were killed and eleven injured in seven separate Chicago shootings, yet the headline only mentions the one involving a bike.

It’s bicycle back to school time. Indiana’s Purdue university opens its own bikeshare system, while the University of Florida is offering to rent students a bike, helmet and lock.

Pittsburgh’s transit system will open its third bike garage, which will hold up to 80 bikes on pneumatic, spring-loaded double-decker racks.

Over 800 Philadelphia bike riders are planning to participate in a PopeRide when the city’s downtown streets will be shut down for the papal visit.

A Staten Island website questions whether bikes, recreational or otherwise, should ply the island’s narrow colonial-era streets. Never mind that bikes are better suited for narrow streets than cars and SUVs, or that they could provide an alternative to heavy traffic.

The mayor of an Alabama town lost his bid for a fifth term two weeks after he was bopped in the head with a baseball bat for schtupping the wife of a bike riding attorney.

 

International

A Quebec cop is charged with killing a bike rider last September; he faces charges of reckless driving and criminal negligence, even though witnesses say he backed into the victim’s bike on purpose.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 90-year old British man still rides every day on the 1939 Triumph bicycle he got for his 14th birthday.

People get killed or injured by being passed too close, and some post video of those dangerous passes online. Evidently, a group of British filmmakers who posted a YouTube style parody online think that’s funny.

Caught on video: A Brit bike thief makes off with a bicycle in less than a minute after casually joking with the staff at a gym, where the owner had gone in to take a shower.

A writer from the UK says she belongs on the road as much as any man, and despite the harassment she faces, the freedom of bicycling more than makes up for it. All cyclists are subject to harassment, but the added sexual component woman face is one of the factors that helps keep bicycling a predominately male form of transportation.

The Smithsonian recommends touring Kaohsiung City, Taiwan by bike, calling it one of Asia’s best cycling cities, with a world-class bikeshare program.

 

Finally…

Painting eyes over a bike rack helps prevent thefts, although the thieves just seem to go somewhere else. If you’re going to “borrow” a bike to get to work, make sure it’s not a cop’s patrol bike first.

And a Baltimore writer finishes dead last on what the Smithsonian calls the world’s “most difficult feat in uphill cycling.” But he finished.

Then again, they probably never heard of LA’s own Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer.

 

Morning Links: Brake-checking driver harasses cyclist; curb-jumping drivers don’t get Redondo bike lanes

The problem with sharrows is that they put you right in the path of drivers.

Impatient, road-raging and brake-checking drivers, at times, as cyclist Michael Schinderling learned out the hard way while riding on Fountain Ave in Los Angeles.

The driver first honks, then repeatedly slams on his brakes in front of him. Even though Schinderling was riding exactly where the sharrows indicate he should be.

The big problem with LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance is that it’s so hard to get proof that a driver deliberately antagonized a rider.

But this looks like an open-and-shut case.

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Caught on video: Those new Redondo Beach separated bike lanes seem to be working well. Except for curb-jumping drivers who can’t seem to figure out why the traffic lane is green and there are so many bikes in it.

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American cyclist Tyler Farrar is heading back to the Tour de France as part of the first African-based pro team, while Tejay van Garderen is older and wiser and says he’s ready for the challenge. The Wall Street Journal asks why no Latin American rider has won the Tour de France, as Nairo Quintana attempts to become the first.

Meanwhile, former pro team leader Bjarne Riis chose to ignore doping by his riders. Or more likely, tacitly encouraged it, if not openly.

Cycling Weekly looks at the best bike tans in the peloton. Dutch police evidently feel the best way to get a new collective bargaining agreement is to delay riders in the Tour de France, thus ensuring it won’t besmirch their country again.

And sad news from the UK, as a British bike racer was killed in a collision with another rider last weekend.

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Local

The LA-area’s Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) wants your input on a new regional transportation plan.

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom and two Westside councilmembers say Metro is going the wrong way with plans for a bike share system that will be incompatible with systems opening soon in Long Beach and Santa Monica, and as well as systems planned for West Hollywood, UCLA and yes, the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

San Gabriel gets a new bike lane on Las Tunas Drive.

Santa Clarita opens a new 1.5 mile stretch of the Santa Clarita River Trail, including a bike bridge over the Los Angeles aqueduct.

A Long Beach councilwoman will host a bike safety program for kids from 9 to 17 years old next week.

The second Tour de Laemmle will roll on July 19th, as Greg Laemmle invites you to ride with him on all or part of a 125+ mile tour of all the Laemmle Theaters.

 

State

Santa Ana conducts a reverse road diet, forcing long-time residents out of their homes to make room for an added lane and bike lanes on Warner Ave, as the OC Register says evicted residents will have to be made whole.

A bike rider suffered major injuries in a collision with a pickup in Anaheim on Tuesday; a comment on Bike Forums suggests the victim was riding in the crosswalk over the onramp to the 57. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

Big oops from the Bay, as San Francisco retracts a report that a new bikeway saw a 651% jump in bike traffic; the actual figures ranged from a 12% to 62% increase depending on time of day. You’d think someone would have noticed that those numbers seemed just a tad high before sending out the press release.

Oakland is planning to trade traffic lanes for bike lanes, with twelve road diets proposed for the next three years; needless to say, bike riders are thrilled while motorists are worried. Maybe Oakland could explain how the process works to Santa Ana.

The Marin tech exec who viciously beat a driver who clipped him with his mirror has been found guilty of felony battery and misdemeanor assault; he faces up to four years in prison. Seriously, never resort to violence. Period.

 

National

Tragic news from Las Vegas, as a 16-year old boy riding without ID was hit by a car last week; he died the next day before family members learned about the wreck and he could be identified.

A Utah driver has plead guilty to intentionally running down a bike rider with whom he had an adversarial relationship.

Evidently, the penalty in Texas for riding a bike without lights is to get Tased, then beaten after falling off your bike. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

An Iowa man is back on his bike six months after losing a leg to complications from diabetes; he’ll be riding in the Tour de Cure this weekend.

Needless to say, Chicago business owners are worried about the loss of parking with the city’s first curb-protected bike lane; Chicagoist asks if it will be good for business. Bikes are usually good for business. And there’s something seriously wrong if your customers won’t walk a few extra feet to do business with you.

A Maine driver is accused of intentionally running down a 10-year old boy on a bike over a dispute with the kid’s mother; unbelievably, the man was released on just $1,000 bail — despite using his car as a weapon to attack a child.

Just days after an LA bike rider was attacked with a machete in an attempted bike theft, a machete-swinging road-raging PA teenager attacked a cyclist and his fiancée, who used his bike to defend themselves.

The Baltimore Sun says bike helmets aren’t ugly anymore, while The Week offers a look at six bike helmets of the future. Can we just get one that actually protects against concussions and other serious brain injuries in real world collisions?

A Georgia website offers advice on how to get a red light to change for your bike.

A cyclist rides 1,400 miles up the East Coast while towing his dog and a cargo trailer.

 

International

Here we go again, as a Facebook page devoted to shaming law-breaking Victoria BC cyclists devolves into a hotbed of anti-bike hatred.

Two Edmonton councilors call for ripping out bike lanes on three streets, calling them unsafe and underutilized.

Cyclists halt London traffic to protest the death of yet another young woman killed by a truck while riding to work. Although not everyone was willing to show a little respect.

Caught on video: The UK’s “vigilante cyclist” catches a woman texting behind the wheel with two kids in her car. I see something similar almost every time I ride. Like a woman who was steering with her knees as she texted with her kids in the back seat.

A pair of Good Samaritans pitch in to replace a British nurse’s bike after it was stolen from outside her apartment.

A Brit bike rider gets a year in jail for killing a 73-year old woman in a collision while riding a brakeless BMX.

Switzerland is telling e-bike riders to slow down, following a rise in single-vehicle bike wrecks due to riders misjudging their speed and stopping times.

India gets its first cycling café in the “Detroit of India” even though the city doesn’t have a single bike lane.

Australian bike riders may soon be allowed to ride on sidewalks in the state of Victoria, but could face on-the-spot fines for using a handheld phone. So what happens if they can’t pay? Are they arrested on the spot?

“Selfish” Aussie cyclists are accused of illegally riding in high-speed bus-only lanes to avoid slower bikeways.

Don’t ride under the influence in Japan, don’t report a falling down drunk bike rider to the police, and don’t ride with groceries on your handlebars.

 

Finally…

It takes a bold thief to ride off with a bike cop’s bike as she stood just a few feet away. Caught on video: an Ohio bird defends his territory against a cyclist. Or maybe he just doesn’t like they guy’s taste in bike helmets.

And a new study from the University of Duh confirms that marijuana use impairs driving. Next up, a study confirming that it gives people the munchies, too.

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I need to find a better name for the Morning Links, since I seem to be temporally challenged these days. Chain Links is too cutsie, while Bike News seems a little dull.

Any suggestions?

Morning Links: Serial hit-and-run driver allegedly attacks three in Venice, including two people on bikes

Sometimes, the news barely makes the news.

Especially if there are bikes involved.

Yo! Venice reports that three people — two of them riding bikes — may have been intentionally targeted by a hit-and-run driver Saturday morning.

According to the website, a cyclist was riding with friends across the intersection of Speedway and Venice around 10:30 am when a red Honda CRV clipped the back tire of his bike; witnesses at a nearby restaurant reported the driver didn’t even hit his brakes before speeding off.

As the victim and his friends gave chase down Speedway, they called out a warning as they saw him approach another rider. After the second cyclist pulled to the side of the road, the driver appeared to intentionally veer towards him, knocking him to the ground and leaving him with a cut on his left side, his mangled bike lying in the roadway.

The site reports the driver then ran over a third victim around 25th and Speedway; no word on whether that person was riding or on foot. Both of the last two victims were transported to a local hospital.

The driver was taken into custody later that day.

Yet somehow, despite the serial hit-and-run and the apparent vicious nature of the alleged attack, the story failed to make a much of a dent in the local media.

Even though it’s reminiscent of another allegedly intentional attack in which a driver plowed through tourists on the crowded Venice boardwalk just feet from Saturday’s incident.

KCBS-2 was the only major media outlet to pick up the story, confirming that two victims, possibly cyclists, suffered substantial, but non-life threatening injuries.

The TV station also reports that the suspect was arrested when witnesses were able to provide police with the Honda’s license number.

Frighteningly, police say he knew he’d struck people when they contacted him, and that he did not appear to be intoxicated.

Thanks to Joe Ryan for the heads-up.

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Urbanful lists five fun social bike rides around the US, including our own CicLAvia; the next one walks and rolls through Pasadena’s Old Town on May 31st.

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Local

CiclaValley offers a recap of Thursday’s Griffith Park Advisory Meeting, where the recent opening to cars of popular biking, hiking and horse riding route Mt. Hollywood Dr. was discussed; Streetsblog’s Joe Linton provides a detailed report on the meeting.

Work begins on the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program on Reseda Blvd.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg says more and better road diets are the solution to trash bins blocking the bike lane. That’s been a long and recurring problem in the City of Angels, even though it’s illegal to block a bike lane, period.

A San Dimas stage race brought road racers from around the world, while mountain bikers race around Castaic Lake.

 

State

No bias here, as a San Diego TV station says plans for a bike lane through the Hillcrest neighborhood would destroy “prime” parking spaces.

Sad news from San Diego, as a 47-year old bike rider isn’t expected to survive after being shot in the city’s East Village neighborhood.

Mountain bikers are overwhelming the 20,000-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, described as the Louvre for off-roaders.

No bias here either, as a San Francisco website accuses a seriously injured cyclist of smashing into a car on a Highway 101 onramp.

A 27-year old woman is honored as one of the Outstanding Women of Monterey County for her role in Ciclovia Salinas.

A Bay Area woman has taken over 25,000 kids back to nature on mountain bikes, often for the first time; her Trips for Kids non-profit now has 90 chapters around the world.

Seriously? A Petaluma website seems shocked that anyone would ride a century, while calling a bicycle seat the world’s most excruciating sitting device.

 

National

Bicycling lists 10 famous people who worked as bike messengers, nine of whom took me by surprise.

Two Yuma AZ cyclists were hit by a car, one injured critically, by a driver with a suspended license who admitted he just wasn’t paying attention.

A Utah cyclist on a training ride with a group of 100 other riders was somehow hit and killed by a semi-truck traveling in the same direction even though neither appeared to be distracted; a GoFundMe account has been set up to pay her funeral expenses.

Rocky Mountain National Park will open to mountain bikes for the first time.

Some people just don’t get the benefits of bike tourism; Kansas commissioners question why they would want a US Bike Route besmirching their county, especially if they have to pay for the signs.

A Chicago rider is suing after she was doored by a police officer while riding in a marked bike lane; naturally, the cop blames the victim.

The field is set for the Little 500 made famous by Breaking Away after qualifying for the men’s and women’s races.

 

International

A cyclist in his 80s rides over 6,200 miles across Canada, despite Parkinson’s and macular degeneration.

A new British study says bike riders are healthier and less stressed than non-riders. But while biking may be the new golf, London professionals are still afraid of the city’s streets.

Good read from the Guardian, saying what’s lacking from Lance’s attempt at rehabilitation is humility. If Armstrong really wanted to rebuild his reputation, he could start be becoming an advocate for bike safety.

We only seem to hear about pedestrians injured in collisions with cyclists, but the bike riders often get the worst of it. That was the case with woman in a London park, who was seriously injured when she collided with a runner.

That Brit bike rider attempting to ride over 75,000 miles this year was on target, riding a minimum of 205 mile a day; however, his attempt may be in jeopardy after his ankle was broken in a collision with a moped.

Danish bike riders get their own bike-through McDonalds, but only for a limited time. Sort of like McRibs.

 

Finally…

If you’re using a bike as a getaway vehicle following a burglary, it’s probably not a good idea to have a stolen weed-eater sticking out of your backpack. Put Carlos Santana in the Interested but Concerned category, as the guitar great is afraid to ride his new bike because of what happened to Bono, who fears he may never play guitar again after his solo bicycling crash in Central Park.

And a French mountain biker has set a new world record of over 138 mph.

Downhill, of course.

 

Morning Links: Road raging Malibu driver assaults cyclist, and the Times looks at the politics of LA road diets

A PCH cyclist is in serious condition after being attacked by a road raging driver.

According to the Malibu Times, the victim got into an argument with a pickup driver as he rode west on the coast highway between Busch Drive and Morning View Drive. After the rider moved on in the right hand lane, the unnamed driver sped past him, then stopped, got out of his truck and pushed him off his bike into the left lane.

Fortunately, it was either a rare moment when there was no traffic on the highway, or oncoming drivers were able to stop in time to avoid him. Even so, the victim still suffered serious injuries and lacerations.

The paper quotes a sheriff’s deputy as saying the dispute was over “use of the shoulder lane,” though he doesn’t clarify whether the driver wanted to use it or, more likely, incorrectly thought the cyclist belonged there.

Although you’d think someone with the rank of lieutenant would know that the shoulder of PCH — or any roadway — is not a lane, since it’s not legally part of the roadway.

Not surprisingly, the driver, who wasn’t publicly named, was arrested for felony assault.

Although it should be attempted murder if there was any traffic coming at the time.

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The LA Times examines the politics of road diets, and correctly suggests that biking and walking will be issues in next year’s city council elections. At least if we have anything to say about it.

It would have been nice, though, if they’d mentioned that the primary purpose of most road diets is to improve traffic safety for all road users; better livability is just a bonus.

And as John Lloyd pointed out, despite the way the Times piece characterizes it, CicLAvia is more about opening streets for people than closing them off to cars.

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Caught on video: Across Los Angeles takes a look at the first half of Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.

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Local

Nice piece on Medium.com, as Steven Corwin explains why he shouldn’t have to justify his decision to live car-free.

The Eastsider asks if a freeway cap can make freeway-severed Belvedere Park whole again.

The former Governator and friend ride in one of Santa Monica’s many bike lanes.

Downtown Hawthorne gets a $300,000 makeover, complete with bike lanes. Eventually.

 

State

San Francisco safety advocates say it’s time to end traffic violence; the mayor promises quick action.

A writer for Streetsblog clarifies that Sacramento is not seriously planning to license bicyclists, despite that breathless TV report we linked to last week.

A Modesto letter writer wants cyclists to explain what makes us so special that we don’t have to obey traffic laws — unlike motorists who never speed, use hand-held cell phones or roll through stop signs. Maybe we’re not so special after all.

Nice. After losing his wife, a Chico Iraq war vet finds peace through Ride 2 Recovery.

 

National

A new city bike promises to fold up in seconds.

People for Bikes explains how Denver got an oil company to help crowdfund a protected bike lane. I wonder if anyone has ever asked any of the many companies that suck LA oil out of the ground to pitch in to make the city a little safer. Probably not.

After a special needs woman has her bike stolen, a Michigan TV station replaces it with a better one.

A Maryland woman makes it back on her bike a year after a near-fatal collision, and brings her previously non-biking husband along for the ride.

West Palm Beach’s Jack the Bike Man is looking for used bikes to fix up so he can give 1,000 bikes to children this Christmas.

 

International

The Guardian takes a look at the world’s best cycling infrastructure, none of which is located south of the Canadian border. And says the BBC still gets it wrong in a week-long look at bicycling.

It takes a major jerk to steal an autistic British man’s bike.

Rather than require motorists to drive safely, a Swiss canton orders children to wear hi-viz vests when biking to school.

That Dutch solar bike path opens this week; the question is whether it’s really as dirt and skid resistant as advertised.

 

Finally…

The difference between an ticket and a night in a Santa Monica jail? Not stopping when a cop tries to pull you over for riding on the sidewalk without a headlight (last item). Caught on video: an Edinburgh cyclist uses entirely appropriate inappropriate language given the circumstances, as he’s nearly run over when a van driver decides to use the bike lane as a shortcut.

And now you can play Chutes and Ladders without shame, as Copenhagenize unveils a game based on the best and worst ways to promote bicycling.

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Thanks to all veterans for your sacrifice in service of our country.

 

Morning Links: The battle over Santa Paula cop’s anti-bike video is over, but we may have lost the war

And then it was over.

Less than 36 hours after the flap over a bike hating Santa Paula reserve police officer blew up online and in her face, she found herself unemployed by the department.

Apparently her own choice, much to the displeasure of countless riders who were out for blood. And not in a mood for ritual career hari-kari.

I first became aware of the video in question when Bike Snob tweeted about it on Saturday morning.

Meet Laura Weintraub, horrible person, incompetent videographer, and utter moron: 

Like countless others, I watched in varying degrees of horror and outrage as she laughingly expressed her hatred of bikes, bicyclists and spandex, as well as her desire to run us all off or into the road.

After tweeting about it a few times myself, I made plans to express my own outrage on here. Only to discover the video had been taken down before I could get to it, leaving nothing to link to and no copy to repost.

Meanwhile, the proverbial defecation had hit the fan.

It didn’t take long for someone to discover that she worked as reserve officer for the Santa Paula PD, compounding the outrage that a uniformed cop would express such offensive thoughts in a cheap and badly failed attempt at humor.

Although cop is stretching it; someone sent me a link to a page showing Weintraub had made less than $100 working for the department in recent weeks.

Countless riders — and others who simply didn’t like the idea of killing or maiming innocent people for giggles — inundated Weintraub’s Facebook page, as well as the SPPD, with calls, emails and online comments.

She responded by removing the offensive video without comment, followed by what seemed like a sincere apology. Or at least, a damn good job of faking one.

I would like to apologize to all those who have been offended by what was intended to be a satirical video on cyclists. It was never meant to be hurtful or harmful in anyway, I am a human being, I made a mistake, I have learned from this and ask for your forgiveness. The responses have shown me overwhelmingly just how hurtful my comments were to some and that is not at all what I intended. As soon as I knew, I removed the video immediately.

The response from the cycling community has made me aware of the sport and its safety issues and challenges with drivers on the road of which I was completely unaware. My heartfelt apologies to those that have been offended and to those who face these very real challenges.

Then again, you’d think any reasonably sentient being would get that calling for violence against anyone for the simple crime of riding a bike would likely be taken the wrong — or in this case, the right — way.

For some inexplicable reason, though, many drivers don’t seem the grasp the fact that people don’t just bounce back after being knocked down; what would be a simple fender bender if they hit another car could be catastrophic if they collided with a cyclist or pedestrian.

Although you’d certainly think a cop — even a lowly reserve officer — would grasp the damage motor vehicles can do in the wrong hands.

At the same time, we can only imagine Chief Steven McLean’s reaction, as whatever community relations he had managed to build up in his year on the job were seemingly undone in a single afternoon by someone who barely worked for him.

Once his head undoubtedly finished exploding, the long-time veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department responded by suspending Weintraub pending investigation. Along with another reserve officer who snarkily answered the criticism by complimenting her videos and suggesting cyclists need to obey the law.

At that point, the controversy appeared to be over. The video was down, the woman in question appeared to have learned her lesson, and the chief had done the right thing.

And then the media picked up the story, further fanning the justifiable outrage long after the fact, and leading to countless calls for Weintraub’s job, if not her head.

The final shoe dropped Sunday evening when Chief McLean posted on Facebook that he had accepted her resignation effective immediately — whether she volunteered it or he demanded it was left unstated.

So allow me to offer a contrary opinion.

I’m sorry to see her go.

Had she remained on the job — or even in limbo for awhile — we would have had a rare opportunity for a teachable moment.

If she truly got what she did wrong, and listened, as she said, to the many reasons why her attempt at humor wasn’t funny, she might have become more sympathetic to cyclists and a positive influence on her fellow officers. Or at the very least, unlikely to make a similar mistake a second time.

Not that she didn’t deserve to lose her job. But I’ve found that forgiveness is often more effective than vengeance in the long run.

Meanwhile, Santa Paula cyclists would have had a rare opportunity to demand a meeting with the chief and his officers to discuss the rights of riders and explain the risks we face in employing our legal and moral right to the road.

That door is probably closed now.

Chief McLean is likely to conclude that the matter has been concluded now that Weintraub is no longer a part of the department. And given the entirely justifiable vitriol dumped on him and his officers, he’s unlikely to open his door to our representatives anytime soon.

Which is not to say the anger wasn’t justified.

It was.

I was just as livid as anyone else when I viewed the video. However, we need to learn to direct that anger effectively, not just to get a young woman who did something incredibly stupid fired.

But to use it as an opportunity to build better relations with those charged with enforcing our rights. And achieve long-lasting changes that can and will improve safety and courtesy for everyone on the roads.

We won the battle.

But in doing so, we may have shot ourselves in the foot. And cost us an opportunity for dialogue that may not come again.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story; there are simply far too many to thank each of you individually.

……..

Local

The media seems to be coming down on the other side of Gil Cedillo’s veto of the North Figueroa road diet — a veto that may or may not be legal.

Construction delays are keeping a new section of the LA River Greenway from opening.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride rolls through Lakewood on Sunday, August 3rd.

Neon Tommy looks at how bikes empower women.

 

State

New Seal Beach bike paths help close some of the final links in Orange County’s 66 mile OC Loop. Note to Press-Telegram: bike riders can actually ride anywhere they want in Downey, or anywhere else for that matter.

Caltrans will widen bike lanes through Chico to improve a dangerous section of roadway.

 

National

Google Maps now allows you to check elevations on your route, whether you want to seek out hills or avoid them.

Colorado Springs CO cyclists are tired of riding in the killing zone.

If you want to talk with the mayor of Fort Worth, you’d better get on your bike. Meanwhile, neighboring Dallas has a new bike czar.

New Orleans riders rally to demand safer streets.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer says cyclists aren’t a menace on the roads, comparing the one Canadian killed by a bike in 2010 with the 2,227 killed by cars. He’s got a point.

Indian army cyclists ride over 400 miles through the Himalayas, at altitudes up to 19,000 feet in an attempt to set a new record.

Talk about a good cause. A cyclist is planning to spend a full year riding across Ghana to meet 25,000 people and raise funds to provide shelter and healthcare for the county’s homeless street kids.

A young Kiwi rider overcomes diabetes to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

Cyclist deaths expose a culture clash on the congested streets of Sydney, Australia; thanks to New Colonist for the heads-up.

The best way to see Beijing is by bike.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Before you build that bike jump, put a little thought into how you’re going to land. A Dutch pro miraculously avoids death on both Malaysian Airlines disasters.

And a special thanks to Cycling in the Southbay’s Seth Davidson for his very kind words and high praise.

 

OC Sheriff threatens to victimize an Orange County cyclist a second time; road raging driver allowed to walk

Prepare to get mad.

Or maybe livid is a better word.

Just a day after a widely circulated open letter called on the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to charge a truck driver who used his vehicle as a weapon to threaten a cyclist, the department recommended that charges be filed.

Against the victim.

According to the LA Times, Bryan Larsen was riding his bike on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point on May 31st when he captured video of a truck driver attempting to run him off the road before the passenger — who turned out to be the driver’s wife — hits him with a thrown Gatorade bottle; they then try to smoke him out as they took off.

Maybe she thought he looked thirsty.

Larsen was originally told that no charges could be filed because sheriff’s deputies did not actually witness the assault themselves.

Which is not true, of course.

Police are required to witness an event in order to file a traffic violation or misdemeanor charge; however, there’s no such requirement for felony charges. And using a large truck to intimidate a vulnerable road user should certainly qualify.

I’ve also been told by members of other departments that video footage can be used as evidence, as well as eye witness testimony. At the time, Larsen was riding with another cyclist who could verify everything seen on the video.

After the video went viral and was picked up by local news stations, the sheriff’s department reconsidered and conducted an investigation. Though based on the results, not much of one.

Even though the driver reportedly used his massive truck as a weapon to threaten the rider and attempt to force him off the road, they declined to charge him with anything. At all.

Instead, the Orange County Register reports they recommended that the OC District Attorney file an assault and battery charge against the driver’s wife.

And that charges be filed against the victim for apparently inciting the attack through his use of obscene language directed at the couple.

Charges are also being recommended against the bicyclist, he said, who is suspected of using “offensive words in public, likely to provoke a violent reaction.” Officials suspect the cyclist made “rude, disparaging comments” before the incident was recorded on his cellphone, (Lt. Jeff) Hallock said.

This, despite the fact the US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that offensive language and gestures are protected as free speech under the 1st Amendment. And even though Hallock makes it clear investigators are only assuming that Larson said something so offensive as to justify a violent attack with a deadly weapon.

As if anything could.

Would they still feel the driver was justified if he had pulled out a gun and started shooting at the cyclist? Legally, there’s no difference; only the choice of weapon used.

And never mind what actually precipitated the event. Unless Larsen suffers from a rare form of Tourette’s Syndrome or mental illness that forced him to swear without any provocation, he was clearly responding to something the driver had done before the camera started recording.

What, we may never know, since the threat of criminal charges will now force him to remain silent. Which is probably the real intent.

Legally, there’s no valid case against him. So the question becomes, why is the OCSD trying so hard to intimidate the victim of a violent crime — while letting the primary perpetrator off scott-free?

And what does it say to every other bike rider south of the Orange Curtain when even video evidence isn’t good enough to get the authorities to give a damn about our safety — let alone threaten us for reporting it?

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and her department are sending a clear message to everyone who travels by two wheels that we remain second-class citizens in her jurisdiction.

And if something bad happens on her watch, just keep your mouth shut about it.

Or else.

What to do when the road rages and bumpers bite — part 2

I thought I knew what to do if I was ever in a cycling collision.

I was wrong.

Yesterday I wrote about defusing a road rage incident, based on what I learned as a result of my own run in with a raging driver. A case in which I did just about everything wrong, costing me any chance of a settlement — as well as blowing any shot at a criminal prosecution.

Hopefully, it’s something you’ll never run into. But if you ever find yourself sprawled on the pavement looking up a looming bumper, maybe you can avoid making the same mistakes I did.

After all, it’s so much more fun to make your own.

Let the driver leave.

No, seriously. After knocking me to the pavement, the driver who hit me started to flee the scene. So I jumped up and blocked her from driving off until she finally turned off the engine and got out of the car.

Wrong move. Not only did I put myself at risk of getting hit a second time, it might have been better if she had run away. Police usually take a hit-and-run far more seriously than they do a mere traffic accident, even if you say it was road rage. Hopefully, any driver would have enough decency to stick around, but if not, just note the license number and get out of the way.

Don’t move anything until you have to.

First, make sure you’re out of traffic or that someone is directing cars around you. Then ignore the people who tell you to move it, and leave your bike exactly where it is. And try to keep the driver from moving his car, as well.

Both are now evidence, and the relative positions between them could help show what really happened. Move either one before the police tell you to, and you’ve eliminated a key part of the puzzle. Or at the very least, pull out your camera phone and take photos of everything before anyone moves anything. Trust me, you’ll need them once the lawyers get involved.

Shut the hell up.

This isn’t a bike ride anymore; it’s a legal case. Who was at fault has yet to be determined — and you are just as likely to be blamed as the driver who hit you, if not more. So remember that anything you say can, and probably will, be used against you.

In my case, I tried to attract attention and keep the driver from fleeing the scene by yelling that she’d tried to kill me. But someone told the police that I’d threatened to kill her, instead. As a result, they refused to give me her contact information — and threatened me with arrest if I tried.

So make sure everyone else is okay. Exchange information. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Listen closely if the driver or passengers say anything, and write it down if you can find a pen and paper. But keep your own lips zipped until it’s time to talk with the investigating officer.

You’re the victim. So act like it.

As soon as the driver got out of her car, she screamed that it was my fault for being in her way. So I found myself yelling back to defend myself against my attacker. Or at least, that’s how it felt from my perspective.

But as bystanders began to arrive, what they saw was a grown man yelling at a middle-aged woman — with no knowledge that she had just used her car as a weapon to run me down. So guess which one they felt sorry for?

I’m not suggesting that you lie or exaggerate. But how sympathetic you seem to the bystanders will determine whose side they’re on — and could influence what they tell the police.

Never refuse medical care

The fact is, you probably are hurt. But you may not know it yet, as the adrenalin and endorphins flooding your brain mask any pain.

So when the paramedics ask if you want to go to the hospital, the answer is always yes. The charges the driver may face will depend largely on the severity of your injuries, as will any future settlement you might receive. And the police will take the case more seriously if they know you’ve been injured.

I refused transportation to the hospital, so the official police report said I was uninjured. And that never changed, even after I was diagnosed with a broken arm and permanent vascular damage.

Be prepared for bias

As I waited for the police to arrive, I was surprised to hear bystanders, who had no idea what happened, say it was my fault because those aggressive, arrogant cyclists never obey the law.

But I was shocked to hear similar comments come from the supposedly impartial officer conducting the investigation. Even though I was stopped at a stop sign when she hit me, the driver claimed I’d run the stop sign and fell over while turning onto the cross street. The investigating officer said he believed her because “all you guys run stop signs.”

Expect to explain the evidence

The simple fact is, many, if not most, police officers don’t receive adequate training in investigating bike accidents. So chances are, they may miss or misinterpret key evidence proving who was really at fault.

In my case, the officers didn’t understand that it wasn’t possible to fall to my left while making a high-speed right turn, as the driver had claimed. And they didn’t grasp that the imprint of the chainwheel on my calf could only have occurred if my foot was firmly planted on the ground at the time of impact. So be prepared to walk them through the evidence. But don’t be surprised if they don’t believe you.

Don’t take no for an answer

This was probably the biggest mistake I made. After conducting their investigation, the lead officer said it was a “he said, she said” situation, and let the driver go without a ticket or charges — then tried to intimidate me by saying I could be charged with filing a false police report if I continued to argue with their decision.

It worked.

So I settled for an incomplete and inconclusive police report that virtually eliminated any chance of justice, financial or otherwise. What I should have done — and what you should do in a similar situation — was insist on talking to a supervisor and demanding a fair and unbiased examination of the evidence.

And if you still don’t get satisfaction, call the station and ask to talk to the watch commander.

Maybe if enough of us do, things will start to change.

Update: The LAPD now has four bike liaisons representing each of the four Traffic Divisions. You can find their email addresses — which is the best way to contact them — on the Resources page.

One more bit of advice.

Since my road rage incident, I’ve taken to wearing a helmet cam and recoding all the time I spend riding in traffic. It may look silly, and it may be awkward and inconvenient, but it’s your best way to prove what really happened in any traffic situation.

If nothing else, you’ll end up with lots of stupid driver tricks to post on YouTube.

 

What to do when the road rages and bumpers bite — part 1

I’m going to do something today I usually try very hard not to do.

Repeat myself.

But lately, I’ve heard and seen a lot of reports about conflicts between bike riders and road raging drivers, and sometimes, riders taking out their frustrations on motorists, deserving or not. 

A few years back, I offered my own advice on the subject, as well as advice on what to do if you’re the victim of a collision, based strictly on my own personal experience. 

The advice still stands. But unless you’ve been following this site from the beginning, chances are, you may not have seen it before. 

And even if you have, a refresher might be in order to help keep you safe on the roads, and protect your interests if the worst ever happens.

……..

“Boy, boy, crazy boy, get cool boy! Got a rocket in your pocket, keep coolly cool boy!”

— Cool, from West Side Story

On a good day, nothing beats a good ride.

Days when the sun is shining and traffic effortlessly parts to let you glide by. And you find yourself offering a nod and a wave to express your gratitude for the courtesy of others on the road.

And there are the other days.

Days when traffic snarls and tempers flare. When horns become curses and cars are brandished like threats.

In most cases, that’s as far as it goes.

But when steel and glass impact flesh and bone — intentionally or otherwise — how you respond in the first few minutes before and after can go a long way in determining whether you finish your ride. Or whether you have a case.

I was the victim of a road rage attack a few years back, and in retrospect, I did almost everything wrong. Over the next couple days, I’d like to share some of the painful lessons I learned so you’ll know what to do if, God forbid, it ever happens to you.

Maybe you’ll be smarter than I was and find a way out that doesn’t pass through the emergency room. Or lose your case before it starts.

Let’s start with those precious few minutes before the impact, when there’s still time to de-escalate and find an exit strategy — or at least find a way to protect yourself and your legal rights.

Ride courteously

Let’s face it. There are hotheads on the road. A driver might be mad because he had a fight with his significant other. Maybe he’s an aggressive driver who doesn’t want to share the road. Or maybe he — or in this case, she — is just a bike-hating jerk. How you react to them can go a long way in determining whether that anger gets directed towards you. So always ride courteously. And if you see signs that a driver may be angry or acting in an aggressive manner, try to give them a very wide berth.

Ride legally

I won’t to tell you how to ride. But I will make one simple point: As Bob Mionske observed, whether or not you obey traffic laws could determine whether you have a legal case in the event of a collision or road rage incident. Simply put, if you run a stop sign or red light, or fail to signal a turn or lane change, chances are, you will be found at least partially at fault regardless of what the driver may have done.

And not just during the incident; police and lawyers will look for anyone who may have seen you riding in the miles and weeks leading up to the incident. So the red light you blew through half an hour before, or even last week, may be used to show that you probably didn’t stop at the stop sign when you got hit — even if, as in my case, the physical evidence shows you did. It may not be fair, but that’s the world we live in.

Keep your fingers to yourself

It’s a bad habit, one I’ve struggled to break with limited success. Unlike drivers, we don’t have horns to express our fear and anger, so it only seems natural to flip off someone who’s just cut you off or threatened your safety in some way. The problem is, it doesn’t work. I’ve never seen anyone respond to a rude gesture with an apology; instead, it only escalates the situation. At best, they may ignore you or respond in kind; at worst, it gives an angry driver a reason to retaliate.

And never, ever flip off a driver behind you.

Let dangerous drivers pass

You have a right to the road, no less than anyone with a motor and four wheels. And you have every right to take the lane when the situation warrants it; drivers are legally required to follow or pass safely. But just because it’s the law doesn’t mean that’s what they’re going to do. So the question becomes whether it’s better to stay where you are and fight for your right to the road, or pull over and let the driver — and the situation — pass.

Before my road rage incident, I would have stayed right where I was and held the lane. But I’ve learned the hard way that cars are bigger than I am, and they hurt. So when you find an angry driver on your ass, pull over and let the jerk pass. Then take down the license number, pull out your cell phone and call the police.

Snap a photo

Your camera phone may be one of the most important safety tools you own; I keep mine within easy reach in a Topeak case attached just behind my handlebars. When tempers flare, simply pull it out and snap a photo of the other person, as well as the license of their vehicle. Instantly, you’ve established a record of the incident and documented the identity of the driver — destroying the sense of anonymity that allows most violent acts to occur.

I’ve used mine on a number of occasions. And in every case, the driver has backed down and driven away.

Next: What to do after a collision

 

Morning Links: BOLO for dangerous San Fernando Valley driver and disappearing Bike Plan bikeways

An impatient Ford truck driver allegedly ran over a cyclist at Winnetka and Roscoe last Saturday morning, after honking and telling the rider to get out of his way so he could make a right. He then backed up and fled the scene.

A photo included in the report clearly shows the license number of the truck; no word on whether the rider was injured or if incident has been reported to the police.

If not, it should be.

Update: Frequent contributor Micheal Eisenberg reports seeing two apparently uninjured riders talking to a police officer at Roscoe and Winnetka as he rode by Saturday morning.

……..

LA’s city council-approved 2010 bike plan has been incorporated into the draft Mobility Plan 2035. Except, apparently, the parts that haven’t. Could this mark the return of the much maligned — and deservedly so — “Currently Infeasible” category from the original draft bike plan?

Meanwhile, City Planning is hosting a webinar Thursday evening to discuss year two of the bike plan; maybe you can ask them where the missing miles went.

……..

Local

The rebranded Gran Fondo Italia has dumped the Beverly Hills edition.

Joe Anthony captures a hyper drive nighttime ride through the streets of LA on his bike cam.

Make your plans for Thursday night, when a Treats and Beats ride will be held to celebrate the opening of a new Huntington Park bike parklet.

Monterey Park and BikeSGV host a free, family friendly community bike ride for Earth Day. Meanwhile, the very busy BikeSGV hosts an Open House Bike Social to kickoff Bike Month.

Five Azusa Pacific students are biking from Seattle to New York to raise funds for clean water.

 

State

Streetsblog updates transportation bills before the state legislature, including a proposed vulnerable user law and a rapidly sinking bike tax.

Orange County officials host a workshop on bike safety following recent bicycling deaths; that should be the response to every bike and pedestrian fatality, anywhere.

Cross champion Tim Johnson bridges the gap between racing and advocacy.

In advance of Bike to Work Day, the no sweat way to bike to work.

San Francisco commits to 24 Vision Zero projects to eliminate bike and pedestrian deaths.

A Chico State student sees the thief ride by as she’s reporting her stolen bike to the police.

 

National

A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center looks at the whack jobs people and groups behind the anti-Agenda 21 conspiracy theories and the damage they do.

Bob Mionske discusses what to do when you’re not the slowest vehicle on the road; California also allows cyclists to pass on the right.

Is the Internet threatening the iconic bike-riding Mormon missionaries?

A Seattle bike shop owner is charged with running a chop shop to fence stolen bikes. Schmuck.

Yes, says a writer from my hometown, drivers have a responsibility to keep cyclists safe.

American bicycling may have been born in Newton Mass.

Needless to say, the alleged jackass who killed a triathlete in New Orleans over the weekend blames the victims for swerving into his path; physical evidence and witness testimony suggest he plowed into them instead of changing lanes to go around — while driving with a suspended license, no less.

 

International

London will cut speed limits to 20 mph in the central city in a bid to save lives.

Anti-bike saboteurs have struck once again, strewing nails in the path of riders participating in a UK sportive. Crap like this is a crime, not at prank; a sudden flat could cause a rider to fall, leading to potentially catastrophic injuries.

A bike-centric service was held for the world’s fastest bike-riding police officer, killed in a British velodrome accident last month.

While Brit bike commuting is on the upswing, it’s dropped over a quarter in the Cotswolds.

Velonews wraps up Sunday’s unpredictable Paris-Roubaix.

After running down a bike rider while texting, an Aussie driver complains to police about the damage the rider caused to her car, and says she doesn’t believe texting while driving could cause a collision with a cyclist, even though she swears she wasn’t. Nice.

 

Finally…

Your next text could be from your bike. Telling you it’s been stolen.

And Major Taylor’s 101-year old track bike could be yours for just $20,000; why isn’t this in a museum already? Seriously, if you don’t know who Major Taylor was by now, you should.

A happy and blessed Pesach to all who observe it!

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

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