Tag Archive for Santa Monica

Santa Monica police blame the victim in a new bike safety video, two better videos and your Morning Links

Santa Monica police are offering up a new PSA suggesting that stopping for stop signs while riding a bike is child’s play. And the best way to ensure you’ll get home to yours.

Children, that is.

It’s not like their message isn’t reasonable — both the law and common sense dictate that we should observe traffic signals just like anyone else. But while they’ve undoubtedly scored points with bike-hating residents, they could have done a lot more good by focusing on the need for motorists to pay attention and drive safely around bike riders.

Which is what share the road really means, despite the way some drivers — and police departments, apparently — try to twist it these days.

After all, even the most dangerous cyclists pose a risk primarily to themselves, while dangerous drivers pose a risk to everyone around them.

I don’t have any records on what may have caused bike injury collisions in Santa Monica. But neither of the two bicyclists killed in Santa Monica in recent years ran a red light or stop sign. Antonio Cortez died after riding into an open car door while allegedly riding drunk, while Erin Galligan was run down from behind by while riding home from work on PCH.

Even if he was as stumbling drunk as SMPD officials implied, Cortez would probably still be alive today if a driver hadn’t left his car door open in violation of California law.

And to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever suggested that Galligan did anything wrong, other than occupy the same road space as the speeding hit-and-run driver who killed her.

Maybe the SMPD’s next bike safety videos should focus on closing your damn car door and not running away like a coward after you kill someone.

Then again, this is the same department that has promised to crackdown on scofflaw cyclists more than once. Even though they can’t legally focus enforcement on specific violators as opposed to violations.

That is, they can legally ticket everyone who rolls stop signs, for instance. But they can’t direct their enforcement towards cyclists as opposed to everyone else on the road.

And they should know that.

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As long as we’re sharing videos, here’s one from the Encino Velodrome’s recent Swap Your Legs Race.

Meanwhile, a great video says it’s time to fix LA’s broken sidewalks. And even our Twitter-using mayor liked it.

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The Daily News is the latest to notice that current LA law bans kids playing on or near streets.

LA’s first protected bike lane has already seen better days.

How many people get to work car-free in your neighborhood?

A writer for City Watch says the Pacoima Wash bike and pedestrian pathway recently approved by the San Fernando City Council has the power to transform the area.

Zev says you’ll soon be able to sponsor your own section of bike path in LA County.

Drivers can — and should — cross into a bike lane to make a turn, even when there’s a solid white line. California law requires drivers to make a right from the lane closest to the curb, and never turn across a bike lane.

Fair warning to Los Angeles, as Oakland agrees to pay out $3.25 million to a cyclist seriously injured after hitting a pothole. The city had received numerous complaints about the pothole-ridden road but failed to fix it.

Across the bay, San Francisco is on its way to becoming a bike utopia.

How bicycling helped build Kickstarter.

A new helmet attachment promises to keep you cool by soaking your head. No, really.

Turns out the wicked witch of the Wall Street Journal was wrong, while famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz says it’s time for vigorous law enforcement against reckless drivers before they kill someone, not after.

Drivers are at fault for injury collisions with bicyclists in a Georgia county two-thirds of the time. But why did they illustrate the story with a crashed motorcycle?

A documentary maker for the BBC moves to LA, but gives up bicycling to work due to “distracted drivers going 50 mph in the dark.” But isn’t that half the fun? Thanks to Jim Pettipher for the heads-up.

Funny how often totally insane cyclists attack perfectly innocent motorists for absolutely no rational reason. Seriously, no one should ever attack anyone else on the roadway or use their U-lock as a weapon. But something tells me there’s probably another side to stories like this.

The owner of Soigneur magazine looks at five up and coming bicycling groups, and manages to be only somewhat offensive, particularly in regards to women riders.

A writer for the Guardian says cyclists aren’t the enemy, and it’s time to end the us versus them mentality.

An Australian writer suggests bike cams have been beneficial, but oddly worries about privacy concerns even though nothing that occurs in public view is ever private.

Your next helmet could look like an alien brain if you’re willing to spend more than $1000 for the privilege.

Finally, after an Aussie BMW worker calls for intentionally dooring cyclists and posting the videos online, the story somehow devolves into a debate over licensing cyclists, rather than protecting them from illegal assaults by bike-hating jerks.

And Boyonabike found this bike lane fail at Cal Poly Pomona. Are they trying to tell us something?

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Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day — Main Street Santa Monica goes neon green

New green bike lanes below Pico in Santa Monica.

New green bike lanes below Pico in Santa Monica.

When the revelers stumble out onto Main Street in Santa Monica tonight, they may think the street has been dressed just for those who pretend to be Irish by getting fighting drunk for a night.

But they’d be wrong.

Even if the pavement matches the green beer they’ll soon be regurgitating onto it.

Because actually, the street has been repainted for your benefit. And not just for one night.

As of Friday, the much maligned door zone bike lane on the Santa Monica stretch of Main Street has been widened, and repainted in a vivid shade of green guaranteed to cause conniptions in a Hollywood location scout.

Or at least, that’s the effect a similar shade had in Downtown LA.

Intermittent patches of green lead up to intersections.

Intermittent patches of green lead up to intersections; you can see where the lane marker has been moved left.

Maybe that’s why the lanes are only intermittent south of Pico, where they match up with LA’s normally hued lanes through Venice. And full green only north of Pico, where they pass through the city’s civic center, where presumably, fewer film permits are in demand.

Or maybe Santa Monica just recognized the risk posed by all those drivers trying to access City Hall and the LA County Courthouse.

In fact, that’s long been on of the mostly likely places to get right hooked among my usual riding routes, as confused drivers cut across the bike lane to access Civic Center parking.

Broken lane leading to the entrance to City Hall/Courthouse parking lot.

Broken lane leading to the entrance to City Hall/Courthouse parking lot.

Whether a bright shade of green will help with that, or convince drivers they don’t belong there — despite the break in the paint — and make them more likely to turn across the lane rather than merge into it as the law and safety requires, remains to be determined.

I’d rather see the full green on the south section as a vivid reminder to drivers to look for riders before opening their doors or turning across the lane. We’ll have to see if the city’s spot job will do the job.

On the other hand, that extra foot of bike lane should make a huge difference by allowing cyclists to ride further outside the door zone without having to leave the bike lane.

Here’s a fast-forward view of the civic center lanes on both sides between Pico and Santa Monica Place.

Let’s just hope they hose them down in front of the bars Tuesday morning.

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Just down the road and around the corner on Abbott Kinney, LADOT installed the City of Angels’ third and fourth bike corrals last week, on a street that has long suffered from a lack of adequate bike parking.

When every other parking meter has a bike attached — which is technically illegal, though rarely enforced — it suggests an unmet demand, which the city has wisely heeded.

Even if, on the day I checked it out, one had as many hipsters enjoying lunch in and on it as it did locked-up bikes.

Just out of the frame, one more bike and two more guys sitting on the railing having lunch.

Just out of the frame, one more bike and two more guys sitting on the railing having lunch.

A brand new bike corral, full on a Friday afternoon.

A brand new bike corral, nearly full on a Friday afternoon.

One of the new bike corrals adorned with the new LADOT #bikeLA sticker.

One of the new bike corrals adorned with the new LADOT #bikeLA sticker.

 

 

Two of SoCal’s best bike advocates are finalists for national Advocate of the Year award

When I started this site, it seemed like you could count the female bike advocates on one hand.

And still have enough fingers left over for the inappropriate gesture of your choice. Wherever you chose to direct it.

Times, thankfully, have changed.

In only a few short years, women riders have risen to the ranks of the most notable advocates fighting for the rights and safety of cyclists with organizations throughout the US. As well as right here in suddenly soggy Southern California.

Two, in particular, have drawn attention for helping reshape the cities in which they live and ride. And I’ve had the privilege of watching both develop into people I would not want to meet in a metaphorical dark alley if I stood on the wrong side of support for bicycling.

Which is not to say Santa Monica’s Cynthia Rose isn’t one of the most pleasant human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

Hard to believe that it was only a few years ago that she was asking me for advice on how to work with city officials to improve the lot of bike riders and improve relations with police in the LA area’s city by the bay. Fortunately for all of us, she didn’t take it.

Instead, she forged her own path, building close working relationships with city officials and forming Santa Monica Spoke — now an affiliate chapter of the LACBC — in the process. And leading to her election to the board of the California Bicycle Coalition.

Now she is one of the most knowledgeable, insightful and persuasive advocates anywhere. And the formerly less than bike-friendly city she represents is challenging, if not surpassing, Long Beach for supremacy as the area’s top bike city.

Whenever someone says change is too hard, if not impossible, I point to Cynthia as a perfect example of what one highly motivated person can do.

And yes, I know it’s not polite to point.

On the other hand, San Diego’s Sam Ollinger is a force of nature.

I first got to know Sam as a fellow blogger who I often linked to as she covered the nascent bike scene in our neighbor to the south with rare passion and intelligence.

It was enough to get her an invitation to join the board of the local bicycle coalition, just as it did me a seeming lifetime ago. But she soon found herself butting heads with the entrenched interests of vehicular cyclists who have long dominated the city John Forester calls home.

She also asked my opinion more than once in late night emails on how she should proceed against seemingly unbearable friendly fire. Frankly, I don’t know if she ever took it.

But she quickly went from board member of the SDBC to founder of BikeSD, the city’s first and only 501(c)4 bicycling non-profit dedicated to political action.

And in the process, has helped reshape the future of bicycling in San Diego, as well as the present. Including the recent election for mayor in which both candidates came out strongly in support of bicycling.

Like Cynthia, she finds also herself on the board of the state’s leading bicycling organization.

Together, they have already significantly improved bicycling in Southern California, and are working to put their stamp on the state as a whole. And inspiring women and bicycling advocates of all stripes throughout the US.

Especially now that both are finalists for next week’s Advocate of the Year Award.

I can’t speak for any of the other nominees. But based on from my own personal experiences with both, don’t ask me to choose between the two.

Each has grown to be among the most outstanding people and bicycling advocates it has ever been my pleasure to know.

And both Cynthia Rose and Sam Ollinger more deserve the award.

If it was up to me, it would end in a tie.

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Speaking of Cynthia Rose, the Spoke is asking for tax deductible donations to send her to next week’s National Bike Summit 2014. Just $1500 is needed to add her voice to the national bike congress.

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Now for the bad news.

In an incredibly misguided decision, a California appeals court has ruled that the next distracted driver who plows into a cyclist with face firmly planted in his or her cell phone map app won’t be breaking the law.

In a case involving a Sacramento motorist, the 5th District Court of Appeal said the state’s ban on hand-held cell phone use only applies to making calls or texting, rather than using it for any other purpose.

So in theory, a driver could be looking at a phone for virtually any purpose, from texting to reading email or downloading porn behind the wheel.

And if a cop happened to spot him or her, all they’d have to do is call up their mapping app before pulling over, making the hand-held cell phone ban virtually unenforceable.

Hopefully, this case will go to the California Supreme Court where, with any luck, the judges won’t have their heads planted so far up their own posteriors.

Because this wrong-headed decision just put the lives of everyone on our streets at risk.

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After years of complaints from lost bike riders, LADOT promises wayfinding signs throughout the city. And offers you a chance to check them out in advance.

A writer for the Times says less parking for cars, more parking for bikes. On the other hand, the usual bike-hating letter writers aren’t so understanding.

Loz Feliz locals say they’d rather keep all their traffic lanes on the Hyperion bridge, and screw anyone who doesn’t use a car to cross it.

Better Bike offers an open letter to the Beverly Hills City Council in support of bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd through the city, which comes up for a vote before the council next Tuesday.

A Santa Monica police sting helps a theft victim get his stolen bike back after spotting it on Craigslist, along with two others.

The first local non-LA ciclovia could follow Huntington Drive through the San Gabriel Valley: thanks to BikeSGV for the tip. Maybe you were photographed at one of the previous CicLAvias.

A permanent memorial was installed on the Cal Poly Pomona campus today to honor fallen cyclist and Cal Poly student Ivan Aguilar, who was killed on the campus one year ago today.

When you’re riding in Carson with meth and a concealed shotgun, don’t commit vehicle code violations, whatever that means. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Cycling in the South Bay looks at who brakes for whom. Or at all.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reports a cyclist was injured in a collision with an SUV on Thursday. But why do they insist on putting “Cannondale” in quotation marks when they don’t do that with “Acura RDX?” Not that bikes are treated like others or anything.

More on California’s proposed vulnerable user law. Personally, I’d much rather see a modified version of the European strict liability laws, which places greater responsibility for avoiding collisions on the operator of the more dangerous vehicle.

Introducing a new line of bike-to-boardroom bicycling business attire, and creative ways to light your bike at night.

Yesterday’s road raging Portland bike rider attempts to explain himself, sort of.

Yeah, let’s blame the victim for riding on the street, not the hit-and-run driver who killed him.

It’s not the New York bike lanes that cause double parking, even if the local press thinks the ones getting the tickets are the victims. And sometimes, it’s the cops doing the blocking.

Good thing the era of doping is over, as a Venezuelan pro tests off the charts in blood screening tests.

London will spend £300 million — the equivalent of $500 million — to fix 33 killer junctions; does LA even know where the most dangerous intersections for cyclists and pedestrians are?

A shocking Chinese study shows the higher the speed at which a car is travelling, the more likely it is to kill a cyclist or pedestrian. In other surprising results, water is wet and it gets dark when you turn out the lights.

An Aussie paper calls for a 6 mph speed limit for bikes to prevent injuries to pedestrians, but doesn’t suggest a mandatory helmet law for anyone on foot. Or slowing down drivers to prevent injuries to cyclists.

Another Aussie paper says there’s no suggestion that a fatal bike crash was deliberate. So why did they suggest it?

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Finally, a bike-hating Chicago columnist says fuck cyclists because they — we — are worse than Hitler, and no one should be on a bike if they’re older than 13.  Or rather,

Bicyclists are worse than Hitler carrying a cancer death-ray shooting puppies, playing Justin Bieber music on repeat while your cell phone has 2 percent battery.

I realize he’s trying — and failing — to be funny. He should also fail at keeping his job.

Then again, he could take lessons from the semi-literate bike hater who called London cyclists wretched “Talebans” who poison people’s lives.

Cyclists-Talebans

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

Lots of news — SaMo Blvd bike lanes, CicLAvia 2014, misguided SaMo Op-Ed piece, possible Olin charges

Sold out auditorium for the recent Southern California Cycling Summit; see below.

Sold out auditorium for the recent Southern California Cycling Summit; see below.

Let’s catch up on some of the recent news.

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First up, Westside riders owe a big thanks to Mark Elliott of Better Bike.

Elliot has led the fight — almost single-handedly at times — to improve safety and ridability in the traditionally bike-unfriendly Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

A comparison to a lone salmon swimming upstream would be putting it mildly; the mythical Sisyphus would be more apt.

Yet somehow Elliot persevered, resulting in a 1-year “pilot program” to install bike lanes on Burton Way, and bike lanes and sharrows on North Crescent Drive. While I’ve never had cause to ride Crescent, the Burton Way bike lanes have become my favored eastbound route out of the city — when I’m willing to risk my life riding through Downtown Beverly Hills to get there.

For the past year or more, Elliot has led the fight to include bike lanes on a reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd when it goes under the knife in 2015, providing a vital missing link between existing lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

Despite overwhelming odds and the opposition of the city’s paid consultant and members of the Blue-Ribbon Committee established to study the issue, his efforts have once again carried the day, winning approval by a 9-2 vote of the committee.

Then again, the fight isn’t over yet.

The committee’s recommendation now goes to the Beverly Hills City Council for approval next month, on a date to be determined. Hopefully, we’ll get enough advance notice of the meeting to show up and voice our support.

But for the first time, it looks like we might actually get a near-continuous Santa Monica bike lane stretching from the 405 in West LA to east of La Cienga in WeHo. And we have him to thank for it.

Of course, there still are problems to be solved.

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Next up is the newly announced CicLAvia schedule for 2014.

This year offers three of the exceptionally popular Open Streets events, minus last year’s overly crowded CicLAvia to the Sea and the long-rumored San Fernando Valley CicLAvia. Both are promised for next year, though the former may see a reconfigured route to overcome some of the problems that resulted in near-impassible blocks of bike-congestion on Venice Blvd.

Yet even with just three events on the calendar, it looks like a strong line-up.

The Iconic Wilshire Boulevard route returns on Sunday, April 6th, once again following LA’s main street from Downtown to the Miracle Mile — although Mark Elliot has hinted that Beverly Hills might like to get in on the action. The route visits some of the city’s finest architecture and historical sites, as called out in this guide from the Militant Angeleno.

CicLAvia takes the summer off — perhaps because that Valley route fell through? — before returning with a reconfigured Heart of LA route through the Downtown area on October 5th. This year’s route extends from Echo Park to East LA, as well as traveling the length of Broadway from 9th to Chinatown, with a stop at the relatively new Grand Park.

Finally, the first holiday season CicLAvia will take place on December 7th, with its first full foray into South LA. The route will range from Leimert Park, the cultural center of the Southside, to Central Avenue, the birthplace of West Coast Jazz and home of the legendary Dunbar Hotel. Can’t wait to read the Militant’s guide to this one.

Of course, the question is, does any of this really matter?

And the answer is, of course it does. In ways that many of us, myself included, may not have realized.

LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has written what may be the best and most insightful analysis of what CicLAvia is and can be. And the role it plays in transforming our city for the better.

It’s a must read.

Just don’t read the comments.

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On the opposite side of the coin, there’s this misguided Times opinion piece from a long-time resident of Santa Monica, who blames bikes and urban planning for all the traffic problems in the city.

In it, he laments the young urbanites who have invaded his city, while simultaneously proclaiming that the majority of the city’s 92,000 residents can’t ride bikes and live too far to walk to the city’s newly hip urban core.

So wait.

Despite the influx of moneyed young people, most city residents are too out of shape — or maybe just too lazy — to get on a bicycle? They can’t be too old, given the number of riders I know in their 70s, 80s and even 90s who somehow manage to ride on a regular basis.

And if no one can ride, where do all those casual bike riders come from?

As someone who used to work in the city over decade ago, I can testify that Santa Monica’s traffic problems existed years before more than a handful of bike lanes appeared on the street. It frequently took me over an hour to drive the 6.5 miles from my beachside office to my apartment just 6.5 miles to the east — and not because of any bikes on the streets.

And don’t even get me started on virtually impassible Lincoln Blvd, which has long been avoided by bicyclists — despite being a designated bike route — because of the heavy automotive traffic.

Then he complains about bicyclists who position themselves in traffic — “because they can!” — moments after complaining about the bike lanes that move riders safely out of the way.

For someone who claims to have lived in Santa Monica for nearly three decades, he doesn’t seem to understand the city very well.

Or urban planning, for that matter.

Or bicycling, at all.

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The investigation into the December 8th death of cyclist, entertainment lawyer and former Napster exec Milt Olin is nearly complete. According to the LA Times, the case will be presented to the District Attorney to determine whether charges will be filed.

The Daily News reports the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed Olin when his patrol car somehow drifted into the bike lane on Mulholland Hwy could face a charge of vehicular manslaughter, or possibly even felony manslaughter.

“Could” being the key word.

It’s also possible, if not probable, that the DA will decline to file charges based on the evidence presented by the Sheriff’s investigators. And no word on whether charges will be filed against the department if it’s found that the deputy was following policy by using the onboard computer in his patrol car while driving, as some have suggested.

And while the department has gone out of its way to stress the independence of the investigation and deny any special treatment, they have guaranteed that the results will be second guessed — no matter what they conclude — by investigating a death involving their own deputy, rather than turning it over to an outside agency such as the CHP.

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The Metro Board approved a motion calling on the transit agency to look into a countywide bike share program (Item 58).

While there’s no guarantee such a program will actually be approved, it could provide deep pockets to back the system, while avoiding the Balkanization caused by competing and possibly incompatible programs in various cities.

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(L-R) Anthony Reguero, President PTE Events, Chris Carmichael, author Time-Crunched Cyclist, Rahsaan Bahati, President Bahati Foundation and Michael Bell, Oakley.

(L-R) Anthony Reguero, President PTE Events, Chris Carmichael, author Time-Crunched Cyclist, Rahsaan Bahati, President Bahati Foundation and Michael Bell, Oakley.

I received a press release this past weekend from the Bahati Foundation about the SoCal Cycling Summit 2014, held at Oakley Headquarters in Foothill Ranch, CA.

Unfortunately, I found out about it long after the January 14th event was over.

I say unfortunately because I’m a big fan of the efforts of the foundation, founded by former National Criterium champ Rahsaan Bahati, to bring the joy of bicycling to inner city youths.

And because I would have enjoyed hearing from famed cycling coach Chris Carmichael, author of The Time-Crunched Cyclist.

Summit attendees representing a diversified audience that ran the gamut– Olympic medalists, serious weekend enthusiasts as well as international competitors, filled the 400-seat amphitheater to hear Carmichael discuss his revolutionary time-crunched cyclist technique. “The SoCal Cycling Summit is a wonderful platform for our foundation to share its vision in providing assistance to inner-city youth through cycling,” said Rahsaan Bahati, founder Bahati Foundation.

“Athletes want to stay engaged in the sports they love, but it can be a difficult balance for working parents and career professionals. The time-crunched athlete program is a new approach to endurance training, one that actually takes advantage of a busy athlete’s limited training time. It’s been successful for tens of thousands of athletes, and I look forward to sharing the program with everyone at the SoCal Cycling Summit,” stated Carmichael.

Maybe next year.

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Things aren’t looking good for long-planned bike lanes on North Figueroa Blvd, which had been approved and ready to implement until new City Councilmember Gil Cedillo appeared to throw a wrench in the works — despite his previous support for the plan.

As a result, the LACBC is calling on bike riders to contact the councilmember to express their support for the lanes, especially if you live or work in the area.

Since the candidate forum we sponsored in 2013, we have seen bike lanes installed on Colorado and the Eagle Rock bike lanes extended to Colorado.  All that is left to complete the backbone network in Northeast LA is N. Figueroa.

The residents of Northeast LA are scratching their heads thinking why haven’t they been installed yet?  After all, they were packaged for last year’s projects alongside Colorado/Eagle Rock.  This is a good opportunity to raise the question and urge Councilman Cedillo to keep his promise and install bike lanes on this very important corridor. Please join us TODAY for a day of action urging Councilmember Cedillo to add bike lanes on N. Figueroa between York and San Fernando!

Call Cedillo’s office and share your thoughts.  Dial his downtown office (213) 473-7001 and let his staffer know why you think bike lanes on N. Figueroa are good for everyone.  Then, email alek@la-bike.org and let me know how it went.  Remember to stay positive!

You can find a sample script here.

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Finally, the CEO of Ford gets it. Even if certain residents of Santa Monica don’t.

 

Just another ride on the Westside, and the Department of DIY finds a way on the LA River

Please forgive yesterday’s radio silence.

I try to post something every day, or weekday, anyway; even bike bloggers need a little time off. But sometimes the demands of daily life get in the way.

And sometimes, I just need to get in a good ride on a perfect fall LA day. Good ride being a relative term, if Westside drivers have any say in the matter.

Then there’s the problem of the day’s designated Preventer of Productivity climbing up unbidden for an extended round of petting, ear scratching and belly rubs, forming an impermeable barrier between my laptop and lap.

Fortunately, I’ve learned to edit video one handed.

Sienna on lap

Then there’s another project that’s been occupying most of my time lately, which I hope to share with you in the coming weeks as progress allows.

Stay tuned.

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Meanwhile, Patrick Pascal sends word that the Department of DIY has been hard at work on wayfinding signage on the LA River bike path near the southern end of the Frogtown section, which he describes as “both professional and also informative, useful and long overdue.”

Word is that the city is working on a half million dollar wayfinding system of their own, which will cover bikeways across the city.

But whether they can do a better job than the person or persons who took it upon themselves to craft these particularly well-done on-path street signs remains to be seen.

la river path denbyA well-deserved tip of the hat, whoever you are.

New Santa Monica park, West Fork of the San Gabriel River ride, and good news on Dale Stetina

I can think of worse places to take a break

I can think of worse places to take a break

Congratulations to Santa Monica on the beautiful new Tongva Park, which has quickly become one of my favorite places to stop for a peaceful riding break.

I’m not sure if bike riding is allowed in the park, since Santa Monica bans sidewalk riding. But it’s not prohibited on the park regulations sign.

And there’s secure bike parking near the entrance on Ocean Ave.

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I haven’t had a chance to mention this weekend’s ride hosted by the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles yet.

The ride, co-sponsored by the LACBC and authors Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, will take riders on a 40-mile tour of the West Fork of the San Gabriel River this Sunday. It features seven miles of single lane, paved roadway closed to automotive traffic, next to a swiftly flowing stream.

Sounds like paradise to me.

Meet at Veterans Freedom Park in Azusa at 8:30 am, rolling at 9.

Or you could take a far less strenuous ride down historic Hollywood Blvd to the popular Sunday Hollywood farmer’s market.

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News broke on Twitter Thursday afternoon that Governor Brown had signed AB 1371, the three-foot passing bill.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t true. We’re still waiting to see if the bill will be a three-time loser at the governor’s hand.

……..

Undocumented immigrants could soon get California drivers licenses if Brown signs the newly passed bill.

Whatever you might think about immigration reform, making licenses available to everyone could dramatically reduce what the LAPD describes as one of the leading causes of hit-and-run, and help ensure the driver who hits you has insurance.

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In a dramatic turnaround, Beverly Hills agrees pedestrian and bike safety are important considerations on the soon-to-be reconfigured Santa Monica Blvd. And that cyclists have a key place on the corridor.

Okay, so where is the real Biking Black Hole, and what have they done with it?

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Good news from Colorado, as US cycling legend Dale Stetina is awake, off the ventilator, walking and talking after suffering a critical brain stem injury in a solo fall caused by an out-of-control driver two weeks ago.

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A boring bike and pedestrian count in Watts. SoCal Cross season starts in DTLA in two weeks. So far, so good for the planned Virgil Ave road diet. KPBS looks at NELA bike shop Coco’s Variety Store. LA hotels embrace the car-free trend; sort of, anyway. Santa Monica approves plans for Bergamot Station, including 15 bike and pedestrian paths. You’re invited to ride around the Santa Monica Airport this Sunday to consider what it could be if it’s not an airport after 2015; I vote for building the region’s only closed-course road bike circuit around the perimeter. Santa Clarita invites artists to design bike racks for the community center.

Santa Maria cyclists get a new bridge bike path. The cost-plagued new Bay Bridge suffers expensive flaws on the bridge’s bike path, as well. Santa Rosa squabbles with homeowners in an exclusive development over access to a bike and pedestrian path. Prosecutors decline to file charges against a Truckee woman who allegedly killed a pedestrian while riding under the influence.

Wheel guards could save cyclists from large trucks, so why aren’t they required in the US? Bicycling Magazine solves your bike commuting dilemmas. The Wall Street Journal looks at office-friendly bike commuting attire; it’s about time women had cycling jeans, too. New bike lights promise to be unstealable and indestructible; on the other hand, Intel wants to light up your clothes. Elly Blue says salmon cycling is a sign something is wrong, and bicycling can make everyone happier. New GPS trackers could find your stolen bike. Greg LeMond is getting back in the bike business at next week’s Interbike in Las Vegas. Seattle’s City Attorney says it’s better not to write tickets at the scene when a vulnerable user is injured. A New Mexico driver is arrested for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist, seven years after he was convicted of vehicular homicide in another case; I’d politely suggest he should never be allowed behind the wheel again. After a Colorado driver hits a bike rider with his truck, he rushes the boy to a doctor — but drives off with his bike. Turns out Lance Armstrong’s lies are protected speech, but his Olympic medal isn’t; protected, that is. Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas looks at the numbers behind last year’s bike crashes. A Pittsburgh cyclist tells the driver who hit him “I did you a huge favor by not dying.” Nicole Kidman is pressing charges against a NY paparazzo who crashed into her on his bike. Miami musician Carlos Bertonatti gets 12 years for the drunken hit-and-run death of a cyclist.

Women pro cyclists issue a manifesto demanding equal treatment starting with the Tour de France; about damn time if you ask me. Then again, it’s also time to stop making women’s gear so girly. Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s war on bikes needs to end. Mountain bike trials specialist Martyn Ashton suffers life-changing spinal injuries in a failed stunt. A Brit woman leaves a note asking for her bike back after it’s stolen, and gets it back with an apology. An English Premier League player is tracked down by Twitter users after challenging the cyclist he hit to find him despite the foreign license plates on his car. A British fundraiser for Jewish charities gets off for killing a bike riding great-grandmother with her Porsche. Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins nearly quit the 2012 Tour midway after an attack by teammate Chris Froome. A fallen Prague cyclist gets a unique memorial. Maybe things really are changing in Iran, as the country gets its first female triathlete. An Aussie cyclist wants to change his guilty plea for killing a 71-year old woman with a push during a road rage dispute. Chinese horse trainers do their best work by bike.

Finally, keep cool on those hot rides with your own handlebar mounted mister. A Florida man takes a pickaxe to his newly purchased bike because he doesn’t like all the Trek logos on it; call me crazy, but weren’t they there when he bought it? And Dear Abby says you really should know better.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske weighs in on Santa Monica cyclist convicted of assault with a deadly weapon

Sometimes I’m surprised by just who reads this blog.

Let alone their willingness to weigh in on the issues we discuss.

Case in point: The other night, I mentioned I’d be writing a piece for LA Streetsblog about the cyclist who pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon after blowing through a red light, and seriously injuring a pedestrian on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

And while I was reaching out to a handful of the area’s leading bike lawyers for comments, I invited any other lawyers who wanted to weigh in on the case to send me their thoughts.

Still, I was surprised to receive an email yesterday from bike lawyer Bob Mionske, Bicycling Magazine’s Road Rights columnist, and author of Bicycling and the Law.

I used some of what he had to say in my piece, which is now online at Streetsblog.

But his entire response is well worth reading, as it shines a light both on issues in the Santa Monica case, and the mentality facing cyclists on the road everywhere.

With regard to the “assault with a deadly weapon” charge against the cyclist in Santa Monica, it seems to me that this is overreach, and is due to a frustration with cycling in general, and scofflaw riding specifically. But as we have witnessed in the aftermath of many a cyclist death under the wheels of a culpable motorist, comments about the scofflaw straw man always emerge. This may be a version of the same mentality. When people are frustrated by some group—in yesterday’s culture, young “hotrodders,” in today’s culture, “scofflaw cyclists”—finding a member of that group who has actually broken the law and been caught may lead to a sort of collective punishment for the entire group, in which the culprit is made an example of.

Looking beyond the particulars of this case, there are two larger issues here.

First, there is the issue of disparate treatment of cyclists who break the law, and drivers who break the law. We can see this in the “Scofflaw Cyclist” meme that cyclists are tarred with. In fact, drivers break the law at least as often as cyclists do, and perhaps more often. And when drivers break the law, they are more likely to be a danger to others than when cyclists break the law. And yet, cyclists are the ones who are tarred with the “Scofflaw” meme, even when they are the law-abiding victims of negligent drivers.

When drivers are negligent and injure or kill a cyclist, are they charged with “assault with a deadly weapon”? Not that I’ve ever heard of. Often, they are coddled with “it was just an accident.” And often, law enforcement bends over backwards to shift the blame to the cyclist, when it is crystal clear that the driver was breaking the law. I have seen this happen many, many times.

Part of the problem we are facing is that we live in a culture where most people, including law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and jury members are drivers. Prosecutors have a high bar of proof when pressing criminal charges, and if the accused was a driver who did something that every driver does, it may be difficult for the prosecutor to convince a jury made up of drivers to find the accused driver guilty of a serious charge. But when the accused is a cyclist, and the general opinion of cyclists is that they are scofflaws, it will be easier for the prosecutor to convince a jury made up of drivers to find the accused cyclist guilty.

There is nothing inherently wrong with pressing charges against cyclists who negligently injure pedestrians. But there is something wrong when we treat cyclists more harshly than we treat drivers who negligently injure cyclists and pedestrians. If as a society we want to start charging cyclists with serious violations when they negligently injure pedestrians, then we’d better get serious about charging motorists with equally serious violations when they negligently injure cyclists and pedestrians.

Second, when charges are filed, they should reflect what actually happened. This means that the incident should not be undercharged (for example, “unsafe passing” when in fact somebody was killed as a result of an unsafe pass), and the incident should not be overcharged. The question raised by the charge in this incident is whether the charge reflects what actually happened, or whether the cyclist was overcharged. From my own experience, I have never seen a motorist charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” after running a stop (yes, motorists run stops) and hitting a cyclist or pedestrian.

One other quick note.

Many of the attorneys I spoke with described the charge against the cyclist as an overreach. Meaning, yes, the cyclist could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, but it probably wasn’t the appropriate charge in this case.

And while they didn’t say it, one that a good lawyer might have been able to get dismissed.

Which brings up one last point I’m surprised none of the lawyers mentioned.

If you get a ticket while riding, whether in Santa Monica or anywhere else, you may want to fight it — especially if there’s a question of selective enforcement, which may be the case as the SMPD plans to target violations by bike riders over the next few months.

Mionske offers a good guide to determine whether to fight or pay.

You may or may not be able to fight it on your own. But it’s always a good idea to talk with a lawyer first.

But if you’re facing criminal charges, for whatever reason, you need a good lawyer. It’s not a question of whether you can afford one, but that you simply can’t afford not to have one.

You can find a list of attorneys with experience in bike cases over there on the right. Including every lawyer I talked to for my Streetsblog story.

I don’t know if Rocky Martin had one.

But I suspect if he had, his case might have turned out differently.

A little this, a little that — missing NY green lane, WeHo bike workshop, SaMo bike shooting suspect

Just a little light reading to get you through your Wednesday.

………

Remember those vivid green bike lanes that Hollywood says don’t exist anywhere else and are impossible to remove in post-production?

Evidently, not a problem in New York.

………

West Hollywood will host a workshop to help overhaul their bicycle and mobility plan this Saturday. The meeting takes place starting at 9 am at the WeHo library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd; the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition encourages anyone who rides or walks in the city to attend to help make the plan as powerful as possible,

………

Sign the petition to keep the bike lanes on Westmont Drive in San Pedro; thanks to Jennifer Gill for the link.

………

Santa Monica police have identified a suspect in the shooting of a bicyclist last Sunday. Oddly, they say it doesn’t appear to be related to the shooting of two men, one fatally, in the same area Tuesday morning — let alone the nearby shooting rampage on Friday.

You might want to avoid the area south of Pico Blvd in Santa Monica for awhile until things settle down.

………

A 13-year old L.A. boy has been missing since he was last seen riding his bike on Sunday. Bicycle Fixation looks forward to CicLAvia on the Miracle Mile. Bike Nation is seeking a Fortune 500 company to sponsor their bike share program; I could use one of those myself. A sponsor, that is. The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee now has a Facebook page. It’s a busy bike weekend at Flying Pigeon, with a Streetsblog fundraiser on Friday, LACBC’s RideFigueroa Saturday, and a Get Sum Dim Sum ride on Sunday. A look at the World Naked Bike Ride, L.A. edition. The L.A. Sheriff’s Department is fixing unclaimed bikes — actually, the inmates are — to donate to kids throughout the county. The woman who helped put bike lanes in Rolling Hills Estates has passed away. A Sierra Madre cyclist suffers minor injuries when a motorist fails to yield; thanks to John Lloyd for the heads-up. How not to lock your bike.

More money for bike and pedestrian projects in the new state budget, but Safe Routes to School programs are at risk. Santa Ana will build two secure bike parking facilities holding a total of just 36 bikes; evidently, not many riders need secure parking down there. It seems the facts are however you spin them, as a San Francisco grand jury says the city must do more to prevent bicyclists’ deaths — but all a Bay Area website hears is a call to crackdown on scofflaw cyclists.

Nice read on being an unwitting role model for little girls. A new Tucson Walgreens didn’t eliminate a bike lane in front of the store after all. If you’re going to make your getaway by bike, try to steal one your own size. Traffic laws apply to cyclists, even in Idaho. The teams have been announced for this year’s USA Pro Challenge. Colorado man spots his stolen mountain bike on eBay, leading to the arrest of a serial bike thief. A lesson from Kansas for all drivers — don’t kill people with cars; damn good advice if you ask me. A new Cincinnati app allows cyclists to report harassment and collisions.

Brit drivers are more miserable than they’ve been in 25 years. If you really want to be seen, ride a Penny Farthing. An Irish writer demonizes cyclists — literally — in calling for greater courtesy around pedestrians. A look at bicycling in Paris. Johan Bruyneel, former sports director for Lance’s various cycling teams, denies being a demon or putting anyone’s health at risk.

Finally, a self-identifying cyclist criticizes a “small, tiny, sub-section of cyclists” — the cam-wearing, lycra-clad aggressively mentally ill subsection, evidently. Something tells me the conversation he relates may not have occurred exactly the way he tells it.

If it occurred at all.

A slow building right hook, how it looks to be invisible and a very courteous SaMo parking officer

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to post any videos from my recent rides.

I ended up deleting most of them this past month as I worked to catch up from my recent involuntary computer downtime. And anything that didn’t seem all that dramatic didn’t make the cut.

But here are a few that did.

First up, as happens far too often, a driver speeds up to pass me on Abbot Kinney, then cuts in front of me to make a right turn. He might have gotten away with it if he hadn’t had to stop short to let a pedestrian cross the street he was turning onto.

If I didn’t have good brakes — thanks Chris! — and more importantly, been prepared to use them, this could have had a different outcome.

Note to drivers — never count on a best case scenario to complete a move you shouldn’t have started in the first place.

Then there’s this one taken the same day while riding past the VA hospital in Brentwood, in which I discover just how it feels to be invisible, by nearly rear-ending a driver who pulled out directly in front of me.

Same notes about good brakes and preparation, same thank you to Chris, formerly of the Westwood Helen’s and now a rockstar bike buyer in the Santa Monica store.

And by the way Chris, if you ever need someone to review anything…

Finally, my videos tend to focus on stupid driver tricks, simply because that’s what I usually encounter on the streets. And what shows up well on video.

Trust me, I wish the video of the idiot who nearly t-boned me Thursday by making a left into the bike lane I was riding in on San Vicente had come out better so I could show it to you. But even though he finally stopped about a foot from my left hip, I was looking straight ahead at the time trying to get the hell away from him.

And the camera doesn’t show what I’m not looking at.

But riding north on Ocean through downtown Santa Monica that same day, I was annoyed to find a parking enforcement officer cruising in the bike lane ahead of me, and started searching for a break in traffic to go around him.

Until he evidently noticed me in his rear view mirror, that is, and courteously — and safely — pulled out of my way to let me pass.

And no, he wasn’t pulling over to write a ticket; he gave me a wave as I passed, then pulled back in behind me once I was out of the way.

Note to the City of Santa Monica — if you can identify this guy from the video, give him a medal or a commendation or something.

He makes your city look damn good.

If only all your parking officers — let alone drivers — would follow his lead, the streets would be a much safer place for all of us.

A ride through the Westside, in eight parts

Cars blocking bike lanes. Doors blocking bike lanes. Trucks blocking bike lanes. Nannies blocking bike lanes. Elderly drivers ignoring right of way. New sharrows in front of Catholic churches. Missing sharrows. Useless sharrows. Decrepit Victorian VA churches. Last second left cross drivers.

Or as I like to call it, Thursday.

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a video from my helmet cam.

It’s not that I haven’t captured anything worth sharing. It’s just that by the time I usually get around to editing the video, the limited storage left on my ancient Mac means I’ve usually had to delete the footage before I can do anything with it.

So I wanted to get this one out while it’s fresh.

This is footage I captured on yesterday’s ride through L.A.’s Westside and Santa Monica. The sad thing is, there’s absolutely nothing unusual about it. Other than discovering new sharrows on my usual route through Westwood, things like this happen virtually every time I get out on my bike.

Maybe just not so many on the same ride.

And this wasn’t even everything I saw, good or bad.

There were a couple of Jerry Browns that the camera didn’t pick up – it seems that the fisheye lens on the cam means that a driver has to virtually brush me before the video looks anywhere as close as it feels in person. And I also have to avoid flinching, since the helmet mount means I miss the whole thing if I turn my head away.

I also noticed the county has been busy with the sharrow stencils, as well, adding a single symbol on Washington between the beachfront bike path and where the bike lane picks up on the next block. They also put in a few behind the Marina library, where riders on the Marina bike path have to share a brief roadway with drivers using the parking lot or moving their boats.

And in a nod to the Cycle Chic crowd, I wanted to offer a look at a well-dressed woman I encountered who looked about as good as anyone could on her bike. But when I saw the video, it felt a lot more like Creepy Stalker Guy than an honest appreciation of a fellow cyclist.

Delete.

As for those newfound sharrows on Ohio, maybe someone can explain to me why they skip the two blocks between Selby and Glendon on the westbound side, but not on the east.

Did they just forget? Or is there some incomprehensible reason why those two blocks on that side of the street, where they’re most needed, don’t qualify for sharrows?

Because it’s right there, in that direction, where I feel most pressured by drivers when I take the lane, since it’s far to narrow to safely share.

A little pavement-based support from the city for the proper road position would have gone a long way towards telling impatient drivers that’s exactly where I belong. And encourage more timid riders to use the street and move out of the door zone, despite pressure from drivers coming up behind them.

There seems to be no reason to omit them from the street.

But omitted, they are.

And don’t get me started on the oddly placed sharrow further west that forces riders to duck beneath a low tree branch as they hug the curb.

Or the oddly undulating placement that may keep riders out of the way of vehicular in places without parking, but encourages them to weave in and out of the traffic flow in a dangerous manner, as some motorists may not be willing to cede the road space to let them back into the traffic lane.

Look, I’m not complaining. Much.

I’d glad to have sharrows on a street that needed them.

But these need some serious improvement before they meet the apparent goals of encouraging more ridership and keeping riders safer on the street.

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