Tag Archive for SB 910

New Bike Center wayfinding signs in SaMo, tears at Adam Garrett hearing, and your weekend events

No mistaking where to turn with the new signs

I knew it was coming.

But I was surprised to see signs pointing to the new Santa Monica Bike Center on my last pass down Ocean Ave in our own little city by the bay.

I was less than 10 miles into my ride, though, so I saved a closer inspection for my return trip.

And while the northbound stretch of Ocean didn’t yet have the signs indicating the turn at Broadway that the marked the southbound route, once made my turn, I was easily able to follow the well-marked path to the Bike Center site at 2nd and Colorado.

You can just make out the Bike Center sign on the corner of the parking lot

Thanks to a recent typically insightful and well-deserved critique by Gary Kavanagh, I wasn’t surprised to see newly painted sharrows — and even new bike lanes — throughout the area. Though I found it much easier to ride past the typically backed-up Broadway traffic on the right than follow behind as the sharrows indicated.

Although I didn’t see — or at least didn’t notice — the dueling bike lane and sharrows that somehow ended up on 2nd Street right next to me.

Evidently that’s just a reflection of how hard SaMo is trying, though as Gary points out, not always succeeding, to become bike friendly.

The effort is appreciated, if not always the results.

A peak behind the curtain shows there's still a long way to go

I was disappointed, though not surprised, to discover the Bike Center — actually, Centers, with another satellite location slated to open at 4th and Broadway — are still far from opening.

In fact, a little research revealed an opening date scheduled for the 18th of this month. And yes, you’re invited.

Which means Santa Monica residents and visitors will soon be treated to:

Hopefully, these privately operated Bike Centers will prove successful, and offer a model for other cities throughout the area.

And yes, I’m talking to you, L.A.

……..

One of my favorite anonymous sources offers this update in the case of Adam Garrett, the schmuck teenage driver accused in the late night hit-and-run death of cyclist Hung Do. And then calling police the next day pretending to be a witness in an apparent attempt to find out what they knew — a call that resulted in Garrett becoming the lead suspect.

No one said he was a rocket scientist.

On Wednesday morning, Adam Carl Garrett was in court again.  I didn’t expect anything more than a quick, perfunctory appearance before the judge.

But the victim’s family & friends were there.  And they spoke before the judge.  It was horrible.

Hung Do’s mom is a widow, and she told the judge how it feels, every day, to have lost her only son. She doesn’t speak English, but a mama’s grief doesn’t need a court-appointed translator.  Other family members spoke, too, as well as a guy named Scott who identified himself as one of Hung’s best friends.  He wants justice.

Poor li’l Garrett was also teary-eyed.  He’s probably upset over the inequity of a system that allows a maximum six-year prison term for a criminal whose victim received a death sentence.

Garrett’s back in court on Monday, December 5th.  I’ll be bringing Kleenex, because on Wednesday there wasn’t enough to go around.

……..

Before we move on to this weeks events, a special thanks to Governor Jerry Brown.

Because it was our honored governor who not only vetoed a law that would have required drivers to give cyclists a minimum three-foot passing distance, but also vetoed a bill that would have increased the penalty for drivers who text or call on a hand-held cell phone, since the current law is almost universally ignored.

Because without his foresight, I might not have gotten Jerry Browned — that’s the new term for buzzing a cyclist, which as I recall originated with the aforementioned Gary Kavanagh — by a texting driver who forced me out of the lane I was occupying.

And nearly into the rear of a parked car.

It was easily the most memorable moment of my riding week, and not in a good way.

So thanks, Governor, for clearly demonstrating just how out of touch you really are. And putting my life, and that of every other cyclist, pedestrian and driver on our streets, at continued risk because you couldn’t be bothered to understand just how these vetoes effect us.

Although you’d think that simultaneously suffering the consequences of two misguided Jerry Brown vetoes should get me some sort of prize or something.

……..

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

Velo Cult and the Golden Saddle Cyclery team up for a bike swap on Saturday, November 5th at 11 am, 1618 Lucille Ave.

Streetsblog hosts an upscale fundraiser at the home of Joel Epstein and Karen Sarachick on Saturday the 5th. The casual dinner reception begins at 6:30 pm with a suggested donation of $100, email damien at streetsblog dot org to RSVP and get directions.

Also on the 5th, Free the Streets unfolds its eco-visionary experiential art/music fest celebrating the burgeoning bicycle cultural scene of South Los Angeles. (And yes, I lifted that directly from the Facebook page.) It takes place from 2 pm to 10 pm at Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave. Admission is restricted to 21 and over, with a $10 entry free and on-site bike valet; all proceeds go to support the expansion of CicLAvia into South L.A.

This month’s edition of Flying Pigeon LA’s Brewery Ride takes place on Saturday the 5th, with a slow paced ride to the new Angel City Brewery in Downtown L.A. The ride meets at 3 pm, and rolls at 3:30 pm, with bikes available to rent for $20. That will be followed by the Spoke(n)Art Ride on the 12th, and the popular Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on November 20th. All rides depart from the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop at 3714 N. Figueroa ST in Highland Park.

Saturday, November 5th through Monday, November 7th, the California Bicycle Coalition will host the 2011 California Bike Summit to help set the statewide bicycle advocacy agenda for 2012 and beyond. The sessions with take place at Downtown’s Kyoto Grand Hotel, with the Monday session held at the California Endowment for Health; Flying Pigeon is offering a $30 weekend bike rental.

The next ride in the LACBC’s popular series of Sunday Funday rides takes place on Sunday, November 6th with the East Valley Hansen Dam Ride, lead by board member Carrie Ungerman. The ride meets at the North Hollywood Metro Station at Lankershim and Chandler at 9 am and rolls at 9:30. The easy 23 mile ride is free for LACBC members and one guest; memberships will be available at a reduced price.

November 7th and 10th, LADOT will hold a series of Westside Mobility meetings to discuss the future of Westside Commuting; topics include Project Overview, Bicycle and Pedestrian, Transit – Light Rail, Bus and BRT, Roadways, Smart Choices for Commuting, Parking, and Project Ideas via Electronic Surveying. See website for times, locations and registration.

The South Bay Bike Plan continues it’s long march to approval with hearings before the four remaining city councils: Lawndale on November 7th, Gardena on November 8th, Manhattan Beach on the 15th and Torrance on November 22nd.

The LACBC Planning Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month; the next meeting is scheduled for 7 pm on November 8th, note the new location at Johnny’s New York Pizzeria in Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd. This month’s meeting will focus on developing a list of policies for the LACBC.

Update: The LA Tamale Throwdown scheduled for November 11th through 13th has been cancelled for this year.

On Saturday, November 12th, C.I.C.L.E. hosts a ride through the streets canvas of our city, with a leisurely paced 7.5 mile tour of L.A. street murals in Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights and the Downtown Arts District, with a party to follow. Riders meet at Lincoln Park by the Valley Blvd parking lot, Valley Blvd and San Pablo Street, with the ride starting at 1:30 pm.

Also on Saturday the 12th, Palm Desert hosts the first Palm Desert Century Bike Ride, with rides of 20, 32, 50, 60, 70 and 100 miles; online registration ends November 11th.

Update: The LACBC’s Tour de Taste originally scheduled for Sunday, November 13th, has been postponed, with the date to be determined.

The County of Los Angeles unveils the final draft of their proposed new bike plan, offering a more than 500% increase in bikeways. Your last chance to comment of the plan could come before the County of Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission, Wednesday, November 16th at 9 am in the Hall of Records, Room 150, 320 West Temple Street in Downtown L.A.

December 7th through 11th, Antenna Magazine’s Re:mix Lab will hit L.A. after a semi-national tour, featuring two urban Bad Boy bikes designed by Cannondale in cooperation with Junk Food Clothing. The art, music, fashion and cultural festival will unfold at a site to be selected.

Friday, December 9th, the Midnight Ridazz host what may be the most important ride of the year, when they ensure that thousands of L.A. children will have a happy holiday with the 6th Annual All-City Toy Ride. Routes will begin from points throughout the city, converging on Downtown L.A. to collect the toys and celebrate the season.

Tuesday, December 27th, the LACBC returns to Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse for the 3rd Annual Mid-Winter Merriment, 2911 Main Street. Good beer, good friends, bike valet and a portion of all sales goes to support cycling in the great L.A. area. What’s not to like?

Open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown — and a challenge to meet with L.A. cyclists

Dear Governor Brown,

By now, you’ve undoubtedly noticed a little anger  — okay, a lot of anger — directed your way from the cycling community.

Maybe you expected it when you vetoed SB 910, the three-foot passing law sponsored by Sen. Lowenthal. Or maybe you didn’t realize just how much we cared about this bill.

You see, one of the greatest dangers bicyclists face on the streets of this state comes from drivers who interpret the current requirement to pass cyclists at an undefined “safe distance” to mean anything that doesn’t actually come in contact with the rider.

No, seriously, more than one driver has actually told me exactly that when I confronted them about a pass that put my life and safety at risk.

There are many problems with that attitude.

The most obvious is that motorists frequently misjudge that distance and can collide with riders, either sideswiping them or hitting them from behind; in fact, at least two cyclists have been killed in hit-from-behind collisions since you vetoed SB 910. Maybe the drivers never saw the riders they hit. Or maybe they tried to squeeze by without giving the riders sufficient passing distance.

Chances are, we’ll never know. But many cyclists — myself included — believe their blood, and the blood of future victims, is on your hands as a result of your veto.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Cyclists also face danger from cars that pass too closely when we have to swerve to avoid obstacles in the road, ranging from broken glass and potholes to other vehicles; a simple slight swerve to the left can mean a collision with a car traveling only a foot or two away.

Larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses, can pose other dangers. The slipstream of a large vehicle can be enough to blow a cyclist off his or her bike or off the road. And when larger vehicles pass too close, they can block cyclists from moving around obstacles in their way, such as parked vehicles.

Both of these have happened to me, right here in California. I’ve been blown off the road by a semi-truck that passed less — far less — than three feet away. And I’ve been blocked by a bus that passed too close, forcing me to swerve to the right and into the back of a parked car.

Fortunately, I survived both of those incidents with only minor injuries. Other bicyclists haven’t been so lucky.

Your veto message noted that you relied on the advice of Caltrans and the CHP in deciding to veto the bill. Unfortunately, you selected the two agencies most cyclists trust least to defend our rights and protect our safety.

Caltrans has a long-standing bias in favor of moving the greatest number of vehicles at the highest possible speed, resulting in poor road design and excessive speeds that continue to put all Californians in jeopardy. While they talk about making the roads safe for everyone, here in the Los Angeles area, at least, they often don’t even show up at meetings they’ve promised to attend to discuss safety improvements on our most dangerous roadways, such as Pacific Coast Highway.

Meanwhile, CHP officers receive little or no training in bicycle law, or in the physics of bicycling collisions, resulting in flawed collision investigations that too often result in blaming the victim — who may not be alive or otherwise capable of defending themselves.

These agencies gave you bad advice. Many of us believe they lied to you; at best, they failed to understand the application of SB 910 in real life situations.

Your veto message cited the specific fear that the 15 mph passing clause in this bill would cause drivers to slow dramatically in order to pass cyclists.

This hasn’t occurred in any of the other states that have a 3-foot passing law. So what is it about California drivers that makes you think they are incapable of driving safely?

The law clearly allowed drivers to pass cyclists in virtually any circumstance without slowing down, simply by moving three feet to the left or crossing the center divider when necessary. In the exceptionally rare event when that would not be possible, even under existing law, drivers would still be forced to slow down in order to avoid colliding with the riders in front of them, then wait for an opportunity to pass safely when traffic allows.

The only reason this clause was included in the bill was to allow drivers to pass cyclists around intersections or other congested conditions.

In choosing to veto this bill, you have chosen to protect drivers — who are already protected by crumple zones, airbags and seat belts — from rear-end collisions that are unlikely to ever occur.

And instead, you’ve put at risk every cyclist on our roads from dangerous passes that are almost inevitable. Cyclists who are protected by, at most, a helmet designed to offer protection from impacts only up to 14 mph.

To put that in perspective, an impact at the 35 mph to 45 mph speeds you cited has a roughly 80% risk of fatality, with or without a helmet.

In fact, your veto may have increased the risk to cyclists. Many riders have reported an increase in unsafe passing since you vetoed SB 910, as your veto sent a clear message to some drivers that it is perfectly legal to pass a cyclist at less that three feet.

Much less, in some cases.

Just today, I was passed by two separate drivers at distances of less than one foot — close enough that a simple sneeze on my part, or that of the driver, could have resulted in a fatal collision.

And it wouldn’t have been the driver who died.

Oddly, though, despite the anger and outcry you must surely be aware of — unless your staff has failed to inform you of the many Tweets, emails, blogs, letters to the editor and phone calls that have resulted from your veto — you have failed to respond in any way.

We complain, with great merit, I might add; yet your silence remains deafening. Which frankly, is the last thing I, and many other bike riders, expected when we gave you our votes.

Frankly, I am extremely disappointed in you. And have lost a great deal of respect for a man, and leader, I formerly held in high esteem.

It’s not like I’m a single-issue voter. There were, and are, a number of reasons why I supported your campaign and cast my vote for you to become our state’s governor.

But when that single issue could determine whether I, and other cyclists like me, live or die on our streets, it becomes a matter of overwhelming importance.

So I am issuing you a challenge.

Come down to Los Angeles, and meet with cyclists such as myself. Explain more clearly why you chose to veto this bill, because the explanation you gave just doesn’t bear close examination. Then listen to us as we relate the dangers we face on a daily basis, and discuss solutions that could improve safety for all riders and encourage more people to choose to ride bikes, instead of further clogging our roadways.

Our mayor — the one who proposed what eventually became SB 910 — held a similar bike summit. And yes, he had to face a lot of angry bicyclists. But ended up building a much better relationship with the cycling community than would otherwise have been possible.

It’s your choice.

You can talk to us now, or you can continue to hide in Sacramento.

But we’re mad as hell. With good reason.

And we’re not going to go away.

……..

The racers and organizers of Wolfpack Hustle’s inspiring victory over a Jet Blue flight to Long Beach will be honored by the City Council on Friday.

And frequent contributor Todd Munson writes to invite you to attend — or compete in — the UCI Spooky Cross Weekend in Irvine’s Hidden Valley Park this weekend, beginning with registration and course previews on Friday.

……..

LACBC thanks L.A cyclists for a successful Tour de Fat and CicLAvia. Russ Roca offers his usual great eye to capture both. KCRW interviews CicLAvia’s Heidi Zeller. Last weekend’s CicLAvia ran from South L.A. to OccupyLA. Joel Epstein looks at how CicLAvia can RENEW L.A. How to make CicLAvia even better; I’d suggest starting with a name that doesn’t require awkward capitalization in the middle of the word.

No, really.

……..

Bikerowave is having a party on Friday, October 21st and you’re invited. The Santa Monica Museum of Art invites you to ride with them in celebration of the Pacific Standard Time art festival. And Pasadena’s Art Night Ride rolls tonight.

……..

The newly released L.A. County Model Design Manual for Living Streets is now available online. Notes from last week’s barely announced BPIT meeting that took several cyclists by surprise, myself included. It only takes Damien six months to get new bike racks in his neighborhood. Gary looks at the forthcoming Main Street bike lanes and says it’s time to demand more than just the minimum. When it comes to shootings, cyclists aren’t always the victims. Maybe it’s a positive thing when drivers are embarrassed about texting or threatening cyclists. Bicycling magazine likes the distinctive new Helen’s kit. Long Beach lands next year’s international Pro Walk/Pro Bike convention. Friday is the last day to register for an advance discount for next month’s California Bike Summit. Rick Risemberg will lead another edition of his popular Bicycle Fixation’s “Stitching the River” ride on Sunday, Oct. 23rd. The Red Kite Prayer’s Patrick Brady goes on a mini-REI book tour to support his new book The No-Drop Zone; sorry Tustin, you missed it already. Here’s your chance to voice your opinion on how to take back Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock. Metro rolls out ten new bike cars.

CalBike notes that two bike-friendly bills survived the governor’s chopping block. Why drivers should support biking infrastructure for other people. Oakland has a 16-year old biking prodigy. San Diego’s had a long love affair with the bike. October 25th is Bike Day in San Diego; as far as I’m concerned, every day is Bike Day. The San Francisco Bay Guardian looks at Gov. Jerry “Buzz ‘Em” Brown’s veto of the three foot passing law, as does former framebuilder Dave Moulton. A Goleta company offers a reward for information about a cyclist missing in Oregon for nearly a month. Alaska resident Dr. Janice Sheufelt wins her division in California’s Furnace Creek 508 ultra-endurance race last weekend.

A cyclist endures a hit, F.U. and run. Former Talking Head and current bike activist David Byrne offers a Poem to Cyclists. Every state gets back more highway funds than they pay in; which means roads are paid for with your tax money. Springfield Cyclist offers an inventive solution to a lack of bike lock. Yet another attempt to ban bikes, as the incredibly small-minded people of Hull WI demonstrate their auto-centric bias against cyclists, joggers and pedestrians in the name of safety; my suggestion is that all of the above should try spending their money outside the city limits for awhile. Chicago is sued for letting a Hyatt Hotel heir off the hook for assaulting a cyclist, who got arrested for defending himself. GM declares war on cyclists, much to the chagrin of almost everyone, then rapidly backs off and says so sorry. Rebuilding New Orleans results in a more bike-friendly city. Bike-friendly DOT Secretary Ray LaHood calls it quits at the end of this term, win or lose; he also calls attention to a 9-year old bike riding victim of distracted driving. Supporting bikeable cities isn’t liberal or conservative, so it’s time to stop the politicization of cycling. A South Carolina father is killed by an apparently driver-less SUV as he walked next to his bike riding son. The afore mentioned Dave Moulton urges cyclists to consider the risks and avoid irrational fear; if you don’t read his blog, you’re missing the insights of one of the last century’s best framebuilders. Several cyclists are injured in a Miami peloton mishap.

The fatal dooring of an Ottawa cyclist raises safety concerns and advice on how to ride safely, as a Canadian driver goes on trial for running down five cyclists in 2009. The case for and against licensing cyclists in Calgary. British cyclists stand up for a safer Blackfriar’s Bridge. Once again, an overly aggressive UK driver demands a cyclist get out of his way because we don’t pay the Road Tax that was no one has paid since 1937. So who is it that really needs to wear hi-viz? A “leaked” preview of the 2012 Tour de France draws a positive review. Pro cyclist Riccardo Ricco faces a 12-year doping ban. Moscow gets its first bike lane; oddly, it looks like some of ours. A surprisingly even-handed look at Australia’s mandatory helmet laws, and a good read no matter which side of the great helmet debate you take. An Aussie cyclist selfishly rides to work every day.

Finally, unless you’ve been out on the Serengeti, you’ve already seen the video of the cyclist rammed by a buck in South Africa. Meanwhile, Kiwi cyclists are under attack by marauding magpies. Closest I’ve come is being grazed by a golden eagle swooping down to snatch its prey on the side of the road; I don’t think it misjudged it’s approach so much as just didn’t care if I was in the way.

Then again, this heat wave has brought termites swarming into our bedroom, which makes me very glad I don’t own this bike right now.

Gov. Brown inexplicably vetoes 3feet2pass, Tour de Fat and CicLAvia on tap this weekend.

I lost a lot of respect for Jerry Brown today.

California’s once and current governor had a chance to sign SB 910, a common sense bill mandating a simple three-foot passing distance when passing a cyclist. Legislation that has passed in 19 other states already, and been signed by a long list of governors including Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.

In other words, some of the leading conservative lights in the GOP.

In fact, the only other governor to veto a three-foot passing law up to now was Tea Party conservative Rick “The Executioner” Perry.

Not exactly good company our governor is keeping these days.

He reasoning doesn’t exactly pass the logic test. Or the smell test, either.

Courtesy of BAC Vice Chair Glenn Bailey

While he claims to support bicycle safety, he vetoes the bill that would do much to improve it, taking the advice of Caltrans and the CHP — two groups that probably understand California bike law and bike safety less than anyone else he could find.

His primary concern, based on advice provided by those decidedly bike-unfriendly state agencies, is that drivers would suddenly jam on the brakes to slow down to 15 mph to pass cyclists when they couldn’t pass by three feet.

Yet they have to do that right now, because current law doesn’t allow drivers to cross the center divider to go around cyclists, as the bill the governor vetoed would have. Which means that motorists either have to slow down and follow riders in front of them, or attempt to squeeze past dangerously.

Or just run them over.

And the dangers the Governor so desperately fears have so far failed to materialize in any of the 19 states that have a similar law now — and have had for as long as 38 years.

So I’d like to issue Gov. Brown a challenge.

Let him get on a bike, and I’ll pass him by less than three feet at 35 to 40 mph. And we’ll see if he thinks it’s safe.

From this moment forward, Gov. Brown has the blood of every cyclist who’s injured or killed by a too-close pass on his hands.

I hope he’s planning to observe Yom Kippur.

Because he has a lot to atone for.

……..

Moving on to happier things, this weekend marks two of the biking highlights of the year, with Tour de Fat on Saturday and an expanded CicLAvia on Sunday.

As I’ve noted before, CicLAvia reminds riders to be nice, as well as offering other tips for cyclists.

Be nice – CicLAvia is for everyone - 8-year olds and 80-year olds. Folks will be walking and skating. CicLAvia welcomes families, beginners, on foot, on skateboard, on wheelchair, on training wheels. This isn’t a race. It’s not the Tour de France or the Wolfpack Hustle (and we love those, too), this is CicLAvia. Keep an eye out for slow moving traffic, pass with care (the way you want drivers to pass you every day.) Wherever CicLAvia gets really crowded, walk your bike. If you see pedestrians trying to get across CicLAvia, help them out. (If you’re looking for a fast-paced workout ride, maybe take a long ride to and from CicLAvia – check our feeder ride listing.)

Though overall the route is very flat, we had a couple of serious injuries last year on two hills. These hills are minor, and many of us bike them every day. In the interest of safety, we’ve instituted two MANDATORY DISMOUNT ZONES going downhill on hills. These are at:

  • 4th Street just west of Boyle Avenue (in Boyle Heights)
  • New Hampshire just north of Beverly Blvd (in East Hollywood)

I’m not sure about those dismount zones.

While they won’t be a problem for riders with old school pedals, walking downhill for those of us who wear cleats could pose a whole different set of problems.

KCRW’s Shortcuts blog offers good logistical advice. Santa Monica Spoke is hosting a feeder ride from the Westside. Other rides will funnel in from almost every direction. Bikeside will be hosting political candidates and the LAPD.

As for me, I plan to take a quick loop around the route, then hang out at the LACBC bike valets at the plazas in Olvera Street and Little Tokyo during the afternoon.

So look for me there.

……..

The other big event takes place on Saturday at L.A. Historic State Park when the massive bike and beer filled carnival that is Tour de Fat rolls into town.

Sponsored by New Belgium Brewing — makers of my favorite American ale — and benefiting the LACBC, C.I.C.L.E. and Bicycle Kitchen, Tour de Fat is about as much fun as you can with your clothes on, a brew in your hand and your bike parked nearby. A weird, wild and wacky celebration of all things bikes and beer.

Best of all, admission is free. And beer is just $5 a pint.

It all kicks off with a bike parade from 11 to noon, with beer, bands, contests and other assorted entertainment from noon to 5 pm.

Costumes are strongly recommended. As is fun, as you’ll see from last year’s photos.

Besides, it’s Yom Kippur. Might as well have something else to atone for.

Not you, Jerry.

You’ve done enough.

Felony charges in SaMo road rage after all, and I nearly run down a seemingly semi-suicidal cyclist

I was wrong.

Twice, as it turns out.

Last week, I wrote that a report that the charges against SaMo road rager Jeffrey Ray Adams had been upgraded to a felony appeared to be incorrect, based on responses from both the DA’s office and the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office.

And I had previously written that any charge against Adams was likely to be filed as a misdemeanor rather than a felony, based on the victim’s lack of serious injuries.

Wrong on both counts.

Cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels reports that as recently as last Thursday, both offices still said the case had been referred to the CA. However, when he checked on it again today, he discovered that on September 23rd, the DA had filed two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, case No. SA078790.

Why two felony counts for the one incident, I have no idea. And no word on why the DA’s office changed their minds.

As I noted last week, Adams was scheduled to appear for arraignment on September 26th; a felony bench warrant was issued when he failed to appear. The warrant was recalled when he appeared on the 28th with a new attorney at his side.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 2nd at the LAX courthouse.

My apologies to the victim, and to everyone else, for getting it wrong this time.

And thanks to the DA’s office for taking this case seriously, and to Dj Wheels for staying on top of it.

……..

Tuesday afternoon, I nearly hit a cyclist.

I was driving back from REI in Santa Monica, partly because I needed some new arm warmers and partly because our dog has had a difficult week. And like a typical Angeleno, there’s nothing she enjoys more than a ride in the car to cheer her up.

Just what I need, an auto-centric Corgi.

This particular cyclist was hugging the parking lane, riding closer to the curb between the parked cars, then coming back out into the traffic lane to go around parked vehicles.

When he moved back towards the curb in an extended space between cars, I took my opportunity to pass, moving slightly to the left just in case. Then watched him look back over his shoulder, my car clearly visible on his left. I responded by letting up a little on the gas.

And sure enough, even though we were in the middle of the block, he suddenly threw his arm out to signal a left turn and immediately cut across my path, forcing me to hit my brakes to avoid him.

Suddenly, I had a far different perspective on all those SWSS collisions — Single Witness Suicide Swerve — in which drivers swear the cyclists they hit pulled out in front of them without any warning.

Because I was that close to being one of them.

Fortunately, I recognized the warning signs and reacted in time, although my move to the left actually increased the risk of a collision by putting me closer to him as he cut across.

Although if it hadn’t been another cyclist following behind him and recognizing the warning signs, he might not have been so lucky.

Then, oddly, I came home to read a few online news stories I’d been saving from the weekend, and discovered one from a British cyclist who had a nearly identical experience.

And went back to talk to the offending rider the next day.

……..

Governor Brown has just five days to sign SB 910, the 3feet2pass bill, despite opposition from the CHP — and eloquent support from a retired CHP officer paralyzed on the job. Best biking buddies Lance and Tony urge the re-governor to sign, too.

……..

Joe Linton offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sunday’s CicLAvia, while Mayor Villaraigosa stands up for it. This year’s route will cover 10 blissfully car-free miles. Bikerwave is closing Sunday so they can be there; maybe they’ll meet with some of the candidates for city council in CD15 hosted by Bikeside.

And half of your Veggie Grill purchase tonight will go to support CicLAvia.

Speaking of Linton, he offers a remarkable review of the results of the recent ThinkBike workshops for Downtown, Pacoima and South L.A. And likes what he sees, despite complaints about the process from some quarters.

……..

Gas 2.0 says no one walks in L.A., but we do bike. KPPC’s Air Talk program talks bikes with the co-author of The Urban Cyclist’s Survival Guide. Jaclyn Andrea Garcia is scheduled to start her jail sentence on Thursday. LADOT is three-quarters of the way to its first 40 mile annual bikeway commitment, assuming you count sharrows. A beginner’s guide to surviving the streets of Los Angeles. South Pasadena plans a new citywide bike network. Santa Monica gets a new bike riding training course. Bike-friendly UCLA offers students free use of a new $1400 repair station, while free air stations are a big hit in the South Bay. Long Beach is ready for its close-up. A bike riding Downey gardener refuses to use power tools. The importance of overcoming obstacles of the mind when you ride.

Temecula police arrest an 18-year old mask-wearing cyclist who appeared to be casing parked cars; okay, but how exactly do you ride suspiciously? An OC cyclist loses control on a busy roadway and slams into an SUV; sounds like he’s lucky that’s all he lost. Corona del Mar cyclists could soon have new signs and striping at key intersections. The Voice of San Diego says it’s time to fix the city’s cycling problems; as usual, the comments offer the same battle between cyclists, bike haters and vehicular cyclists you’ll find on almost any online infrastructure story. A lightless cyclist is sideswiped by a Chico State University police officer. If you’re looking for an emotionally charged name for a new hockey team, how about Critical Mass?

Tea Party members who criticize “socialist” bikeways might be surprised to learn arch-conservatives have supported cycling for over 40 years. What can be done to cut the unacceptably high rate of cycling fatalities. Evidently, drivers don’t like other drivers, either; turns out we’re all responsible for the tensions on the street. Bob Mionske says it’s time to stop blaming the victims. A Hawaii father says urges cyclists to make an informed choice on wearing a helmet. Bikes, cars and trucks attempt to occupy the same space/time on Seattle streets. As if the endless conflict between cars and bikes isn’t bad enough, in Colorado it’s cyclists vs. sheep dogs; I’ve had a few stare downs with stray flocks myself, but can’t recall a run-in the with the dogs guarding them. Texas A&M cracks down on cyclists for their own good, while bike laws don’t protect cyclists at LSU. If you don’t have plans for next May, you might consider the Tour de Rouge, a six-day ride from Houston to New Orleans; any ride that gets you out of Houston and ends in the Big Easy can’t be bad. Chicago bans hand-held cell phones and texting by cyclists; having watched in amazement as texting cyclists blundered into dangerous situations, I seriously do not have a problem with that. Senator Chuck Schumer walks, but apparently doesn’t ride, the Prospect Park West bike lanes his wife continues to fight, even though opponents knew their case had no merit. The Wall Street Journal puts a couple of negative bike studies in perspective, and not surprisingly, the results look a lot different from what the press has been reporting with baited breath; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Streetsblog points out that bike-on-pedestrian injuries actually dropped as bicycling rates soared. Why DC needs their version of L.A.’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

Bicycling uses Geraint Thomas as an example of how to fall right, and offers eight examples of why The Cannibal may be the greatest cyclist of all time; no offense, Lance. Lululemon steps in to save the highly successful HTC-Highroad women’s team. New Calgary bike lanes oddly force riders to swerve out into the traffic lane. After nearly getting killed in an Arizona collision last year, adventurer James Cracknell cracks just 68 miles short of a tandem crossing of the British Isle; amazing that he could make it that after nearly dying last year. British cyclists prepare to go back to Blackfriars Bridge to demand safer cycling conditions. Another tragic — and predictable — London cycling death. The Dutch Cycling Embassy says cycling is for everyone, even if Dutch cyclists may not be qualified to ride in the UK. An Aussie magazine puts bike locks to the test. Tokyo police crack down on fixies (correction: Rick Risemberg points out they’re only going after brakeless fixies). Biking regains popularity in China.

Finally, cool L.A. bike jazz — and a cool L.A. bike jazz video — from Garfield Adams; I’ve started my day with this video for the past five days and it hasn’t failed to put a smile on my face yet. The music track is every bit as good without the bikes, too.

And I’m all for innovation when it comes to bike wheels, but no. Just no.

……..

One other quick note: I was hoping to highlight an exciting and heartbreaking new exhibit honoring fallen cyclists at the end of this month, but this post got a little too crowded. I’ll try to get to that in the next day or two.

An open letter to California Governor Jerry Brown in support of SB 910, the 3feet2pass bill

Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing to urge you to sign SB 910 to require motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing a person on a bicycle.

As a long-time bicyclist, I have ridden a bike on the streets and highways of California for nearly 25 years; over 130,000 miles by a conservative estimate. Yet there has not been one moment in all those miles that have I been free of the fear of being sideswiped or hit from behind by a driver attempting to pass too close, or being run off the road — intentionally or otherwise — by a driver interpreting the current requirement to pass at a safe distance as anything short of actual contact with a bike rider.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bike on our streets knows the dangers posed by being passed too closely. A rider can lose control after being startled to find a speeding car just inches away or swerve to get away from it; both can potentially result in serious, even fatal, accidents, without the vehicle ever coming in contact with the rider. Bike riders can be boxed in by passing cars and forced into parked cars, open doors or other objects, edged off the road or even knocked off their bikes by the slipstream of a large vehicle zooming past.

Serious collisions can also result when cyclists are forced to swerve to avoid potholes, broken glass or other obstacles in the road, only to find themselves in the path of an oncoming vehicle with potentially disastrous results.

At one time or another, all of those things have happened to me as I rode my bike in an otherwise safe and legal manner. It’s only through a combination of luck and the skills developed over a lifetime of bicycling that I am here today.

You have the power to take that danger away. By signing SB 910, you can ensure that California drivers understand just what a safe passing distance is when passing a bicyclist. And replace the current vague and misunderstood standard with one that is clear, easy to understand and enforceable, with no cost to the state.

I beg you to sign SB 910. My life, and the life of millions of California bicyclists, is in your hands.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers
bikinginla.com

………

This is my letter.

Now the governor needs to hear from you.

There are powerful forces that oppose this commonsense legislation to make our streets safer for California cyclists. And it will take all of us joined together in support of SB 910, the 3feet2pass pass bill, to make sure he hears our voices.

You can write your own letter and email it to the California Bicycle Coalition to forward to the governor, or fax it to the governor’s office at 916/558-3177. Or simply go here and fill in your personal information to send a pre-formatted email containing all the key points, along with your personal comments, in just seconds.

Don’t wait.

Send your letter in support of SB 910 today. Now, in fact.

And make your voice heard for safer streets for all of us.

……..

One other quick note — I received the following announcement from Eric Weinstein about Friday’s Park(ing) Day:

Santa Monica is getting a new park. For Park(ing) day tomorrow ( Friday ) SPOKE is setting up a temporary park in front of Swingers cafe on Broadway where it intersects Lincoln. Starts at 9AM or so – come on by and park! More info: www.parkingday.org

State cycling group sides with AAA to stand in the way of cycling safety

Frankly, I expected a drivers’ organization to oppose California’s proposed three-foot passing law.

When it’s come up for a vote before, a number of organizations have stood in it’s way, from AAA and truckers groups to, inexplicably, the California Highway Patrol.

Even though safe driving — that is, not running over cyclists or forcing us off the road — would seem to be in everyone’s interest.

But I didn’t expect a state-wide cycling organization to oppose a commonsense law that would make California streets safer for everyone who rides them.

Then again, maybe I should have, considering that they’ve already come out against the Idaho Stop Law that would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yields — a law that has proved remarkably successful in its home state, and is the envy and desire of cyclists around the country.

Myself included.

While everyone from the more mainstream California Bicycle Association to Mayor of Los Angeles support the bill, the California Association of Bicycling Organizations has come out strongly against SB 910. That bill, which recently passed the state Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee on the 6-3 vote, would establish a minimum three-foot passing distance for drivers passing cyclists, as well as establishing a maximum 15 mph speed differential when passing closer than that.

According to CABO’s website, one reason they oppose the bill is that they don’t believe three feet is “measurable or enforceable in practice.”

Bullshit.

As it now stands, motorists are required to pass bicyclists at a safe distance without interfering with their safe operation. But there is absolutely no standard what a safe distance is.

While some drivers thankfully interpret it as giving cyclists a wide birth when they pass, others consider anything short of actually running over a rider to be perfectly acceptable. As virtually any cyclist who has ridden California roads for any amount of time can attest, it’s not the least bit uncommon to be passed with anything from a couple feet to mere inches of clearance.

Or to have a motorist squeeze by in same lane with so little margin for error that a simple sneeze on either party’s part could lead to a dangerous collision.

But under the existing standard, if you don’t actually get hit or knocked off your bike, it’s a safe — and therefore legal — pass. Even if it scared the crap out of you or made you struggle to avoid losing control.

And let’s not forget that the slipstream of a moving vehicle can sometimes be enough to make a cyclist lose control or knock you off your bike.

Despite their protestations, it’s actually the current vague standard that’s impossible to measure, giving drivers no guidance whatsoever as to how close they should or shouldn’t pass. And providing no objective standard for law enforcement, leading to judgment calls that can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another, and from officer to officer.

The three foot standard was never intended as an exact measurement. No one will ever pull out a tape measure to determine if a car is 35” or 37” from the cyclist being passed.

But any trained police officer should be able tell if a driver is passing significantly less than that. Just as any cyclist knows when a car is passing too close.

As a simple guide, the average adult arm is far less than three feet long. So if a cyclist could reach out and come anywhere near touching a passing vehicle, it’s in clear violation of the law. Under the current standard, though, it could come far closer as long as it doesn’t actually interfere with the operation of your bike.

The problem with that is that it allows no margin for error. Any unexpected action by either party could lead to a disastrous collision. Evidently, CABO has no problem with that, since they think the current standard is just fine, thank you.

Three feet merely provides, for the first time, an enforceable standard, giving motorists a yardstick — pun intended — to measure, not how close they should come, but the minimum distance they should stay away. And offers police a way to judge, without guessing, when a vehicle is too close.

Does it mean, as CABO suggests, that a three-foot law will encourage drivers to pass closer than they should under some situations, such as when driving large vehicles or travelling at high speeds?

You mean they don’t already?

Obviously, there are situations where more than three feet of clearance should be given. But I’ll gladly settle for 36 inches as opposed to the current standard of anything goes. And don’t forget, that’s a minimum standard; drivers are more than welcome to give more space when passing.

To be fair, though, I do agree with CABO on a couple points.

For instance, the proposed law contains an exemption allowing drivers to pass cyclists with less than three feet clearance, as long as they slow down to no more than 15 mph faster than the bike being passed.

In other words, if you’re riding at 15 mph, a driver wouldn’t have to give you three feet as long as they were travelling at no more than 30 mph.

I don’t think so.

I don’t know of any objective way for a driver or law enforcement officer to know just what the speed differential is between any two passing vehicles.

And frankly, I don’t want a driver trying to squeeze by at 10 mph above my speed any more than I want one doing it at 20, 30 or 40.

Even at the slower speeds, it would do nothing to reduce the possibility that either party might swerve unexpectedly. So it would do little to reduce the risk of a collision, but merely limit the severity.

And personally, I’d rather not get hit at any speed, thank you,

We’re also in agreement that drivers should be allowed to briefly cross double yellow lines in order to pass a bike; many drivers — myself included — do that anyway. As long as the other side of the road is clear, there’s far less risk in briefly putting two wheels across the center line than in passing a rider too closely.

Others have argued that the failure to enforce similar laws in other areas suggests that it will fail here, as well. But it’s up to the cyclists and citizens in those states to get police to enforce the laws on the books, rather than our responsibility to avoid passing much needed laws.

After all, if the police somewhere else stopped enforcing their laws against armed robbery, that wouldn’t be a reason to take ours off the books.

There are provisions in the proposal that can and should be changed, and places where the wording could be tightened up to avoid unintended complications. However, there’s still plenty of time left to improve the bill before it comes up for a final vote.

But let’s face it. You don’t have to talk to many California cyclists to realize that our current law is a complete, abject and utter failure that puts every rider on our roads at needless risk.

And a three-foot passing law is a vital first step in correcting it.

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