Tag Archive for Sgt. David Krumer

Money for bikes in Universal plan, bikeway blocking bus layover to be fixed, 4 new LAPD bike liaisons

Lots of news to catch up today after yesterday’s unplanned day off.

There are days I feel like a rodeo clown, getting up one more time than life can knock me down.

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In an apparent victory for L.A. cyclists, the massive new Universal Studios project is approved by the L.A. Planning Commission after the company promises to find room for bikes along the L.A. River. Universal promises to contribute $3 million for an extension of the L.A. River bike path along the property, as well as $500,000 for bike lane improvements and $375,000 for bike path planning.

Hopefully, that means they get that a bike path along an improved L.A. River could be a tremendous asset for them, as well as the city. And that encouraging people to ride to the studio could provide a low cost bike boost for their business.

Then again, they could just be throwing money at us in hopes we’ll go away.

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I’ve gotten an update from Lynne Goldsmith at Bike Metro about the bus layover on Rinaldi Street in Porter Ranch that we discussed last week.

According to Goldsmith, the layover for Line 243 had existed long before the bike lanes were striped, and were not taken into consideration when the lanes were striped. And no one apparently noticed until Michael Eisenberg brought them to our attention.

As a result, we can expect the segment will be restriped soon.

With luck, they’ll narrow the traffic lanes and stripe around the bus layover to maintain the bike lanes through the layover; more likely, the area around the layover will stay as it is, and the city will simply create a break in the bike lanes.

Hopefully they can come up with a creative solution that works for everyone.

And much thanks to Goldsmith for being so responsive.

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As you may know, LAPD Sgt. David Krumer has been reassigned, and is no longer the department’s bike liaison — much to the regret of anyone who had the pleasure of working with him over the past few years.

With his departure, the department is unveiling a new plan that will place a bike liaison at each of the LAPD’s four traffic divisions. In theory, that should provide greater responsiveness, as you’ll now be able to call someone who knows the local streets and the officers who patrol them.

Whether that works out in practice depends a lot on the officers who will be picking up his load.

And it remains to be seen whether the department will still maintain a central bike liaison at LAPD headquarters to deal with issues that affect the entire city, or riders who have issues that the local liaison can’t or won’t solve.

Or whether the very successful Bike Task Force that has worked to help the LAPD transform itself into one of the nation’s most progressive and bike-friendly departments will continue to exist.

Some of those questions may be answered at 4 pm next Thursday when LAPD invites L.A. cyclists to meet the department’s new bike liaisons in room 374 of the new LAPD headquarters Downtown.

According to the LADOT Bike Blog, the new liaison’s are:

  • Sgt. Thomas Tavares, Central Bureau Traffic Division, 213/972-1864
  • Sgt. Jon Aufdemberg, South Bureau Traffic Division, 323/421-2588
  • Sgt. Emalee Baptiste, Valley Bureau Traffic Division, 818/644-8030
  • Sgt. Chris Kunz, West Bureau Traffic Division, 213/473-0125

You’d be smart to program those four numbers into your phone before your next crosstown ride.

And speaking of the LAPD, they’re partnering with two Downtown bike shops to offer a $5 discount on Kryptonite U-locks.

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Governor Jerry Brown has just four more days to sign or reject SB1464, the recently passed three-foot passing bill, to make up for the one he vetoed last year.

If he does nothing, the bill becomes law by the end of day Sunday, or maybe Monday, depending on your source. And does nothing to redeem the low opinion many cyclists have of him as a result.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Calbike also notes that we’re also waiting for Brown’s signature on a bill to allow Caltrans to experiment on new bikeway designs.

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The Splinster peer-to-peer bike rental program has now gone nationwide, allowing you to rent an unused bike directly from the owner anywhere in the U.S. Or rent yours to someone else if you don’t need it for awhile.

Then again, bike rental seems to be a booming business everywhere.

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Taggers shoot a bike rider in North Hollywood; the victim is expected to be okay. A study of the York Blvd road diet and bike lanes shows fears that it would kill business were off base. KNBC-4 says this weekend’s Carmageddon is cause for cyclists to celebrate; Streetsblog notes lots of car-free bike activities over the auto-cataclysmic weekend, or check out ARTmageddon with Flying Pigeon on Saturday. The LACBC’s Tall Bike Bobby is back from his tour of the West Coast. Bike Nation will be offering free bike rentals for next weekend’s CicLAvia. LADOT wants your help to pick a new east-west route through the Valley. Richard Risemberg is shocked to find scofflaws on two wheels — and four. The Elite Track National Championships take place in Carson this weekend. An Oregon cyclist was seriously injured in a hit-from-behind collision on Angeles Crest Highway; or make that two, as another rider is severely injured the same night in La Cañada Flintridge.

Did they really have to do a study to prove Caltrans still doesn’t get bikes and pedestrians? A public service will be held October 6th for Newport Beach bike victim Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz. Newport Beach will sponsor a memorial ride to honor the two cyclists killed there two weeks ago; more importantly, they’re raising funds for bike safety — and the city will match donations on a three-to-one basis. When cyclists are dying, there’s no such thing as a bad idea if it could lead to a good one. A new video looks at salmon cyclists riding into trouble in Newport Beach. San Clemente considers a Dutch-style bike plan. San Diego’s airport goes bike-friendly; thanks to @bikeSD for the heads-up — and for giving the airport a good prod. A bike film fest is coming up in Redlands next month. California college cyclists complain about inconsiderate and inexperienced cyclists. For a change, there’s justice for cyclists in Northern California. A Sacramento writer asks why we tolerate the carnage on our streets; why indeed.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blames 80% of dead pedestrians for their own deaths. Bicycling offers up 25 upgrades for 25 bucks or less. If you’re going to ride with an open bottle of booze in your hand, don’t crash into a police cruiser. Defusing tensions between cyclists and drivers in Colorado. An Idaho woman is dragged behind a bus when the driver pulls out as she’s removing her bike from a rear rack. A hit-and-run Kansas driver is accused of intentionally running down a cyclist he mistakenly thought was a pedophile. New York City urges taxi passengers to look to prevent dooring bike riders. Despite the city’s vast increase in bike lanes, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities are up in New York; a new study shows most are the fault of lawbreaking drivers. A bike riding Gotham father loses his life on the Boulevard of Death. A Texas father is shocked that GEICO would be despicable enough to deny the claim after a driver hits a student cyclist on a Safe Route to School; clearly, he hasn’t dealt with many insurance companies when it comes to bikes. A teenage Texas driver screams at the cyclist he just killed for coming into his lane; witnesses report he was driving recklessly.

Turns out bike lanes don’t create costs for Vancouver drivers. Riding brakeless is blamed in the death of a young Montreal fixie rider. British stats show drivers were at fault in most collisions last year, while just 1% of bike collisions were due to the cyclists’ failure to stop or yield. Britain sees a 9% increase in bicycling fatalities and serious injuries. UK drug users are almost twice as likely to drive under the influence. A bleeding UK cyclist is saved by a baby diaper. A road raging Brit rider punches out a car’s windshield. In a long-held dream for many riders, some British truck drivers will spend half a day riding bikes. Yom Kippur gives Israeli cyclists a chance to ride car-free, but the nation needs to do more to support increasing ridership levels. A former Aussie cycling champion stabs the coach who sexually abused her.

Finally, Bikeyface considers whether bike marketers really do have women figured out.

Heartfelt thanks to Sgt. Krumer, PCH lane closures this weekend, and a scofflaw cyclist caught on video

Let’s take a few minutes to catch up on the latest news.

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Streetsblog explains what to do when a police car blocks the bike lane.

And honors LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, who has been transferred to the Devonshire Division and is no longer the department’s bike liaison.

I’d like to second that sentiment.

The changes in the department have been so dramatic, it’s hard to believe it’s been just two-and-a-half years since then new Chief Charlie Beck and Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger met with cyclists at City Hall and promised things would be different.

And they have been, as the LAPD has slowly changed from the auto-centric, vaguely anti-bike perspective typical of too many police departments — see links to NYPD below — to one of the most progressive and bike-friendly departments in the U.S.

Of course, they’re far from perfect, as any number of cyclists can attest.

But the difference is night and day. And much of that credit goes to Sgt. Krumer, who has gone far beyond the extra mile to give cyclists a willing ear within the department, and worked to improve safety and ensure fairer enforcement for the city’s cycling community.

As Damien Newton notes in his story, the LAPD is working towards a plan that will place a bike liaison at each of the four Traffic Divisions within the department. That should, depending on who they place in those positions, provide even greater responsiveness for riders, as we will now be able to talk directly to someone who knows the local streets and the officers who patrol them.

But they will have very big boots to fill if they plan to follow in the footsteps of Sgt. Krumer.

We all owe him a big round of thanks.

And the department owes him a commendation.

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Speaking of LAPD, their officers stop actress Amanda Bynes driving without a license two weeks after it was revoked. And then let her just drive away.

Yes, drive.

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Long-time bike and community advocate George Wolfberg forwards word that PCH will face a partial closure this weekend to accommodate the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. The road will remain open to traffic; however, the right lane in each direction will be closed on both Saturday and Sunday from 5 am to 1 pm.

The question is how they will handle the massive numbers of cyclists who ride PCH every weekend. Will cyclists be shunted into a single shared lane with the great mass of no doubt angry and impatient motorists? Or will they attempt to ban bikes from the roadway during those hours?

All too typical that Caltrans doesn’t even consider cyclists in their press release.

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A first person account of what it’s like to get doored. Hollywood’s Yucca Street becomes the city’s first Bike Friendly Street, even if it is less than a mile. Gary tries to unravel the conflict between cyclists and pedestrians in Santa Monica. Santa Monica’s planned bike share program gets a half million dollar boost. Help explore a route for the first CicLAvia to the Sea. Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster is the first winner or the new National Bicycle Friendly America Leadership Award. Long Beach bike advocate/entrepreneur April Economides is chosen as General Manager of Bike Nation’s new bike share program.

Bike safety flyer from CA DMV (pdf) instructs cyclists to walk their bikes across intersections; no, really, they say you should get off your bike every block and walk it across the street. OC Gran Fondo expects 1,000 riders at the end of the month. A San Diego Lexus driver flees the scene after apparently hitting a cyclist on purpose. Cycling Unbound takes the contrarian view on bike licensing, arguing that it might actually be good for us. Former Hemet mayor has his classic Schwinn fixie stolen. The people of Oakmont reach out to support the cyclist victim of a road rage assault; thanks to @murphstahoe for the link. A San Jose woman is killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bike in Flagstaff AZ, where she was going to college. A San Francisco curmudgeon columnist worries that more bike lanes equal more collisions.

The Economist claims a cycling revolution is taking place in America. How to keep your bike from being stolen, more or less. A second rider was seriously injured in the LoToJa bike race that took the life of an Arizona rider this past weekend. Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong’s bikes were stolen on their way back home to Boise. Mapping Bike Route 66. Courtesy of Witch on a Bicycle comes word that the popular Yehuda Moon comic is no longer hidden behind a paywall. A Texas cyclist rides cross-county, only to be killed riding his bike to work. A Michigan Methodist minister is killed while riding his bike. The New York Times belatedly discovers that people are dying on the city’s streets, and the NYPD, busy ticketing riders in Central Park, doesn’t appear to give a damn — which could be why they’re being sued once again. A Shreveport taxi driver loses control and flips his cab after seeing a cyclist in his lane, and police inexplicably put out an APB for the rider. Georgia continues the witch hunt against the mother whose child was killed by a drunk driver; the killer driver got six months, while she got three years simply because there wasn’t a crosswalk anywhere nearby. The Key Biscayne city council wants cyclists to pay a toll to fund a wall to keep them safe from killer causeway drivers; is it just me or does that sound a little backwards?

Winnipeg woman realizes to late that a semi-truck was turning towards her as she road in a crosswalk. American Tyler Farrar suffers a severe concussion and has to abandon the Tour of Britain. A writer for the Guardian says MAMILs aren’t so bad, after all. Two boys from the same Nottinghamshire school are killed in bike collisions in just three months. Evidently, cyclists aren’t even safe on closed courses, as a rider is hit by a car within site of finish line at the Etape Cymru. A 17-year old New Zealand boy charged with driving without a license pleads guilty to injuring two cyclists this past May. Bicycling in China isn’t for the faint of heart.

Finally, not all hit-and-run drivers are uncaring jerks, as a driver stops and apologizes before leaving a cyclist lying on the roadway — then claims she didn’t know she hit anyone.

And before anyone thinks I only criticize drivers, consider this short clip of a scofflaw cyclist who not only ran a red light, but couldn’t be bothered to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Giving credit for L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance, the backlash begins & fighting blocked bike lanes

Catching up from last week, it seems the successful passage of L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance is making waves, though not necessarily the way we might have hoped.

Despite a number of council and committee hearings as it glacially made its way through the development process leading up to unanimous approval by the city council, many motorists seemed to be blindsided by the new ordinance.

Which is what tends to happen when you don’t pay any attention to your own government.

One thing that seems to have been forgotten in the cycling community’s celebration over the passage of the anti-harassment ordinance is the role the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition played in seeing this law through from the very beginning.

It’s true that Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and his aide Paul Backstrom deserve the lion’s share of credit, along with Judith Reel — who had the stroke of genius to make this a civil, rather than criminal, law — and LADOT’s Michele Mowery. No one can understate the important roll attorneys Ross Hirsch and Daniel Jimenez played in vetting the wording, or the vital support of Bicycle Advisory Committee President Jay Slater and other members of the BAC in getting it passed.

And let’s not forget the work of LADOT Bike Blog’s Chris Kidd in explaining and carrying the torch for this bill.

But I remember committee meetings where the only cyclists present were myself and representatives from the LACBC.

I don’t mention this because I’m on the board of the coalition.

But because it was the hard work of Aurisha Smolarsky, Dorothy Le, Jen Klausner and Allison Mannos in fighting for this bill that convinced me to join the LACBC and become a board member in the first place. As well as Alexis Lantz, who later took over for Aurisha in fighting behind the scenes to make this law as strong as it could be and help ensure its passage.

Without their hard work, this law might not exist today. And it certainly wouldn’t be as strong as it turned out to be.

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Road.cc looks at L.A.’s bicycle anti-harassment ordinance, while KPCC says L.A. cyclists get the toughest protections in the U.S.; personally, I might question that since this is a civil, rather than criminal, law. The C-Blog offers a well-written and thoughtful response to KABC radio in defense of the ordinance. Writing for Orange 20, Rick Risemberg says common decency now has some teeth, while a conservative writer calls it a terrible law that will lead to legal motorist shakedowns. And our neighbors to the south don’t seem too interested in following our lead.

The L.A. Times calls it a smart law; unfortunately, some of their readers don’t get it, despite intercession by Sgt. Krumer to explain what the law does and doesn’t do.

Sgt. David Krumer at 12:34 AM July 22, 2011

Hello motorist,

It appears that some folks are not exactly sure what harassment means within the context of the ordinance.  You can still yell at a cyclist who engages in bad behavior.  You can not however threaten a cyclist with physical harm or make comments like “I am going to run you over.”  You also can not engage in conduct that is likely to put a cyclist in harms way such as:

1) Revving your engine multiple times as it is an implied threat that they may get run over if they don’t move out of the way.

2) Tailgating a cyclist

3) Passing a cyclist at too high a speed or to close a distance so as to scare or intimidate them off the road.

4) Riding up at a high rate of speed and honking at a cyclist (this has caused cyclists to get scared and fall of their bikes).

Hope this sheds light on what “harassment” means.  In short it is an ordinance that prohibits threats (explicit and implied) as well as behavior likely to cause injury.

Meanwhile, one reader suggests, in what we can only hope is a failed attempt at humor, that drivers should eliminate anyone who might be able to testify against them:

edwardskizer at 3:50 PM July 23, 2011

Drivers frustrated by this law have to remember just one rule: leave no witnesses.

Yes, very funny indeed. And that Dr. Thompson thing in Mandeville Canyon was a real knee-slapper, too.

Or if you want to waste an hour of your life and churn your stomach after realizing the sort of people we have to share the streets with, read the comments to this Times story.

Then again, L.A. isn’t the only place that needs a law like this.

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After years of effort from countless cyclists — myself included — Flying Pigeon finally tracks down the people who are responsible for doing something about blocked bike lanes, including all those damn trash cans.

And AAA responds to Will Campbell’s complaint about opposing California’s proposed three-foot passing law; not surprisingly, they don’t apologize or change their minds.

Which makes me think it may be time for cyclists to consider an auto club that doesn’t support a driver’s right to pass dangerously close.

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Congratulations to Cadel Evans for an unexpected victory in the Tour de France, and the first ever victory for the land down under, as his countrymen rejoice but don’t get a day off. He now tops the UCI rankings, as well.

The Schleck brothers finish second and third, while Mark Cavendish takes the points prize, noting that it didn’t come easy. Andy Schleck, or possibly his brother Frank, appeared to have the race won until they cracked and Cadel crashed through to victory.

Michael from Claremont Cyclist offers some great final thoughts. The Wall Street Journal looks at the Jackie Robinson of cycling. Thomas Voeckler fought the good fight to hold the yellow jersey longer than anyone thought he could.

Unfortunately, the North American contingent didn’t exactly impress.

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Will offers suggestions to improve that scary tunnel at the top of Sepulveda Blvd. A local cyclist had his bike confiscated after riding on the 405 during Carmegeddon, and asks you to buy a t-shirt to help get it back. With little luck and effort, Bicycle Priority Zones could soon spread across the county. Better Bike complains about politicians low-balling bikes at the last Westside COG meeting. The Times looks at the tweet that lead to a $7000 donation to the LACBC; in a final note to the story, the guy who sold his own car to make that donation had his bike stolen over the weekend. Working to make Beverly Hills more bike friendly; who knew they actually have bike racks? Gary Kavanagh writes about the lessons learned from the recent Carmageddon. Local Linus bikes are featured in a new fashion video. Six SoCal firefighters ride cross-country to honor 9/11 victims.

Long Beach starts a new bike safety campaign to remind cyclists to stay off the sidewalk. Complaints that cyclists don’t stop for a Newport Beach stop sign lead to the observation that hardly anyone does. Joe Linton rides the bike path along San Diego County’s San Luis Rey River. A Redding writer says he doesn’t see how a 3-foor passing law could make a lick of difference. The fight over San Francisco bike lanes moves to crosstown streets.

Levis unveils their new Commuter Jeans, complete with a U-lock loop. Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club wants more women riders on the road. After winning a new Trek Madone, Springfield Cyclist puts his old bike up for sale, and will donate the sale price — plus an additional $100 — to support victims of the devastating Joplin tornado earlier this year. A pair of blind riders take on RAGBRAI. Advice on how to deal with riding to work on a hot day. New York drivers turn a sidewalk and bike path into a DIY shortcut. The bike wars go on in Virginia Beach VA, where cyclists were recently treated to tacks on a popular riding route. The Tallahassee Democrat says cyclists have rights on the road, too.

Mexico considers investing the equivalent of $120 million in bikes and infrastructure. Do wobbly cyclists calm traffic? A UK man and woman are sentenced for severely beating a cyclist for no apparent reason. The 10 worst gyratories in London; and yes, I had to look it up myself. Fifty-four percent of English children want to ride their bikes more. A driver says he’d rather kill a cyclist and possibly himself than hit a family in a car; good response from bike writer Carlton Reid. Great bike illustrations from a Dublin artist. Town Mouse visits France and falls in love with a local bike. An Aussie cyclist is critically injured in a collision with possible U.S. Navy personnel.

Finally, while the UK is taking posties off their Pashleys, the USPS is putting bikes on their stamps. And a Florida judge ignores the law to blame the victim of a road rage assault for riding too far from the curb; let’s hope L.A. jurists are more enlightened when the first cases under the new anti-harassment ordinance come to court.

Come back later tonight when I’ll post a harrowing first-person account of the collision that left cyclist Adam Rybicki fighting for his life, and a call for justice from the riders who barely avoided serious injury along with him

Accused drunk/distracted driver plows into group of cyclists; 11 injured with two critical

Photo by Magnus Sheen Nihilus; click photo for other shots from the crash scene on his Facebook page.

The most dangerous intersections aren’t always the junction of two streets.

Even here in L.A., where the safety of cyclists has long been little more than an afterthought.

The events of early this morning clearly proved that, as a popular weekly bike ride intersected tragically with a suspected drunk and/or distracted driver, leaving 11 cyclists injured, six of whom reportedly suffered serious injuries. LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer reports that two of the injured are in critical condition.

The incident occurred at around 1:49 am on the 5900 block of West Jefferson Place in the Blair Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, near the border with Culver City.

The Midnight Ridazz weekly Koreatown ride had just visited the Baldwin Hills Overlook, which often offers spectacular views of the L.A. Basin, and were paused on the street to regroup when the riders reportedly saw a white car approaching.

According to KABC-7, the driver, who appeared to be using a cell phone — or possibly texting — slowed down, then sped up and plowed into the group.

“We were by the bike lane, waiting for more people to come down. Out of nowhere, I saw the lights coming fast,” said Mario Cruz, who was hit by the car. “It looked like she was stopping, but she kept going.”

Another rider said he warned others to get out of the way.

“I saw her first, and then I started calling everybody out, ‘Hey everybody, merge right, get out of the bike lanes to the sidewalk,’” said one bicyclist. “She slows down. She sees us, I think, and I could see her engine rev, and she just takes everybody out.”

While there are no bike lanes on Jefferson, a satellite view shows a wide shoulder indicated by painted hash marks on the side of the road.

A report on KTLA-5 says at least one rider was trapped under the car for a time.

The driver revved her engine, hopped a curb and “just took everybody out,” Alex, a cyclist, said.

Witnesses say one cyclist was dragged by the car.

Meanwhile, MSNBC suggests the car may have been speeding, as well.

“We were all just chilling right here … she merges in and takes everybody out,” one rider told RMG News.

Another rider estimated the car was traveling at more than 60 miles per hour. “I saw everybody flying towards me. Luckily I didn’t get hit … one of the guys got dragged by the car,” he said.

According to cyclist Eric Bruins, who lives in the area, drivers frequently pass through that section at over 60 mph, despite a 40 mph speed limit and a wide turn offering limited visibility.

The L.A. Times cited a televised witness as comparing “what happened to a bowling ball knocking down pins.”

Of course, it didn’t take long for the media to shift blame from the driver to the cyclists.

KABC reports that at least some of the riders may have been wearing dark clothing, and were stopped under a non-working streetlight. However, other reports indicate that the riders were using lights, as required, while the witness statement that the driver jumped the curb suggest at least some of the riders were out of the roadway at the time of the collision.

And while it might not be smart, I know of no law forbidding cyclists from wearing dark clothing after dark.

Bizarrely, the KABC report goes a large step beyond rational reporting by saying beer and condoms were found in the area, evidently implying that the riders were engaged in a drunken orgy in the middle of the street.

And the auto-centric L.A. Weekly lumps the Ridazz in with Critical Mass for committing the unforgivable crime of being in the way while having fun on two wheels.

The Ridazz, along with sister bike group Critical Mass, are a controversial L.A. institution: Many car-bound Angelenos complain the cyclists are rowdy and in-the-way, whereas Ridazz generally feel the cars are the real problem.

Yes, that certainly justifies an allegedly drunk, speeding driver plowing into a group of stationary bikes and riders, regardless of where they might have been stopped or what they were wearing.

So much for that other intersection, the one where we often find ourselves waiting in vain for good reporting and common sense to somehow collide.

Though I suppose, that may be asking a little too much from the local media under the circumstances.

Fortunately, word is that the LAPD is focusing on investigating the actual incident to determine what happened and who is at fault, rather than getting distracted by the irrelevant matters that seem to fascinate some members of the press.

Like whether there may have been condoms at the scene.

Thanks to Will Campbell, Al Williams, Michael Byerts, Karen Lai, Sgt. Krumer, Alexis Lantz, Alex Amerri, Richard Risemberg, Rex Reese, Richard Masoner, Todd Munson and Eric Bruins for the heads-up; my apologies if I left anyone out.

Update: The Times reports that 27-year old Christine Dahab has been booked on a charge of misdemeanor drunk driving, with $15,000 bail — which would seem exceptionally low under the apparent circumstances, given the number and seriousness of the injuries.

Update: Patrick Miller clarified that neither the Koreatown ride, or any of the rides organized on the Midnight Ridazz site, are sponsored directly by the loosely organized group. Rather, it’s a site where individuals can post their own rides, not unlike posting your own ride on Facebook or some other site. 

And apologies to Alex Amerri, whose name I misspelled in my rush to get this story online.

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The LACBC’s Alexis Lantz sent the following email to Sgt. Krumer this morning in response to these events:

Good morning Sgt. Krumer,

I’m assuming you’re probably already pretty busy with the collision that occurred last night with a drunk driver and the K-town group ride.

We are hoping you can keep is in the loop on this issue, we have some issues with the way the news has been reporting the incidents – as with so many stories involving people on bicycles – misinformation and blame is often placed on the victim, even when a drunk driver, distracted driver, and speeding are involved.

In particular we’re concerned about folks focusing in on what people are wearing – this should not be a discussion item, whether or not the cyclist had lights, which are required by law is justified – but questioning the color of people’s clothing really shouldn’t be where folks focus their discussion.

While we don’t know the particulars of where exactly the group was in the roadway we hope that the fact that the driver was speeding, drunk, potentially texting at the time of the collision, and failed to slow, change lanes or do anything to avoid a collision will be taken seriously and be the focus of this investigation and reporting. If a car was stopped in a travel lane due to mechanical problems and the same thing happened – the onus would be on the drunk driver, not the driver with mechanical problems. This collision should not be treated any differently and I have complete faith in you and the officers at LAPD that this collision will be well investigated and the driver will be held accountable.

Please use this opportunity to try and further educate the media and public about the rights and responsibilities of all road users.

Thank you for your constant hard work and dedication.

Sincerely,

Alexis Lantz
Planning & Policy Director
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

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On an unrelated subject, Byerts also reminds us that current Congressman, future New York mayoral candidate and all around schmuck Anthony Weiner is resigning his office after revelations that he texted images of the little Weiner to a number of women, none of whom his wife.

Considering this is the same guy who famously promised to tear out all of the city’s new bike lanes, I say it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jackass fellow.

Breaking news — LAPD officer bicycle training now available online

The LAPD’s officer bicycle training module has just been made available online.

As you may be aware, this training program was developed jointly through the efforts of the LAPD and the local bicycling community, and shows exactly how LAPD officers are trained to interpret and enforce the California Vehicle Code as it pertains to bicycling.

I’ll let Sgt. David Krumer explain from his email announcing the public release of the video:

At the Mayor’s Bike Summit, a promise was made to the cycling community that there would be greater communiation and cooperation between the various City Departments and the cycling community.  To that end the LAPD has recently posted the training that all LAPD officers were required to take to educate them on the specific rules of the road as they apply to cyclists. The training can be found on LAPDonline in the cycling awareness section and was also posted to youtube by Joe Linton (Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee).  Additionally the training may also be available soon on the Mayors website as well as LADOT.

The training was developed with input from our partners which included Aurisha Smolarski (Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition), Ted Rogers (Bikinginla/LACBC), Ron Durgin (Sustainable Streets), Enci Box (Illuminate LA), Dr. Alex Thompson (BikesideLA.org), Stephen Box (SoapBoxLA), Carlos Morales (Eastside Bike Club), and Glenn Bailey (Mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee). These activists and cycling representatives worked tirelessly to ensure your voices are heard.

Thanks to Sgt. Krumer, Cdr Villegas, Chief Beck and all the members of the LAPD who have worked so hard to improve the department’s once-troubled relationship with the cycling community.

And help make us safer and more welcome on the city’s streets.

LAPD intervenes to fight anti-bike harassment at a highly personal level

Yesterday, I received the following email from a local cyclist named Aaron, relating his experience with a bike-hating driver. And a successful, and surprisingly personal, intervention from the LAPD.

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I’m a regular reader of your blog and avid cycling commuter, and I’ve been excitedly following Police Chief Beck and Mayor Villaraigosa’s recent progress on the issue of cycling.  I know the city is really trying to take strides in its approach to cyclists, and I think the cycling community needs to give credit where credit is due.  In that spirit, I feel compelled to share my own recent mind-blowingly great experience with the LAPD regarding a motorist that had been repeatedly harassing my fiancé and me on our morning ride over the course of several weeks.

An ordinary looking car, with an angry driver inside.

To give you some background, my fiancé and I try to be model cyclists on our commute from Silver Lake to K-Town (we wear helmets, yield to pedestrians, stop at stop signs, stay to the right of the road where safe to do so), but occasionally we’ll still encounter some maniac who feels like he/she owns the road and targets us for harassment.

Over the past six weeks, we’ve had a series of unpleasant encounters with the same woman who apparently shares at least a few blocks of our morning commute.  It started when, on a quiet, residential stretch of Vendome one morning, we noticed a tan Toyota sedan driven by a middle-aged woman barreling past us in excess of the speed limit and honking; the car then swerved dangerously close to another cyclist up ahead, still honking.  When we (cyclists and motorists) all arrived at the same red light half a block later, all of the cyclists glared at the woman because of her dangerous and aggressive driving while we waited for the light to change.  She saw this and rolled down her window and started screaming that we have to “get out of the road” and other such nonsense.

We kept seeing this woman again over the coming weeks on the same block of Vendome, often waiting at the same red light with her, and whenever we saw her, she would honk, roll down her window and yell, give us the finger, etc.  This all came to a head this Monday (8/23), when she launched into a particularly toxic rant while we were waiting at the red (she kept calling my fiancé a “stupid bitch” claiming that cyclists have to “follow the law” by “stay[ing] out of the road,” telling us that she “recognizes” us, etc.).  We tried to explain that we had a right to be in the road and that she shouldn’t harass cyclists, but this just set her off screaming even more.  I mad a point of taking photos of her and her license plate before the light turned green.

Sgt. David Krumer juggles three phones at once; he may need more to handle the calls from cyclists.

We were feeling pretty intimidated at this point after weeks of harassment from this obviously unhinged woman, so using info from the LA County Bicycle Coalition, I contacted Sergeant David Krumer with the LAPD via email, explained the situation, and asked him if there was anything he could do to help with the situation.  Within a couple of days (he actually apologized for this short delay saying he was on vacation!), he called me up and we talked about the incidents further.  He explained that, because there were no elements of assault or specific credible threats, things had not yet escalated to a criminal issue (which I had figured from the start).  What blew me away is what he said next.

Sergeant Krumer explained that, even though no crime had been committed, the motorist was clearly behaving wrongly and, since I had her license plate number, he would have a talk with her.  He took down the details about where exactly the encounters took place and told me that he would either wait at the intersection in an unmarked car the next morning and pull her over when she drove by or go make contact at her home. That same night, Sergeant Krumer contacted me again and said that he had already met with the woman.  Here is his description of the encounter:

I had a pretty lengthy conversation with her with regards to a cyclist’s road position, the door zone, and under which circumstances a cyclist needs to cede the roadway.

We also had a discussion about honking horn, etiquette, and unnecessary provocations.

She indicated she understood and also stated that she will be using an alternate route to prevent future encounters.

He also told me that, after seeing me take her picture, she had actually gone to the police herself to try to tell her side in anticipation of me reporting her.  I guess she must have realized that she had let things get out of hand at that point.

So, in the span of a few days, the LAPD was able to contact a motorist that had been terrorizing me for weeks, personally educate her on traffic laws, cyclist safety and etiquette, and even get her to change her route in the morning!!!  All the while, Sergeant Krumer was incredibly courteous and professional, and he has asked me to contact him should I have any more trouble or need further assistance.  I’m extremely impressed with the degree of personal attention and seriousness that the LAPD devoted to me.  I can only conclude that the LAPD is serious about taking a new approach to cyclists.

Incidentally, after he helped me, I mentioned to Sergeant Krumer that I might like to share my story with some of the local cycling blogs that I follow.  He was very receptive, saying:

Chief Beck made a commitment to improving relations with cyclists and making a sincere effort to address their concerns.  I know that many cyclists have had negative contacts with law enforcement.  Anything that you can contribute that would let cyclists know that the LAPD is making a sincere and genuine effort to better our relationship would be greatly appreciated.

So that’s why I’m writing to you.  It’s just a minor issue involving a couple of cyclists and one motorist, but I hope that you see fit to share my story as one of the “small victories” that can be replicated around the city.  We’ve all heard a lot of talk lately from city institutions about how they’re taking our concerns seriously.  Now, after my interactions with the LAPD, I’m inclined to believe that talk.

Update: Sgt. Krumer offered a clarification in the comments to this post; I’m moving it up here for everyone who doesn’t read the comments.

Hello All,

Thank you very much for the positive comments. Just to clarify a few points: The driver volunteered to take a different route on her own without any suggestion or proding from me. It appears she recognized on her own the prudence of that decision.

While I did say that I would attempt to be at the intersection at the approximate time of the encounters (if necessary), my intent was to observe…not pull her over (unless a dangerous situation ensued).

Finally I did not “meet” with her but had a telephonic conversation in which we discussed all of the aforementioned issues. I left a message for her that she promptly returned. After our discussion a face to face did not appear warranted.

I am hopeful that the issue is resolved and that there will be no further incidents!

Take care,

David

………

Big bike happenings in the Valley. It looks like Wilbur Avenue really will get two miles of bike lanes; LADOT Bike Blog says Wilbur is getting bike lanes because it got a road diet, not the other way around. Meanwhile, new bridges at Tampa and Winnetka Aves mean work can proceed on two miles additional miles of the LA River Bike Path between Mason and VanAlden.

………

Streetsblog gets the first second photo of a real Give Me 3 poster on the street. Ten public spaces you can visit along the CicLAvia route on 10/10/10. Green LA Girl reports on Wednesday’s Streetsblog fundraiser. LACBC follows up on the Mayor’s Bike Summit, including the bike plan, Complete Streets and the proposed three-foot passing and vulnerable user laws. Bikeside says the only question in the Santa Monica bikeway vs Agensys dispute is how to make the bikeway happen. Is San Diego’s Critical Mass a victim of its own success? San Francisco remembers the German cyclist killed in an alleged drunken hit-and-run. SF cyclists “with an anti-establishment attitude” protest BP and a dangerous bike lane next to an ARCO station. Tucson police “suppress” cyclists behaving badly. A semi right hooks an SLC cyclist, leaving the rider with life-threatening injuries. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske notes that three-foot passing laws — like the one Mayor Villaraigosa and Council Member Rosendahl propose — only work if they’re actually enforced. Three ticketed cyclists challenge the constitutionality of the Black Hawk CO bike ban. A Colorado women describes what it’s like to hit a cyclist from the driver’s perspective; fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt — and the driver took full responsibility. Is that Mario Kart bike lane a genuine Banksy? In a twist on bike share, the Twin Cities host a successful bike library for low income adults. Officials fear bikes and pedestrians flooding the streets of Elmhurst. In the most dangerous state for bicyclists, a ninja cyclist is hit and killed by a Florida Sheriff’s deputy. The Cervelo men’s team folds, as the women’s team may continue; Garmin-Transitions will be on Cervelo bikes next year. On the other hand, India’s cyclists may not be on any bikes for the Commonwealth Games. Cambridge England creates a website to act as a suggestion box for cyclists; maybe L.A. cycling’s new BFF — aka the Mayor — should consider the idea. The body of a Brit cyclist is found stuffed in a sports bag; maybe it’s just a coincidence that he worked for MI6. A Brit teenager on a stolen bike critically injures a pedestrian in a two-wheeled hit-and-run. Now this sounds like a perfect ride to me.

Finally, a Kansas writer says cyclists make bad criminals, in part because bikes make awful getaway vehicles. And yet, that doesn’t stop a lot of bank robbers from trying.

Report a dangerous intersection; recycle old tubes for fun and profit

I wasn’t able to fit Thursday’s Webinar on the revised draft of the new bike plan into my schedule; if you participated in the sessions and want to share your thoughts, let me know and I’ll be happy to post it here.

………

No one knows the streets better than a bicyclist.

So chances are, in the course of your riding, you’ve noticed a dangerous intersection or two. Or twenty, maybe. Someplace where drivers frequently break the law and place other road users at risk.

Like the left turn arrows at Santa Monica and Beverly Glen, for instance, where cars often go through the intersection long after the light has changed — regardless of whether there are bikes crossing or pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Or one block north, at Beverly Glen and Eastborne Ave, where motorists routinely ignore the no U-turn sign to the detriment of everyone else on the street.

And maybe, like me, you’ve thought that all it would take to improve the situation is a little police enforcement.

So I asked LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer who we should contact at the LAPD to report the situation. Here’s his response:

West Traffic – 310-202-4545
(West LA, Pacific, Olympic, Wilshire, Hollywood)
Captain Nancy Lauer nancy.lauer@lapd.lacity.org

 
Valley Traffic – 818-644-8000
(Everything in the San Fernando Valley)
Captain William Sutton suttonw@lapd.lacity.org

 
Central Traffic – 213-972-1853
(Central, Rampart, Hollenbeck, Northeast, Newton)
Captain Ronald Marbrey marbreyr@lapd.lacity.org

 
South Traffic – 213-485-7417
(77th, Southwest, Southeast, Harbor)
Captain Kelly Mulldorfer kelly.mulldorfer@lapd.lacity.org

Sgt. Krumer suggests calling first, then sending an email to the captain in charge to follow-up.

When you call, talk to the officer who answers the phone, and say something like this:

“Good Morning, I am (NAME) and I live in (AREA).  I would like to report a dangerous intersection and request additional enforcement along (LOCATION).  The problems at that location are…”

After explaining the situation, conclude by saying “Thank you officer…what was your name again?”

Then once you hang up, email the Captain of the respective Traffic Division and write something like:

“Hello Captain (NAME),

I spoke to officer (NAME) on (DATE) and advised him of an issue at (LOCATION).  I requested additional enforcement at that location.  Please let me know if you require any additional information.

Thank you for your efforts,

(YOUR NAME)”

As always, thanks to Sgt. Krumer for his help.

………

Recycle your old tubes at the Grand Opening of the new Woodland Hills store, or the newly remodeled Santa Monica location this weekend.

I’m usually a supporter of your friendly neighborhood LBS.

That’s Local Bike Shop, for the uninitiated.

But this weekend, I’d highly recommend heading over to the Grand Openings of the newly remodeled Performance Bicycle in Santa Monica or the new location in Woodland Hills.

And take your old inner tubes with you. Because for each old tube you bring in, you’ll get a $5 credit, up to a limit of three tubes.

That’s up to $15 for the unreliable, over-patched or unrepairable tubes currently cluttering up your bike space.

This weekend, from July 23rd to July 25th, Performance (www.performancebike.com) will celebrate the grand openings of its new Woodland Hills and completely remodeled Santa Monica stores with the Bike Tube Blow-Out, a recycling program sponsored by Performance and Liberty Tire, the largest scrap tire recycler in the country. During the weekend, anyone can bring their used or blown-out inner tubes to the store and receive up to three $5 money cards for the tubes they recycle.

Liberty Tire Recycling, the nation’s largest collector of used and scrap tires, will turn the bike tubes into mulch for playgrounds, athletic fields, railroad ties and highway asphalt, among other uses. The company collects and recycles nearly one-third of all of America’s annual scrap tire material and has cleaned up more than 150 dump sites littered with nearly 40 million scrap tires—more than any other organization.

“We estimate that a major city can annually generate several tons of used rubber just from blown out bicycle inner tubes alone,” said Jim Thompson, CEO of Performance Inc. “Our aim is to make bike inner tubes a proven reusable resource for playgrounds, manufacturing and other applications.”

………

Insisting his time has come, Andy Schleck wins the last mountain stage of the Tour de France but not the yellow jersey; however, anything is possible in Saturday’s time trial, he says.

Meanwhile, the French love the Tour a lot less than they used to. Jens Voigt blows a tire while descending at 40 mph, shattering his bike — and his body — but refuses to abandon the race. Irish rider Nicolas Roche threatens to put his teammate’s head through the nearest window. More on the Kiwi TdF rider tackled by a gendarme before Wednesday’s 16th stage.

And in today’s daily doping news, Greg “Everyone dopes but me” LeMond says the evidence against Lance is overwhelming.

………

More on the slap on the back wrist given Celine Mahdavi, who ended the professional bike racing career of Louis “Birdman” Deliz in a hit-and-run. Alex Thompson says LACBC forgot to give credit to Stephen Box for $1.32 million in Measure R funds. Gary argues that the penalty for most driving crimes should be permanent revocation of driving privileges. LADOT Bike Blog reminds readers about this weekend’s Walk and Ride for a Safer 4th Street. Metro and Calstart are conducting a folding bike survey. Joe Linton says the new draft bike plan is an improvement over the last one, but still has a way to go. The rich get richer, as Long Beach cyclists will soon enjoy separated bike lanes downtown. A Santa Barbara council member calls the city’s focus on alternative transportation regressive and destructive. Ten ways to stay safe on the road. A cyclist riding cross country for charity is killed in South Dakota; the driver uses the universal get out of jail free card, insisting he just didn’t see her. Riding along with a Seattle council member, and annoying faster riders. Evidently, New York workers aren’t capable of looking both ways to avoid bikes. A Colorado Christian music festival tries to solve traffic problems by banning bikes, while a Steamboat Springs writer says promoting cycling would attract thousands of rude, disrespectful, dangerous, arrogant road and trail hogs; sounds to me like she’s describing drivers. A Kansas driver intentionally strikes a cyclist, then flees the scene. A Baltimore street goes on a road diet. After losing a $2.9 million verdict, a Connecticut water district may close its 41 miles of trails. A Maltese cyclist plans to sue over bad road design after catching a wheel in a storm grate. Even Nicosia Cyprus will have a bike share program before L.A. does. A Mumbai Muslim seminary issues a fatwa against female cyclists. A helmet and some good Samaritans save the life of a Vancouver cyclist after she falls nearly 15 feet onto some rocks, landing on her head. A truly bizarre story on the dangers of cycling, including scrotal damage and using your helmet to ward off the blows of a road raging driver.

Finally, an Oregon driver shares his attitude towards bikes on his license plate; something tells me he falls into the anti camp. Maybe it belongs to the Portland bus driver who urged city residents to kill a bicyclist after a close call, or it could be the person tried to injure cyclists by placing a tape tripwire at a popular intersection.

A friendly greeting, a nearby death, another bike-hating DJ

It was one of those things that just wouldn’t happen if I’d been driving a car.

Last week, I was on my way back home from a long ride when I stopped at a red light across from Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica. Next to me was a frozen yogurt store than had opened recently in what had been an empty space.

The tables outside were filled with an eclectic assortment of people enjoying the sunny afternoon. At the one closest to me, a couple of well-dressed children sat enjoying their desserts.

“Excuse me sir,” said the young African American gentleman at the table, waving as his female companion concentrated on her yogurt. “Nice day, isn’t?”

I nodded in agreement.

“I just graduated from 5th grade,” he continued. “It was hard work, but I made it.”

“Well, congratulations. You should be very proud,” I said. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”

“I am!” he answered cheerfully. “Thank you!”

Just then the light changed, so I wished him well as I clipped back into my pedal and started up the road.

“You too,” shouted the voice from behind. “Enjoy your ride!”

………

A wrong-way cyclist was killed in Palm Springs Saturday night.

The rider, identified as 46-year old Indio resident Eric Mendoza, was headed north in the southbound lanes of North Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs when he was struck by an unidentified driver at about 11:24 PM.

Riding facing traffic greatly raises your risk of a collision while increasing the potential severity of injuries due to higher relative speeds. In fact, LAPD statistics show that 30% of cyclists killed in Los Angeles in 2008, and 20% of those severely injured, were riding on the wrong side of the road.

………

A Pittsburgh cyclist responds to the latest bike-hating DJ, who admits to being tempted to run down those “arrogant little dorks” on their bicycles.

“They’ve got to stop being so arrogant about what they’re doing. They’ve got to obey the rules. They have to do the right thing or else they’re going to get killed.”

Funny how the people who hate bicyclists profess to be so concerned about our safety while simultaneously professing their desire to frighten, injure, maim and/or kill us for the heinous crime of riding a bike in the street. Or maybe just being in their way.

And maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the real arrogant ones are the people who insist that the roads belong to them, rather than acknowledging that others have a right to be there, too.

………

Bike Advisory Committee Chair Glenn Bailey reports that LADOT has taken the initial steps to install 2.3 miles of bike lanes on Winnetka Ave between Gault and Nordhoff Streets, 14 years after they were included in the 1996 bike plan — and after another 1.75 miles included in the plan were replaced with curb-to-curb traffic lanes without consulting the bike community.

Bailey urges LADOT to extend the bike lanes two miles to the south, which is also called for in the bike plan, allowing riders to connect with the Orange Line and Pierce College.

Update: LADOT Bike Blog offered clarification in the comments that the bike lane only needs to be extended .8 mile to connect to the Orange Line and the Pierce College Station. He also notes that a couple of road narrowings, including a crossing over the L.A. River, would have to be addressed before the bike lanes can be extended to their planned terminus at Ventura Blvd — something Glenn Bailey had mentioned as well, but which I left out.

Meanwhile, Stephen Box takes LADOT to task for failing to attend last weekend’s Caltrans workshops on Understanding Bicycle Transportation, where they could have learned how to install sharrows correctly.

And speaking of Box, he will be honored, along with Sgt. David Krumer of the LAPD’s Bike Task Force, as the winners of the Eastside Bike Club’s 1st Annual Golden Crank Award for their outstanding contributions to the cycling community in Los Angeles over the past year. The awards will be given at the bike club’s second anniversary celebration this Saturday, June 26.

We will be making the presentation at the EASTSIDE BIKE CLUB 2nd Gear Anniversary Celebration which will be held at

LINCOLN PARK
3501 Valley Blvd, LA CA 90031
PARK PHONE #  213/847.1726

We will begin our day at 2pm to gather, meet and relax at Lincoln Park.  Our presentation will begin at 5pm  followed by a community bike ride   We will contain our ride to the LAPD Hollenbeck Division.  We are asking everyone to decorate your bikes in RED WHITE AND BLUE and wear clothing of the same colors if possible.  Bring Bells, Whistles and Horns!

………

Lance Armstrong almost — but not quite — pulled off a big upset by jumping up from seventh place in the final stage of the Tour of Switzerland to finish 2nd, 12 seconds behind winner Frank Schleck; the previous day’s leader, Robert Gesink, dropped back to 5th.

However, the race was overshadowed by the heart attack suffered by 31-year old former Luxembourg national champion Kim Kirchen, who had been in 48th place after the seventh stage. Kirchen was reportedly in stable condition after being placed in medically induced coma.

………

Bike Girl advises women riders how to gracefully dismount. Adult drivers are every bit as distracted as their teenage counterparts, which should come as no surprise to those who share the road with them. Into every bike commuter’s life a little rain must fall — along with hail and hurricane force winds, at times. Preview the upcoming movie about America’s first black bike hero. A Chicago man reminisces about his father walking the walk and biking the bike. CNN discovers naked bicycling in St. Louis; Pittsburgh rides naked while DC dons seersucker. In Colorado, even ski towns strive to be bike-friendly. Three to eight years in prison for an Idaho drunk driver convicted of killing a cyclist. Pylon-protected bike lanes on DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue. BMX racers from around the world will be headed to Allegany County, PA for the Stars-N-Stripes Nationals this weekend. Interview with a cam-wearing car-dodging cyclist in Annapolis. A Huntsville, AL bicyclist provides inspiration for Complete Streets in her hometown following her death while riding in another state. A triathlete gives up riding the roads of Israel after the latest of 12 fellow triathletes, the son of a former Israel Supreme Court justice, is killed in a hit-and-run collision. Cyclists in India may soon be required to paint their black bikes bright orange for the sake of safety. A UK cyclist has his new custom-made bike stolen just minutes into his first ride. A distracted Brit bus driver who killed a cyclist walks free.

Finally, an injured non-car-owning cyclist is banned from driving — but not riding — after running a red light and colliding with a car. And Missouri unveils bicycling commemorative license plates, so you can show your support for cyclists while you run them off the road.

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