Tag Archive for sidewalk riding

A successful Wilshire CicLAvia, Give Me 3 moves forward, and who knew drivers run stops signs, too?

The view from the Downtown hub

The view from the Downtown hub

Just a few quick thoughts on Sunday’s CicLAvia.

After all, there’s been more than enough written on the subject to make a review by yours truly truly irrelevant.

But let me offer my congratulations to the folks at CicLAvia for pulling off the most successful event yet.

Maybe it was the extended 9 am to 4 pm hours, allowing people to travel the route more leisurely.

It could have been using both sides of a wide boulevard, unlike the recent CicLAvia to the Sea, allowing more space to move. And the limited traffic crossings certainly didn’t hurt, making it possible for even the slowest riders to cover the entire route in an hour or so of actual pedaling.

Meanwhile, the shorter distance encouraged more walking, making this the first one where I’ve seen a significant amount of pedestrians along the entire route.

Evidently, bikes are good for business

Evidently, bikes are good for business

It might have been the iconic theme for an iconic boulevard. Along with the many entertainment and educational options along the route; the woman singing traditional Korean songs in not so traditional Koreatown was a highlight for me.

Call it Gangnam-style from a handful of centuries back.

Then there was the food of every possible description, dispensed from everything from trucks and restaurants to church groups and kids hawking cookies and lemonade.

It could have been the abundance of portapotties, reducing bladder pressure and putting everyone in better mood.

Or maybe it was all of the above, in what felt like the best planned and organized CicLAvia yet. Clearly, organizers have looked at what didn’t work in previous events and made some changes for the better.

I'll believe a car-free Wilshire when I see  unicorn on it

I’ll believe a car-free Wilshire when I see unicorns

One minor criticism is that participants universally ignored signs suggesting slower people should keep to the right, resulting in conflict zones throughout the full length of Wilshire. Which may have been why I saw three riders fall, resulting, thankfully, in relatively minor injuries.

The worst was a woman who lay in the street grabbing her collarbone, causing me to ride a few blocks back to an aid station get medical help.

The others suffered scrapes and road rash, and declined medical help.

Note to everyone: If you have the option for free medical help in an event like this, take advantage of it. Prompt first aid can prevent worse problems later, and the need for avoid more expensive medical attention if further injuries become apparent the next day, as often happens.

A friend writes that she witnessed a bike-bourn hit-and-run, in which a couple on a tandem rode off after knocking down another rider. Witnesses were unable to stop the bike before it disappeared into the crowd, leaving the victim sprawled bloody on the street.

Me taking a picture from Downtown hub; photo by Maraget Wehbi

Me taking a picture from Downtown hub; photo by Maraget Wehbi

Then there’s the schmuck — and I use the term advisedly — who apparently was unwilling to make his way to one of the four crossing points, and gunned his late model Toyota through the barricades at Windsor Ave and across the CicLAvia route, where he hit a cyclist before fleeing the scene.

Fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously hurt, though badly shaken. (Update: The rider has three fracture vertebrae as well as a mangled bike; having suffered the same injury a few decades back, he likely faces a long road to recovery and a lifetime of back pain.)

Unfortunately, the limited description means the driver will probably get away with it.

But on the off chance they find him, I hope they take away his license. And shove it so far up his ass he’ll need to see a proctologist to buy his next six pack of beer.

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Congratulations to Wolfpack Hustle on pulling off what I’m told was a very successful and popular first-ever Civic Center Criterium on Sunday.

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California’s latest attempt at passing a three-foot passing law is now before the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Housing after overwhelmingly passing the state Assembly, just shy of a veto-proof two-thirds majority.

The bill’s sponsor, Inglewood Assemblymember Steven Bradford, has been very smart in answering the unreasonable objections Governor Jerry Brown gave in vetoing the last two attempts to pass a three-foot law.

There should be no rational reason for Brown to veto the law this time around. Although as we’ve seen, rationality isn’t exactly his strong point when it comes to bikes.

There are some strong supporters of bicycling on this committee, including West Valley Sen. Fran Pavley. But it couldn’t hurt to contact committee members to voice your support.

As we’ve seen with the previous attempts to pass this law, nothing is guaranteed in California politics.

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After learning that the rate of cellphone violations are down in California, a writer from the Press-Enterprise conducts his own survey and finds 7.7% of drivers he observed at a Temecula intersection were texting or using handheld phones — slightly higher than state stats.

More interesting, however, was his secondary observation that two-thirds of the drivers failed to stop for the stop signs.

Based accusations from motorists, I would have sworn only bike riders do that.

Pot, meet kettle.

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Speaking of anti-bike bias, so much for the L.A. Newspaper Group’s self-proclaimed Summer of Cycling being a good thing, as the owners of the Daily News, Daily Breeze, Press Telegram, et al, once again trot out the tired cliché of licensing cyclists and requiring insurance for bike riders.

As usually happens when the press chums for angry drivers, the results will inevitably skew towards requiring licensing for bike riders, if only because there are far more motorists than there are bicyclists. Never mind that this question reads like a classic push poll designed to draw a negative response.

So once again, for their benefit and that of anyone else unclear on the concept, like most bicyclists, I have a drivers license, which means we’ve already passed the same test as anyone else on the road — and probably have a better knowledge of traffic law than most, since we too frequently have to defend our right just to be on the road.

And despite what the papers suggest, my automotive insurance covers me for liability when I ride, as well as covering medical expenses resulting from a collision with an uninsured motorist or a solo fall.

Just like pretty much every American bike rider over the age of 16.

So get over it, already.

And before they claim to cover the subject, they need to reach out to the people and groups who are fighting for the rights of cyclists every day.

Not the angry drivers who don’t have a clue about the rights of cyclists, or how to ride a bike safely on the streets of Southern California.

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Congratulations to our friends at LA Streetsblog, winners of two L.A. Press Club awards Sunday night.

Well deserved.

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Former LADOT Bike Blogger and current Calbike board member Chris Kidd updates his comprehensive listing of state sidewalk riding laws, including percentages of where it’s legal in each county.

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Looks like we’re all invited to the official inauguration ceremony for our new mayor this Sunday evening. LADOT ranks the 50 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians; something tells me they’re not much safer for anyone else. Beverly Hills begins work on the city’s first bike lanes; needless to say, they’re only being installed on a trial basis. A writer raises questions about plans to improve bicycling on Redondo Beach’s Harbor Drive. A SoCal cyclist sets a new national one-hour record at the Home Depot Center Velodrome in Carson. A Valencia woman faces charges for a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist. San Diego prosecutors decide on misdemeanor charges for the driver responsible for killing cyclist Charles Gilbreth — despite recklessly passing a bus — and blame fallen cyclist David Ortiz, at least in part, for his own death.

Bikes Belong looks to reinvent itself. A smart new Maine bill redefines traffic to include bikes, bans right hooks and removes the restriction to ride to the right. NYPD is — finally — starting to take traffic fatalities seriously; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up. A New York columnist offers his take on the city’s new bike share program; Gothamist says that all you got? A Virginia cyclist is hit by a stray bullet when a man can’t manage to load his gun without firing it. A Texas woman leaps off her bike at the last second to avoid getting run over by a cement truck. New Orleans gets bike lanes on iconic Esplanade Ave. One hundred nineteen years ago yesterday, a Jewish mother of three successfully set out from Boston to bike around the world.

A bike-hating Toronto writer changes his tune after just  two hours on two wheels. A Winnipeg writer offers a tongue-in-cheek look at six ways a cyclist with a death wish can become a hood ornament; decent advice, but somehow, not so funny. Bikes now make up as much as a quarter of London’s rush hour traffic. Tips for the bike curious. Even in the Netherlands, childhood bike riding is down as more parents drive their kids to school. A look back at 150 years of bicycling in Copenhagen. Evidently, you need nine lives to ride a bike.

Finally, I don’t even know what to say here, as a Swiss man sexually assaults a bicycle after puncturing both tires; presumably so it couldn’t get away, I guess. And if you’re carrying a sunglass case full of meth on your bike at 1 am, put a damn light on it, already.

The bike, that is, not the meth.

Nothing to see here — I’m on Streetsblog today

Unless there’s breaking news that has to be addressed, I won’t be posting on here today.

Instead, you can find my latest post on LA Streetsblog, discussing sidewalk riding and bike parking in Santa Monica. Especially at the new Apple Store on the Third Street Promenade, where cyclists are shunted off to park — and possibly get their bikes stolen — behind the store in an alley.

Thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious and Bike Metro for calling attention to the problem.

Blaming the victim: Beverly Hills police blame sidewalk riding cyclist over dangerous driver

Last week, I received the following email from cyclist and budding brewmeister Todd Mumford.

As you may recall, Todd recently described a collision that left him with minor — though painful — injuries and a badly mangled bike. Now his neighbor has been the victim of a law-breaking driver.

And, apparently, the Beverly Hills police.

Todd notes that the story is second hand, but he has no reason to question his neighbor’s version of events.

He was headed east on Olympic Blvd. At some point he was riding in the street, but jumped on to the sidewalk (there was a car blocking his path or something like that).

He was on the sidewalk when he entered the crosswalk at Olympic/Doheny on a green light with the pedestrian walk sign. According to my neighbor, he checked the road and all was clear as he entered. However, as soon as he got into the crosswalk, he looked left just in time to see an SUV make a right turn from the middle lane at the last second, hitting my neighbor and sending him to the ground; he took the brunt of the impact with his shoulder.

The driver stopped and checked on my neighbor. My neighbor said two or three drivers that witnessed the accident also stopped, and started berating the driver that hit him for driving like a maniac. According to them, the driver of the SUV was speeding down Olympic, weaving in and out of traffic and finally made an illegal right turn from the middle lane before striking my neighbor.

The paramedics arrived as did the police. My neighbor got checked out and nothing appeared broken, but his shoulder was in a lot of pain (it has since become worse and he is going to get it checked to see whether he needs surgery). The police took the statements of the witnesses, the driver and my neighbor.   Their conclusion at the end of the police report was that my neighbor was entirely at fault because he was riding on the sidewalk. (My neighbor also said the police treated him like he did something wrong the entire time.)

Now, as I explained to him, it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk in Beverly Hills. If he was just a little farther down Olympic he would have been in Los Angeles and it would not have been an issue. What I am wondering is if the police came to their conclusion because the law states it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk or they think he’s at fault because the driver couldn’t see him because he was riding on the sidewalk.

All of which begs the question, what would the police have concluded had the SUV hit a pedestrian who was walking down the sidewalk had just entered the crosswalk and got hit?

If the police assigned 100% of fault to my neighbor because he broke the law by riding on the sidewalk, they are absolutely in the wrong. There is a legal concept in torts called negligence per se  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negligence_per_se), which, although not applicable here, feels like the police may be following the same concept. “You broke a law, you got hit, your fault.”  I have not seen the police report, but if they assigned 100% of fault to my neighbor, I would assume the driver was not cited for anything.

My neighbor said he has since retained an attorney and the driver’s insurance company assigned 80% of the fault to the driver and 20% to him, which is a small victory.

(As a side note, when I was dealing with the adjustor for the insurance company of the driver that hit me, they asked if I was riding on the sidewalk when I was hit.)

This story raises a number of issues.

Not the least of which is the problem of sidewalk riding, which is legal in some California cities and banned in others. And even legal in some areas of cities that ban it in others, such as Beverly Hills, which bans sidewalk riding only in business districts — even though BHPD bike officers routinely ride on the gilded sidewalks of the city’s Golden Triangle, including Rodeo Drive.

This patchwork of laws makes it virtually impossible for cyclists to comply with the law, as they may have no way of knowing if it is legal or illegal as they pass through the many various communities of the county.

In effect, it’s no different from the speed traps that plagued the state in the ’40s and ’50s. By refusing to post regulations on the street where cyclists who don’t live in the city can see them, jurisdictions that ban sidewalk riding virtually ensure that riders who take to the sidewalk for whatever reason will break the law at some point and be subject to ticketing.

Or worse, as this case points out.

Of course, the one solution is for all cyclists to always ride in the street. But simple common sense says that will never happen, as some riders will always feel more comfortable on the sidewalk, while others will jump on and off as needed to avoid road hazards and dangerous streets.

A better answer is to establish a uniform standard from city to city so it’s actually possible for riders to know and observe the law, wherever they ride.

Then there’s the problem of police in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills ignoring witness statements that the driver broke the law by making a right turn from the wrong lane. And deciding that the relatively minor violation of riding on the sidewalk completely outweighs a reckless driver in a dangerous vehicle putting others at risk by committing a major moving violation.

Despite the driver’s potential to cause harm, they insisted on blaming the victim. Instead of holding people operating vehicles that are capable of killing their fellow road users accountable for operating them in a safe and legal manner, they heaped all the blame on the bike rider, who posed a danger no one but himself.

All of which begs the question, what the f*** is wrong with Beverly Hills??????

Maybe you can ask them yourself.

The Beverly Hills City Council is meeting tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, March 6th, at 1:30 pm. Bikes are on the agenda — a discussion of the city’s first planned bikeways, making them only 40 years or so behind the rest of the world.

But maybe we can use the opportunity to ask why they seem intent on remaining the most bike-unfriendly city on the Westside.

Attention cyclists: just share the damn sidewalk, already. And don’t get killed in KY after dark.

KCET reports on rude cyclists unwilling to share the road — or the sidewalk, for that matter — with pedestrians. Even though we expect other people to share the streets with us.

But let’s face it. There will always be jerks on two wheels, just as there are countless jerks on four. And anyone who hasn’t encountered bipedal jerks on L.A.’s sidewalks hasn’t spent much time walking in this fair city. Or trying, with more or less success, to navigate around the pedestrians who sometimes clog the various off-road bike paths that bisect L.A.

But whatever mode of transportation and/or recreation we choose, we all have a responsibility to share common spaces safely and courteously, whether or not we think the other party belongs there.

As the most vulnerable users, pedestrians should be given the same sort of space we expect from passing drivers, regardless of how careless and clueless they may seem at times. Especially on the sidewalk, where they have every right to be safe from the rampages of rude, careless and barely under control riders.

Lord knows, I’ve come close to punching a few myself for riding close enough and fast enough to put my wife and I at risk while we walk.

And God help anyone who endangers my dog.

Not to mention that you’re significantly safer on the street — despite how it may seem — where you’re more visible and less likely to get right hooked or hit by drivers barreling out of driveways.

On the other hand, complaining about cyclists on a bike path is like complaining about all those damn cars on the 405.

Then again, it doesn’t seem to be a new problem.

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Instead of focusing on why the driver hit and killed a cyclist, Kentucky authorities question why he was riding his bike on a rural road at 9:15 pm.

How about because he wanted to, and had every right to be there?

Fortunately for the driver, he claims he just didn’t see Illinois Institute of Technology student Yishi Wei, which of course absolves him of any and all responsibility to operate his vehicle in a safe manner, or avoid people directly in front of him.

Police also question why Wei had a hand-drawn map listing distances between towns, yet had no change of clothes to indicate he was planning to stay overnight; clearly, they’re unaware that some cyclists actually enjoy long distance rides. Let alone ever heard of randonneuring.

An earlier article notes that he was wearing dark, non-reflective clothing, and that the bike had reflectors, but apparently not lights. Police make a point of mentioning that Wei wasn’t wearing a helmet.

While any non-distracted driver should have been easily able to spot a rear reflector, there is a reason why smart cyclists wear bright clothing and light themselves up like Christmas trees after dark.

And even then, it’s not always enough.

And for all those police spokespersons and reporters who seem to be endlessly unclear on the concept, there’s not a single bike helmet made anywhere on the planet that can protect the rider from a rear-end collision at highway speeds.

None. Nada. Zero. Zip.

Got it?

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AG2R’s John Gadret reeled in Katusha’s Daniel Moreno, the last survivor of the day’s breakaway, to win Stage 11 of the Giro. Cavendish wins the final sprint stage and goes home, while Contador holds almost a one-minute lead overall. And t-shirts sales have raised $22,000 so far for the family of fallen Giro rider Wouter Waylandt, who was laid to rest on Thursday with a eulogy from friend Tyler Farrar.

On the other side of the Atlantic, 39-year old Chris Horner of the RadioShack team won an impressive victory in Stage 4 of the AToC; he feels under appreciated after 17 years as a pro cyclist, and thinks he can win it all. A spectator is hit by a car and seriously injured near the end of the race.

Horner holds onto the leader’s jersey in Stage 5, won by 21-year old Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan. The Amgen Tour of California heads to a big finish in Thousand Oaks, where a local cyclist will be honored as a cancer survivor two years after doctors gave her six months to live. A look at the man behind Team Type 1, established to call attention to the battle against diabetes.

And Just Another Cyclist considers what’s in a multi-hyphenated  name when it comes to AToC teams.

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Walk Eagle Rock takes an in-depth and insightful look at the many problems facing Eagle Rock Blvd. KCET offers eight off-road routes to celebrate Bike Week, which kind of defeats the purpose of Bike Week seeking to normalize cycling on city streets, doesn’t it? Streetsblog’s Bike to Work series continues with Michelle Chavez writing about the challenges of biking in the Antelope Valley. Will Campbell accompanies his wife on her first Bike to Work Day. Better Bike Beverly Hills’ Mark Elliot casts his insightful eye on Bob Mionske’s Bicycling and the Law. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton wants your stories, photos and videos of Bike to Work Day. The Times briefly covers Wednesday’s Downtown Ride for Bike Week; the Source offers a little more detail while LADOT Bike Blog offers the best coverage, as usual. Metro rewards bike commuters with their Human Powered Commuter Awards. Reimagining San Fernando Road as a more pleasant place to walk and bike; than again, anything would be an improvement. Flying Pigeon says L.A. is surrounded by cities that are trying a lot harder. LA Brakeless will have a public opening party on Saturday the 20th to celebrate their new pop-up location. Santa Monica Museum of Art offers a Cycle Chic Saturday to conclude Bike Week. The Beach Cities Cycling Club offers free bike corrals for events throughout the South Bay. Art of the Group Ride looks at the history of the Blessing of the Bicycles.

People for Bikes wishes you a happy Bike to Work Week. Five tips for bike commuting. New data on the economic benefits of cycling, which could be the forgotten answer to energy policy, as well. Turning your bike into a basket case. Tucson Velo visits Los Angeles. There’s finally a settlement in Portland’s infamous case of the disappearing bike lane, despite the ruling of an apparently incompetent judge. A St. Louis cyclist brushes off a close call. After receiving a Purple Heart as a result of an Iraqi IED, an Ohio veteran fights for his life after his bike is hit by a car. The NYPD backs off their heavy handed crackdown on Central Park cyclists.

A human life is worth about the price of a mid-sized TV in Ontario. How to tell when it’s time to find a new bike shop. Despite last year’s rash of bike deaths, London streets are the safest overall since records have been kept; a British MP calls for sensors that could spot a cyclist in a truck’s blind spot. London cyclists are getting mugged for their bikes. A Brit driver gets a whopping 100 hours of community service for the hit-and-run death of a 17-year old cyclist. An investigative journalist is out to eliminate Scotland’s popular Etape Calendonia because it closes local roads for three hours once a year — never mind that the roads are open the other 8757 hours every year. A third-tier Aussie cyclist faces a two-year ban after being caught using recreational drugs.

Finally, more former friends and teammates turn against Lance Armstrong, as Tyler Hamilton says he witnessed Lance taking EPO.

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