Tag Archive for sidewalk riding

Morning Links: Coronado bike lane madness hits big time, Rowena redux, and OC deputy gets bike law wrong

The Coronado anti-bike lane madness is now officially the butt of jokes.

In a brilliant monologue, CBS Late Late Show host James Corden rips the rich old white ladies, as he calls them, who claim to get vertigo from the tattoo and graffiti-like white stripes besmirching their streets.

Seriously, watch it.

It could be the best four minutes and thirty-six seconds of your day not spent on a bike.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.


Meanwhile, the San Diego Bicycle Coalition responds to the madness in Coronado, asking city leaders to reconsider the decision to cancel the planned bike lanes.

And the insanity extends to the local police, as a Coronado cop refuses to believe the beach bike a sailor bought at the wasn’t stolen.

Because he’s a man, and it was pink.


Maybe there’s something in the water down there by the border.

A new report finds a disconnect between the transportation plan developed by the San Diego Association of Government and the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan; San Diego calls for 50% of trips to be made by foot, bike or transit, while SANDAG settles for just 15%.

In fact, SANDAG envisions a future with more driving, not less. And one in which an increase in greenhouse gases is perfectly acceptable, as long people can continue to slog through traffic on an ever-increasing mass of freeways.


Then again, it’s not just a West Coast problem.

In a prime example of just not getting it, a Staten Island website complains about bike lane fever gripping city officials.

SI Live argues that the evangelical zeal of bicyclists has transformed into an influential political movement that has found ardent acolytes at city hall, in the absence of “anything approaching broad, let alone overwhelming, public support.”


Anywhere else, the 66% of New Yorkers who favor bike lanes would be considered overwhelming, let alone broad, support.

But whatever.

They also question the “dubious claim” that a road diet to add bike lanes serves to calm traffic, never mind that it can actually improve traffic flow.

Sure. As long as you consider a 19% to 47% reduction in overall crashes dubious. And think the Federal Highway Administration is a questionable source for those stats.

As for that other claim that road diets can improve traffic flow, it comes not from bike riders and their political acolytes, but the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

Who should know.

And both the FHWA and NACTO also say that bike and pedestrian use tends to soar following a road diet, which is something else the SI Live editorial dismisses.

But why let the facts get in the way of a good uninformed rant?

Of course, there are those who will say the mad rantings of an NYC website don’t matter here on the Left Coast.

Except this is the same sort of misguided and barely informed thinking we see at work in Coronado, Beverly Hills, Silver Lake and on North Figueroa.


Speaking of Silver Lake, Larry Mantle discusses the Rowena road diet with LADOT’s Tim Fremaux, while the Los Feliz Ledger offers a relatively one-sided look at the recent town hall meeting. And KABC-7 asks if the road diet is causing unnecessary traffic headaches.

Meanwhile, EGP News takes a surprisingly even-handed look at the issues surrounding North Figueroa, while KPCC discusses the street as ground zero in the debate over road diets.


Honk my ass.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that newspaper column with such an auto-centric name would get a question about bicycling wrong.

The Honk column in the Orange County Register was asked whether it was legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk. And turned to an OC Sheriff’s traffic deputy for the answer.

Bad idea.

The officer responded that under state law, bicycles were forbidden to ride along a sidewalk. Which just goes to show, once again, a cop is the last person you should ask about bike law.

Because section 21206 of the California Vehicle Code leaves it up to the local jurisdictions to decide.

The result is a crazy patchwork of bike laws, where someone can legally ride on the sidewalk in LA, and be ticketed for exactly the same thing after crossing the street into Beverly Hills. And usually with no posted warnings, and often no indication you’ve gone from one city to another.

Down in OC, bikes are allowed on the sidewalk in Laguna Hills, and banned in Laguna Beach. And allowed everywhere but the central business district in Laguna Woods and Laguna Nigel.

So the real answer to the question is, it depends on where you happen to be at the moment.

As for why someone would ride on the sidewalk when there’s a perfectly good bike lane on the street right next to it, there can be a lot of reasons.

Especially in Orange County, where bike lanes are routinely found on streets with speed limits of 50 mph or more.


Applications are now open for the bike industry’s 2016 Women’s Bike Mechanic Scholarships; 16 scholarships will be offered for the first all-female class in professional repair and shop operation.


And one more common theme before we move on.

Urban Adonia questions how Vision Zero will play out in communities of color, raising concerns over racial profiling and the predominance of Eurocentric thinking.

A new study reveals that disadvantaged people are more likely to die in traffic collisions than people who are well-off. And despite a declining rate of traffic fatalities nationwide, death rates are going up for people over 25 without a high school diploma.

Ebony magazine looks at Slow Roll Chicago, described as a community-based organization that uses bicycling to connect with underserved and unappreciated communities.

And the founders of DC’s Black Women Bike and Black Girls Do Bike explain why groups like theirs matter.



Not even bike cops are safe from the epidemic of hit-and-run drivers, as an LAPD officer’s bike was hit by a driver who sped away after the officer tried to flag him down; he was hospitalized in stable condition.

CiclaValley meets the orange-vested mystery man who keeps Mulholland clean.

Bicycling should get a little easier in the Mid-City area, thanks to a Metro grant for a pair of bicycle friendly streets. As long as we manage to wait until 2020, that is, when they’re finally scheduled to be finished.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot points out the rising rate of bicycling injuries in the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills. And things are only going to get worse thanks to a decision to not include bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd — let alone any kind of accommodation for bikes during the construction phase.

Richard Risemberg suggests imbibing in a strong dose of optimism and see what’s being done in cities around the world at next week’s New Urbanism Film Festival.



It looks like next year’s Amgen Tour of California will have a Pasadena start.

Chico police are using GPS-enable bait bikes to bust bike thieves.



Nice piece from a 45+ year old mountain biker, who discusses the women who inspire her to ride. And it’s not the pretty young things with an insatiable Instagram account.

According to Gizmodo, science says driving is the most stressful way to get to work, while commuting by bicycling or walking makes you healthier and happier.

A Kickstarter campaign is raising funds for a bike lock built into the pedal. The makers promise an alarm will sound if a thief tries to cut what looks like an easily defeated cable. Then again, no one even pays attention to car alarms any more.

Oh please. A Seattle radio personality says the city’s volunteer bike count has already been decided before it even happens, because the local bike club anticipates asking for more funding based on the results. If she really wants to ensure an honest count, maybe she should sign up to help out herself. Or get the city and state to pay for something they should be doing anyway, instead of leaving it to a volunteer advocacy group.

A Boston radio station discusses the nation’s first protected intersection in Salt Lake City.

Boulder CO bicyclists ride to protest the dismantling of a road diet in that city.

A cyclist leads horse mounted state troopers on a wild west wrong way chase through the streets of Austin TX after running a stop sign.

Despite a broken collarbone, a quick thinking Chicago cyclist snapped a photo of the license plate belonging to the driver who fled after running him down, and got a sizable settlement as a result.

A Boston petition calls on the city to “improve safety” by removing all bike lanes and sharrows; it had received 33 signatures as of Tuesday, while a competing petition calling on the city to keep them had over five times as many.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Florida man is planning to ride 80 miles to celebrate his 80th birthday on Saturday.



Mass-produce hydrogen cars are still a long way off. But the first hydrogen-powered e-bike is already here.

Two Canadian men are fined for building an illegal bike trail in a provincial park.

Now that she’s on top of the cycling world, 24-year old British World Cup and world road racing champ Lizzie Armistead is thinking about retiring after next year’s Rio Olympics.

An arrest has been made in the brutal, unprovoked attack on a 54-year old Edinburgh bicyclist as he rode on a bike path.

So much for helping those in need. Norway says Syrian refugees who used a legal loophole to bike across the border from Russia will now be sent back. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Caught on video: A rampaging magpie swoops down at an Aussie cyclist mutiple times, leaving him with a bloodied ear.



Seriously? Even Costco is getting into the argument over whether bike riders should pay registration or user fees. Caught on video: Two French cyclists ride the word’s smallest velodrome.

And if you’re going to burglarize a couple of homes, make sure the homeowner doesn’t walk in on you. And don’t wear an easily recognizable shirt as you make your getaway by BMX bike.


Morning Links: Turning private tragedy into help for others, and a 3-decade old AG opinion on sidewalk riding

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Okay, so this one made me cry.

You see, one reason I write about fallen cyclists is the hope that somehow, some good will come out of such senseless loss. Whether in the form of improved safety measures at the site of the collision, or in some other way.

Patti McCluskey Andre made sure that happened.

It was just over three years ago that her brother, Donny McCluskey, stood waiting with his bike, for a Palm Springs red light to change. He was in the right place, exactly where he was supposed to be, obeying the law so many motorists seem to think we break with abandon.

Yet in the intersection in front of him, a drunk driver was hit by a motorist running that same red light. One of the vehicles went ballistic, spinning out of control and crashing into him; with his feet planted on the ground, there was nothing he could do to avoid the impact.

In seconds, he became collateral damage to the dangers on our streets, a victim of actions beyond his control.

The remorseful driver who ran the red light was ultimately convicted and placed on three years probation and community service. This at the request of the victim’s family, who saw no benefit in putting him behind bars.

In most cases, that would have been the end of it.

They would have walked away, mourning the loss of someone so dear to them, and trying to find some way to put it all behind them.

But Patti wanted Donny’s life to mean something.

So she started a fund in his name, which this month awarded its first two scholarships.

Here’s what she had to say:

Yesterday I had the honor of awarding the first 2 in memory of Donny McCluskey scholarships. Both recipients, Lisa Ponsford and Wendi Swanson are family nurse practitioners graduating in May with their DNPs. As FNPS working in our communities — they have the power to promote change at every level. Lisa works in the ER and Wendi in college health plus both are educators at WesternU. Both recipients are physically active and dedicated to changing population health with lifestyle interventions.

Both recipients were honored and touched to be chosen for this scholarship. All I can say is that I am honored to know them and wish they had known Donny, he would have been honored to have his name associated with these two!

Just how big a heart does it take to turn your own private tragedy into something so positive? Let alone something that will not only benefit those who receive them, but everyone whose lives they touch?

Patti has thanked me more than once for the work I do here. But I am in awe of her, and what she’s done to not only channel her own grief, but make our world a better place.

She’s currently raising funds for an additional scholarship for a graduate or doctoral student of Health Science at the same university. And promises to match every donation dollar for dollar.

I can’t think of a better cause.


In light of yesterday’s guest post about riding on crosswalks, I was forwarded this 1993 opinion from then California Attorney General Dan Lundgren, concluding that the rules of the road do indeed apply to bicyclists on the sidewalk, and that sidewalk cyclists can be required to ride with traffic.

We note that certain rules of the road concern the use of the roadway in particular rather than the highway in general (e.g., § 2165 [except in specified circumstances, a vehicle upon the highway is to be driven upon the right half of the roadway]). Although a sidewalk is a separate part of the highway from the roadway, we believe that, given the factors discussed above, the intent of the Legislature was for the operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk to be similar to vehicular travel wherever practicable. Therefore, to the extent that a vehicle must be driven on the right half of the roadway, a bicyclist riding on an adjacent sidewalk must travel in the same direction as the vehicular traffic. This interpretation of section 21200 provides pedestrians with some assurance as to the direction of bicycle riders on sidewalks at all times. Such statutory construction is consistent with the well-established principle that “[t]he courts must give statutes a reasonable construction which conforms to the apparent purpose and intention of the lawmakers.” (Clean Air Constituency v. California Air Resources Bd. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 801, 813.)

Of course, an opinion of the AG does not have the force law.

It’s up to the courts to interpret and rule on the meaning of laws guiding the use of bicycles on the sidewalk, as well as the crosswalks. And laws can be amended, and interpretations change, over three decades.

I don’t know of any California city where sidewalk riders are routinely expected to ride in the direction of traffic. However, many police departments — including the LAPD — believe bikes become vehicles once they enter the street, and so must travel in the direction of traffic when they enter a crosswalk, yesterday’s post not withstanding.

But it’s interesting to see such a different interpretation of the law from thirty years ago.


Somehow I missed this column from an auto-centric writer in my otherwise bike friendly home state, insisting that bike riders are law breaking junior partners who deserve only a small share of the road. And of course, the usual complaints about a “subset” of arrogant, self-righteous, self-centered and condescending riders.

A cyclist responds by shouting tongue-in-cheek taunts at other riders when he’s behind the wheel.


An article in a Boston College environmental law review makes the case for how strict liability could even the scales on our roads, improve safety and encourage more environmentally friendly forms of commuting.

Like bicycling, for instance.

Strict liability is based on the assumption that motorists, as the operators of the more dangerous vehicles, have a greater responsibility for avoiding collisions, and so are presumed to be at fault in a collision unless it can be shown otherwise.

Adopting it here is probably the biggest step we could take to reduce reckless behavior behind the wheel and stop the carnage on our streets.



Thieves made off with nine bikes in DTLA in a one week period this month; eight of the purloined bicycles had their locks cut.

Turns out there’s already bike share in Century City, while nearby Westwood’s new bike corral is being put to good use.

Fear of a more user-friendly future on our streets rears its ugly head, as the president of the Miracle Mile Residential Associations waves a red flag and LADOT’s senior planner appears to backpedal on the city’s draft mobility plan.

The first bike lane in the ‘Bu finally opens, but it’s just a tad shorter than earlier reports. Instead of seven miles long, it’s two miles, along with an improved seven-mile bike route.

Glendale police held a fundraiser for next week’s 300-mile Police Unity Tour to honor fallen officers.



Irvine police make their second bust in two days of thieves stealing copper wire from the lights along a bike path next to the 405 Freeway. But at least the crooks were on bikes, right?

No bias here, as the Press-Enterprise says a bike rider was badly hurt when he ran into a car; never mind that he was actually right-hooked. Note to the P-E: The victim was cut off, not passing on the right; thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the link.

No bias here, either. A Hollister newspaper reports a bike-riding child hit a car and fell over, but fails to mention if the car was even moving at the time. And in more Hollister news, if you’re a known gang member carrying a concealed weapon, ride to the right, damn it.

San Francisco police arrest the unlicensed hit-and-run driver who plowed into three bicyclists earlier this month; she’s scheduled to appear in court today.

In an exercise in sheer stupidity, a San Francisco man is arrested for stabbing another man to death in a dispute over a bicycle.

Police in Menlo Park are looking for a bike rider who whacked a driver in the head with his bike lock after throwing something at his car. Seriously, no matter how much you think someone might deserve it, don’t resort to violence. Ever. Period.



Bikes hardly ever catch on fire. Unless maybe you’re on a Pedego e-bike; the company just recalled their batteries due to a fire hazard.

A new study says bike shares are more successful when the stations are close together. Are you listening, Metro?

A website lists the three best American cities to tour by bike. No, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

Here’s that full report on bike helmets from Consumer Reports.

A Portland website asks if bike locks of the future could end 120 years of thieving bastards. Their words, not mine, but I like the way they think.

An Oregon judge gives a repeat drunk driver yet another second chance, despite already spending time in prison for killing a cyclist in 2004. The driver, not the judge. This is how we keep drunks on the road until they kill someone. Or in this case, kill again.

Yuma AZ changes the city ordinance to require cyclists to ride with traffic, after two-thirds of bicycling collision victims in the town were riding salmon. Which makes you wonder what the hell the law was there before.

Mad City cyclists will get a new $3 million bike and ped bridge this September.

A off-duty Cleveland cop is punched in the arm by an 81-year old man for riding his bike on a multi-use bike path.

Residents of a New York neighborhood complain about scofflaw salmon cyclists, unlike all those law abiding drivers on Gotham streets. Evidently, New York moms don’t teach their kids to look both ways before crossing the street, either.

LA may be the mecca for food trucks, but Pittsburgh is about to get the Porkrind Bike, delivering 15-flavors of free-range chicharróns.

A three-time DUI loser is sentenced to over 10 years behind bars for the death of a Virginia bike rider, after a BAC two-and-a-half times the legal limit — then has eight years suspended. See above about why we can’t get drunks off the roads before they kill. Or kill again.



Writing for the Wall Street Journal, a sociologist explains that Europeans are more likely to be injured riding a bike, though we Americans are more likely to wear a helmet. And says he doesn’t, even though he thinks he probably should.

Quebec’s Transport Minister is leaning against a mandatory helmet law, saying it would be hard to enforce.

An amateur Brit bike racer spends the equivalent of nearly $40,000 competing in a single year. Many amateur racers would like to just have that much money, let alone spend it on racing.

That’s one way to get the streets fixed, as a UK graffiti artist draws attention to potholes by drawing a penis around them. Thanks to Topher Mathers for heads-up.

The Wall Street Journal offers five things to know about riding in Amsterdam.

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers, as a South African cyclist was apparently killed by a giraffe.



Slowtwitch offers advice on group riding for triathletes attempting to infiltrate the peloton. Advice on how to tell another rider his ass is showing through his spandex shorts.

And an off-duty Houston cop with crappy aim shot at a man stealing a bike from his porch twelve times — yes, 12 — because he “thought” the thief was armed. Apparently without hitting anyone, though police briefly followed a trail of dried paint or tomato juice.

Seriously, you can’t make this crap up.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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

Well deserved.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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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