Tag Archive for Stupid Driver Tricks

Weekend Links: Scary head-on GMR driver, bikes for the zombie apocalypse, and a beer keg messenger bag

Halloween is just a week away. So let’s start with something scary.

Like an SUV driver coming around a blind curve on the wrong side of the road on Glendora Mountain Road after an ill-advised pass, courtesy of Ron.


Washington Bikes spells out what I’ve been saying for years, with 13 reasons why you’re going to need a bike when the zombie apocalypse starts.

You can practice for the days of flesh-eating doom with Walk Bike Glendale’s 4th Annual Zombie Walk tonight.


Forget a messenger bag. What you really need is this Timbuk2 keg-carrying backpack.



DTLA’s new and still unnamed bikeshare system needs a General Manager. Why shouldn’t it be you?

Frogtown’s Spoke Bicycle Café wants your help to expand into a full-fledged restaurant, microbrewery and coffee roaster along the LA River bike path; they’re trying to raise $25,000 via Indiegogo

Talk about not getting it. A Santa Monica coffee shop owner strikes gold by having a Breeze bikeshare station placed directly in front of her business, and freaks out over the loss of one or two parking spaces. If people aren’t using the bike racks next to her business, despite the city’s boom in bicycling, that should tell her something. But probably won’t. Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

Santa Monica moves towards its own Vision Zero plan.

The Ride 2 Recovery will be wheeling into SaMo today if you want to help welcome the wounded vets at the end of their week-long ride down the coast.

Say goodbye to the iconic Sixth Street Viaduct today from 2 to 10 pm, with free bike valet courtesy of the LACBC.

Don’t forget the Grand Opening of the San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Education Center, complete with costume bike train, on Sunday.



There may still be time to get to Santa Barbara for its third annual Open Streets event today, offering two miles of beachfront boulevard free from cars.

An Oakland bike rider gets a $2.5 million settlement after she was hit by a left-turning bus just after escaping from another one.



Can a little green paint improve the lowly and much maligned sharrow? Probably not.

A website on governing looks at the Complete Streets movement spreading across the country.

A Spokane city councilman claims it costs $63,500 to paint one mile of bike lanes; he’s right, as long as you include all engineering costs and expenses to repaint the entire roadway after repaving. In other words, it’s impossible to break out the relatively minor cost of bike lanes from roadwork that would have been done anyway.

A member of the Denver Broncos is raffling an autographed, custom Broncos Trek to help make Colorado children better readers.

Nice. A 98-year old Wisconsin man gets one last bike ride on a three-wheeled rickshaw.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Boston researcher killed while riding her bike this past August was part of a team that just announced a major breakthrough in using stem cells to grow a new thyroid.

Boston bike advocates are ambivalent about the possibility of an Idaho stop law.

Streetfilms looks at DC’s protected bike lanes, while African American churches in DC are joining in a fight to preserve 75 street parking spaces used primarily on Sunday. Instead of bike lanes that would be used every day, and could help fight obesity in the community.

A League Cycling Instructor in Virginia — not a Licensed Cycling Instructor, thank you — says forget better lights, electronic turns signals and bike lanes, just learn how to ride more safely.

A New Orleans man is under arrest for intentionally running down a bike rider he suspected of trying to break into his car.



Let’s face it. Pro cyclists are just flat out better riders than the rest of us.

A group of international scientists will run and bike to Paris from both poles to demand action on climate change; although people coming from the South Pole have a hell of a lot further to go.

Even drivers are more comfortable on streets with protected bike lanes, as a Toronto survey shows.

Caught on video: This one is tough to watch, as a UK cyclist shares a first-person helmet cam view of his epileptic fit while riding a mountain bike.

Despite the headline, a British lawyer’s comments about Chinese President Xi Jinping had absolutely nothing to do with his two-wheeled mode of transportation.

A 19-year old Brit career criminal stole a car, blocked the path of a bike rider, then get out and attacked him before intentionally ramming two taxis as he made his getaway; he got three years for his efforts.

Perth, Australia is about to get its first bike boulevards. Although for some reason, the rendering still shows cars tailgating the bikes.

Life is cheap in Singapore, as a speeding taxi driver gets a whopping two weeks behind bars for killing a slow-speed salmon cyclist; at least he’s banned from driving for the next three years.



Maybe the answer is bike therapy, or it could be better riding through hypnosis. You don’t have to understand Spanish — or maybe Portuguese, despite what the story says — to enjoy seeing bike thieves get punked; thanks  to Brian Dotson for today’s language lesson.

And now you too can buy your very own ice bike from Hammacher Schlemmer for just $2,500, plus shipping and handling.


Morning Links: Brake-checking driver harasses cyclist; curb-jumping drivers don’t get Redondo bike lanes

The problem with sharrows is that they put you right in the path of drivers.

Impatient, road-raging and brake-checking drivers, at times, as cyclist Michael Schinderling learned out the hard way while riding on Fountain Ave in Los Angeles.

The driver first honks, then repeatedly slams on his brakes in front of him. Even though Schinderling was riding exactly where the sharrows indicate he should be.

The big problem with LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance is that it’s so hard to get proof that a driver deliberately antagonized a rider.

But this looks like an open-and-shut case.


Caught on video: Those new Redondo Beach separated bike lanes seem to be working well. Except for curb-jumping drivers who can’t seem to figure out why the traffic lane is green and there are so many bikes in it.


American cyclist Tyler Farrar is heading back to the Tour de France as part of the first African-based pro team, while Tejay van Garderen is older and wiser and says he’s ready for the challenge. The Wall Street Journal asks why no Latin American rider has won the Tour de France, as Nairo Quintana attempts to become the first.

Meanwhile, former pro team leader Bjarne Riis chose to ignore doping by his riders. Or more likely, tacitly encouraged it, if not openly.

Cycling Weekly looks at the best bike tans in the peloton. Dutch police evidently feel the best way to get a new collective bargaining agreement is to delay riders in the Tour de France, thus ensuring it won’t besmirch their country again.

And sad news from the UK, as a British bike racer was killed in a collision with another rider last weekend.



The LA-area’s Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) wants your input on a new regional transportation plan.

State Assemblymember Richard Bloom and two Westside councilmembers say Metro is going the wrong way with plans for a bike share system that will be incompatible with systems opening soon in Long Beach and Santa Monica, and as well as systems planned for West Hollywood, UCLA and yes, the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills.

San Gabriel gets a new bike lane on Las Tunas Drive.

Santa Clarita opens a new 1.5 mile stretch of the Santa Clarita River Trail, including a bike bridge over the Los Angeles aqueduct.

A Long Beach councilwoman will host a bike safety program for kids from 9 to 17 years old next week.

The second Tour de Laemmle will roll on July 19th, as Greg Laemmle invites you to ride with him on all or part of a 125+ mile tour of all the Laemmle Theaters.



Santa Ana conducts a reverse road diet, forcing long-time residents out of their homes to make room for an added lane and bike lanes on Warner Ave, as the OC Register says evicted residents will have to be made whole.

A bike rider suffered major injuries in a collision with a pickup in Anaheim on Tuesday; a comment on Bike Forums suggests the victim was riding in the crosswalk over the onramp to the 57. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

Big oops from the Bay, as San Francisco retracts a report that a new bikeway saw a 651% jump in bike traffic; the actual figures ranged from a 12% to 62% increase depending on time of day. You’d think someone would have noticed that those numbers seemed just a tad high before sending out the press release.

Oakland is planning to trade traffic lanes for bike lanes, with twelve road diets proposed for the next three years; needless to say, bike riders are thrilled while motorists are worried. Maybe Oakland could explain how the process works to Santa Ana.

The Marin tech exec who viciously beat a driver who clipped him with his mirror has been found guilty of felony battery and misdemeanor assault; he faces up to four years in prison. Seriously, never resort to violence. Period.



Tragic news from Las Vegas, as a 16-year old boy riding without ID was hit by a car last week; he died the next day before family members learned about the wreck and he could be identified.

A Utah driver has plead guilty to intentionally running down a bike rider with whom he had an adversarial relationship.

Evidently, the penalty in Texas for riding a bike without lights is to get Tased, then beaten after falling off your bike. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

An Iowa man is back on his bike six months after losing a leg to complications from diabetes; he’ll be riding in the Tour de Cure this weekend.

Needless to say, Chicago business owners are worried about the loss of parking with the city’s first curb-protected bike lane; Chicagoist asks if it will be good for business. Bikes are usually good for business. And there’s something seriously wrong if your customers won’t walk a few extra feet to do business with you.

A Maine driver is accused of intentionally running down a 10-year old boy on a bike over a dispute with the kid’s mother; unbelievably, the man was released on just $1,000 bail — despite using his car as a weapon to attack a child.

Just days after an LA bike rider was attacked with a machete in an attempted bike theft, a machete-swinging road-raging PA teenager attacked a cyclist and his fiancée, who used his bike to defend themselves.

The Baltimore Sun says bike helmets aren’t ugly anymore, while The Week offers a look at six bike helmets of the future. Can we just get one that actually protects against concussions and other serious brain injuries in real world collisions?

A Georgia website offers advice on how to get a red light to change for your bike.

A cyclist rides 1,400 miles up the East Coast while towing his dog and a cargo trailer.



Here we go again, as a Facebook page devoted to shaming law-breaking Victoria BC cyclists devolves into a hotbed of anti-bike hatred.

Two Edmonton councilors call for ripping out bike lanes on three streets, calling them unsafe and underutilized.

Cyclists halt London traffic to protest the death of yet another young woman killed by a truck while riding to work. Although not everyone was willing to show a little respect.

Caught on video: The UK’s “vigilante cyclist” catches a woman texting behind the wheel with two kids in her car. I see something similar almost every time I ride. Like a woman who was steering with her knees as she texted with her kids in the back seat.

A pair of Good Samaritans pitch in to replace a British nurse’s bike after it was stolen from outside her apartment.

A Brit bike rider gets a year in jail for killing a 73-year old woman in a collision while riding a brakeless BMX.

Switzerland is telling e-bike riders to slow down, following a rise in single-vehicle bike wrecks due to riders misjudging their speed and stopping times.

India gets its first cycling café in the “Detroit of India” even though the city doesn’t have a single bike lane.

Australian bike riders may soon be allowed to ride on sidewalks in the state of Victoria, but could face on-the-spot fines for using a handheld phone. So what happens if they can’t pay? Are they arrested on the spot?

“Selfish” Aussie cyclists are accused of illegally riding in high-speed bus-only lanes to avoid slower bikeways.

Don’t ride under the influence in Japan, don’t report a falling down drunk bike rider to the police, and don’t ride with groceries on your handlebars.



It takes a bold thief to ride off with a bike cop’s bike as she stood just a few feet away. Caught on video: an Ohio bird defends his territory against a cyclist. Or maybe he just doesn’t like they guy’s taste in bike helmets.

And a new study from the University of Duh confirms that marijuana use impairs driving. Next up, a study confirming that it gives people the munchies, too.


I need to find a better name for the Morning Links, since I seem to be temporally challenged these days. Chain Links is too cutsie, while Bike News seems a little dull.

Any suggestions?

Morning Links: LA Weekly supports distracted driving; drunk driver kills bike riding reformed drunk driver

What the hell are they thinking at the LA Weekly?

In a remarkably wrong-headed piece, Weekly writer Hillel Aron writes that he texts while driving and doesn’t see a damn thing wrong with it.

First, effective July 1, 2008, came the bans on talking on your cell phone while driving – an act about as dangerous as drinking a cup of coffee whilst talking to a passenger.

Six months later came the drive-texting bans. Never mind the fact that we’d been changing the music on our iPods for years, and before that we were switching out CDs, and tapes and eight-tracks and lighting our cigarettes and God knows what else.

Now sending a text message, no matter how brief, or how slow the traffic, is a crime.

As well it should be.

Never mind that texting at highway speeds can take your eyes off the road for the length of a football field. Or that studies have shown texting is more dangerous than drunk driving, which Aron evidently would approve of, as well.

And never mind that nearly one in five injury collisions involve distracted driving. Or that even using a hands-free device to make a call dramatically increases the risk of collision; evidently, Aron is a very risky coffee drinker.

But he says he can do it, so it must be okay.

I’m sure his insurance company would disagree. As would his seemingly inevitable future victims.

The remarkable thing is he has confessed, in public and in advance, for any collisions he may be involved in for the rest of his life. Because any prosecutor or civil attorney will jump on this as proof of a cavalier attitude behind the wheel, at best. And search for evidence that he was doing exactly what he claims.

As cyclists, we see the effects of distracted driving on a daily basis.

Virtually every close call I’ve had on the roads in recent years, and most of the vehicular idiocy I’ve witnessed, has come from drivers whose eyes were glued to their cell phones instead of the road. Or at the very least, had a hand-held cell phone illegally plastered to their ears.

It’s bad enough that Aron is a tragedy waiting to happen; worse that he irresponsibly encourages other fools to follow his lead.

Because only a fool, and a dangerous one at that, would fail to grasp the dangers of distracted driving clearly demonstrates.

But worst of all is the irresponsibility of a formerly respected alternative weekly that has long since given up any hint of relevancy putting the lives of innocent people at risk as link bait to boost their sagging fortunes.

I don’t want my life — or that of anyone else — to be in jeopardy because the paper’s editors lack any ethical standards and encourage their readers to drive in a dangerous and distracted manner.

They owe us all a retraction and an apology.

And if you happen to see Hillel Aron on the road, grab his fucking cell phone out of his hands and throw the damn thing as far as you can.

Oh, and as for his assertion that we all text while driving, I have never, ever texted, tweeted or otherwise used a handheld device while driving. And never will.

Perhaps because I’ve written too many times about the needless heartbreak and devastation caused by those who do.


In a case of tragic irony, Haitham Gamal, the 38-year old bike rider killed in Dana Point last week, was a three-time convicted drunk driver who had completed rehab, sold his car and taken up bicycling in an attempt to turn his life around.

Only to be killed by a 19-year old drunk driver.



The LACBC announces their Bike to Work Day pit stops, as well as post B2WD happy hours.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky profiles Danny Gamboa and Ghost Bikes LA, noting the group will receive the Golden Spoke award at Tuesday’s Blessing of the Bicycles.

San Marino releases their proposed bikeways map, including a possible Class 1 bike path; thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

The Tour of Long Beach rolls this Sunday to benefit pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.



The Orange County Register ranks the county’s eight most dangerous intersections; the killer conjunction of Jamboree Road and Santiago Canyon Road tops the list.

A letter writer says we all can coexist on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Trail.

Not surprisingly, San Diego’s bike share stations are going in the usual tourist areas rather than places with the greatest need.



American bike commuting has increased 60% in the last 14 years; not surprisingly, low-income Americans walk and bike the most.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske discusses how to fight back with a civil suit against motorists who hit or harass you.

Ms. Magazine looks at how bicycles influenced women’s rights.

Tucson gets its first protected bike lanes.

A New York bike share rack is called a death trap that could block access to an emergency room — even though it’s around the corner and on a different block.

A Florida man is caught on video drinking heavily before he got in his truck and killed a couple on their tandem bike.



Remembering 1970s Irish cycling champ Billy Kerr.

On the eve of the Giro d’Italia, the BBC profiles three-time winner Gino Bartali, who risked his life to save Jews and aid the resistance in WWII. And who should be the first cyclist on a very short list for sainthood.

Interesting Norwegian share the road public service campaign; you don’t have to speak the language to get the idea.

A big-hearted Kiwi cyclist forgives the driver who hit him and asks the court to waive her $11,000 reparation fee.

Bicycle advocacy goes worldwide.



Repeat after me. When you’re carrying drug paraphernalia and an ounce of cocaine on your bike at 1:30 in the morning, put a damn light on it, already. And a new foldable bike helmet allows you to carry it anywhere; personally, I’d rather have a clunky one if it’s built to a better safety standard.


Bypassing busy traffic on 7th Street, notes from the LAPD bike task force, and Beverly Hills bike lanes redux

When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When it’s a traffic lane allowing impatient drivers to bypass backed-up traffic for a whole block, shaving maybe a few seconds off the evening commute.


A few notes from last week’s meeting with the LAPD’s bike liaisons.

First off, Sgt. Lazlo Sandor has taken over as bike liaison for the West Traffic Division; you’ll find his email address on the Resources page.

As part of Chief Beck’s proclamation that this will be the year of traffic enforcement, the LAPD has transferred a number of officers to work the city’s four traffic divisions. The good news is, the city is now focused on cracking down on dangerous drivers — like the one in the video above, for instance. The bad news is, bike violations are considered traffic offenses as well, so be forewarned.

One of the biggest problems in fixing traffic problems has long been that no one has been tracking bicycling and pedestrians collisions, injuries and fatalities. Which meant no one had a clue just what and where those problems might be, let alone how to solve them. Fortunately, the LAPD is now keeping track of all of the above as part of their Compstat program, requiring traffic officers to appear four times a year to discuss problems in their areas. And the department is tracking the most dangerous intersections for all road users to determine what has to be done to improve safety for everyone.

Last week’s story that Houston police officers were conducting traffic stings to improve safety for the city’s cyclists made news around the world. Which may have come as a surprise to LA officers, who have been doing the same thing for some time without public notice. In fact, LA’s West Traffic Division has conducted nine such stings since the first of the year — eight to enforce bike lane issues and one for stop sign enforcement. A total of 53 people were cited, including both cyclists and drivers; LAPD policy does not allow for selective enforcement, so they’re required to write up any violations they see during a sting, regardless of who commits it.

Finally, they stressed the importance of getting permits in advance for events that will require police participation. When the recent Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race was cancelled at the last minute, the department cancelled the officers who had been scheduled to work the event. Then when it was rescheduled at the last minute as a ride, they had to scramble to get enough officers to work the event on such short notice, and ended up paying out over $10,000 in overtime. While they understood the situation with the Marathon Crash, they ask for a minimum of 28 days advance notice to avoid any issues if you’re planning some sort of event.

On the other hand, if you break the law, they’re happy to show up with little or no notice.


The subject of bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills is back on the council agenda this Tuesday. Except they’re not, but maybe they are. It’s a complicated subject explained well by Better Bike.

Meanwhile, a Beverly Hills homeowner’s association offers their reasons why bike lanes are a bad idea, few if any of which actually hold water.

For instance, someone should tell them that California law requires that drivers merge into bike lanes before making right turns, rather than turning across the lane as they suggest (#2). And surprisingly, blind spots exist on motor vehicles, which can hide the presence of bikes from careless drivers like themselves, whether or not bike lanes exist.


Finally, this just in as a friend of mine reports an assault while riding home on PCH in Orange County.

I was riding on the super dark stretch of PCH between the oilfield and 10,000 miles of ocean. An empty car was stopped, no blinkers, on the shoulder. With cars coming up behind me at 60mph, the only option is to stop and wait for them to pass, or hike over the shrubs on the slope to the right of the (red) curb.

I take a picture of the car, and an angry guy kicks the driver’s side door open, emerges, and comes at me barking, “What the fuck are you doing?”

I dismount in case I have to run for it and start backing away while he repeatedly demands the camera, which he ain’t gonna get.

Long story short, he ends up throwing me, my bike & my bag (containing the Coolpix he was so interested in, plus my MacBook Air & iPad) into the ice plant.

I’m not injured, but my glasses are still out there because I gave up looking for them when the damn sprinklers came on. Also, I called Hunny PD back, and arranged them to just meet me at work for the report. The officer arrived before me AND TOLD MY COWORKER I HAD BEEN HIT BY A CAR. Boy, was she relieved when I grumped up my boss’s porch stairs with bike on shoulder & no visible injuries.

Lesson: Assume even parked cars are full of ex-convicts who will be violently angry with you for nothing.

I’m scared to check my MacBook.

Just another right hook — from the left lane

After awhile, you get to know the streets you ride.

Like this intersection on eastbound Ohio Ave, one block west of Sepulveda. I’ve learned to slow down there in anticipation of right hooks, as drivers stuck in traffic make a sudden decision to turn right without checking the bike lane first.

But I’ve never been right hooked from the left lane before.

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

Please forgive yesterday’s radio silence.

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

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

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

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

Sienna on lap

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

Stay tuned.


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

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

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

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

Stupid human tricks: Hit-and-run triathlete, assault on a cyclist, and confused SF and NYC cops and DAs

Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a common theme to much of this week’s news.


A Chicago cyclist is injured in a deliberate assault, as a passenger in a passing SUV reaches out and grabs her messenger bag, dragging her alongside the vehicle until her bike crashed into a parked car.

Evidently, just for the heck it, as she reported that the occupants were laughing as they risked her life.

Fortunately, she wasn’t badly hurt. But it’s another argument for protected bike lanes as she was quick to point out.


Following the death of a San Francisco bicyclist, members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition held a rally calling for improved safety and a separated bike lane on the street where she was right hooked by a truck driver who illegally turned across the bike lane she was riding in.

Evidently, one of San Francisco’s finest didn’t get the memo.

He illegally parked his patrol car in the middle of the bike lane, in the middle of the rally — despite an empty parking space to his right — forcing riders to leave the bike lane to go around his car. All to make a point that bike riders are supposed to pass on the left, just like anyone else.

Except they aren’t. Bikes are allowed to split lanes in California. And cyclists using a bike lane are in a separate lane from automotive traffic, and are no more required to stop for traffic in the lane next to them than a driver in the right lane would be expected to stop for one in the left.

Which isn’t to say it’s not the smartest move in response to clueless drivers sometimes.

Better to come to a full stop even though the law doesn’t require it than end up under the wheels of a car or truck.

And he blamed the death of Amelie Le Moullac, and two other bike riders killed by trucks in the same area this year, strictly on the victims. Even though the truck driver who killed Le Moullac was most likely overtaking her, rather than the other way around.

So he took the law into his own hands, apparently making the law up as he went along and needlessly risking the safety of anyone using that bike lane, just to blame the victim of a collision that’s still under investigation and attempting to bully bike riders into seeing the world through his own windshield perspective.

Sound about right?

If he’s not working a desk and worrying about his pension today, there’s something seriously wrong in Baghdad by the Bay.

Thanks to murphstahoe and Bike Soup USA for the heads-up.


Thankfully, not all San Francisco cops have their heads so far up their own badges, as the department responded to a tweet from a tipster to bust a bike chop shop.

And speaking of bike thieves, a San Francisco resident noticed one riding off on a stolen bike. And promptly nailed him with an ice cube from his third floor apartment.


In a case of someone who really should have known better, a well-known San Francisco triathlete has been arrested for the hit-and-run that left a Bay Area business suffering from the after effects of a severe brain injury.

Ironman champion Meredith Kessler was allegedly driving the SUV that ran into Soren Krogh-Jensen as he walked in a crosswalk last March, tossing him into the air before crashing back down ob his head. Security video shows her remaining at the scene for several minutes, reportedly checking the victim before getting back in her car and running away like just another heartless coward.

You’d expect better behavior from someone who rides a bike, especially at that level.

At least, I would.

Then again, instant karma seems to have played a role, as Kessler suffered a head injury herself in a collision with another rider while competing in a triathlon that followed the hit-and-run.

And yes, I know karma doesn’t really work that way.

But still.


On the opposite coast, a New York City cop decides to ticket a bike rider for going through a red light by knocking her off her bike, apparently failing to realize — or perhaps not caring — that any fall from a bike can result in serious injury.

Or worse.

That’s like deliberately crashing into a driver’s vehicle in order to make a simple traffic stop. Or pistol whipping a pedestrian for jaywalking.


Update: Thanks to Joe B for pointing out that the case below actually dates to 2009. For some reason it popped up in a web search for stories posted online in the previous 24 hours, and I neglected to check the date before writing this. So the good news is, maybe today’s New York isn’t as bad as it seems; or maybe the bad news is, this sort of thing has been going on longer than we thought. 

Or maybe I just need to avoid posting my own stories after 1 am. My apologies.

In another example of the sheer idiocy of officials in supposedly bike-friendly New York, a rider faces a charge of criminal mischief after he was deliberately doored by the driver of a massive SUV.

The vehicle was stopped partially blocking a protected bike lane with no indication of why it was stopped; but when the rider attempted to go around it, it started moving again.

So the cyclist responded by slapping the side of the SUV to warn the driver he was there; I’ve done the same thing more than once, and seen other cyclists do it as well.

It usually scares the crap out of the driver, but it’s better than getting run over by someone who doesn’t even know you’re there.

But I’ve never seen anyone respond the way this driver did, flinging open his door into the victim and knocking him off his bike. Then standing over him threateningly before picking up the man’s bike and setting it on the kickstand and driving away.

Leave it to the New York DA’s office to victimize the victim all over again, apparently for that potentially life-saving tap on the driver’s door.

According to the story, criminal mischief requires property damage in excess of $250 — which is far more likely to have been caused by the door hitting the rider than the other way around.

And this from the city Bicycling ranks as the 7th most bike-friendly community in the US.

Maybe the New York DA’s office didn’t get the memo, either.


In another horrifying case from Gotham City, a taxi driver took the leg — or possibly legs — of an English tourist after an apparent dispute with a bike rider.

And Dr. Oz came running to the rescue.

The bike rider, who was injured in the incident, was next to the cab when the driver allegedly became impatient while attempting to make a left turn. When the rider attempted to tell him to stop, the cabbie reportedly became angry and stepped on the gas, tossing the cyclist onto his hood before slamming into the woman who was sitting on a piece of concrete street furniture.

Her life was apparently saved by a bystander who had the presence of mind to use his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding on her severed leg, while another put the amputated limb on ice. Reports are her other foot was crushed and may not be able to be saved.

TV’s Dr. Oz reportedly saw the collision from his studio window, and came down to help, followed by a camera crew.

Needless to say, the NYPD seems to have ignored everything leading up to the crash and quickly determined there was no criminality involved. Not an impatient, careless or road raging driver, but just another tragic oops.

Fortunately, the city’s DA — yes, the same ones who charged the cyclist in the previous story — is taking another look at it. And the agency responsible for licensing cab drivers is taking steps to revoke the driver’s taxi license for a whopping 30 days; although under the circumstances, life would seem more appropriate.

Meanwhile, advocates are trying to get the NYPD to take traffic crime seriously, instead of just targeting bike riders while ignoring speeding motorists.


A Florida detective makes a U-turn without checking his mirror, and collides with a driver in the next lane. But of course, it’s the stop sign-running bike rider who gets the blame.


A British mom gives her hockey playing son a new BMW because she thought it was too dangerous to ride his bike to work.

Forty-two days later, he was killed driving his new car.


Newport Beach’s highway-style right turn lanes put cyclists and pedestrians at needless risk. Actually, these are far too common throughout Orange County as well as San Diego County; another example of well-meaning but outdated planning gone dangerously amuck.


But at least the Tour de France was dope-free this year. Right?

Although now that I think about it, I remember the same being said about Lance in the not too distant past.


Finally, here’s the story I wrote for LA Streetsblog as guest editor yesterday, reporting on the new Save Our Streets LA proposal to repave the city’s crumbling streets.

And hopefully fix the sidewalks and install bikeways and build complete streets in the process.

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

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

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

But here are a few that did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He makes your city look damn good.

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

A couple quick reminders that cars are big, dangerous machines that must be used with caution

No, really.

Who could have possibly seen something like this coming?

Besides everyone, I mean.

A pickup truck driver crashed into a building in Downtown L.A. on Sunday, injuring several people on the sidewalk and killing a 52-year old woman; reportedly, the collision was the result of a previously known medical condition.

Meanwhile, a 40-year old man was arrested after using his car as a weapon to ram two men he’d argued with earlier inside a Downtown strip club; one man lost both legs while the other had one leg severed.

Yet somehow, to some people, the biggest problem on our streets is scofflaw bike riders blowing through red lights and stop signs.

Yes, everyone needs to observe the law, and ride and drive safely and legally.

But motor vehicles are dangerous machines, used too often in dangerous ways. And until we accept that as a society, people will continue to be needlessly killed and maimed on our streets.

It’s not cyclists who kill over 33,000 people on American streets every year.

But you wouldn’t know that from reading some of the comments online.


An unlicensed Santa Barbara BMW driver hits another car while making an unsafe turn, hits a cyclist riding in a bike lane trying to flee the scene, gets stuck on the curb, then nearly runs over a pedestrian trying to stop him.

The driver was arrested on charges of hit-and-run with injury, driving without a license and driving under the influence; he also faces charges of dissuading a witness.


That petition calling on Governor Brown to atone for his vetoes by signing a three-foot passing law the third time around has now passed over 700 signatures.


Los Angeles continues to needlessly treat cyclists like second-class citizens on its streets. The LACBC and the authors of Where To Bike LA invite you to join them on a tour of the Rio Hondo, Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers next Saturday. The LACBC’s Planning Committee will host a forum with three of the area’s leading bike planning experts on Thursday, March 21 at LACBC headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street. A 31-year old woman was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center with serious injuries after a solo fall while mountain biking off Mulholland Highway. Burbank police will participate in the Police Unity Tour Bike Ride this May, riding from New Jersey to DC in honor of Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka, who was killed in the line of duty 10 years ago. Burbank bans mobile billboards, including those pulled on trailers that can block bike lanes or fall and injury a cyclist or others passing by. Following the death of bike riding student Ivan Aguilar, a Cal Poly Pomona official promises to maintain the auto-centric focus on campus for the foreseeable future, while police continue their investigation. A look at one of SoCal’s leading bike advocates and nicest people, Melissa Balmer, founder of Women on Bikes.

The founder of Vista CA-based Electra bikes started a revolution in casual bicycling. A Santa Rosa cyclist explains why he isn’t one anymore. Sonoma County considers adopting an L.A.-style anti-harassment ordinancethanks to Megan Lynch for the link. Over 100 bicyclists ride in honor of two fallen Santa Cruz police officers. Two Santa Cruz County bicyclists are air-lifted to trauma centers in unrelated incidents. Could bike tourism make a difference in Redding? I’ve said it before, if you’re carrying illegal drugs and a weapon, use a headlight on your bike.

If you want to get more women on bikes, try treating them like normal people; my thought exactly. The Cascade Bicycle Club talks with Ed Orcutt, the Washington Representative who called for taxing bike riders because our breath emits greenhouse gases, and finds he’s not all bad. Phoenix police look for not one, but two hit-and-run drivers who fatally tag-teamed a bicyclist. A Boulder CO dump truck driver is convicted of careless driving resulting in death for killing a bike rider — his second offense involving a cyclist in the last four years. If you don’t think the lives of cyclists count, you’re right, at least in Wyoming. Topeka cyclists discover bike polo, saving some unused tennis courts from closure in the process. When a local rider is killed Lubbock TX, cyclists share tips on how to stay safe. After losing 60% of it’s population, Cleveland is slowly becoming a bike and pedestrian friendly city. After years of clearing killer drivers by reciting the mantra “no criminality involved,” New York police finally get serious about investigating traffic collisions; they’ve also stopped referring to collisions as accidents.  A Rochester NY driver flees the scene after Jerry Browning a cyclist riding in a bike lane with an alcohol level over twice the legal limit; yet somehow, he was still allowed behind the wheel despite a “significant criminal history” of prior DUI offenses.

A drunken Brazilian driver flees with a cyclist’s severed arm inside his car, dumping it into s stream before turning himself in. A highly detailed examination of the pros and cons of bicycle registration, including Nazi Germany’s fondness for licensing bikes; so when you license a bike, you ride with Hitler. The Pakistan cycling team gets visas to compete in the Asian Cycling Championships for the first time. South African cyclists ride to call for a five-foot passing law in honor of fallen pro cyclist Burry Stander.

Finally, an extremely drunk Montana rider crashed his bike into the back of a patrol car; no word on whether he damaged the alcohol monitoring bracelet he was wearing. And following a terrifying road rage assault, a Kansas City cyclist threatens to kill his attacker.

With kindness.

This is what a right hook looks like

California law requires drivers to merge into a bike lane before making a right turn, after ensuring that the lane is clear.

This is why.

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