Tag Archive for the rights of cyclists

Morning Links: Court rules police can’t search your belongings on traffic stops, ‘tis the season, and sex before racing

Welcome to Day 7 of the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Donate today, and help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Keep SoCal’s best bike news coming your way every day. Give to the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive today!

The California Supreme Court has just affirmed your right not to be searched by police in a simple traffic stop.

In a case involving a man on a bicycle, Torrance police stopped the man after he rolled through a stop sign, and found evidence of child pornography after searching his phone.

But the court ruled that police can’t conduct a search following a traffic stop unless there’s probable cause that an actual crime had been committed.

In other words, unless there’s reason to believe you just robbed a liquor store or whacked a road raging driver with your water bottle, police don’t have the right to search you, your bike or your belongings without your permission. And especially not to rifle through all the personal data stored on your phone.

Even if it means letting a bike-riding scumbag off the hook.

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‘Tis the season.

The San Diego Chargers pick up the tab for 150 new bicycles for elementary school kids.

And a Florida TV station collects 863 bicycles for children as part of its annual Bikes or Bust event.

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Eighty cyclists competed in Peru’s most extreme bike race, the three day, poetically named Challenge of the Condor through the country’s desert.

Thirteen men’s and four women’s teams competed in a ten day stage race to celebrate Ethiopia’s Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day.

Then there’s the breathtaking world of artistic cycling, described as a cross between gymnastics and fixies.

And new studies conclude that there’s no evidence having sex the night before a race will negatively impact performance, and may actually help by relieving pain, especially for women cyclists. No, they aren’t looking for volunteers.

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Local

Metro appears to have abandoned the Westside and South LA when it comes to new bikeshare locations.

Twenty bicyclists took part in the first Elysian Valley Slow Roll on the LA River bike path over the weekend to call for better safety and consideration for pedestrians on the shared use path.

Richard Risemberg calls on everyone fighting for better safety on North Figueroa to attend Thursday’s meeting with the LACBC’s Tamika Butler to discuss bicycling issues in Northeast LA. Although he seems to have forgotten that quite a few people have been working to keep North Fig from being forgotten.

A bike rider was uninjured when a suspected DUI driver struck the back wheel of his bicycle while fleeing from police in Van Nuys Tuesday night.

Bike SGV is hosting a free City Cycling Class this Saturday to help you learn the rules of the road and get more comfortable riding on city streets.

Hawthorne police will step up bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement on Thursday. You know the drill; for one day at least, ride to the letter of the law within the city limits to ensure you’re not the one ticketed.

A 41-year old transient pled guilty to riding his bicycle up to a AAA mechanic as he changed a car battery in Pico Rivera, stabbing him for no apparent reason, then calmly riding away.

Kylie Jenner may or may not actually be one of us, but that lowrider bike is seriously cool.

 

State

The San Diego Union-Tribune looks at the start of construction on a new segment of what will eventually be the city’s 24-mile Bayshore Bikeway.

Residents of San Diego’s City Heights complain that a planned bikeway is just a conduit to funnel riders through their neighborhood, and that parking spaces must be kept because no one would actually ride a bike to the market. Unlike the experience in, say, virtually every other city.

San Diego’s 2nd annual Recovery Ride will roll next month to benefit drug and alcohol recovery and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

A San Francisco writer asks if he was in the wrong to walk facing traffic on a Berkeley bike path. Short answer, yes; both cyclists and pedestrians should stay to the right in the direction they’re going, except to pass.

 

National

Your new winter bike gloves could have built-in turn signals.

Now that’s more like it. An Oregon man faces charges including felony assault, DUI and reckless endangerment for severely injuring a passing bike rider when he crashed into a power pole, knocking the lines down onto the woman.

A Portland university receives a five-year, $15 million grant to find ways cities can redesign their streets to make bicycle transportation more accessible and integrate bicycle transportation into a smart city framework.

After doubling in size last year, the Des Moines, Iowa bikeshare system is looking to double again.

The Chicago Reader says it’s time to stop blaming pedestrians and cyclists, and hold drivers accountable when they kill someone.

The New Orleans paper talks with the founder of the city’s bike co-op, whose goal is to make it possible for anyone who needs a bike to have one.

 

International

Bike Radar offers tips on winter riding. All of which actually apply here in LA, for a change.

A writer in the UK describes what it’s like to not remember who he is after suffering a traumatic brain injury when someone backed a van into his bicycle without looking.

British police stop 50 bicyclists riding without lights on one road in a single night.

Brit TV presenter Guy Martin will attempt to ride 4,802 miles around the British coast in just 20 days, an average of 240 miles a day.

A Welsh track cycling champ had her $7,600 Cervelo P3 stolen from her car after she left it there overnight.

Amsterdam is trying, so far without success, to ban beer bikes in the city center.

Bicycling Magazine talks with Shannon Galpin, who tells you how to fight the good fight based on her experience working for women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Sydney, Australia bicyclists will get a new ramp leading up to the Harbour Bridge in four years, replacing the 55 steps they currently have to trudge up with their bikes.

 

Finally…

Now you, too, can enjoy all the fun of the hour record on your ride to work. No, they’re not actually cycling across the sea unless the pedals somehow power the boat.

And no, valet parking a bicycle is not the most LA thing ever.

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A special thanks to Mike Wilkinson for his generous contribution to the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Your contributions will help fund this site for the next year.

 

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

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10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

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It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

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South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

Morning Links: 75-year old cyclist cuffed and ticketed for riding legally on I-15; Specialized says they’re sorry

03-15-2016 Jerry ticket from CHPMaybe the cop didn’t get the memo.

Or maybe he was confused after losing an hour of sleep two Sunday’s ago when the nation switched to Daylight Savings Time.

Either way, Jerry Counts was well within his rights on March 13th to ride his bicycle along a section of I-15 north of San Bernardino, where bikes are legally allowed on the roadway.

Yet he was handcuffed and ticketed by a CHP officer for violating CVC 21960(a), using a non-motorized vehicle on the freeway.

Yes, they handcuffed a 75-year old man to write a traffic ticket.

An invalid one, at that.

When was the last time you heard of a 75-year old man being pulled from his car and cuffed for a simple traffic violation?

As Ginny Sullivan of the Adventure Cycling Association points out in an email, this section of the freeway is part of the ACA’s Bicycle Route 66, running south of Oak Hill Road between exits 138 and 129, where no viable alternate route exists.

The DMV puts it this way,

Of the more than 4,000 miles of freeways in California, about 1,000 miles are open to bicyclists. These open sections are usually in rural areas where there is no alternate route. California Vehicle Code Section 21960 says Caltrans and local agencies may prohibit bicyclists from traveling on freeways under their jurisdiction and that they must erect signs stating the prohibition. There are no signs permitting bicyclists on freeways. When a bicyclist is legally traveling on a freeway, he/she may be directed off the freeway at the next off-ramp by a sign that says “Bicycles Must Exit.” The freeway will be posted at the next on-ramp with a sign that says “Bicycles Prohibited.”

Exit 129 going North

Exit 129 going North

As the photos she pulled from Google Earth show, there are no signs at either entrance prohibiting pedal-powered bicycles from riding on the freeway.

I’d like to write this off as a simple mistake.

However, it fits a long pattern of CHP officers being unaware of the rights of cyclists, whether it’s riding on the freeway, or ticketing cyclists for riding two abreast or in the traffic lane. Which points to officers receiving inadequate training both at the academy and in the field.

Exit 138 going South

Exit 138 going South

Although the bigger question is why the officer felt the need to handcuff a man well past retirement age, for the simple crime of riding a bicycle.

Advocating on his behalf, Sullivan has contacted both the CHP and Caltrans District 8 asking that the ticket be dismissed, and that Caltrans provide the CHP with a letter stating that bicyclists are allowed on that section of the freeway. And that the CHP train its officers accordingly.

I’d take it a step further, and request a formal apology to Mr. Counts.

I’d also ask that the notoriously auto-centric CHP follow Caltrans lead, and accept that bikes are legally a part of the California traffic system, and we’re here to stay.

Because we shouldn’t have to know the laws regarding bicycling better than they do just to defend our right to the road.

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Specialized apologizes for last week’s Playboy Bunny fiasco, claiming the models were hired by their German affiliate, without knowledge of its global marketing staff.

Which is kind of hard to believe, since they were hired to promote Specialized’s new Playboy-branded e-bike.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Glendale Mayor and Metro Boardmember Ara Najarian and Bike SGV Executive Director Wes Reutimann about Metro’s proposed transportation sales tax measure. And reminds us about Thursday’s celebration to benefit Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next.

Once again, Santa Monica police will step up enforcement of traffic violations that put pedestrians and bicyclists at risk this Saturday, regardless of who commits them. So straighten up and ride right, for one day at least.

The WeHo Bike Coalition announces that the West Hollywood city council has approved bike lanes on Fairfax Ave; when completed, they’ll join existing lanes in LA to create a continuous bike lane from Hollywood Blvd to Melrose.

The World Cycling League debuted in Carson over the weekend as teams from Pennsylvania and Mexico battled it out for the inaugural victory.

Bike Long Beach offers photos of last weekend’s successful Beach Streets Downtown.

 

State

Santa Barbara bike riders compete to see who can ride the slowest down a 50-foot course without putting a foot down or swerving out of their lane. Meanwhile, promise to ride slow yourself and you could win a new bike from People for Bikes.

A Salinas man is riding 40 miles a day for 40 days to raise funds for the homeless.

 

National

Yes, it is possible to ride cross­-country sans chamois or other bike gear.

BuzzFeed offers 19 things every cyclist needs. Most of which most cyclists could probably do without.

Former pro Alex Candelario is offering bike tours through usually off-limits back country on Hawaii’s Big Island.

A bighearted firefighter replaces a bike that was stolen recently from a 10-year old Spokane boy.

A teenage driver in my hometown will be sentenced to 100 hours of community service at a bike nonprofit, and a $1,500 donation to a nonprofit bicycle organization, as part of a new diversion program for killing a cyclist after falling asleep at the wheel.

CNN looks at Chicago’s Heritage Bicycles, which has made bikes for everyone from Beyonce and Jay Z to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Washington’s popular bike-riding running back departs for the hated Cowboys.

Once again, someone used a DC bike rack to jump the fence at the White House. Considering how often that keeps happening, wouldn’t it be prudent to move that rack just a little?

An Orlando doctor says yes, riding a bike really can help with Parkinson’s.

 

International

Despite numerous studies showing bikes are good for business, Vancouver business owners oppose a bike lane on a busy shopping and dining street, which the city says is needed for safety.

Saskatoon’s mayor questions the cost of clearing snow from a protected bike lane; then again, he opposed building it in the first place.

Toronto’s notorious crack-smoking, anti-bike former mayor Rob Ford has died at 46.

A Belgian bike race is expected to go on despite Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

Indian police crack down on bicyclists riding without a helmet.

An Australian program is working with kids as young as 10 years old to develop the first aboriginal cycling star.

A road raging Aussie driver is fined a whopping $100 plus $169.10 in court costs after smashing a cyclist’s helmet cam in a fit of anger.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be grown and printed. Now you really can be replaced by a robot, even on your bike. But does it still have to wear a helmet if it’s under 18?

And any t-shirt that combines Corgis and bicycles can’t be all bad. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

 

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