Tag Archive for they drive among us

A brief observation on walking the dog, as it relates to dangerous drivers and surviving on two wheels

Let’s talk dog walking.

Or rather, walking the dog as it relates to dangerous drivers. And how that relates to riding a bike in the swirling cesspool of human interaction we call traffic.

Seriously, could you run over this smiling face?

Seriously, could you run over this smiling face?

Take what happened last week.

I was walking the Corgi a few blocks from our home, after dark, during rush hour traffic. The last building on the block we were on featured that 1960’s style covered parking in which the front of the building overhangs the parking spaces, with the sidewalk passing between the driveway apron and the parking spaces.

As we were strolling in front of the building, a car pulled up on the side street in front of us, barely paused at the stop sign, then suddenly pulled onto the wrong side of the busy street we were walking along and turned left, making a shallow U into a parking space just in front of us.

Fortunately, I was able to pull her back in time and took a quick step back myself, allowing the driver to zoom by without hitting either of us.

I was not, however, able to control my own reaction, calling him a jackass as we walked past and rounded the corner.

Moments later, though, the driver came running up after us on the dark side street we’d turned onto. As he approached, I moved the dog behind me and balled my fists, prepared to defend myself against the jerk who’d just threatened our safety.

Since we rescued the then four-year old Corgi a few years ago, we’ve developed an interesting dynamic. She’s taken it upon herself to protect my wife, and more than once has shown signs that she would fight to the death to defend her — even standing up to a coyote over twice her size that dared to walk through our urban neighborhood.

On the other hand, she’s also made it clear that she trusts me to protect her, lowering her guard when I walk her in a way she never does with my wife alone. And I take that trust very seriously.

Threaten my safety with your car and I’ll be pissed. But God help you if you endanger my dog.

What happened next caught me completely off guard, though.

He apologized.

He said he hadn’t seen us, and was sorry if he had frightened my dog. Never mind that he’d scared the crap out me.

No apologies for the dangerous stunt he had pulled — and probably not for the first time, since he appeared to live in the building. And no explanation how it was that he failed to see a grown man and a light colored dog on a well-lighted sidewalk.

I was still too angry to politely discuss the situation, so I simply accepted his apology, shook his hand and turned away to walk home, shaken by the close call.

The very next night, I was once again walking the Corgi when we ran into another, all-too-common situation.

We were alongside a large apartment building on a busy side street when a driver entering the parking lot paused to let us safely cross the driveway. However, that left the rear of his car extending out into the traffic lane, much to the chagrin of the driver behind him who was forced to briefly pause in his mad dash through the residential neighborhood.

So needless to say, that second driver leaned on his horn, blasting an angry rebuke that anyone might have the audacity to stop in his way, with no idea why it washappening.

In other words, he was more than willing to let someone else run us over if it meant he didn’t have to slow down for even a moment.

Never mind that he could have simply gone around the other car. Which is exactly what he did after treating us to his rage-filled car horn soliloquy.

And never mind that his honking could have startled the driver ahead of him, possibly leading to tragic results.

And there, in a nutshell, is the problem on our streets. Or one of them, anyway.

Too many of today’s drivers have lost any sense of the danger their vehicles pose to others. They feel entitled to their place on roadway, and have little or no fear of the reckless stunts they pull, having gotten away with them too many times in the past.

Even though getting away with it doesn’t mean it’s legal. Or safe, for that matter.

The problem is, you can only get away with something until you don’t. At which point, it’s too late for anything but the too-often tragic consequences.

Then there’s the sense of entitlement, to use that phrase again, that allows some — not all, but far too many — drivers to feel they have a right to move unimpeded along the streets. And that anyone in their way, be it other motorists legally slowing or stopping for a turn or to let a pedestrian pass, or a bicyclist in the lane in front of them, is committing some offense by delaying their progress by even a second or two.

I see it every day on the busy street in front of my building, as some speeding jerk lays on his horn because a car is stopped in the left lane, legally, to make a turn. Or slows down to safely make a right, rather than taking the corner at a dangerously high speed, as too many do.

Even though using a horn for any reason other than a safety warning is against the law.

And don’t get me started on the drivers who see a car stopped ahead of them, then whip around on the right or left without considering that there may be a reason why they stopped. Other than the other driver just felt like it, that is.

Like maybe a pedestrian or bicyclist crossing the street.

Which is why I politely refuse any invitation from a driver to cross an intersection in front of them unless I know for a fact that every other motorist in the shares their courtesy and inclination.

And yes, before you say it, there are countless reckless, self-entitled jerks on two wheels — and two feet — as well.

The difference being that a reckless cyclist or pedestrian poses a danger primarily to him or herself, while reckless drivers pose a danger to everyone around them.

There may be hope, though.

Some drivers get it when they see the potential consequences of their actions. Like the driver who apologized for nearly running down the Corgi and I.

Though whether that will keep him from pulling the same stunt next time remains to be seen.

Then there’s the valet driver I had a brief conversation with in Santa Monica last week.

I was riding past a large hotel on Ocean Ave when a car exited the parking garage right in front of me. And as too often happens, another car followed closely behind him, on a collision course with my bike.

So I yelled out a warning, and the driver came to a sudden stop just a few feet from my right.

He caught up to me at the next light, waiting to make a right as I sat on his left to go straight.

“Dude,” he called out, “I wasn’t going to hit you. I do this all day long, every day.”

“Yeah, but how do I know that?” I responded. “I don’t have any choice but to assume you don’t see me.”

“Oh.” He sat for a moment, letting it sink in.

“So, you’re just doing what you have to do to stay alive. Okay, I get that.”

The light changed and I rode on as he turned away, a little more hopeful than I’d been just a few moments before.

………

Speaking of Santa Monica, still no response seven days later to the complain I filed about being forced to share a bike lane with a Big Blue Bus.

And that’s frightening.

Presenting a passel of bike links to close out your 2012 reading, and a brief New Years warning

Welcome to the end of yet another year, with the promise that somehow, tomorrow will be different.

Numerically, at least.

Assuming we all get there.

Think of New Years Eve as the world championships of over-drinking. And almost everyone is in on the competition.

A lot of people will have the day off, and may start drinking — and yes, driving — by midday; others will get off from work early and head straight for the nearest bar, if they don’t start drinking at lunch.

From noon on, you can safely assume many, if not most, of the drivers you see will have had one or more for the road. And if you ride tonight, assume every motorist on the streets will have been drinking, if not actually drunk.

You won’t be far off.

So ride carefully, and extra defensively, at all times.

And no, I’m not kidding. I want to see you back here next year, in one piece.

Please.

If you’re going out tonight, walk, take a cab or catch a free ride on any Metro bus or train. Or if you insist on driving, consider a free tow to get back home.

Or ride a bike.

Yes, drunk bicycling is illegal here in California. But the penalty is nowhere near as stiff as a DUI, and won’t count against your license.

Granted, you might kill yourself riding home under the influence.

But at least you’re not likely to take anyone with you, unlike those who insist on pouring themselves behind the wheel.

And no, I have no sympathy for anyone who gets busted for DUI.

And a hell of a lot less for anyone who kills or injures another person because they’ve been drinking.

Seriously, don’t be that guy. Or girl.

………

Apathy may be the biggest obstacle facing L.A.’s 2013 mayoral candidates; at least one voter wants more bike lanes in Wilmington. The Army Corps of Engineers unexpectedly razes a section of the Sepulveda Basin, a popular Valley biking destination. The Bicycle Kitchen wants your help deciding what color to paint itself. If only more merchants realized their customers don’t always come by car. C.I.C.L.E. hosts a class for traffic-averse cyclists next month. Memorable things happen when you ride a bike. Friends hold a successful Frisbee golf fundraiser for injured Canyon Country cyclist Kevin Korenthal. A new DMV study shows unlicensed and suspended drivers are three times as likely to cause a fatal crash. Carlsbad cyclists are startled to see Superman flying past — yes, Superman. The joys of riding at night. Cyclelicious is giving away books on bikes starting Wednesday.

Bicycling lists five things cyclists should have in their cars; bike riders need cars? Turns out Kirsten Dunst is one of us. Baton Rouge has tripled its bike lane mileage in just three years; I don’t think they had any when I lived down there a few decades back. Memphis aims to be friendly to bikes as well as blues. A cyclist is killed in the other Hollywood on Sunday. Three cyclists rammed by a car in South Florida last week say it could have been a lot worse. Tampa Bay sees a big jump in bicycling deaths this year. Continuing today’s Florida theme, a cyclist is intentionally pushed to the ground by a bike lane-walking pedestrian.

Riding a bike on Sunday was once seen as a road straight to hell. The UK needs to maintain momentum now that cycling is reaching critical mass (lower case, please), even while the country sees soaring sales of black market bicycles. British cyclists move a house by bike. Cyclists push for road safety in Greenwich. Leicestershire drivers ignore an injured cyclist lying on the roadside. Walking and biking are on a dangerous arc in Scotland, as fatalities could soon surpass those of motor vehicles within a few years.

Finally, helmets are evidently now required for every waking activity. And an Italian judge says cyclists are scruple-less, because we cheat and steal low-quality drugs. So make a resolution this year to only steal top-of-the-line pharmaceuticals.

You’re worth it.

Just another typically risky ride on the Westside, and a whole lot of mostly non-Lance links

It was just another ride on the Westside.

Full of doorings and blocked bike lanes, cut-off drivers and construction zones.

The sad part is, there was nothing unusual about it. This is what we have to contend with on a daily basis. And this part of the city, through now officially bike friendly L.A. and Santa Monica, is about as good as it gets in SoCal with the possible exception of Long Beach.

It could have been worse.

I left out video from a three-block stretch of San Vicente Blvd where the bike lane was blocked by a Hollywood production crew, because it *might* have shown someone riding through it anyway.

And we certainly don’t want to encourage that sort of behavior.

………

I’ve been doing my best to ignore the whole Lance Armstrong dopergate scandal. And it’s not like you can’t find all the news you can stomach on the subject without my help.

But there are a few stories that add a little depth to the coverage.

A report on CNN accuses Lance of pocketing $1 million donors that may have thought was going to Livestrong, as well as accusing him of being an arrogant jerk. Lance gets a lifetime ban, but the door is left open for other doping riders to repent. The NY Times reports that his wall of silence fell one rider at a time.

Meanwhile, UCI chief Pat McQuaid — who oversaw over a decade of doping cyclists with no apparent repercussions — calls Landis and Hamilton scumbags; pot, meet kettle. Christophe Bassons, known as Mr. Clean for his anti-doping stance, is banned for one year for dodging a dope test. Johny Schleck, father of top pros Frank and Andy, urges his sons to quit, saying “This is no life.” Rabobank is shocked! shocked! to find doping in pro cycling.

And if a doping cyclist causes you to rethink your support of an anti-cancer charity, you’re giving for the wrong reasons.

Thanks to George Wolfberg and @sonofabike for some of the above links.

………

Evidently, attempting to intentionally run down a cyclist and a pedestrian — the latter because he was wearing plaid — is no big deal, as a Tiburon driver gets one-year probation and a three to five year driving ban.

Does anyone think he would have gotten the same wrist-slap sentence if he’d used a gun instead a car?

Anyone?

………

LACBC co-founder Ron Milam makes the case for Los Angeles as a bicycling city; the Bike League says it takes a village to build a Bike Friendly Community. A road diet is being considered for 6th Street in the Miracle Mile, so why aren’t they planning on bike lanes? Better Bike says Beverly Hills police are off-base in how they read the law relating to bikes. Los Angeles gets its first pedestrian coordinators. Cycloscross comes to Glassell Park this weekend. Bikes bring cyclists of different ethnicities together to reduce tensions. The Eastside Bike Club invites you to join in on their Dia de los Muertos ride on November 2nd. Temple City prepares to try once again to make Rosemead Blvd better for bike riders and other humans. CLR Effect looks at last weekend’s Spooky Cross costume ride and the actual race that followed; he also notes the passing of a local cycling legend.

Anaheim police shoot an alleged gang member trying to flee on his bike. Orange County — yes, the entire county — gets a bronze Bike Friendly Community award the same day L.A. does. OC’s Aliso Creek trail is named part of the national trail system. Despite the recent deaths in Newport Beach, Santa Ana is the most dangerous city for cyclists in Orange County. A San Diego councilmember rides with local cyclists to learn about bike issues in his district. Bike SD looks at three-foot laws across the US in the wake of Governor Brown’s second misguided veto. After a Poway boy is injured by a car while riding his bike, press reports note that he wasn’t “wearing a helmet or any other protective gear;” what, like body armor or bubble wrap? Seriously? A 13-year old Ventura County boy is critically injured when he’s run down from behind in a SWSS, as the driver claimed he couldn’t avoid the victim after the rider stopped at the intersection then turned across the vehicle’s path. Our neighbors to the north in Kern County plan to increase county bikeways by a factor of 10. Maybe they’re starting to fight back — a Benecia cyclist is seriously injured after crashing into a flock of wild turkeys. Berkeley’s first Sunday Streets event is a success. Pleasanton police target underage riders without helmets.

Grist says bike riders are better for the economy than drivers; but you already knew that, right? Bike commuting is on the rise in the US. Bike Snob offers his own unique take on cyclocross. Boulder CO cyclist get a new 40-acre off-road bike park. Colorado’s Fort Lewis College dominates the collegiate mountain bike championships. St. Louis passes a city ordinance banning harassment of cyclists and pedestrians. Vandals destroy a new lighted bike path at Syracuse University. A Boston bike share rider explains why he doesn’t use a helmet; maybe so, but going without one because they’re not attractive has to be one of the most asinine reasons ever given. Dispelling the myths about bicycling in Philadelphia; clearly, the writer gets it. A Florida driver gets seven years for the hit-and-run death of a bike riding Japanese college student.

A new study from the University of Duh shows roads with parked cars are most dangerous for cyclists, and separated bikeways pose one tenth the risk of unmarked routes. An Ottawa writer clearly gets it, in one of the smartest pieces I’ve seen from a motorist’s perspective. In a horrifying case from Cardiff, Wales, a murderous driver goes on an intentional hit-and-run spree, killing one woman and injuring 11 others in a rampage that lasted three miles and 30 minutes. Evidently, life is cheap in the UK, or maybe they just take boat racing seriously — a British driver gets eight months for killing a cyclist, two months more than another man got for disrupting a race on the Thames. Maybe that will change, as British government officials meet with bike advocates to discuss justice for cyclists, while a Brit writer says FU, sincerely — and more than once — to the UK’s father of Vehicular Cycling. Three-time Giro d’Italia winner Fiorenzo Magni died at the age of 91. And the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers a link wrap-up that goes far beyond mine; the student has clearly surpassed the master.

Finally, when a man walks in on his girlfriend with another man, the writer building a bike for her gets to keep it. Then again, if someone would just move those damn deer crossing signs, maybe they wouldn’t get hit so often.

And if you missed it, here’s a helmet cam video of LACBC Planning and Policy director Eric Bruins’ remarks at last week’s press conference announcing L.A. as a Bike Friendly Community.

Just ride

“Man to man is so unjust.” — Bob Marley, Who the Cap Fit

My sister, who lives in Denver, called us Thursday evening.

As the call was wrapping up, she mentioned that she had to pick my 15-year old nephew up at the movies at 3 am.

Because he was on his way to a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

The next morning, I awoke to the news that a madman had opened fire in an Aurora theater, not far from their home, during a midnight showing of the movie.

My stomach started doing flips.

It was bad enough that something like this had happened once again. Or that it happened in my home state, in a town I lived in briefly about three decades ago.

I knew there was little chance Adam had been at that particular theater at that exact time. But when an email to my sister went unanswered for longer than I could live with, I had to call to ensure he hadn’t been there.

And I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I felt when he answered the phone, and said he’d gone to a theater closer to his home. One that was, thankfully, madman and assault rifle free.

All weekend, we all were bombarded with a constant drumbeat of news bits, each adding to the still incomplete portrait of just what happened in that theater that night.

Yet none of the jabbering talking heads paused long enough to put this madness in perspective.

Twelve dead is a horrible, tragic needless waste.

But it doesn’t begin to compare with the 90 Americans who lose their lives on our streets every day. And it’s just one less than the death count of cyclists on SoCal streets this month alone.

Ninety killed every day.

Six-hundred-thirty every week.

Two-thousand-forty every month.

Yet there’s no breaking news reports for that story. No attractive anchormen or women breathlessly whipping to reporters in the field, no tidbit of meaningless information that’s not trivial to relate. No outrage or prayer vigils or 24-hour news cycles dedicated to the lives and deaths of victims of the rapidly compounding body count.

And seldom an arrest, let alone prosecution, even when the killer is known.

Instead, we just call them accidents.

Never mind that virtually every collision that occurs anywhere can be traced back to one or more people breaking the law, or operating their vehicles in a careless, distracted or intoxicated manner.

Accidents are virtually never just accidents.

Even on the rare occasions when killers are arrested, those who know them will argue that it wasn’t really their fault. If you only knew the whole story, they insist, you’d understand that he or she was really a good person who just made one little mistake, or did something so out of character it should be forgiven.

Even in cases where the driver left the victim to die on the side of the road, then ran off like a coward and hid the evidence of the collision in an attempt to avoid the consequences of his or her actions.

No outrage.

Seldom any consequences.

And even then, it usually amounts to nothing more than a limp slap on the wrist.

In the meantime, the body count continues to rise. And nothing is done to address the insanity on our streets; no politicians step forward to demand an end to our daily motor maniacal madness.

I don’t have an answer.

I believe, strongly, in a Vision Zero plan. And in placing greater responsibility on those with the greatest potential to cause injury and death.

As well as changing our laws to force drivers to stop and stay at the scene of a collision.

Yet we all wait in vain for a political leader with sufficient courage to take a stand on the issue. Let alone actually do something about it.

Then again, none of our elected leaders seems to have the courage to do something about all the Columbine/Virginia Tech/Aurora massacres that actually do make the news, either.

I wish I had a solution.

I really do.

Other than demanding that our candidates for every office go on the record for what, if elected, they would do to address these parallel, if vastly uneven, bloodbaths. Then vote accordingly in the fall.

But at least I know a way to release that knot that’s been gnawing at me since Friday morning. And salve, in some part, the overwhelming sadness.

And that’s get out on my bike.

For a moment, for a hour, for an afternoon.

Let the wind blow away whatever tears may fall.

And just ride.

My prayers for all those injured or killed in the Aurora shooting. And all the countless named and nameless victims of the madness on our street.

Today’s post, in which I rant on anti-bike fallacies

Because one cyclist cut him off, in what may or may not have been a right-hook on the driver’s part, an Austin writer once again trots out the common fallacies that a) cyclists don’t pay for the roads, and b) we’re not held accountable because we’re not required to ride with large numbers on our backs.

Driver, please.

One of the biggest lies told in this country is that drivers pay for the roads they use through gas taxes and license fees.

The fact is, the federal gas tax, which isn’t indexed to inflation, hasn’t been raised in nearly 20 years, and doesn’t begin to cover the costs of building and maintaining federal roadways. And the overwhelming majority of funds used to build and maintain roads on the local level, where motorists do most of their driving — and cyclists do most of their riding — comes from the general tax fund.

In other words, we all pay for the roads. Even those who’ve never bought a gallon of gas or been behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, and never will.

Since the overwhelming majority of cyclists are drivers, as well — and virtually all of us are taxpayers — we already pay for the roads in multiple ways, just as other drivers do. And those who don’t drive are subsidizing those who do.

Never mind the other costs associated with driving, as pointed out in a letter from Micah Posner to the Santa Cruz Sentinel (which has since been deleted from their website, unfortunately).

But roads are not the biggest expense that society takes on for cars. For every mile driven in a car, cyclists pay 4.8 cents to subsidize car parking, 3.5 cents to subsidize accidents caused by cars, four cents to pay for the effects on human health, etc. Every mile driven costs society as a whole 32.9 cents, not including wars over oil. Only .5 of these costs are paid for by driver user taxes. That’s why gasoline is taxed much more heavily in most other industrialized countries.

Then there’s that whole licensing issue that continues to rear its ugly head far too often.

I won’t get into the abundant arguments against licensing cyclists, except to say that licensing would discourage cycling at a time when it is in everyone’s best interests to have more riders on the road to cut congestion, decrease pollution and improve overall health in our overly obese society.

Instead, let’s just consider the common fallacy the Austin writer brings up, that vehicle licenses enable enforcement of traffic laws, and that cyclists can’t be held accountable because we don’t have them.

So tell me, when was the last time a police officer knocked on your door and handed you a ticket for a traffic violation that occurred hours, or even days, before?

Because, excluding red light and speed cameras, where legal, a traffic violation must be observed by a police officer in order for the driver to be ticketed.

It doesn’t matter how many witnesses are willing to testify that the driver ran a red light, or wove dangerously in and out of traffic at an excessive speed. If a cop didn’t see it, he can’t write a ticket — even if everyone else on the road copied the license number of the offending vehicle and called it in to the police.

Yet somehow, a number on a cyclist’s ass is supposed to allow police to ticket or even arrest him or her based on eyewitness reports?

Not gonna happen.

Police have exactly the same authority to ticket cyclists as they do anyone else. If they see the violation, they can pull the rider over and write ‘em up. And contrary to the perception of far too many motorists — and cyclists — they do.

We’ll also ignore his absurd observation that whoever pays makes the rules, which applies exactly nowhere else in American law.

Then there’s this comment I received last night in response to an old post in support of SB 910, the three-foot passing law vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown last year.

Aside from the usual bike-hating blather — including a comment that a law should be passed requiring cyclists to stay three-feet from motorists — he argues that a three-foot passing law will increase congestion. And that we don’t belong on the roads in the first place.

This law will have an adverse affect on commerce and create even more grid lock on our roadways. After all, the roadways were built to support interstate commerce and paid for with motor vehicle and fuel taxes. The roads were not built for your cycling entertainment.

Never mind that roads were not built for cars.

Very few state and local roads, where most cyclists ride, play any role in interstate commerce. And even if that standard was applied, it would result in most motor vehicles being banned along with bikes, since only a small part of traffic is engaged in commerce at any given time — let alone of the interstate variety.

And don’t get me started on the absurd misconception that bikes are only ridden for entertainment.

While many cyclists do ride for fun and health — which should be encouraged as a means of combating rising societal health costs due to obesity and related health problems — many others ride for transportation, and far more do both.

And even with California gas prices hovering well over $4 a gallon, I haven’t heard anyone call for a ban on recreational driving. Even though that contributes far more to traffic congestion than every cyclist on American roads combined, whatever reason they ride.

If you don’t believe me, just try finding parking anywhere near the beach on a sunny weekend. Or counting cars buzzing by on a popular scenic byway with no commercial centers in sight.

I’ll be riding my bike to a meeting tonight, and expect to enjoy the trip far more than I would if I was driving.

So does that make it transportation or recreation?

Other than a relative handful of bike haters, who really cares?

………

As for that meeting, I hope you’ll join me at the first meeting of the LACBC’s newly formed Civic Engagement committee.

The committee is being created to allow the LACBC to play a role in local elections in the city and county of Los Angeles. While the non-partisan committee will not endorse or work for individual candidates, our plan is to get candidates on the record through the use of questionnaires, as well as candidate forums, socials and debates.

The meeting will take place from 6:45 to 8:45 pm on the Mezzanine level of LACBC headquarters, 634 South Spring Street, with future meetings to be held on the last Tuesday of every month, location to be determined.

Participation is open to everyone, member or not. And candidates are welcome to stop by to introduce themselves, at tonight’s meeting or any future meetings, though time restrictions may limit speaking time.

………

Claremont Cyclist notes that Andy Schleck has backed into his yellow jersey. Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal takes home Canada’s first grand tour victory; Mark Cavendish misses the Giro’s points title by one point.

Evelyn Stevens wins the inaugural Exergy Tour women’s pro stage race, which should put her on the U.S. Olympic team. And Tim Duggan is your new national pro road race champion, while Dave Zabriskie wins the time trial once again.

………

The L.A. Weekly notes the neighborhood where a 19-year old cyclist was shot in Koreatown last weekend is ground zero for one of the city’s most notorious gangs. Will Campbell offers a time lapse of his annual ride to remember the real reason for Memorial Day; hint: it’s not barbeque, beaches or shopping. Bikas spots new bike lanes on White Oak Avenue. The Ballona Creek bike path will be closed in Culver City for two months beginning tomorrow. Glendale officers ride to remember one of their own. Long Beach gets a bike-friendly promotion.

Let’s Go Ride a Bike profiles San Diego’s Brown Girl in the Lane. Is roadway bullying just a matter of boys will be boys? A San Francisco cyclist is acquitted of hit-and-run in a collision that injured an elderly pedestrian. Wrong way cycling may seem safer, but it’s far from it. California’s proposed three-foot passing law advances after being watered down in the Senate.

Grist says Congress gives young cyclists the middle finger. Ten reasons to ride your bike. An unlicensed Washington driver swerves to avoid a skunk and kills a cyclist. Mountain bikers head to Colorado’s Grand Valley. A South Dakota political candidate is cited for DUI after hitting a seven-year old cyclist. Once again, a select group of cyclists will retrace the Trail of Tears. Chicago adopts a bold Vision Zero plan, committing to zero traffic deaths — bike, pedestrian or motor vehicle — within 10 years; so far, I only know of one L.A. candidate or elected official who even knows what Vision Zero means, let alone has called for it. David Byrne looks favorably on bike share in New York. Eight years ago, a 12-year old girl was promised a new dog if she won her age group in the national cycling championships; today, that dog helps pay for her college education.

An upcoming conference says children have a universal right to ride. Ottawa cyclists complain about non-bikes in the bike lane, just like cyclists in every other city. Utterly useless article in the great helmet debate, as a Vancouver writer refers to a number of studies to support his position without linking to or citing any; a Euro study suggests adverse health effects from a drop in cycling will outweigh benefits of a mandatory helmet law. Prince Charles rides an ebike. There’s something seriously wrong when the police are afraid to ride. Relatively inexpensive mirrors could help cyclists avoid truck blind spots. The Wall Street Journal says Asia is a hub for bikes.

Finally, rather than lock up his family’s bikes, a Nebraska man writes a stern letter to the thief or thieves; thanks to Todd Munson for the heads-up. And the Dutch don’t wear helmets or lycra, and they don’t ride racing bikes.

Except when they do.

A little human interaction turns a bad day into a good ride — one even the worst driver can’t ruin

This day did not start well.

Monday morning meant back to our regular routine after the long holiday weekend. Which meant walking my wife down to her car, then taking the dog out for its morning walk.

The dog has her own routine, too.

She insists on walking out front and waiting for my wife’s car to exit the garage. Then stands and barks a few times as my wife drives off to work.

And then — and only then — will she acquiesce to begin our daily constitutional around the block.

Today was different.

This time, she heard the garage gate open and took off running, jerking the leash out of my hand. And planted herself squarely in front of my wife’s car, hidden below her field of vision, in an apparent attempt to keep her from leaving.

Nice gesture. Bad execution.

Fortunately, my wife is a careful driver, and was exiting the garage slowly enough to hear my shouts of warning. She jammed on the brakes and stopped just short of turning our Corgi into road kill.

So I collected the dog, and after giving her a good talking to — which she seemed to clearly understand despite the language barrier — we finished our walk, my stomach churning the whole way over what might have been and almost was.

A few hours later I was still shaken, so I did what I usually when I’m upset.

I got my bike and went for a ride.

I was about three miles from home when the light at a busy intersection turned yellow. I noticed a driver facing the opposite direction, waiting to make her left and unsure what I was going to do. So I gave a quick nod for her to go ahead while I braked to a stop.

She smiled in response and waved her thanks as she turned just before the light changed to red.

A few moments later, as I waited at the light to turn green, a car pulled up behind me with its right turn signal on. I moved my bike slightly to the right so he could pull up to the intersection, nodding his thanks as he moved up next to me.

But instead of stopping, he continued to edge forward. So I pointed to the No Right on Red sign, unsure if he could still see me. Yet shortly afterwards, the car’s forward stance visibly relaxed as he took his foot off the gas, then turned around to give me a thumbs up for saving him from a possible ticket.

And suddenly, my mood brightened, the day’s near disaster finally behind me.

Throughout my ride, I found myself interacting with drivers and pedestrians in countless little ways. For once, it wasn’t drivers versus cyclists, but human beings recognizing the humanity in one another, and finding ways to share the road in peace and safety.

I even got the chance to express some thanks of my own, as a driver prepared to enter his car in a busy area where dooring is always a distinct possibility. He looked up and saw me, though, and somehow managed to squeeze himself into his car while barely holding the door open to allow himself the smallest possible entryway. And leaving me plenty of room to ride past as I thanked him for the courtesy.

Just one stranger looking out for another.

It was a day when courtesy and compassion seemed to override the usual stress on the streets. And a reminder that we’re not really cyclists or drivers, but just people trying to get from here to there and return to our loved ones in peace.

And in one piece.

Although that came into serious question when I encountered a woman who may just be one of the worst drivers in human history. Or at least one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

I was making my way home, taking my usual shortcut through the VA hospital grounds, when I was passed by a massive white SUV.

As we both neared a stop sign, she edged over to the right in an obvious attempt to block my path. So I rode around her anyway, only to have her lurch towards me in what I could only interpret as an unprovoked threat, coming less than a foot from hitting me before straightening her wheel and continuing down the road.

She didn’t get far, though. An ambulance coming from the opposite direction with red lights and siren blaring caused the car ahead of her to pull to the right and stop, blocking her path.

I pulled out my camera phone, intending to take a photo of her license plate while she was stopped.

Then watched in horror as she hesitated for a few moments before cutting sharply to the left, driving head-on into the path of the ambulance to get around the stopped car. And forcing the ambulance driver into a full panic stop, less than a block from the ER entrance, to let the dangerously aggressive driver pass without causing a wreck.

Barely.

And never mind that every second counts in an emergency situation, and that her idiotic stunt could have put the patient in jeopardy. Let alone everyone else on the road who could have been collateral damage to her need to get where she’s going just a few seconds faster.

Wherever the hell there might be.

Once the ambulance passed, I kicked it up into my smallest gears to catch up to her.

Unfortunately, shift change at the hospital flooded the street with cars, cutting me off before I could catch her. And letting her get away to threaten other cyclists and risk the lives of other people another day.

Yet even that couldn’t kill my upbeat mood.

It would take more than one dangerous, threatening jerk to outweigh all the safe, positive and friendly interactions that came before.

And that’s what I call a very good ride.

And a good day.

Even if the jerk got away.

Major road rage chutzpah, Jeannie Longo breaks my heart & LA’s anti-harassment ordinance spreads east

In an unbelievable display of chutzpah, the driver accused of running down a Highland Park cyclist in a road rage assault has spoken out against bikes lanes on North Figueroa.

According to the Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch, Louis Mraz used a recent meeting of the Mt. Washington Homeowners’ Alliance to warn that efforts by the recently formed Figueroa for All initiative could return the street to a single lane for cars and one for bikes, like it was in the ‘40s when the Red Cars reduced vehicular traffic to one lane in each direction.

Like that would be a bad thing.

Except for impatient road raging drivers, of course.

He went on to suggest that cyclists should be routed to less-traveled streets, warning that North Fig could soon become “jammed with bikes.”

Then again, he seems to take offense if there’s just one bike in his way. Or at least, that’s what he currently stands accused of.

Maybe it’s just me.

But I’d think that when you’re facing charges for a vehicular assault against a cyclist, it might be wise to keep any obvious anti-bike bias to yourself.

Especially if it’s not the first time you’ve been accused of a road rage attack.

……..

Tell me it ain’t so, Jeannie.

The legendary Jeannie Longo is under investigation for dodging dope tests, while her husband stands accused of buying EPO on her behalf.

This one just breaks my heart.

Longo is — or was — one of the greatest cyclists of all time, and certainly stands as one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege watching ride to victory. If she’s cheating, it raising the question of just how long and when she started. And casts pall on a career that’s lasted through parts of five decades.

And if one of the greatest riders of our time is cheating, then who isn’t?

Maybe Greg LeMond is right, and just about everyone except him is dirty. Or everyone after him, anyway.

Even teams famously dedicated to riding clean face problems, as HTC-Highroad rider Alex Rasmussen is fired from the team and suspended by Denmark’s cycling federation after missing three drug tests in 18 months.

It’s starting to look like a clean pro cyclist is about as rare a clean college football program.

……..

L.A.’s groundbreaking bicyclist anti-harassment could soon spread east as Washington DC considers a similar ordinance in the wake of a deliberate assault on a rider.

……..

Seattle’s bike-friendly mayor says it’s time to stop finding fault and start finding solutions to the city’s recent rash of bike deaths — including a rider who may have been killed by a bad bikeway design. And The Stranger says as long as cyclists are dying, if people want to think there’s a war against cars, then maybe there should be.

Meanwhile, a Seattle author takes cyclists to task for failing to share the road.

She’s got a point. But seriously, if a cyclist is pounding on your car when you’re busy taking on the phone — hands-free or otherwise — there’s a reasonable chance you may have done something to deserve it.

Just saying.

……..

A very positive year for L.A. cyclists — though the notoriously anti-bike L.A. Weekly bizarrely calls it ass-kissing — leads to an honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists. New LADOT General Manager Jaime de la Vega says L.A. is committed to becoming a more bike-friendly city. L.A. will soon get its first green bike lanes on 1st Street, and the Reseda Blvd bike lanes are now complete from Roscoe to Parthenia. Joe Linton explores the new Cahuenga Blvd bike lanes, the first to reach Hollywood. The BPIT agenda for October is officially unveiled. Bikerowave will host a swap meet on Sunday, October 2nd. Check out the shiny new CicLAvia website. Long Beach gets a new bike station. Thousand Oaks passes on hosting next year’s Amgen Tour of California. A mountain biker is killed by a train while riding on the tracks in Redding. A bike-riding Santa Cruz bank robber faces sentencing after pleading no contest; something tells me he’ll serve a lot more time for stealing money on a bike than most drivers get for killing someone on one. In a case that didn’t smell right from the beginning, CHP reverses itself to rule that a Los Altos Hills cyclist wasn’t responsible for the collision that killed her after all.

After beating back a challenge to bike funding in the federal transportation bill, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says biking facilities are absolutely important. Defending Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong is replaced by Amber Neben on the U.S squad for the World Championships. A Dutch student becomes the world’s second fastest cyclist at 82.81 miles per hour in a Nevada desert. Cyclists take to Boulder CO’s new 40-acre off-road bike park. The New York Times says don’t forget to pack your folding bike when you travel, while the bike wars continue in the letters to the Times; heads-up courtesy of George Wolfberg. NYC chooses Alta to run its bike share program. A Maryland woman becomes an unintended bike activist after a motorist is fined $507.50 for killing her bike-riding husband.

Mexico City cyclists ride to reclaim their streets following threats from a journalist. Brazil plans to devote 15% of all traffic fines to promote cycling. A Canadian writer concludes that law-flouting kamikaze bikers have declared war on pedestrians. A UK cyclist suffers a broken collarbone after being intentionally rammed in a road rage incident, while Sussex cyclists are being pelted with eggs. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has to tear down his beachfront bike hut. Surrey police target inconsiderate cyclists with a possible £1000 fine; link courtesy of Bob Davis. Bikes will soon be allowed on a Yorkshire pathway for the first time in 150 years. Hugh Jackman rides a Brompton. Sleek, sturdy wooden bikes that actually ride like, well, bikes. The NY Times swears Copenhagen pedestrians feel squeezed out by the city’s cyclists. Cyclists and drivers fight for supremacy on German roadways; Dave Moulton asks when cyclists in bike-friendly countries cross the line to become unfriendly to everyone else on the road. A Queensland cyclist remains unidentified after a fatal cycling collision — which is why you should always carry ID when you ride. China is falling back in love with the bicycle.

Finally, in case you missed it, an Orange County driver takes a short cut directly through Mission Viejo’s Rock N’ Road Cyclery. And Der Spiegel says L.A., here I come. No idea what it says, but the pictures are nice; thanks to Dr. Michael Cahn for the link.

Your weekend linkathon, including a wacky anti-bike diatribe from a witty right-wing writer

Conservative humorist and provocateur P.J. O’Rourke spread his anti-bike joy on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, asking whether bike lanes will soon be followed by pavement set-asides for hop scotch and pogo sticks.

Personally, I haven’t seen such wit since Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige, then writing for the Rocky Mountain News, once compared the world-class cyclists competing in the legendary Coors Classic to little kids riding with playing cards clipped to their spokes.

Then again, it’s nothing new for him.

O’Rourke wrote a similar piece all the way back in 1987, calling on officials to “license, regulate or abolish entirely this dreadful peril” posed by the Bicycle Menace. And that was back before bikes were popular.

Pity such a talented writer has his head so far up his own posterior.

Or was it just a day late for April Fools?

.………

Metro introduces its first Human-Powered Commuting Awards for this year’s Bike Week, and asks for your nominations in several categories. Just two more weeks before Streetsblog’s 2nd annual Eco-Village fundraiser. LADOT officially adopts a new bike rack standard. L.A. officially awards $5.4 million in Measure R funds for biking and walking plans, including a comprehensive Safe Routes to School plan. Join a group ride to CicLAvia on April 10th; Downtown News offers a list of Downtown bike shops to help you get ready. Flying Pigeon now has the very odd-looking, but very cool Pedersen Bicycles. Irvine is asking for public input on their new Bicycle Transportation Plan.

The San Diego Bike Union forms for cyclists who ride in comfortable shoes, with a goal of normalizing cycling; you mean it isn’t? In response to the death of a Sacramento State student who was riding without lights, local bike advocates will be distributing free lights. A Patterson CA woman charged in the fatal hit-and-run of a Sacramento cyclist last year has been ticketed for driving with a suspended license just two weeks after losing her license; it’s her 4th citation in three years, not counting the hit-and-run charges. Santa Rosa scales back its bike boulevard “experiment.” A statewide crackdown on texting and hand-held cell phone-using drivers begins on Monday; I’ll be the one applauding every time I see a driver pulled over. The California Bicycle Coalition offers their monthly report, including a push for more representative Caltrans standards and news of proposed legislation to require that drivers pass cyclists at a minimum three-foot distance, and no faster that 15 mph over the cyclists speed of travel.

A new film says bikes can change the world, one life at a time. An insurance company needs your input on a proposed accident insurance policy for cyclists. An interview with cyclo-crosser and unlikely bike advocate Tim Johnson. Registration opens for October’s Viva Bike Vegas. Two days before Corvallis WA Bicycle Collective planned to celebrate their re-opening, their new location is condemned. The Chair and members of the Greater Albuquerque BAC question why a driver wasn’t cited in the broad daylight death of a cyclist. Kansas passes a three-foot passing law, along with a dead red provision. Missourians rise up against bike lanes if it means losing parking. The New York Times asks whether a bicycle is an engine-less car or a pedestrian on wheels. Oddly, the same paper that made room for O’Rourke’s diatribe also made space for a story on bespoke bikes and high-fashion bikewear. New York’s crackdown on cyclists is bad for bike business.

Ex-Guv Arnold and London Mayor BoJo ride Boris Bikes. Evidently, the UK’s Transportation Minister doesn’t know he already eliminated the country’s Cycling England program; I suppose that means he also doesn’t know what he threw out with it, or the good it has done in its short life. A UK Parliament Member says all road users must be held accountable, including cyclists — even though UK drivers who kill cyclists often aren’t. English community nurses are up in arms over plans to require them to travel by bike, while Estonia plans to use a payment for emissions credits to buy 35,000 bicycles for their civil servants. By the time you read this, you may have already missed one of the world’s greatest one-day classics. The New Zealand Herald says continued dooring of cyclists is an outrage; maybe they could have a talk with P.J. O’Rourke.

Finally, a colorful solution to the pothole problem. And after a now paralyzed cyclist received a bill to fix the guard rail that impaled side in a horrific crash, local officials say it was just a boo-boo.

They drive among us: an astounding display of far right anti-bike bias

Honestly, I thought anti-bike stupidity reached it’s peak in the ‘80s.

That’s when Denver sportswriter Woody Paige, then writing for the late Rocky Mountain News, unfavorably compared professional cyclists competing in the Coors Classic — including Greg LeMond and the legendary Bernard Hinault — to children riding with playing cards stuck in their spokes.

Tony Kornheiser’s misguided rant not withstanding.

Yet in an online edition of the Waterbury, CT Republican-American, which — despite an obvious conservative bent — has nothing to do with the political party of the same name, D. Dowd Muska does his best to trump them all.

Starting with his headline: 4 wheels are good; two wheels are bad. (Note: The Republican-American has blocked access to the column, but you can find it online by searching for the author’s name).

Seriously, I should have stopped reading right then. But then, I’ve always been one to rush in where wise men fear to tread, to wit:

There is something profoundly wrong with a nation where more adults ride bicycles than children.

America might now be such a nation.

Yeah, seriously. Denmark, and much of Europe, should be ashamed to place such a high priority on two-wheeled transport over man’s God-given right to drive a Hummer whenever and wherever he damn well pleases.

While kids sit at home texting their friends and slaying computer-generated monsters, a growing number of their parents and grandparents are clogging the roads atop a contraption that once was considered a child’s toy.

Amazingly, it goes downhill from there.

Two odious ideologies fuel the popularity of bicycling: anti-obesity extremism and eco-lunacy. Pedal power, we are told, will not only make you thinner, it will reduce your “carbon footprint.” (It’s a nanny-state twofer.)

Already slim, or pursuing other means to lose weight? Like your SUV, and don’t swallow the discredited theory that man is baking the planet? Then obviously you’re an idiot.

Well, if the shoe fits.

Of course, he goes on to spout the usual nonsense about scofflaw cyclists, since no drivers ever speed, fail to come to complete stops or forget to use turns signals. And describes the industry trade group Bikes Belong as an “agitprop shop,” citing their clearly insidious goal of “putting more people on bikes more often.”

There’s more, of course.

Isn’t there always?

Rants about “dubious bike schemes” and “Big Bicycle” dipping its toe into federal gas tax funds and the bank bailout. And quoting a self-hating cyclist and Cato Institute scholar as saying:

“There really is very little evidence that any of (these efforts) are reducing the amount of driving. They’re just making it more annoying to drivers.”

Then again, Muska had already refuted that himself in the third paragraph, where he noted the recent rapid rise in ridership, as exemplified by Philadelphia’s 97% increase in bike commuters over just three years.

Or maybe those people formerly commuted by flying carpet before switching to bikes.

But then, I suppose you can’t expect someone like that to confuse himself with something as trivial as the facts.

Or rational thought, for that matter.

………

The Art Theater of Long Beach is screening Riding Bikes with the Dutch tonight (Thursday) at 7 pm.

………

More coverage of the Critical Mass Takedown, as the Times reports on Mayor Villaraigosa’s letter to the LACBC, yet oddly, has nothing to add to the story. L.A. Weekly goes into far more depth to cover the story, but doesn’t quite grasp the concept of Critical Mass, or that a lot of cyclists who don’t ride Critical Mass still care very deeply about the problem of hit-and-runs.

………

Cyclelicious offers a couple of great looks at the Blackhawk, Colorado bike ban, which was supposedly done for safety reasons — even though there were no cyclist or pedestrian deaths in the entire county in the last four years for which records are available. Meanwhile, the Denver bus driver who ran over a 72-year old cyclist, leading to a possible bike ban on the city’s 16th Street Mall, didn’t brake because he “had passengers” on board; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link.

………

Transportation Committee members reconsider plans to widen the historic North Spring Street bridge, supposedly for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians. Gary gets credit for better Broadway bike lanes. LADOT’s bike blogger offers a recap of last Sunday’s River Ride. Forty percent of Claremont car trips are short enough for a 6-year old to bike, while local authorities want to pave the Wilderness Park to put in more parking; maybe they don’t understand the meaning of Park in this context. The scum bucket suspect accused of attacking four cyclists in San Francisco appears in court. Good advice on how to share the road with cyclists. The Chicago Sun-Times talks to bike blogger Dottie Brackett of Let’s Go Ride a Bike. A two-inch crack in a New York bridge results in 40 stitches and a fractured hand. Sharrows are popping up everywhere in Portland — and soon here, we hope? How lawyers and legislators devalue your life. Georgia is the latest state to consider a three-foot passing law. UCI warned Floyd Landis not to go public with his doping allegations against one of their officials. Carlos Sastre, 2008 Tour de France winner, is doubtful for this year’s Tour due to a back injury. A Belgian biking Olympian finally gets his gold 62 years later. A Lycra-free London guide to cycle chic; then again, who needs bike shorts when you can ride naked? There’s enough crap in the bike lane without having to deal with crap in the bike lane. You could be riding on your recycled printer cartridge on the newest Aussie bikeway; just another reason to continue those “discredited” eco policies anyway.

Finally, why you should always wear a helmet, tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek edition.

They drive among us: More insights on cycling from the gasoline addled

Sometimes, they make it too easy.

The Times felt a need to troll for more online readers. So naturally, they turned to bikes, knowing the subject always keeps the comments flowing — even though they covered this same subject just last week.

And sure enough, the comments about the Bike Working Group’s proposed Backbone Bikeway Network has brought out the usual bike-hating suspects. Surprisingly, though, the comments have been overwhelmingly in favor of building the network.

Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the Times moderates comments on their blogs. So all the rabid, mouth-foaming, life-threatening, death-to-cyclists borderline insane, so-bad-they-make-the-Good-Doctor-look-good comments may be circling the silicon drain.

And man, would I like to see those.

So instead, we’re left with the observations of the relatively sane, though perhaps somewhat gas-addled drivers who managed to make it through the paper’s filtering process.

I read ‘em so you don’t have to.

Of course, many of the anti-bike comments fall into to usual category of bicyclists should be licensed and insured, just like drivers.

Yes, Just make sure they are licenced and pay fee’s like car owners do, and make em get insurance too!

Posted by: john | February 08, 2010 at 08:54 AM

And

If bikes want more space on the roads of LA then the bike should be registered just like cars and bikers should be licensed just like drivers. They should also be tested just like drivers after all it is a privelege not a right. And no bikes should be allowed on two lane roads if they pose a hazard to drivers.

Posted by: Jerry Brunner | February 08, 2010 at 12:41 PM

A perspective that fails to consider that the overwhelming majority of adult cyclists have a driver’s license, and have passed the exact same test as their accusers. Or do they honestly think that no one on a bike has any other transportation options?

Then there’s the fact that here in California, the operator is insured, rather than the vehicle. Which means that your car insurance policy should follow you regardless of what vehicle you operate — even a bike, as I learned the hard way following my road rage case, when my car insurance company picked up the entire tab for my medical expenses.

There are those who will only support cyclists when we obey the law.

only if they start obeying the traffic laws. 75% run stop signs and red lights

Posted by: Jon | February 08, 2010 at 09:11 AM

And no drivers ever speed, run stop sighs or fail to signal. Or park in bike lanes, for that matter.

Then there’s this rocket scientist, who can’t seem to grasp the concept that fixies can still manage to stop, even without added brakes.

Sure, as long as the cyclists follow the rules of the road like everyone else. Too often I see them running stop signs and even red lights with wanton disregard for their own safety. The worst offenders are the people on fixed-gear bikes that don’t have any brakes at all. I am not allowed to drive a car with no brakes, so why should someone be allowed to ride a bicycle with no brakes on that same road?

Posted by: Kirill | February 08, 2010 at 09:21 AM

There are comments that say get on the sidewalk.

no. infact the old law allowing people to ride bikes on the same roads that cars and trucks drive needs to be ended. they are a road hazard that should be on the sidewalk. when a person riding a bike is in the fast lane of a two lane road and is trying to make a left hand turn across traffic he is endangering himself and all the motorist on that same road. only if there is no side walk should it be legal to ride a bike on the road and only on the far right side at that. i am actually shocked that the ultra greedy insurance companies have not pushed for this already to avoid payouts that result from there injuries.

Posted by: dman in the inland empire | February 08, 2010 at 09:31 AM

And comments that say stay off the sidewalk.

The question ought to read “Should cyclists give pedestrians back the sidewalks?” I will give them room on the road if they will let me walk on the sidewalk.

Posted by: LBGirl | February 08, 2010 at 09:38 AM

Even some that say get on the sidewalk you damn commie liberals.

No! Bikers need to stay on the sidewalk or learn to drive a car. I am sick of liberal cheapskates on bikes slowing down the traffic just so they can save a few bucks on gas.

Posted by: Hal | February 08, 2010 at 09:40 AM

A few think there are better places to ride. Like the desert, for instance.

I disagree with giving them more room. The law provides enough room for bicyclists as it is. If they want somewhere to ride, they can ride to the desert and have all the room they want. As mentioned above, they are self-righteous and sanctimonious and do not DESERVE anything. Those idiots we see riding along the orads in their tight shorts and stupid helmets are not going to work and, therefore, should not get in the way of those of us who have to fight traffice every single day. I say drop the subject altogether,

Posted by: Gary | February 08, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Yeah, cycling a hundred miles out of your way in 112 degree temperatures is so much fun, when you only wanted to go a few blocks down the “orad” for a loaf of bread.

Or maybe Orange County.

I’m sorry but Los Angeles should not cater to cyclists. There are plenty of trails in the suburbs and most cyclists choose to live somewhere with more trails anyways. Suburbs like Orange County are prime real estate for pretty boy cyclists. LA is an inner city kinda place and always will be

Posted by: Phil | February 08, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Meanwhile, Julie is tired of getting stuck behind cyclists on the 405 Freeway.

I am begging you – NO!!!!!! let bicyclists ride on paseos and around neighborhoods. Bikes are NOT viable methods of transportation for work and should NOT be treated as such. I do not want to have to drive at 10 miles per hour because I’m behind a bicyclist on the 405….Please stop the insanity.

Posted by: julie | February 08, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Or did she think “bicycle freeways” meant we were actually going to ride on the freeway? And Rick, too.

On the freeway are they nuts or just have a death wish, totally unaccecptable

Posted by: Rick T | February 08, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Clearly, not enough emphasis is paid to reading for comprehension in today’s schools. And don’t even get me started on what some of these comments say about literacy rates these days.

Some say traffic is too bad for a solution that might actually provide an alternative to driving.

Yet another idiotic “politically correct” idea. Traffic is congested? Then let’s make it more congested so a handfull of bicycles can move freely while tens of thousands move even more slowly.

Posted by: rick1946 | February 08, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Never mind that many L.A. streets are already at or above capacity, and that the only viable solution is to reduce the number of cars on the roads. Or do they want us to remove the sidewalks so they can add another traffic lane?

On the other hand, Ron hates cyclists because of our fashion choices, as well as riding habits.

yes, please get these rude idiots off the streets, bicyclists don’t give a damn. they don’t care about anyone but themselves. Everywhere I go I see them challenge drivers, Never in single file, Run stop signs so they won’t lose momentum, ect…. Just because you ride an expensive bicycle and outfit yourself in ridiculious effiminite clothing, Does not give you the right to take over the road , which is what they do in packs. Are we supposed to stop all our cars on busy streets because your club needs to get to starbucks? I’m surprised there aren’t more road rage incidents against these self centered elitists. These people are riding for pleasure, the rest of us are trying to get to work,So stay out of the way, Heelhook

Posted by: Ron | February 08, 2010 at 09:40 AM

Some are only concerned with our safety:

For God’s sake, NO! NHTSA statistics have shown that a mile traveled on a bicycle is 14.7 times more likely to result in a fatality than one traveled in a passenger vehicle. Not only is it far more dangerous, bicycling, unlike motorcycling, is disastrous to efficient traffic flow in a region notorious for that problem already. Bicyclists who want this are zealots who care nothing for all those they would inconvenience.

Posted by: klesb | February 08, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Of course, he fails to mention that cars are far more likely to kill someone.

Some have clearly never heard of dooring.

Are you kidding me, they cause enough hazards on residential streets as it is. Why do they need more space they all just ride on the line anyways. Is it that important to hug the white line? They are putting their lives at danger. Then they get upset when a car passes them going the speed limit. Scoot over to the right bikers, you have the whole bike lane to ride in.

Posted by: T Nahas | February 08, 2010 at 11:09 AM

There there’s the argument that bikes need to pay their fare share for use of the roads.

Bicycles should be registered and riders licensed the same asrequire for Autos. The fees collected can be used for more an wider bicycle lanes.
Auto registration fees in Calif have risen, the fuel tax in Calif is one of the highest in the nation and the bicycle riders want the motoring public to share the revenue to build them bike lanes instead of improving the road ways for autos for which the revenue is intende?
Les be fair, the autos pay for the auto lanes and the bikes pay for the bike lanes.

Posted by: David Wayne | February 08, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Hey, I’m all for that. Gas and licensing fees cover less than half of all road construction and maintenance fees, which means those who don’t drive or only drive a little subsidize those who do. So a tax that charges people for their use of the roads would mean a huge increase for people who drive two hours to work every day. And a huge decrease for those of us who don’t.

Put that on the ballot, I’ll vote for it.

Some think there just isn’t enough demand.

I think all three bike riders in Los Angeles deserve more space on the road. Maybe we could give them each their own lane.

Posted by: Ranger | February 08, 2010 at 02:04 PM

Then again, there are some who just hate bikes. But at least this guy’s honest about it.

No, I hate all you bike riders that try to take over the roads. If you arent a car, you shouldnt try and act like one. stay out of my way.

Posted by: bikehater | February 08, 2010 at 11:06 AM

………

LADOT to lose 12 staffers in the latest round of mayor-ordered layoffs, Planning Department loses nine; how Bikeways will be impacted is yet to be determined. Public Radio KCRW’s Warren Olney, reportedly doored last week, misses today’s show with a possible concussion. Metro hosts a Cycling Roundtable Downtown on Friday, the 19th; RSVP by this Friday to attend. LA Weekly picks up the story that nearly a quarter of all cycling collisions are hit-and-runs. The California Supreme Court reaches the obvious conclusion that bicycle foot rests are not brass knuckles. Clearly, bikes have entered the zeitgeist, as Biking In Heels notices they’ve penetrated the Wedding Industrial Complex. After surviving the Snowpocalypse, a North Carolina cyclist wonders what that blinding light illuminating everything is. The scumbag musician who killed a Miami cyclist in a drunken daylight hit-and-run is back in jail. It’s time to stop blaming scofflaw cyclists for the actions of motorists; I couldn’t agree more.The usual suspects come out in Portland, as well, with a renewed call to register, inspect and insure bikes, while bikes are increasingly the exception. A critical look at policing Critical Mass. Horrifying photos of the aftermath of a life-threatening bike accident tell the whole story. A Florida writer asks how much of a bother bikes can really be. The head of the Lafourche Parrish Sheriff’s Patrol Division, in new NFL champion Saints territory, rides to relax. An Aussie writer rags on rude Lycra-clad cyclists with middle-aged butts. In the US, conservatives hate bikes, in Budapest conservatives promote them. Two years after a cyclist is killed, a UK community considers removing the railings that caused her death. Finally, in a bit of good news, an elderly Aussie rider falls off his bike, then over a bridge — and suffers only scrapes and a possible broken leg.

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