Tag Archive for they ride among us

Morning Links: Close encounter with a sidewalk cyclist, football players ride among us, and some bikes used for evil

My wife got hit by a bike rider yesterday.

We were walking back from brunch on a Sunset Blvd sidewalk, when we heard a bike bell from behind.

I quickly moved off to the side with our dog. But before my wife could figure out just where the rider was and which way to go, he zoomed past, brushing against her as he blew by.

And never looked back to see if she was okay.

Fortunately, she kept her balance and wasn’t hurt; it could have been much worse.

This is why I’m not a fan of bike bells. They tell you a bike is present, but the listener has to figure out first where the sound is coming from, and then what to do in response.

Make that mental calculation too slowly with the wrong rider, and you could end up on your ass.

Meanwhile, every bicyclist is equipped with a simple, yet effective means of letting people know where you are and what you intend to do.

Your voice.

It’s easy enough to politely say “excuse me,” and tell them you’re passing on their left or right. Politely being the key word.

Which brings up the question of courtesy, which is where this rider failed badly.

While he did the right thing by ringing his bell, he should have slowed down and waited for us to get out of the way. With the understanding that moving out of the way is a courtesy, not an obligation.

Sidewalks may be shared turf in LA, where riding on the sidewalk is legal, unlike many other cities in the area. But people on bikes have an obligation to ride safely and courteously around pedestrians, leaving plenty of room for the people on foot.

In other words, show the same courtesy to pedestrians you’d want drivers to show you on the street.

Another inch or two, and my wife could have been hurt badly. And we’d likely be looking for a hit-and-run cyclist, instead of just complaining about some jerk on a bike.


A key member of the newly minted Super Bowl champs is one of us, even though he had to sit out the game. So is former Pro Bowl tight end and San Diego resident Kellen Winslow II.


Bikes aren’t always used for good.

Bike-riding, mask-wearing German extremists torched or trashed 48 luxury cars to protest gentrification in Berlin.

And a suicide bomber on a bicycle killed eight people in Pakistan.



A pair of community groups help beautify a stretch of Jefferson Blvd near USC before bike lanes will be painted on the street in the coming weeks.

Pasadena proposes a road diet, wider sidewalks, parklets and reverse angled parking, but no bike lanes, on a stretch of Colorado Blvd east of Old Town.

The San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Education Center operated by Bike SGV has new extended hours.



A non-profit group is building a home for a San Diego Marine vet who lost his legs in Afghanistan, just months after he rode 3,000 miles across the US to raise funds to support wounded Marines and their families.

A century ride through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park east of San Diego had 26 volunteers this year. And just three participants. Correction: There were actually 225 riders who rolled across the start line. Blame a misleading lede, cut off too soon by a paywall. Thanks to Bill Clare for the correction. 

Fontana receives $3 million for a north-south bike and pedestrian trail due to be completed in 2018.

Sad news from Santa Barbara, as a long-time advocate for the homeless was killed in an apparent solo fall, possibly brought on by a stroke; tragically, he had purchased the bike just hours before.

In a twist on the usual complaints from business owners about the loss of car traffic, merchants on a San Francisco street are urging the city to make a ban on cars permanent.

The beloved founder of a one-man Sacramento bicycle food delivery service is battling leukemia; local restaurants are stepping up to raise funds for his medical expenses.



The author who outed Lance says motor doping could spell the end of pro cycling.

Utah is making a successful effort to get federal funds for bicycling enhancements; Idaho, not so much. Speaking of Utah, a bike builder builds a new business model by offering their own customized bikes over the Internet for up to 40% less than comparable bikes.

A Minnesota woman finished third in a frozen fat-tire endurance race — despite pausing to breast feed at each stop.

New York considers letting bicyclists join pedestrians in getting a head start over motor vehicles at some key intersections.

Uber is taking over Gotham’s bike messenger business, accused of undercutting traditional courier services by not paying worker’s comp for its riders.

Opponents to a proposed DC bike lane say it’s an attempt to run black churches out of town, and tell bike riders to take their “pastime” to a park.

The Daily Mail reports BMX legend Dave Mirra was making plans for the future before he took his own life; the mayor of his North Carolina hometown suggests multiple brain injuries may have led to his depression.



A newly minted Newfoundland roadie discovers the joy of winter fat bike riding.

Bike Radar talks with the developer of the Laserlight that projects an image of a bicycle on the pavement in front of your bike.

Nice piece from a former London bike courier, who appreciates the boom in bicycling but misses having the streets to herself.

Evidently, British royalty-in-law Pippa Middleton is one hell of a cyclist if she can complete a 54-mile bike ride “in a matter of minutes.”

A Brit writer relives his childhood by teaching his six-year old son to ride a bike, with both calling it the best day of their lives.

No, really. A Pakistani paper says keep riding because it makes your skin glow. So does riding through a nuclear plant.

Aussie merchants lament the effects construction of a new protected bikeway on their business, as well as the switch from diagonal to parallel parking.



If you’re planning to steal a quarter ton of beef, always send a kid on a bike to scope it out first. When you’re riding with dope and a stolen Miley Cyrus sex doll in your backpack, remember to ride with traffic.

And evidently, things get boring when you’re driving a cab.


L.A. cyclists busted in BUI, anti-bike backlash spreads

Everyone knows it’s against the law to drink and drive.

Well, you do, right?

But here in California, it’s also illegal to bike under the influence.

A group of cyclists in Baldwin Hills learned that the hard way last night, when CHP officers were called to the scene after one struck the center divider while riding the wrong way on La Cienega Blvd. According to the Times, five of the fifteen riders were arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

While the Times suggests that riders are subject to the same 0.08 BAC that drivers are, no specific alcohol level is included in the statute, so riders could conceivably be charged at an even lower level than drivers. And while the fine is a relatively affordable $250, a conviction could affect your drivers license even though you weren’t operating a motor vehicle at the time.

Although personally, if someone is going to be on the road after imbibing, I’d much rather see ‘em on a bike than behind the wheel.

And as an aside to the Times, may I politely enquire what the hell helmet use has to do with a) riding while drunk, or b) whether the riders were able to be seen after dark?

Riding sans skid lid may or may not reflect bad judgment, depending on your perspective.

But it has absolutely nothing to do with this story.


Having evidently solved all the illegal and dangerous behavior by motorists, who have far more potential to kill or injure others, police in Australia and New York City have turned their attention to scofflaw cyclists.

Don’t get me wrong.

I don’t have any problem with ticketing cyclists who break the law, any more than I do anyone else on the streets. My problem comes when cyclists are singled out for enforcement, rather than enforcing the law equally against all illegal behavior.

And if there is going to be any bias in enforcement, shouldn’t it be directed at the operators of the vehicles responsible for over 30,000 deaths each year?

Scofflaw cyclists may annoy the hell out of other people. And they may give the cycling community a black eye, and encourage the anti-bike backlash the flares up with frequent regularity throughout the country.

But to the best of my knowledge, even the worst cyclists still pose a greater risk to themselves than to anyone else.

That doesn’t stop the anti-bike comments online or in the media, though. Not to mention the ill advised knee-jerk reaction to register and license bikes, or a bill that would prohibit reckless cycling in Virginia — a law that just begs for abuse as it leaves it up to individual officers, who are often ill-informed as to bike law, rights and safety, to determine just what is reckless.

Like riding in the traffic lane, maybe.

Then there’s the attempt by an Oregon legislator to ban carrying a child on a bike or in a bike trailer — this even though 630 people were killed in the entire U.S. while riding bikes in 2009, compared to over 10 times as many motor vehicle passengers.

Maybe it would make more sense to ban carrying a child in a car or SUV.


The LACBC’s new Bike Wrangler program will collect and recondition unwanted bikes, which will be distributed in low-income, high-obesity areas; Good examines the Bike Coalition’s efforts to reach out to the city’s invisible cyclists. The new L.A. River Bike Path extension is nice, but it could use a little direction; Lisa Newton points out that the historic De Anza Trail runs along its path. LADOT unveils some interesting ideas in their Call for Projects application. Todd Munson relates the ugly side of sharing the road, as well as the good. Gary gets harassed by an armored car driver and does something about it. Jessica Alba takes her daughter bike shopping in Santa Monica; it’s hard to read, but that looks like that could be a Helen’s tag. A court date is scheduled for the deaf hit-and-run driver accused of killing cyclist Patrick Szymanski in La Quinta last month.

An apparently highly-flawed study suggests that cell phone users may actually be safer drivers; problem is, it focused on a time when most people aren’t driving. A Coronado bike thief gets a well-deserved year in jail. The mayor of Del Mar calls on drivers and cyclists to sharrow the road during a bridge retrofit. A San Louis Obispo cyclist is in critical condition after inexplicably turning in front of a big rig truck. San Fran times stop lights to keep cyclists moving. A San Francisco Chronicle writer revisits his old paper route on video. Santa Cruz rejects a second claim for injuries at a single intersection, with a third cyclist’s claim waiting in the wings. A lifelong bike commuter tells her story.

While we’ve finally got more typical L.A winter weather, let’s not forget our brothers and sisters still struggling to ride in the south and east. Evidently, among the other promises Obama has kept are the ones he made about bike and pedestrian projects. The next long distance cycling route will aim to recreate the original Route 66; link courtesy of Lloyd Lemons. EcoCycle provides underground bike parking. The solution to placing bike paths in high-water areas could be floating bikeways. Bike-friendly Boulder CO gets a B-Cycle bike share program. A proposed bill would ban bike bans in Colorado cities. Bike lawyer Steve Magas reports on three upcoming criminal trials for drivers charged with killing cyclists. New York’s uber-popular Magnolia Bakery turns a bike lane into a parking lot; thanks to @BicycleFixation for the link.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s through biking ability. Strategies to avoid a bike infrastructure backlash. Don’t fight a losing battle for bike safety, sell it in terms of protecting children. London’s new bike superhighways result in a 70% increase in bike traffic. Irish courts award £10,000 to a child frightened when a bike fell in front of her in a Dublin toyshop. Lance leads the effort to fight back against Aussie flooding. Separated bikeways and handicap bike parking in Shanghai. A new bike share program kicks off in Haikou.

Finally, a cyclist survives an attack by unleashed killer dachsunds. And no matter how hardcore you think you are, you’re not a real cyclist until you pedal yourself to the hospital to give birth.

Now that takes balls. Or not.

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