Tag Archive for traffic enforcement

Morning Links: SaMo approves bike share, SMPD targets bike & ped safety, and a blast from the BikinginLA past

Let’s start with a quick blast from the past.

It came up in conversation on Tuesday, when the subject turned to the needless divisions between bike riders based on what we ride or wear.

This is how I addressed the topic a couple years ago, in a post called The terrible tyranny of two-wheel tribal wear.

The bottom line is, clothes don’t make the bike rider.

It doesn’t matter who you are, how you ride, what you ride, where you ride, or what you wear. Especially not what you wear.

The only thing that really matters that you ride.

The rest is just details.

It’s not a bad piece, if I say so myself. And maybe worth a second look if you’ve got a few extra minutes.

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It came too late to make the news, but word is the Santa Monica city council voted to go forward with a 500-bicycle bike share program, making it the first in the LA area.

And hats off to the Santa Monica Police Department, which will fairly target violations that can lead to bike and pedestrian collisions this Friday.

They deserve congratulations, because unlike previous safety efforts that unfairly focused on bicyclists or pedestrians, this one will look equally at violations by drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

And yes, as we all know, motor vehicles pose the greatest risk.

But police are required to enforce the law equally, rather than targeting one group while ignoring the rest.

Nice to see they get it.

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No page to link to yet. But mark your calendar for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s 2nd Annual Open House on December 4th at LACBC world headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street in DTLA.

And while we’re on the subject, the LACBC is hosting a Basic Biking Skills class for coalition members on Saturday, November 22nd. A good reason to join if you haven’t already.

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Local

Bike thefts are on the rise in Huntington Beach. And pretty much everywhere else, as well.

Student run Tommy’s Bike Shop is gaining momentum at traditionally less than bike friendly USC.

KABC-7 looks at Ride 2 Recovery, a great program that uses bicycling to help bring wounded vets all the way back home.

 

State

San Diego has to address the concerns of the city’s bike-loving residents if it plans to meet ambitious goals to increase bike commuting by 2035.

A San Diego bike manufacturer makes Oprah’s list of Favorite Things, which is pretty much the next best thing to being anointed by God.

Caltrain is looking for new members for its Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Nothing like getting into a bike collision on the way to an interview with a San Francisco paper to discuss your new album.

 

National

This is what can happen when you ride in extreme weather, as a Portland cyclist is hit by a falling tree; fortunately, she’s expected to survive.

If you’re going to steal a bike, probably not the best idea to try to make your getaway through a group of Spokane ROTC cadets.

Louisville KY plans to build 100 miles of bike boulevards.

In response to the city’s panic over speeding cyclists, New York officials propose banning hand-held cell phone use by bicyclists, which should cut the city’s traffic death toll by roughly zero.

No bias here. A Florida TV station blames a teenage bike rider for a sideswipe collision with a driver when the kid’s pedal — yes, pedal — allegedly hit the car, rather than blaming the driver for passing too close. And they freak out over riding his bike safely and legally a whole 30 inches inside the traffic lane. Or at least it would have been safe if the driver hadn’t been violating the state’s three-foot passing law.

Palm Beach officials seriously think Share the Road signs will make bicycling safer. There’s a first for everything.

Thanks to an alert — and caring — bike rider, a Florida Marine gets his missing ring back.

 

International

A Toronto writer goes into histrionics over the supposed wasted space of bike lanes in the winter when no sensible person would ride a bike; clearly, these people would beg to differ.

A British study shows drivers pass bikes more safely on roads without center lines; not too surprising that motorists will give more space when they don’t feel constrained by lane markings.

London Cyclist offers advice on riding safely around potholes — something every LA bike rider should know, considering the decrepit quality of our deteriorating streets.

‘Tis the season. A UK charity is looking for bike riding Santas.

Apparently, I’m not the only one with concerns about that new solar panel bike path in the Netherlands, which will only generate enough power for three households when it’s fully built out.

 

Finally…

Congratulations to the newly married Chris Froome. If Cadel Evans and Oakley have their way, your next bike could have a truly bizarre set of handlebars. Or you could end up with an e-bike that weighs less than 11 pounds and folds down to fit in your backpack.

 

Beverly Hills tells bicyclists to drop dead; LAPD to focus — finally — on traffic violations this year

Screw bike riders.

That was the message sent last night by notoriously bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills in refusing to incorporate bike lanes in next year’s planned reconstruction of Santa Monica Blvd.

Even though the reconstruction gives the city a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix one of the region’s most congested and dysfunctionally incomplete streets.

And even though it could be done for pennies on the dollar during the massive reconstruction project.

And even though it would connect the bike lanes that currently exist on the boulevard on either side of the city, completing the gap that exists between bike lanes in West Hollywood and Century City.

And even though Beverly Hills traffic already makes it the most dangerous city of its size in the state of California.

Oddly, several of the city’s council members expressed their concern for the safety of cyclists before voting to ignore their needs.

We’ll let Better Bike’s Mark Elliot, who led the seemingly Sisyphean fight in this over-privileged Mayberry tell the whole disturbing and dystopian tale.

The question is, what can we do going forward?

Personally, I think it’s long past time for a worldwide boycott of the Biking Black Hole, where the dollars of those on bikes seem to be valued far below those who arrive in Bentleys and luxury SUVs.

Maybe they’ll wake up if they start seeing hotel cancellations, as domestic and foreign bike riders choose to spend their money somewhere else. Or when the annual Gran Fondo gets moved to out of Beverly Hills because cyclists refuse to support a city that refuses to support us.

Or maybe the answer is to take a page from their own playbook, where seemingly endless lawsuits have attempted to derail the planned subway-sort-of-to-the-sea.

I don’t know if there are legal grounds to sue Beverly Hills for its hard-hearted failure to find room for bike riders on the rebuilt street, even if it does seem to conflict with the state’s requirement to consider complete streets in any road construction project. Or to accommodate all road users on streets that belong to more than just motor vehicle operators.

Maybe there’s a lawyer out there who’d like answer those questions.

But if nothing else, a lawsuit might delay their plans just enough to make it easier to compromise with bike supporters than fight.

It wouldn’t be cheap.

But that’s one Kickstarter I’d be happy to contribute to.

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More on last night’s breaking news that the extremely popular Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race has been cancelled, at least for this year.

And the way these things seem to go, possibly forever.

The finger is being pointed at a fear of liability in a notoriously risk-averse city. But as noted last night, I suspect there’s more going on behind the scenes than we may yet be aware of.

Like maybe a wealthy marathon operator upset about those damn bikes piggybacking on their event. Especially when they’re not getting the profits.

Meanwhile, word is some riders intend to crash the route anyway.

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The LA City Council celebrated the city’s first Complete Streets Day on Wednesday.

Which seems odd, since so many council members seem to be actively opposing complete streets on Westwood Blvd, north and south Figueroa, and Lankershim Blvd, as well as a new and improved bike-friendly 4th Street.

I’m sure Councilmembers Koretz, Cedillo, Price and LaBonge wholeheartedly support complete streets.

As long as they’re in someone else’s district.

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For years, bike and pedestrian advocates have called on police to increase enforcement of traffic laws in an attempt to rein in the wild west mentality on our streets, where too many drivers feel entitled to do anything they damn well please — too often to the detriment of those they share those streets with.

Finally, LAPD Chief Beck is in agreement, declaring this the “year of traffic” with stepped-up enforcement of traffic regulations, including a crackdown on hit-and-runs.

While that’s good news for cyclists who have share the road with dangerous drivers, remember the knife cuts both ways.

Representatives of the department have often said they are required to enforce the law equally. Which means if they see you go through a red light or stop sign, you’re likely to get a ticket, just like a driver would for the same offense.

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Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg fears support for bicycling is backsliding under the Garcetti administration — echoing exactly what I’ve been thinking for the past several months.

Shockingly, the Weekly discovers a group of cyclists who like to get high and ride. Who could have ever imagined?

Bike safety is an issue around USC, as a cyclist is injured in a collision near campus.

Bikable streets spread further east as Pomona approves the city’s first bike and pedestrian plan.

The 84-year old Newport Beach driver who killed cyclist Debra Deem — claiming he just didn’t see her — entered a not guilty plea to a single count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. If convicted, he faces just one year in jail; Deem’s sister doesn’t think that’s enough.

Plans call for extending an Orange County protected bikeway.

You can contribute to help Riverside cyclist Travis Freeman recover from a serious cycling injury.

This simple bar chart clearly illustrates the relative affordability of protected bike lanes. And as long as we’re talking charts, this one from the UK kind of puts the relative risk posed by cyclists in perspective.

You could own Pee-wee’s bike, some assembly required.

It’s sad to think a bike advocacy group is going out of business after 40 years when bicycling is finally on the rise.

In what seems like at least a minor miracle, Brooklyn police begin ticketing drivers who park in bike lanes.

A Florida man waves at a motorist, who responds by plowing into him and fleeing the scene.

In what may be one of the most intentionally offensive public safety spots I’ve seen, Britain’s Top Gear attempts to teach cyclists the difference between red and green. While we all need to observe traffic signals, very few cycling fatalities are the result of riders blowing through red lights; far more often, it’s a driver who fails to stop and kills an innocent victim. So for the boys at Top Gear — and I say this from the bottom of my heart — fuck you. No, seriously.

A UK bike rider is the victim of an anti-bike terrorist attack when someone strings a rope across a walkway at neck level. Oddly, despite Top Gear’s insistence, there is nothing to suggest that she ran a red light before nearly being decapitated.

Finally, South African cyclists face charges in the road rage attack against a van driver. No matter how angry you are or how justified you feel, always — always — resist the temptation to resort to violence, as hard as it may be sometimes.

Which is not to say I’m an angel; I’ve called drivers every name in the book, including some I’ve made up on the spot.

Then again, they aren’t always the problem.

Boorish behavior by bicyclists could lead to a CHP crackdown in the Santa Monica Mountains

There’s no excuse for boorish bike behavior.

Especially when it could lead to a crackdown on every cyclist in the Santa Monica Mountains.

A conversation last week with Leland Tang, Public Information Officer for the CHP’s West Valley Area, revealed that they’re planning to start ticketing cyclists for riding violations throughout the area.

All they’re waiting for on is funding to put extra officers in the field.

And to give bike riders one last chance to clean up their act.

According to Tang, the CHP has been getting a large number of complaints about group rides that refuse to play nice by failing to ride single file, not letting motorists pass, riding on both sides of the roadway and not allowing drivers to exit their driveways.

Never mind that I disagree strongly with the CHP on whether it’s legal to ride two abreast.

It’s not mentioned at all in the California Vehicle Code, and it’s a standard precept of common law that anything that is not expressly forbidden is permissible under the law. Not to mention that riding two abreast is safer under many conditions that require riders to take the lane, such as avoiding road debris on the right shoulder or riding on roads with a substandard lane width where lanes are too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle.

The LAPD considers it legal to ride two abreast anytime a rider has to take the lane, or other situations where the riders aren’t blocking traffic, such as riding in the right lane of a four lane roadway where drivers could use the other lane to go around.

The CHP, however, interprets CVC 21202, the law requiring cyclists to ride as close to the right as practicable, as banning riding abreast, reasoning that the rider on the left is not as close to the right as he or she should be.

Or as a friend of mine put it recently, “Your honor, I couldn’t ride any closer to the right. There was another bike there.”

However, that’s a discussion I’ve had with the CHP for some time now, and not one I expect to win outside of a courtroom.

On the other hand, there’s no excuse for riding on both sides of the road, especially on blind curves where drivers coming from opposite direction may not be able to see you. Or continuing to block the roadway and preventing drivers from passing when it’s safe to do so.

And it’s only common courtesy to allow other road users to enter or exit their own driveways if it doesn’t interfere with your own safety, or the other riders with you.

Cyclists at the back of the pack should be on the lookout for cars coming up from behind, and call out for the riders ahead to fall into single file if it’s safe for the vehicle to pass. Or signal to the driver to wait if it’s not, then waive them around at the first opportunity.

We don’t make any friends by needlessly blocking the road or inconveniencing the others on it.

Admittedly, I’m only hearing half the story, coming from the people pissed off enough to call to complain. And filtered through the views of the Highway Patrol officers who have to take those calls and deal with that anger.

But it’s clear that more courtesy is called for from all sides.

However, I’m told that the overwhelming majority of complaints stem from a single weekly ride. Fairly or not, a Sunday morning ride over Decker Canyon draws more calls than every other weekend ride combined — as much as 90% of the complaint calls against cyclists in the area, according to Tang.

In fact, Tang himself has sat on the side of the road and watched them go by, riding three, four or more abreast and blocking both sides of the roadway. Which is neither legal nor justified under any circumstances.

He assures me they don’t really want to crack down on cyclists. The CHP would much rather apply their limited resources other places, where they can deal with more dangerous violations by more dangerous violators.

But the sheer number of complaints stemming from this one ride dictate that they will soon have to do something.

And if they do, it won’t just be the boorish behavior of a single group ride that draws their attention. But rather, a crackdown on any violations by any cyclists, anywhere in their jurisdiction.

Which means you could get a ticket simply because someone else refuses to straighten up and ride right.

So if you know anyone on that Sunday Decker Canyon ride, let them know they’re about to face a hard, and undoubtedly unpleasant look from law enforcement.

And because of them, so are you.

One more quick note. A recent complaint to the CHP involved riders swearing at a driver and throwing objects at his car as he passed. I think we all recognize that as a common reaction to a too close pass by a dangerous or threatening driver. But thanks to the veto pen of our governor, a dangerously close pass remains legal, while hitting a car or throwing something at it is not. It may seem justified, but you’re the one who’s likely to face legal action if you get caught.

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Another bike rider has been shot in South L.A. The shooting occurred when a suspect on foot fired at the rider late Saturday evening near 92nd and Vermont, leaving the victim in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.

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Bike Radar offers a look at some of the more interesting bikes at this weekend’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver. Bike Biz offers a full list of the winners, while Velo News wonders what it all means. And now there’s no need to get off your bike after pedaling to the slopes.

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I hear Saturday’s first-ever ‘80s Bike Prom sponsored by the LACBC was a huge hit; with luck, that may mean there will be a next one. CICLE’s Wild West Chatsworth Community Bike Ride seems to have been a big success, as well. The NELA and Occidental College Bicycle Art Show opens this Thursday, which is the same day Santa Monica College celebrates the official Grand Opening of their new bike corral. Santa Monica sets a March 16th workshop for the planned Santa Monica Michigan Avenue Greenway project. Redondo Beach considers a major redesign of the area around Hermosa Ave and Harbor Drive, including a two-way cycle track. If you can’t lose weight despite all the miles you put in on the saddle, try trading your electrolytified sugar pop for a handful of dates.

A look at the e-bike revolution at the Terranea Resort. A 68-year old man died of an apparent heart attack in Corona del Mar Sunday morning; police originally though he’d been in a bike wreck. San Diego cyclists get their first ciclovia. The principal of a Vallejo school died Friday of injuries suffered in a hit-and-run while riding in a bike lane on February 13th. A San Ramon attorney has yet to set foot in a courtroom nine months after he was arrested for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist. A Vallejo father campaigns against unlicensed drivers two years after his son was killed. A cyclist was killed on the coast highway in Northern California Sunday afternoon.

An Albuquerque cyclist wants thank the rider who helped rescue him when he passed out and severely injured himself. Still no justice for an Indiana cyclist after 2-1/2 years. South Bend considers their own three-foot passing law. According to the Boston Globe, disregard for the safety of cyclists has reached pathological levels among some drivers. A Mississippi newspaper publisher says education and common sense beat requiring helmet use. Explaining the concept of complete streets to the nation’s deadliest state for cyclists and pedestrians.

London’s deadly cycling zone proves fatal for 14 women and no men; all but one were victims of buses or large trucks. A UK cyclist suffers a broken arm in a road rage incident. A Scot cyclist for 53-years explains that riding single file isn’t always the safest option; something we need to convince the CHP. Town Mouse goes biking in Copenhagen. Belgium’s one-day Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne classic is called on account of snow; weather has often played a role in bike racing. Temecula resident Sarah Hammer won her second gold medal at this year’s track cycling world championships in Minsk, and the sixth of her career. An Indian environmentalist is riding across the country on a seatless bicycle, averaging over 60 miles a day to spread his message. Aussie cyclists are fighting back against road rage with helmet cams. A Sydney man throws everything but the kitchen sink — including a bicycle — at the police outside his fifth floor apartment. Over half of Queenslanders think bike riders should be licensed, though a slight majority think motorists are at a fault in disputes with riders. A Kiwi cyclist is lucky to be alive after being rear-ended at over 60 mph.

Finally, you do not want to get run over in Montana.

Trust me.

Bike plan moves forward, police crackdown in OC, Box and bikes profiled in LA Weekly

First the big news, as the joint Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management votes to move forward with the draft bike plan, with a five year plan for implementation.

While that’s great news for city cyclists, it also means no for now to the proposed South Venice Beach bike path extension.

The debate was dominated by discussion over whether to allow bikes on city trails currently used by hikers and equestrians — something that safely occurs around the world, yet according to the local horse crowd, would lead to inevitable disaster here in L.A.

While there’s an obvious need for people to use trails safely and courteously, and observe the rights of other users, public parks and trails belong to everyone and shouldn’t be set aside for any single group. Or exclude any single group of users.

The committee voted to have the Planning Department negotiate language between both types of riders; however, anything that doesn’t find a way to accommodate all users would be a failure.

Meanwhile, the plan will now go to the full committee for final approval before going to the Mayor for his signature; all indications are Villaraigosa will sign off on the plan.

You can still follow yesterday’s live coverage of the meeting from L.A. Streetsblog, LACBC and Christopher Kidd of LADOT Bike Blog by clicking here.

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New York cyclists have been justifiably up in arms the last few weeks over the NYPD’s efforts to crack down on lawbreaking cyclists, while ignoring more dangerous violations by drivers.

Now a similar move is underway here as the Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Costa Mesa police departments are banding together to conduct a “specialized Bicycle Safety Enforcement Operation” on the 19th and 24th of this month.

Despite the title, the press release promises officers will address traffic violations by cyclists and other vehicle operators that could “lead to bicycle vs. vehicle collisions, injuries and fatalities.”

The goal of the program is to educate the public about the safe and lawful use of bicycles, as well as the safe and lawful use of vehicles that share the roadway with bicycles. Prevention is a key component of the program, which centers on the traffic laws that can prevent bicycle riders from becoming injured to killed due to illegal use or reckless behavior by bicyclists and vehicles. In addition, the Police Departments involved may be required to enforce obvious violations to the City’s Municipal Code to maintain safe operations.

I don’t have any problem with enforcing traffic violations by cyclists; frankly, I’ve seen some cyclists who should be ticketed, if not thrown into leg irons. However, I would expect — and all cyclists have every right to expect — that unlike the situation in New York, the crackdown will address violations by drivers as well as cyclists.

And it should take into account which violators pose the greater risk to others.

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Neon Tommy Editor-at-Large Hillel Aron offers an in-depth profile of CD4 City Council Candidate Stephen Box and the history of L.A. bike activism in this week’s L.A. Weekly.

As the article notes, it’s almost impossible to unseat a sitting council member in L.A.; even the most unpopular usually cruise to victory over seemingly more worthy opponents once special interest money starts pouring in. Despite that, there’s a growing sense that Box may have a real shot at forcing incumbent Tom LaBonge into a runoff next month.

LaBonge has long supported cycling, though not always in the way cyclists would prefer; if he were smart, he’d move to strengthen his support of bicycling to undercut Box’s strongest base of support. Instead, he seems to be focused on shoring up support from the anti-bike crowd, as many cyclists see him, rightly or wrongly, as an obstacle in the way of many bicycling issues.

And it’s hard to take the other candidate in the race, Tomas O’Grady, seriously when he ignores questions from the city’s leading newspaper.

You have your own chance to evaluate the candidates tonight when the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council hosts a candidate’s forum at Silver Lake Community Church, 2930 Hyperion Ave. Or you can meet Stephen Box at an open house from 2 to 4 pm this Sunday at 3311 Lowry Road in Los Angeles.

Box has also received an endorsement from MobileFoodNews; not to surprising since LaBonge has been seen as an opponent of L.A.’s popular food trucks.

One other note — the writer of the Weekly article gave me every opportunity to attack other bicycle advocates and advocacy groups; I chose not to do that. It’s my firm belief than anyone working to support cycling in Los Angles deserves my support and gratitude, whether or not I happen agree with them. I’m saddened that not everyone feels the same way.

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If you’re looking for a good ride this weekend, consider the Tour de Palm Springs, with rides ranging from 5 to 100 miles. A little further down the road, the Santa Clarita Century rolls on April 2nd offering a full century, half century, 25-mile and family rides.

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CicLAvia has received a $25,000 grant from the California Endowment. Meanwhile, GOOD is throwing a fundraising party to benefit CicLAvia on Saturday, March 5th; tickets range from $20 to $500.

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The newly unveiled draft plans for South Figueroa range from good to wow, though Josef Bray-Ali says they could use some polishing; then again, there are more important things than signing in for a meeting. L.A. will soon get its first bike corral in Highland Park. Rick Risemberg, who appears to be everywhere these days, writes about taking part in last weekend’s LA Brewery Ride with Flying Pigeon. Cool Claremont bike racks. Long Beach replaces a mandatory bike licensing law with voluntary registration through the National Bike Registry.

A popular retired Bakersfield educator died of a heart attack while riding with friends. A three-year old Visalia girl is killed when she’s backed over by a neighbor’s pickup while riding on the sidewalk. San Francisco police have refused to take reports or issue citations for collisions involving cyclists unless an ambulance is called; so not matter what a driver does, if they don’t seriously injure a rider, they walk. Shameful. Matt Ruscigno rides from San Louis Obispo to L.A. in a single day — while sick. This year’s Amgen Tour of California won’t tour California exclusively.

J. Edgar Hoover on a bike, sort of. It’s not the same as an Idaho Stop Law, but Oregon considers lowering the fines for cyclists who roll through stop signs. Somehow I missed this; Dr. Matthew Burke, the orthopedic surgeon, U.S. Army Major and Iraq war vet critically injured by aggressive driver while on a group ride last October, passed away over the weekend after 4 months in a coma; the driver is charged with reckless homicide.

Yet another London cyclist is killed by a large truck, this time a 28-year old art curator. More bikes than cars expected to cross London’s bridges during morning rush hour in 2011. Irish physicians urge the passage of a mandatory helmet law, even though you’re over six times more likely to die walking on the sidewalk. Europe already has the kind of airport bike lanes John McCain wants to kill. Looks like rising star Taylor Phinney will compete in the Tour of Oman after all. South African cyclist Michael Dean Pepper is banned for three years for a failed drug test; sometimes I think we should just ban everyone for two years and start over.

Well, that’s one more problem we don’t face in L.A. — a South African cyclist survives after using his bike to fight off a leopard attack; evidence suggests that the animal had just escaped from a snare and was fighting for its life, as well.

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