Morning Links: OC Register writer shows ignorance on road diets, and a look at ghost bikes and bicycle safety

This is the final day of our first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive. And your last chance to get some great bike swag when you sign up or renew your membership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.

We’re up to 29 members who’ve signed up as part of the drive. So we just need two more to make it one a day for the month of May, with 31 members by the end of the month. Or better yet, get your entire riding club to sign up today to help make our original goal of 100 new members by the end of this month.

So don’t wait. Join or renew now to help make this a more livable, bikeable city and county.

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Let’s keep things short today — relatively, anyway — to kick off the week after a far too busy three day weekend. We’ll get back to our regular link-filled format tomorrow.

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This is what happens when someone doesn’t have a clue what he’s writing about.

But doesn’t let that stop him.

Fifty-two years after Bob Dylan warned “don’t criticize what you don’t understand,” indignorant Orange County Register columnist Joel Kotkin attempts to create a public panic over road diets, without apparently bothering to understand what they are or how they’re used.

Kotkin warns that Governor Brown has a secret plan to reduce greenhouse gases by making traffic congestion so bad that it will force Californians out of their cars. And into a “high-density, transit-oriented future.”

And the tool to accomplish this “Soviet-style social engineering?”

Road diets.

That’s right, comrades. He’s onto us.

Never mind that road diets have absolutely nothing to do with reducing global warming or getting people to leave their supposedly non-polluting electric cars at home. (Note to Joel Kotkin: Electric cars cause pollution, too. That power has to come from somewhere, like coal and gas-fueled power plants in most cases.)

Despite his extremely off-base protestations, road diets are performed on streets with excess capacity in order to reduce speeding and improve safety. And in many, if not most cases, can actually improve traffic flow, while making the street safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and, yes, motorists. They can even increase property values by improving livability along the street.

In other words, everyone benefits. Even the bourgeois capitalists in their motor vehicles.

Making matters worse, Kotkin apparently thinks the state’s plan to encourage road diets will a) prevent the widening of freeways, and b) actually be used to narrow said freeways. Although it’s hard to tell with his jumbled, nearly incoherent mixing and mangling of unrelated subject matters.

So just to clarify, road diets are used on surface streets. Period.

They have absolutely nothing to do with freeway projects, nor do they in any way increase freeway congestion. Although they may reduce congestion in the surrounding area by providing people with viable alternatives to driving.

All of which he could have discovered with a simple 30-second Google search.

If he cared enough to actually understand what the hell he’s talking about.

Thanks to Mike Wilkerson for the heads-up.

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Mike also forwards this piece about Southern California Ghost Bikes founder Danny Gamboa.

It tells the story of how Gamboa, a photographer and filmmaker, became involved in the ghost bike movement when his neighbor’s six-year old son was killed while riding his bike.

And how the purpose of the bikes is to call attention to the need to ride safely, and drive carefully around bike riders.

Vincent Chang, who started Bike San Gabriel Valley, remembers two ghost bikes he helped place in Pasadena.

“It’s to honor the individual who passed,” Chang said. “Also, there’s hope that it brings to light the need for safety improvements. They act as a reminder to vehicles that we have to share the road.”

Gamboa’s been asked if he has a morbid fixation. It’s a question he quickly shrugs off.

“Our goal is to be put out of business so we don’t ever have to do this again,” he answered.

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The author of that story, Steve Scauzillo of the Los Angeles News Group, also wrote a piece about bicycling fatalities in Southern California, in which he quoted me extensively, along with Danny Gamboa and the LACBC’s Colin Bogart.

And got it right.

Despite the scary headline, he offers a fair and balanced piece, making it clear that while too many people die on our streets, the rate of bicycling deaths is actually going down as ridership goes up.

And that the odds of returning safely from a ride are overwhelmingly in your favor.

It’s worth noting that Scauzillo, a bike rider himself, spent over an hour on the phone with me to get the story straight. Unlike, say, his colleague above.

I spend a lot of time talking with reporters about bicycling and bike safety, on and off the record. And it’s nice when a reporter goes to the effort to make sure he quotes me accurately and in context.

So whether or not you like what I said, I said it. And meant it.

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Hopefully it’s not a spoiler at this point. But if you still have the last few stages of the Giro or the Nats on your DVR, skip this section.

Still here?

It was a big upset in Friday’s stage 19, as Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won the stage — and eventually, the tour itself — after Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk, who seemed to have an insurmountable lead, hit a snow bank and wiped out in spectacular fashion.

Back on our shores, the US National road title was taken by virtually unknown 21-year old Greg Daniel. Megan Guarnier cemented her position as America’s leading women’s roadie by winning her second US road championship, and her third in five years.

And Taylor Phinney completed a nearly impossible comeback from a devastating crash caused by a race moto in the 2014 road championships by winning his second national crit title; doctors weren’t sure he would ever walk again, let alone ride a bike. Carmen Small won the women’s title.

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Sad news from Spain, as former pro David Cañada died after colliding with another rider in a sportiv, just six years after retiring from racing.

And race motos cause yet another massive crash, as two lead motorcycles collided in a Belgium race, causing dozens of riders to go down and leading to the cancellation of the stage. At last report, Belgian rider Stig Broeckx was still in a coma after suffering a skull fracture in the crash; it was Broeckx’ second wreck involving a race moto just this year.

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Over the weekend, my wife and I happened to stumble on another new bicycle-themed coffee shop when we stopped to check out a restaurant in West Hollywood.

The Black Bicycle Café opened two months ago on Havenhurst Drive and Santa Monica Blvd; the name comes from the idea that just like bicycles get you where you’re going, coffee fuels you to your destination.

Black Bicycle Cafe

Black Bicycle Cafe Interior

And they make a pretty good cup of joe.

Tell ‘em I said hi if you stop by.

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Finally…

Your next bike could be a blimp, if they can actually get it off the ground. Or maybe a lawnmower.

And it’s bad enough when a kangaroo knocks you off your bike; worse when it ruptures both your breast implants.

 

Update: Anaheim bike rider killed in train collision Monday afternoon

This is not the news we wanted to end the holiday weekend with.

According to the Orange County Register, a man in his 40s was struck and killed by a train in Anaheim Monday afternoon.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, rode up to the railroad crossing on Sycamore Street just west of Vine Street around 2:40 pm after the crossing arms had been lowered. For some reason, he went around the barricades, and was struck by a southbound train.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

This is a tragic reminder to never, ever go around crossing barriers on a railroad track, even if there doesn’t appear to be a train coming, or cross unprotected tracks after the light turns red.

This is the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Orange County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 42-year old Jorge Leyva of Anaheim.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jorge Leyva and his loved ones.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson and Bill Sellin for the heads-up.

Morning Links: It’s Bike Night at Union Station, OC witnesses wanted, and don’t miss yesterday’s guest post

We’re stalled out once again at 24 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who’ve signed up in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just seven more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make get to 31 new members by May 31st.

So please take just a moment and invest a little time and a few dollars in making this the city and county it should be for bicyclists, by joining the one organization dedicated to fighting for your right to ride in comfort and safety, wherever you ride in the LA area.

Not to mention there’s still time to get some great LACBC swag with your membership. But only if you join before the end of this month!

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If you haven’t done it yet, take a few minutes to read Michael MacDonald’s guest post about being stopped by an ill-informed LA County sheriff’s deputy for riding in the Bus Only lane on Wilshire Blvd — right next to a sign saying bikes are allowed. Along with a couple other incidents in which police officers seem unaware of the laws regarding bike riders.

Just more proof that we have to know the law. Because the ones charged with enforcing it too often don’t.

Meanwhile, CiclaValley offers his take on the incident.

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Bike Month officially concludes tonight at with the free Bike Night at Union Station from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

This is from the event’s Facebook page —

Bike Night is more than just bikes. You are invited to Bike Night at Union Station, hosted by Metro and our partners. Join us for music from Jungle Fire, raffles and games, awesome prizes like a Public Bike, and the highlight of the evening, a bicycle fashion show. The fashion show features works by OTIS Fashion Design students under the direction of Todd Oldham, presented with a sneak preview of the Downtown LA bike share Metro Bikes.

Bike Night is free and will feature special guests, live music and entertainment, complementary bike valet, and non-hosted food trucks and vending.

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The CHP in Orange County is looking for witnesses to the tragic death of an eight-year old boy who was crushed by a garbage truck while riding his bike on Thursday. The Newport Beach neighborhood is reportedly devastated by the death of the boy, who still has not been publicly named even though his identity appears to be common knowledge in the area.

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Cycling Weekly offers five talking points from the 18th stage of the Giro, where Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk maintains a nearly insurmountable three-minute lead.

Italian pro Fabio Taborre gets a four year ban for doping.

Several members of pro cycling’s Team SmartShop are suing the team owner in Orange County Court for failing to support the team, which folded last year.

Steel frames may be making a comeback on the pro tour.

And Cycling News calls this weekend’s USA Cycling Professional Road Championships course in Winston-Salem NC a technical, hilly death by a thousand cuts.

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Local

Metro approves an Active Transportation Strategic Plan for first mile/last mile connections to transit, though the commitment to pay for it along the Purple Line leaves something to be desired. You can use their interactive budget tool to tell Metro what to do with their money.

Great idea. Give up your UCLA parking permit, and get a $400 credit towards a new bike from Helen’s Cycles in Westwood.

Cycling in the South Bay offers a primer in how and why to file a police report when you’ve been harassed, threatened or assaulted on your bike. Even if the cops really don’t want you to.

A sheriff’s SWAT team captured the man who shot a cop in West Covina last weekend when the deputy approach him as he walked his bike.

 

State

A local website looks at last week’s Temecula Ride of Silence. Meanwhile, Richmond CA bicyclists ride to remember victims of gun violence.

Newport Beach considers safety improvements on PCH and the Mariner’s Mile. Although converting the latter to a six-lane “super highway” to speed traffic flow should not be considered an improvement, safety or otherwise.

The new bike path along Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties wins a state award for Bicycle Pedestrian Project of the Year.

Google funds the repaving of a four-mile stretch of a Bay Area bike and pedestrian trail.

Caught on video: A road raging San Francisco driver got out of his car to threaten and spit on a frightened female bike rider, after she became angry when he parked in a protected bike lane. Which evidently isn’t protected enough.

San Francisco plans improvements to the dangerous Masonic Drive, including raised bike lanes; the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition calls for protected lanes instead.

 

National

A Forbes writer asks for a bike brand just for women to increase the number of women on bikes, while a London bespoke framebuilder has the same idea, but one custom frame at a time.

An Illinois man used a fake check to buy a real 1957 Schwinn Black Phantom worth nearly two grand.

Hundreds of car racing fans will skip the traffic and parking hassles by biking to the Indy 500.

A Vermont website is apparently dedicating itself to ferreting out the grand AARP – World Health Organization conspiracy behind Complete Streets. Or maybe walkable neighborhoods are just part of the Agenda 21 plan to wipe out the auto industry.

Evidently, New York Bike Month plays second fiddle to Fleet Week.

Gothamist lists the six best bike rides in New York for your next trip to the Big Apple. Or maybe you’d prefer seven great places to bike in Bethesda.

A peeved Philadelphia cyclist blocks a city bus for a full hour because he felt the driver was following him too closely. Meanwhile, a Philly writer says if bicyclists had better infrastructure, there’d be fewer public displays of self-righteous moral outrage.

 

International

A Canadian writer predicts disaster when an Ontario regional government legalizes riding two abreast next year, even though the law prohibiting it was repealed because it was never enforced to begin with.

The Guardian says new London mayor Sadik Khan faces a challenge standing up to the fading dinosaurs who oppose improving bikeways and livability.

Olympic medalist Victoria Pendleton says she was forced out of bike racing by the corrosive culture in British cycling.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 99-year old British man looks back on 70 years of riding around the world.

The Netherlands is considering banning cell phone use while riding, after a 13-year old boy was killed while using his last year. But how would that affect mobile cycling apps and GPS systems?

Dutch bike maker VanMoof promises their new bike is so theft proof, that they will replace it if it can’t be recovered in two weeks after being stolen.

A 75-year old Catholic priest has put 50,000 miles on his bike serving his parish in Africa.

An Aussie study shows the further the distance cycled, the fewer women who make the trip.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a pedal-powered hamster. Maybe bicycling really is the new golf, at least for traffic planners.

And who needs a map when you’ve got GPS built into your shoes — or your handlebar grips?

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I’m planning to take the holiday weekend off. So get out and ride your bike. And unless there’s breaking news over the weekend, we’ll see you bright and early Tuesday morning.

And please join the LACBC or renew your membership today if you haven’t already!

 

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

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

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

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

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Links: 15 to life for Oxnard DUI driver, reward for bike-toting dog killer, and bikeshare comes to DTLA July 7

Great news, as we’re now up to 24 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who’ve signed up in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just two more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make it 26 new members by May 26th.

We may not make the goal of 100 members by the end of this month. But I consider it a personal favor for everyone who signs up before I step down as an LACBC board member next month.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have joined as part of this drive.

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Sometimes, even a possible life sentence barely seems like enough.

The Ventura County Star reports an Oxnard man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life in state prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a 43-year old bike rider in 2014.

Thirty-one year old Policarpio Bartolon Diaz may have been driving as fast as 62 mph when he plowed into Marco Flores as he rode with a friend in a marked bike lane. Diaz never even braked as he fled the scene with Flores’ bike still trapped under his car.

Garcia’s friend, Robert Patterson, said he was riding his bike alongside Garcia and also came close to being struck….

“I know for a fact he wasn’t remorseful because when he hit my friend, his brake lights never came on … he just shook him off the car,” Patterson said. “If you hit a human being, you think he would stop. To see him being tossed off the car was the hardest thing I’ve had to live through to this day.”

Diaz had a BAC of .22, nearly three times the legal limit, when he was arrested just a mile away. It was his third arrest for DUI, and would have been his second conviction if the DA hadn’t bargained the DUI charge away in exchange for a guilty plea to second degree murder.

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PETA is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the subhuman schmuck who beat a dog to death in Boyle Heights two weeks ago.

The man chased down the dog after it jumped out of the car and tried to run away, then repeatedly punched and slammed it onto the sidewalk. As if any animal wouldn’t try to get away from someone capable of doing that.

According to KCBS-2 —

The suspect is described as a white male with balding gray hair, 50 to 60 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 280 pounds.

The suspect was driving a 1996 to 2000 silver or gray Dodge Caravan with an off-color rear bumper. At the time of the incident, the van had two bicycles on a rear bike rack.

Judging by the photo, at least one of those bikes has been stripped, appearing to be missing both wheels.

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Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson calls out the Palos Verdes Estate Police Department for a lackadaisical approach to investigating the death of cyclist John Bacon.

By Davidson’s account, cyclists have done virtually all the work in tracking down the man who may be responsible, as well as uncovering numerous riders who were harassed by a truck driver matching the same description.

Let’s hope the department cares enough to figure out what really happened. And bring any charges that are warranted.

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Bikeshare comes to DTLA on July 7th.

The system — officially named Metro Bike — will offer 1,000 bikes at 65 docking stations throughout the Downtown area, available for rent 24/7.

According to the announcement from LA Metro

Register today for a bike share pass and receive a Limited Edition Metro Bike Share Kit featuring stickers, a Bikes on Metro guide and more. The first 1,000 people to sign up will also receive exclusive Metro Bike Share pins!

You can get a Metro Bike Share pass by the month or by the trip, similar to transit. If you ride a lot, a $20 Monthly pass might be for you, but if you just ride occasionally you should consider our $40 Flex pass. Remember through August 1st the system will be open for bike share pass holders only, so register for your Metro Bike Share pass today!

Members will be able to rent a bike for $1.75 per half hour — or free for the first half hour for monthly pass holders — while non-members can rent for $3.50 for each 30 minutes using a TAP card.

Only registered members will be able to rent a bike for the first month.

Meanwhile, the LA Weekly takes a sneak peak, finding the bikes smooth, sturdy and safe, if somewhat heavy, and “perfect for bar-hopping, grocery shopping or seeing the sights of DTLA.”

Although we have to come up with a much better nickname for the system than the unimaginative Metro Bike.

And on a related subject, you can now use your TAP card to rent one of the much better named Breeze Bikes in Santa Monica.

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A new Streetfilm celebrates Santa Monica’s savvy multimodalism.

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Last week we linked to a Facebook post from Arizona’s Brendan Lyons, in which he described meeting — and forgiving — the distracted driver who nearly killed him as he rode with his fiancé two years ago.

Now a local TV station picks up the story, describing a touching act of forgiveness for the horrifying wreck that ended Lyons’ firefighting career. And clearly driving home the dangers of using any electronic device behind the wheel, and taking your eyes off the road for even a moment.

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LA’s Phil Gaimon tells what it’s like to race in his home state in the Amgen Tour of California.

Bicycling explains the fine art of bike racing in the rain. Extra style points for belting out “Singing in the Rain” from the back of the peloton.

And what it’s like to be a soigneur for a professional racing team.

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Local

LAist suggests the eight best places to ride a bike in LA. Not to be confused with their ten best bike rides in LA.

Dodger’s bench coach Bob Geren is one of us, as he rides his bike to work at Dodger Stadium. Thanks to the Militant Angeleno for the link.

CiclaValley mournfully helps place another ghost bike in the San Fernando Valley.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newtown talks with Nancy Bond of Move Monrovia.

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with CLR Effect; Michael Wagner forwards news that the great I Can Bike program will be held at the Fairgrounds in Pomona at the end of next month to help people with disabilities gain greater independence by learning how to ride a bicycle.

The annual Fiesta Hermosa starts tomorrow in Hermosa Beach, complete with bike valet.

 

State

Following up on our recent piece about a bike rider blown off his bike by jet wash while riding past LAX, Cyclelicious tells a similar tale while growing up on a US military base in Japan.

Like business people in every other city, San Diego business owners worry about the loss of parking spots in the Uptown area after planned bike lanes are installed. As if people on bikes don’t spend money and potential customers don’t like calmer streets. Most likely, by this time next year, they’ll wonder what they were worried about.

A La Jolla paper goes for a bike ride through the city with the Executive Director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, and finds it needs a lot of improvement to meet San Diego’s Climate Action Plan.

Santa Ana police shoot a stabbing and carjacking suspect after she led them on a slow speed bicycle chase.

Just one more day to get tickets before the start of the Great Western Bicycle Rally in Paso Robles.

Chewbacca Mom is one of us, as she rides a bike with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.

Let’s call this the Sacramento section today:

Sad news from Tulare County, as a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run on his way to work Tuesday. The CHP somehow felt the need to point out the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet, as if that would have protected him from an erratic, high-speed driver in large pickup.

 

National

HuffPo offers ten great American bike rides. None of which are in LA. Or California, for that matter.

Good Samaritans pitch in to rescue an Alaskan girl after she’s impaled by her bike handlebar in a remote village. Something that seems to happen far too often, suggesting a serious design flaw that needs to be corrected.

The mayor of Reno NV is pushing for green bike lanes in the right locations.

Life is cheap in Utah, where walking away from the drunken death of a cyclist only merits a single year behind bars.

Forty-eight states later, a Topeka man is back home from a cross country bike ride he took because he feared he’d regret it later if he didn’t. Which is about as good a reason as any.

A suspect has been arrested in the apparently random beating death of a 65-year old Des Moines IA bike rider earlier this month.

A new paper from the University of Illinois at Chicago establishes a metric allowing planners to rank the value of bicycling and walking projects.

BMX champ Dave Mirra was suffering from C.T.E. when he shot himself to death in Greenville NC in February; that’s the same disease resulting from repeated head trauma that has afflicted numerous football players.

 

International

Rio’s mayor says the elevated bike path that collapsed, killing three people, will be rebuilt and open again this year. Note to Rio Times Online: Ciclovía means bike path. So a headline referring to the ciclovía bike path is redundantly repetitive.

A bicycle advocate says it’s time to finish Canada’s Transnational Trail.

Bike your way through two Italian cities.

 

Finally…

Nothing like buying a bike lock and coming out to discover you don’t have anything to lock. Running a pro cycling team can be torture; no, literally.

And this is what happens when your carbon wheel fails.

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My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence. It seems my body still feels the need to remind me that I’m not as healthy as I like to think I am, sometime suddenly, unexpectedly and with surprising force.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Santa Clarita hit-and-run Wednesday afternoon

More bad news.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, a man on a bike has been killed in a hit-and-run while riding in Santa Clarita.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was on the 20100 block of Placerita Canyon Road when he was struck by a car just before 4:30 pm. The paper places the collision near a curve just southwest of the entrance to Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch.

He was declared dead at the scene, his helmet lying nearby.

The paper reports the CHP conducted an intense hunt for the driver in the area; the suspect vehicle is described as a dark gray Mazda 3 with a roof rack and a possible broken windshield.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th in Los Angeles County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 53-year old Valencia resident Rod Bennett.

He was riding a blue Eddy Merckx road bike in the far right of the eastbound lane when he was rear-ended by the driver, who continued east as he fled the scene, apparently without stopping or slowing down. 

Update 2: The CHP has updated the description of the suspect vehicle. They are now looking for a Silver Lexus CT 200H; some unconfirmed reports indicate it may have a roof rack and a damaged front bumper.

Meanwhile, the San Fernando Valley News reports Bennett was the band director and math teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High School. The site describes him as an avid cyclist, as well as a musician.

Various Facebook posts confirm his interest in cycling, as well as identifying him as a jazz musician who performed around the Valencia area.

Update 3: The CHP has released a photo of the suspect vehicle, apparently taken from a surveillance camera. It appears to show a dark colored car, rather than silver; however, images like that can be deceiving. 

Update 4: According to the Signal, 28-year old Canyon Country resident Lucas James Guidroz was arrested after turning himself in at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station early Friday morning — five hours after the car believed to have been used in the collision was found in Newhall. 

Which gave him nearly 40 hours to sober up if he had been under the influence at the time of the collision. 

He was taken into custody on a single felony count of failing to stop at the scene of a collision causing injury or death.

Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition says all cyclists on Placerita Canyon encounter distracted drivers, as well as those who appear to intentionally frighten or possibly hurt people on bicycles. 

To which commenters respond by blaming “arrogant” cyclists, apparently for simply existing. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rod Bennett and his loved ones.

Thanks to John H for the heads-up. 

Update: Boy killed killed by trash truck while riding in Newport Beach

Heartbreaking news from Orange County, as a young boy has been killed riding his bike in Newport Beach.

According to multiple sources, the boy was riding his bike at East 15th Street and Fullerton Ave around 1:30 this afternoon when he was struck by a garbage truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Daily Pilot reports he was eight-years old, while other sources list his age as between five and eight. According to KTLA-5, the truck belongs to Stanton-based waste and recycling company CR&R Environmental Services.

The location appears to be a typical residential neighborhood just a few blocks from Newport Heights Elementary School.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Orange County. It’s also at least the 12th in Newport Beach since 2010.

Update: The Orange County Register confirms that the boy, who has not been publicly identified, was a third grade student at Newport Heights Elementary. Police say there is no evidence that the driver was impaired or speeding.

Update 2: The Daily Pilot has identified the victim as Brock McCann, a third-grader at Newport Heights Elementary School, whose family lives near where he was killed. 

The paper also places the collision site at 15th and Michael Place, just southeast of the original location. He had apparently gotten out of school just 15 minutes earlier, and was riding or walking his bike home. 

A gofundme account has raised over $44,000 of the $100,000 goal. 

Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that three bike riders and three pedestrians were involved in crashes nearby between 2010 and 2015.

And the Orange County Register says the CHP is still looking for witnesses; anyone with information is urged to cal CHP Officer Jeff Jones at 714/567-6000.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Brock McCann and his family.

Thanks to John Dammann and Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

Morning Links: A bike hate blast from the past, take your baby skid lid back, and ready answers to bike myths

Thanks to a couple of new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition yesterday, we’re now up to 21 people who’ve joined in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just three more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make it 24 new members by May 24th.

As you’ll see below, the bike coalition is active in getting political candidates on the record for their support for bicycling, as well as getting you discounts at businesses throughout the county. And if you sign up through this site, you’ll get some great bike gear to wear when you vote or chow down.

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Clearly, bike haters are nothing new.

My Altadena-based friend Tim Rutt sends proof in the form of a 1987 column by political satirist P.J. O’Rourke, in which he calls for an examination of “the actions necessary to license, regulate or abolish entirely” the bicycle menace.

Our nation is afflicted with a plague of bicycles. Everywhere the public right-of-way is glutted with whirring, unbalanced contraptions of rubber, wire, and cheap steel pipe. Riders of these flimsy appliances pay no heed to stop signs or red lights. They dart from between parked cars, dash along double yellow lines, and whiz through crosswalks right over the toes of law-abiding citizens like me.

In the cities, every lamppost, tree, and street sign is disfigured by a bicycle slathered in chains and locks. And elevators must be shared with the cycling faddist so attached to his “moron’s bath-chair” that he has to take it with him everywhere he goes.

On the other hand, his skills at prognostication leave something to be desired.

Bicycles are quiet and slight, difficult for normal motorized humans to see and hear. People pull out in front of bicycles, open car doors in their path, and drive through intersections filled with the things. The insubstantial bicycle and its unshielded rider are defenseless against these actions. It’s a simple matter of natural selection. The bicycle will be extinct within the decade. And what a relief that will be.

Actually, we’re still here.

So deal with it, P.J.

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If you bought your baby’s Schwinn bike helmet at Target, take it back; the infant helmets have been recalled due to a choking hazard. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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A new British bike website provides instant answers to refute any bicycling myth bike haters and NIMBYs can throw at you.

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The New York Times looks at the movement to call collisions crashes instead of accidents. But doesn’t promise to make the change themselves.

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VeloNews asks if Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk can hold onto the pink leaders jersey in the Giro d’Italia.

The financial fallout from pro cycling’s doping scandals continue, as another team will fold at the end of this year for lack of sponsorship.

Who says the men’s pro tour is too tough for women? A Ukrainian woman will team with a group of 13 other riders to take on every stage of the Tour de France one day before the men get there.

CiclaValley looks at the fun side of last week’s Amgen Tour of California.

A comment from tdf65 suggests we should continue to link to stories about bike races here, but withhold the actual results, since some people record the races and don’t get to view them until later. However, I’ve always assumed it was safe to mention winners and losers, since the daily nature of this site means we’re at least a day behind the race’s finish.

But what do you think? Are we spoiling the fun by saying who won, or do you want to know now?

………

Local

The Expo Line may be convenient, but it still doesn’t beat a bike from Downtown to the beach.

The LACBC posts a response to their candidate survey from County Supervisor District 4 candidate Janice Hahn, who promises to follow through with the county Bicycle Master Plan.

The LACBC also talks with the bike-friendly owner of Uli’s Gelateria in DTLA, who offers a discount for members of the bike coalition. Just one more reason to click that link above and sign up today.

CicLAvia posts a great collection of photos from the recent Southeast Cities CicLAvia. Which only makes me more disappointed that I had to miss it with a bad back.

Los Angeles Magazine looks at plans for Metro’s coming bikeshare program in DTLA, as well as a system — not a network, since there are no east/west routes currently planned — of protected bike lanes.

A Pasadena group considers the possibilities if Caltrans would kill the unneeded and unwanted extension of the 710 freeway, and build a sequel to the city’s popular Old Town instead. Maybe we could even see bikes running through there instead of semi-trucks.

 

State

The San Diego cyclist paralyzed in a drug-fueled wrong way collision is suing the city for maintaining dangerous conditions on Fiesta Island where the wreck occurred.

A San Diego letter writer suggests drivers are entitled to be rude to bike riders because we’re all scofflaws and cyclists are just a middle-class affectation. No, really.

Damien Newton’s latest podcast talks with Dave Campbell of Bike East Bay, sponsors of what may be the “biggest, baddest Bike to Work Day in the world.” Newton also offers advice on how to make a Livable Streets presentation to little kids.

The Sunnyvale actor accused of nearly killing a Berkeley bike rider while high on weed finally turns himself in to face charges.

 

National

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx sees a gradual shift away from car culture. Which can’t come non-gradually enough.

Seven tips for how to teach a child to ride a bike. All of which work for adults, as well.

A Cincinnati councilmember says a parking protected bike lane can stay, but needs improvements to avoid the city’s easily confused motorists.

If you drop something on the railroad tracks with a train coming, just leave it there for crying out loud. Seriously, nothing you own is worth dying for. Things can be replaced, lives can’t.

Sixteen-hundred Buffalo bike riders take a leisurely slow roll around the city to support a plan for 300 new bike lanes in the next ten years.

A New York letter writer shows just how much she doesn’t get it, insisting that bike lanes don’t help pedestrians and that Queens Blvd was not intended to be a playground. Because obviously, no one ever rides a bike to actually get anywhere or anything. And bike lanes really do slow traffic and improve safety for everyone, while providing a cushion to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles.

Call it the not-quite naked Pittsburgh bike ride.

Philadelphia will host a national conference next month on how to improve equity in bikeshare systems.

A DC website says if you’re crushing on a fellow bike commuter, try crashing into ‘em. Or just, you know, talk to him or her.

NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson is one of us, finishing a 103 mile South Carolina ride with a 10,000 foot elevation gain in just over six hours.

A Mississippi bike camp helps children with disabilities learn how to ride a bike.

A bighearted stranger insists on buying a Florida boy a new bike his parents couldn’t afford, after learning the child was recovering from heart surgery.

 

International

Fashion designer Paul Smith is one of us as well, as a new book features his extensive collection of classic cycling jerseys.

Nothing like finding a secret Canadian cycle track hidden in plain sight on the roadway.

A London cyclist has started an online gallery of no- and lo-viz bike riders to capture the archetypical inner city road user.

Brit cyclist Chris Boardman says the country needs to invest more than the price of a cup of coffee to boost bicycling in the county.

A group of friends are riding over 1,500 miles from Brighton, England to Lagos, Portugal to honor a popular 21-year old British surfer who drowned riding the waves in Bali.

Maybe you should take your next family bike vacation in the Netherlands. And bring me with you.

A writer says if you plan to ride your bike in Zagreb, Croatia, bring five locks and a security guard if you’re going to leave it outside. Sounds a lot like LA, too.

Caught on video: Adventure cyclist Rebecca Rusch rides and climbs 19,341-foot-tall Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief.

A Kiwi man gets just 13 months for a drunken attack on two separate bicyclists, despite a whopping 118 previous convictions; he claimed he punched them repeatedly because he was fighting off wasps.

An Aussie Roads Minister says a high number of bicycling tickets proves bike riders aren’t doing the right thing, while only four tickets for unsafe passing means drivers are. On the other hand, it could just show that police are targeting people on two wheels and ignoring more dangerous violations by the ones on four.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could be solar powered, if you don’t mind riding with a couple of massive solar cookie sheets attached. No matter how close a driver cuts you off, don’t follow him home and stab his spare tire to death.

And if you successfully escape from a halfway house by bicycle, just keep going next time.

 

Morning Links: Blatant anti-bike bias from a director of the LAPD police union; LAX cyclist gets jet washed

We’re still at 19 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive following the weekend.

So we need four more people to sign up today or renew your membership to just to make it 23 new members by the 23rd, let alone meet our seemingly out-of-reach goal of 100 by the end of this month.

You only have to read the item below to realize how desperately the LACBC, and your fellow bike riders, need your support

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If you ever wonder if cops are biased against bike riders, consider this from the director of the union representing LAPD officers.

Finally, if you ride a bike, you’re supposed to share the road, not own it. The bicycle lobby is small but loud. They have purposefully impeded our ability to enforce safe speed laws by blocking the City’s ability to update its engineering and traffic surveys. Without current and valid engineering and traffic surveys, speed-measuring devices cannot be utilized. Speed is the No. 1 cause of traffic collisions.

The bicycle lobby is doing this to force the City to add more bike lanes and to convert traffic lanes into shared bike/car lanes. Putting aside the absolute traffic nightmare this would cause, their actions are making it more dangerous for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Our elected officials have allowed this special interest group to prevent the enforcement of safe speeds in our neighborhoods. Common sense must prevail here.

That comes from Officer Mark Cronin, a director of the LA Police Protective League, in a post on the union’s website.

Most of what he says elsewhere in the piece actually makes sense, as he explains that improving safety on our streets calls for greater stability in the leadership of the department’s traffic divisions, allowing traffic enforcement officers to crack down on unsafe drivers, and increasing the number of trained collision investigators in the department.

It’s just the part about bicycling that doesn’t make any sense.

Like his comments about bicyclists blocking the city’s ability to update its engineering and traffic surveys.

As near as I can figure out, he appears to be referring to the speed surveys of city streets required every seven years under the state’s 85 percentile rule, which mandates that speed limits be adjusted to the rate travelled by the average of 85% of traffic on a given street.

In other words, if 85% of drivers drive 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, the speed limit has to be adjusted to the higher level (although a recent change in the law allows cities to round down by 5 mph).

In effect, that puts speeding drivers in charge of setting speed limits. Which is like putting burglars and safe crackers in charge of bank security.

Failing to do that means the police lose the right to use speed guns to enforce the law on that particular street, giving lead-footed motorists a free hand to travel virtually unimpeded at any speed they like, pushing average speeds up even higher and repeating the cycle.

So the boogeyman bicycle lobby has nothing to gain by stopping enforcement; the higher speeds go, the greater the risk to everyone on the roadway. Especially cyclists.

And to the best of my knowledge, we don’t have the ability to stop those surveys even if we wanted to, since they are required by state law.

On the other hand, I have, along with other bike riders, argued against raising speed limits on some streets as a result of those speed surveys. Just as countless pedestrians, homeowners, business owners, traffic safety advocates and neighborhood councils have.

And usually failed.

Yet no one seems to criticize the pedestrian, homeowner, business or safety lobbies.

Why he would single out the people on two wheels is confounding. Especially when we are natural allies in repealing the 85% rule, which is a dangerous and deadly relic of California’s recent auto-centric past.

In fact, it was a group of bicycle advocates who fought with then state legislator Paul Krekorian, now an LA city councilmember, in a failed attempt to repeal the law a few years ago in order to return speed limits to sensible levels and allow the police to effectively enforce them everywhere.

Yet somehow, in Cronin’s mind, we are doing this dastardly deed in order to force the city to put in bike lanes and convert traffic lanes into shared bike/car lanes.

Never mind that almost no one likes sharrows. And that under state law, bicyclists already have the right to use the full lane on any right-hand traffic lane that is too narrow to be safely shared by a car and bicycle traveling side-by-side — which is the case on almost all of the streets in Los Angeles, according to the LAPD.

Which he would know if he completed the LAPD’s bike training module, which every street-level officer was required to do in 2011.

As for those bike lanes, they aren’t being added due to “fringe politics.”

They are included in the city’s Mobility Plan precisely for the reasons he advocates for in the rest of this piece: to improve traffic safety and save lives.

Bike lanes are a traffic calming measure that has been repeatedly shown to slow speeding traffic and improve safety for all road users, not just bike riders. And in many cases, actually improves traffic flow, rather than causing the nightmare scenario he fears.

And they are absolutely necessary if the city is to ever reduce, let alone eliminate, traffic fatalities under Vision Zero.

I tried to explain that to him when he responded to a tweet from someone else Friday night, attempting to point out that we wanted to same thing and should work together to repeal the 85th percentile rule.

What I got was a series of terse, if not surly, one-word responses, before he tweeted I was “mistaken & above all else misinformed.”

About what, he refused to explain.

And by morning, he had deleted his side of the entire conversation.

It’s frustrating to see these kinds of attitudes still in existence within the department after more than six years of working with the LAPD’s bike liaison program to correct this kind of anti-bike bias among officers. Let alone when it comes from a union leader with sway over the rank-and-file, counteracting the ongoing efforts of the department’s leadership to improve relations with the bicycling community.

Officer Cronin is wrong about us, and about the objectives of people who ride bicycles in the City of Angeles.

We don’t think we own the road. And we don’t want to. We just want to get where we’re going in one piece.

And we need the help of the police — the officers he represents — to make that happen.

Note: For some reason, Officer Cronin included his contact information on his piece, most likely because he assumed no one outside the department would ever see it.

Feel free to express your anger here, but please don’t call him, or email to insult or threaten him. Let representatives of the so-called bike lobby at the LACBC , and his superiors at the LAPD, handle it.

Taking him on yourself will only harden his attitudes and make it worse for all of us.

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As if LA’s drivers weren’t enough, now we have to worry about jet wash.

In a scene out of Top Gun, a bike rider heading home on last week’s Bike to Work Day was riding in the bike lanes on Aviation Blvd behind the runways at LAX, when he was knocked off his bicycle from the turbulence caused by an American Airlines jet taking off.

Fortunately, unlike Goose, there was no canopy to strike his head against upon ejecting, though he did get a good scare on his surgically repaired hip.

Maybe the airport should post some sort of warning for cyclists about the risk of riding there.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

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Important advice in a must-read from Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who says if you’re ever threatened by a driver — or worse — report it. Period.

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After an overnight scare, LA’s best known bakfiets was back with owner Josef Bray-Ali of the Flying Pigeon bike shop following an overnight theft on Saturday; someone in the neighborhood found and returned it to the newly minted city council candidate the following day.

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Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff outsprinted Peter Sagan for victory in Saturday’s Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California. Twenty-three-year old Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe held on Sunday to become the youngest winner of the AToC by a slim 23-second margin; his victory was forged on the slopes of Gibraltar.

Dutch great Marianne Vos sprinted to victory in the third stage of the women’s Tour of California by half a bike length, while US road champ Megan Guarnier took the overall title the next day.

Emigrants from Eritrea turned out to cheer a rider from their home country when the tour visited Santa Rosa. And the race gave a marketing boost to Lake Tahoe, as it created an estimate 4.25 billion — that’s with a b — impressions worldwide in over 200 countries.

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Local

An estimated 2,500 cyclists are expected to take part in next month’s annual AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to LA, which is on track to raise over $16 million to benefit HIV/AIDS services.

The Pasadena Star-News looks at last week’s Ride of Silence in Pasadena and North Hollywood. Thanks to BikeSGV for the link.

LA County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man on a bike who shot an officer in West Covina Friday night; fortunately, he’s recovering from his wounds and expected to survive.

The monthly Pedal Love podcast interviews Hollywood Reporter Features Editor and former Bicycling Magazine Editor in Chief — and author of an always entertaining Twitter account — Peter Flax.

 

State

A car meet was held in Downtown Ventura to remember the 14-year old boy killed in a double hit-and-run earlier this year; one driver has been identified but not charged, while the second is still missing.

A San Francisco bicyclist was the victim of a strong arm robbery, as four men knocked him off his bike as he rode on a recreation trail, kicked and punched him, then took his “property.” Whatever that means.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever would steal a custom tricycle from a 13-year old Sacramento boy with special needs.

A Yolo County driver will face trial on 19 charges — including assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run with injury, DUI and vehicle theft — for a five-day crime spree that culminated in deliberately running down three bike riders before fleeing the scene.

 

National

Felt has developed a revolutionary bike for the US women’s pursuit team at the Rio Olympics, with the pedals and chain on the left, instead of the right, to compensate for the banking of the track.

Business Insider says this seven-foot long, neon green cargo ebike could be your new car.

A cross-Oklahoma bike ride will pay homage to five Native American tribes by riding through the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations.

New York’s new bikeshare bicycles may be sleeker and faster, but the frames may be bending, cracking and warping.

Illegal parking evidently takes precedence over bike lanes and traffic safety on a New Orleans street.

 

International

How to cheat death mountain biking down Bolivia’s Death Road.

London’s Telegraph lists nine Italian climbs every cyclist must ride in their lifetime. None of which you, or anyone else, actually need to ride, as much as you might like to.

Taking bike theft to the extreme, a British thief pushed a mountain biker down a 20 foot drop to make off with his custom ride.

A Dublin bike advocacy group argues that lowing speed limits to just over 18 mph will save lives; naturally, the Irish equivalent of AAA begs to differ. Meanwhile, the city sees a record 11,000 daily bike commuters.

A blind bicyclist celebrated his 80th birthday while raising the equivalent of over $17,000 by riding 160 miles to Paris.

A Monaco exhibition is all about the fine art of bicycles.

Police in Australia’s New South Wales are doing their best to discourage bicycling by dramatically ramping up tickets following the state’s draconian jump in bicycling fines; penalties for riding without an approved skid lid totaled $350,262 for March and April, compared to just $50,000 last year.

 

Finally…

If a cyclist is wearing a helmet, is he really naked? If you’re going to steal a bike, make sure you lock it up afterwards.

And who says bike racing is just for humans?

 

Weekend Links: The CHP gets it wrong again, the LA Times gets it right, and North Fig safety dogs Cedillo

We’re still at 19 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive after yesterday’s unplanned absence.

So let’s get two more people to sign up or renew your membership now to make it 21 new members by the 21st.

Your fellow bike riders are depending on you to add your support to the LA area’s leading voice for bicyclists, and help make this a more bikeable, livable and equitable city.

Never mind the great LACBC gear you’ll get just for signing up.

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Happy Bike to Shop Day.

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Once again, the CHP gets it wrong.

Despite what a CHP officer told the OC Register’s traffic columnist, there is no law in California requiring cyclists to ride single file, on narrow roads or anywhere else.

Even though the department has been known to misapply CVC 21202, which requires bicyclists to ride as far to the right as practicable.

However, subsection 3 of the ride to right law exempts substandard lanes from that requirement, explicitly stating that the law does not apply on any lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to safely share with a motor vehicle. In most cases, that means any lane less than 14 feet wide, since bike riders are allowed to ride a safe distance from the curb, and drivers are required to give at least a three-foot passing distance.

That means, despite the officer’s assertions, that there is no legal justification for ticketing cyclists who ride abreast in a narrow lane, and no requirement under California law that they ride single file in the scene shown in the photo accompanying the column, where the lane is clearly too narrow for a cyclist to safely share with most cars, let alone a truck or SUV.

Yes, it is courteous to allow drivers to pass when safe to do so.

However, it is often safer for bicyclists to ride side-by-side on narrow roadways — not so they can chat, but to increase visibility and prevent unsafe passing.

As for whether it’s legal to cross a solid yellow line to pass a cyclist, that is allowed in most states with a three-foot or wider passing law. Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed an earlier version of California’s three-foot passing law that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass a cyclist, but only when safe to do so.

It’s not the officer’s fault he doesn’t know the law in this case.

The CHP has long failed to adequately train their officers in bike law, forcing officers to rely on cheat sheets that don’t list the many exceptions to CVC 21202, or go into detail on any of the other laws governing the rights and responsibilities of bike riders.

But providing false information like that only puts bike riders at needless risk, and encourages driveway vigilantes to take out their frustrations on bicyclists who are riding safely and within their rights.

Let alone subjecting them to tickets that aren’t legally justified, but are often too difficult to fight.

………

Great opinion piece from Paul Thornton the LA Times, who says if LA really wants to encourage more bicycling, the city needs to fix the roads so they’re safe to ride.

He also calls out former councilmember Tom LaBonge and current member Paul Koretz for dangerous decisions that defeat the purpose of the city’s Mobility Plan.

………

The Eastsider examines the North Figueroa safety issues dogging CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo, as he claims to be working to improve safety, despite unilaterally cancelling a road diet designed to do exactly that.

And they talk with Flying Pigeon LA bike shop owner Josef Bray-Ali, who has thrown his hat into the race to challenge Cedillo in next year’s city elections.

………

Germany’s Andre Greipel wins his third sprint of the Giro d’Italia, then promptly quits the race. Andrey Amador takes the leader’s jersey from Bob Jungels after the 13th stage, becoming the first Costa Rican to lead a Grand Tour.

Cycling Weekly examines five talking points about the Giro as the race reaches the legendary Dolomites this weekend.

This has been one of the most democratic Amgen Tour of California’s in memory, as the race had yet another stage winner in Latvian pro Toms Skujins. Aussie Rohan Dennis won Friday’s time trial to leap into second place, 16 seconds behind leader Julian Alaphillppe.

Meanwhile, American Megan Guarnier won the first stage of the women’s tour in a last minute breakaway.

The AToC heads to Santa Rosa today, on the same day the city hosts their 122nd Rose Parade. Which is different from Pasadena’s Rose Parade.

………

Local

CiclaValley reacts to Thursday’s bicycling fatality in Panorama City, which occurred just hours after he returned from Wednesday’s Ride of Silence.

LA’s Fox-11 concludes it is in fact possible to go carfree in SoCal.

The newly opened Expo Line extension adds 130 bike racks and lockers at seven new stations.

The LAPD has put out a BOLO Alert for a bike thief in the Central LA area.

South LA Councilmember Joe Buscaino rode an ebike 25 miles to work at City Hall in observance of Bike to Work Day.

KPCC is the latest media site to talk with the Eastside’s Ovarian Cycles Bicycle Brigade, who host their monthly women-identified Luna Ride tonight.

A writer for the Daily Bruin tweets that the board of directors for Westwood Village has voted to spend $44,000 for two bikeshare hubs in the village this fall. Unfortunately, the lack of bike lanes means there won’t be any safe places to ride them.

The Santa Monica Spoke invites you on a multi-modal Expo Line ride on Sunday.

The LACBC talks with Antelope Valley cyclist and soap maker Sharon Murdock.

 

State

It takes a world champion schmuck to steal an adult tricycle from a 67-year old Anaheim woman with multiple sclerosis.

A Huntington Beach man gets seven years for beating a police officer who stopped him for an alcohol violation while riding his bike; the officer’s daughter was doing a ride along and witnessed the assault. Not that the sentence isn’t warranted, but why is it that motorists seldom get a fraction of that for actually killing a cyclist or a pedestrian?

Potential San Diego bike commuters want more than just bike lanes to get them to ride, like showers and more considerate drivers. They have a much better chance of getting the showers.

A Fresno cyclist says don’t count on laws to protect you from distracted drivers.

In a seriously disgusting assault, a white Rancho Murieta driver ran a black bike rider off the road before getting out and punching him, after telling the victim to “go back to the hood.”

 

National

Members of the bicycle industry finally bind together to promote bicycling in the US. Something should have been done decades ago — and with a much higher budget.

HuffPo says we’ve been brainwashed into calling crashes accidents.

Caught on video: A Seattle truck driver jumps the curb in an apparent attempt to run down a bike rider; the action starts after the 1:50 mark. Note to cyclists: when you’re posting video of drivers behaving badly, feel free to delete the extraneous footage leading up to it.

A Salt Lake cyclist says he’ll be happy to pay for his fair share of the roads, as long as drivers pay theirs.

Agenda 21 is just so passé; evidently the new global bad guys are AARP and the World Health Organization, forcing age-friendly complete streets down the throats of those fine, upstanding Vermonters.

Apparently, traffic violations that put bike riders at risk don’t violate the rules of New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.

A DC bike commuter lists his pet peeves about riding to work, from cars that don’t signal to the traditional catcall to get on the sidewalk.

A bicycling Florida non-profit is redefining sharecropping, riding en masse to work organic gardens on land borrowed from homeowners; the model has already spread to Oakland and Uganda.

 

International

Brazil’s bike-riding president is running out of options to fight her ouster by impeachment.

A Toronto bike lane carries nearly as much bicycle traffic as the roadway next to it does cars.

Nothing like just now returning one of London’s Boris Bikes late after it was rented on New Years Day — in 2015.

London’s Telegraph asks if an increase in heavy truck traffic in the UK is responsible for an unexpected decrease in bike ridership. Not bloody likely, to use the vernacular.

More spending on bicycling would show Britain is serious about increasing ridership.

Two Afghan cyclists on a round the world journey stop in New York to tell UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon their country is tired of war and violence, before setting out across the US for Los Angeles.

An Aussie writer asks motorists to remember the driver who killed his 75-year old bike-riding uncle, showing rare understanding and sympathy for the inevitable impact it had on the man responsible.

 

Finally…

Forget self-driving cars; the next thing is Google’s interactive Levi bike jacket. Nothing like putting a billboard in the middle of a bike lane.

And the next time you’re in San Diego, a bronzed Bill Walton and his bike will be waiting to greet you on the shores of Mission Bay.

 

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