East Coast AAA goes on the PR warpath; Chicago drivers think assault is OK

The Mid-Atlantic AAA went into full PR defense mode after earlier declaring that a new bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC – that little street that goes past the White House — is part of a “war on drivers.” After getting an earful from bicyclists and bloggers, including some of their own members who apparently have cancelled their memberships, they now want to make it very clear that they are only concerned about the environment and the safety of cyclists. Oh, and following the proper processes, which they could have been a part of, if they had only bothered to participate.

Why does this matter here?

Consider it a cautionary tale of the battles we’ll have to fight here if the newly revised bike plan comes back with any real teeth. Or do we dare hope that Southern California’s leading drivers’ organization more enlightened than their eastern counterparts?

At least the north-of-the-border equivalent of AAA understands that bikes use the roads, too.


Somehow, this one went under the radar last week. A Chicago-area driver fled the scene after hitting a cyclist with her car, then backing up and hitting him again — in front of at least four witnesses — after a dispute over road space. Amazingly, there’s no follow-up on whether the driver was arrested. And not surprisingly, many of the comments suggest the rider had it coming.

So me get this straight.

If a driver gets mad at someone and responds by pulling out a gun and shooting them, would there really be any question about whether a crime occurred or if the victim deserved it?

So what difference should it make if the weapon of choice is two tons of steel and glass?


Can bikes bring life to Chinatown after dark? Getting hit on — instead of hit — by the driver you started out arguing with. A Lake Elsinore cyclist died Sunday, three weeks after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. A look at this past weekend’s Long Beach Bike Festival. The Daily Breeze looks at the South Bay Bicycle Coalition. A master in the fine art of bicycle forensics; I only wish he worked for the LAPD crime lab. A visit to Santa Barbara’s first bike fashion show. The rider who took the podium for last year’s Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race wasn’t the one who entered, criminal charges are pending. Bespoke bikes on display at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design. Memphis prepares to become more bike-friendly. An Arkansas cyclist is killed on a group ride, just a month after her husband died while riding. A Missouri cyclist says newly bike-friendly Springfield needs bikes. Riding from brewpubs to wineries on Missouri’s Katy Trail. Riding to raise money for stroke victims. American Tyler Farrar takes stage two of the Giro D’Italia, Cadel Evans Vinokourov wears the leader’s jersey. A reporter rides along with London’s pedaling paramedics, while a London writer takes a very pessimistic look at the city’s new bike share program. After bike officers made over 100 arrests last year, a UK police chief orders his officers onto two wheels. The four British bike team members injured in Belgium are improving. For some reason, I suddenly want to ride through Scotland. Sydney’s mayor says cycling could save the city’s commuters from chronic diseases. Athens bicyclists ride to demand their rights. Eight cyclists are robbed at gunpoint in South Africa. A Danish right-side left turn lane just for bikes.

Finally, a Boston rider says it’s a cyclist’s responsibility to avoid collisions with drivers, not the other way around; just like when someone gets shot, it’s the victim’s fault for standing in front of the damn bullet. A Las Cruces, NM rider offers much better advice for both sides.


    • bikinginla says:

      Nice photos — thanks for sharing! I always regretted that we didn’t make it north on our trip to London a few years back, now I know just what I missed.

  1. You know, I was going to make a comment sort of like “I do believe cyclists can prevent some collisions by being more alert and on the defensive,” but you know what, we already are as alert and defensive as we can be.

    As alert and defensive as most of us ride, there is always that ass who comes out of nowhere, where you have nowhere to swerve to or get out of the way (just for the sake of getting out of the way when faced with 4000lbs of metal). You can’t protect yourself against careless drivers. It’s impossible. You can’t protect yourself against someone with full-blown road rage. No one can. Not on a bike, in a car, or a pedestrian crossing the street.

    Just like you say, no more than you can dodge a bullet can a cyclist prevent a collision with someone who is aiming for them.

  2. Nancy says:

    This is why I left AAA a long time ago.

    Anyone who’s for alternative modes of transport should consider switching to A Better World, Esurance, or any number of other companies that don’t lobby for solely car-driver infrastructure!

  3. Sam says:

    I’m constantly surprised at how little it takes to intimidate auto lobbies and drivers. A little paint is all it takes? A little lady on a bike is all it takes? Really?

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