Is an anti-bike fraud being committed in your name?

As a rule, I make a point of not criticizing other bike advocates.

Even when we may disagree, we’re all working towards the same goals of improving safety and increasing ridership, even though our vision of how to achieve that may sometimes vary.

Though clearly, not everyone agrees with me on that.

But when that so-called advocacy runs counter to the interests, safety and desires of the overwhelming majority of California cyclists, I feel I have no choice but to speak up and point the finger.

Especially when it purports to be done in our name.

That’s exactly what happened this week when CABO — the California Association of Bicycling Organizations — successfully opposed AB 819, a bill in the state assembly that, in its original intent, would have allowed California counties and municipalities to implement advances in bicycling infrastructure that have been proven to work in other places.

Things like separated bike lanes, cycle tracks and bike boxes that have been proven to work in places like New York, Chicago and Portland, but are currently considered experimental under Caltrans’ antiquated guidelines.

In other words, why re-invent the wheel when we already know it works?

Unfortunately, CABO took the position that such innovations are still unproven and potentially dangerous — despite their inclusion in the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

And CABO successfully lobbied the State Assembly Transportation Committee to require that any bikeway designs considered nonstandard under Caltrans guidelines must be studied and approved by Caltrans before installation — potentially adding years of delays and needless additional costs to the design process.

Or risking denial by one of the most conservative, foot-dragging and anti-bike transportation agencies in the nation. After all, this is the same massive bureaucracy that, along with the CHP, successfully encouraged Governor Jerry Brown to become just the second state governor — along with current GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry — to veto the state’s three foot passing law.

Something else that CABO initially opposed, before later switching sides.

And earlier this week, the Transportation Committee voted to gut AB 819 by adopting CABO’s proposed wording.

Wheel, meet endless study and bureaucratic delays.

But, you may think, if the original wording of AB 819 was opposed by one of the state’s leading bike advocacy groups, they must have had a darn good reason.

Yeah, you’d think.

However, that presupposes something that just isn’t true. Despite their protestations to the contrary, CABO isn’t the state’s leading bike advocacy group. Or even one of the leading groups.

In fact, I suspect they are a fraud.

Their name may have been accurate when they were founded in 1972. But they have long since ceased to represent the state’s leading bicycling clubs and advocacy organizations.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is not a member of CABO, nor is Bikeside LA or the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, by far the state’s largest bike advocacy group. Fosuch as the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition have left the organization, as have a number of other groups that have allowed their previous memberships to lapse.

Also missing from their membership are such prominent riding clubs such as Velo Club La Grange and former members Los Angeles Wheelmen.

No wonder the CABO doesn’t list the groups that support them on their website.

In fact, a list of active member organizations, as of November, 2010, named only 12 cycling groups as then-current members, as well as six individuals.

Short of contacting each of those clubs individually, there’s no way of knowing which remain members of CABO 14 months later. But it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the total number of cyclists they represent is less, perhaps far less, than that of the LACBC alone.

And it’s certainly significantly less than the number of cyclists represented by the California Bicycle Coalition (Calbike), which supports AB 819 in its original form. And which drew hundreds of riders from throughout the state to their recent California Bike Summit.

And that’s the problem.

Calbike conducted dozens of seminars over the Bike Summit weekend to gauge the interests of organizations and individuals representing tens of thousands of California cyclists. And the sort of innovative infrastructure that would be allowed under AB 819 in its original form ranked very high among their desires.

So while CABO’s opposition to AB 819 may or may not reflect the desires of its members, it’s far from the desires of most bike advocates in the state, as well as that of most mainstream cyclists.

Yet CABO continues to lobby state officials and legislators, purporting to speak on your behalf, while actively opposing your interests.

And those lawmakers and bureaucrats listen, having no idea that CABO actually speaks for just a fraction of the state’s cyclists — mostly the tiny minority of exclusively Vehicular Cyclists who actively oppose separate cycling infrastructure of any kind.

Let alone understand the conflict between Vehicular Cyclists and more mainstream riders, who may ride vehicularly when appropriate, but prefer effective infrastructure over sharing uncontrolled streets with dangerous motor vehicles.

I have no problem with CABO fighting for what they believe in — even when it goes against my own interests, as well as the majority of riders in the state.

But I do have a problem when they imply — if by name only — that their positions reflect anything other than the small number of riders they represent.

It’s time to speak up.

And tell your state representatives that CABO does not speak for you.

And you want AB 819 passed in its original form.

Update: Sam Ollinger of the excellent Bike SD contacted the Channel Islands Bicycle Club, which wrote back to say they are not, and never have been, members of CABO. Instead, they support the California Bicycle Coalition and the League of American Cyclists.

Also, Sam made a suggestion I should have thought of – contacting the members of the Transportation Committee directly to let them know that CABO does not speak for you, and ask them to reconsider their ill-advised changes to AB 819.

Update 2: Jim Parent, Chairman of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition — which I mistakenly referred to as the San Diego Bicycle Coalition — reports they are members of CABO, as well as the CBC. 


I had promised that I would look at the startling stats behind last years Southern California bicycling fatalities this week, after remembering the names behind the numbers. But an usually heavy workload has kept me from being able to do that; I’ll try to get it in the coming days.


  1. MikeOnBike says:

    There never was anything stopping NACTO-style designs, or sloppy variations of existing standards. The original form of AB 819 is unnecessary. It’s already the de facto practice.

    For example:

    Or this:

    • Snob says:

      So MikeOnBike, based on your comments on the Redwood City story, you are seriously worried that the CHP is going to use a regulation aimed at the HOV/HOT/Express Lanes on the Freeway, against a buffered bike lane?

      “I also wish they had not painted a double-white stripe that makes it illegal for cyclists to leave the bike lane. That stripe also makes it illegal for the parked cars to cross, so I’m not sure how those parked cars got there without breaking the law.”

      Are you kidding us?

      We can’t get the police to keep Vehicular bicyclists from running stop signs or yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks and yet you would have a facility removed from a city that is trying to get it right because you are invoking the CVC to its fullest?

      Is this indicative of the actions of the leadership of CABO vis-a-vis AB 819?

      • Snob says:

        Sorry, that should have been “We can’t get the police to keep *Vehicular* bicyclists…”

      • MikeOnBike says:

        No, I don’t think the CHP will be issuing tickets in Redwood City. But the design of that facility creates a conflict with the vehicle code, and with normal traffic movements. Is that space legally a bike lane per 21208? Does 21460 negate the exceptions in 21208? Does 21460 negate the turning rule in 21717?

        Aside from the specifics of the CVC, what do cyclists and motorists and police officers think that double stripe means? Can I leave that space on my bike to prepare for a left turn or avoid debris or pass another cyclist? Can I enter that space midblock (either on my bike, or to park a car)?

        What if there’s a collision? Who is at fault? The cyclist? The motorist? The traffic engineer? That’s when these sorts of questions start to matter.

        I’d rather not get in a collision, which is why I’d like everybody (cyclists, motorists, police officers, traffic engineers) to agree what those stripes mean.

  2. mike says:

    C.A.B.O. is a sham organization, pitted against furthering bicycling in California.

  3. Freecell Lover says:

    Let’s also not forget that while the CBC lobbied to be a voice for cyclists in the state via the traffic devices committee (NOT CABO!), CABO lobbied to get two of their (people) on the committee. They do no work, besides destroy the hard work of actual advocates.

    • Neither Dan Gutierrez nor John Ciccarelli are idiots. Check their credentials and compare with your own or anyone else’s.

      CABO endorsed their applications to membership on the CTCDC. That doesn’t count as lobbying, IMO.

      • Bonneie says:

        Dan Gutierrez is socially inept and stubborn.

      • Bob Davidson says:

        idiot: ” mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way. “

      • roadblock says:

        Credentials mean nothing if people ARE DIEING ON THE STREETS RIGHT NOW. Thousands of people want safer facilities and CABO is a group that for the last 40-50 years (or whatever) had their chance. Now it’s time for the new school to take over.

        • Most CABO board members, like you Gionni are LCIs, and we care to help stop the deaths. I know you know this, so it’s clear that you are posturing. This “had their chance” rhetoric is little more than ageism and/or anti-intellectualism. It takes decades to learn all the myriad things that relate to how state organizations, policy, law and facilities development works, and to become well connected in advocacy. This is not something that comes quick or easy. If you really want to make a difference, then join an advocacy organization and learn how to influence the state. This is how CABO volunteers address the issue of people dying.

          • bikinginla says:

            Sorry, Dan. I’ll vouch for roadblock. He’s out there every day fighting for cyclists rights and safety — and has already had more of an effect on improving bicycling in Los Angeles than most advocates ever will.

            He’s also been the victim of a hit-and-run, so he knows firsthand what can happen.

            Before you criticize someone, know who the hell you’re talking about.

            • I never made the strawman claims you refute. I was talking about the state level advocacy, not local, and I know he’s active locally, as am I, him more to the north and me more to the south in LA county. I’ve also been the victim of a deliberate hit and run assault and suffered permanent internal damage from it, so I suggest you get your facts straight before you cast aspersions. But then again, if that were true, you probably wouldn’t write your blog…

              Gionni is his own man and doesn’t need you to defend him; he speaks quite well for himself. He and I may not always agree, though I much prefer discussions/disagreements with him directly.

            • roadblock says:

              Dan. Do you realize how much shit local advocacy groups talk about CABO and vehicular cyclists? Do you wonder ever if MAYBE YOU and CABO are WRONG and perhaps OTHER “non intellectuals” are perhaps right? I know it’s difficult for someone as intellectual as you to see yourself to be wrong… but give it a try.

              With all of your connections to Sacramento it would be awesome if you took the time to interact with us non-intellectuals here on the ground. People WANT to ride their bikes and you are getting caught up in semantics nit picking the hard work of local advocacy orgs and people like me who don’t have any official org but just want to commute in the city with friends and are frustrated to hear people at the LADOT say that state guidelines dont allow this and they dont allow that.

            • I don’t accept this “right or wrong” framing. Different people want different things. I know this and it forms the core of my pro-choice advocacy. I came to this position by interaction with many people, but not those who are disrespectful and make incessant personal attacks. I find it much more useful to talk to people who don’t think in black and white, “right or wrong” terms, or who demonize those who make different choices.

              It’s not just LADOT staff that are frustrated and disappointed by the standards and the pace of change. Many of us wanted Sharrows and BMUFL signs back in the 1990s, and it took forever for these traffic controls to be adopted ( a long story for another time). So I’m just as frustrated as the rest of you at the rate of change. It’s precisely because I don’t like the status quo that I bothered to teach myself about law, engineering and facilities standards, and I’ve studied crash causes and statistics precisely because I want to leverage my technical knowledge to improve standards.

              A big reason CABO exists was dissatisfaction with Caltrans and other state agencies, like the CHP, who choose enact laws that hurt cyclists (21202), and without any input or representation from cyclists. It’s easy to stand on the outside and criticize, it’s a much more difficult task to build relationships and effect change on the inside.

            • bikinginla says:

              Yes, and I’ve been the victim of a road rage attack. No one questions your credentials, yet you somehow feel you have the right to cast aspersions on others, then deny it to high heaven.

              You’re right, Gionni doesn’t need me to defend him. But this is my blog, and you are a guest here. If I want to defend anyone, that is my business.

              Don’t like it? There’s the door.

            • Shall I remind you of your own words: :He’s also been the victim of a hit-and-run, so he knows firsthand what can happen. before you criticize someone, know who the hell you’re talking about.”

              I responded to this comment by sharing my own hit an run misfortune, and reminding you that you don’t seem to know what you are talking about when you use Gionni’s hit an run crash as a misguided written weapon. If you can’t handle a measured response, then I submit that you not cast aspersions of your own.

              It seems to me that you want to make accusations and don’t take kindly to those who demonstrate that they are less than circumspect. Throw me out if that’s how you want to play this game, but know that you were the one that brought us here with your accusations. I have not launched personal attacks, that’s the MO of you and others on this thread. I have done my best to describe what we at CABO support. Calling those who have worked for decades to improve bicycling, “anti-bicycling” or “fraudulent” is simply not a factually correct description of CABO and it volunteers.

            • bikinginla says:

              Dan, I’ve fought with you on here on another occasion, I will not do so again. You have a well-deserved reputation for being rude and abrasive, and belittling the work of others, both online and in public. I will not tolerate that on here.

              I stand by my original post 100%, and have allowed you to express your disagreement in repeated posts. If you want to insult me, or anyone else here, you’re out. Period.

              Play nice, and you can say anything you want, no matter how much I may disagree with it. My blog, my rules.

              And I repeat, if you don’t like it, there’s the door.

    • It was CABO that started the effort to get a full CTCDC member to represent bicyclists. We, CABO and others, got a compromise two years ago that provided an exofficio-member bicyclist representative from the Calif. Bicycle Advisory Committee (CBAC) on the CTCDC. Instead of trying to make that a full membership position and in the midst of trying out the compromise CBC mounted an effort/legislation to require two new CTCDC members; to be appointed by the Caltrans committee, Active Transportation Livable Communities. Caltrans has apparently made that bill moot by acting before the bill was passed to expand the CTCDC by two new members.
      I and other CABO Board members have attended and participated in CBAC since 1992, and with CTCDC meetings. Important improvements for bicycling have come from those committee’s recommendations; not as many as we have worked for, but it is not accurate to state that “they do no work.”

      • roadblock says:

        How about a look at the board of directors of CABO? Who are you all?

        Obviously you’ve got a lot of anger out there. What are you going to do to be accountable to the cyclists of California?

        • Let me see, CABO board members are called idiots, the organization is accused of fraud, I am called socially inept, and Gionni (AKA roadblock – amusing that he who hides behind a pseudonym asks who we are), accuses us of having a lot of anger. I think he has it backwards. CABO works well with state and local agencies precisely because we are socially skilled veteran advocate/professionals who have much subject matter expertise that we share with Caltrans, the CHP, the Legislature, and local cities to improve laws, facilities standards, and projects in Caltrans districts and in cities throughout the state.

          Regarding the CTCDC positions, CABO endorsed two individuals, John Ciccarelli and myself. John was accepted by Caltrans as a member and I am his alternate. John and I both have a long history of working with state and local agencies and their staff, and we are colleagues that work well together.

          I should also point out that CABO supports the rights of cyclists to operate as drivers (per CVC 21200, not 21202, a discriminatory law, along with 21208, that reduce cyclists rights) AND also use bikeways. So those who make the claim that we only support “vehicular cycling”, an archaic term, which we now refer to as driver behavior, are simply making an untrue strawman argument. Back when the Prokop appeal was in court, CABO, not the CBC, was the organization that financially supported the rights of cyclists to have liability protection against cities building substandard paths. That’s right, CABO supports road users and path users, and clubs, and always has.

          At Caltrans request, I have personally trained over 300 staff members at Caltrans districts throughout the state over the last year and a half, as well as local agency staff so that they can make better and safer bikeways that support all legal behaviors. At their request, I’ll be giving a city specific version of this training to the city staff in Long Beach later this month and I actively work with the City staff to improve bikeways development in the City. I am very happy to report that the Schuyler-Heim bridge replacement, on State Route 47, a bridge currently closed to bicycling will have a continuous 8′-10′ shoulder with no high speed ramp crossings to accommodate bicyclist who wish to reach terminal island from the north. So why am I so happy to report this fact? Well, it’s because one of the Caltrans designers, who was in my first class from July of 2010, told me in a District 7 BAC meeting that he learned about how to create safe bicycle access to bridges in my class. So CABO deserves credit for influencing the design of a $350M bridge to open it up to cycling. How anyone can view this as anti-bicycle is quite beyond me. Also note that John Ciccarelli is my alternate for teaching this class to Caltrans staff. It’s like I said, we work well together.

          CABO has also been working with cooperatively cities and Caltrans to improve minimum standards to get bike lanes and sharrows out of the door zone of parked cars, and improve designs at intersections and interchanges so bicyclists are not forced into difficult merges at freeway on/off ramps, and to minimize the use of high speed free-flowing turn lanes to improve the safety of cyclists who use the roadway. This is why we make presentations to the State BAC and continue to educate those who set state level policy. In addition we have also worked with local advocates to secure access to key bridges, especially the Gerald Desmond replacement, a 1 billion dollar project which will have a Class I bike path, though it was was originally planned to prohibit bicyclist access. These are hardly the actions of an organization that is anti-cycling or anti-cyclist. I am proud of the accomplishments of CABO both in the past and during my tenure on the board, and the work we will continue to perform on behalf of cyclists throughout the state.

          • Roadblock says:

            Thats all dandy save for one problem… People are dieing in the streets! You dont ride in LA, ive never seen you and im everywhere everyday. LADOT cites State restrictions as an excuse for why we cant get facilities. CABO is old hat. You’ve got a lot of pissed off cyclists and your org is so arrogant as to not consult with cycling groups across california before wielding your insider auto industry friendly opinion. You oppose the CBC which actually does outreach and workshops. CABO’s website features documents from 1981. Get with the times.

          • Roadblock says:

            People deserve to know who ALL of the board of directors of CABO are. Because You all have the power to kill legislation that transparent and engaged bike advocacy orgs put a lot of work into. If i had that kind of power people would want to know my name.

            • Which legislation did CABO “have the power to kill”?
              If you’re thinking of the most recent example (AB819), CABO worked with the author and the original sponsor (CBC) to craft amendments. CBC agreed with the amendments and welcomed CABO as a co-sponsor.
              If you’re thinking of SB910 (the only-three-feet-thankyou bill), CABO worked with the original sponsor (CBC) to craft fixes to the original poor language. All the final usable language came from CABO, though CBC shared none of the credit.
              So again, which legislation did CABO kill?

            • This presentation is based on material I developed for Understanding Bicycle Transportation course I teach for Caltrans, and a lot of field work on bike lane and Sharrow placements in California. Our aim is to improve the minimum standards so that bike lanes and sharrows will not route cyclists into dooring hazards.

            • Snob says:

              …but will route them into the middle of a traffic lane which will prevent anyone other than the Lycra and Logo crowd from ever riding a bicycle. Thanks!

            • A bike lane outside the door zone does not do what you say. If you are complaining about Sharrows, do understand that the purpose of a Sharrow is to alert motorists to situations where bicyclists will be controlling lanes to keep them out of the door zone and prevent crossing conflicts, and guide bicyclists to do so. So it would appear that you are against Shrrows in principle, and also appear to have a prejudice (is this why you hide behind the Pseudonym, “Snob”) against road cyclists who choose to wear cycling specific clothing.

              Here is the bare minimum standard [15’/11′ and 16’/11′ is even better] we would like to see for bike lane when on-street parking is present:


              Please note that these are scale drawings of actual SUVs, including door widths. This ias huge improvement on the current minimum standards that allow cities to create this:


              Yes, a city can stripe a 12′ bike lane or an 11′ sharrow next to an 11′ lane and bicyclists are caught between the bus and the door zone. I think it’s appalling that the minimum standards are so poor in CA.

            • Snob says:

              Not all of us can afford to use real names in this economy. I’m glad you can and hope your job/salary/pension/401k remains stable.

              And no, I do not have a prejudice against people who put on sport-specific clothing even though for non-competition, Lycra isn’t necessary. It’s just that only in the VC world will you find amateurs wearing licensed sport-specific clothing that includes professional team logos and those of sponsors of the teams. I can think of no other activity where the wanna-bes dress so, um, “accurately”.

              Tell us, how much do these companies pay you to further advertise their services?

            • bikinginla says:

              Actually, amateur fans of all sports wear the same uniforms of the pros; just look how many basketball players wear Lakers jerseys, or baseball players show up for pickup games in Dodgers or Angels gear. However soccer is the only major sport other than cycling that puts sponsors logos directly on the uniform.

            • I’ve never been paid to wear team sponsored clothing, nor do I wear any, except for a Canondale Jersey I have, but then I do like their bikes. Of course I dress differently for different trip types and purposes. Yes, I will wear coolmax cycling clothes on a 100 mile ride, because it keeps me cooler and wicks away the salt, and will dress in less cycling specific clothing for other purposes. Here I was last weekend in a Cycling Savvy class in Oakland:


              I’m in the red sweater and black cargo shorts.

              You are quite wrong about cyclists who are traffic skilled, most do not wear lycra as much as you imagine. Club riders, many who are edge riders and do not have traffic skills training are often found in team kits, bike and rider. it’s a mistake to make too many inferences about correlations between people’s clothing and their behavior, and/or level of traffic skill.

            • Wow, you would really rather have the standards encourage (SLM) or mandate (BL) such unsafe behavior as riding in the door zone, toward your political goal of enticing unknowing non-cyclists onto the road? Seriously??

              Sorry, I can’t bring myself to such cynical depths. I don’t see non-cyclists as cannon fodder for mode share.

            • Christopher Kidd says:

              I have the utmost respect for your intelligence and conviction. That being said, I don’t think I could ever accept a minimum 27′ curb lane width for a bike lane proposed in the PowerPoint, nor would almost any other bicycle professional with which I have worked.

            • Why not? And how do you justify routing cyclists into the door zone in a 12′ from the curb bike lane adjacent to an 11 ft wide travel lane? Other cities are creating designs in the 25-27 foot range.

              Do you consider this 12′ bike lane adjacent to a 11′ travel lane to be an acceptable minimum standard, given the hazard zones?


              (All drawings and vehicles to scale using measured widths)

            • Casey Hildreth says:

              Dan – I appreciate your thorough layout and logic on the SLM marking minimums for the tighter sections you show. And while I don’t know you, I do know and greatly respect John C. But I also agree with Christopher and others that you begin losing me at 23′ and quickly lose me thereafter.

              Here are specific reasons why:

              1. Size of vehicle. You are assuming the widest possible SUV, and door zone. I realize this is reality in many places, but it isn’t in many other places – particularly more progressive cities with tighter streets and high upsides for biking. Your argument would go over much better if you could acknowledge that this is the worst case scenario – otherwise you are no better than the Walmart that sizes their parking lot for Black Friday.

              2. Overselling the door zone issue (i.e. not discussing parking turnover and travel speeds). Perhaps you have more nuance in your verbal presentations, but what I find disconcerting is the “red zone as death zone” argument. In residential areas the actual frequency of opened doors can be extremely low. The vehicle owners are also more likely to be the same people – thus offering targeted education opportunities to promote driver awareness and proper opening caution. Shouldn’t this be taken into consideration? For school routes and other slower speed streets, bikers aren’t traveling much faster than 8mph or so (educated guess) which leaves space and time for negotiating and avoiding doors. It’s not like everyone – driver and biker – are always operating at the speed of light, oblivious to one another.

              3. Travel lane size. Let’s be clear, wider lanes are not safer just because they have a “shy zone.” Anything wider than 12′ encourages faster speeds for no reason, and cannot be considered best practice off of a highway.Most of us who work in cities know that 11′ is really the widest you need and should be going 80% of the time (outside of truck routes and very busy bus routes).

              4. Safety in numbers. The safest possible bike route, all things equal, is one that has many bikers on it – which is the best and most obvious method to raise awareness. My personal opinion – if I may make a gross generalization – is that those of you in the “VC crowd” have a hard time understanding that perceptions of safety – even if they are ‘misguided’ in your opinion – are important to capture and leverage if they lead to increased biking….which in turn leads to increased safety due to increased numbers of riders on the road/bikeway. I’m not saying we should blindly go with novice public opinion, and that technical reasons doesn’t count – but we need to incorporate the long view.

              In short, your PP is a great resource up to slide #13, but you need to open up the argument and introduce much more nuance afterward if you want it accepted as a “best practice” accounting.

            • Your Sharrows placement increases the potential conflicts for a cyclist by placing the rider directly in front of vehicles that are going 2-3X times faster and have much greater mass. Thankfully, it’s not a requirement to ride a bike or ride on sharrows in front of motorized vehicles. If it was required, there would likely be a lot less bicycling. You simply are not doing anything to increase the rate of cycling with your guidelines.

              You keep stating that the parked car doors or cyclists moving between vehicles and the parked cars are the danger. There are few parked cars with people inside to open a door and yet all moving motorized vehicles poise a potential conflict to a vunerable, unprotected bicyclist. Putting the cyclist directly in front of a large fast moving vehicle is introducing potential conflict far beyond the danger of parked car doors.

              Dan, you have clearly shown the absurdity of using sharrows by your placement of them in your diagrams. The idea that you can decrease the danger by increasing the amount of potential conflicts by encouraging cyclists to ride in front of moving vehicles, that have much greater mass and speed, is ludicrous. Hillie Tallens, a Dutch engineer that was at the LA ThinkBike workshop, said to me that the Netherlands would never use sharrows. Their concern for the comfort and safety of cyclists clearly show why sharrows would never be used. They simply would not encourage cyclists to ride in front of fast moving motorized vehicles. In fact, there are some roads that cyclists are prohibited to ride on in the Netherlands when there is a bike path available to ride on next to the roadway.

              Moving the buffer zone on the LA Spring St. painted bike lane, in your above slides, from the left of the bike lane, to the right of it, is moving the greatest number of potential conflicts closer to the cyclist by putting only a stripe to separate the moving vehicles from the cyclist. This also greatly increases the discomfort for most cyclist.

              Your ideas for increasing bicycling safety would decrease the amount of streets that could get bike lanes by virtue of taking up more space for the bike lane. An 8-foot wide bike lane was brought up in the initial discussions to determine a bike lane width in Davis and it was rejected as unreasonable due to the lack of room for a motorized travel lane. The city of Davis came up with the bike lane widths that are still being used across the U.S. and this was determined from brain storming sessions between the engineers and the bike advocates.

            • Jim Baross says:

              Do you accept that people using roadways – motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians – are required to look for and respond appropriately, slow down and pass when safe, to things/people in the roadway? That traveling too fast for conditions such as when there is a bicyclist on the road or a pedestrian trying to cross is illegal, discourteous and damaging to all of us? Although it has apparently become culturally acceptable for some motorists to drive as though motoring rules, it isn’t right, is not legal, and should be curtailed/stopped. Right?

              Do you know and accept that people riding bicycles – lawfully – are supposed to be able to use public roadways with the same rights and responsibilities as vehicle operators? (CVC 21200)

              Isn’t it appropriate given issues of climate change, foreign oil dependence, general environment – noise, air, water, traffic congestion, etc. – that our public roadways and the behavior of roadway users be made to be as, if not more, accepting/comfortable/usable to bicycling and walking as is motor vehicle use? Or are roads to be only for motor vehicle users?

              Is it appropriate, and legal, that you and many others are apparently bullied from use of the best roadway routes by some motor vehicle users? Is it then ok with you to be so scared of scofflaw bullies and/or inattentive motorists that you can’t use the roads you help pay for and therefore must seek to only ride on the meagerly available separated facilities? (Even Copenhagen, Amsterdam and other bike-friendly cities do not/cannot/will not keep motorists separated from bicyclists along more than a small percentage of their roads. These people know how to share; too many US motorists haven’t learned this yet.)

              When as a lawful and reasonably courteous driver of a bicycle, I am very infrequently honked at, passed closely to “teach me a lesson”, not provided with my “turn” or right of way, etc. my first, second, and third reactions are not to look to get billions of dollars of public funding to provide separated travel facilities for me from motorists to all my destinations. My primary efforts are to change the behaviors of clueless motorists (and bicyclists). My second efforts are to try to ensure that whatever Bikeways are provided are actually useful – not more hazardous than good roadways – for bicycling and not just a way to clear bicycling off of the best facilities, public roadways, out of the way of motorists. My third level of reactions are to try to remind people that we can change the US car-culture to a people-moving culture more cheaply, easily and sooner by addressing behaviors rather than trying to build separated/parallel facilities for bicycling and motoring. Both are happening now. You work for your vision. I’ll work for both in CABO.

            • roadblock says:

              this forum really sucks for replies… see my reply down below to this madness.

            • bikinginla says:

              Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, that’s how WordPress formats it. I’m looking for a solution.

            • Human beings make mistakes. No matter what the training, schooling or law, they will continue to make mistakes. To encourage people, by way of Dan Gutierrez’s recommended sharrows placement, to routinely ride a bicycle in front of vehicles that have much greater mass, and that are allowed by law to move at 2-3X the speed of the person on a bike, is greatly increasing the risk of severe or fatal injuries to the rider. That is totally unacceptable to me and it is not making it more comfortable, nor increasing the subjective safety for the rider.

              Do to their much greater mass compared to a bicyclist, buses and trucks making a right turn at a walking pace can be lethal for a person on a bicycle sharing the roadway with them. The Netherlands is trying to reduce this problem for bike lanes by moving the bicyclist to the right of bus stops and off the roadway until the bus stop is cleared. They also provide advanced, protected waiting areas at the intersections for bike lanes, to make bicyclists much more visible to motorists, which reduces the amount of potential conflict points. These features do not cost an extravagent amount of money to implement.

              Bike infrastructures are not useful if no one will ever use them. Putting sharrows thirteen or more feet out into a roadway, where vehicles with much greater mass are legally allowed to travel at 2-3X greater speed than a person on a bicycle, is not something that is useful to any but a few fearless road warrior riders. Having rights, concerns for others, or training does not eliminate human error, nor is it convincing people to risk severe injury or death to ride there.

              If the people in Amsterdam know how to share, then why is the government emphasizing bicycling facilities that are separate and protected from motorized vehicles? Dutch people are probably the most trained and highly skilled bike riders in the world. I sincerely doubt that most of them would continue riding if they were encouraged to travel in front of vehicles that are moving 2-3X faster than they are. How many of them would allow their children to ride in such conditions?

            • Fred says:

              In CA, it’s just as illegal to door someone as it is to run them down in a travel lane. Stats show that dooring hurts less.

              Response to getting run down (motor education). Response to dooring avoid the doors.

              Why the difference? Why ride outside of relatively safer door zone in more dangerous travel lane.

              Look at the data–any of it. Even distorted data from Orlando shows that dooring deaths are rare.

              Most deaths come from automobiles.

              Thus, there is NO SAFE PLACE in the lane. There’s NO LANE POSITION WHERE YOU ARE ASSURED not to die.

              The streets were built for cars and are best used in a car which is why cycling deaths are 2x (at least) compared to auto deaths.

              If an engineer maximized for a value (vehicle speed) she gets a max on that value.

              If we built for safety, we’d get more safety.

              This all should be totally obvious.

              Stop telling people to ride in the streets, it’s not smart.

            • roadblock says:

              “Do you accept that people using roadways – motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians – are required to look for and respond appropriately, slow down and pass when safe, to things/people in the roadway? That traveling too fast for conditions such as when there is a bicyclist on the road or a pedestrian trying to cross is illegal,”

              Do you Jim Baross accept that a lot of people don’t give a damn about the law and drive like fools on streets that are designed to encourage speeding well above the posted limit?

              You have no answers to my questions because CABO is in denial.

              WHAT DID CABO DO ABOUT THE 85th PERCENTILE LAW that was passed a few years ago? ANYTHING? If CABO can shush a 3 foot law then I expect it to act the same for a law that allows car drivers to break the speed limit too.

    • bikinginla says:

      Freecell, I should have corrected this earlier, but lost it in the avalanche of comments to this post. I try not to allow personal attacks on site, so I’m removing the reference to idiots. No offense.

  4. Eric W says:

    Ted –

    You convinced me! I had quite a bit to say here:

    I agree with you the CABO seems to be a very small group claiming to represent cyclists. You checked the organizations that they claim support them. I saw only a dozen people or so involved in any meeting minutes. I suspect they are much smaller than you thought. Unfortunately they are influential in the CA legislature. Probably we need to find our own lobbyist!

    Eric W

  5. […] Biking In L.A. Calls Out California Association of Biking Organizations […]

  6. Don’t write CABO off completely. You know CVC 21450.5 — the law that says new traffic lights must detect cyclists and must be green long enough for cyclists to safely cross? CABO was the only group of cyclists who even thought to advocate for those requirements in the Caltrans working group that was created as a result of AB1581.

    CABO did not oppose AB819 — they advocated for an amendment that is, frankly, necessary and *increases* the ability of local governments to experiment with innovations. Ditto for the original 3 foot law — everybody knew that 15 MPH requirement in the original bill would kill the bill.

  7. pvannuys says:

    Thanks for reminding me that Orange County Bicycle Coalition needs to renew it’s support for CABO.

    Too many of today’s so called “advocates” don’t get it. Segregated facilities need to be installed very carefully in California’s auto-dominated environment because the vast majority of city engineers are indifferent to your interests or frankly hostile to bicycles (though they will never cop to that). These bureaucrats are eager to protect as much of the motorized users’ space as possible and lock up all non-motorized users in separate space claiming it’s for your own good.

    Why do we know this? Because it’s happened before in the previous “renaissance” of bicycling in the 1970s. CABO officers spent years winning back your right to leave the Cl. 2 bike lane so you could legally avoid glass and potholes, establishing design standards to reduce your chance of being right hooked at intersections, and installing legal details in bills that reduce motorist hostility.

    Read the NACTO Guide; yes, there’s some good stuff in there. But read closely and it’s obvious that “perceived safety” to lure innocent Americans onto their bicycles is more important to its authors than actual safety. Who are the NACTO Guide authors? They are the designers of the facilities they’re promoting. Can they cite valid safety studies? No. But do today’s shallow “advocates” care? No, because its oh-so-cool to run with latest and hippest.

    I get the frustration LA cyclists feel in a city that until last year didn’t give a rat’s ass about bicycles. Any overt bicycle facility, painted any color at all, looks really good right now. Bring on the cement! The more solid the wall, the more lanes it takes up the more validated some bicyclists feel. But it’s a sweet trap.

    New designs are needed – especially in locales with high mode share potential. Site by site bike box, buffered lanes, and bikes-only paths can encourage bicycle use and facilitate on-street cycling as well. But we’ll never have enough money, paint or cement to deliver every student to school on a segregated path, or serve every home and business address like our streets and roads do.

    If CABO’s guilty of anything it’s lack of self promotion. It’s failed to explain what it does and why. Do you want real mode share? Want every bike to actually be One Less Car? Then you need to protect the rights of ALL bicyclists. CABO does that. If you dump on CABO you foul your own rights.

  8. roadblock says:

    The 1970’s ?!??!?!!! Jesus. that was FOUR DECADES AGO. Get to know the new DOT’s and the new generation of planners that have gone to school graduated, RIDE BIKES THEMSELVES and are far more informed about the environment and what it takes to plan sustainable streets. Sure, some of the old dinosaurs are still in the mix but they are retiring and dieing off in the next 2-5 years.

    “Innocent Americans”!?!?!?! DUDE. GET A GRIP. People ARE DIEING ON THE STREETS RIGHT NOW.

    If you are talking about the 70’s you are too old! I’m guessing CABO is a bunch of old dinosaurs themselves. Show me one person under 50 on CABO.

  9. roadblock says:

    I’m preemptively apologizing for my comment which was written in haste, ageist and wrong. I mean to said OLD WORLD thinkers. Dinosaur economy thinkers. People who haven’t kept up with the times. I know plenty of older riders who have advanced their thinking and continue to advance their thinking rather than allow themselves to be stuck in the past. We are all susceptible to this and I find that CABO is a group of individuals who indeed ARE stuck in the dinosaur economy thinking of the 70’s… age not withstanding.

    • Snob says:

      Why apologize? It was dead on.

      • bikinginla says:

        Mostly because I fit that description, too, along with a number of other post-50 riders who are fighting for safer streets.

        It’s not about age, it’s about adherence — and forcing others to adhere — to a riding style and infrastructure that has held bicycling back for decades, and continues to put countless riders at risk.

        • roadblock says:

          Yes, what Ted said, but not just because Ted fits the description. I do actually know a lot of older cyclists who are progressive and understand the issues.

          Still, there’s just something about a lot of orgs and DOTs that control cycling issues…. They are mostly comprised of older white males. What gives? I want to see young, diverse, males and females given a shot too. In any big city, these are the people who commute (or want to) every day. Their voices are missing.

          • bikinginla says:

            You’re right about that. Too many cities and states rely on the same people who designed to the same failed, auto-centric roads of the past. We need an infusion of young people of both sexes and all races who see our streets through different eyes — as well as older planners who are willing to look at our cities differently.

            It’s not about age; it’s incorporating diversity of thought as well as people, as we work together to make our world more livable.

  10. John L. says:

    At the very least, it seems to me that CABO should have worked with the rest of the bicycle advocacy community to forge a compromise position rather than going against the wishes of the rest of us. Yes, we should never give up our right to the road that we have in the vehicle code (CVC 21202), but AB 819 did not give up this right, and those of us who ride for transportation need more bike lanes, protected bike lanes, cycle tracks, and bike boxes now, not 20 years from now. I’ve been to Portland, and seen what happens when a city embraces innovative solutions for bikes. Sorry CABO, simply telling people to go ride in vehicular traffic is not going to get them out of their cars.

    • MikeOnBike says:

      John, as I said above, there’s nothing stopping cities from implementing anything they want from NACTO, or from their own imagination.

      • bikinginla says:

        Odd, every traffic planner I’ve spoken with says they can’t do many things they’d like to try because they’re not approved in the state guidelines.

        Anything else is considered experimental and must go through a cumbersome process for approval; a process so difficult most don’t bother trying. And those that do risk endless delays and cost-overruns while they wait for an approval that could just as easily be denied.

        But other than that, you’re right. The possibilities are just effing unlimited.

        • roadblock says:

          seconded. This is the NUMBER 1 nay comment from EVERY traffic planner. They are frustrated and so is the rest of the cycling world. Why is there no list of board of directors on the CABO site? I want bios and qualifications as to why this particular group is speaking for ME. Who are these people?! Seriously!!

          • The CABO Board is now listed on
            I guess I should give thanks for the impetus to get posted what we had been intending to do for several months; believe it or not.

            Any other suggesttions for improving our efforts to protect and promote California bicycling are welcome… most directly to or for discussion to our Googlegroup forum at

            • roadblock says:

              thanks. this is a step towards transparency that is much appreciated. I look forward to also seeing pics, bios and contact info for everyone as well as elections process. CABO apparently wields a lot of power in sacramento on my behalf. CABO has altered, watered down, and defeated legislation that lots of “non-intellectuals” on the ground have hoped and dreamed for. The more transparency the better.

          • Snob says:

            And indeed, Traffic Engineers, even though they knew it was wrong and were frustrated by it and (many) did everything within their powers to delay increases still had to go along with the stupid motorist & automobile-industry sponsored “speed trap” law until it was partially repealed.

            We could have done so, so, so much with AB 819, but now it is lost thanks to CABO’s unwanted meddling.

            • Snob says:

              May I also remind you all that there are only 370 days left in Ray La Hood’s tenure at USDOT. Once he is gone, and especially if/when Obama loses the 2012 election, you will see a great sea change in national bicycle prioritizing, planning and funding.

              And we have just just 15, 298 days left of oil at current consumption levels:


              Yes, that’s 41 years (at current consumption levels, ok India and China?), or about how long the U.S. transportation field has listened to John Forrester.

        • MikeOnBike says:

          See my original post with just two examples already painted on the ground. There are plenty more.

          The trick is that nobody enforces the approval process. Nobody makes cities remove nonstandard designs once they’re painted. Even if you do go through the approval process, nobody follows up on the results, if any.

          This is true whether we’re talking about slightly sloppy stuff (like a bike lane too narrow) or inventions from whole cloth (like the odd double striped buffer in Redwood City which conflicts with the vehicle code).

          • roadblock says:

            I checked em out. I’m all for having standards and SAFE design… but why get so darn caught up on technicalities? Traveling about the earth is not an exact science. That buffered bike lane looks beautiful. I wish more bike lanes had a buffer on the left.

    • You suggest “CABO should have worked with the rest of the bicycle advocacy community to forge a compromise position rather than going against the wishes of the rest of us.” CABO suggested a different approach to facilities innovation; CBC agreed with the amended language and welcomed CABO as a co-sponsor. How is that not the compromise you seek?

      Why is CABO now the only bad actor? If you’re not happy with the results, why not share some animus with CBC, the other party in the compromise?

      • roadblock says:

        It’s not a compromise if a powerful group such as CABO rears it’s ugly VC head and works to maintain the status quo. Maybe CBC is also a bad actor, but at least they engage the constituency who WANTS more bike facilities and WANTS to experiment.

        I get it, some cities will design sub par bike facilities. But what about cities that WANT better bike facilities but can’t implement them because of state regulation? LAME.

        This whole argument began with CABO squashing adoption of the NACTO guide. People were counting on that!

  11. CABO explained that it essentially wants everything to do go through Caltrans. Caltrans has been a complete and utter failure at creating anything resembling complete streets that are safe and comfortable for all users. In Santa Monica the most despotically designed and horrible environments for bike riders and walkers are the few remaining stretches of road operated by Caltrans. In Malibu they have fought against calming PCH through areas with greater pedestrian and bicyclist activity, watching people die every year and essentially saying, fuck it, let the death keep rolling.

    Why on Earth would we want such a callous and completely out of touch agency of government holding the keys for bikeway design?

    Sure CABO has done some good things, fought some good fights on legal rights over the years, but it grows less relevant every day. It seems to operate on it’s own agenda with zero effort of consensus building with bicyclists and bike groups across the state, and if they want to maintain any credibility, it better start answering to the people it claims to serve.

    • MikeOnBike says:

      If not Caltrans, then which California state government department should be responsible for updating California’s bikeway standards?

      • I don’t know if there is anything to take the place of Caltrans at the state level, but I think local governments should have more freedom to experiment with successful designs from elsewhere.

        Caltrans is not operating under any kind of principle to respect human life or preserve value in local communities, and I don’t think communities should tolerate needless death and devaluation of their tax base to conform to the Caltrans agenda of moving cars above all other criteria.

        • bikinginla says:

          The U.S. Congress is more responsive than Caltrans, which sometimes doesn’t even bother to show up at their own meetings. And no, I’m not joking; I’ve sat there waiting for them.

          They should have been dissolved and replaced with a more efficient and responsive state transportation agency decades ago.

          • The reality is that Caltrans is by law responsible for maintaining state highways and bikeways standards. If your goal is to dissolve Caltrans, lobby your state elected officials, they’re the ones that wrote the laws giving Caltrans it’s authority, and they have the authority to dissolve it, reconstitute it, etc. In the meantime, I’m interested in making the existing system work better for cyclists within my time budget and skill set as a volunteer advocate.

    • No Gary, CABO does not want “everything to go through Caltrans”. This a misrepresentation of CABO’s position. We support good state standards and effective processes for experimentation, so cities can be creative within the set of proven and safe deisngs. State law, both in the SHC and the CVC require state approved traffic controls (stripes, signs, signals) be used on all highways, which is why the CTCDC exists. We simply want a similar process for creating design (widths, geometry, etc.) improvements. It’s precisely because Caltrans has been recalcitrant, that we support legislation to force them to change. If I approved of everything Caltrans did, I wouldn’t be bothering to teach them to do better or supporting legislation that forces them to do better. There are so many bad, sub-standard designs on the streets throughout the state right now that it will take decades to fix them all, and cities continue to do incompetent work because they don’t know and therefore don’t follow existing standards. I know this because I’ve been photodocumenting them for years. It’s precisely because we care about cyclist safety that we seek to improve this sad state of design in CA.

  12. The top author advocates for new road designs based on popularity instead of on engineering and safety analysis. That is, doing what people want, as if road transportation had no more requirements than dress fashion does. Yes, I think that that is the wave of the future. However, the lack of any analysis of what should be done and why will come back to bite you all. I think that the most important act for responsible cyclists, old guys like me, is to work to change the traffic laws so that competent cyclists won’t be required to ride in the popular manner. That requires repeal of CVC 21202 and 21208.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks for jumping in, John.

      However, no one advocates for popularity over safety. What I advocate for is the use of designs that have been proven to increase safety and ridership in other cities. There is absolutely nothing special about California that means a roadway design already in use in Chicago, New York or Portland would suddenly turn murderous here.

      • What people want of course cannot be the only consideration, but it certainly should be part of the consideration and discussion. For far too long design standards have imposed automobile dominance on the landscape whether communities ever really wanted it or not. The results of American traffic design standards speak for themselves, deaths per mile far beyond anything found in more civilized countries.

        Vehicular cycling and bikeways do not have to be mutually exclusive, and I have not found many bike advocates both supporting more bikeways and supporting forcing their use by law. But I think if we make better bikeways, the vast majority of people would by choice use them. This does not preclude roadies doing their own thing. I do both, I ride to work and want a chill ride on bike lanes when aggro work commuters are in a rush, but I also go out sometimes for long road rides solo or with groups where vehicular riding is the only safe way to ride. This does not have to be black or white issue.

        I would be all for both creating more separate bikeways, as well as repealing the legal obligation that they must always be used.

        • You say “I have not found many bike advocates both supporting more bikeways and supporting forcing their use by law.” Please read CVC 21208. Every time a bike lane is painted, cyclists are compelled to justify their use of the rest of the roadway, to which they previously had unfettered access. So yes, every time a bike advocate supports establishment of a bike lane, they are simultaneously supporting forcing its use by law.
          You suggest “if we make better bikeways, the vast majority of people would by choice use them.” Exactly so – let’s make better bikeways (the goal of AB819) and then let cyclists choose whether to use them.

  13. Willie Hunt says:

    I used to think that any bicycling infrastructure was better than nothing, until I spent the last 2 years carefully listening to those “dinosaurs” that make up CABO, and actually spent the last 4 years using cycling for transportation in Orange County. I quickly figured out that much of the cycling specific infrastructure was just downright frustrating and dangerous to use. CABO showed me how much of the cycling specific infrastructure is substandard and as such should not have been built that way. Slowly, I came to agree that much more often than not, no cycling specific infrastructure was better than the downright criminal stuff that was being installed.

    I am not at all opposed to proper infrastructure. In Irvine, I find the bike lane useful and reasonable safe (almost no driveway crossings) and clean (street swept once a week). However, in Costa Mesa most of them are horribly appalling, so much so, that many of them I will not even ride in: I really enjoy fully isolated MUP’s like the SART, SGRT, Peter’s Canyon, etc. but they are few and far between and rarely take me where I want to go. Those are nice for a purely recreation ride.

    So from my perspective on this subject now, I totally agree that we need to preserve, even enhance cyclists rights to use the roadway as any other motorized SMV. I’m not all opposed to properly thought out and constructed bicycle specific infrastructure where it makes sense. I’m very much oppose to just sending the painting crew out to make a perfectly usable street into a confusing nightmare for both motorists and cyclists:

    My suggestion would be to actively engage those old “dinosaurs” and learn from them before writing them off as “old school”. Some of them may be stubborn and set in their ways, but they really do understand the issues. I have, I’ve learned a ton and I’ve gotten some agreement from some of them. And I’m not a bicycle advocate at all!

    • roadblock says:

      and BTW I’m an LCI and a (forced) VC of Los Angeles proper. I feel I have every right to speak on safe biking facilities because I commute every day.

    • Roy Crisman says:

      I don’t see many bike lanes there at all, maybe some narrow looking ones at 8 min, though the wide angle lens you point out makes it looks like you’re moving faster than you are may be skewing that a bit. Can you point out the appalling in please?

  14. roadblock says:

    The one time I actually did engage a CABO board member all he could do was berate me and point to some (debunked) analysis of a study done in northern europe regarding a newly installed bike lane. He’d never actually ridden in Northern Europe. Well I have. I encourage the mysterios who run CABO to Go abroad and experience real bike facilities!

    • Personnally, I’ve been therer; done that in Oslo, Amsterdam and Copenhagen at international bicycling conferences, VeloMondial. Also in Portland, Seattle, Madison, New York City, Austin, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Palo Alto, Oakland, San Louis Obispo, Long Beach, San Francisco, Tijuana, San Diego County, etc. And I have kept up with national efforts through the Assoc. of Pedestrians and Bicyclist, League of American Bicyclsts, Bikes Belong, etc.
      Other CABO Board members have similar experiences.

      • roadblock says:

        I’ve ridden in even more cities than that. Netherlands and Denmark felt the safest. Where did you feel the safest?

        EVERYONE knows how to ride a bike. The more people riding the safer it becomes. You have to give people infrastructure to make them safe let alone for them to feel safe.

        • jim baross says:

          It seems almost too obvious to state that it is certainly not true, as roadblock (do you have a name – Sam?) states that everyone knows how to ride a bike.
          I and other bicycling instructors have not yet been so successful.
          Or does roadblock think that there is nothing to learn? No value to such efforts?

  15. roadblock says:

    Can anyone point to a link that identifies the mysterios that are on the BOD of CABO? I can’t find anything on their site.

    • Not sure, I also noticed that their website is fairly opaque about who they are. And there is a page on policy positions written in 1993, some of which is pretty barf worthy like calling for 14 ft. lane widths and putting turn lanes everywhere, which of course adds up to ginormous inhuman scaled streets that end up fast and unsafe for anyone.

    • As Gionni knows, I’ve made no secret of my Board position in CABO, it’s in my email signature line. CABO is a volunteer organization – we have no piad staff, like the CBC or LACBC – and we have one volunteer, also a board member who works on our website. We’ve been adding new board members recently and updating their contact information, and the list was scheduled to go up later this month but I was able to accelerate the process a bit so, it’s up right now:

      Please note that CABO is arranged into districts that mirror the Caltrans districts, since we aim to work closely with Caltrans to influence standards, policies, designs and projects. And we routinely work with or on the BACs for those districts that have them. Unfortunately not all Caltrans districts have BACs, which has been a problem historically.

      There’s nothing mysterious about CABO board members, they are usually well known advocates in the districts in which the reside, and often well known throughout the state. Bert Hill (District 4), for example, has been deeply involved in SFBC advocacy as well as SF City commissions, and is now on the Caltrans District 4 BAC. Similarly, I was one of the founders of the LACBC, and I’ve worked with numerous cities within LA county, including the work on the Long Beach Bicycle Master plan, which after a long lull, is being implemented. I am the Policy Chair of the Caltrans District 7 BAC. Our legislative liaison, Alan Wachtel, who is the most bicycling law knowledgeable person in the state, is the author of most laws pushed by both the CBC and CABO. He is the chair of the CBAC, the CA State Bike Advisory Committee. You may know Alan via the exceptions to 21202 and 21208, particularly (a)(4) “when approaching a place where right turns are authorized”, which helps protect vulnerable bicyclists from being right hooked when passing driveways and intersections. We aren’t hiding, and never were.

  16. Brian Parent, Chairman, SDCBC says:

    The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (I don’t know of any organization named The San Diego Bicycle Coalition as listed in this blog entry) is a current member of CABO, and CBC, and LAB, and plans to continue those memberships. I appreciate all the many volunteer hours that CABO has put in over the years to maintain cyclists rights to the road. They have my support, and they deserve yours.

    • bikinginla says:

      Sorry Brian, but as long as they continue to oppose my interests, and that of the overwhelming majority of California cyclists and potential cyclists — including the CBC, which supports AB 819 — CABO will not get my support, nor would I recommend them to anyone else.

      However, I do apologize for getting the name of your organization wrong; I’ve made the correction, and noted that you are in fact a member of both CABO and the CBC.

      • In what way does CABO oppose AB819 or CBC? CBC agreed with CABO’s language amendments, and welcomed CABO as a co-sponsor of the legislation. Could you please be specific as to why you’re happy with CBC and angry with CABO, regarding the two organizations’ involvement with AB819?

        • bikinginla says:

          I think the CBC would be very surprised to learn that they supported gutting AB 819.

          • roadblock says:

            WHO IS CABO to be a “co-sponsor” ? CABO enjoys power in Sacramento so they have to be invited. But CABO doesnt represent the cycling public at large. CBC at least engages the local bike orgs. CABO has a horrible reputation with local bike orgs because all CABO does is naysay and water down legislation due to their power in Sacramento.

          • If you don’t already, you should read the bill text everything else at You can find the amendment agreements and registered support/opposition and the sponsor list in the committee analysis.
            You can even subscribe to get an email alert whenever anything changes. That’s only daily (around 4:00am) and it’s usually the day after something happens, but at least you get to hear about it.

  17. Alex T says:

    CABO. You dont speak for all of CA cyclists. Stop acting like you do.

  18. Vehicular cycling is a survival technique to compensate for lack of accommodations in a setting that is designed to primarily serve motor vehicles. I don’t want to have to ‘keep up with traffic’ and have to take lessons from a certified instructor to feel safe riding my bicycle.

    If an advocacy group works towards 1) the creation of bicycle facilities safe for people of all ages and abilities and 2) infrastructure that will increase bicycle mode share then they have my support.

    • Acting as a driver works quite well at low speed.
      Here are some video clips that show this:

      This idea that one must ride at the speed of cars to safely operate as a driver is a myth. Operating as a driver allows a cyclist to maintain good sight lines and avoid crossing conflicts with motorists. The crossing conflicts that certified instructors would be happy to teach you to avoid are still present for bike lanes, cycle tracks and path crossings, so whether or not you choose to behave as a driver, operate at the road edge or in a bike lane, or operate more like a ped on an urban path, the crossing conflict hazard knowledge and conflict avoidance skills we teach are still useful in minimizing your crash risk.

      Here is a set of slides in publicly available facebook photo album that show which crash types are most common and why crossing conflict avoidance is important to minimizing crash risk:

      Another sadly popular myth is this idea that one size fits all in terms of bicycling facilities. Not everyone wants to be on a cycletrack or in a bike lane, and we believe cyclists should have the choice of behavior, which is why we support the elimination of laws that restrict our choices, and also work to make bikeways as safe as they can be, primarily by minimizing crossing conflicts manufactured by bad designs.

      • Those videos look nice but the reality is if I did that anywhere I have cycled in CA (Berkeley, Oakland, Pasadena, LA, Richmond, SF) I would eventually be honked at, threatened, or physically harmed or run off the street, thus I feel pressure to ‘keep up’ with traffic.

        I’m all for letting people choose if they want to travel in a bicycle facility or not but my hope is that we can design so that bicycle facilities will always be more attractive, safe and more convenient as was often the case when I cycled in Malmo, Sweden.

        • I have cycled in all of the CA cities you cite and many more in throughout the state, and while I do receive the occasional honk, I’m not run off the road and while the occasional stupid comment like, “get in the bike lane”, or “get on the sidewalk”, or “get out of the street”,. etc., is annoying, it’s just a motorist having a mini-tantrum. I’m sorry it bothers you as much as it does, and one way to address the problem is to educate children in school about cyclists’ rights by teaching them traffic skills. This way they can ride to school safely by acting as drivers and when those that do choose to use a car get on the road, they will already understand traffic from a bicyclist’s perspective.

          Sadly the US, as a culture, has a dim view of education, which is in stark contrast to norther European countries which have had cycling education integrated into elementary and middle school curriculum for decades. This is an area where I’d like to see the US catch up to Europe, yet many “bike advocates” don’t seem to see the virtues, and instead focus almost exclusively on bikeways.

          • Roadblock says:

            Education AND facilities AND laws that prptect vulnerable users. THATS how it works.

            You cant just educate all drivers. This aint North Korea.

            • I’ve already stated that CABO is against laws that discriminate against cyclists, which makes them more vulnerable. 21202 in particular is routinely used to blame cyclists for being in the roadway, thus preventing them from collecting damages when they are hit by motorists, this is why we are for education, safe facilities, and good laws that protect cyclists from abuse. under current law, motorcyclists are entitled to control a full and and this right is not only protected by law enforcement, it’s in the DMV instructions, as motorists are told to protect motorcyclists safety by not invading their lane space. Yet for much more vulnerable bicyclists we are told to get to the edge of the road and be passed closely. This is all from 21202 and the mindset that we are not legitimate road users.

              What’s all this talk about North Korea? In Amsterdam, all school children receive cycling education and their motor vehicle licensing is more stringent than in the US, so drivers learn to drive their bikes as kids and understand the cyclists perspective because of this pervasive education the motoring culture is not a-priori hostile toward bicyclists. I wish US advocates, as a group, supported the education side as much as the facilities side of advocacy.

            • roadblock says:

              Education in Netherlands is PART of the equation. You need separated facilities and paint on the streets to couple the education.

            • bikinginla says:

              Dan, get off your high horse. You’ve repeatedly stated that you wish bike advocates — without the quote marks, please — demanded education as much as infrastructure.

              In communicating with thousands of cyclists and bike advocates over the past few years, I have seldom talked to one who didn’t cite education of both cyclists and drivers as one of their highest priorities. In fact, it was one of the most requested items at the recent Calbike Summit.

              If CABO really wants to do something on that front, do it. You’ll find a lot of the people currently criticizing you will support it.

            • Compare how sate and federal money is spent, and you see that very little goes to bicycling education in our schools. CABO is educating those who design, build and maintain our roads. There’s no “If” about it. You write as if you didn’t read my earlier comments about what we are doing with Caltrans and local agencies.

      • The fatal flaw in vehicular cycling, acting like a driver, what ever you want to call it, is the reality of aggression, ignorance, incompetence & entitlement on the street.

        In a perfect world of educated & responsible drivers, bicycling as a driver works just fine, but we do not live in such a world & we are far from it. Hell, legislation apparently just passed to let slide not having a license at all. I’m all for education in all forms by any way message can be delivered, but I see very little progress on that front, & I’m not sure we could get through the thick skulls of some people no matter how much message was out there. The police are overwhelmed with the state of our traffic conditions & let most offenses slide because Caltrans style engineering calls for designs accounting for speeds beyond what is reasonable or the posted speed limit in many places.

        I’m well versed in VC riding, & have spent time trying different routes & riding styles, including avoiding bike infustructure all together . Understanding VC techniques is an important part of coping with our existing horrible environment, and I do value those skills. However I am sick of the verbal abuse, the threats, the rage, & even physical attacks on my body by drivers. Frankly I do not want share space with these insane people who’s ego’s are super charged on horse power if I can at all avoid it. And I believe that sentiment is shared by most cyclists in the state, & most citizens who do not yet ride but would like to.

        • roadblock says:

          Even in Dan’s lovely video, you can see cars desperate to get around him. Come out to LA, on a weekday during the fall/winter when it’s dark during rush hour and make your little video on the West side or in Korea town or East Hollywood.

          • Words matter; cars do not desparately do anything, people in cars (and some on bikes) do.
            Yes, there is an unfortunately pervasive paradigm of misunderstanding that roads are just for cars and that bicyclists must get out of the way; in other words, Bullying! This is NOT the law – see CVC 21200.
            To promote bicycling the bullying must stop!
            The best facilities in existence for traveling to all legal destinations are roads. Is anyone thinking that separate facilities for bicycling will serve all destinations and will be equal if not superior to public roads? Some may so let’s get them built, but in the meantime and for everywhere else –
            Roads are for people not just for people in cars!

            • roadblock says:

              The law can say anything it wants. But if people have roads built for the biggest common denominator – the automobile – then people driving automobiles will bully vulnerable users out of the way. It’s called human nature and no amount of education (without facilities to restrict driver speeds) will stop human nature.

              Dan said it himself. He was the victim of an intentional hit and run assault. Geee. I wonder why that happened? Maybe because of a bully who didnt give a damn about the law?

            • I was hit by some gang-bangers as far as the witnesses can tell, and by what the local police told me was happening at the time. So it was an assault, not a bullying or intimidation event. The law is meaningless without education, and this is evident to me in how police enforce their prejudices and how some motorists operate. Most motorists are not criminals, and are not out to get cyclists, but enough are careless and/or hostile that it is a serious problem.

              Again, the countries that integrate cycling education into the schools create drivers who understand cycling. That approach has not been tried in the US, and it’s long overdue. We’d have a lot less fat kids and pollution and deaths from parent running over the children of their neighbors at schools if kids were taught to ride and walk to school. It’s a national tragedy that so many kids are killed by obesity and dumb over use of cars to take kids a few blocks to school.

          • Snob says:

            For the final portion of the video shot in Orlando, the pair of cyclists is being trailed by a copcar. How much you wanna bet the officer driving had the cruisers “move to the right” flashing bar running for vehicles behind him/her?

            • Nope. That’s unstaged video. All the traffic video on my channel is also unstaged. So let me ask you this, the cop wasn’t there in the earlier segments of the video, yet motorists made lane changes. Are you trying to imply that the cop was somehow hiding and directing traffic? It looks like you are trying a little too hard to fabricate objections.

            • Snob says:

              I’ll imply that the cop was possibly directed to the scene by 911 callers or happened to stumble across you and decided to escort you without your knowledge, because s/he was concerned for your safety. Yes you are within “the Law” when you ride slowly side-by-side, but in most U.S. cities you will soon be bullied out of the lane. Most non-riders wouldn’t dream of what those two cyclists are doing, and will therefore never take up the activity (it is not a “sport”!). But they would if there were infrastructure. However, thanks to CABO’s insistence, city planners and engineers, many of whom are more than willing to install these kinds of facilities now, won’t be able to get it past their legal departments and municipal insurance carriers because “it isn’t in the MUTCD”, “isn’t allowed in the State of California” etc.

            • bikinginla says:

              Just a quick correction. Bicycling can be a sport, activity or transportation, depending on the riders intent and how he or she rides. I ride for both transportation and sport at different times.

            • Routinely, on the same ride, without changing clothes or bike, I transport myself to a meeting of colleagues where – after a bit of exercise – we discuss professional issues over coffee.

      • “Not everyone wants to be on a cycletrack or in a bike lane” but last time I heard the vast majority of potential cyclists do want cycle tracks and bike lanes. We needn’t design for the people already cycling despite current street conditions, we need to design so that more people feel comfortable and safe enough to cycle.

        “is annoying, it’s just a motorist having a mini-tantrum.” It’s enough to keep people from ever riding again.

        “one way to address the problem is to educate children in school about cyclists’ rights by teaching them traffic skills. This way they can ride to school safely by acting as drivers and when those that do choose to use a car get on the road, they will already understand traffic from a bicyclist’s perspective.”
        The majority of parents won’t let their children cycle, even if all had taken a safety course. And many people already have fond memories of riding as children/teens yet when they get behind the steering wheel of a car they absolutely hate cyclists, so I’m not sure education is enough to cause a significant shift in mode share and to increase the level of subjective safety needed to get more people riding.

        And yes, subjective safety is what’s needed. Cycling is already relatively safe yet hardly anyone cycles because they don’t feel safe– more people would feel safe with separate facilities, slower motor vehicle speeds.

      • In the second video, I counted 37 potential conflicts with the cyclist in the rear from vehicles with a much higher mass and speed moving directly behind, or to either side of this rider. Reducing potential conflicts increases the feeling of comfort for a person on a bike, or thinking of biking, and greatly reduces the odds of injury. This style of riding has very little potential to attract people to cycling in any but a small number. It’s a road warrior style of riding that has very little appeal beyond a few fearless males.

        The Netherlands has the highest amount of cycling education and they DO NOT put people on bicycles in front of fast moving vehicles that have much greater mass. There are four times more bike paths in the Netherlands than bike lanes. That was done to reduce the potential conflicts with motorized vehicles and to increase the comfort for people on bicycles. This seems to have worked very well as the Dutch have by far the greatest cycling rate of any country in Europe.

        • roadblock says:

          Don’t bring up the Dutch to CABO people, their brains meltdown and they start citing faulty analysis of traffic studies in Northern Europe.

  19. I’ve been working with Caltrans to improve intersection and interchange practices. There is a new set of guidelines out that is not yet widely adopted that does much of what you want, and I’ve been doing my part in District 7 BAC meetings to ensure that designers are aware of the guidelines and use them. For just one of many examples, you are probably aware that the I-710 corridor is going to be rebuilt, costing 10s of billions of dollars over a decade of time, and left to themselves, Caltrans and some of the local cities would put in Single Point Urban Interchanges (SPUI or SPI) that are extremely challenging barriers to bicycling, even worse than many of the existing bridges on arterials over the southern section of the I-710 freeway. We are working to make sure that these facilities include by-pass paths as well as road features (signs, Sharrows, Signal timings) that support both road cyclists and those preferring a separated facility.

    Regarding driver hostility, that’s a cultural problem much bigger than CABO, the CBC or any local coalition, and as I’ve stated here and in many other forums, it’s education that’s the root of the problem. Most of the problems I witness and hear about stem from total ignorance of bicyclists’ rights and the hostility it translates into on the road. Cultures (Netherlands, Danes, etc.) that value bicycling teach it in public schools so everyone know cyclists rights and by knowing, can protect said rights.

    • roadblock says:

      Driver hostility is a cultural problem EVERYWHERE because we have huge wide roads that encourage fast driving. Mixing bikes and cars on roads that allow speeds of more than 20mph is going to result in hostility and increased death.

      Ride the Netherlands.

  20. roadblock says:

    Bottomline. CABO needs to be transparent and needs to answer to cyclists, needs to dissolve it’s board of directors and reconstitute it with diversified, young, old, male, female directors. Any group that has reach into Sacramento should be accountable to the people they claim to represent.

  21. CABO Board membership is as diverse as it is based on our volunteers willingness to serve. There are no gender, ethnic or other innappropriate restrictions to Board membership. The CABO annual General Membership meeting and elections are held at the Great Western Bicycle Rally in Paso Robles. All members are welcome, and teleconferencing participation is available.

    I welcome offers to serve and there are current Area Director vacancies we’d like to fill in Districts 1 – Eureka, 2 – Redding, 9 – Stockton, and 10 – Bishop.

    • roadblock says:

      I want Los Angeles. The city I was born raised and grew up in. Split district 7 into more reps. It should be based on population count not area.

      • Los Angeles is a City, District 7 is two counties (LA and Ventura). Los Angeles County has the LACBC, and it has local chapters. No one is preventing you from “having LA”. Why not form a local LA City chapter of the LACBC? Or a local LA City advocacy organization? It sounds to me like you have a local, and not state focus. I helped Chris Quint, Andrea White and others form a local Long Beach organization to deal with local issues (Long Beach Cyclists). There’s no one holding you back but you. I wasn’t born with local and state level connections, I spent the better part of two decades earning them, as did Jim Baross, John Ciccarelli, Bert Hill, and many others in CABO and the CBC who operate at the state level.

        Please recognize that CABO is a state organization, and many of the board members regularly deal with sate level issues and travel throughout the state, so we maintain awareness of much more than just our own local districts. Regarding CABO’s organization; it reflects a state/Caltrans focus. If you (Gionni) don’t like it, then by all means form an alternate organization or join one; CABO is not holding you back…

        • roadblock says:

          I recognize that CABO is a state org. You may have spent decades earning state connections but that doesnt make you right about your policy.

          I’ve been working politically developing my own initiatives and political connections. I’m just getting started. I am active and anxious to create a change in the system along with thousands of other cyclists.

        • roadblock says:

          BTW CABO IS holding me back. I’ve worked with LADOT on more than a few road config issues and OFTEN they mention state regulation as a barrier to any solution. So the roads just simply remain deadly.

          • CABO is not the state, nor do we create the standards; at best we try to help improve them. You give us much more credit than we deserve for holding you back. Since you support segregated infrastructure, there are plenty of other organizations better suited to your interests.

            • roadblock says:

              See, right there is the evidence that your group does not support safety or cyclists in general. You only support the elitist VC point of view. CABO is the state in the sense that you preach the automobile-centric street design gospel and for that you are heard and given more voice that a group that wants more infrastructure to support cyclists.

  22. Matt says:

    If I’m not mistaken, you stated that you visited Netherlands, saw no problems, violated Dutch laws by deciding to ride VC. This was a comment by you about the conference,
    “I participated in the Velo Mondial 2000 conference session titled
    “Integration or Segregation”. The segregationist were firmly in control of the discussion via the moderator. I thought of the term “Uncle Tom”, used in the US to refer to someone willing to put up with racial segregation/degradation because it is easier than trying for equality.”

    And even though you experienced no problems, made a weird prediction that everyone would die (??) if we got similar infrastructure?
    “The Amsterdam system of lanes for cars, bicycle “tracks” and sidewalks wouldn’t work if established today in the US. We’d be mowed down by motorists at every intersection.
    Conversely, imposing on Amsterdam the US system of lanes for everyone (if you’re willing to assert your rights) and sometimes some other special facilities for bicyclists would, I expect, result in many deaths in the first week.”

    This infrastructure seems to be working pretty well in Portland and NYC which were in large part brought in from the places like the Netherlands.

    Please explain again how you represent the majority of current and future cyclists in California?

    • Snob says:

      We also segregate trucks out of residential streets (except when they are making deliveries) and only allow them to use the two right-most lanes of the Freeway System.

      Any vehicle with more than two axles (except buses) is not allowed into the HOV/HOT/Express Lane system.

      We have “bus-only” facilities throughout the state.

      While Streetcar/Light Rail (and even some freight rail) has in the past been built into the street (called “street running”) and is presently proposed for downtown Los Angeles, we also have tended to build Light Rail only medians on newer projects where feasible.

      So how come these other non-private-auto modes can have segregations, but not bicycles?

  23. roadblock says:

    The infrastructure works GREAT in the Netherlands and Denmark. Segregation of modes for streets that allow speeds to top 20mph is key. Yeah I said segregation. I guess that means in the vehicular cycling crowd that I’m an Uncle Tom.

    • Segregated facilities work in Malmo, Sweden too! I love when the cycle tracks there let me bypass a traffic signal that’s stopping adjacent motorized traffic. Riding on the facilities there often allow one to go faster than VC riding. Perhaps we should entice VC’s like that– proper bicycle infrastructure lets you go FASTER than VC’ing!

      • How do we know whether it’s proper bicycle infrastructure, without installing some and conducting experiments? That’s what the CBC/CABO AB819 is about: Kicking Caltrans into motion to install and learn about innovative facilities.

        What if it’s not proper bicycle infrastructure, but it’s attracting user anyway? In the Prokop case, CABO alone was fighting for those path users’ right to expect the paths to be safe, following the standards for engineering and installation and maintenance.

        • roadblock says:

          Too many times CABO expects exactly perfect or nothing at all.

          People are dieing RIGHT NOW.

          Every time I see a VC video showing some sunny weekend in Long Beach I want to puke. Make one during rush hour in LA on a 7 mile commute from century city to hollywood. The bike lanes on Santa Monica are awesome. If CABO had it’s way they wouldnt exist. Even the sub par lanes on Sunset establish a clear right for me to be there which is better than if they weren’t there at all.

          • When you fabricate stories that are not true: “The bike lanes on Santa Monica are awesome. If CABO had it’s way they wouldn’t exist.”, you demonstrate your desire to smear rather than to understand. CABO did not advocate against bike lanes on SM Boulevard. CABO is against the law (CVC 21208) that makes all CA bike lanes mandatory and we oppose the edge law (CVC 21202) because these laws restrict our choices and treat us less well than car drivers or motorcyclists, and subject us to harassment by police, and saddle cyclists with the presumption of fault in crashes (so they can’t collect damages in court).

            And I chuckle a bit when you repeatedly make the statement “People are dieing RIGHT NOW”, not because of the spelling error, but because it is not a rational argument. Ideologues across the full political spectrum use this same form of discourse: “people are dying in the streets, right now, therefore do what I want”. If you want to be effective in working with state and local agencies, you need to drop the emotional rhetoric.

            • bikinginla says:

              I see nothing funny about cyclists dying, regardless of how it’s spelled. Last year, 71 cyclists died on Southern California streets, not counting shooting victims. And by far, the leading cause of death was hit-from-behind collisions.

              If you want to call people passionate about reducing that number to zero ideologues, be my guest. But it says far more about you than it does those you unfairly criticize.

              Personally, I will not rest until no bike riders die from traffic collisions. And that will never happen as long as there is more focus on Vehicular Cycling — by any name — over good infrastructure.

            • roadblock says:

              Ok thanks Mr. spell checker. Could you go over all my other comments and spell check them for me too. thanks. Report back to me anything you find. appreciated.

  24. Scott Mace says:

    I would like to see more transparency from CBC. Several years ago it discontinued its discussion mailing list. The CBC newsletter is a house organ that discloses only what the CBC directors choose. Where is CBC’s honest airing of the differences expressed above? Nowhere. The CABO discussion mailing list is a lot better in this regard. CBC is far from transparent unless perhaps one is at their annual conference or in Sacramento. CBC chose not to vet the proposed language for AB 819 before its introduction with all California bicyclists, because it knew there would be concerns as expressed here — and others. I guess knowing what I know about it, I can’t fault CBC for the level of transparency it chooses to express, but to say it is more transparent than CABO, that’s really stretching the truth.

    • I suspect the trend to closing public discussion forums reflects advice from (Thunderhead) Alliance for Biking and Walking, the country’s premier professional advice-givers in managing non-profit advocacy groups in those fields.

      The Bicycle Coalitions in both San Francisco and Silicon Valley both still maintain email discussion forums, but they’re disavowed as ways to interact with management or leadership. They’re maintained only as a public service, discussions between cyclists in the region – nothing about the organizations’ work.

      SVBC says their website’s forums are now the official way to interact with management and leadership, but they’re largely idle, and their management and leadership ignore direct questions. The website is a one-way communication channel from management to dues-payers.

      Regarding “CBC chose not to vet the proposed language for AB 819 before its introduction with all California bicyclists”: I wouldn’t expect that of any organization that’s active in legislation. Authoring happens at the sponsoring organization, and the committee meeting is the forum for public vetting.

  25. One could also levy that same complaint about the LACBC, which disbanded it’s email list a number of years ago, effectively severing communications from and to members who didn’t attend the downtown LA meetings. But I’m not here to criticize the CBC or the LACBC, just to set the record straight about CABO, which does have an email list precisely to hear from members and others who have questions, or wish to point out problems occurring throughout the state. CA is a large state and the CABO Forum is how we often first find about about problems with Caltrans and local agencies in many parts of the state.

    In terms of CABO transparency, the LACBC (board and staff), and other groups regularly attend the Caltrans D7 BAC meetings, so it’s not like the presentations I give on behalf of CABO there are any kind of secret, nor are the presentations CABO gives at CBAC, which are also a matter of public record. Not only do I have nothing to hide, I actually put most of my presentations and course materials in public FB albums so people can learn from them, and/or give feedback. I’m trying to do the opposite of hiding my materials.

    • roadblock says:

      So what’s the deal. Why is there only one director for all of Los Angeles and Ventura when there is 4 for the bay area?

      When is CABO going to split up district 7? The time has come.

      • jim baross says:

        More eyes, ears and actors are welcome to assist CABO/bicycling. Who and what area are you proposing? What are their reasons to join/help? What do they bring / have for assisting?

        • roadblock says:

          I propose that district 7 get as many or more reps as the bay area. It’s not right that ALL of Los Angeles AND Ventura are repped by one person.

          I’m hereby volunteering for Los Angeles, my city of birth, the city I grew up riding and driving in, the streets that have mine and my friend’s blood on them, the streets I ride EVERY SINGLE DAY ALL CITY and at all times. I’m an LCI, and a vehicular cyclist. Split Los Angeles and Ventura amongst at least 4 reps.

          My reason to join? I’m sick of friends dieing (SP) and getting hit on unsafe streets because LADOT’s hands are tied by state regulation.

          what are the qualifications to get on the board?

  26. Snob says:

    One has to really question the motives of an organization who would have stopped the incredible developments in Long Beach…

    …because it might not have catered to 25 mph bicycles…

    …while at the same time demanding that bicycles be allowed on the SR241 toll road:

    • CABO was not opposed to the developments in Long Beach, we have been actively engaged in helping the city make improvements city wide; we were the ones who educated Caltrans staff and helped them fix the bad striping of bike lanes on PCH in Long Beach, as well as improving the PCH bridge over the San Gabriel River. We didn’t oppose the cycletracks as a facility, just the way the city approached the experimental process, as detailed in the blog. I should also note that the CIty had originally planned to sign the path as a bike lane and we were able to ensure that the facility was signed as a path, thus making it legally optional, and protecting the rights of cyclists who choose not to use the paths on 3rd and Broadway.

      Regarding the 25 mph design speed, that’s straight out of the HDM, and is required by law. The unprotected driveways and poor sight lines could have been avoided if the CIty had removed a few parking spaces and installed turn lanes and stop sign controls to both require motorists to yield, thus giving cyclists explicit ROW and legal recourse if a motorist injures or kills a cyclist, as well as making crashes less likely by improving visibility.

      Regarding SR-241, state law, SHC 888 and SHC 888.2 respectively require alternate routes be provided otherwise the route must be open to bicycling, and new routes should be provided when freeway corridors are established. Yes, CABO expects state and local agencies to follow state laws that support cycling access. If you question these motives, than I wonder why you are against safer designs and improved access.

      • Snob says:

        My reply to you somehow ended up down at the end of the comments. So look for it down there.

        • Snob says:

          For the record, the speed limit of the Copenhagen Cycletracks for mopeds (which are allowed to use them as well as powered mobility scooters) is 30 kph or about 19 mph. Maybe that is the crux of the issue? Those of us who aren’t making time trials every time we get on a bike don’t mind having a speed limit in exchange for not having to ride in traffic?

          • MikeOnBike says:

            The “design speed” is not the same thing as the speed limit.

            Every intersection and driveway involves dealing with other traffic, which is why we’re so picky about this stuff.

  27. roadblock says:

    I get emails all the time from LACBC and they have a blog and twitter with regular activity.

    • Receiving is not the same as being able to post to an email list. When the LACBC was formed, we had an email list, patterned after the CABO Forum, that allowed members to post. That was taken down a number of years ago. The LACBC communicates one-way to it’s members; it’s not two way. In this way, CABO is much more accessible. We routinely receive emails from cyclists throughout the sate, about problems, or with questions, as I noted in an earlier response.

      • roadblock says:

        Yeah but you were implying that your org is more transparent than LACBC which it is not.

      • roadblock says:

        good thing we were able to heckle you into posting a list of the board of directors. Los Angeles needs to be split into 4 reps minimum.

  28. Snob says:

    Sorry BikinginLA, but I have to disagree with you on the whole “let’s dress like the pros” argument. (I could not reply up there ^^ to your comment).

    Go to any pick up game or any youth sports.

    You might see some cheap replicas on some youth teams because the kids, if they can afford it, want to dress up like their heros. You might see one participant in an adult pick-up game wearing a full accurate uniform, but no more. Those replica jerseys cost hundreds of dollars and are not going to be used for sweaty, dirty play by most people. And then in either case, the participants are most likely going to have regular clothes on for the rest of their clothing.

    Only the John Forrester Vehicular Cycling crowd goes out dressed head to foot as extras in a Greg Lemonde film biography.

    It really looks very silly and gives all bicycling a credibility gap.

    • bikinginla says:

      No need to apologize; I know where you’re coming from. While I do agree it looks silly from the outside, the full spandex get-up serves a valuable purpose for those riding for speed and distance; less so for those riding to the market and back.

      While I’ve worn spandex for over 25 years, I’ve never been one to wear the pro-looking outfits. Mine are more conservative, though still with the bright colors to catch the eye of motorists; I’ve found more subtle tones tend to make me almost invisible to some drivers.

      Don’t forget, though, that some who wear sponsors logos are local, regional or national-level racers who are in fact sponsored by the people whose names adorn their jerseys. I’d wear someone’s logo on every ride if wanted to sponsor a lowly bike blogger.

      But one vital clarification. Not all roadies — even those covered head to toe in spandex — are Vehicular Cyclists. I’m not, though I do ride that way when the situation calls for it; I’d much rather have decent infrastructure so I would seldom, if ever, have to ride that way. And I know far more who wear regular street clothes on their rides who follow VC religiously.

  29. Snob says:

    I’d rather you make the busy urban roads that most of the population will use safer than some remote mountain toll road. Why not work with Irvine Land to get Portola Parkway completed, or pave one of the dirt roads that already connects the two ends of that road?

    Newsflash: Grandma ain’t gonna ride on the shoulder of an Expressway (I wouldn’t refer to SR 241 as a “freeway” in public)

    Wouldn’t the pre January 11th AB 819 have allowed more local control on things like HDM speeds? Isn’t the issue here, that you guys really seem to miss, that there is way too much control over what cities want to do by Caltrans and that since things like the HDM are controlled by Caltrans (who are well known for their embrace of non-automobile modes…NOT!) then we will never see any changes to the status quo.

    The bill prior to January 4th, 2012 allowed for a new Class IV bikeway (effectively a Dutch cycletrack) that could have then been set to a lower design speed and still allowed for the Vehicular Cyclists to use the street.

    But, no, now we will not have that because we will not be able to use the new increasingly proven, design standards already in place from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials or the Association of City Transportation Officials but will now instead have to go through Caltrans to do anything…

    …if and when they get around to “establish procedures for cities, counties, and local agencies to request approval…for purposes of research, experimentation, and verification”

    Sure, the city attorneys and insurance carriers are gonna sign off on “experimentation”. Have you any idea how hard it was just to install R4-11’s because two years later Caltrans has not approved the 2009 MUTCD (hopefully the process was completed today)?

    And then using CABO lines of thinking, there is this:

    • Portola was/is a political hot potato, and was deliberately not completed because of agreements between Caltrans, the City and the toll road provider, not to compete with the toll road. But that’s beside the point, SHC 888 and 888.2 are clear on this point of bicyclist access. It’s a false dichotomy to pit access versus facilities development.

      We support uniform state laws and standards, and sound experimentation processes. You may have a different view.

      CABO has been supportive of the BMUFL signs for over a decade, and it has been at fight at the national and state levels to get that R4-11 sign into the MUTCD (and then to the CAMUTCD), since the CTCDC did not want to adopt it. Part of why CABO pushed for CTCDC involvement and representation was because such traffic controls were not being approved by CA. You really don’t appear to understand how the CTCDC works or CABOs long involvement. Are you aware that it was CABO Traffic Engineering Liaison, Bob Shanteau, who spearheaded the CTCDC subcommittee that implemented AB1581 (a bill law CABO supported) so that signals will detect bicyclists?

      Caltrans was dragging it’s feet and didn’t want to implement the law. That was over a year of hard work to get those standards into the CAMUTCD. Where were the CBC or any local groups during that period?? CABO has been supportive of sharrows, BMUFL signs and also improved geometric designs and work to get them into the standards.

      Regarding CAMUTCD experiments, if a city wants to perform them, they happen. Since approved experiments are official traffic controls, the local agency has the same liability protection as anything in the manual proper.

      The 2012 CAMUTCD has been approved by the CTCDC, and the Feds at FHWA have signed off, though Caltrans has not yet published it on their website.

    • bikinginla says:

      Don’t forget that CABO has influence with Caltrans, and only by forcing bikeway design through Caltrans are they able to maintain that influence.

      Changing the wording of AB 819 was less about protecting cyclists than it was a power grab.

      • CABO forcing bikeways design through Caltrans? This is not a factually correct statement. CABO did not enact the laws (CVC and SHC via the State Legislature) that require use of standards (HDM and CAMUTCD via Caltrans and the CTCDC). CABO has far less power and influence than you imagine with the Legislature or Caltrans. Bicyclists at CABO have been complaining that signals were not constructed using loops types and sensitivity settings to detect bicyclists for over 3 decades and Caltrans turned a blind eye. It wasn’t until we were able to work with the motorcycling lobby was it possibe to force Caltrans, through legislation, to make signals detect bicyclists through AB1581 and lots of subsequent committee work. It was even worse for Sharrows and BMUFL signs. I wish we had the level of influence you imagine we have, but we don’t.

        • bikinginla says:

          I’m getting confused. You say CABO has influence with Caltrans and state officials cultivated over decades, then turn around and say you don’t.

          But since the point of this entire discussion is the change in wording — at CABO’s suggestion — of AB 819 to force infrastructure projects not yet part of the MUTCD to go through Caltrans for approval, I’d say your first sentence is rather disingenuous.

          • Your confusion stems from black and white, do or don’t thinking. I wrote that our influence was not as great as you imagine and you mapped it to zero. We have relationships and access, but not the level of influence you imagine, and I was very careful to point out that the Legislature and Caltrans drive the standards, NOT CABO, so there is nothing disengenous about citing state authority. Do you understand that SHC 890.6 and SHC 890.8, and CVC 21401 have been on the books for many decades? You write as if those sections, which we are seeking to modify, were new.

            On the subject of influence at Caltrans, I recently presented data showing why minimum bike lane and sharrow placements endanger bicyclists by routing them into the door zone of parked cars, and/or exposingthem to close passes by motorized traffic. CBAC was not very willing to improve minimum BL standards, though they do seem inclined to improve Sharrow placements, or at least consider the question. CABO is not the gatekeeper you accuse of being, nor are we interested in “grabbing power”. We simply advocate for good laws, standards, and enforcement.

            • bikinginla says:

              Dan, please don’t tell me what I think. You are as far off base with that as you are anything else. How would you possibly know what level of influence I imagine you have? Are you psychic? My shrink? Do you read my diary? I only know that CABO’s influence, whatever that may be, is far more than I am comfortable with.

              I repeat the original argument — CABO is a very small organization that professes to represent California cyclists, many of whom would disagree with the arguments you make on our behalf.

              I have no problem with CABO representing the small minority of cyclists who belong to the organization. I do have a problem with it it helping to gut AB 819, then professing that it was done on behalf of safety, when it will only create more red tape and continue to put more cyclists in jeopardy.

            • jim baross says:

              It is clear that we disagree and are unlikely to come to consensus. I plan to seek to have Caltrans adopt an open and effective procedure for trial, review, and adoption of better environments for bicycling via the HDM.
              What are you going to do besides question what CABO is and what its members stand for?
              When you have ideas for CABO, feel free to communicate those through a CABO BOARD or other member or directly to me.

  30. Snob says:

    Question for CABO: On your forum one of your directors claims there are “several near-misses” in the following video from Chicago:

    Could you educate me as to where these occur because I simply do not see them. In fact, thanks to the width of parking lane, I see cars forced into making right turns such that the bicyclist is in the driver’s field of vision as opposed to the current standard at Caltrans where the bicyclist is in the driver’s blind spot as the entry into the bike lane begins.

    • Why not ask that director? This is not a CABO list.

    • MikeOnBike says:

      A pointer to a list of near-misses was added here:

      • Snob says:

        Thanks! The more direct link is here:

        It is wondrous to see “bicycle advocates” using the same kinds of arguments against cycletrack construction that many anti-public transit forces have used against construction of rail transit facilities (i.e. “Rail ridership only comes from the riders of the buses that were ‘replaced’ by the rail line”). Except in the long run that has proven not to be true. Why? Because there is a large segment of the population who will not commute or otherwise travel by bus just as there is a large segment of the population who do not want to be Vehicular Cyclists on the busier roads.

        • bikinginla says:

          Amazing. That’s the kind of backward thinking more progressive advocates have to fight on a daily basis. And totally ignores the recent stats from New York showing that the rate of cycling has doubled in the last two years since they dramatically expanded their infrastructure, while the rate of serious injuries and deaths have gone down.

          I know of no better argument for the need for improved infrastructure — and no better argument for why CABO’s changes to AB 819 add an unnecessary layer of red tape and obstruction.

          • Something of great importance that has mostly been left out of this discussion is the impact of bike lanes and other facilities on other street users besides bicyclists. Streets that go through configuration changes to include bike lanes often see safety improvements across the board, including for pedestrians and drivers as well cyclists.

            Something that has come up several times during the Santa Monica bike plan process was the results of the Ocean Park bike lane and road diet, which was initially installed as a trial project, and resulted in a 50% reduction in collisions of all kinds. Despite increased bicycle ridership, total bike collisions dropped as well.

            Personally I wish the bike lanes were a little wider, with more room to buffer from doors, but it’s hard to argue that the changes to the street were a bad thing. The street became easier and safer to cross for pedestrians, bicyclists were given their own lane, which attracted more riders, but decreased collisions, and the travel time impact to drivers were minor, and fewer drivers collided with each other. It was a win win for everyone.

            In New York some street reconfigurations reduced fatalities by so much, that it is literally increasing the average lifespan of New Yorkers because of the past years of traffic fatality reductions. Cities in California could be learning and implementing based on the successes elsewhere, but instead we will continue to be hobbled by having approval go through the unresponsive Caltrans.

            • roadblock says:

              This comment basically hits the ball out of the park into the next town folks. This is one of those lights are out the eggs are coolin butter is gettin hard jello is jigglin put it in the refrigerator moments folks. You can all go home now.

  31. roadblock says:

    hmmmmm CABO used to have two directors for district 7…. It’s needs about 4-6.

    • jim baross says:

      I welcome assistance from volunteers qualified and willing to support CABO’S goals and policies.
      Please forward information about such people to me… Most productively directly to me or through other CABO board members.

      • roadblock says:

        and I think my final say on this is that CABO boardmembers do NOT go out of their way to engage cyclists in Los Angeles because they know we want facilities and that is not in line with the elitist stance that VC’s have taken.

        • I interact with LACBC Staff/Board members monthly at Caltrans D7 BAC meetings, and I also attended the LA County Bike Summit this year, hosted by the LACBC and the City of Long Beach (were you Gionni, there?). So, as I’ve written multiple times on this thread, I support all behaviors, so this “elitist stance that VC’s have taken” statement is factually incorrect. As the late Senator Moynahan used to say, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts”.

          • I’ve also seen you interact with past LACBC staff over facebook, which is essentially it’s own public forum, and belittle and antagonize people for making pro-bike infrastructure comments, often with a sprinkling of implied male superiority and sexism.

            My wife Meghan (now an LCI instructor) made a comment about finding your sexist commentary being posted on facebook updates offensive, and your response was to reply with another sexist offensive comment and mock the whole thing.

            These are certainly not the qualities I look for in someone to represent the interests of a diverse bicycling public in California.

            • So it’s personal. Thanks for making this clear.

            • It’s not limited to being a personal manner when you make comments on public forums, even if they may be more limited as on facebook comments compared to comments posted here.

            • roadblock says:

              Factually incorrect in your opinion.

            • roadblock says:

              The point may or may not be that it’s personal, the point is that you say offensive things to people and that’s not becoming of a person in your power.

              I posted earlier that you acted condescending towards people including myself. Ok, it’s true, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I am still a person who rides a bike in your district and you are not representing mine or the majority of cyclist’s wishes regardless of your perception of the “facts.”

              I’m down to do a ride with you. Let’s link up.

              I’m telling you, I’m VC to the core, but I don’t wish to have to be.
              Let’s do this. East Hollywood to Downtown LA. I do it in 15ish minutes. But I will ride at what ever speed you want. Lets film it. 8:30am

              I disagree with VC’s in their rigid view of standards.
              I agree that cyclists should be able to ride where they please in any lane. I use both lanes actively even when there is a bike lane. I do it responsibly. But as I get old and slower I look forward to riding briskly and casually to where I need to go. I will need 20mph max car speeds or segregated facilities to truly feel safe.

              I WANT, like many people I know, to have bicycle facilities with robust new thinking designs. Some recognize that it will be far from perfect, but most of us believe that experimentation should defer to local powers to decide what they want and assume their own risk. All your org should be doing with it’s power is to find solutions world wide and advocating for their use here. Or better yet getting laws that give special vulnerable status to people powered vehicles such as the strict liability laws that northern europe enjoys.

          • roadblock says:

            I was there. I spoke on a panel too.

        • Jim Baross says:

          I doubt that you know much about what CABO Board members do or don’t do. Since all of them/us are volunteers, everything they do for CABO and for bicycling is “out of their way” – extra duty for which you feel it appropriate to criticise… based on what?
          You say “we want facilities” as though CABO does not want better facilities – not so.
          Is your statement intended to goad my/our responses, to whip up disfavor with CABO, or based on your honest misunderstanding? Or what?
          People who have been riding competently in SoCal urban traffic for any substantial length of time are likely riding, vehicularly or as some prefer to call it, driving their bicycles with the rights and duties of operators of vehicles. These people are certainly more skilled at bicycling than most people and likely are an elite group in terms of their bicycling skills and knowledge… you may even be one of them. But most of those folks I meet who are riding competently in a VC/driver type style that you characterize as elitist are also welcoming and eager to help others; not elitist.

          How about we ride together sometime; some of your regular routes in LA and sone of mine in SD? I suspect that riding together, or at least in proximity/within view, will clarify some of the issues unresolved through typing at each other. We could even ride some innovative facilities. Email to

          • Anon says:

            “I doubt that you know much about what CABO Board members do or don’t do. Since all of them/us are volunteers, everything they do for CABO and for bicycling is “out of their way” – extra duty for which you feel it appropriate to criticise… based on what?

            So you are not a paid bicycle consultant or paid bicycle expert, or paid bicycle trainer, whose credentials are not enhanced by your position in CABO?

            • Jim Baross says:

              Well you’re right, I do have enhanced – or maybe reduced (based on some of the comments here) – credibility because of my successful CABO involvements over several years… although no pay from CABO. (Do I also get enhanced or reduced credibility for being on CBCs board for many years too?)
              I probably earn $1,000 a year from teaching fees – most of my time is volunteered, and I earn less than that per year as an expert witness though I get $250/hour for it.
              Are you jealous, or what’s your point?
              My point is that the CABO Directors and Board are “working” for the love of bicycling not for a paycheck – it is my supposition that many people’s bicycling advocacy is effected, sometimes directed, by their employment-point of view; planners, educators, engineers, environmentalists, political candidates/elected officials each often seem to have colored their advocacy efforts toward their ?main? interests/gain. Planners advocate plans. Engineers facilities, Educators education. Etc. While bicyclist advocates focused on bicycling for bicycling’s sake aren’t – well, not as much.

              Have you heard the anecdote about the Head Bicycle-Guru – I think I have this right… He asks each of his pupils, “Why do we ride bicycles?”
              One replies, “I bicycle for health and fitness.”
              Second replies, “I ride a bicycle to save money.”
              Third says, “I use a bicycle for sustainable transportation and reducing my carbon footprint!”
              Fifth says, “I ride to reduce our dependance on and reduce the rate of depletion of fossil fuels.”
              Sixth says, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.”
              Guru reponds, “Ah, you know bicycling my son/daughter!”

              (I can’t resist a seventh response. “I don’t ride much exept on car-free routes.” Guru responds, “Too bad. I will help you acquire the knowlege and skills to handle more traffic situations now AND, we’ll work together on improving the future of bicycling by improving our roads and other bikeway facilties.”)

            • Anon says:

              OK, apologies. But do you earn your living in any way related to bicycling or transportation? I’m trying to understand what is going on.

            • Anonymous says:

              I used to think that CABO was there to protect cyclist rights to the streets. Which is why I was a supporter. But year after year I saw CABO be that group of pedantic pontificating technocrats that they are. No vision for real transportation reform and frankly, just a bunch of old white men not interested in changing the status quo. They don’t want to see women and children ride bikes. They only care about their narrow views.

            • jim baross says:

              I’m finding it hard to imagine that Ms Olinger ever was a supporter of CABO, and finding no truth to her other disparaging claims about CABO, I am coming to consider any of her statements as unreliable and most likely flame-bait.
              Is this discussion to degenerate toward attacking the age, race, and/or gender of CABO members rather than remaining on the merits of CABO positions and actions?
              But then, …
              Pedantic? Yes, lots of rule based arguments.
              Pontificating? Maybe. Some of us do. Some don’t. I perfer humor…
              Technocrats? Yes, we are proud of the technical expertise/experience we have… and look to increase it.

            • Sam Ollinger says:

              I’m highly flattered that someone took the time to leave a comment pretending to be me, but I was busy volunteering with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition at the time the comment was posted.

              I’m quite entertained however. Thank you.

            • bikinginla says:

              This comment was originally made under the name Samantha Ollinger; however, this is not the Sam Ollinger who writes and edits San Diego’s leading bike blog.

              If there are two Samantha Ollingers, let me know. Otherwise, it’s not nice to play with other people’s identities. Next time, the comment will just be deleted.

            • Jim Baross says:

              How I earn my living is pretty tangential to the discussion of what and how CABO does its advocacy or the merits of our efforts toward AB 819… to which Caltrans is btw apparently opposed at the moment.
              I am living on investments, rental property income, and a pension from 30+ years working for the City of San Diego – from working as a lifeguard, recycling specialist, etc. to financial analyst.

    • roadblock says:

      The point may or may not be that it’s personal, the point is that you say offensive things to people and that’s not becoming of a person in your power.

      I posted earlier that you acted condescending towards people including myself. Ok, it’s true, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I am still a person who rides a bike in your district and you are not representing mine or the majority of cyclist’s wishes regardless of your perception of the “facts.”

      I’m down to do a ride with you. Let’s link up.

      I’m telling you, I’m VC to the core, but I don’t wish to have to be.
      Let’s do this. East Hollywood to Downtown LA. I do it in 15ish minutes. But I will ride at what ever speed you want. Lets film it. 8:30am

      I disagree with VC’s in their rigid view of standards.
      I agree that cyclists should be able to ride where they please in any lane. I use both lanes actively even when there is a bike lane. I do it responsibly. But as I get old and slower I look forward to riding briskly and casually to where I need to go. I will need 20mph max car speeds or segregated facilities to truly feel safe.

      I WANT, like many people I know, to have bicycle facilities with robust new thinking designs. Some recognize that it will be far from perfect, but most of us believe that experimentation should defer to local powers to decide what they want and assume their own risk. All your org should be doing with it’s power is to find solutions world wide and advocating for their use here. Or better yet getting laws that give special vulnerable status to people powered vehicles such as the strict liability laws that northern europe enjoys.


  32. roadblock says:

    what are the goals of CABO? Strangle all bike facilities and maintain 1% mode share?

    • The above statement about strangling all bike facilities is a factually incorrect statement. What you are doing is promulgating anti-CABO propaganda. Such prose demonstrates an unwillingness to have meaningful, factual discussions.

      • bikinginla says:


      • roadblock says:

        Yeah, I’m not the only one who has harsh criticism of CABO, I guess I just don’t have much mercy when I feel like the efforts of cvcling orgs that I come to know and love and help advance initiatives on behalf of like LACBC get their hopes dashed because some state regulation keeps LADOT from implementing some much wanted bike lanes. When this happens enough times I begin to resent your power.

        There is only one of you for D7? Seriously? there should be 10 people handling it. That’s a huge area with distinct communities shouldn’t they have the power and ability to arrange their neighborhoods?

        But facts are facts PEOPLE ARE DYING ON THE STREETS and that needs to stop, faster than what CABO has done so far. No offense, but you guys have had 40 years to handle it. It’s not working. We need a new more responsive org influencing policy.

  33. DG says:

    I was somewhat impressed that the CABO people were willing to try to defend their views here, until I read this by Gutierrez above: “Since you support segregated infrastructure, there are plenty of other organizations better suited to your interests.”

    You’re absolutely right, bikinginla: CABO is an anti-biking fraud if they think bike lanes (AKA “segregated infrastructure”) are not an essential part of bike safety. Of course, bike lanes are expensive, and CABO provides a fig-leaf for avoiding that expense.

    • MikeOnBike says:

      But Dan also wrote: “Back when the Prokop appeal was in court, CABO was the organization that financially supported the rights of cyclists to have liability protection against cities building substandard paths. That’s right, CABO supports road users and path users, and clubs, and always has.”

      And Bob wrote: “In the Prokop case, CABO alone was fighting for those path users’ right to expect the paths to be safe, following the standards for engineering and installation and maintenance.”

      • DG says:

        CABO supports cyclists’ lawsuits for “unsafe” bike lanes, so what’s the obvious solution for a municipality? — don’t build any bike lanes in the first place. Gutierrez’ statement against “segregated infrastructure” made it crystal clear where CABO stands on bike lanes, pettifoggery notwithstanding: anyone interested in bike lanes should not turn to CABO for support, period.

        • MikeOnBike says:

          Here is an explanation of what CABO (joined by CBC and LAB) was fighting for in the Prokop case.

          People who use roads, or Class II bike lanes, or sidewalks today already have the legal right to expect those facilities to follow design and maintenance standards. Cities are responsible if their negligence injures a cyclist.

          People who use Class I bike paths currently do not have that right.

          • bikinginla says:

            Now that’s something I can agree with CABO on. Returning at least limited liability for off-road paths has been one of my highest priorities in recent years.

        • If you’d rather not have cities held as responsible for the safe construction and maintenance of the facilities they build especially for cyclists (bike lanes, paths, cycle tracks, etc.) as they are for the public roadways, then please contribute to the discussion at
          It’s the thread “Legislation to reverse Prokop?”

  34. DG says:

    “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.”

    Bob and Mike can stack the crap as high as they can reach, but it doesn’t change the clarity of Gutierrez’ declaration: “Since you support segregated infrastructure, there are plenty of other organizations better suited to your interests.”

    CABO does not want bike lanes. The rest is noise.

    • Your conclusion is a non-sequitur. Not strongly supporting the development of bike lanes is not the same as opposition to bike lanes, and my complaints about segregation are, as I stated in my first comment, are related to mandatory segregation through bicyclists specific discriminatory laws. To follow you logic, because I oppose the mandatory far to right law, I must oppose travel lanes? Right? Of course this is absurd, and presuming I oppose bike lanes because I oppose the mandatory use law is equally logically flawed.

      You may ask yourself why I’ve spent so much of my personal time, effort and money for many years to study bike lane designs, photo-document them across the state, and produce detailed scale drawings in order to persuade transportation professionals to route them away from, bad merge/weave zones, close passing hazards, and the door zone?

      Have you seen improvements on PCH in Long Beach, or the bridge over the San Gabriel River? Are you aware that I trained the engineer who redesigned the route? Are you aware that I made the side visit to the bridge with Caltrans and recommended using space from the median to create good rideable shoulders to connect to the bike lanes on either side of the bridge.

      Could it be that I recognize that people are dying from conflicts due to improper geometric design, and instead of just engaging in sophistry, personal attacks, and sophomoric smear campaigns, I’m actually doing some thing substantive and constructive about it, with the people that actually design build such facilities?

      Ask yourself why would Caltrans pay me to fly around the state to teach their staff how to design better bike lanes, paths, and Sharrow placements if I was opposed to bike lanes? Do you even grasp how absurd you sound to anyone who knows the facts?

      I don’t expect you to understand how those with scientific and engineering training go about identifying problems, collecting data, and then proposing data-driven solutions. I understand that it’s much easier to just believe in an ideology of mode share and populist support for designs in the NACTO guide, and hurl insults at those who do not conform to your beliefs. Our world views are quite divergent, and frankly, I have nothing more to say to you, and I’m not really interested in anything you have to say to me.

      • bikinginla says:

        I’d wonder if Long Beach’s Charlie Gandy would give you as much credit as you give yourself.

      • DG says:

        “Since you support segregated infrastructure, there are plenty of other organizations better suited to your interests.”

        My advice when trying to defend CABO: be aware of how much rope you’re using to hang yourself. The beauty of the internet, however, is that this statement will follow you outside this comment area.

  35. roadblock says:

    To Jim Baross, have you ridden in the Netherlands? I have a hard time believing your statement: “Amsterdam and other bike-friendly cities do not/cannot/will not keep motorists separated from bicyclists along more than a small percentage of their roads.”

    I’ve ridden across a lot of that country and only on narrow inner city streets where car traffic was about 15mph (or not allowed at all) did I find that there were roads without separation. Where are you getting the stats to support this statement?

    regarding your argument that somehow magically we are going to brainwash car drivers to follow the laws when the street designs encourage otherwise is naive. If this is CABO’s plan it hasn’t worked yet, and this ain’t North Korea.

    I agree that education is one part of the solution and a big part. I would like to know what CABO has done specifically to address the DMV test and training manual? Your website has documents from 1981 and some from the 90’s… What have you all done lately besides water down or kill legislation that local groups across california have backed and put a lot of sweat and blood into?

    I think we can all agree that streets that are designed for speeds of less than 20mph can be shared. It is the FACT that most streets are designed for speeds above 20mph and drivers are simply not obeying the speed limits. In fact state law encourages drivers to SPEED. What did you guys do to try and stop the 85th percentile law that encourages raising speed limits to accomodate speeders? Anything?

    Education come from paint on the street, it comes from increased mode share (knowing people who ride) and it comes from DMV testing it comes from increased liability for drivers of vehicles including stiffer penalties for hitting and killing vulnerable road users. What have you guys done on those ends?

    • Jim Baross says:

      I have bicycled one week in each city, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. I have no data at hand to share, only my personal experiences. Motorists and bicyclists apparently have been, as you term it, “brainwashed” there to share where there are no separate facilities… and the prioritization of bike and ped modes over motorists in law and everyday behavior is amazing, wouldn’t you say?
      People’s behavior can be changed, likely faster and cheaper than we can provide parallel facilities everywhere for bicycling. But, this is not or shouldn’t be an all or nothing discussion re: facilities vs behavior. There are good reasons to have adequate separate facilities. There are also good reasons to “take back the streets!”

      I do not feel compelled to recount CABO efforts for you, I’m more busy doing them. I would be interested to compare our efforts to yours however. What are you doing? What have you done?

      • roadblock says:

        No data to support your claim. I see….

        You aren’t getting my point. You can’t simply expect drivers to suddenly obey the laws and respect cyclists if they do not encounter cyclists much and are driving on streets that encourage driving above 20mph (pretty much all non residential streets in California.)

        YOU and CABO apparently can only see in black and white. STATE CONTROL or NOTHING. People want to implement their own bike facilities in their neck of the woods using proven infrastructure such as the NACTO guide and your org was a key part of defeating that. That’s a huge problem.


        I want to see a record of what CABO has been doing for the last 40 years not just a bunch of scans of decades old documents. What exactly do you people do? Maybe it’s time to start crashing Gutierez’s Cal Trans meetings and find out what is going on around here.

      • roadblock says:

        The motorists have been “brainwashed” not just through education, but like I said, through LAW (strict liability) and segregated facilities on all 15mph + streets.

      • roadblock says:

        I want to know why it is that the CBC has to answer to your organization. What give your org the right to have influence?

        • Jim Baross says:

          Earned influence by wielding facts and information/knowledge.
          Who said that CBC “has to answer to” CABO?

      • Some of the safety improvements in the Netherlands were made by separating peds and cyclists from motorized vehicles by time and space. Vehicles are usually prevented from turning right when peds or cycles have a green light through an intersection.

        There is no consideration of the risk of severe injury or death to a cyclist traveling in front of motorized vehicles in any of Dan Gutierrez’s diagrams for sharrow placement. The use of sharrows is encouraged instead of five foot wide bike lanes with eight foot wide parking spaces. In the real world, this is increasing the risk of severe injury or death to a cyclist who is traveling in front of motorized vehicles that could be legally travelling 4X faster than the vunerable bicyclist. Motorized vehicles operators are simply not expecting to see something in front of them traveling at a much lower speed than they are and so may not notice the cyclist until it is too late. This is a reason why pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed to travel on freeways. It may be infringing on a cyclists rights to not be able to ride on a freeway, but it is also preventing severe injury or death of the cyclist.

        Any collision between a vehicle and a cyclist should be considered serious and by not taking into account the real possibility of driver error when designing bike facilities could cause severe injury to the vunerable bicyclist. There needs to be separation of bicycles from motorized vehicles on streets that have volume and speed, to reduce the rate of injury to cyclists. Barriers will reduce the risk of injury still further as it does with pedestrians traveling on sidewalks.

        Increasing the discomfort and risk of injury to a cyclist does not encourage people to get on a bicycle. It may be cheaper to do and seem to be accomplishing something for cyclists, but these narrow focused tactics of moving cyclists away from parked car doors and in front of moving traffic are slowing down the rate of any real progress of safety improvements for cycling.

        • “Motorized vehicles operators are simply not expecting to see something in front of them traveling at a much lower speed than they are and so may not notice the cyclist until it is too late. This is a reason why pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed to travel on freeways.”

          This is not true. 25% of the freeway miles, mostly rural, in CA are open to bicyclists. Freeways are primarily closed to bicyclists so that motorists can maintain higher speeds. In areas where there is no alternate route freeways are open to bicycling. If freeways really were too hazardous for bicyclists, as you imagine them to be, essentially none of them would be open to bicycling. This “I didn’t see the cyclist until it was too late” line, is an excuse motorists use when they hit cyclists, usually at the road edge, and not a common mode of car-bike crashes. In fact motorists are expected and expecting to see things in front of them, especially slower, and just because many people try to pretend the basic speed law doesn’t apply, is not a justification for access exclusion. The primary reason why the 75% of freeway miles are closed to bicycling is that they are urban and alternate parallel conventional highway alternate routes exist, so Caltrans sees no need to potentially slow freeway traffic.

          Also note that states like Arizona, which have most of their freeways open to bicycling have a very low crash rate, much safer per unit of exposure than riding urban streets. So many myths.

          Regarding bicyclists in the center of the effective lane space on urban streets, that’s where they are most visible and safest. Traffic movement rules are predicated on two factors, visibility and predictability, to de-conflict movements. The driver of a large truck could crush a sedan just as easily as a sedan driver could crush a bicyclist, and the only reason all can coexist on highways is because the traffic rules are designed for them to be in predictable destination lanes, right in front of each other within lanes so they can be seen. The idea that it’s safer to make one’s self less visible flies in the face of human factors and highway design. Most car-bike crashes, that are not otherwise caused by a cyclist violating traffic controls, are caused in part by cyclists using the road edge or sidewalk, and ending up in one of the classic crossing conflicts: hook, cross, or pullout.

          Because you don’t appear to understand traffic interactions, you consider those that do understand them to be brave or foolhardy. Just the opposite is the case. We control effective lane space for reasons opposite those you imagine. We do it to minimize crash risk so we can relax and be away from car doors and too-close passes, to which traveling over 11ft door zone sharrows would expose us. A 12′ lateral placement of a sharrow in a lane 20-22 feet wide is truly awful as it encourages motorists to very closely pass cyclists riding over the sharrow, as my scale diagrams show.

          By labeling lane control as brave or foolhardy, you are substituting your prejudice for fact, and promoting a definitely anti-bicycle driving agenda. I have no problem with cyclists choosing to ride anywhere they are legally allowed on the highway, including the road edge or the door zone; it’s their right. What I do have a problem with is cities encouraging higher risk behavior instead of lower risk behavior with door zone sharrow/BL placements, and “advocates” that attack those that support bicycle driving as part of their advocacy. Since cyclists can always choose to ride further rightward, having a Sharrow further left does not preclude cyclists riding as you prefer to do do, though it does make it harder for those who would choose to ride further leftward to get out of the hazard zones when on-street parking is present. Why do you want to make it more difficult for those who can control lanes to do so?

          • bikinginla says:

            Speaking of myths, most bike fatalities in Southern California are a result of hit-from-behind collisions, followed by collisions at intersections. Only a relatively small minority involve riders on the sidewalk.

            And only one — one — of the 71 cycling fatalities in Southern California last year was the result of a dooring. So how exactly is riding in the door zone higher risk behavior?

          • You stated that bicyclists in the center of the effective lane space on urban streets is where they are the most visible and safest. First, most bicycling in Los Angeles is done on the sidewalks and only a small fraction of cyclists are riding in front of moving vehicles. The great majority of cycling on the street is done riding to the side of moving vehicles. So, to conclude that riding in the center of the travel lane is the safest would likely be based on the fact that few cyclists are hit riding in the center of a lane due to few of them actually riding there and that dooring is more dangerous due to a great many or people riding there than in front of moving vehicles. This would also be like jumping to the conclusion that there was a 160% jump in cycling in the 7th St. area of Los Angeles, due to there being a 160% increase in the LACBC bicycling count at a intersection on that street from 2009 to 2011, after the installation of a bike lane there. To get an accurate picture of any increase in the cycling rate in the area, we need to know if those bicyclists are simply moving from another street in the area, or are taking up bicycling due to the installation of the new bike lane on 7th St.

            “The driver of a large truck could crush a sedan just as easily as a sedan driver could crush a bicyclist.” A sedan driver, or their front passenger who is surrounded by a protective safety shell, a seat belt, air bags and is sitting several feet in front of the tailend of this vehicle, could be crushed just as easily by a large truck, as a sedan could crush a unprotected bicyclist–who has nothing other than their soft outer shell or a helmet to protect them? Unbelieveable! All collisions between a vehicle and a cyclist could be considered serious, with higher mass trucks and buses moving at walking speed potentially lethal to a cyclist. Sedans are designed to have the occupants walk away unscathed in a 30 mile an hour collision into a solid object.

            Errors by motorized drivers are always a possibility and cannot be completely prevented as even the most highly trained, skilled and concerned drivers make mistakes, after all they are human. Making sure that the speed of a motorized vehicle is slow enough not to cause a fatal injury to a cyclist should be of utmost importance for safety if a cyclist is sharing the lane with them. Putting vulnerable cyclists in front of much higher mass motorized vehicles that are moving at over 20 miles an hour could cause serious harm or be fatal to a cyclist if a collison were to occur. Large differences in mass and speed should be eliminated as much as possible to lower the risk of serious injuries for all road users.

            Encouraging vulnerable bicyclists to ride in front of vehicles that have much greater mass and speed IS much riskier behavior than moving to the side of the motorized vehicles, even if it’s in a door zone. Few people are sitting in parked cars to open doors, where as all motorized traffic has the potential of driver error that could be injurous or fatal to a vulnerable cyclist. Stopping or starting for a cyclist in front of a moving vehicle is a risk. I in fact had a driver accidently run over my bike from behind after both of us were proceding from a full stop. How did I reduce the odds of that happening again?. I try to stay to the right, where the opportunity for that mistake happening is greatly diminished, in other words I take my safety into my own hands and try to reduce the potential conflicts from driver error. A motorist does tend to stay within the white stripes of their lane and so a bike lane helps in keeping the motorist away from the cyclist.

            It’s ludicrous to believe that any but a few people would feel as comfortable or more comfortable riding in the middle of a travel lane that has a posted speed limit of 45 mph, than off to the side in a door zone. That flys in the face of reality. The worst fear of safety for the vast majority of people who know how to ride a bike is moving motorized vehicles. They want to be away from any potentially serious or lethal conflicts with these vehicles and hopefully in a protected space, otherwise they won’t ride. This is self preservation and not something that goes away from experience for most of them.

            Promoting a much wider bike lane than five feet as the minimum standard reduces the probability of putting them in for many municipalities. Encouraging the use of sharrows as a replacement that places the vulnerable bicyclist in front of much larger mass vehicles, that move at much greater speed, is discouraging people from cycling by taking scarce funds away that could be used for more useful bicycling facilities.

            Frankly, you usually control lane space by driving in your car. I usually walk or ride a bike and I do sometimes control lanes with my bike. In fact, I did this a few months back on Victory Blvd at a area which had a 45 mph speed limit. I’m a very experienced cyclist and this did not make me feel relaxed. The reason why I did it was that I was in a hurry to get to work, so I rode in the street at this point, instead of the much more relaxing, but slower bike path beside the street. There were cars using the far right lane to pass slower cars to their left. Blocking these cars from squeezing past me was very uncomfortable and risky behavior. I was depending on the drivers not making the accelerated turn into the right lane to bypass cars, yet I couldn’t tell what was happening behind me and that made me very uncomfortable. Frankly, I’d much rather reduce the opportunities for vehicles to hit me and moving in front of vehicles that have a much larger mass and are legally able to move 3-4X faster than me is overlooking the possibility of human error, physics and the great liklihood of serious injury if a collison did occur.

            You have taken the time to understand the language of engineering and you have produced impressive looking diagrams. But, you leave out the elements of mass, speed and human behavior, which are crucial to reducing the amount of serious injuries. If you insist that the standard be set where few will use it, then you haven’t increased the overall safety for cycling. You’ve instead have made it more difficult to get any realistically useful improvements to the volume of bicycling or safety of cycling. It’s much like putting sharrows on the moon, where few if any, will venture that far, or take the risks to ride a bike there. It would be harmless to put sharrows on the moon, as it is with locating them 13+ feet from the curb on a busy street, but it would serve no useful purpose and it would be a waste of time, manpower and money.

            It would be much more useful to put effort in trying to improve the safety and volume of bicycling. That takes listening to and observing where and how people want to ride. You are not increasing the size of the pie, you are decreasing it by advocating for practically useless standards that would have little affect on the rate of safety, nor would they increase the volume of bicycling.

            • “Blocking these cars from squeezing past me was very uncomfortable and risky behavior.”

              You conflate your discomfort with risk. So long as you keep doing this, you will see traffic as deadly, people who cooperatively participate as “risk takers”, based not on actual risk, just your own discomfort. We fundamentally disagree on this point. No need to belabor it.

              “Your use of stick figure diagrams that do not take into account peoples fears, which is mainly motorized vehicles, is not a move towards making bicycling irresistable for most people and is most certainly helping to keep the bicycling rate from increasing.”

              That’s because you see actual safety as unimportant, and encouragement via perceived safety for the purpose of increasing mode share as the purpose of geometric design. I do not. I see routing bicyclists away from hazards, providing positive geometric guidance, and improved car-bike interactions as the purpose of geometric design. No need to discuss this further, since we are approaching the issues from radically different paradigms.

            • Comfort and safety are not necessarily joined together for me. I felt uncomfortable due to the increased risk of severe injury or death if there was a collision with any of these vehicles that had a much larger mass than me and that were moving at a much greater speed. Speed and mass do increase the liklihood of severe injury or death to a bicyclist in a collision, or do you refute that? Or do you deny that human beings can make errors that could result in a collision in this situation?

              I do not see “actual safety” as unimportant, nor do I see encouragement for modal share increases by perceived safety as the only purpose of geometric design. Your fallacious reasoning seems to have no end.

              Routing bicyclists away from one type of possible hazard, by guiding them in front of a hazard that has more liklihood for severe injury or death, is not sound reasoning for increasing safety. Decreasing the overall risk of severe injury or death by trying to achieve greater homogeneity of mass and speed is much more likely to produce more favorable results in safety. If this is cannot be achieved, then there should be separation of bicyclists from the much heavier and faster moving motorized vehicles.

          • I rode on more pre and post sharrow rides for the LADOT pilot study on sharrows, than anyone else. I passed hundreds of parked cars and not a single time was I in the least bit threatened by car doors that were opening. Nor am I aware of anyone else having a problem with parked doors that had been opened in front of them. The threats of injury to us were coming from the moving vehicles, behind and to the left of us, and not parked vehicles. I was sent directly in front of a moving bus and a motor scooter on Abbot-Kinney Blvd in Venice. I had a passenger shout at me on Reseda Blvd–within inches of my handlebars-to get the f*ck off the road! That was startling. A fellow rider gave someone the finger because he was so pissed off at the person. I also had a police car follow behind me on Reseda Blvd and he proceded to tell me through his intercom to move into the non-existant bike lane. He did this twice because he felt I was to far out into the road. I had another fellow rider who used to race road bikes and she felt uncomfortable riding 12-feet out into the road in front of traffic and she teaches road racing skills.

            Most of the people riding bikes along Reseda Blvd are on the sidewalk. I spent hours standing at the sharrows location on Reseda Blvd observing bicyclist behavior for a followup survey and not one person rode on the sharrows. Putting the sharrows out an additional foot or more from the curb on this street would only make them even more useless, if that is possible.

            I’ve ridden most of the length of Reseda Blvd numerous times in the bike lane or at the side of moving traffic and I don’t ever recall having a problem with motorized vehicles. The worries about dooring are blown way out of proportion to reality. It’s the large mass moving vehicles that are by far the greatest threat to the safety of cyclists and you certainly aren’t reducing the risk by having people ride directly in front of them on busy, fast moving streets.

        • Jim Baross says:

          We obviously disagree on the details and strategies for protecting and promoting bicycling. Thanks for keeping this discourse civil in spite of our differing opinions.

          I hope that efforts to provide for bicycle travel separated from motor vehicle travel successfully provide better bicycling conditions for recreation and transportation purposes, really. I and CABO have and will spend time/effort supporting/promoting appropriate facilties. As previously stated our intention with AB 819 is to legislate a requirement for Caltrans to institute an open and efficient process for incorporating better bikeway and roadway designs into State-required standards. We know that lots of you/us want better facilities AND that lots of transportation engineers won’t step outside accepted State standards. We want their “tool-box” expanded with good tools.

          Along with this effort toward better facilities, I hope that providing special facilities does not further the defacto prohibition – bullying, harassment, inappropriate citations, excessive speeds (when a motorist cannot yield properly to a pedestrian or bicyclist operating lawfully) – of bicycling for most people on public roadways by some motorists and by too many of the law enforcement establishment.

          Right now, a level of assertiveness that most people will likely never utilize seems to be required for bicycling in the midst of other traffic in many situations; “taking a lane,” even “taking turns” in the present car-culture means stepping/pedaling outside the norm. Let’s change the norms AND the facilties.

          I understand that the fear of bicycling in with other traffic is not unfounded; people without sufficient knowledge and skill ARE at greater risk anywhere near other traffic in most of the USA today. And, some crashes will be unavoidable – even on completely separated facilties (bicyclist Nick Venuto was crushed in 2011 on a San Diego bike path separated by a fence, a hill of ice-plant, and a curb) – stuff happens. I have respect, not disdain, for the “freedom-rider-bicyclists” who are doiing the bicycle-driver/VC thing as pioneers in a sometimes hostile enviornment – an enviornment that can be changed… both in behaviors and facilities.

          I think the apparently widely held though rarely voiced sentiment that “roads are for cars” and “bikes don’t belong” paradigm can be changed. After all, the written law is largely on our side.

          In some sense I am/we are/CABO and Vehicular Cyclists/Bicycle Drivers/CycloSavvy and LCIs are showing other people how to move toward “taking back the streets” as the roads and conditions exist now. That does NOT mean that we/these folks oppose improving the hardscape/facility conditions – appropriate innovation is NOT opposed by CABO.

          So, will the bashing of CABO as anti-innovation stop? Will this blog site admit that the CABO bashing over AB1 819 is off-base/unfounded?

          • bikinginla says:

            Jim, thank you for this comment. This is one of the few comments in this long, long stream that actually moves the dialogue forward and attempts to find common ground.

            However, I will not admit my “bashing” of CABO over AB 819 is unfounded. On the contrary, I continue to believe that the original intent of the bill was far superior to the watered down version we now have, which will only stymy innovation and cause needless delays. And that CABO erred in demanding changes that I, and many others, feel have gutted the bill.

            While I respect CABO as an organization. I don’t believe that it represents the wishes of the overwhelming majority of California cyclists, and has taken stands that are detrimental to the safety of current riders and the growth of cycling in California. And I believe the standards reflected by Dan Gutierrez’ “best practices” are conservative in the extreme, reflecting a long outdated view of roadway infrastructure, with a vast over emphasis on vehicular cycling, and are harmful to the growth and safety of cyclists.

            I think CABO needs to take a long, hard look at itself. This discussion has revealed a lot of anger towards your organization — which clearly existed long before my thoughts were posted online, and which I clearly only tapped into the surface.

            At the very least, you have a major PR problem. The question is, have we misjudged you, as you insist? Or have you badly misjudged the needs and desires of today’s cyclists?

            As we move forward, I am more than willing to work with you on any points of agreement, such as returning liability to Class 1 bikeways. But I will continue to oppose your efforts when I feel you are standing in the way of what cyclists want and need.

  36. If you click on the link below you will see a post written by Mark Wagenbuur, which starts just below the video. In this article he helps explain the Dutch approach to transportation safety.

    There is also a link at the end of the article that takes you to a report on the Dutch approach to transportation safety which was written by a group of students from Northeastern University who visited several Dutch cities.

    Trying to encourage people who bicycle to take control of the lane by riding in front of vehicles that have a much larger mass moving at 3-4X their speed is not going to produce any significant increase in the bicycling rate. It’s counterproductive with time, manpower and money wasted on something that most potential bike riders would never feel comfortable about. Even a bike lane on a busy street, with fast moving motorized vehicles, sounds dangerous and scary to most people.

    I participated on more pilot sharrow study rides for the LADOT than anyone else. I rode all six streets at least once and most I rode pre and post sharrows. It become increasing uncomfortable to ride in front of cars at 12 feet from the curb as the speed and volume of traffic picked up. Two of those streets, Reseda Blvd and Adams Blvd had probably the highest volume of traffic and posted speed limits of 35 miles an hour. One of my fellow riders on Reseda Blvd used to race road bikes and she was uncomfortable riding that far out from the curb, as was I. The amount of harrassment from drivers was impressive, with one car passenger yelling at me to get off the f*cking road from a few inches away from my handlebar. Another rider was so angry that he gave a motorist the finger. A policeman drove behind me and through his intercom told me twice to move over into the non-existant bike lane. I have ridden Reseda Blvd numerous times, as I live in the Valley, and I’ve never had any confrontations with motorists when I’m riding to the side of them, nor have I had problems with dooring.

    I also stood for hours on the sidewalk taking note of and surveying bike riders at the sharrows location on Reseda Blvd. Most bike riders were too fearful of traffic to ride in the street and absolutely no one rode on the sharrows, which were further out from the curb than the bike lane is on that street.

    I recommended to Michelle Mowery, the senior coordinator of the LADOT bikeways, that the busier streets, such as Adams Blvd or Reseda Blvd should have sharrows placed at the minimum 11 feet from the curb. My feeling was that few, if any people would be brave or foolhardy enough to ride in front of traffic at 12 feet. So, it would be much more effective to get bike riders to move a few more inches away from the parked cars and still not be directly in front of the moving vehicles. This might even encourage a few sidewalk riders to move onto the street. Moving the standard from 11 feet to at least 13 feet from the curb would make sharrows useless for all but a few road warriors on many streets. If people do not use them, then they are useless and a waste of time, manpower and money. People are not stick figures. You cannot make them go anywhere you want them to on a bike. They simply will not ride if they feel uncomfortable.

    After seeing some use for sharrows, I know believe that they shouldn’t be used at all due to the absurdly useless and scary recommendations of Dan Gutierrez and LADOT’s liberal use of them in replace of putting in bike lanes. They are simply no substitute for bike lanes and have a minor affect on motorist behavior.

    Your use of stick figure diagrams that do not take into account peoples fears, which is mainly motorized vehicles, is not a move towards making bicycling irresistable for most people and is most certainly helping to keep the bicycling rate from increasing.

    • bikinginla says:

      My experience is much like yours. Despite decades of vehicular riding experience, I find myself far more comfortable riding just outside the door zone than in the middle of the lane. Even on roads with sharrows, I tend to ride on the right side of the sharrow rather than in the middle.

      The only exception has been in Hermosa Beach, which has the most effective sharrows I’ve yet to encounter, and where I feel perfectly comfortable riding in the center of the right lane. And even there, I’ve encountered angry drivers upset that I’m in the road in front of them.

  37. William Hunt says:

    It’s sad but predictable that the argument comes down to which is safer a controlling travel lane position, or some other fringe position when travelling on roadways. The argument for the fringe position is always “those motorists coming up behind will run me over, so it must be safer to be out of their way”. Well, if you could back that up with facts and statistics, you might have a logical argument. But you cannot, because the fact and stats show that the safest place to ride is the most conspicuous place and the position with the longest sight lines.

    When you ride in the middle of a travel lane, you are clearly visible for a long distance from behind and you are conspicuous. Motorists pay attention mostly to what is directly in front of them. They have to do this otherwise they would run into other motorists that slowed down for a light, stop sign, to turn, looking around, taking a curve slowly, bad dip in the road, or whatever the reason. This is the primary mode of speed regulation in dense urban areas like LA. Motorists follow other cars and have to brake routinely and often come to complete stops. This is dictated by the vehicles in front of them, regardless of the size, weight or speed. Motorist do not want to get in an accident, because this is a time consuming and costly mistake, particularly if they rear end someone else, because then it’s almost guaranteed to be their fault.

    Whereas when you ride on the road fringes or in a bike lane, motorists do not notice you because you are not directly in front of them. You are just visual noise somewhere else, but not in their lane. As such they will pass you very close without even thinking about it, especially when you are riding in a substandard width bike lane against a narrow travel lane. For example in this stretch of road, riding in the bike lane results in close passes and right hooks with regularity (from minute 2:00 to 3:45):

    but staying in the travel lane prevents nearly all of the dangerous motorist behavior (as shown in the video).

    When you ride in the middle of the travel lane, you have the longest sight lines for other vehicles that would cross your path, either turning left, pulling out from the right or doors swinging open. Motorists turning left look for oncoming traffic in the travel lane, not sneaking around next to or behind parked cars. If they see something in the on-coming travel lane, they pause, and access if they have to wait or can go. Motorists turn out from a drive or side street often stick there “noses” out into the roadway fringe so they can see around parking cars or other sight limiting objects. As such, if you ride in the travel lane, you will not have to veer around a motor vehicle front end that suddenly protrudes from your right. Same thing applies to car doors swung open unexpectedly (which BTW does happen and kills and seriously injures many cyclists every year, check the stats yourself).

    If you ride on the fringes, you invite close passes, right hooks, and running into opening doors and motor vehicle front ends. When you let motorists squeeze by, they will do it, and they can easily pull a right hook immediately as they pass you. If you do not let them squeeze by, they will change lanes and go around you. This causes them to wait to turn right if their turn is approaching fast, because they do not have time to change lanes, pass, change back and then turn right. They treat you like another vehicle!

    Road rage is certainly an issue and there are subtly lane positioning techniques that can help. But for those motorists yelling “Get the fuck off the road”, a good response is “Have a nice day”, take their plate number and report it to the police. The good thing about assholes like that is that clearly they see you so you do not have to worry about that!

    Finally, I’m not connected with CABO, but after spending years reading up on all this stuff, the CABO people have it right in my book. You cannot fix bicycle safety with road paint. You might be able to do something with expensive road redesigns and isolated bike paths with grade separations. But the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to GREATLY improve cycling safety is to teach cyclists how to be vehicle drivers and to educate motorists and law enforcement that cyclists ARE drivers and they belong on the road in the travel lane and treated like motorists.

    Personally, I have taken this to heart and my cycling is vastly more relaxing, I have nearly zero close calls, and I have less issue with road rage that when I road on the fringes. I’ve found that I fit in best in dense urban areas when there is no bike specific infrastructure on the road. No, I do not ride in LA much, but I do ride plenty of busy streets in Orange County, the IE, and north San Diego area. Try the PCH through Laguna Beach in the summer and I’m sure you will find it comparable to LA’s busy streets.


    • bikinginla says:

      Willie, your comment about not being able to fix road safety with paint would seem to be belied by New York City, which has done exactly that.

      After installing 260 miles of bike lanes in the past four years, New York has doubled the number of bicycle commuters, while bike injuries and fatalities have remained steady despite the rise in ridership. In addition, safety has improved for all road users, with fatalities at their lowest levels of the past century.

      Yes, vehicular cycling is a valuable tool, but it is not the only tool. To deny that good infrastructure can improve road safety is simply not true.

      • William Hunt says:

        Now you are falling into the worse kind of scientific error. Correlation does not mean causality. What all has happened in the past 4 years? The economy has tanked, motor vehicle driving has decreased, people are out of jobs and do not have money to pay for high gasoline prices, car insurance, repairs, etc. People who do have jobs are afraid they will lose theirs. They are far more cautious. Unemployed people are flocking to bicycles all over the country, because they cannot pay the bills, and some of them figure out that ditching the motor vehicle for a bicycle saves a ton of money. Bottom line, you cannot show how much causality all the bike lanes installations have improved cycling safety in NYC, any more that any one of many other contributing factors.

        Don’t get me wrong about painting. I should have been more clear, and said “paint alone will not fix bicycle safety”. I feel paint alone will do very little. However, there certainly are things that can be done, but they need to be done thoughtfully to existing roads or planned before road construction for new roads. I do a lot of riding in southern Orange County, where by design the newer major roads have very few access points (drives, cross streets, etc), high speeds and have wide bike lanes. That 6 inch wide paint stripe works just fine for such roads, and I enjoy traveling in a 5 foot wide bike lane, while motorist zip by at 40, 50, 60, even 70+ MPH day in and day out. But I still have to deal with intersections and some of them are downright dangerous if stay in the bike lane too long, or try and get back in the bike lane too soon.

        Similarly, if you take a travel lane and turn it into a buffered bike lane in a dense urban area, you can ride your bicycle as if you were controlling a regular travel lane, but exclude motorist from it. That’s likely to provide a safety benefit for cyclists, because you let them be bicycle drivers while easing their “fear of the rear”. If you have enough bicycle traffic this may be a justified exclusive bicycle use of a lane. However, in LA, I doubt you could justify taking lanes away from motorists on most streets only for cyclists’ use. The problem is that most of the time, the cities just start painting with little thought about the cyclists needs or safety, and the results are often bicycle infrastructure that is worse than none at all. We have a ton of terrible bike lanes in Orange County mostly in the older areas where the streets were never designed with bike lanes in mind.


        • bikinginla says:

          You’re absolutely right. There are a number of factors that could contribute to the increase in ridership in New York. But none of the factor you cite could have contributed to the decrease in overall collisions — or rate of cycling collisions remaining at the same level despite the increase in ridership.

          There is no arguing that the paint on the ground has worked. And that it has worked in a remarkably short period of time.

          As for L.A., we recently had a very successful road diet on 7th Street West of Downtown that took away two traffic lanes from motorists while creating a center turn lane, and bike lanes on each sides. The same thing is happening on Main Street in Venice as we speak. And a bus-only lane was recently turned into a green bike lane on SPRing Street in Downtown L.A.

          If they can do it in New York, and we can do it in Los Angeles, there’s no reason it can’t be done in Orange County if you’re willing to fight for it.

          • Roadblock says:

            Bottomline. Not one CABO boardmember even rides in LA yet they purport to rep it. Something’s wrong.

        • Here’s a link to some information about the safety benefits of bike lanes that was compiled by the city of Cambridge:

          A review of literature on the safety benefits of bicycle infrastructure by the Environmental Health Journal:

        • Here’s a link to a bike lane safety evaluation that was done by the city of Phoenix:

          Under the heading: Where did the bike crashes occur–Only 10% of reported bike crashes occured on local streets, where 74% of the streets are located in Phoenix. The report then states: “These are the safest streets for bicycles because of lower speeds, narrower street crossings, and fewer conflicting motor vehicles.”

          The report further states: “Of the 682 reported crashes with motor vehicles, 95 percent of the crashes occured on streets with no designated bike facilities.”

          “Less than 2 percent of the bicyclists were struck while riding on a on-street bike lane, and a smaller percentage of bicyclists were struck while riding in a striped shoulder (not signed as a bike lane).”

  38. Snob says:

    I happened to stand on the Western Avenue bridge over the Santa Monica Bridge (I-10) today (Sunday) for about 15 minutes. This is basically the boundary between Koreatown and West Adams, neither of which are high-income areas of Los Angeles. I must have had at least 15 bicycles plus a couple of skateboarders pass me, all on “my sidewalk”; didn’t count how many were on the other side, but one of the many over there was a home-made cargo-bike out to sell confections and snacks. There’s indeed something happening here, William Hunt.

    And if CABO would open its eyes to the potential out there to get more Amsterdam and Copenhagen like infrastructure built *in the city*, we could see an incredible mode-share revolution here in Southern California.

    Which would benefit all forms of cycling.

  39. roadblock says:

    “Do you accept that people using roadways – motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians – are required to look for and respond appropriately, slow down and pass when safe, to things/people in the roadway? That traveling too fast for conditions such as when there is a bicyclist on the road or a pedestrian trying to cross is illegal,”

    Do you Jim Baross accept that a lot of people don’t give a damn about the law and drive like fools on streets that are designed to encourage speeding well above the posted limit?

    You have no answers to my questions because CABO is in denial.

    WHAT DID CABO DO ABOUT THE 85th PERCENTILE LAW that was passed a few years ago? ANYTHING? Hellooooo…. Bueller?

    If CABO can shush a 3 foot law then I expect it to act the same for a law that allows car drivers to break the speed limit.

  40. Sam Ollinger says:

    I’m highly flattered that someone took the time to leave a comment pretending to be me, but I was busy volunteering with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition at the time the comment was posted.

    I’m quite entertained however. Thank you.

  41. […] time readers all ready know that I hate the whole notion of Vehicular Cycling, CABO, and […]

  42. I think this is the most epic comments debate I will ever read. You could (should!) publish these exchanges, write a play about it and then act it out. So many twists and turns and more drama than I ever saw when I watched The O.C.– and that’s saying something! And each time the comments get pushed further and further to the right the pitch in the person’s voice should go higher and higher.

    • bikinginla says:

      I like it. Thanks for ending a less-than-enjoyable day with a big smile.

      • Jim Baross says:

        Speaking to “epic” discussion/exchanges there exists somewhere the Helmet Wars posts, and also the Vehicular Cycling stuff…
        This ain’t new that bicyclists have differing opinions. The concept of “herding cats” comes to mind.

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  44. […] that calls itself CABO, California Association of Bicycling Organizations. This small and relatively unknown, group argued that rather than create a law that would have created the sort of bicycle facilities […]

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