Support LACBC with Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge; is NYPD ignoring probable cause in stopping cyclists?

Here’s your chance to make a sizable donation to support cycling in Los Angeles. Without spending a single cent.

That’s because this month, the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge supports the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Sign up now, and for every trip you log, Clif Bar will donate one dollar to the LACBC, up to $10,000.

Which means, as long as you’re willing to give them your personal contact information, you can make a donation just by riding your bike.

Or better yet, taking part in this Sunday’s L.A. River Ride.


New York police have begun what looks like a series of summer cycling checkpoints.

Now, I’m not a lawyer. Especially not the Constitutional kind.

But stopping riders at random to look for legal violations certainly raises the question of how they can make a traffic stop without probable cause, when courts have repeatedly ruled that the Constitution prohibits them from doing the same to motorists.

Police need a legally justifiable reason to stop and search a car — whether they’re looking people driving under the influence, hidden contraband or safety violations. They can’t just stop random vehicles to cast a net for possible violations.

That’s why police are required to announce the time and location of DUI checkpoints, and why you have every right to turn around to avoid a checkpoint. And why you also have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle.

So can someone please tell me why those rules don’t apply to stopping cyclists?

Or does the Constitution not apply for us?

And yes, you do have a right to ask an officer why he or she stopped you. And just like motorists, you have the right to refuse a request to search your back pack or seat bag.


A one-year old child is killed in a ride-by shooting by a suspected gang member. Downtown cyclists can expect new bike lanes and multiple bike racks in the new Grand Park. Help map South L.A. for CicLAvia with RideSouthLa on June 17th. Crossing the 405 can put your life at risk. Bike lanes continue to sprout in South L.A. Buffered bike lanes come to Montana Ave in Santa Monica, while the city scales back plans for the planned Esplanade on West Colorado Ave. Ryan Gosling rides a Schwinn in Studio City, or more precisely, loads one into a van; then again, he’s not the only classic Schwinn lover. The proposed bike route upgrades for PCH north of Malibu could morph into separated bike lanes. A Long Beach cyclist is blogging from this year’s AIDS Lifecycle ride; note to CHP, it’s not a race.

The first attempt at sharrows is always a learning experience. The Santa Ana River Trail gains national recognition. The OC Weekly looks at Charlie Gandy and the biking renaissance in Long Beach. Cathedral City cyclists will soon get bike lanes over I-10. A Ventura County driver can’t understand why any cyclists would want to risk their lives by riding in the roadway rather than on the white line, or why they got upset when he honked for them to move over; would anyone care explain it to him? Barry Bonds rides a $16,500 Pinarello. A Modesto woman is killed when a driver doing 10 mph runs over the children’s bike trailer she was riding in; how a collision like that could happen at that speed defies explanation.

Now they say endurance cycling can kill you. Members of my fraternity will ride across country to raise funds for people with disabilities. Oregon cyclists have been taken in by a bicycling con man. Seattle wants to attract more willing but wary cyclists, as opposed to unwilling and scared shitless, I suppose. Utah cyclists ride for road respect. The author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has finally returned home over a month after a solo cycling collision. A Denver cyclist slams into a rollerblading woman and rides away without stopping. An Iranian student is killed in a Denver hit-and-run while walking his bike in a crosswalk. A Chicago area writer says don’t trust drivers like him. Indiana bike collisions are on the rise. Sheboygan cyclists and drivers seem confused by city’s bike lanes, while Massachusetts drivers claim to be hopelessly confused by bike-friendly back-in parking. A North Carolina cyclist is blamed for his own fatal collision after riding with a BAC of .38. Charleston police arrest a pantless bike rider. Even though 80% of Panama City FL residents don’t have a car, virtually no attention is paid to the city’s cyclists. A cyclist shares the lessons learned on a journey from Seattle to Patagonia.

Canadian cyclist Ryder Hesjedal’s victory in the Giro results in an uptick in cycling interest north of the border. Bike lanes aren’t cool, they’re necessary. A Canadian mother poses topless to promote bike helmets, while Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Anderson says promoting helmets is keeping riding rates down. A remarkably auto-centric look at bike riding scofflaws on the streets of Ottawa. A Brit cyclist rides around the world in record time; on the other hand, there’s no need to race. A UK writer says angry, stupid, stinking bike thieves just aren’t human. A six-year old British boy rides 113 miles to raise funds for a local hospice. A Sussex cyclist leaves a pedestrian with a black eye in a dispute over who had the right to a pathway; seriously, pedestrians on bike paths can be annoying, but it’s not worth getting violent — or mad, even. Hugh Jackman rides the streets of London on a Brompton. Norway’s recent mass murderer blames his violence on a hatred of Muslim’s stemming in part from a broken bicycle. Bicycles are the new status symbols on the streets of Jakarta.

Finally, an anti-bike New York City Council Member is widely derided — and deservedly so — after calling for a mandatory helmet law, while the Deputy Mayor clearly gets it, saying mandatory helmets won’t save lives but protecting cyclists from drivers will.

Now if he could just explain the constitution to the local police.


  1. billdsd says:

    While I agree that sobriety checkpoints are unconstitutional, only 3 out of 9 U.S. Supreme Court justices agreed with us:

    They don’t have to announce where they are going to be either.

      • bikinginla says:

        Thanks Bill. I was aware that the Supreme Court had held that DUI checkpoints are legal, though I didn’t know the exact case. While I used DUI checkpoints as an example, my point wasn’t that they are illegal, but that police can’t just stop cyclists at random without probable cause. As the articles you linked to point out, sobriety checkpoints are a single exception to the prohibition against illegal search and seizure.

  2. Here’s a YouTube video where some bicycling tourists from Australia asked a few Dutch people in Amsterdam about why they choose to ride a bike and why they do not wear a helmet.

    I would advise wearing a helmet if you ride on a street in Los Angeles, which typically has road hazards like pot holes and inattentive drivers that could knock you off of the bike.

    If you only ride along bike paths such as the Chandler Blvd bike path or Orange Line bike path, then wearing a helmet is not necessary due to the low chance of a serious accident.

    Riding along these bike paths is closer to the Dutch level of danger for riding a bicycle and its why the cyclist there do not bother to wear a helmet.

  3. Mark Elliot says:

    Re: helmets, I agree that riding without one in the LA area is exposing yourself unnecessarily to additional injury. I simply can’t see a reason to ride without one. I do find reason to oppose mandatory legislation, particularly since policymakers reach for the regulation & enforcement lever because it’s easier than providing for safe cyclist transit.

    The last time I did ride without a helmet – and it was one of the few times in the last year or two – I thought, I’m just riding a few blocks. Well, the old adage (or is it a stat?) applied: most accidents happen within X blocks of home. On that trip, I just happened to get nailed by an SUV.

  4. I follow quite a few posts about how New York is treating cyclists. We are dealing with a form of politics here. They do not care about the law. They are not happy that so many people are bicycling so they are making up laws and special conditions to achieve there goals. A bell for safety is a joke. I yell to the top of my lungs to wake up motorists who endanger me. NYPD parking in the bike lane so they can ticket people who leave it. Then a judge illegally holds up the tickets. Chasing people out of the park and stealing bicycles because the republican party is in town. I am glad I do not live there. It is time to take these jack booted thugs to court. If this does not work than we need to physically remove the problem.

    If somebody is going to hit you with there car, do not rely on them seeing you. Use your voice to wake them up to your presence. Prepare yourself to jump as far up or over the vehicle you can make yourself go.

    • bikinginla says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more about the requirement to have a bell on your bike. A bell can only tell you a bike is nearby. And that an angel has just gotten its wings.

  5. asncutie says:

    Hi. Where is the link for the “Bicycles are the new status symbols on the streets of Jakarta” line actually supposed to point to? It is currently linked to the story about the 6 year old who rode 113 miles. Thanks!

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks for letting me know — it’s hard to keep all those links straight on a post like this. I’ve fixed the link now, but you can also see it here.

      • asncutie says:

        No worries… appreciate all the work you put into your posts! Was just curious because the family is from Jakarta. 🙂 Thanks again.

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