Two sides to every anti-bike story — maybe we’re not two-wheeled pack-riding psychopaths after all

If it seems like there must be more to the story, there usually is.

Take this one from Woodside, near Palo Alto, in which a motorist reported to the police that a group of about 50 cyclists surrounded his vehicle after he had passed them, punching and kicking his window and mirror. And evidently, for no apparent reason.

Those crazy cyclists.

Fortunately, Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious was as curious about the cryptic story as I was, and dug a little deeper to get the answers.

And found them on the discussion list of the Bay Area’s Alto Velo cycling group, where witnesses reported that the driver of a full-size Dodge Ram diesel pickup truck had deliberately brake-checked riders and run them off the road, blown diesel soot into their faces, and run stop signs to get away from them.

After passing one large group of cyclists, he got out of his truck to start something — then quickly got back in when he realized he was outnumbered by something like 50 to one.

Then called the police to report the altercation he started.

Which is kind of like a bank robber calling police to say the security guard was rude to him while he was making of with the contents of the vault.

Unfortunately, unless someone managed to capture his actions on video, it’s likely to end up as just another case of he said, she said, as police are usually reluctant to dig any further to get to the truth in a situation like this.

Which means a dangerous, aggressive and violent driver is likely to remain on the roads to threaten someone else’s life another day.

That’s not to say the riders are automatically blameless. Maybe one or more of the cyclists said or did something to provoke his wrath.

Like occupy space on his planet, for instance.

But nothing short of brandishing an automatic weapon — or maybe a small rocket launcher — would be equivalent to attacking a group of riders with a multi-ton truck.


LADOT will try to keep cars out of the bike lanes on Sepulveda with an application of Botts’ Dots; no, not the gummy candy they sell in theaters. L.A. finally learns to play nice with other cities when it comes to bike lanes. What does it take to get cyclists off the sidewalk and into the bike lane? By the time you read this, Pasadena will have its first bike boulevard, and L.A. still won’t. Caltech Bike Lab offers free bike repair classes this Saturday. CORBA is offering a free mountain bike skills clinic at Malibu Creek State Park this Saturday, and the first Saturday of every month. The Times explores the L.A. in a Day bicycle tour from Bikes and Hikes L.A. Santa Monica is remarking the beach bike path in an attempt to bring a semblance of order from decades of chaos. Malibu has $14 million to spend on PCH improvements, including bike lanes on the west side of town; unfortunately, where they’re really needed is on the east side. South Bay beach cities are getting healthier, in part because of bicycling.

California bike advocates are asking our governor to step up his support for biking and walking, which has been somewhat lacking up to this point. Calbike sets a bold agenda for 2013. The 2nd Orange County Bicycle Film Festival screens at the end of February. Bike lanes and sharrows should be coming soon to the Coast Highway following a unanimous vote by the Encinitas City Council. Cyclists give Caltrans a June 1 deadline to fix a botched repaving job on PCH above Cambria. Santa Cruz police bust five bike thieves in a single week — one of whom stole a bike as he was leaving jail on another charge. UCSF offers a mini-course on the Medicine of Cycling. A San Francisco supervisor says it’s time to do something about the bike theft epidemic. San Francisco’s new bike strategy could make it one of the nation’s top cycling cities. The owner of women’s pro Team TIBCO was seriously injured in a left cross collision last weekend.

Not surprisingly, people who bike or walk to work enjoy their commute more. Sometimes your legs come around, sometimes they don’t; either way, you usually get where you’re going. A New Mexico truck driver loses control, hears a thump and drives off, leaving an injured cyclist in his wake; no point in stopping to see what he hit, right? Aspen considers a 14 mph speed limit. Somehow, a Topeka driver manages to hit a salmon cyclist traveling in the same direction on the opposite side of the road. When you’re riding around the world, take a pass on El Paso. What good are bike lanes if Dallas motorists drive all over them? LSU police are ticketing cyclists in response to a whopping 27 bike and/or pedestrian collisions last year — and evidently, ignoring the other 587 collisions that didn’t involve either. A passing hero on a bike saves a Boston-area girl from drowning. Over 15,000 cyclists and pedestrians were injured in New York traffic last year, with 155 killed. Brooklyn businesses are up in arms over the loss of a single — yes, one — parking space to make room for a bike corral; if the success of your business depends on a single parking space, your problems go way beyond parking. Before you try to steal a bike, make sure you know how to ride it. A ban on U-turns across DC’s Pennsylvania Ave bike lanes suggests authorities are taking bike safety seriously. Rural Virginia lawmakers say their roads just aren’t wide enough for a three-foot passing law; far safer to let drivers buzz cyclists, right? A 16-year old cyclist is seriously injured in a Ft. Lauderdale hit-and-run. A Florida man gets his fourth DUI in the last 15 years, this time, thankfully, on a bike.

Exterior air bags could protect cyclists and pedestrians; not likely if they’re just an expensive option. Two Whistler BC drivers threaten cyclists in separate incidents. The criminal justice system is failing British cyclists; then again, the same could be said just about everywhere. Britain’s cycling minister tells bike riders to give it up, because the UK will never be like Denmark; but at least they have one, right? Danish pro Michael Ramussen is the latest to admit a career of doping on his way out. Children who walk or bike to school learn and retain more. A new monument will honor a Prague bike activist and others killed on the city’s streets. Aussie authorities let Twilight’s Robert Pattison off with a warning for riding without a helmet; want to bet anyone less famous would have gotten the ticket? Touring Kuala Lumpur’s largest city by bike. A writer says Japan needs a mandatory helmet law, but not for the reasons you’d think. Singaporeans have taken to bicycling, but will they ride to work?

Finally, what to wear the next time you’re riding with the crew of the Enterprise. And Lance Armstrong’s stepmother calls him a hypocrite, while Charlie Sheen says he’s “kind of a douche.” And Sheen should know.

Then there’s this, the very definition of heartbreak, courtesy of Martyn Jones.


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