Morning links: Arraignment in the Phillip O’Neill case, and a preview of this weekend’s Donut Ride

One quick note before we get started.

I’ve been a little under the weather lately, so today I finally got out for my first good ride in a couple of weeks.

And proceeded to get buzzed by two cyclists in two separate incidents — one male and one female — each one passing just an inch or two from my shoulder.

Maybe I should be impressed by their skill in somehow managing to just miss me as closely as possible; instead, I was awed by their overwhelming jerkishness and willingness to risk a total stranger’s safety.

So let’s make one thing clear.

Whenever you pass another rider on a city street or bike path, call it out to avoid startling them and causing a bike-on-bike collision. A simple “On your left” or “Passing left” can make all the difference.

And don’t pass on the right. Just don’t.

If you can’t give another rider at least an arms-length passing distance — if not the three feet you’d expect from a motorist — then don’t pass, dammit.

You can wait a few seconds until it’s safe to pass, just like drivers can.


Ghost bike for Phillip O'Neill; respectfully borrowed from Ghost Bikes-LA

Ghost bike for Phillip O’Neill; respectfully borrowed from Ghost Bikes-LA.

A source who prefers to be anonymous reports on the recent arraignment of the driver charged with taking the life of cyclist Phillip O’Neill in Pasadena last year.

According to her report, the motorist, who wasn’t named, did not appear; his lawyer entered a not-guilty plea for him and a pretrial date was set for this month, However, the prosecutor is expecting the defendant to plead out.

On the other hand, the prosecutor said he’d never seen so many people show up to support the victim at an arraignment.


The authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles are joining with the LACBC for their monthly bike tour of the LA area, this time through the Palos Verdes area.

And they’re expecting more perfect weather for the ride, so don’t rub it in when you talk to your friends in other parts of the country.

The Donut

When: Saturday, March 15, 2014

Time: Meet at 8:30am; ride at 9:00am

Where: Wilmington Waterfront Park

Drive south on the 110 Freeway to the C Street exit in Wilmington. Then, continue east a short distance to the Park. We will meet at the small parking lot at the Park’s east end off Lagoon Avenue. Here’s the to map the Park: Wilmington Waterfront Park

This is a San Pedro version of the classic “Donut” tour around the Palos Verdes Peninsula. We’ll start (and finish) with an easy warm-up (and cool down) through the port city of San Pedro where we will see everything nautical (tankers, container ships, old battleships, merchant vessels, cruise ships, lighthouses, seagulls). Then, we’ll ride into PV proper and tackle the famous switchbacks (the one big climb of the day). From there we’ll continue around to Malaga Cove (rest stop), Point Vicente, Abalone Cove, and Fort McArthur. We should have many wonderful vistas of the South Bay, Catalina and the Port of Los Angeles as we ride back to San Pedro and Wilmington.

Ride Length:  43 miles.

Ride Duration:  Approximately 5-6 hours, including stops.

Difficulty:  Recommended for intermediate-level riders, aged 16 and up. Expect a mix of city and rural riding conditions—busy bike paths and city streets from the start to the switchbacks, then bike lanes and quieter roads circling the peninsula. We’ll tackle one climb at the beginning, then mostly rolling terrain, for total elevation gain of roughly 2,500 feet.

Rain Policy:  Torrential rain, snow, earthquake or fierce wind cancels the outing. Otherwise, we ride.

What to bring:  A road-worthy bike, extra inner tubes, a patch kit and pump, drinking water, a pocket snack (such as an energy bar, banana or trail mix), a helmet and money for refueling stops and post-ride refreshments.

Parking:  There’s plenty of street parking around Wilmington Waterfront Park

RSVP:   Strongly encouraged, via, so we can send you last-minute advisories, particularly about weather.

Touring Los Angeles County with LACBC and Where To Bike Los Angeles is a series of rides that are free and open to every LACBC member, plus one guest.


People for Bikes selects six new cities for their second Green Lane Project; needless to say, LA ain’t one of them. I wonder if the recent lack of support for bike lanes from a handful of city council members had any anything to do with our non-selection.

On the other hand, Santa Monica is installing new green lanes on Broadway and Main.

The Daily News talks to Damien Kevitt about his plans to Finish the Ride that cost him a leg in a still unsolved hit-and-run last year.

The Weekly goes on the off and then unexpectedly back on Marathon Crash Ride, but fails to obey the rules, unlike the less aggressive rider representing Streetsblog.

A Bakersfield rider gets pinned between two cars by a suspected stoned driver; fortunately, the cyclist only suffered moderate injuries.

Baseball legend Barry Bonds is one of us, even if the writer can’t resist the usual steroid/doping comparisons.

The Supreme Court throws an unexpected wrench into the Rails to Trails movement; the family bringing the suit would rather have a train on their land than a bunch of us nasty bike riders.

Consider it a Mood Ring for your head. A new helmet tracks your stress levels and transmits them to your iPhone. Because it’s so hard to know when your stressed while riding your bike, right?

Finding an alternate path to equity for women’s cycling.

A nine-foot travel lane costs less than a 12-foot lane, and can make everything better.

Bike tourism goes to the next level as Oregon builds a network of Overnight Bike Pods.

The New York Times offers a number of gadgets to improve bike safety, and correctly notes the most common mistake new riders make is not riding predictably. Which means riding in a straight line, with traffic, signaling and obeying the right-of-way; now that’s not so hard, is it?

Virginia legislators vote to keep it legal to tailgate bicyclists. After all, what harm could possibly come from that?

The World Naked Bike Ride pops up in Peru; evidently, Peruvians are growers not show-ers.

London plans a network of bicycle Quietways to shift riders onto underutilized side streets. Can’t call them Quietways here because this city is seldom silent.

Don’t piss off this 91-year old Baroness, or she’ll whack you with her handbag — then re-enact it for the cameras.

Finally, in LA we dodge cars; in Florida, golf balls.


  1. Nancy Zeff says:

    My sister, Debra Deem, of Laguna Beach, was killed while cycling by a reckless driver at the intersection of Newport Coast Drive and PCH on Aug. 28, 2013. I am glad to update you, also, that the Orange County DA, has filed charges of vehicular manslaughter against the 84 year-old driver and following a not guilty plea at his arraignment there is a pre-trial hearing on March 27th to set the trial date. I am gratified that he will face the maximum penalty of one year in county jail. (Yes, that is the maximum.) I beg the cyclist community to coalesce and get these puny penalties increased and to press for these killer-drivers to be charged and held accountable by the state.

  2. Nancy Zeff says:

    As a P.S. to my post above I believe that numbers speak loudly and the more supporters who can appear at a court hearing on behalf of the victim the better the DA (the state) will hear us. When does this killing end? Drivers can now get off with a license suspension or a few hours of community service; is this justice for killing a cyclist? Is it really OK to kill cyclists? Please pass this on to your cycling friends in Orange County! Thank you.

    • Rick says:

      Ted apparently Nancy wanted to highlight her name in her post to link back to your splash page. Unfortunately she typed “binking” instead of biking… so many people do that google redirects but perhaps it should be corrected if possible. I very much appreciate her seeking to spare other’s death and lost siblings.

  3. Brian says:

    That “close passing” thing is part of the reason I won’t ride with one of the bigger local cycling groups anymore. We went on a few of their rides and part of their pre-ride safety briefing was when passing another rider, there was “no reason to move way out to the left, just pass directly next to them”. Between that, being told that there was no reason to ever control the lane, and having one of the ride leaders admonish me for pulling into the through lane at a red light rather than sitting in the right turn only lane when planning to go straight made me think that their insistence that putting a foot down at every stop sign meant they were misguided in what they considered riding safely.

    • That’s a group that needs more people like you, not fewer. Go back and ride with them. In my group ride last week, as we approached a stop sign where we were going straight, I yelled, “are you guys going straight, or turning right?” A few yelled “straight”. I replied, from the middle of the empty through lane, “then why are you in the right turn only lane?” All of them were in the right turn only lane, thanks to that invisible bungee cord attached to the right edge of the road. Maybe next week a few will rethink their positioning.

      It takes time, but you can enlighten one at a time. Once you have gotten the square root of the total number of riders, the rest (the sheep) should be much easier to persuade.

      If we can’t convince regular cyclists that we belong in the traffic lane, how can we persuade law enforcement and the public at large? That’s why I think regular cyclists, including club riders as well as commuters, should be the top priority for advocacy.

    • Tom says:

      ” … their insistence that putting a foot down at every stop sign … ”
      I have observed a fair # of cyclists in the So Bay doing that, it just seems silly.

      They’ll be cruising along, unclip 30-40 feet away from a stop sign while coasting, than momentarily slap down that foot onto the pavement at the stop sign, before clipping back in.

      Maybe they think that “innoculates” them against getting a citation for an incomplete stop … whatever.

  4. “If you can’t give another rider at least an arms-length passing distance — if not the three feet you’d expect from a motorist — then don’t pass, dammit.

    Also look ahead of the cyclist you’re passing. Make sure there is no reason for them to suddenly swerve left as you’re passing. But allowing at least 3 feet is even better.

    FWIW, my advice on calling out “on your left”… don’t do it. Just don’t pass so close that it’s necessary to call it out.

    And, yes, don’t pass on the right.

    That said, when riding in a group of cyclists, the rules are totally different. And speaking of riding in a group, just because you’re comfortable riding 3 inches from others in your mini peloton, does not mean it’s okay to pass other bicyclists that closely. Given them at least 3 feet, preferably more. Use the full lane.

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