Morning Links: Atwater paper calls legal cyclists lane hogs, a handful of links and a long list of upcoming events

photo from Atwater Village News Facebook page

photo from Atwater Village News Facebook page

First up, a local newspaper manages to get it wrong. And brings out the ire of the Facebook cycling community.

The Atwater Village News posted a photo on its Facebook page, showing four bike riders taking the lane on a two-lane ramp, labeling them “Lane Hogs.” Then cites CVC 21202(a), which says that cyclists are required to ride as close to the right as practicable when traveling below the speed of traffic.

If only they’d read a little further, they would have seen the many exceptions contained in sections 1 ­through 4, particularly the one that says that the law doesn’t apply on substandard width lanes. And defines substandard width as any lane too narrow for a bike and motor vehicle to safely share while traveling side by side.

Kind of like the one shown in the picture.

So for any journalists, police officers, motorists, online commenters or anyone else who’s still unclear on the concept, let’s get it straight.

Bicycles aren’t in the way of traffic, they are traffic as defined by law, with a legal right to the road.

Bikes are required to right as far to the right as practicable whenever traveling below the normal speed of traffic. Which does not mean as far to the right as possible, but only as far as is safe under the current circumstances, allowing riders to position themselves further to the left to avoid gravel and glass, potholes and swinging car doors.

However, cyclists aren’t required to ride to the right if they’re traveling at the speed of traffic — which means the legal speed limit, or less if traffic is moving slower than that. Or if the lane is too narrow to safely share, which is defined as a safe distance from the curb, plus the width of the bike and any motor vehicle, along with a three-foot passing distance.

By that standard, most right lanes in the LA area are substandard.

There is also nothing in California law that requires cyclists to ride single file. Not one word. Bike riders can travel two, three or more abreast, as long as they remain within a single lane, and that lane is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Doing so improves safety by making the riders more visible while forcing motorists to change lanes to pass.

And the law requiring slower traffic to pull over to allow faster traffic to pass only applies when there are five or more vehicles stuck behind and unable to go around. Which means it doesn’t apply on any road with two or more lanes in the same direction, where a driver could simply change lanes to pass.

Got it?

Thanks to LA Bicycle Advisory Committee member David Wolfberg for the heads-up.


Let’s catch up on some of the upcoming events.

Helen’s Cycles and ThinkCure! are holding a training ride tomorrow for The Life Ride; the two day event will roll in March to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

Also on Saturday, the Eastside Bike Club is teaming with Stan’s Bike Shop in Monrovia and the Monrovia Cyclists Against Diabetes to ride down to the Tour de Cure Kickoff at the Reef in Long Beach.

Pasadena Complete Streets holds their monthly meeting on Monday, February 2nd at Day One, across from Pasadena City Hall.

Speaking of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 3rd at Hollywood City Hall; BAC meetings are always open to the public.

Helen’s is also hosting a 2015 Cannondale demo and group ride on Saturday, February 7th on Mulholland Drive; another will be held in Westwood, with a ride up world famous Nichols Canyon on the following day, Sunday the 8th.

Also on the 8th, Stan’s Bike Shop is the kickoff point for a fun ride celebrating the birthday of GoBici president Jorge Rodriguez. But aren’t most bike rides fun?

The Eastside Bike Club brings back their Friendship Love Ride on Saturday, February 14th.

Streetsblog is celebrating the seventh anniversary of LA’s most influential transportation website and champion of livable streets on Saturday, February 21st.

The Sakura Ride will be held at Lake Balboa on March 14th to honor the fourth anniversary of the disastrous March, 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

And LA’s favorite fundraising ride, the annual LA River Ride, is set for Sunday, June 28th to benefit the LACBC.


A few other quick notes:

We’ll soon find out if it’s really true that you should use a car if you want to get away with murder. Notorious — as the LA Times calls him — rap mogul Suge Knight is charged with deliberately running down two men with his truck following an argument on a movie set, killing one.

An LA cyclist who lost his leg in a collision with a big rig truck is awarded a whopping $33.8 million settlement.

KPCC is once again auctioning off a chance to ride with political reporter and triathlete Sharon McNary, with your choice of beach cruise or coastal bike tour. I had a chance to join in on last year’s beach cruise until my diabetes knocked me on my ass, dammit.

Two cyclists came to the aid of an unconscious woman being raped on the campus of Stanford University; the riders caught the suspect, a member of the university swim team, as he tried to run away. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Portland officials use magnetic sweepers to pick up the tacks someone is spilling on a popular bike route.

In an extreme case of driveway rage, a Nevada man boils over when his neighbor’s son uses his driveway as a turning point for the kid’s bike. And shoves his pistol down the neighbor’s throat to make his point.

Maybe the cop can’t read. A New York cyclist fights a ticket he got for riding on a bike path; the officer wrote him up for disobeying a sign — right next to one saying bikes were allowed there.

A Florida man fights a ticket for riding in the traffic lane, and wins.

Finally, even elected officials can’t catch a break when they ride, as a Toronto city councillor — yes, that’s how they spell it up there — sees the case against the driver who hit her dismissed because the police forgot to give the driver a ticket.



  1. billdsd says:

    Apparently they have deleted that post from the FB feed.

  2. grrlyrida says:

    Ha, ha, you’re famous. Someone quoted you in the comment section. Not me though.

    Usually the get-out-of-jail card, as coined by Ted Rogers of bikinginla, for vehicular homicide is, “I didn’t see him.” Or, “I didn’t know I hit someone.” Apparently many of the posters here don’t understand how easy it is to get away with murder using a car as a weapon. The police don’t take car collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists seriously. He’s only saying what works regularly when people kill others with their cars. He’s not dumb, most lawyers know if you want kill someone and get away with it–use a car.

  3. LAifer says:

    Atwater VN’s FB page did delete the one post, but a little further down their page they have another post going after bicyclists like they’re some entitled group. Umm…. pot meet kettle. Not sure I entirely get AVN’s angle, but they seem pretty openly antagonistic toward a group of folks just trying to share the roads and actually take up less space than do cars.

  4. paul herold says:

    There is a huge sports car run leaving Woodland Hills tomorrow morning, expected on Mulholland by 8:30am. Lot’s of canyon newbs I reckon, so anyone who can delay or reroute their ride tomorrow morning will be wiser and safer for it.

  5. Josh Cohen says:

    Nice piece Ted, and thanks for your valuable coverage.

    A caveat on the $33.8 million: This was a verdict, not a settlement. Panish (one of my idols) said the case should have settled, which is when the defendants’ insurance company pays enough money to convince the hurt guy to dismiss his lawsuit. But this case went to trial because the defendants’ insurance company wouldn’t pay what it was worth. Thus, the jury awarded a verdict.

    • Rick says:

      I wrote that the death being given four million was enough for a fraction of a minute last night to show her face, and was off by half, that much could of paid for half a minute, not a quarter I heard today on Democracy Now. I said it might be paid in time, so obviously I meant if discounted by half for prompt payment they would slash there demand by 90%.

      This award is interesting and I have read not enough about it. They asked for about what she got as he survived. Always kill whoever you hit, never leave them able to moan in pain etc. Speed up if you can’t avoid the collision, backup, etc. If you must leave the scene with them on your windshield make sure you bail from the car only if you gas tank is full, and poorly sealed, oryou have plastic explosives beyodn the normal amount, ‘burner’s on board.

      “According to court documents, Landstar challenged the extent of Mr. Casillas’ damages, telling the jury during closing arguments that Mr. Casillas should be awarded between approximately $5,000,000 and $7,000,000. The jury disagreed with Landstar when they awarded Mr. Casillas $27,875,000 for past and future pain and suffering, $5,941,581 for past and future medical expenses, and $738,639 for past and future loss of earnings.”

  6. Rick says:

    I owe an apology for my not realizing I was linking to a puff piece. The firm that failed to get a settlement almost certainly did there client well in that, rare will any settlement serve us well, even if it does a unlucky desperate and too likely further devestated if lost catastrophically at trial, but prior to them writing a press release picked up verbatim bya tv news site linked by yahoo just days later with the only disclosure being the primary PR links at the bottom they bragged about such a settlement eerily similar, like we are in India now or something, where a leather sword is at the ER, and the consequent super bugs might prevent the extinction of even Ford Motor’s not just GM et al. (hack off too many legs without washing it and good luck with your moldy bread)

    $1,500,000 Settlement (Truck vs. Bicycle)

    Our client was riding his bicycle on a California street when he was struck by an 18-wheeler. He suffered substantial injuries, including an amputated leg. Our firm obtained a $1,500,000 settlement on his behalf.


    which has not yet been updated despite yahoo linking to a news organisations regurgitation of the scripted story!

    If you are injured dare to schedule more then one chaser before your hospital bedside simultaneously if not hold a reverse auction on how much of a take they get.

    This firm has a lot going for it beyond the prior only seven figure client’s collecting. A setttlement is actual money they would point out, not just a verdict. Still in retrospect an opportunity lost to already have uppped the anty, and maybe saved lives.