Why does someone usually have to die before common sense comes into play?
Even — or perhaps especially — when it comes to law enforcement agencies.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department has belatedly come to the obvious conclusion that their officers are no better at distracted driving than the rest of us, over a year after a cyclist was killed by a sheriff’s deputy using his onboard computer.
The Daily News reports that the department has issued a new policy that curbs, but does not eliminate, the use of department-issued computers while driving.
Officers are now expected to use their radios as the primary means of communication, with computers to be used only in emergency situations while operating a vehicle, or when a response can be given with a single touch of a button.
Of course, looking down at the screen for even the few seconds required to push a button still takes the driver’s eyes off the road long enough to kill someone.
Unfortunately, it comes too late to save the life of Milt Olin, who was rear-ended by a sheriff’s deputy who drifted into the bike lane while the entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive was riding on Mulholland Highway 16 months ago.
Let alone hold the driver accountable for his death.
And the new policy apparently does nothing to prohibit the use of handheld cell phones by officers, which is somehow allowed by an absurd loophole in state law that seems to assume police officers have superhuman multitasking powers that the rest of us mere mortals lack.
And yes, the sheriff’s deputy who took Olin’s life had also been texting with his wife in the moments leading up to the collision. But not, investigators concluded, at the precise time he struck Olin.
A standard which would seem to let most texting drivers off the hook.
The story notes the department is investigating further restricting the use of onboard computers by their deputies, including locking the devices when the car is moving or providing a heads-up display like the one used by CHP officers.
I’m still not sure if cops have the multitasking skills and lightening reflexes required to navigate busy traffic while reading messages that pop up on their windshield.
But anything would be an improvement.
Ready for CicLAvia yet?
LADOT is planning a one-day pop-up cycletrack on Chandler Blvd to give you a chance to offer your opinion on what riding in LA could — and should — be.
And CiclaValley finds support for the event even from car-related businesses along the route.
California is now ranked as the nation’s 9th most bike-friendly state, up from 19th. Which raises the question of whether this state has gotten that much better, or if other states just suck more.
More fallout from last week’s LA elections.
The Times says LA cyclists get at least some of the credit for CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar’s landslide victory in last week’s primary election.
Meanwhile, the CD4 race is likely to be between a city hall insider and an outsider to be determined; no word on the role biking the vote is likely to play in determining the outcome.
The LA Times is the latest paper to check in on SB 192, the state’s proposed mandatory helmet law; the story by Laura J. Nelson is one of the few to offer a considered look at the subject.
The LACBC is offering a Women’s Basic Bicycling Skills Workshop on Saturday.
A high school student questions whether bike riders are being considered in the rush to autonomous vehicles.
Celebrity chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsay rides through the ‘Bu.
An El Monte bike rider suffered a head injury when he was hit by a minivan Sunday night. Police say the victim ran the red light; as always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver who hit him actually saw it. And the one time when it might be relevant, the story fails to mention if he was wearing a helmet.
Long Beach plans to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians by replacing a dangerous intersection with a park.
No news is good news? Only one California report from outside the LA area popped up in yesterday’s news feeds.
A Sausalito councilmember wants to limit the number bikes, especially rental bikes, that swarm the small city every summer. But evidently all those cars that jam the roadways are just fine with him.
Bike Route 66 is now fully mapped out and ready to ride.
An 81-year old Phoenix man is fighting for his life after being run down by a hit-and-run bicyclist; apparently hit-and-run isn’t a crime in Arizona if you don’t have a motor. Either way, if you hit another human being, just stop already.
A Billings, Montana couple win the Adventure Cycling Association’s Trail Angel Award for their kindness to riders passing through the city.
A Wisconsin driver gets a year in jail for killing a cyclist in his sleep. Yes, you read that right.
A proposed 76-mile Naples to Miami bike trail faces opposition, but no one seems to object to the already existing highway next to it.
A Chilean designer offers a line of book racks that double as a place to park your bike inside your home.
The mayor of Saskatoon chokes on the $225,000 price tag for a protected bike lane, apparently having no idea what the same amount of automotive infrastructure would cost. Or that you don’t build bikeways for the people who ride now, but for those who will use it once it’s finished.
London’s congestion charge not only reduced the number of vehicles in the city, it also cut crashes by 40% and made the city safer for cyclists; meanwhile, bicycling could be the secret weapon for London’s suburbs.
Cambridge, England residents complain that the city’s antisocial cyclists don’t read signs.
A Welsh cyclist is about to complete a round-the-world tour to raise money for cancer research; he did half the ride solo after his companion was injured — in LA, naturally.
An Australian paper says if the country is going to achieve its Vision Zero goals, emphasis has to shift from blaming dangerous drivers to designing roads that reduce risk as much as possible.
Aussie bike groups call for government-backed safety awareness campaigns following the dooring death of a cyclist.
There once was a bike share in Limerick. A South African tourist explores the City of Angels, yet somehow places the Pacific Ocean on the east of the city, which probably won’t happen until climate change worsens or the Big One hits, whichever comes first.
And a series of Canadian traffic safety ads place the blame for distracted driving right where it belongs.