Morning Links: LAPD handcuff South LA cyclist over traffic ticket; Taylor Phinney makes amazing comeback

Is it really necessary to handcuff a young black man to give him a traffic ticket?

Several LAPD officers are caught on video demanding that a 16-year old bike rider come out of his home, where he apparently fled when police tried to pull him over.

Despite the incessant anti-cop tirade by the man shooting the video, the young man eventually comes out voluntarily. And is promptly cuffed and led to a patrol car, where he is presumably ticketed.

For not wearing a bike helmet.

Yes, he broke the law.

And yes, he fled from the police.

But it looks like this could have been handled a lot better, with less antagonism on both sides.

In talks with the LAPD going back over five years, representatives of the bicycling community have repeatedly asked that the practice of routinely handcuffing bike riders — usually young minority men — during a simple traffic stop be halted.

The police have responded that their policy is to allow the officer making the stop to determine if handcuffs are warranted, such as if the bike rider appears to be a threat or may attempt to flee.

And yet drivers are seldom, if ever, ordered out of their cars, frisked and handcuffed because they ran a stop sign or neglected to use a turn signal.

Yes, it’s possible this young man might have tried to run away, though it’s unlikely since he came out of the house on his own accord. And he clearly didn’t pose much of a threat surrounded by over a half-dozen officers.

The LAPD has made great efforts to improve relations with minority communities under Chief Beck, as well as with bicyclists.

But it doesn’t take much to undermine those efforts.

And a little respect from both sides would go along way.


Now we know cycling scion Taylor Phinney is really back.

In the most exciting pro cycling news this year, Phinney came back from last year’s devastating crash — so bad that doctors told him he’d never ride again — to outsprint the field and win the first stage of Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge. His BMC team commemorated Phinney’s victory with a series of photos from the first stage, including a shot of his surgically repaired leg.

The Denver Post says this year’s Pro Challenge could be anyone’s race. Though not Ian Crane’s, who needed over 3,000 stitches after going chin first through the back of a support vehicle in last year’s race; he’s back on his bike, but a return to racing is a long way off. If ever.

The first black African cyclists to compete in the Tour de France say there are even better riders to come from bike-mad Eritrea.

Great news from Ivan Basso, who is back on his bike after recovering from testicular cancer. I wonder how many men have checked themselves after reading about Basso? Besides me, I mean.

Two cyclists set new course records in the legendary Leadville 100 off-road race. Sadly though, an experienced competitor died of an apparent heart attack just short of the finish line; Scott Ellis was a 19-time competitor in the race.

Women pros say the new pro tour format is a big step towards bringing equality to bike racing.



UCLA’s Daily Bruin offers a good look at the city’s new Mobility Plan. Although seriously, enough with the 1% bullshit; the plan is designed to provide alternatives to driving, which will benefit everyone — not make it impossible to drive, or force anyone out of their car and onto a bike.

Those new buffered bike lanes on Vineland in the Valley seem to work better as a traffic bypass lane for impatient motorists.



A Vallejo man is under arrest for intentionally ramming a couple with his rental car as they rode on the sidewalk.



Somehow, it seems sadly inevitable that the popularity of fat bikes would lead to plus-sized bikes.

GQ offers advice on how to bike to work without ruining your suit. Yes, biking is exercise, but so is walking. A simple bike commute doesn’t have to be treated like it’s a century ride.

A Wyoming man travels 11,000 miles in a decade of riding across the country, assisted by an e-bike and an oxygen tank for the past two years.

It takes a real jerk to steal a home-made motorized bike from a disabled Oklahoma man.

A writer from Dallas discusses what she learned riding unsupported in Iowa’s RAGBRAI. Including that she can do it, and doesn’t want to do it again.

A Dallas-area teenager is pushing to require bike helmets for all bike riders under 18, after a 16-year old classmate is killed in a collision with a car driven by her sister. Yes, helmets are a good idea; not running over people on bikes is a better one.

A Michigan bike rider was killed in a collision with a pedestrian.

Unbelievable. A hit-and-run driver plowed into an Indiana family while they were riding on a bike path.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would steal a Rhode Island man’s bike as he lay unconscious following a collision. Fortunately, a local company has offered to replace it.

The Boston Globe calls on the city to take aggressive steps to improve safety for bicyclists.



Gizmodo explains the evolution of the bicycle.

Once again, someone has sabotaged a Brit road with thumbtacks, putting bike riders at risk of serious injury.

A pair of Indian teenagers on a speeding motorcycle kill a bicyclist crossing the road on his way home. So naturally, an official blames the bike rider for not using a crosswalk.

A “tired, sleepy and dreamy” Singapore taxi driver gets three months in jail and a seven-year driving ban after killing a cyclist when he fell asleep and drifted onto the wrong side of the road.

The Voice of America says the bike boom has come to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.



If you try to keep kids safe on their way to school by teaching them to ride in the gutter and the door zone, they may need that bike helmet. If you already got away with stealing four bikes in two separate break-ins from the same bike shop, don’t go back for the third time.

And Arlington VA police offer advice about who is allowed to park in a bike lane.

Arlington Police


  1. PatrickGSR94 says:

    I’m pretty sure that evading arrest is going to get you cuffed, no matter who you are, because they suspect that you may be a wanted felon or something if you flee. Why are you blaming the police for doing their job and assuming he was cuffed because of his race?

  2. David says:


    I usually agree with most of the things that you post here–but this time I think you went a bit too far left in your analysis:

    If you run from the police in a car, on foot, on a bike, bad things will happen to you up to and including death and you have to expect that bad things will happen to you 100% of the time.

    Common sense is that you don’t run from the police–if you are truly innocent and the police are making a mistake–you have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate that if police unjustifiably charge you. But never run from the police.
    Plus if you are innocent–it makes your case worse to prove innocence if you run.

    If more parents would teach their children not to run from the police there would be less problems and we would all be safer.

    The police are not always correct–I have been stopped on my bike before, (and car) but don’t run or bike ride away. Take it to court if needed.

    The police that we have today are not the same quality of old. They don’t have the same street sense and military training. They also do not exercise proper discretion and common sense. To achieve diversity, departments have sacrificed quality. It’s a mess getting worse. But running is never helpful.

  3. Matt says:

    Police have routinely and disproportionally handcuffed people of color on bikes- this is not an isolated incident. Ted’s description takes into account the historical precedence.

    Yes, police can be criticized for doing their job.

  4. bikinginla says:

    Look, I knew some people would disagree when I wrote this. And let me make clear, I know a number of police officers and have a great deal of respect for the LAPD, and recognize just how difficult and dangerous their job can be.

    But let’s go back to the initial reason for the stop: a kid riding a bike without a helmet.

    Unless that was merely a pretext to make a stop to look for drugs or guns — and they wouldn’t do that, would they? — responding with at least least eight officers seems just a tad out of proportion. Yes, he ran, but police have repeatedly said that the response to someone fleeing in a car should be in proportion to the initial violation. If you’re chasing a robbery suspect or a stolen car, pull out all the stops, but if someone flees after not signaling a lane change, let them go.

    So why would that be any different for a kid on a bike?

    As to why he ran, from the perspective of a middle-aged white guy typing in the safety of my living room, it’s obvious he should have stopped and shown the proper respect to the officers. But I can’t possibly know what it’s like to grow up black in South LA, in a house where police are clearly seen as the enemy. Especially at a time like this, when shootings and beatings of unarmed black men are on the news on a daily basis.

    Under those circumstances, I might run, too.

    And let’s put it in a different perspective. If this had been a 16-year old white kid riding without a helmet in Brentwood, do you really think eight officers would have chased him to his home, then handcuffed him to write a ticket?

    I’m not saying the kid wasn’t in the wrong. And I think the officers showed admirable restraint in the face of significant abuse from the man with the camera.

    I’m saying this entire incident looks like an overreaction by both sides, especially in light of the initial reason for the stop.

    And that the routine handcuffing of bike riders for minor traffic stops — not just in this case — is wrong, and needs to stop.

  5. Lois says:

    I’m with you on this one Ted.

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