Weekend Links: Getting buzzed in DTLA, life is cheap in OC and Alameda courts, and more bighearted strangers

Nothing like getting buzzed by an impatient jerk to ruin a ride on a beautiful day.

Richard Bidmead forwards video of what happens when a bike lane ends, and riders are forced to take to the traffic lane. Especially when you’re being followed by someone in a Corvette who knows how to use his horn, but can’t figure out how to change lanes to go around.

………

Evidently, life is cheap in Orange County.

Following his conviction in the hit-and-run death of bike rider Manual Morales Rodriguez two years ago, truck driver Filemon Reynaga faced up to four years in state prison.

Instead, My News LA reports Reynaga will serve just one year in county jail, thanks to a very generous judge.

Even though a witness saw him get out of his semi after hitting Rodriguez, look at the victim lying in the roadway, then drive off, leaving him unprotected in the darkness, only to be hit by another car a few moments later.

No one will ever know if Rodriguez might have been saved if Reynaga hadn’t shown such a callous indifference to human life.

Despite that, the judge indicated that he will sentence Reynaga to just two years, and put off sentencing until next January to allow him to serve his time in county lockup. And he’ll end up doing just one year behind bars.

One lousy year for intentionally leaving a man to die in the street.

………

Apparently, life isn’t worth any more in Alameda County, as a San Francisco attorney could serve just 30 days behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a Chinese tourist.

Bo Hu was walking his bike when a car driven by Spencer Freeman Smith slammed into him from behind, and fled the scene without ever applying the brakes. Prosecutors were prevented from introducing evidence that he had been drinking that night.

Once again, despite a callous indifference to human life, Smith was sentenced to just five years probation and one year in county jail; he can apply to finish his sentence in home detention after serving just one month.

Talk about hard time.

Let’s just hope he’s not scarred for life by being forced to watch the Giants and 49s on his flat screen from the comfort of his own den.

………

Yet another bighearted cop replaces a stolen bike, this time for an Indiana girl whose bike was apparently taken by neighborhood bullies just one day after she got it for her eighth birthday.

Evidently, cops aren’t the only ones in Indiana with big hearts. A tattoo artist raised $1,800 to buy a new bike for an Indiana boy who was hit by a car outside his shop.

And a stranger bought a new bike for a Tampa Bay girl after she collided with a car driven by an elderly woman; the driver asked if she was okay, gave her $20 and drove away.

………

Looks like the US is building a women’s cycling dynasty, as Chloe Dygert and Emma White take first and second in the under-23 road race; they finished in the same order in the U23 time trial earlier this week.

The US is favored to podium in the elite women’s road race on Saturday, while VeloNews says three-time world cyclocross champ Zdenek Stybar should be a favorite in the men’s race.

They must have made a good impression. A British pro cycling team signs three riders off the New Zealand U23 team from the world championships.

Africa’s first and only pro cycling team to compete in the Tour de France will now be known as Team Dimension Data.

And the head of pro cycling’s governing body says they’ve made great strides to restore credibility in the post-Armstrong era, despite the continuing drumbeat of cyclists banned for doping.

………

Local

Writing for Streetsblog, Richard Risemberg explains what a fair road use fee would be, suggesting that car-free bike riders should get a $250 rebate. And Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on Thursday’s Vision Zero forum.

Bike friendly UCLA gets even friendlier with a new traffic light and a bike lane on the uphill side of Charles E. Young Drive North.

Boyonabike looks at transit developments and bike parking in the San Gabriel Valley, and finds the bike racks at the Monrovia Metro station both artsy and impractical.

A San Pedro letter writer complains about a road diet and bike lanes on Pacific Avenue, saying no one bikes in that part of town.

Long Beach gets $23 million in grants for bike, pedestrian and transit improvements, including a bikeway over the LA River connecting with the bike path on the coming replacement for the Desmond Thomas Bridge.

Just one more week to take Metro’s active transportation survey.

The SoCal cyclocross season kicks off this Sunday at Glendale’s Verdugo Park.

There will be a press conference at 11 am Monday at City Hall to support AB8, aka the Hit-and-Run Yellow Alert Bill, currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature after he vetoed a similar bill last year.

 

State

No bias here. The auto-centric CHP concludes that bicyclists are at fault in 61% of collisions, and drivers only at fault in 20%. Which says more about the department’s lack of training in bike law and a bias towards those on four wheels than it does about bike riders. As does the lack of enforcement of the state’s three-foot passing law.

The Port of San Diego stands in the way of completing a 24-mile bikeway around the bay.

Coronado is having its 15 minutes of fame — or maybe infamy — as the mass anti-bike insanity threatens to go viral.

A 13-year old boy is under arrest for attacking an 84-year old La Quinta Walmart employee as he tried to walk out with two bicycles.

Things were calmer in Bagdad by the Bay this month, as riders in the San Francisco Critical Mass were on their best behavior, and no one beat on cars with U-locks.

San Francisco’s SF Gate looks at how they roll in bike-friendly Davis CA, where everyone is issued a bike in the hospital at birth. Or so they say.

Truckee is punching a hole in a rock wall to make a tunnel for a paved pedestrian/bike path.

 

National

Bicycling magazine talks to the man riding one of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare bicycles across the US; so far he’s traveled 1,000 miles and incurred the maximum $1,200 late fee.

Bicycling continues to boom in Portland.

Las Vegas decides maybe it’s time to start enforcing Nevada’s three-foot passing law, including putting plain clothes cops on bikes to catch drivers passing too close.

A blogger in my hometown offers up three things cyclists wish motorists understood. I could come up with a lot more than that.

Wichita KS moves to eliminate fines for riding a bike after dark without a headlight, giving out 1,200 free bike lights instead.

An Iowa judge rules it’s okay to buzz bike riders and roll coal in their faces from a diesel pickup.

The bikeway network in Dallas TX grows to 39 miles, a big improvement over the eight miles of on-street bike lanes just three years ago. Although 32 miles of that are sharrows.

A new Minnesota parking lot opens near a bike trail, allowing people to remove bikes from their cars without fear of getting hit by passing cars; the project fulfills the dream of a former Eagle Scout who was later killed in action in Afghanistan.

Sad news from Ohio, as a second bike rider has died as a result of a collision when an apparently driverless truck left crossed a group of five riders; thankfully, the other three have been released from the hospital. Update: The victim was identified as Jim Lambert, an alternate on the US cycling team for the ’84 Los Angeles Olympics.

An Arkansas rider is on track to beat the 76-year old record for riding the most miles in a single year; two other riders, one in England and the other in Australia, are also attempting the same thing this year.

Memphis is on track to get bikeshare next year.

A Philadelphia woman faces a host of charges, including vehicular homicide, for running down a high school football player as he was riding his bike, then removing her plates and hiding in her SUV in a failed attempt to avoid arrest.

Get your resumes ready. Key West FL will be hiring a full-time bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

 

International

A Canadian bike rider faces charges after reaching into the car that hit him, grabbing the keys, and dropping them into a storm drain. Maybe we should take up a collection to pay his fines.

An Irish charity gives a recumbent hand-bike to a wheelchair-bound teenage boy suffering from a degenerative neuromuscular disease, to provide him with more independence.

Belfast will transform into a bicycle paradise for a whole three hours and 45 minutes when they hold their first ciclovía next weekend.

 

Finally…

Physicists try to figure out how far you can lean into a corner on a bike without falling. Based on personal experience, I’d say the answer is pretty damn far. Four years after LA’s Wolfpack Hustle beat a jet from Burbank to Long Beach, a New York rider races a helicopter across Manhattan. And wins.

And no. Just… no.

 

4 comments

  1. Joshua Cohen says:

    I’ll be happy to talk Richard through filing a cyclist anti-harassment ordinance claim. Feel free to call.

  2. D G Spencer Ludgate says:

    Good Morning,

    One of the reasons I follow your blogsite is because you try to balance the needs of all cyclists. Unlike Streetsblog and People for Bike, you focus on more than just infrastructure (including the safety hazard of such infrastructure).

    I am disappointed in the tittles and descriptions of two articles posted.

    1) In the article, “Getting Buzzed in DTLA”, you started the paragraph with, “Richard Bidmead forwards video of what happens when a bike lane ends, and riders are forced to take to the traffic lane.” This is deceptive. This is simply harassment to a cyclist from an impatient motorist. The lack of bike lane has nothing to do with the motorist’s actions. As far as we know, this rude motorist may have well right-hooked a cyclist in a bike lane.

    2) In, “No bias here. The auto-centric CHP concludes that bicyclists are at fault in 61% of collisions, and drivers only at fault in 20%.” You rightfully take aim at the CHP, but the article had to do with the lack of enforcement of the 3-foot passing law.

    I agree that the CHP has an anti-bike bias; after all, they backed the passage of and loby against the repeal of CVCs 21202 and 21208. However 25% of motorist/cyclist accidents are from wrong-way cyclists and 10% (half of the 20% reported) are from cyclists running stop signs or red lights (the other 10% is from motorists doing the same). That said, out of the 61%, cyclists are truly at fault for 35% of the accidents. The other 26% most likely is from discriminatory citings of CVCs 21202 and 21208; as well as, CVC 22350 (when the bike lane is clear but motorists are crawling) and CVC 21654 on multi-laned roads.

    During October, when I have free time, I intend to mine the SWIITRS data for Los Angeles county. I will compile accident data and “Fault” violations. I will be more than happy to forward the data to you for posting.

    • bikinginla says:

      Hey Spencer, thanks for the feedback.

      And thanks for reading. I do try to look at things from other perspectives. When I started this, my bias was strictly road cycling; it’s my readers who taught me to consider the needs of people who ride in other ways and for different reasons than I might.

      As for your specific comments, in the first case (1), I characterized the incident that way because that’s how Richard presented it to me. From his perspective, the harassment resulted from the driver’s impatience when he had to take the lane after the bike lane ended abruptly, which is a major problem with LA’s unconnected bikeway network. Since I wasn’t there, I have no basis on which to dispute his description.

      I often ran into the same thing on eastbound Santa Monica Blvd as it approached Beverly Hills. The bike lane ended with little warning at Avenue of the Stars. The next block is barely wide enough to share if you don’t mind hugging the curb; the one after that, not so much. Which meant moving out in front of heavy, often high speed traffic, and sometimes, impatient drivers who don’t hesitate to express their displeasure by tailgating, honking or buzzing.

      On the second one (2) you’re right that the focus of the article on the lack of enforcement on the three-foot passing law, and the CHP stats on who was at fault was mentioned only in passing.

      However, from my perspective, they buried the lede. The CHP data was the most interesting part of what was otherwise a fairly weak look at the three-foot law. I would have liked to see some stats on awareness of the law; I suspect even a large percentage of bike riders are unaware of it.

      In dealing with CHP officers in various capacities, it’s become clear they receive almost no training it bike law, and as a department, lack the capacity to fairly and knowledgeably investigate collisions involving cyclists, though there are exceptions.

      That’s not to say most CHP officers are biased against bikes, it’s that they simply don’t receive adequate training. The last I heard, they were going to improve training in bike law at the academy; however, doing it that way, it will take a long time to filter through the ranks. And I would still question the quality of that training if they don’t include cyclists in developing the training module. When the LAPD developed theirs a few year ago, it was based on months of give-and-take between cyclists and the department to clarify each side’s understanding of how the laws should be interpreted.

      A typical case in point is the CHP’s use of CVC 21202 to require cyclists to ride single file, claiming that when people ride abreast, the rider on the outside is not riding as close as practicable to the curb. However, they ignore the subsections to the law, which make it clear that it does not apply on any road where the right lane is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle — which is the case on most streets and highways.

      Another problem is the CHP’s habit of citing cyclists for riding in the right lane instead of on the shoulder, even though the shoulder is not legally considered part of the roadway, and cyclists are not legally required or expected to use it.

      As a result, I’ve learned to take the conclusions of the CHP with a grain, if not an entire bag, of salt when it comes to ticketing cyclists and investigating bike collisions. I often read about cases in which the CHP blamed the bike rider, when the description of the event seems to point the other way.

      That is not to say cyclists are never at fault. As you point out, salmon cycling is a leading cause of bike collisions and fatalities, as is running stop signs and red lights — although I never trust that in the absence of independent witnesses, since the cyclist may not be available to give his or her side, and driver has on obvious bias toward believing he or she had the right of way and was not at fault.

      I personally question any study that concludes that either cyclists or drivers are at fault in the overwhelming majority of collisions. Given human nature, it’s more likely that fault should be split somewhere around 50/50, give or take.

      I would love to see your analysis of the SWITRS data, and would be happy to feature it here, even though there’s not enough information in the SWITRS data to question the police conclusions as to who was really at fault.

      What I would love to see is a study that takes the SWITRS data, then goes back and analyzes the collision reports to see if the police correctly assigned fault. I suspect we’d find a large margin of error in favor of motorists. But I could be wrong.

      Thanks for keeping me honest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: