Morning Links: San Diego bicyclist gravely injured in bike collision, and the absurd impracticality of bike licensing

Welcome to Day 7 of the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Donate today, and help keep SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Welcome to Day 7 of the 2nd Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive! Donate today to help keep Southern California’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

Tragic news from San Diego, where a bike rider was gravely injured in a crash with another rider.

According to NBC San Diego, the two riders came in contact when one tried to pass the other in a bike lane.

Both riders fell to the ground, with one suffering severe skull fractures.

Sadly, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, is not expected to survive.

The other rider, an 18-year old man, suffered injuries to his spine and feet.

Neither was wearing a helmet. It should be noted that relatively slow speed falls like this are exactly what bike helmets are designed for.

Update: The video report from NBC San Diego shows the riders were in a protected bike lane, separated from the traffic lanes with bollards. 

Michael Muhammad, a former resident of the area, says the the crash occurred on a steep downhill, suggesting one or both people could have been riding at a high rate of speed, which could have contributed to the severity of the crash.


City Lab looks at the absurdity of bike licensing, which keeps rearing its ugly head in response to the rantings of the anti-bike crowd.

I’ll let them explain why it’s a bad idea.

However, let’s not forget that LA cancelled its licensing requirement after it became a pretext for police to stop bike riders, usually people of color, in certain precincts.

I’ll also point out that I’ve had a license on my Trek ever since I bought it in Baton Rouge, LA, back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.


You couldn’t read it from more than a few feet away then. And you can’t now, especially since my seat bag usually blocks it anyway.

Which kind of defeats the purpose, since most people who call for bike licensing expect to be able to read it at a glance to report offending riders to the authorities.

And even if they could, unless the rider is suspected of a committing a felony, police aren’t to track them down the offending rider for a simple traffic violation or rude behavior.

In fact, California law prohibits police from ticketing anyone or making a misdemeanor bust unless they actually witness the violation themselves.

Which means that, while the idea of licensing bicycles may have some appeal to those who hold a grudge against scofflaw cyclists, it doesn’t serve a useful purpose.

And chances are, it ain’t gonna happen.



Investing in Place explains how you can get involved in the implantation of Metro’s Measure M, which promises to remake transit, active transportation and highways. Hopefully in a good way (see 405, failure).

The UCLA-based author of the recent LACBC/LA Walks bike count report offers his thoughts, as well as a link to the full report.

The Santa Monica Daily Press previews this weekend’s Electric Bike Expo on the pier.

The Women’s Cycling Association is hosting a ride to benefit the WCA Foundation Scholarship Fund in Calabasas on December 11th.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from LA Bike Dad, who reports he barely survived a Brompton ride on a Texas freeway after Google twice tried to kill him.



A bighearted Laguna Beach plumber has ridden over 45,000 miles and raised nearly $30,000 to fund scholarships for the children of fallen soldiers.

A traffic improvement program in North San Diego County will include two new separated bike/ped paths, as well as a ten mile addition to the North Coast Bike Trail. Although someone should tell them that adding traffic lanes to reduce congestion doesn’t work.

This is why you don’t try to reclaim your stolen bike yourself. A San Diego bike messenger was slashed with a knife when he tried to get his bike back after spotting a stranger riding it a few weeks after it was stolen.

Bakersfield is conducting a series of workshops and walking audits to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. And yes, I have walked the streets of Bakersfield.

A San Francisco paper says Vision Zero is intuitive, radical and has failed in the city. Meanwhile, the city has approved a moratorium on removing the ghost bikes Vision Zero is supposed to make unnecessary. Clearly, they need to do a lot more, but it’s a little early to call it a failure after just two years.

A Woodland man was acquitted of attempted murder charges but convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for deliberately running down three cyclists with a stolen car during a day-long meth fueled crime spree; his lawyer argued it was because he suffered a psychotic break.



The usual dispute over bike lanes versus parking rears its ugly head in a Wisconsin town, though this time compromise appears possible as residents agree it might be worth crossing the street to park their cars if it will slow down speeding drivers.

Maybe he doesn’t hate us after all. Donald Trump’s new Deputy US Commerce Secretary is a Chicago bike shop owner.

Safety improves in Boston as better signage and a dramatically increased bike lane network leads to an increase in ridership and a decrease in bicycling injuries.

Cambridge, Massachusetts considers a unique, peanut-shaped mini-roundabout complete with protected bike lanes to keep riders safe on a challenging seven-way intersection.

A trio of University of Connecticut instructors say the recent increase in traffic fatalities in the US is due to low gas prices and unemployment, not distracted driving. And that other developed countries rely on providing safer streets rather than expecting people to drive more safely.

A New York state appeals court rules it doesn’t matter whether a cop hit a bike rider with his police car or the other way around.

A New York man is stuck with the bill after someone stole his jacket, and used his Citi Bike key to steal a $1,200 bikeshare bike.

Safety experts often urge riders to wear hi-viz to improve visibility and avoid collisions. But it didn’t help a New Jersey store full of it.

A Louisiana sheriffs department is looking for donations to give 200 to 300 bicycles to kids that might not otherwise get a gift this year.



A Vancouver man was the victim of a bizarre reverse theft as someone broke into his truck to steal a bike lock, but left behind a nice mountain bike. And an umbrella.

If you build it, they will come. London’s cycling superhighways have seen up to 55% a jump in ridership, with one route carrying 26 riders per minute.

This is why you always wait until traffic stops before crossing at a red light. A British cyclist wisely waits as a bus driver speeds through the light.

Patriotic Brit cycling fans need to buy more lottery tickets.

An Aussie paper says bicycling is a vital part of Sidney’s transportation system, but it seems to have taken a wrong turn.

Chinese ebikes could face a European anti-dumping surcharge of up to 30%.



Evidently, cyclists are considered a nuisance even if they never go anywhere. As if bike riders didn’t have enough to worry about, now turtles are out to get us.

And how exactly does one ride a bike in a suspicious manner?


A special thanks to Wesley Reutimann, Felicia Garcia, Richard Neill, Mark Jones, and Plurabelle Books Ltd for their generous contributions to support this site during the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.



  1. keith says:

    bike licensing – seems like an OK idea perhaps if it was really useful for recovering stolen bikes. I recall purchasing my first bike from a shop on Beverly Blvd & they charged some licensing fee, $5-6. And a sticker was applied. Perhaps if it was tied to the bicycle registry folks or something it could be useful to recover a stolen bike. Instead I think it was a mickey mouse kinda fee. Or is my memory clouded from the smokey tour buses. Recalling useless permits & things, once upon a time LA Metro required an annual permit to take your bike on the rail system too.

    • Erik Griswold says:

      That’s not licensing, it is registering the bicycle on a national data base.

      Bike licensing is just an excuse to stop and frisk, and shoot to kill if the officer feels his/her life is in danger.

      Helmet laws are the same.

  2. Margaret says:

    The ‘Donald Trump new Deputy US Commerce Secretary is a Chicago bike shop owner’ link points to the bizarre Vancouver bike lock story.

  3. tdonline says:

    “Neither was wearing a helmet. It should be noted that relatively slow speed falls like this are exactly what bike helmets are designed for.”

    Never truer words. For the ‘never wear a helmet’ crowd, why it it not worth it to save yourself from severe head trauma due to minor falls? Yes, a helmet won’t you from a speeding SUV, but if you’re riding a bike on the road, nothing else will anyway. But mitigating injuries due to more common falls here and there is worth wearing the lid.

    I landed head first while riding slowly and being sideswiped by a slow turning taxi. It was about as slow speed as you can get. Even with a helmet on, I blacked in and out while transported to the ER. The end result was a nasty week long headache and some road rash. My bike was spotless. The helmet had a hairline fracture (it was of course, replaced). Without the helmet, I could have sustained much more serious head trauma.

    • Erik Griswold says:

      Nobody says “never wear a helmet”. They say “don’t make the helmet mandatory”.

    • keith says:

      Td some helmet companys will replace their helmets free if they’re broken in an accident. Interesting to see cyclists carrying their helmets instead of wearing them – like you’ll be able stop & put it on before you need it. I rode helmet free for eons but the kids at the school where I taught were asking “aren’t you supposed to wear a helmet?” So I got one.

  4. Ralph says:

    My 2 damaged helmets went to a person who does cycling safety courses at Stanford.

    I like the argument that cyclists need to have some ‘skin in the game’. I think we have more than our share of skin in the game. Perhaps motorists need the same ‘skin’ by having a mandatory 4 inch spike mounted center of the steering wheel……

    Sunnyvale (CA) had a registration/liscensing scheme. You paid 4-5 dollars at your local Fire Department and got a sticker good for 2 years. But if a bike was recovered the registrations were all at kept at the local fire station where you registered the bike, in a book. So some one would have to go to each fire house and check the book and the tags were in no real numerical order…..

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