Morning Links: LA driver entitlement and assholery, Critical Mass stopped by H’wood LAPD, and stupid bicyclist tricks

I may have witnessed the high water mark of driver entitlement and assholery yesterday.

A paramedic unit came up our narrow street yesterday with red lights and siren blazing, then came to a halt in front of the building next door, blocking the entire roadway.

An Uber driver came up the street and stopped behind them. After a few seconds, he started blaring on his horn for them to get the hell out of his way.

Then wisely shifted into reverse and made a fast three-point turn to go the other way when an angry LA firefighter got out of the truck and started walking back towards his car.

He nearly left skid marks going around the corner to get away — and probably on his seat, too.

And was barely out of sight before the paramedic unit took off again, this time with someone aboard.

………

A reader says Hollywood LAPD officers brought up memories of the bad old days, before former Chief Beck improved relations with the bike community.

In June, Critical Mass got pulled over. In front of the McDonald’s at Hollywood & Highland. No need to go into the history of previous Mass/LAPD interaction at this exact location, right?

We were eastbound on Hollywood Blvd, and Brian, who drives the lead support vehicle, had remained stopped through a green interval. The ride was pretty big (yay summer vacation!), and this stop was to allow the stragglers huffing uphill to catch up. As soon as Brian proceeded across the intersection, BOOM, lights & sirens. Brian pulled over to the curb, so the whole ride stopped, too. In the intersection.

I was five bikes over, on the left of the leftmost lane, so I couldn’t hear the exchange, but I saw Brian staying calm and presenting his driver’s license. Altogether four LAPD cruisers responded, one of which whipped eastbound down the westbound lane of H’wood, closer to my left elbow than I liked.

After a few minutes, the ride marshals herded us forward, and we stopped again on Hollywood at Normandie. Because our AirBnB was nearby, this is where my bf & I ditched, but not before asking the SAG vehicle guys for an update. Apparently, Brian wasn’t cited. And nobody had their phones stomped into confetti by jackbooted thugs this time. I look forward to getting more details next Friday.

………

If you’re trying to flee from the police on a cruiser bike, try to pull off a bunny hop without face planting at the end.

Or getting Tased.

………

Local

LA cyclist Justine Williams says actually, Los Angeles is a great city for bicycling; last year’s dual men’s national crit and road cycling champ is the co-founder of the Legion of Los Angeles cycling team made up of mostly black and Hispanic riders from South LA.

The Long Beach Post says no, car insurance premiums will not rise $50 to $75 a month along the post-road diet Broadway corridor — despite what a somewhat truth-challenged city council candidate claimed.

 

State

San Diego business owners complain that the loss of parking spaces on 30th Street to make room for protected bike lanes will put them out of business. Because apparently, bike riders don’t shop or spend money, and customers only come by cars and prefer smoggy, traffic-choked shopping districts.

San Francisco supervisors vote to tame traffic by closing a busy street for one block, while installing protected bike lanes in other sections. Meanwhile, LA officials lack the courage to take the obvious step of turning Hollywood & Highland into a pedestrian plaza.

A man was found dead next to his bike on a Calistoga road at 4 am yesterday, with injuries consistent with getting hit by a motorist; he was identified as a 28-year old Pittsburgh PA man staying in Santa Rosa. We’ve said it before. In cases like this, the driver should face a murder charge for making a conscious decision to let another person die alone in the street, rather than stopping to offer aid and call for help.

 

National

Popular Mechanics says yes, there really is a rust-proof bicycle. And no, it wasn’t the Walmart Huffy.

A beginning mountain biker learns that riding a bike isn’t just like riding a bike.

Seattle will fork out over $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit from a bike rider who nearly died after catching a tire in a streetcar track and falling under a bus.

A Seattle bike rider calls for protected bike lanes after getting squeezed off the road when a semi driver cut into the narrow painted bike lane he was riding in. Although it’s never a good idea to undertake a big truck, whether or not you’re in a separate lane. And especially not when he’s got his flashers on.

A Utah bike lawyer says the easiest way to avoid getting hit by a driver is to ride on quiet, slow-speed streets. Which is easier said than done in most cities, where bike riders are forced to mix cars to get nearly anywhere. And even that won’t prevent all collisions.

Denver bicyclists are mourning the death of a popular bicycle activist, pedicab driver and bike shop worker, who was killed by a reckless driver in the city’s first bicycling death of the year.

Bike riders, skateboarders and e-scooter riders will now be required to get off and walk on the street in front of Coors Field when the Colorado Rockies baseball team is playing.

A Colorado town considers removing an eight-year old provision requiring bike riders to dismount when entering a crosswalk.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A Wisconsin man celebrated his 80th birthday by hitting 80,000 lifetime miles on his bike. Although I left the 80,000 mile mark in my rearview mirror a long damn time ago.

The people of Detroit have spoken, and they want more bike lanes and sidewalks.

Once again, a bike rider has been killed by crashing into an apparently driverless truck, this time in Michigan.

Gothamist offers a good piece on New York bike etiquette, including the need to put vulnerable pedestrians first. Which should go without saying, but too often doesn’t.

No bias here. Police in Pennsylvania are investigating to see if charges are warranted against the road-raging driver caught on bike cam stopping his car to get out and swear at a group of bike riders — but the police chief would rather focus on how bike riders have to obey the law, too.

Juli Briskman, the bike rider who was fired for famously flipping off the president’s motorcade, is now running for county supervisor in Virginia.

 

International

You’ve got to be kidding. A Vancouver criminal defense attorney attempts to justify an $81 fine a careless driver received for killing a bike rider in a dooring, saying the driver merely forgot to check his blindspot before opening the door and nothing he did showed a disregard for life or safety. Except maybe failing to check his blindspot before opening his door and killing another person. Yeah, except that.

A Toronto councillor and deputy mayor is facing a backlash for exulting online over killing an attempt to restore a bike lane that had been removed several years ago — even though collisions doubled after the lanes were taken out.

 

Competitive Cycling

Eurosport looks back to when French cyclist Eugène Christophe donned the first yellow jersey in the Tour de France one hundred years ago today.

Britain’s Chris Froome has won the Vuelta a España. No, not this year’s, the 2011 Vuelta, after Spain’s Juan José Cobo was disqualified for doping eight years after the fact.

The mysterious case of the missing TdF brake and gear cables.

Cycling Tips looks at the bizarre departure of Australian Rohan Dennis from this year’s Tour de France; Dennis got off his bike at a feed zone in the middle of Thursday’s stage, and simply walked away with no explanation.

Outside wants to introduce you to seven rookie riders in this year’s Tour de France, including two women competing in today’s token Le Course circuit race.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to peddle a hot bike, try not to sell it to a pair of cops in an unmarked car. Now you, too, can own your very own slightly used 15-person beer bike for a mere ten grand.

And if you want to ride your bike to the moon, you’d better get started, already.

 

2 comments

  1. David Erickson says:

    Very good advice from Christopher Robbins in the article ‘Can I Run A Red Light?’: A Brief Guide To NYC Bike Etiquette, at gothamist.com. This describes pretty much how I ride all of the time. But I would have subtitled the article as “John Forester Is An Idiot”.

  2. Ralph says:

    It should be much easier to hide what was formerly cables. What with electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes.

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