No protection for bike riders in bike lanes, more on horrific Las Vegas bike crash, and New York driver injures 6 protesters

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Bike scribe Peter Flax is back with a piece in Outside, warning about the lack of legal protections for riders in bike lanes.

Experienced cyclists already know that a conventional bike lane—where government officials paint stripes on the road to demarcate a dedicated space for riders—offers few real physical protections from motor vehicles. But the case in Bend offers a window into how the legal protections they offer are extremely limited, too.

The problem extends outside of Oregon. After the October ruling, I spoke with two attorneys who specialize in cycling-related law—one based in Colorado and the other in Ohio—and both said that existing laws in their states do almost nothing to define cyclists’ right of way in bike lanes or protect them in a crash…

Both attorneys expressed considerable frustration that cyclists don’t yet have more rational, legal protections. “If we are going to spend the time and money building bike lanes for cyclists, they must come with some level of protection,” says Hottman. “If bike lanes are where city planners want us riding, and if we agree that collisions and tensions tend to decrease when cyclists get dedicated places to ride, then we have to be granted some level of protection when we ride in them. My perfect world would be a state statute that says motorists turning across a bike lane must yield to bikes in bike lane.”

It seems like a no brainer. Bike riders should have the right-of-way in the only piece of pavement dedicated to our use.

But we don’t.

Anyone who has ridden most SoCal bike lanes can tell you that we’re still subject to swinging car doors, drivers using bike lanes to pull in or out of parking spaces or cruise of a parking spot, or cutting across the bike lane to make a turn — which is illegal in California, where drivers are required to merge into a bike lane before turning right.

And for which we too often get the blame, despite being exactly where we’re supposed to be.

The simple solution is to make drivers fully liable for any collision with someone on a bicycle who is riding legally in the bike lane.

Period.

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More on the horrific crash that killed five Las Vegas bicyclists last week and injured four others, one critically.

The Las Vegas coroner identified the five victims Friday afternoon.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the victims were described as key fixtures in the local bicycling scene, and in the top 10% of area bicyclists. Note: if the paper’s paywall blocks you, trying opening the link with another browser or a private window.

One of the victims was a member of the national triathlon team, while another was described as someone who lived on on his bike and would help anyone — including cyclists on a competing team.

A third victim was called a kind, caring man of faith who loved bike racing.

Hundreds of community members gathered around a ghost bike sculpture in front of a local bike shop to remember the victims and call for safer streets.

NBC News somehow gets the crash sequence backwards, saying the truck driver hit the car that was chaperoning the ride before crashing into the bicyclists. The five riders killed were actually trailing the car, and were pinned between the two vehicles, although some of the injured may have been riding in front of the car.

Seriously? Las Vegas police are reminding drivers to obey Nevada’s three-foot passing law in the wake of the crash.

As if that would have kept the driver from plowing into nine people on bicycles, as well as a car leading them.

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The Nevada crash wasn’t the only bloodbath involving bike riders last week.

After a 52-year old New York woman found her car surrounded by people protesting ICE, she floored it and crashed into the protesters in front of her, injuring six people, including bike riders attempting to protect the protest.

For a change, though, the NYPD appears to have taken the crash seriously, charging her with reckless endangerment.

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This is the future we could have in Los Angeles.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

You’ve got to be kidding. Bike riders in a Philippines town will now be required to wear a helmet and reflectorized vest, keep both hands on the handlebars except to signal, and only carry minimal loads “because bicycles are not designed to carry much cargo.” The new rules were put in place to “support our bike enthusiasts.” Sure, let’s go with that.

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Local

The two LA County sheriff’s deputies accused of shooting 18-year old Andres Guardado were relieved of duty after crashing their patrol car while chasing a man on a bicycle, even though they had a suspect in custody in the back of their cruiser.

Streets for All has set up a new Twitter account to raise awareness of traffic violence in and around the City of Angels, sending out an alert when a bike rider or pedestrian is involved in a crash. Which is pretty damned often, unfortunately.

Former pro wrestler and actor Tommy “Tiny” Lister was found dead in his Marina Del Rey home on Thursday; he was best known for playing bike-thieving neighborhood bully Deebo in the Friday movie franchise. Series star Ice Cube called him a born entertainer with a big heart, who could pop into character at the drop of a hat.

 

State

A Bakersfield collector donated the sign from the sporting goods store where he bought his first bicycle to a local neon museum.

San Francisco bike advocates have long called for a fix to a dangerous chokepoint on the popular crosstown Wiggle bike route, which forces bike riders to cross traffic turning into a gas station; after the latest crash involving someone on a bike, a city supervisor has joined the call.

 

National

Writing for Outside, bike scribe Joe Lindsey says the new Tesla ebike concept makes no sense. Which is being kind.

This is what an adaptive e-mountain bike looks like, allowing paraplegic riders to hit the trails.

Heartbreaking story from Arizona, where doctors discovered a malignant brain tumor in a three-year old boy after he fell down the stairs while learning to ride a bike; a crowdfunding page has raised a little over ten grand to help his single mom pay for his surgery.

A bighearted Boston-area man bought a new bike and a lock for an 11-year old neighbor boy after his was stolen.

South Carolina officials have filed hit-and-run charges against a 30-year old woman who killed a four-year old boy — and his dog — as the boy was riding with his uncle.

Life is cheap in Louisiana, where a hit-and-run driver who ran down two kids as they were riding bikes in their own neighborhood will serve just two years home vacation arrest, followed by a lousy three years probation. Even though a year later, his seven-year old victim still has no sense of taste or smell, and struggles with schoolwork, while his 13-year old sister faces another round of plastic surgery to repair damage from the crash.

 

International

No bias here. London’s Daily Mail says British prime minister Boris Johnson has lost the support of nearly 25% of his Conservative Party over Johnson’s support for popup bike lanes during the pandemic. Which means that nearly three quarters of the party are just fine with it, thank you.

Police in an English town confiscated the bicycle belonging to a 15-year old boy, accusing him of riding in a “dangerous manner.” Want to bet they’ve never confiscated a car from a driver for the same offense?

A UK bike advocacy group is considering legal action to prevent local governments from ripping out bike lanes, calling the removals “unreasonable.”

A driving website examines the new Italian-made Ducati ebike.

A climate website says Germany needs to look beyond cars and de-emphasize driving, while boosting trains, bicycling and walking.

The once and future Bicycle Kingdom is back, as bicycling booms in China while the pandemic is restricting movement.

When the trains stopped running in Manila due to the coronavirus pandemic, commuters jumped on their bikes, fighting for space on some of the world’s most congested streets.

 

Competitive Cycling

A new Irish film looks at the role of the domestique in pro cycling, set in the the start of 1998 Tour de France in Ireland.

Cycling Weekly considers why so many elite cyclists have a background in rowing.

 

Finally…

Who knew? Evidently, bike riders and horse people can actually get along.

And let’s hope they at least gave him free coffee and donuts.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

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