Questions raised about PCH door zone warning, and driver crashes into home built by Lincoln’s great-grandfather

Evidently, I’ve ruined everything.

Yesterday, a series of tweets were directed my way to tell me I got it all wrong about the proposed changes to PCH that would seem to put bike riders in the door zone.

Those were quickly followed by a comment on here, and a series of increasingly rude and insulting private messages blaming me for somehow ruining 20 year of bicycle advocacy by repeating what was said in a news story from a Malibu paper.

Which I was apparently supposed to somehow be able to deduce had made some yet-to-be confirmed error in reporting the story.

Then again, I was also accused in those private messages of somehow plagiarizing that same story by someone who had apparently never read it, and clearly has no idea what plagiarism means.

Seriously, feel free to do a side-by-side comparison, and see for yourself if I copied anything.

While I wasn’t involved in this project, and had no idea it was even in the works before this week, I have long fought for bike safety on PCH in Malibu. And worked with and supported Eric Bruins in his surprisingly successful campaign to turn the city from extremely anti-bike to a newfound commitment to welcoming people on two wheels.

And this project was definitely not what I remember asking for.

I also don’t remember meeting Mr. Laetz during all those years that I represented the LACBC on the PCH Task Force, before illness forced me to step down.

Which doesn’t mean he wasn’t there, or wasn’t working for bike safety in other ways. With all the meds I’m on these days, I have trouble remembering last week, let alone what happened a decade or so ago.

But maybe he’s right.

My reaction to this project was based entirely on Wednesday’s story in the Malibu Surfside News, which said this in the very first paragraph —

A stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu that’s seen several bicycle collisions in as many years is being looked at for changes that will make it safer for bicyclists while adding motor vehicle parking.

Note that last phrase, “adding motor vehicle parking.”

The writer of that piece, Scott Steepleton, the editor of the Malibu Surfside News, cited a Malibu Planning Commission document as his source.

According to the July 19 meeting staff report by Jessica Thompson, associate planner, the changes “will provide increased travel space on the right shoulder for a combination of bicycle use and on-street parking, thereby improving safety on this segment of PCH.”

I never hid the fact that this was my source, and linked back to the story in my original post. I also sent the link to Mr. Laetz when he objected to my story to confirm where the information came from.

Yet he continued to attack me, both publicly and privately. Right up to the point I told him what he could do with himself, and blocked him from my personal Twitter account.

But again, that doesn’t make him wrong.

This is how he describes the project in a comment Mr. Laetz left on here.

WAIT A MINUTE, The city’s plan is to WIDEN the shoulder, by narrowing the median and shifting the traffic lanes to the center, No parking will be added, none will be eliminated. Te (sic) plan will leave shoulders that are in excess of 14 feet wide. It will also add marked bike lanes at the traffic lights. The Coastal Commission will not allow the city to add parking (reducing coastal access to bicyclists) or decrease parking (reducing parking access for people in vehicles). This plan is parking neutral. It will eliminate much of the wide, unused median. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.

Despite repeated requests, he never sent me a link to any source to back up his description of the project, though he did reference a story he claimed to have written for the Malibu Times, which I haven’t been able to find on their website.

However, assuming the shoulder will in fact be a minimum of 14 feet wide, while that may be enough room to safely pass an average parked car, it would leave only a sliver of space outside the door zone of today’s massive pickups and SUVs.

And that’s if the driver pulls all the way to the right, which hardly ever happens the real world.

It also raises the question of whether that space could be better used to provide a parking protected bike lane that would keep riders safely out of the door zone, as well as away from drivers cutting over to park their cars or pull out of a parking space.

And why maintain those plush eleven-foot traffic lanes, which encourage higher speeds, when they could easily be narrowed a foot to help slow traffic, and provide more space to work with on either side?

As I tried to point out to Mr. Laetz, even if this project would be wholly beneficial for people on bicycles, the worst thing that resulted from calling it out is that hundreds of bike riders are newly aware of it, and prepared to give it the scrutiny any bike project should have.

So go ahead and email your comments and concerns by Sunday night, if you haven’t already. And attend Monday’s virtual meeting of the Malibu Planning Commission to learn more about it if you can.

Full disclosure, I won’t be able to make it Monday evening. Somehow, I suspect my wife’s birthday has to take priority if I don’t want to see a permanent change my sleeping arrangements.

I’ve also offered to let Mr. Laetz write a guest post for this site to clarify anything he thinks we got wrong.

So far, he hasn’t responded.

I’ll let you know if he does.

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I do my best to be as truthful and accurate as possible in everything you read on this site.

If I get something wrong, I’m more than happy to correct it, which I’ve done more times than I can count. Just reach out to me, either in the comments below, at the email address on the About page, or on Twitter @BikinginLA.

Just be able to back it up. And don’t be a jerk about it.

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This is the cost of traffic violence.

A Massachusetts driver slammed her SUV through the side of a 371-year old house built by the great-grandfather of Abraham Lincoln, after swerving to avoid an early-rising squirrel.

Yes, that Abraham Lincoln.

Although it may have been the house’s fault, since the owners say there have been a number of near-misses since they moved in.

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Apparently, pedicabs are nothing new.

Though seldom quite this cool.

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A Utah TV station wins the award for best attempt to remove any agency for an injury collision, with a headline that suggests some unidentified “person” was injured when a car without a driver somehow collided with a bicycle without a rider.

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Call a happy bike surprise.

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

After a Denver man attempted to stop a woman from stealing his neighbor’s $5,000 mountain bike, she returned in a beat-up SUV and smashed into another car while attempting to run him down. But even after they tracked the attacker to a nearby homeless camp, the police have refused to go in and do anything about it.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Must have been in a hurry. A New York “transit menace” snatched a bikeshare bike out of the hands of the person who rented it, rode it to the subway station, the jumped the turnstile to catch his train.

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Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

I want to be like him when I grow up. Bicycling talks with a 77-year old Lake Forest man who still rides a bike every day, despite two serious heart surgeries. Or maybe because of them. I mean, without all the heart problems and stuff. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out.

San Diego letter writers continue to beat a dead bike lane horse, still complaining about the new protected bike lanes on 30th Street in North Park that are already under construction.

Police in Salinas are asking for the public’s help identifying a thief caught on camera stealing a mountain bike.

 

National

CyclingTips examines the custom Trek Domane Richard Branson pretended to ride to Sunday’s space launch, in what they accurately describe as part of a billionaire “dick-measuring competition.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

A culture website suggests four exciting US cities to ride a bike in. If you really want excitement, though, it’s hard to top mixing it up with LA drivers. Although it may not be the kind of excitement you want.

Nearly a hundred Portland-area kids now have newly refurbished bikes, thanks to an organization dedicated to giving kids free bikes who might not be able to get one otherwise.

No surprise here. Las Vegas is being sued by the family of a Black man who died in police custody in 2019 with a cop’s knee planted firmly in his back; Byron Williams was recorded saying 24 times that he couldn’t breathe, after getting stopped for the capital crime of not having a light on his bike. The family is being represented by the same lawyer who filed suit in the George Floyd case.

Montana’s first shuttle mountain bike park is now open near the Flathead Lake resort area, incorporating a shuttle service to carry riders from the end of one gravity trail to the start of another.

Heartbreaking news from Chicago, where an off-duty cop in a jacked-up truck ran over a little boy and dragged him to his death; nine-year old Hershel Weinberger was riding his bike in a crosswalk when the driver reportedly ran the stop sign, even if the local union head swears he stopped and looked both ways. But investigators failed to hold the off-duty officer accountable after he played the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, by claiming he just didn’t see the boy. Although chance are, just flashing his badge was probably enough.

Life is cheap in Michigan, where a driver faces a single year behind bars for killing a 16-year old boy riding a bike, after prosecutors allowed him to plead to a misdemeanor moving violation. Sad to know that’s all a kid’s life is worth to them.

A new study suggests 30% of DC crashes involving a bike rider or pedestrian go unreported, reducing the reliability of the data Vision Zero relies on.

 

International

Talk about flash photography. A British woman snapping a selfie captured the exact moment she and her brother and sister were struck by lightening as they were sheltering under a tree, after getting caught in a thunderstorm while riding their bikes to see their aunt; fortunately, they were all okay after being treated for burns.

The final stage of the Tour de France is just the start of festivities as Paris bounces back from the pandemic lockdowns, as only Paris can.

 

Competitive Cycling

VeloNews talks with the stars of Thursday’s final hors catégorie climb, which was pretty much Wednesday on repeat.

Here we go again. CyclingNews is reporting that French authorities raided the hotel and team bus of the Bahrain Victorious cycling team before Thursday’s stage of the Tour de France, as prosecutors open a preliminary investigation into doping allegations. But we all know the doping era is over, right?

Road Bike Action wants to help you build the perfect bike for Sunday’s Belgian Waffle Ride.

 

Finally…

Why pro cyclists dance with their bikes. Your next (really weird looking) touring bike could come with a built-in chair and day bed.

And if you have to ask…

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

 

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