Bike riders Gavined by governor’s veto pen, rude writer confronts rude rider, and bad Claremont proposal threatens bikes

We’ve been Gavined.

We’re only a few years removed from when Jerry Brown became a verb meaning a too close pass, after he vetoed legislation establishing a three-foot passing law.

Twice.

It took a third try, and a vastly weakened law, to get it past Brown’s overactive veto pen.

Now Gavin Newsom is trying to take his place by irrationally vetoing bike and pedestrian safety laws.

Consider this statement that accompanied his veto of the Safety Stop Bill, otherwise known as the Idaho Stop or Stop as Yield, which has gone into effect in several other states without an accompanying jump in carnage.

And note, there’s no bike in carnage, but there’s sure all hell a car.

While I share the author’s intent to increase bicyclist safety, I am concerned this bill will have the opposite effect. The approach in AB 122 may be especially concerning for children, who may not know how to judge vehicle speeds or exercise the necessary caution to yield to traffic when appropriate.

Fatalities and serious injuries have been on the rise on the state’s roads since 2010. The Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System shows that, since 2015, there were 3,059 crashes involving bicycles at an intersection in which the primary collision factor was failure to stop at a stop sign. The data indicates bicyclists were determined to be at fault for 88 percent of the collisions resulting in fatalities and 63 percent of those involving injuries.

So let’s be clear.

Few, if any, legitimate sources use that 88% figure; most researchers find fault either evenly divided, or drivers at fault for most crashes involving bike riders.

While it’s a useful tool, the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, better knows as SWITRS, is hardly the most reliable source. SWITRS depends on voluntary self-reporting by law enforcement agencies, which results in most, but not all, serious collisions being reported.

It is also dependent on the CHP and other law enforcement agencies with their infamous windshield bias and lack of adequate training in bike law.

And never mind that of those 3,059 collisions at intersections where someone failed to stop at a stop sign, it wasn’t necessarily the person on the bike who failed to stop.

Drivers blow through stop signs at least as frequently as people on bikes, and with far more deadly results.

And as we’ve said many times before, even the most reckless bike rider is primarily a danger to him or herself, while a reckless driver is a danger to everyone around them.

Not to mention Gavin also killed a very good law decriminalizing crossing the damn street, for similarly specious reasons — despite clear evidence that it has resulted in biased police enforcement against people of color.

Although to his credit, he did sign a bill that allows the first small steps towards weakening the deadly 85th Percentile Rule and lowering speed limits.

So maybe Gavined should be the new term for irrationally rejecting bike and pedestrian safety rules.

Or maybe that’s what we’ll call it when someone gets a ticket for otherwise safely rolling a stop sign or crossing the street mid-block, which would have been legal under the laws he rejected.

Or both.

Because we had high hopes that California would finally take a long-delayed rational step forward to make it safer and easier to get around without a car.

But instead, we got Gavined.

In today’s photo, a family takes a break on the front plaza of LAPD headquarters during yesterday’s CicLAvia in Downtown Los Angeles.

And my apologies for the lack of attribution for the people who sent me links for today’s post. Too be honest, it’s nearly 5:30 am as I finish this, and I’m just too damn tired to go back and see who sent what. But I thank you, and truly appreciate the help!

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A worker with a homeless organization complains about a rude bike rider on the LA River bike path, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

He was standing on the pathway, comforting a homeless man who’s longtime partner had just died, when a man on a bike yelled at them to get out of the path.

These were the circumstances when you, spandex-clad and biking south along the river, yelled at the three of us to get out of the path, to which I responded with a predictable vulgarity.

I was surprised when you returned to insist that I apologize for my foul language and for forcing you to shift lanes. You seemed genuinely certain you were the injured party, and I imagined you carrying that for the rest of the day — telling your friends about the confrontation, using it as an example of our ongoing civilizational decline…

Things shouldn’t be like this. I took your behavior as evidence that you, like many of my neighbors, view unhoused people exclusively as nuisances, similar to bad traffic on the 5 or our most recent oat milk shortage.

As usual, though, we’re only hearing one side of the story.

Undoubtedly, the man on the bicycle would see things differently; he had no way of knowing about the death of the homeless man’s partner.

But based on what we’ve been told by the author of the piece, it would seem like they were both wrong.

He could, and should, have moved the homeless man off the pathway to avoid blocking a path used by countless people every day. It’s likely that the two people comforting a homeless man blocked more of the path than he realized.

The bike rider could have also held his tongue as he rode past, assuming there was enough room to get by. Yes, it’s annoying when people stand on a bike path. But that’s what people do.

And sometimes, as in this case, there’s a reason for it.

The author also could have responded without swearing at the bike rider, which seems uncalled for under the circumstances.

So what we’re left with is two people behaving badly, and one whining about it in the pages of the Times.

Neither of whom seem very sympathetic in the retelling.

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Eric Griswold calls our attention to a very badly worded motion before the Claremont city council that could ban bikes from one or more surface streets, in violation of state law.

So just to be clear, under California state law, bike riders have all the rights and responsibilities of motorists, and must be allowed on any public street where cars are allowed, with the exception of some limited access highways.

While some cities have tried to ban bikes from certain roadways, it’s questionable whether it can be legally enforced. Although fighting it could mean taking it to the state appeals courts, which is a slow and costly process.

So let’s hope Claremont takes another look at this wording, and sends it back for a rewrite.

And maybe gets a new law firm for the next draft.

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Sunday marked the return of CicLAvia to DTLA, exactly 11 years to the day after the first one.

And yes, a good time was had by all.

Even our very own BikinginLA intern, who not only experienced her first CicLAvia, but also took her first pedicab ride.

Not to mention her second. And loved every minute of it, thanks to our very kind and friendly driver.

We also had a chance to talk corgis, bikes and city finances with the man who may just be LA’s next city controller.

Maybe he could put his own corgis to work sniffing out financial irregularities at city hall.

https://twitter.com/kennethmejiaLA/status/1447365863363923969

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Show this tweet the next time someone complains about bike lanes in front of businesses.

Then wait for the inevitable “Yeah, but this isn’t Madrid.”

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

An editor with Esquire wants us to feel sorry for him for getting his first traffic ticket in 30 years for right-hooking a bike rider who came off the sidewalk “out of nowhere.” Evidently, though, the cops understood that no one ever comes out of nowhere if drivers are paying attention, even if he doesn’t.

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

There’s a special place in hell for the man who brutally attacked an 18-year old woman in South Los Angeles as she was walking with her young brother, stealing about 30 bucks before making off on a bicycle.

New York police are looking for a bike-riding man who shouted a racist comment at an Asian woman before bumping her with his bike.

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Local

All five candidates to replace pseudo-environmentalist, bike lane-blocking, thankfully termed out CD5 City Councilmember Paul Koretz will participate in an online debate on mobility on October 25th, sponsored by Streets for All.

Congratulations to LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood, which is officially the world’s 14th coolest neighborhood.

This is who we share the road with. A man was beaten to death by bystanders after using his car as a weapon to intentionally crash into several people on a sidewalk when he was tossed from a Hawthorne business, then crashed into a building as he tried to get away, only to be pulled from his car and killed by members of the crowd he attacked

Not everyone turned out for CicLAvia on Sunday, as some people took part in the return of the bike ride on the course of the Long Beach Marathon. Although I suspect some people did both.

 

State

An Orange County woman got her stolen bike back a day later, after cruising the neighborhood with her dog until she spotted a man riding it, and the police in Santa Ana recovered it for her.

Cycling Tips looks at Day Two of this year’s Sea Otter Classic.

Moving piece from a Berkeley publicly funded paper about the 81-year old retired firefighter who died of a heart attack while riding his bike last week.

The San Francisco Chronicle examines the lack of equity for two San Francisco drivers who killed two bike-riding women in separate crashes on the same night; one driver got a lousy 16 days behind bars, while the other has been held in county jail for five years on $10 million bail, without ever getting a hearing.

 

National

Treehugger says US ebike sales are up a whopping 240%.

How to repurpose old wheelbarrows to build your own DIY bike trailer.

Chicago residents petition to restore a Slow Street, after the city continues its campaign to remove them.

In a major traffic collision, an eight-year old Ohio girl was riding her bicycle when she was struck by a 10-year old boy and 8-year old girl in a pony cart, spilling them all.

Two hundred Massachusetts bike riders turned out turned out to honor the sacrifices of police and firefighters who gave their lives to protect the public.

Bicycling rates continue to rise in the Big Apple, with a 33% jump in weekday ridership.

Jersey City NJ bike riders are getting the secure bike parking we all need with a Black and Brown-owned Brooklyn-based startup that provides customizable bike storage pods that can fit in a single parking space. Let’s hope they come here to SoCal soon.

Woody Harrelson is one of us, riding a bike around DC shortly after punching a drunk man at the Watergate Hotel, who allegedly lunged at him when Harrelson asked him to delete photos of him and his daughter. .

 

International

Birmingham, England announced a transformative plan to cut motor vehicle use by requiring drivers to use a ring road, rather than allowing them to drive across the city, while introducing a fleet of zero-emission cross-city buses and additional protected bike lanes.

Oh, bother. Local residents agree on protecting England’s Hundred Acre Wood, made famous by Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet et al, though there’s less agreement on whether to allow bicycles. Although something tells me Pooh would welcome bikes.

Nice story from the UK, where YouTube BMX star Zak Jones gave a young boy with autism a new bike after meeting him at a skate park, when the boy, who had never ridden a bicycle, decided to become a cycling star like Jones.

It takes a major schmuck to borrow a Kenyan boy’s bicycle, then turn around and sell it.

Life is really cheap in Malaysia, where an appeals court confirmed that a driver got a walk for killing eight — yes, eight — teenagers on the customized bikes known as basikal lajak. And she got her driver’s license back, too. I don’t care who you are, it takes major recklessness to crash into eight people on bicycles with enough force to kill them all.

Covid is delaying construction of a Sydney, Australia bikeway, as “snobbish” and “narrow minded” residents work to stop it.

Australian actor Samuel Johnson is one of us, possibly to his regret, after permanently losing his sense of smell when he was struck by a driver while riding his bike.

 

Competitive Cycling

Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar won the Il Lombardia classic, in the final race on this year’s WorldTour calendar.

Pink Bike offers a photo essay from the Red Bull Rampage, calling it the greatest show on earth.

British sprinting star Mark Cavendish turned up at the women’s Tour of Britain to speak out in support of women’s cycling.

Congratulations to SoCal’s own Coryn Rivera, who is now Coryn Labecki, after getting married and moving to a new team.

American BMX cyclist Connor Fields crash in the Tokyo Olympics left him with a serious traumatic brain injury and memory loss, raising questions about whether he can recover enough to compete again.

 

Finally…

That feeling when your new low-end e-mountain bike is okay for everything, except riding mountains. Who needs the Batmobile when you’ve got a turbo-charged bicycle?

And clearly, dooring is nothing new.

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

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