Bike rider brake checked and right hooked by Miami cop, and Harvard Law Review says throw out MUTCD and start over

No irony here.

A job title turned sadly prophetic when a director of high-impact experiences for the McClatchy newspaper chain had his own high-impact experience when he was brake checked and right hooked by a Miami cop.

The victim was riding with a group of bicyclists on the city’s Rickenbacker Causeway when the officer pulled the patrol car out from the shoulder ahead of the group with red lights flashing, then cut right across the bike lane without warning.

Not surprisingly, people taking part in the ride were quick to blame the cop for putting their safety at risk.

While police say the officer was trying to pull over a bike rider ahead of the group, there’s no sign of that as he turned onto the shoulder and drove back up the other way on the grass.

So here’s my take. And feel free to disagree.

The cop was careless in entering the roadway in front of the group of bike riders, and made no effort to ascertain whether it was safe to turn in front of them.

And if he knew he was going to turn off onto the shoulder, he should have driven on the bike lane, safely following any riders ahead of him, to ensure he did not endanger the riders behind him.

But the people on the bikes also bear responsibility, since they should have maintained their distance while a patrol car had its red lights flashing, rather than closing in behind it.

Now the victim is hospitalized with a broken pelvis.

And the police department is looking at a lawsuit.

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels.

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Powerful essay from the prestigious Harvard Law Review, suggesting it’s time to throw the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, aka MUTCD, and start over.

While such provisions may sound inconsequential, some of the Manual’s provisions have far-reaching, even deadly, consequences. They prioritize vehicular speed over public safety, mobility over other uses of public space, and driving over other modes of mobility. With these car-centric priorities, the Manual has helped generate a nearly constant and fast-moving stream of vehicle traffic that renders road users like pedestrians, wheelchair users, and cyclists vulnerable. Moreover, by giving preference to driving over other modes of transportation, the Manual has indirectly facilitated a rise in transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions that are the single largest contributor to climate change

This Essay explains how the Manual biases transportation behavior in dangerous and inequitable ways. It urges the FHWA to use its emergency powers to rescind its most damaging provision — the so-called 85th Percentile Rule, which legalizes dangerously high speeds of traffic — and to undertake a complete rewrite that follows a scientifically sound, evidence-based approach; prioritizes safety, access, equity, climate action, and prosperity; and incorporates feedback from diverse stakeholders.

As you’d expect, it’s not exactly light reading.

But if you care about safety on our streets, it matters.

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Transportation conference CoMotion LA returns online and in person next month. Although the free online access is a lot cheaper than the nearly one grand in-person pass.

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More proof that there’s no such thing as a carfree space in Southern California.

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How to instantly turn one parking spot into eight.

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

Guardian Angels founder and New York mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa vows to end the city’s entirely imaginary war on vehicles by removing bike lanes and speed cams. So if there’s a war on cars, why are the only victims on the other side?

Someone appears to be boobytrapping an Alabama mountain bike trail by planting sharpened wooden stakes into the ground that could seriously injure riders, or worse. But local officials insist it ain’t necessarily so.

Riding a bicycle on a Malaysian highway could get you up to a year behind bars.

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Local

Streetsblog offers more details on the series of motions by Councilmembers Mike Bonin and the two Pauls, Koretz and Krekorian, to reduce speed limits, make some Slow Streets permanent, and allow cams on buses to enforce bus lanes, based on recently passed new state laws.

Metro is teaming with People for Mobility Justice for a taco ride through DTLA, touring taco vendors and bike infrastructure in Downtown Los Angeles.

SWAT teams surrounded a Huntington Park home after a hit-and-run driver broke in and barricaded himself inside after running down someone on a bicycle; no word on the condition of the victim.

 

State

A San Diego letter writer complains that bike lanes aren’t enough, and the city needs to consider both the quality of the lanes and the air riders are forced to breathe, while another wonders what’s taking so long.

A new report from the nonprofit Climate Action Campaign says San Diego’s ambitious regional transportation plan still isn’t enough to reduce car traffic and meet the city’s climate goals.

Woodland Hills Magazine recommends a handful of “serene” places to ride your bike in the area.

Ventura is hosting the second of two free bike rides this Saturday, as the city seeks public input on planned improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.

San Mateo is considering lowering speed limits around schools to 15 mph.

A 31-year old driver was arrested for the hit-and-run death of a 53-year old Fairfield man riding a bicycle after the crash was captured on security cam; he faces DUI and hit-and-run charges, as well as a first degree murder count, as a result of a previous DUI conviction.

 

National

A new report from Trek says you only have to ride your bike 435 miles to offset the C02 emissions generated by making it.

Now you, too, can own a folding ebike made to fit under your desk.

While some people continue to call for mandatory helmet laws for bike riders, Seattle’s Kings County Board of Health is moving towards removing theirs over questions of effectiveness and racial disparities in enforcement.

This is the cost of traffic violence. The Portland father who was killed in a Utah crash just four days into a cross-country bike tour was the founder of a nonprofit program designed to inspire children and teens to learn music.

The mayor pro tem of Dallas and a pair of councilmembers led an annual bike ride to city hall to raise awareness around bicycling, where one rider says biking in the city “feels like a death wish.

Plans for a 25 mile Maine rail trail could be on hold, as the state considers extending the rail line’s lease on the unused right-of-way.

He gets it. A Boston Globe columnist takes “cranky” Providence RI to task over complaints that bike lanes are “destroying the fabric of the city, ruining small businesses, and terrorizing innocent walkers who just want to take selfies on the pedestrian bridge without getting run over by Mayor Jorge Elorza on his Huffy.”

New Yorkers call on the state’s new bike-riding governor to sign a bill that adds bike and pedestrian advocates to ridership councils for New York City Transit, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

No surprise here, as the person seen riding a bicycle in Florida last week was definitely not Brian Laundrie, the fiancé and prime suspect in the death of Gabby Petito. Unless it was a ghost bike in the most literal sense.

 

International

Officials will place the equivalent of $215,000 of artwork along a Welsh bikeway network, after determining they couldn’t spend it for anything else.

Cycling Weekly considers where people in the UK can buy a bike when shortages are predicted to last into 2023.

Life is cheap in Great Britain, where a speeding, sun-blinded driver walked with a suspended sentence and a six-month curfew for killing a woman who was riding a bicycle just steps from her home.

Paris has committed to spending the equivalent of $290 million to make the entire city 100% bikeable.

We may have to deal with dangerous LA drivers, but at least we don’t have to worry about hungry lions, after a Zimbabwean woman disappeared while riding her bicycle, and was later found after apparently becoming a lion’s dinner.

Bike jerseys become wearable art, courtesy of a South African company and a local artist.

Momentum Magazine rides along with Barcelona’s popular school bicycle buses, also known as a bike train.

A Singapore cop was fined $3,000 for falsely reporting his bike had been stolen because he lost the key for the lock, and wanted the police to cut it off for him for free.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former Canadian national time trial champ Rob Britton called it a career after 12 years on the pro tour.

 

Finally…

Who needs wheel hubs, anyway? Turn an empty beer keg into your own DIY bicycle sidecar.

And that feeling when your bicycle is designed to go 200 mph.

No, really.

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

2 comments

  1. Roy says:

    “But the people on the bikes also bear responsibility, since they should have maintained their distance while a patrol car had its red lights flashing, rather than closing in behind it.”

    How much responsibility?

    What is the law regarding yielding to emergency vehicles in Florida?

    This is the law in California (note: please be aware that the cyclists looked to be less than 300 feet from the vehicle…):

    “It is against the law to follow within 300 feet behind any fire engine, police vehicle, ambulance, or other emergency vehicle with a siren or flashing lights (CVC §21706).”

    https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/handbook/california-driver-handbook/sharing-the-road/

  2. Ralph Durham says:

    If I am on my bike, and driving a car, I don’t keep riding like there is nothing happening. I slow down and try to see what might be the cause. It is much better to back off a bit and stay a safe distance from a police officer driving with the lights on.

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