Archive for Bikes & the Law

Morning Links: Redondo’s bike speed limit may be illegal, and SF Critical Mass rider pleads out in assault case

It seems Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson is no fan of bike lanes.

But what he hates even more is stupidly illegal regulations.

Like the one on the relatively new protected bike lanes in Redondo Beach, which, like on the Strand in Hermosa Beach, restrict bicyclists to a measly eight mph speed limit.

Except, as someone on his site pointed out, it would appear to be in violation state laws. So hold on to that one in case you get nailed by a radar-toting South Bay cop for going nine in an eight mile per hour zone.

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A San Francisco bike rider will get probation and anger management classes after pleading guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism for attacking a car during a Critical Mass ride last year.

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NPR says authorities will be on the lookout for motor doping at this year’s Tour de France, using thermal imaging devices.

Cycling Weekly says pro cycling isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as three young riders have retired in the last six months.

Team USA cyclists are relying on high-tech training tools to get ready for the Rio Olympics.

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Local

Plans for the LAX-adjacent Metro stop include a bike hub with showers and parking for 150 bikes, as well as protected bike lanes on nearby Manchester Blvd.

A man riding his bike outside his home was one of two people killed in separate Compton shootings.

A Santa Monica architect calls the city’s Breeze bikeshare an unqualified success.

 

State

San Diego is a hub for bespoke bikes.

Construction begins on new bike lanes in Chula Vista, at the possible expense of some eucalyptus trees.

Sad news from Newman, where a 65-year old bike rider was killed by a 17-year old driver in a left cross crash; his nephew describes the victim as “just a cool guy.”

Drivers say they seldom see a bicyclist using the bike lanes after a San Jose road diet, even though ridership has nearly doubled.

Streetsblog says outrage over bike deaths isn’t enough, especially when city employees — and the police — don’t seem to care.

San Francisco residents were lucky no one was injured when an apparently drunk driver went on a hit-and-run rampage in the Lower Haight district.

An Antioch bike rider was killed in a collision with a train Sunday afternoon.

 

National

Wired gets all science-y to explain why added mass on your wheels is your worst enemy. But only when you accelerate.

A Las Vegas man is riding 4,000 miles in 70 days to fight cancer, despite losing his left femur to Stage 2 Ewing’s Sarcoma.

The 10 best gonzo bike rides in Colorado for your next trip to the Mile High State. Which takes on a whole new meaning these days.

A Colorado driver faces charges for vehicular homicide, hit-and-run and DUI in the death of a bicyclist Saturday; she was already on probation for driving while impaired, and had another DUI arrest in Texas just three years ago. Nice job of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until she kills someone.

An Ohio driver faces multiple lawsuits for killing two cyclists and injuring three others, after being acquitted of vehicular homicide by claiming the sun was in his eyes, and it was the bike riders’ fault for not wearing hi-viz.

A Massachusetts advocacy organization urges charges in the fatal dooring of a bike rider last week, while a bike-hating Boston columnist responds by going on a bizarre anti-bike Twitter rant.

A stoned Massachusetts driver still managed to rear-end a cyclist, despite a cop’s best efforts to pull him over.

Jennifer Aniston’s husband is one of us, as Justin Theroux Read trades his motorcycle for a bicycle in NYC.

A Philly writer says drivers, walkers and cyclists can all get along, even if she feels like an avatar in a video game when she takes to the city’s streets and trails.

 

International

Momentum offers advice on how to safely pass a bike rider.

Brazilian police want charges filed against 14 people for the collapse of a Rio elevated bike path that killed two people in April.

Calgary small businesses are learning to love bike lanes after discovering the value bicyclists bring to the marketplace.

A Winnipeg writer says wearing a bike helmet will improve your safety, but passing a law to mandate them won’t.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic is one of us. Or at least he would be if he hadn’t been banned from his bike at Wimbledon for reckless riding.

More fallout from the UK’s ill-advised exit from the European Union, which could mean a big jump in British bike prices.

Nearly 100 people in Malta swapped their cars for bicycles to commute to work this month in the tiny island republic.

Something’s seriously wrong when a photo of a Dutch bike rider in an Aussie airline ad violates the country’s helmet law.

The bighearted people at a local bike shop replaced a tandem bike stolen from a blind and autistic New Zealand man.

 

Finally…

When store employees stop you from buying two bikes with a stolen credit card, don’t try to grab another one on the way out — and don’t punch the cop who tries to stop you. If you’re carrying crack, dope and a pipe in your sock, seriously, don’t ride salmon.

And if you want to confuse drivers, just hang a bike from a tree.

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A special thanks to ReaniMac for getting my Macbook up and running again in less than an hour, after a bad hard drive cable put me out of business over the weekend. If, as Steve Jobs famously said, computers are the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds, they’re my LBS.

 

Morning Links: Ventura DA gives form letter response, deadline to support candidates opposing Koretz and Cedillo

Evidently, the Ventura County District Attorney can’t be bothered to respond individually to complaints about how they do their job.

Or in this case, don’t do it.

Last week, we featured a heartbreaking guest post from Hailey Cushman, daughter of Jesse Cushman, who was one of the two people killed by an allegedly distracted driver in Moorpark last fall.

Several people were inspired to write the DA’s office to complain that the driver, Rachel Hill, was only charged with misdemeanors in their deaths, rather than the felony counts the CHP recommended. And isn’t expected to spend a single day behind bars.

On Tuesday, I heard from three separate people who received the exact same response from the DA’s office, identical in every word, space and comma.

And not only that, one that they couldn’t even be bothered to respond to personally; each was signed simply “Webmaster.”

RE: Ventura County District Attorney Contact: Refile People vs. Rachel Hill as a felony

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:03:47 +0000

DA Criminal <DA.Criminal@ventura.org>

Dear Ms. xxxxx

Thank you for contacting the District Attorney’s Office. While we appreciate your concerns regarding this case, we are required to make difficult decisions, which include filing only those criminal charges that we have legally sufficient, admissible evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court. The case was reviewed and filed by a veteran prosecutor in our Criminal Division. Please understand that the decision to file this case was not made lightly. The District Attorney’s Office conducted a thorough review of the investigation done by the California Highway Patrol and our conclusion is reflected in our filing decision.

Webmaster

Ventura County District Attorney

Nice to see they take complaints — let alone the lives of traffic victims — so seriously over there.

Maybe the good people of Ventura County should ask themselves if this is really what they want from their DA.

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It’s time to put your money where your vote is.

Recently we reported that CD5’s Paul Koretz, who has taken it upon himself to singlehandedly set bicycling on the Westside back 20 years, will be facing a challenger in next year’s election.

Which means his opponent, Jesse Creed, already has my support before I even meet the guy.

However, the end of this month marks an important fundraising deadline for candidates for LA City Council.

So if you’re as pissed-off as I am about Koretz siding with wealthy homeowners at the expense of everyone else — let alone claiming to be an environmentalist while blocking bike lanes that would enable people to leave their cars at home — dig as deep as you can to make a contribution to his campaign.

And while you’re at it, send another one to Josef Bray-Ali; the owner of NELA’s Flying Pigeon LA bike shop is taking on Gil Cedillo in CD1, thanks in part to Cedillo’s ongoing efforts to keep North Figueroa dangerous.

Send your check to:

Bray-Ali for City Council 2017, 3346 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065. Be sure to include your name, address and employer, which is required in order for his campaign to legally accept the contribution.

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Speaking of Koretz, the motions to remove Westwood Blvd and Central Avenue from the Mobility Plan come back before the Planning Commission at 8:30 am tomorrow, on the 10th floor of City Hall in Downtown LA.

It’s not looking good at this point. So we need everyone to attend if you can, or if not, reach out to the commission to demand a safer, and more rideable Los Angeles.

Maybe if we show overwhelming support for keeping them in the plan, the commission — and more importantly, the city council, which will consider it next — may actually listen.

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If your plans for today included a ride along the upper reaches of the LA River Bike Path, you may want to reconsider.

The path will be closed from 8 am to 3 pm today between Glendale and Fletcher Blvds for major cleanup work following the removal of the flood control barriers.

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Caught on video: A Philadelphia bike rider is run off the road and threatened by a driver who fled the scene, then can’t get the police to give a damn.

Thanks to Thread Riot for the heads-up.

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The New Yorker offers photos from 75-years of bike racing. Which is not the same as cycling, despite the headline.

Six African riders are on track to compete in this year’s Tour de France, including Eritrea’s Daniel Teklehaimanot, who became the first black African to compete in the Tour last year.

A British amateur rider conquers the Tour de France’s famed Col du Tourmalet in just three and a half hours; even more impressive considering he’s just eight-years old.

If you want to hear Lance talk about cycling, skip his new podcast.

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Local

The LA Times endorses plans for a half-cent transportation sales tax, while calling bicycling and walking “a vital part of the transportation infrastructure that has been too often overlooked.” Meanwhile, Metro’s CEO calls it an opportunity to be bold, while a pair of Inglewood and West Hollywood leaders say speed up completion of the north-south train lines.

Kill four people who were walking in a Redondo Beach crosswalk, admit to taking pain killers before getting behind the wheel, and get off with time served.

Damien Newton discusses Metro’s open streets program, as well as Sunday’s 19-mile 626 Golden Streets.

While everyone else is offering advice on how to ride in the heat, contrarian CiclaValley tells you what not to do while cycling in it.

 

State

Caltrans’ survey for their first-ever draft bicycling and walking plan will close at the end of this month.

San Diego unanimously approves plans for nine miles of protected bike lanes in the downtown area, along with five miles of wider sidewalks.

Three San Diego area mayors call for approval of that county’s proposed $18 billion sales tax measure to fund transportation projects, including bicycle and pedestrians projects.

Monterey considers installing its own bikeshare system.

A new line of smart bikes from the Bay Area will come complete with built-in lights, turn signals, brake lights and an electronic shifting system, along with an open OS that will allow developers to add additional features.

The executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition hopes to have more time to ride his bike once he steps down at the end of this month.

 

National

People for Bikes considers how Kickstarter is kick-starting innovation in the bike industry.

Kryptonite increases the amount of optional anti-theft protection coverage they offer with their locks, while streamlining the registration process.

The Denver CO 2011 bike plan calls for investing $119 million to build an additional 270 miles of bike lanes; four years later, it had only spent $2.8 million to stripe 68 miles of new lanes. Sounds like another city I could name.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. Austin TX makes safety improvements to an intersection just weeks after a 14-year old boy was killed riding his bike.

Houston adopts an ambitious new bike plan calling roughly 800 miles of new bike lanes within the next ten years.

The annual Remember the Removal ride will finish on Thursday, as members of the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians retrace the infamous Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma.

A Memphis woman is behind bars after threatening to shoot a bunch of kids in a dispute over a stolen bicycle. Seriously, no bike is worth dying for. And it’s sure as hell not worth killing anyone over, especially not a kid.

Cincinnati’s Red Bike network has expanded seamlessly into Northern Kentucky to form the country’s first multi-state bikeshare system.

Minneapolis makes plans to unseat Portland as America’s bicycling capitol.

Seriously? A Massachusetts driver is expected to be released on a whopping $1,000 bail after being charged with possession of heroin and cocaine, driving with an open container, driving to endanger and driving under the influence when he knocked a woman off her bike. Nice to see the court system taking DUI seriously. And yes, that is sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure.

More proof cyclists are tough. A New York man rode his bike home after getting shot in the stomach.

 

International

Caught on video 2: An Ottawa, Ontario bike rider’s rear-facing cam captures the driver who smashed into him from behind; fortunately, he walked away from the crash.

A bystander jumped into a London river to save the life of a 68-year old bike rider who had fallen in.

A British paper offers advice on how to ride in the rain. Which is not a problem we’re likely to have anytime soon.

A stoned driver in the UK gets seven years in prison — and a 10-year ban on driving — for killing a bicyclist after using heroin and prescription medication.

An Irish soccer fan rides nearly 375 miles to the Euro championships to raise money for cancer charities, only to get mugged on arrival in Paris; fortunately, women working at the Gare du Nord train station chased off the men who tried to steal his bike.

An Aussie cyclist says riding 2,600 miles across the continent in just 32 days can change your life, especially if you almost die twice, get bitten by a snake and caught in a cyclone.

A Singapore women’s non-profit group rode through Cambodia to raise awareness and funds for a hotel and restaurant training school trying to stop human trafficking.

Caught on video 3: A Chinese sidewalk cyclist barely avoids being run down by an out-of-control driver who smashed into a clothing shop.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike as a getaway vehicle, maybe you should only steal one box of frozen chicken at a time. It’s not a bike helmet, it’s a speaker with a hockey puck on top.

And when is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s a contraflow traffic lane, of course. Thanks to kdbhiker for the video.

Morning Links: Alhambra police stop bike rider and search his belongings, for the $5 crime of riding in a crosswalk

It’s like playing Whack-A-Mole.

Once we deal with cops misapplying the law in one area, it pops up in another.

Longtime bike advocate Stephen Box, now Director of Government & Community Affairs for the Transit Coalition, witnessed Alhambra police stopping a bike rider on Saturday in what he calls “overkill for an infraction… that carries a maximum penalty of $5.”

This is how Box describes what he saw.

I watched the entire process, from Officer Alvarez chirping the cyclist and pulling him over to Officer Vega joining the stop to the officers searching the cyclist and his backpack and his bike. When it was over, the cyclist left and I asked the Officers what happened and found the explanation implausible. A westbound motorist (Officer Alvarez) in a stopped car can’t almost hit a northbound cyclist riding in the crosswalk.

Box stopped to talk with the two officers, then called their watch commander. But rather than getting a clear explanation of the officers’ actions, he discovered none of the three seemed to be clear on the Alhambra Municipal Code that laid the basis for the officer’s actions. So he looked it up himself.

Apparently it’s illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalks of Alhambra. (Alhambra Municipal Code 10.04.020) I looked it up and I have three comments:

  1. I’m not a fan of sidewalk cycling, I think it’s dangerous for the cyclist but I understand it
  2. I’m not a fan of local traffic laws that aren’t posted. In this case the public can hardly be expected to know of un-posted restrictions when law enforcement is also unclear on the specifics of the code
  3. If Alvarez pulled the cyclist over for riding in the crosswalk, wouldn’t the appropriate action have been information on safe cycling instead of the three-way search?

His research also led to a couple of discrepancies in the city’s municipal code.

While researching Alhambra’s unposted sidewalk cycling ban, I found two instances where the City of Alhambra appears to be in violation of the State of California’s Uniformity Code which states “no local authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance on the matters covered by this code unless expressly authorized herein.”

  1. Alhambra’s Bike Licensing Law (10.04.040)is a violation of CVC 21. The City of Alhambra does not have the authority to require bike licenses from non-resident cyclists.
  2. Alhambra’s “Five feet from the Curb” law (10.04.030)is a violation of CVC 21. The City of Alhambra does not have the authority to establish a specific distance from the right-side curb for cyclists. Further, the courts have held (Mauchle v. Panama-Pacific Int’l Expo. Co., 37 Cal. App. 715, 719 (1918)) that “The provisions of the law are elastic. They do not attempt to lay down a definite and rigid rule as to the distance which the slowly moving vehicle must keep from the curb.”

As you may have noticed, Stephen Box know his way around state and local traffic laws and enforcement, particularly as it pertains to bicycling.

He co-founded a number of bike advocacy groups, including the now-dormant Bikeside LA, the city’s first — and so far, only — bicycling nonprofit group registered with the IRS as 501(c)(4) to engage in political activity.

He also led the 2009 march on the LA city council that marked the unofficial start of the modern bike advocacy movement in Los Angeles. Setting in motion the events that would eventually lead to adoption of the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights (informally, and sadly forgotten), the Cyclists’ Anti-Harassment Ordinance, and the 2010 LA Bike Plan that’s now under attack in city hall as part of the Mobility Plan 2035.

And he was one of the original founders of the LAPD’s bike liaison program, helping to develop the department’s bicycle training module that was required viewing for every street-level officer.

Box followed-up his repeated, and apparently unsuccessful, phone conversations with the watch commander with an email to the Chief of Police for the Alhambra Police Department, asking for a review of the events he witnessed and the municipal code discrepancies he uncovered.

So, here is the formal request conclusion to this email:

  1. I request a review of the Fremont/Mission traffic stop of a male cyclist that took place on Sunday, June 18, 2016 at approximately 5pm by Officer Alvarez who was then backed up by Officer Vega. Specifically, was the search warranted (reading paperwork in the cyclist’s backpack can hardly be construed as a search for weapons due to safety concerns) for a minor traffic infraction or did it exceed the standard?
  2. I request a review of the Watch Commander’s instructions that I come to the station to file a complaint and that I come to the station to request a record (the field incident report taken by the officers at the traffic stop).
  3. I request a review of the two Alhambra City Municipal Codes (10.04.040 and 10.04.030) that are a direct violation of the State of California’s Uniformity Code.

There is little question from what he describes that the officers’ search exceeded what is legally allowed under the circumstances; the courts have repeatedly ruled that a simple traffic stop does not provide probable cause for an invasive search, whether you’re in a car, on foot or on a bike.

Even if they were legitimately searching the backpack for weapons, let’s not forget that the officers had the rider under their control, and presumably unable to access that backpack, whether for a weapon or anything else. If he could, they need some serious retraining.

And let’s not forget that you have the legal right to refuse an officer’s request to search your belongings.

Box concluded by thanking the chief for all he does to make the streets of Alhambra safe for everyone, “including motorists and pedestrians and transit passengers and cyclists.”

Which is a sentiment I share, having worked with police departments on various bicycling issues over the years, I truly appreciate the job they do to keep us all safe on the streets and in our homes.

But sometimes, as we’ve seen, they get it wrong.

And sometimes, local governments overstep their bounds.

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On the other hand, the Alhambra police deserve a round of thanks for recovering an apparently stolen or misplaced silver Condor bicycle. If it looks familiar, contact the department at 626/308-4875.

And either way, let that be a reminder to always register your bike, whether here through Bike Index, or with some other organization.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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Twenty-two-year old Columbian Miguel Angel Lopez won the nine-day Tour of Switzerland; American’s Tejay van Garderen and Andrew Talansky finished fifth and eighth, respectively.

World champ Lizzie Armistead finished second in the final stage to win the women’s Aviva Tour.

British cyclist Simon Yates gets a four month ban for doping, but swears it was just an honest mistake.

British cycling great Chris Hoy trades two wheels for four, finishing 17th in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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Local

Richard Risemberg offers advice on how to ride in today’s 100-plus degree weather.

Former American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is one of us. Or at least he was, since his bike just got stolen from a Burbank recording studio.

Santa Monica’s long, dark California Incline hell may soon be over. And with bike lanes.

 

State

A bike-commuting Tustin math teacher has a shot at making the US mountain biking team for the Rio Olympics.

Over 300 people rode to the new Pedego headquarters in Fountain Valley in an attempt to set a world record for the longest ebike parade.

Two dozen San Diego bicyclists ride to Tijuana to preserve a downtown mural.

The only form of human scum lower than the person who stole a disabled 10-year old San Diego girl’s handcycle is the jerk who took her wheelchair. And probably the same person.

A 64-year old Pt. Loma bicyclist was seriously injured when he was left-crossed by the driver of an SUV.

The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the monthly East Bay Bike Party.

Nice move from the East Bay park police, as they donate nearly three dozen unclaimed bicycles to an Oakland nonprofit to replace several dozen that were stolen.

A seven-year old Shasta Lake boy is a double bike-theft victim, as someone stole the bike he was given to replace his stolen bike.

 

National

Bike Radar says e-MTBs could ruin it for the rest of us.

A Portland writer says the rapid spread of bikeshare systems allow travelers to see more of a city at a lower cost.

Maybe it moved while we weren’t looking. Shinola’s bikes and watches may be Built in Detroit, but apparently are not made in America.

Thanks to a local Kiwanis club, an Ohio boy is able to ride a bike for the first time since he was severely injured in a car crash.

A Philadelphia cop completes a 3,000-mile journey from Venice to Atlantic City to raise funds after a fellow officer was shot and killed; so far, he’s brought in over three times his original $5,000 goal.

 

International

A Winnipeg thief hacked a cyclist with a hatchet to steal his bicycle; the thief was arrested with the bike 20 minutes later.

A UK court tells a bicyclist he should have a “completely clear conscience” after a fatal collision with an elderly pedestrian; the rider tried to hug her as they both fell to the pavement in an unsuccessful attempt to protect her from injury.

Former Boomtown Rats singer and sidewalk cyclist Bob Geldof doesn’t have anything good to say about London’s popular bicycle superhighways.

Grief is worldwide, as a Belfast bike club rides in honor of ‪Kalamazoo.

A Danish moped rider learned the hard way not to snatch a purse from a 75-year old woman on a bike, who chased him down – and into a car — to get it back.

Caught on video: A Malta cyclist was flipped off and nearly run into a rock wall for the crime of riding a bike on a narrow street.

A woman is suing an Aussie state after colliding with a cyclist after she unexpectedly found herself riding in the middle of a bike race.

 

Finally…

Every few years, someone invents a bike you pedal with your hands as well as your feet; why should this year be any different? It’s okay to bite your tongue when someone nearly doors you.

And bicyclists find a lot of things while riding their bikes. Fortunately, a badly decomposed body is hardly ever one of them.

 

Guest Post: The cost of traffic violence — the daughter of a distracted driving victim speaks out

Last year, an alleged distracted driver plowed into a cyclist in Moorpark, then swerved into motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction, killing them both.

Recently, the daughter of one of those victims asked for the opportunity to tell her story. 

This is what she has to say.

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Hailey Cushman’s Story

My name is Hailey Cushman and I am Jesse Cushman’s only biological child. My dad was killed on September 12th, 2015 on his way home from work from BMW Motorcycles located in Ventura. He was hit head-on on his motorcycle in Moorpark, CA by Rachel Hill, who was later found to have been texting and driving. Hill first hit bicyclist Maciek Malish then over-corrected and swerved to hit my father. Both men were killed on impact but Hill only walked away with scratches. In fact, Hill was caught taking pictures of her injuries and posting them on her Facebook the next day as if the accident was humorous to her. This tragic event happened just 9 days before my 21st birthday (in which I had plans that were immediately cancelled and never rescheduled). Dad was going to be 44 years young in October 2015. He was born in Simi Valley, CA but lived most of his life in Reno, NV, which is where I live. Within a couple days of the accident I was down in Fillmore, CA, where dad currently lived with my grandmother, Jorja, and my stepmother, Julia. Julia and dad married in 2002. When dad moved to Southern California he was brought closer to his biological father, Joe Freas, who lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. Joe and dad were in the process of trying to rekindle their relationship after years of separation.

As a child I was lucky to have never experienced a close death in the family but that aspect has also made losing my father at this age extremely difficult for me. My dad had an exciting, fulfilling and fun life. My dad was Batman! My dad and Julia were heavily involved with cosplay and all things comics. Dad had several Batman suits that were so legit that he was in several professional photo shoots. That year dad and Julia won free tickets to the San Diego Comic Con, which they had been trying to attend for years. Dad and I enjoyed doing a lot together when I would come visit in the summer time; we would go boogie boarding in Malibu, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain several times a month (it was our favorite together), race quads (he raced professionally but he also taught me how to ride and I was too racing at just 5 years old). As a family, we would frequently play video games and board games as they owned a plethora of Monopoly games and superhero video games. We would even get the whole family involved with Rockband and have somebody on each instrument. Another big part of my dad and Julia’s life was motorcycles. They were a part of the local STAR riding chapters where they would do toy drives, poker runs and many other fun rides with the group. My grandma would always worry about dad on his motorcycle because she knew the risks but both dad and Julia were very cautious riders. I guess this proves that no matter how cautious you are in life you can never fully protect yourself from others.

Since I lost my dad my life has changed forever. I’ve had to see more psychiatrists lately for stress, anxiety and depression in order to keep my job and continue my college education (which I am close to finishing). I am so young and I have so much of my life ahead of me but my father will not be able to be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, be there at the birth of his grandchildren, see me graduate college or buy my first house. The Cushman and Malish family’s lives have forever been changed and will always hurt when we think about this tragic incident. We try to put our minds at ease by thinking about how Rachel Hill will have to live with what she has caused these two families for the rest of her life as well, but unfortunately, we are unable to rely upon the justice system to make her accountable. We have recently been told by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office that Hill may not even receive any jail time but only community service. The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is certainly corrupt. The CHP took 8 months to complete the police report to ensure they had all the information and evidence to create a strong case. The CHP’s recommendation was that Hill should be charged with a felony of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Within 2 weeks of the Ventura County District Attorney receiving the case they decide that Hill only be charged with a misdemeanor!

Now, I am a smart and educated person. I have been going to school for 16 years (total) and this is not what I was taught in how our justice system operates! When you kill another person due to reckless driving you go to jail! End of story! Rachel Hill is only getting a slap on the wrist for killing TWO innocent people. I spoke with the assistant District Attorney who informed me that they did not have enough evidence to prove gross negligence, even though they had all of Rachel’s text message conversations showing she was texting while driving leading up to the accident. Hill has been able to spend the last 9 months with her family through the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were especially hard times for both the Cushman and Malish families. Now that Father’s Day is less than one week away my heart aches just thinking about that empty feeling I will have now not being able to celebrate it with my dad. No amount of money or punishment on Rachel Hill’s behalf will ever bring my father or Maciek Malish back but it would at least be nice to have a piece of mind knowing that Rachel Hill’s life would be forever affected with jail time, a felony and two counts of manslaughter on her record for the rest of her life the same way that our family will forever be devastated about this loss and injustice. Not a single person I have spoken to agrees with the District Attorney’s decision of a misdemeanor (besides the Hill family). We need to bring attention to this obvious injustice and corruption of our justice system by bringing publicity to this case for both the Cushman and the Malish family in hopes to one day begin to heal from this tragic loss.

From left to right: dad, Julia, grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating mine and Julia's graduation, grandmas birthday and dad and Julia's anniversary.

From left to right: Dad, Julia, Grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating my and Julia’s graduation, grandma’s birthday and Dad and Julia’s anniversary.

Dad and Julia's wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad and Julia’s wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

R.I.P. Jesse Cushman. I love you!

……..

Reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities will be impossible as long as prosecutors refuse to take even the most egregious cases like this seriously. 

If you’re as angry as I am about this case, contact Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten, and politely — but firmly — demand that the case be re-filed as a felony.

Hailey, and all the families and loved ones of both victims, deserve better.

As do we all.

Morning Links: Justice at last for OC’s Michael Bastien, and the bike world strips for the World Naked Bike Ride

It’s taken two years, but there’s finally been justice for Michael Bastien.

And with far more jail time than initial reports would have suggested.

This comes from our anonymous Orange County correspondent —

On a sunny Labor Day afternoon, Michael Bastien and his son Matt were riding their bikes down Bolsa Chica when they were hit from behind by a drunk driver. Michael was killed; his son survived.

On Friday, June 3rd, Michael John Perez accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for felony vehicular manslaughter. He’ll be out in half that, of course. His ass is currently in County awaiting transfer to Wasco.

Michael Bastien’s brother is still calling the collision that resulted in his brother’s death a “DUI accident,” which is pretty damn big-hearted of him, because I consider “repeat drunk driving” and “vehicular manslaughter” to be crimes, not accidents, and I am incredibly disturbed at the idea that the collision (whose aftermath I passed on my daily commute) was in any way unavoidable and free of blame.

Once again, the Orange County DA’s office has gotten a conviction in a traffic case resulting in serious jail time. While other local district attorneys don’t even care enough to try.

………

Hundreds of people turned out for the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride Sunday; a surprising number chose to bare all on a cloudy morning. (Both links NSFW).

Riders also turned out in force for the Toronto and London editions.

………

Michigan lawmakers respond to the Kalamazoo bike crash tragedy by introducing a bill that would impose up to 15 years in jail for causing serious injury or death with a motor vehicle.

Nice gesture from Lance Armstrong, who will join members of the victims’ cycling club to finish the ride they started before the crash.

Meanwhile, the judge ordered the killer held without bond on Friday.

………

Former German world champ Rudi Altig has died of cancer at age 79; Altig once spent 18 days in the leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France.

Peter Sagan set a new record by winning his 12th stage of the Tour of Switzerland.

The New York Times looks at efforts to hold bike racing motor doping at bay.

An Aussie website talks with veteran cycling announcer Phil Ligget.

………

Local

A 10-year old girl was the victim of a drive-by shooting in Boyle Heights, as someone fired multiple shots at a bike rider in an apparent gang attack, and hitting her in the head instead; at last report she was in critical condition.

Good looks at LA’s Great Streets Initiative, saying the city is reinventing itself one street at a time.

A writer for the LA Times goes for an illuminating LA Noir Ride with the Los Angeles Explorers Club.

Richard Risemberg says don’t be a blockhead, put some sunscreen on any uncovered skin when you ride. You won’t get any argument from me; I’ve already had cancers carved out of my nose and calf as a result of riding unprotected in my youth.

Around 300 people turned out for the Rod Bennett Memorial Bike Ride in Santa Clarita on Saturday; Bennett was killed in a hit-and-run while riding on Placerita Canyon last month.

 

State

A Santa Barbara newspaper says the new sharrows being installed in the city may be useless. Sort of like most sharrows, in other words.

A new mural remembers a Salinas man who was killed in a hit-and-run two years ago; his killer was never found.

Sad news from Campbell, as a bike rider was killed in a collision Sunday afternoon.

 

National

The Federal Bureau of Land Management has created a map of the nation’s 20 top mountain bike destinations, only one of which is in California.

NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Josh Wise and Landon Cassill are each one of us, as they take a 71-mile bike ride with their crew members through Michigan’s Irish Hills.

In another case of bighearted cops, when DC police officers were unable to fix a 12-year old boy’s bicycle, they pitched in to buy him a new one.

 

International

Bicycling under the influence may not be illegal in Canada, but it’s not recommended. But it is illegal in Californiawith a fine up to $250, but no points against your driver’s license.

A bike commuter writing in the Guardian says too many drivers forget we’re all human; motorists will survive being delayed a few seconds by a bike rider, but the rider may not survive their anger. Case in point: A bicyclist in the UK suffered a serious eye injury when someone threw an egg at him from a passing car.

A Scottish rider visits Copenhagen, and says cycling utopia really does exist.

In a new study from the University of Duh, British researchers discover that kids who bike as children are more likely to ride as teenagers.

An eight-year old Kenyon boy breaks down in tears when he’s given a new mountain bike for finishing at the head of his elementary school class.

 

Finally…

Having a bike stolen sucks — especially if you haven’t even gotten it out of the box yet. If you’re not happy with a bike shop’s prices, don’t run off with their tip jar.

And forget bike Nazis; we’re now a “cycling Talibanforcing unwanted changes on poor, oppressed drivers.

………

Come back later this morning, when we’ll have a heartbreaking guest post from the daughter of one of the victims in the Moorpark distracted driving crash that left two people dead; the Ventura County DA has inexplicably filed the charges as misdemeanors, against the wishes of the CHP and any form of common decency.

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Thanks to an anonymous donor for her generous donation to support this site.

 

Morning Links: Bike lane blocking LA CM cuts WeHo ribbon; MI takes fatal crash seriously, Ventura DA doesn’t

No hypocrisy here.

Twitter user fig4all attended the ribbon cutting for the new Fairfax Blvd bike lanes in West Hollywood on Thursday. And was surprised to see LA’s 5th District Councilmember Paul Koretz participating, since the bike lanes connect to existing lanes in his district.

Particularly since Koretz has single-handedly blocked badly needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd at the behest of wealthy homeowners, while leading the fight to have them removed from the Mobility Plan.

Fairfax Ribbon Cutting

Is it just me, to does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

Is it just me, or does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

On the other hand, let’s give credit to the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for working to get the new Fairfax bike lanes on the street, regardless of who shows up to cut the ribbon.

………

Kalamazoo bike riders say Tuesday’s tragedy is a wake-up call for cyclists to always be aware of their surroundings on the road, while others decry the news coverage focused on telling cyclists how to protect themselves from two ton ballistic missiles, rather than telling drivers not to kill innocent people on bicycles.

Over 700 members of the local community came together to pray for the victims.

Prosecutors have shown they’re taking the case seriously, filing five second degree murder charges against the driver, along with four counts of reckless driving. However, police have still not given a reason for the crash.

The mother of driver Charles E. Pickett, Jr. insists her son is not a murderer and would never crash into anyone on purpose, although his Facebook page doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious for the Facebook link.

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson says another Ride of Silence isn’t going to change anything; we need to stop being silent, start filing police reports and demand changes from our local leaders if crap like this is ever going to stop.

………

Contrast the Kalamazoo case with last year’s Moorpark massacre, in which a distracted driver plowed into a cyclist, then overcorrected to hit a motorcycle rider head-on, killing both men.

Yet somehow, the Ventura County DA’s office inexplicably filed misdemeanor manslaughter charges, rather than the felony charges recommended by the CHP. Guaranteeing that the driver, 26-year old Rachel Hill of Ventura, will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist, at best.

And eliminating whatever leverage the DA may have had to negotiate a guilty plea requiring any real jail time before the case even starts.

Needless to say, the widows of Maciek Malish and Jesse Cushman are outraged.

As any rational person would be.

KABC-7 reports Hill’s lawyer denies she was using her phone at the time of the collision; they admit she had used it a few minutes prior to the crash, but swear she’d stopped before the wreck occurred. Which fails to explain why she couldn’t manage to see the first victim or avoid either one.

So maybe she crashed into them just for the hell of it.

The charges in the Kalamazoo case shows what happens when authorities take traffic crime seriously. And this case shows what happens when they don’t.

Hopefully, the justifiable outrage to the misdemeanor counts will convince Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten to re-file the case as a felony.

If not, maybe Ventura County voters should consider whether he belongs in the job.

Come back next week when we’ll have a guest post from the daughter of one of the victims.

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If you wonder why LA drivers speed with abandon, it’s because police can’t legally use speed guns on 75% of LA streets, thanks to the city’s failure to conduct speed surveys in compliance with California’s murderous 85th percentile law, which requires that speed limits be set to the rate 85% of drivers speed travel.

Yet conducting the surveys means limits will most likely have to be raised in order to be enforced.

Putting speeding drivers in charge of setting speed limits is like leaving armed robbers in charge of bank security. Contact your state legislators and demand a change.

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The CyclingTips website asks if professional cycling’s WorldTour is really so desperate for sponsors that it needs a team owned by a Bahraini prince with a dossier thick with human rights abuses and torture allegations; activists threaten to block next year’s Tour de France if the team participates.

Turns out a British extreme cyclist didn’t go missing on the unsupported cross-country Trans-Am Bike Race after all; he was just the victim of dehydration and a broken GPS.

………

Local

Twitter user captainandstoker offers a bike cam view of the new curb-protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street. Meanwhile, groundbreaking is finally scheduled to take place on the long-promised MyFigueroa project this summer.

Richard Risemberg calls for volunteers to help out with Flying Pigeon owner Joseph Bray-Ali’s run for city council against anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo.

The Eastsider talks with Bicycle Kitchen founder Jimmy Lizama.

LA Eater examines a quartet of area coffee shops where cycling and caffeine collide.

Forget hi-viz. If you really want to be seen, join the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride tomorrow, at a location to be announced later today.

Don’t get that confused with Sunday’s non-clothing-optional LA River Ride, though, with routes ranging from a 15-mile family ride to a century ride around Long Beach and back.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Bike SGV Programs Director David Diaz about this weekend’s Viva SGV open streets event.

 

State

The annual AIDS/Lifecycle Ride will pass through Ventura and Malibu before ending at LA’s Fairfax High School on Saturday.

A 13-year old eighth grader becomes the youngest person to graduate from Moorpark College; like the genius he is, he enjoys riding a bike when he’s not studying.

A Vacaville man has been selected as the Solano County Bike Commuter of the Year.

NorCal AAA is using ebikes to rescue drivers in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area.

 

National

Elly Blue is back to suggest that the best bike trips start on a train.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. After a bike rider was killed in a collision, Tucson considers how to improve the intersection so it won’t happen again.

You don’t have to see to ride a bike, as a group of Missouri tandem riders volunteer their time and bikes to take blind people bicycling on local trails.

 

International

The Winnipeg Free Press calls the city’s proposed bike helmet law well-intentioned but misguided.

Caught on video: A British cyclist records a number of too-close passes, including one so close you can almost taste the hay bales on a passing truck.

A South African writer complains about “arrogant” cyclists who insist on using the sidewalk — albeit legally — to get around dangerous road construction work. If you’re going to ride on the sidewalk, show some courtesy to other people using it.

A Kiwi website looks at the bike-mounted device developed by the Chattanooga police department to accurately measure a three-foot passing distance. Something the LAPD needs to get its hands on so they can start enforcing the passing law here, even if they can’t use speed guns.

An Aussie writer says your safety on the streets depends on wearing fluorescent hi-viz during the day and reflectorized clothing at night. Because expecting drivers to actually pay attention to what’s on the road ahead of them is just too much to ask.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use a blowtorch to cut a bike lock on a public beach in broad daylight, leave the controlled substances and drug paraphernalia at home. No, cyclists aren’t safer riding against traffic, and militant bike riders hardly ever interfere with traffic on purpose.

And this is what happens when you try to ride a bike through a presidential motorcade.

 

Morning Links: Charges filed in Santa Clarita hit-and-run; candidates for LA County 4th District Supervisor talk

Charges have been filed in the death of cyclist Rod Bennett in Santa Clarita last week.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Lucas James Guidroz has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death for fleeing the scene after running down Bennett from behind.

It will be interesting to see what evidence prosecutors to support the DUI charge, since Guidroz waited two days to turn himself in — and then only after his car was discovered — giving him plenty of time to sober up first.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clarita Gazette offers a nice profile of the popular music and math teacher who lost his life at age 53. And unlike the Signal, they get his name right.

………

KPCC’s Air Talk program hosts a debate among the candidates for the 4th District LA County Supervisor to replace termed out Don Knabe, who’s held the seat for 26 years.

Bike the Vote LA rates US Rep. Janice Hahn as the top choice for the position.

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The family of fallen Panorama City bicyclist Peter Loretta is looking for the kindhearted stranger who comforted the homeless man as he lay dying after being struck by a car last month.

They’d like to thank him for his kindness. As should we all.

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Another Russian cyclist has tested positive for doping based on four-year old samples from the London Olympics. Meanwhile, Cycling Weekly asks the experts if doping can ever be eradicated from cycling. As long as there are benefits to cheating, people will find a way to do it. 

US pro cyclist Tejay van Garderen pulls his name from consideration from the Rio Olympics out of concern for the Zika virus with a pregnant wife at home.

VeloNews offers a nice profile of American cyclist Evan Huffman, who’s back racing for a domestic Continental team after two less than satisfying years on the WorldTour with Astana.

Two cyclists were bound by Taylor Phinney’s violent crash in the 2014 Nationals; one made it back to the top, the other hit bottom.

Cycling Tips looks at how unknown rider Greg Daniels surprised the favorites to win the US national road championship.

………

Local

It could take until next month to fully reopen the LA River bike path. The Corps of Engineers should have most of the flood control barriers removed by the middle of this month, then LADOT could take up to another two weeks to ensure the path is safe to ride. And even then, some barriers could stay up until next year.

UCLA’s Daily Bruin endorses candidates — and in some cases, withholds endorsement — for the Westwood Neighborhood Council. Including one candidate who believes bike lanes on Westwood Blvd should have been studied before being rejected. He’s got my vote already.

The Eastsider takes a look at the co-ed Los Angeles Bike Polo team.

Portland’s Elly Blue, Joe Biel and Joshua Ploeg return to Santa Monica for a vegan bike-focused night sponsored by Santa Monica Spoke.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reacts to having complaints of fallen cyclists and riders harassed by drivers ignored by the Traffic Safety Committee in Palos Verdes Estates.

Long Beach police bust a thief who tried to use a shovel to break the lock on a bike near the beachfront bike path.

Bike-friendly Long Beach Councilmember Suja Lowenthal prepares to step down after 10 years on the council. Meanwhile, the city ups their bike-friendly ante with 14 new recharge stations providing a fix-it stand and water fountain for cyclists.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at three bike-related bills in the California legislature; one that would explicitly authorize riding side-by-side — which is now tacitly allowed, since it’s not addressed in state law — appears to be in trouble.

Nearly 1,800 students in next year’s Stanford freshman class will get a new bike helmet, courtesy of a bike-riding Stanford parent and his wife.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider was killed in a collision trying to make a right turn out of a driveway.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on where to position yourself on the road. Yet somehow recommends riding “a bit more into the lane,” rather than assertively taking the center of the lane as recommended by CyclingSavvy and the League of American Bicyclists.

Streetsblog says one chart shows why helmets aren’t the answer to bike safety.

Colorado’s governor vetoes an auto-centric bill that would have banned red light and speed cameras in the state, putting bike riders and pedestrians, as well as drivers, at risk.

A Boulder CO woman says a cyclist just came out of nowhere to pound her car and punch her in the face. The fact that she thought he came out of nowhere probably explains why he was so mad. But violence is never the answer.

Over 100 Texas kids get new bikes for having perfect school attendance over the past year.

Sixty-seven University of Texas students will spend their summer bicycling 4,687 miles from Austin TX to Anchorage AK.

 

International

A London track cyclist died after suffering a heart attack when three separate ambulances failed to respond because the velodrome wasn’t in their outdated satnav systems.

London cyclists call on the city’s new mayor to live up to his promises to improve bike safety.

Now that’s more like it. Great Britain considers on-the-spot fines up to £5,000 — the equivalent of $7,200 — for passing bicyclists too closely. Which compares rather favorably to the measly $35 fine for violating California’s three-foot passing law.

The European Parliament issues a report on the state of bicycling on the continent.

Uber has started a new service for Dutch bike riders, which provides bike rack-equipped cars for an additional charge.

Caught on video: An Aussie truck driver repeatedly attempts to run a cyclist off the road, then exchanges curses with him at the next red light. If a driver tries to run me over, the last thing I’m going to do is wait next to him at a traffic light.

A Thai drunk driver gets four years and a $59,000 fine for killing three bike riders and injuring four others when she plowed into a cycling club last year.

 

Finally…

Get your hot bike back with Bunz. The traditional battle over bike lanes versus parking goes on — but this time, the other side is armed.

And if you’re going to assault an elderly driver for tailgating your bike, it’s probably best to get rid of the meth and syringes in your backpack before the police show up.

Or better yet, just don’t.

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

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10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

……..

It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

……..

South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

Morning Links: 15 to life for Oxnard DUI driver, reward for bike-toting dog killer, and bikeshare comes to DTLA July 7

Great news, as we’re now up to 24 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who’ve signed up in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just two more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make it 26 new members by May 26th.

We may not make the goal of 100 members by the end of this month. But I consider it a personal favor for everyone who signs up before I step down as an LACBC board member next month.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have joined as part of this drive.

………

Sometimes, even a possible life sentence barely seems like enough.

The Ventura County Star reports an Oxnard man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life in state prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a 43-year old bike rider in 2014.

Thirty-one year old Policarpio Bartolon Diaz may have been driving as fast as 62 mph when he plowed into Marco Flores as he rode with a friend in a marked bike lane. Diaz never even braked as he fled the scene with Flores’ bike still trapped under his car.

Garcia’s friend, Robert Patterson, said he was riding his bike alongside Garcia and also came close to being struck….

“I know for a fact he wasn’t remorseful because when he hit my friend, his brake lights never came on … he just shook him off the car,” Patterson said. “If you hit a human being, you think he would stop. To see him being tossed off the car was the hardest thing I’ve had to live through to this day.”

Diaz had a BAC of .22, nearly three times the legal limit, when he was arrested just a mile away. It was his third arrest for DUI, and would have been his second conviction if the DA hadn’t bargained the DUI charge away in exchange for a guilty plea to second degree murder.

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PETA is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the subhuman schmuck who beat a dog to death in Boyle Heights two weeks ago.

The man chased down the dog after it jumped out of the car and tried to run away, then repeatedly punched and slammed it onto the sidewalk. As if any animal wouldn’t try to get away from someone capable of doing that.

According to KCBS-2 —

The suspect is described as a white male with balding gray hair, 50 to 60 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 280 pounds.

The suspect was driving a 1996 to 2000 silver or gray Dodge Caravan with an off-color rear bumper. At the time of the incident, the van had two bicycles on a rear bike rack.

Judging by the photo, at least one of those bikes has been stripped, appearing to be missing both wheels.

………

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson calls out the Palos Verdes Estate Police Department for a lackadaisical approach to investigating the death of cyclist John Bacon.

By Davidson’s account, cyclists have done virtually all the work in tracking down the man who may be responsible, as well as uncovering numerous riders who were harassed by a truck driver matching the same description.

Let’s hope the department cares enough to figure out what really happened. And bring any charges that are warranted.

………

Bikeshare comes to DTLA on July 7th.

The system — officially named Metro Bike — will offer 1,000 bikes at 65 docking stations throughout the Downtown area, available for rent 24/7.

According to the announcement from LA Metro

Register today for a bike share pass and receive a Limited Edition Metro Bike Share Kit featuring stickers, a Bikes on Metro guide and more. The first 1,000 people to sign up will also receive exclusive Metro Bike Share pins!

You can get a Metro Bike Share pass by the month or by the trip, similar to transit. If you ride a lot, a $20 Monthly pass might be for you, but if you just ride occasionally you should consider our $40 Flex pass. Remember through August 1st the system will be open for bike share pass holders only, so register for your Metro Bike Share pass today!

Members will be able to rent a bike for $1.75 per half hour — or free for the first half hour for monthly pass holders — while non-members can rent for $3.50 for each 30 minutes using a TAP card.

Only registered members will be able to rent a bike for the first month.

Meanwhile, the LA Weekly takes a sneak peak, finding the bikes smooth, sturdy and safe, if somewhat heavy, and “perfect for bar-hopping, grocery shopping or seeing the sights of DTLA.”

Although we have to come up with a much better nickname for the system than the unimaginative Metro Bike.

And on a related subject, you can now use your TAP card to rent one of the much better named Breeze Bikes in Santa Monica.

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A new Streetfilm celebrates Santa Monica’s savvy multimodalism.

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Last week we linked to a Facebook post from Arizona’s Brendan Lyons, in which he described meeting — and forgiving — the distracted driver who nearly killed him as he rode with his fiancé two years ago.

Now a local TV station picks up the story, describing a touching act of forgiveness for the horrifying wreck that ended Lyons’ firefighting career. And clearly driving home the dangers of using any electronic device behind the wheel, and taking your eyes off the road for even a moment.

………

LA’s Phil Gaimon tells what it’s like to race in his home state in the Amgen Tour of California.

Bicycling explains the fine art of bike racing in the rain. Extra style points for belting out “Singing in the Rain” from the back of the peloton.

And what it’s like to be a soigneur for a professional racing team.

………

Local

LAist suggests the eight best places to ride a bike in LA. Not to be confused with their ten best bike rides in LA.

Dodger’s bench coach Bob Geren is one of us, as he rides his bike to work at Dodger Stadium. Thanks to the Militant Angeleno for the link.

CiclaValley mournfully helps place another ghost bike in the San Fernando Valley.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newtown talks with Nancy Bond of Move Monrovia.

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with CLR Effect; Michael Wagner forwards news that the great I Can Bike program will be held at the Fairgrounds in Pomona at the end of next month to help people with disabilities gain greater independence by learning how to ride a bicycle.

The annual Fiesta Hermosa starts tomorrow in Hermosa Beach, complete with bike valet.

 

State

Following up on our recent piece about a bike rider blown off his bike by jet wash while riding past LAX, Cyclelicious tells a similar tale while growing up on a US military base in Japan.

Like business people in every other city, San Diego business owners worry about the loss of parking spots in the Uptown area after planned bike lanes are installed. As if people on bikes don’t spend money and potential customers don’t like calmer streets. Most likely, by this time next year, they’ll wonder what they were worried about.

A La Jolla paper goes for a bike ride through the city with the Executive Director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, and finds it needs a lot of improvement to meet San Diego’s Climate Action Plan.

Santa Ana police shoot a stabbing and carjacking suspect after she led them on a slow speed bicycle chase.

Just one more day to get tickets before the start of the Great Western Bicycle Rally in Paso Robles.

Chewbacca Mom is one of us, as she rides a bike with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.

Let’s call this the Sacramento section today:

Sad news from Tulare County, as a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run on his way to work Tuesday. The CHP somehow felt the need to point out the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet, as if that would have protected him from an erratic, high-speed driver in large pickup.

 

National

HuffPo offers ten great American bike rides. None of which are in LA. Or California, for that matter.

Good Samaritans pitch in to rescue an Alaskan girl after she’s impaled by her bike handlebar in a remote village. Something that seems to happen far too often, suggesting a serious design flaw that needs to be corrected.

The mayor of Reno NV is pushing for green bike lanes in the right locations.

Life is cheap in Utah, where walking away from the drunken death of a cyclist only merits a single year behind bars.

Forty-eight states later, a Topeka man is back home from a cross country bike ride he took because he feared he’d regret it later if he didn’t. Which is about as good a reason as any.

A suspect has been arrested in the apparently random beating death of a 65-year old Des Moines IA bike rider earlier this month.

A new paper from the University of Illinois at Chicago establishes a metric allowing planners to rank the value of bicycling and walking projects.

BMX champ Dave Mirra was suffering from C.T.E. when he shot himself to death in Greenville NC in February; that’s the same disease resulting from repeated head trauma that has afflicted numerous football players.

 

International

Rio’s mayor says the elevated bike path that collapsed, killing three people, will be rebuilt and open again this year. Note to Rio Times Online: Ciclovía means bike path. So a headline referring to the ciclovía bike path is redundantly repetitive.

A bicycle advocate says it’s time to finish Canada’s Transnational Trail.

Bike your way through two Italian cities.

 

Finally…

Nothing like buying a bike lock and coming out to discover you don’t have anything to lock. Running a pro cycling team can be torture; no, literally.

And this is what happens when your carbon wheel fails.

………

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence. It seems my body still feels the need to remind me that I’m not as healthy as I like to think I am, sometime suddenly, unexpectedly and with surprising force.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in Santa Clarita hit-and-run Wednesday afternoon

More bad news.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, a man on a bike has been killed in a hit-and-run while riding in Santa Clarita.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was on the 20100 block of Placerita Canyon Road when he was struck by a car just before 4:30 pm. The paper places the collision near a curve just southwest of the entrance to Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch.

He was declared dead at the scene, his helmet lying nearby.

The paper reports the CHP conducted an intense hunt for the driver in the area; the suspect vehicle is described as a dark gray Mazda 3 with a roof rack and a possible broken windshield.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th in Los Angeles County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 53-year old Valencia resident Rod Bennett.

He was riding a blue Eddy Merckx road bike in the far right of the eastbound lane when he was rear-ended by the driver, who continued east as he fled the scene, apparently without stopping or slowing down. 

Update 2: The CHP has updated the description of the suspect vehicle. They are now looking for a Silver Lexus CT 200H; some unconfirmed reports indicate it may have a roof rack and a damaged front bumper.

Meanwhile, the San Fernando Valley News reports Bennett was the band director and math teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High School. The site describes him as an avid cyclist, as well as a musician.

Various Facebook posts confirm his interest in cycling, as well as identifying him as a jazz musician who performed around the Valencia area.

Update 3: The CHP has released a photo of the suspect vehicle, apparently taken from a surveillance camera. It appears to show a dark colored car, rather than silver; however, images like that can be deceiving. 

Update 4: According to the Signal, 28-year old Canyon Country resident Lucas James Guidroz was arrested after turning himself in at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station early Friday morning — five hours after the car believed to have been used in the collision was found in Newhall. 

Which gave him nearly 40 hours to sober up if he had been under the influence at the time of the collision. 

He was taken into custody on a single felony count of failing to stop at the scene of a collision causing injury or death.

Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition says all cyclists on Placerita Canyon encounter distracted drivers, as well as those who appear to intentionally frighten or possibly hurt people on bicycles. 

To which commenters respond by blaming “arrogant” cyclists, apparently for simply existing. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rod Bennett and his loved ones.

Thanks to John H for the heads-up. 

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