Archive for Bikes & the Law

Morning Links: San Diego police blame bike mob; unconfirmed report of bicycling fatality on PCH in Malibu

No bias here.

Not from the press. And certainly not from the San Diego Police Department.

According to San Diego’s ABC 10 News, a female driver called 911 to report a “mob” of nine or ten bicyclists had chased her down and smashed her car window.

It must have seemed frightening to the people huddled at home watching the broadcast.

But the real story is hidden in the details.

The bike riders were using the sharrows in the city’s Normal Heights neighborhood when the driver came up behind them and began harassing them by honking nonstop, which is a violation of California law. Even though they were exactly where they were supposed to be.

She then broke the law again by passing too close, striking one of the bikes; fortunately, the rider was able to jump off just in time to avoid serious injury.

The riders then chased down the hit-and-run driver as she dragged the bike for several blocks, banging on her window in an attempt to get her attention and keep her from fleeing the scene.

Pedestrians and other motorists are often called heroes when they stop a fleeing driver under similar circumstances.

Instead, these riders were portrayed as a crazed mob, and threatened with prosecution on vandalism charges for punching and kicking the car.

So it’s okay for the driver to mangle a bike after running down the rider. But not for riders to break a window, apparently inadvertently, in an effort to make her stop.

Got it.

Police refused to even ticket, let alone arrest, the woman, despite obvious violations for

  1. harassing the cyclists
  2. breaking state law governing the use of a horn
  3. violating the three-foot passing law
  4. destruction of property
  5. failing to stop and exchange information following a collision

And yet somehow, she’s portrayed as the victim, with the people on bikes her attackers.

It’s sadly reminiscent of a case that marked the first stirrings of the bicycle rights movement here in Los Angeles.

Andres Tena was riding with a group of friends in the spring of 2009 when they were confronted by an impatient Hummer driver, who attempted to flee the scene after striking Tena’s bike and injuring him enough to require hospitalization. The other riders chased the driver down and blocked his way; in response, they were threatened with an unseen gun before the driver ran over their bikes in an effort to escape.

When police arrived, they somehow concluded that Tena had crashed into the side of the Hummer — which would have required backing into it at a high rate of speed, since he was thrown forward by the impact and suffered significant damage to the rear of his bike.

And that the driver was justified in attempting to flee, because he was frightened by all those scary bike riders, despite being safely ensconced within his multi-ton urban assault vehicle.

The cop on the scene took it a step further, saying if the cyclists had surrounded him like that, he would have done the same thing the Hummer driver did.

In fact, the only criminal prosecution that was even contemplated was a misdemeanor charge against a cyclist for “throwing his bike at the Hummer.”

Funny how some things never change.

It took years of sometimes difficult negotiations, but now LA’s bicycling community has a much better relationship with the LAPD than we did back in the dark days of just six short years ago.

But clearly, San Diego police haven’t gotten the memo.

And as this case clearly shows, they have a long way to go before cyclists can feel like they have the same support from law enforcement that drivers have come to expect, and are considered equal road users rather than two-wheeled pirates.

None of us are safe on the streets if we can’t count on the police to be there when we need them. And to do it fairly, without an obvious — and repugnant — windshield bias.

According to a tweet from BikeSD, they’re working with the San Diego Bicycle Coalition to arrange legal representation for the bike riders.

They may need it.

And sadly, the angry hit-and-run driver who started it all won’t.

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The publisher of the Malibu Times mentioned Tuesday that a bike rider had been killed on PCH near Busch Drive, but didn’t have any details.

However, the report cannot be confirmed at this time.

There have been no other reports in the press, and repeated web searches have turned up empty. And there has been no response yet to a request for information from the CHP.

Meanwhile, he goes on to criticize cyclists for riding with inadequate lighting on their bikes. While he has a point, it is irresponsible to bring it up in response to the unconfirmed report of the bicycling fatality without knowing if a lack of lights had anything to do with it.

Or if it even happened.

It’s no better than if someone went off on a rant against speeding, texting drivers after hearing about a traffic collision without knowing if those were contributing factors in the wreck.

Yes, we should all ensure that we are visible to those we share the road with, especially after dark or in the late dusk or early morning hours when it can be most difficult to see.

But it’s wrong to imply, intentionally or not, that it may have had anything to do with a wreck that can’t even be confirmed.

………

I don’t even know what to think about this.

TMZ reports the DA’s office is unlikely to file charges against Caitlyn Jenner for a fatal collision on PCH last February, since they wouldn’t even file charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin while using his onboard computer.

………

Just like anyone else, Alejandro Valverde used Google to plan his route to victory in stage four of the Vuelta.

And after the Feds drop fraud charges against the other disgraced former Tour de France champ, Floyd Landis — remember him? — still has to repay nearly half a million dollars to the 1,700 people who donated to his defense fund when he was still pretending he hadn’t doped.

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Local

A Texas study says LA has the second worst traffic in the US, costing commuters 80 hours a year lost to traffic delays. To which bike commuters respond, “So?”.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks Vision Zero with LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds in the latest #DamienTalks podcast.

For those who read español, a nice profile of Carlos Morales and the Eastside Bike Club; Morales saved his own life by losing 250 pounds riding a bike, and now works to spread the gospel of bikes and health to others. For those who don’t, Google Translate offers a passable translation.

 

State

Congratulations to the newly announced Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Southern California, including Santa Monica ad agency Ruben Postaer and Assoc, Giant Santa Monica bike shop, and the San Diego Association of Governments.

San Diego police bust a bike-riding bank robber. Or maybe they just assume everyone on a bike is a criminal.

Apparently, not everyone in Coronado opposes a bike path along the beach. Nice to see a rational, non-NIMBY response for a change.

The El Cerrito Planning Commission approves an Active Transportation Plan, including bike boulevards, traffic calming on narrow streets and a bike route providing access to the Bay Trail surrounding the San Francisco Bay.

 

National

Bicycling offers tips on how to avoid helmet hair, as well as advice on meditating to get more out of bicycling. Meditation will also improve your health. And life. Trust me.

A Utah man is ordered to pay a whopping $8,000 restitution for intentionally running down a man on a bike over a property dispute. Twice.

Turns out that despite vocal opposition, 57% of Boulder CO residents support the right-sizing of a city street to make room for protected bike lanes; bike traffic is up 38% in just the first three weeks, while average vehicle speeds have dropped from 39 mph to 37 mph — in a 30 mph zone.

Colorado transportation officials plan to improve bicycle safety on a major street by turning it into a high speed virtual freeway and forcing bikes off it. Memo to Colorado DOT: The auto-centric ‘70s are over.

In a bizarre assault, a Boise man who was driving erratically shouted at a bike rider at an intersection, then made a U-turn, drove up on the sidewalk and punched the rider in the face before driving over his bicycle.

A Wisconsin driver faces charges for running over a bike and a child’s bicycle attachment following a dispute after passing a father and his two kids too closely; the driver claims the father threw his $2,000 bike in front of the truck’s wheels. Sure, that’s credible.

No bias here, either. Two people were killed and eleven injured in seven separate Chicago shootings, yet the headline only mentions the one involving a bike.

It’s bicycle back to school time. Indiana’s Purdue university opens its own bikeshare system, while the University of Florida is offering to rent students a bike, helmet and lock.

Pittsburgh’s transit system will open its third bike garage, which will hold up to 80 bikes on pneumatic, spring-loaded double-decker racks.

Over 800 Philadelphia bike riders are planning to participate in a PopeRide when the city’s downtown streets will be shut down for the papal visit.

A Staten Island website questions whether bikes, recreational or otherwise, should ply the island’s narrow colonial-era streets. Never mind that bikes are better suited for narrow streets than cars and SUVs, or that they could provide an alternative to heavy traffic.

The mayor of an Alabama town lost his bid for a fifth term two weeks after he was bopped in the head with a baseball bat for schtupping the wife of a bike riding attorney.

 

International

A Quebec cop is charged with killing a bike rider last September; he faces charges of reckless driving and criminal negligence, even though witnesses say he backed into the victim’s bike on purpose.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 90-year old British man still rides every day on the 1939 Triumph bicycle he got for his 14th birthday.

People get killed or injured by being passed too close, and some post video of those dangerous passes online. Evidently, a group of British filmmakers who posted a YouTube style parody online think that’s funny.

Caught on video: A Brit bike thief makes off with a bicycle in less than a minute after casually joking with the staff at a gym, where the owner had gone in to take a shower.

A writer from the UK says she belongs on the road as much as any man, and despite the harassment she faces, the freedom of bicycling more than makes up for it. All cyclists are subject to harassment, but the added sexual component woman face is one of the factors that helps keep bicycling a predominately male form of transportation.

The Smithsonian recommends touring Kaohsiung City, Taiwan by bike, calling it one of Asia’s best cycling cities, with a world-class bikeshare program.

 

Finally…

Painting eyes over a bike rack helps prevent thefts, although the thieves just seem to go somewhere else. If you’re going to “borrow” a bike to get to work, make sure it’s not a cop’s patrol bike first.

And a Baltimore writer finishes dead last on what the Smithsonian calls the world’s “most difficult feat in uphill cycling.” But he finished.

Then again, they probably never heard of LA’s own Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer.

 

Morning Links: A reminder to always ride with water, and why drivers continue to flee following crashes

Got an email late Thursday telling me I almost lost a friend last week.

Long story short: Heatstroke.

I rode from Seal Beach to Azusa, then “rested” under a bridge by the San Gabriel River, viciously under-hydrated, out of water, with the temperature climbing, because I’m a moron.

I banged up my shoulder tripping against the concrete pier. I hallucinated. I blacked out. I threw up the first bottle of water that a good stranger gave me. Retrospect terrifies me: I actually could’ve passed out permanently under that bridge.

I’m heading back this afternoon to put up a thank-you poster because I never got the name of the guy who rescued me, got me water/Gatorade/ice, put me in his air-conditioned car, and kept me from wandering off. If he didn’t save the coroner a bunch of work, he at least spared me from crushing hospital bills.

Let that be a reminder to always carry more water than you think you’ll need. And remember to actually drink it, especially on hot days.

You should also make sure to have a little cash with you, so you can duck into a store or gas station to buy more in case you run out.

And always carry some form of ID when you ride, just in case a stranger finds you passed out under a bridge somewhere.

………

Evidently, there’s no reason not to flee after collision.

A Whittier woman got less than a slap on the wrist — more like a pat on the back — for last year’s South Pasadena hit-and-run wreck that injured a couple and their baby, and killed the family dog. While driving on a suspended license, no less.

None of that seems to matter, though, as she threw herself on the mercy of the court. And was richly rewarded with just three years probation and 30 days Caltrans duty.

That’s it.

So as long as the courts refuse to take hit-and-run seriously, let alone a license to drive, why should anyone else?

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

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Looks like frequent contributor danger d now has his own blog. And the first post is a complaint about the problem of having to beg for a green light if you’re not driving a car.

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The often anti-bike LA Weekly offers a great profile of a third-generation, six-year old lowrider bicyclist. With training wheels.

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Now this should be interesting. The Vuelta a España kicks off with a team time trial on Saturday on a course that’s partly dirt and sand. The former director of Team Sky says put your money on Chris Froome.

BMC’s riders just switched places after the fourth stage of the USA Pro Challenge as Rohan Dennis won in a breakaway, taking the leader’s jersey from teammate Brent Bookwalter. But if you’re not going to win the stage, you might as well pop a mid-race wheelie.

The women’s three-stage version of the Pro Challenge kicks off today, offering prize money equal to the men’s race. And apparently not comprehending the message it sends, the same podium girls, too. Yahoo looks at women’s cycling’s token appearance at the Tour de France and the problems still facing the sport.

The new head of USA Cycling wants the organization to be vehemently anti-doping, with an increased focus on grassroots and women’s cycling.

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Local

LA Weekly wants your vote for your favorite bike shop; Helen’s, Golden Saddle and Flying Pigeon are the nominees.

CiclaValley professes profound indifference to the new bike lanes on Vineland. Here’s what usually happens: They put bike lanes where no one wants them, so no one uses them. Then say there’s no point in building more bike lanes, because we don’t use the ones we’ve got.

A great Vine illustration clearly shows how Pasadena’s proposed two-way, buffered cycletrack on Union Ave would work.

 

State

A Santa Ana cyclist suffered major injuries when he reportedly lost control of his bike and veered into the path of an oncoming pickup Wednesday night. The story reports he was riding east in a bike lane on the 900 block of East McFadden Ave; however, there aren’t any there for him to veer out of. Thanks to Lois for the heads-up, and thanks to David Huntsman for pointing out the lack of bike lanes.

Costa Mesa police revive their bike patrol after 15 years to deal more effectively with homeless people and drug abusers.

Garden Grove will hold their second annual open streets festival on October 10th.

Coronado residents rise up in opposition to a proposed multi-use path along the beach. And apparently, bike riders in general.

A dangerous Orinda bike lane will get a coat of green paint, rather than moving a turn lane leading to a freeway onramp to improve safety.

San Francisco police ride along with the city’s cyclists in an effort to mend fences after a recent crackdown on bike riders.

San Fran’s 2nd Street will get a road diet with raised, curb-protected bike lanes. And we get to be envious.

Nice. A 17-year old girl scout raised $8,000 to give every sixth grader at an Oakland Catholic school a new bike, helmet and assorted gear.

After police stop a man for suspicion of riding a stolen bike, they discover he skipped out on a Marin County drunk driving charge 21 years earlier.

The Marin County paper offers an in-depth obituary of Deb Hubsmith, founder of Safe Routes to Schools.

 

National

People for Bikes kids infographicA new infographic from People for Bikes provides stats on children and bicycling; despite the perception that kids don’t ride bikes anymore, 57% ride an average of 40 days a year. That could show a lot of improvement if more parents felt safe letting their children ride to school and more administrators would allow it.

Bicycling offers tips on how to finance your new bike. Just don’t buy more bike than you can afford, or go into debt if you can’t comfortably manage the payments.

This is so not what bicycles are for. A Montana man is under arrest for repeatedly punching his girlfriend and whacking her with his bike. Hopefully, she’ll get the hell out before he makes bail.

Five college-bound Chicago teens show up in a Mercedes to beat and pepper spray a man in an attempt to steal the $500 bike he was selling. That scholarship to Cal Poly won’t be used anytime soon.

The parents of a soldier killed in Afghanistan are fulfilling his dream of building a parking lot where Minnesota cyclists can safely unload their bikes away from a busy roadway.

A Minnesota writer pens an ode to the best month to ride a bike.

It takes a pair of real jerks to shoot a Detroit bike rider with a paint gun. And a couple of idiots to follow that by shooting it at a police SUV.

New York’s mayor is considering undoing the highly popular Time Square pedestrian plaza by reopening the street to cars to fight the scourge of body-painted breasts. Yes, breasts.

 

International

Caught on video: More than a half dozen people pitch in to lift a car off an injured British bike rider; a basket decorated with flowers is attached to the unseen bike and rider trapped under the car.

After she’s knocked off her bike by a hit-and-run driver, London novelist says the city’s cyclists are being scared off the road. Although maybe someone might explain the meaning of TMI to her.

A bike-riding Catholic nun is changing the lives of former sex slaves in the Congo.

An Aussie driver faces a minimum of 18 months for plowing into a pack of riders; somehow, he couldn’t see the seven cyclists directly in front of him for a full 17 seconds.

Thailand’s Crown Prince gives the equivalent of $2,200 to the family of a man killed in a collision while training to for a bike ride in honor of the Queen’s 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

No point in working as a dog walker when you can do it by bikeshare. Now you can get a KOM while working on that new IPO.

And it’s okay if a man wants to ride a women’s bike.

No, really. It is.

 

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Thanks to Jeffery Fylling for his generous donation to help support this site.

Morning Links: LAPD handcuff South LA cyclist over traffic ticket; Taylor Phinney makes amazing comeback

Is it really necessary to handcuff a young black man to give him a traffic ticket?

Several LAPD officers are caught on video demanding that a 16-year old bike rider come out of his home, where he apparently fled when police tried to pull him over.

Despite the incessant anti-cop tirade by the man shooting the video, the young man eventually comes out voluntarily. And is promptly cuffed and led to a patrol car, where he is presumably ticketed.

For not wearing a bike helmet.

Yes, he broke the law.

And yes, he fled from the police.

But it looks like this could have been handled a lot better, with less antagonism on both sides.

In talks with the LAPD going back over five years, representatives of the bicycling community have repeatedly asked that the practice of routinely handcuffing bike riders — usually young minority men — during a simple traffic stop be halted.

The police have responded that their policy is to allow the officer making the stop to determine if handcuffs are warranted, such as if the bike rider appears to be a threat or may attempt to flee.

And yet drivers are seldom, if ever, ordered out of their cars, frisked and handcuffed because they ran a stop sign or neglected to use a turn signal.

Yes, it’s possible this young man might have tried to run away, though it’s unlikely since he came out of the house on his own accord. And he clearly didn’t pose much of a threat surrounded by over a half-dozen officers.

The LAPD has made great efforts to improve relations with minority communities under Chief Beck, as well as with bicyclists.

But it doesn’t take much to undermine those efforts.

And a little respect from both sides would go along way.

………

Now we know cycling scion Taylor Phinney is really back.

In the most exciting pro cycling news this year, Phinney came back from last year’s devastating crash — so bad that doctors told him he’d never ride again — to outsprint the field and win the first stage of Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge. His BMC team commemorated Phinney’s victory with a series of photos from the first stage, including a shot of his surgically repaired leg.

The Denver Post says this year’s Pro Challenge could be anyone’s race. Though not Ian Crane’s, who needed over 3,000 stitches after going chin first through the back of a support vehicle in last year’s race; he’s back on his bike, but a return to racing is a long way off. If ever.

The first black African cyclists to compete in the Tour de France say there are even better riders to come from bike-mad Eritrea.

Great news from Ivan Basso, who is back on his bike after recovering from testicular cancer. I wonder how many men have checked themselves after reading about Basso? Besides me, I mean.

Two cyclists set new course records in the legendary Leadville 100 off-road race. Sadly though, an experienced competitor died of an apparent heart attack just short of the finish line; Scott Ellis was a 19-time competitor in the race.

Women pros say the new pro tour format is a big step towards bringing equality to bike racing.

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Local

UCLA’s Daily Bruin offers a good look at the city’s new Mobility Plan. Although seriously, enough with the 1% bullshit; the plan is designed to provide alternatives to driving, which will benefit everyone — not make it impossible to drive, or force anyone out of their car and onto a bike.

Those new buffered bike lanes on Vineland in the Valley seem to work better as a traffic bypass lane for impatient motorists.

 

State

A Vallejo man is under arrest for intentionally ramming a couple with his rental car as they rode on the sidewalk.

 

National

Somehow, it seems sadly inevitable that the popularity of fat bikes would lead to plus-sized bikes.

GQ offers advice on how to bike to work without ruining your suit. Yes, biking is exercise, but so is walking. A simple bike commute doesn’t have to be treated like it’s a century ride.

A Wyoming man travels 11,000 miles in a decade of riding across the country, assisted by an e-bike and an oxygen tank for the past two years.

It takes a real jerk to steal a home-made motorized bike from a disabled Oklahoma man.

A writer from Dallas discusses what she learned riding unsupported in Iowa’s RAGBRAI. Including that she can do it, and doesn’t want to do it again.

A Dallas-area teenager is pushing to require bike helmets for all bike riders under 18, after a 16-year old classmate is killed in a collision with a car driven by her sister. Yes, helmets are a good idea; not running over people on bikes is a better one.

A Michigan bike rider was killed in a collision with a pedestrian.

Unbelievable. A hit-and-run driver plowed into an Indiana family while they were riding on a bike path.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would steal a Rhode Island man’s bike as he lay unconscious following a collision. Fortunately, a local company has offered to replace it.

The Boston Globe calls on the city to take aggressive steps to improve safety for bicyclists.

 

International

Gizmodo explains the evolution of the bicycle.

Once again, someone has sabotaged a Brit road with thumbtacks, putting bike riders at risk of serious injury.

A pair of Indian teenagers on a speeding motorcycle kill a bicyclist crossing the road on his way home. So naturally, an official blames the bike rider for not using a crosswalk.

A “tired, sleepy and dreamy” Singapore taxi driver gets three months in jail and a seven-year driving ban after killing a cyclist when he fell asleep and drifted onto the wrong side of the road.

The Voice of America says the bike boom has come to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

Finally…

If you try to keep kids safe on their way to school by teaching them to ride in the gutter and the door zone, they may need that bike helmet. If you already got away with stealing four bikes in two separate break-ins from the same bike shop, don’t go back for the third time.

And Arlington VA police offer advice about who is allowed to park in a bike lane.

Arlington Police

Weekend Links: LA bike thieves caught on video, and volunteer for September’s LACBC bike/ped count

Sometimes, even bike thieves get caught on video.

The LAPD has issued a BOLO alert for a ring of bike thieves captured on security camera stealing bikes from an apartment complex at La Brea and Wilshire.

The group of two Hispanic men and a blonde woman act carefully to avoid detection, first casing the underground parking lot, then coming back with bolt cutters to cut the locks, and returning a third time to walk out with the bikes.

Anyone with information is urged to call Wilshire Area Burglary Detectives Officer Noble at 213/922-8253.

And on a related subject, the Spoke N’ Wheel Bicycle Shop in West Hills had a distinctive mountain bike stolen in a break-in this week, so be on the lookout. This one should be easy to spot. Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

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The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking for volunteers for September’s bike and pedestrian count.

Yes, this should be the city’s job. But since they don’t do it, the LACBC’s count is the only way we have to know whether more people are riding bikes, and where they’re riding in the City of Angels.

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Colorado native Taylor Phinney will make his second start after returning from catastrophic injuries at next week’s USA Pro Challenge; last year’s champ Teejay van Garderen will ride the Vuelta, instead. Phinney’s return to race in his home state is remarkable, given that doctors said he’d never ride again.

A new women’s world tour is taking shape, based on the current men’s tour. Hopefully, with less doping and more integrity.

………

Local

City Lab’s Sarah Goodyear says the new Mobility Plan is another sign it’s not the old LA anymore, even if some don’t seem to get it.

Streetsblog gives Eric Garcetti a B- for his work on livable streets since becoming mayor, with a C+ on bicycling issues. Not sure I’d rate him that high after his disappearing act on Westwood Blvd, North Figueroa, Mt. Hollywood Drive and the Glendale-Figueroa bridge.

A writer for Bike Walk Burbank says crashes aren’t accidents, and neither is traffic enforcement.

The Argonaut talks with CicLAvia founder Aaron Paley, who says it’s not about bikes, it’s about reclaiming public space. Then again, so is the new Mobility Plan.

The Culver City Bicycle Coalition wants your help to clean up the Ballona Creek bike path on September 19th as part of the Coastal Cleanup Day.

 

State

The battle over bikeshare at San Diego’s Pacific Beach goes on.

A new Pleasanton green lane aims to improve safety along the “Valley of Death.”

The San Francisco police captain behind the hugely unpopular crackdown on law-breaking cyclists explains his evolving priorities.

 

National

A writer for HuffPo suggests 19 reasons why bicycling is the best exercise. Many of those reasons focus on bikes as transportation, rather than simply exercise. Which is the real beauty of bikes, since they can serve as transport, exercise and recreation — often all at once.

An Indian website profiles the Marine vet who is riding a handcycle across the US after losing both legs in Afghanistan.

“Magic dirt” is turning Helena MT into a destination for mountain bikers.

A man stops in Kansas as part of a nationwide bike tour after beating cancer twice.

Now this is a protected bike lane, as the state of Illinois installs a curb-protected lane in response to the death of a Chicago cyclist. That is what should happen with every bike and pedestrian death — first determine why it happened, then fix the street so it won’t happen again.

A Boston reporter writes about his alternately thrilling and perilous bike commute.

New York pedestrians and bike riders advocate for a safer route through a bike-desert in Queens. And another bike lane planned for Amsterdam Ave survives opposition for now.

A North Carolina driver had meth and heroin in his system when he went across multiple lanes of traffic to hit a cyclist head-on.

An Athens GA cyclist receives an $850,000 settlement after being hit by a man pulling out of his driveway while she was riding to work.

Louisiana has the third highest rate of bicycling fatalities, behind Florida and Delaware. The rate reflects the number of deaths per 100,000 residents.

 

International

A writer for the Guardian takes the new $15,000 Jaguar-designed Pinarello out for a spin on British roads.

Britain’s Green Party calls for adoption of a European version of the Idaho Stop Law.

A Helsinki, Finland driver is under arrest for deliberately running down and killing a bike rider, then fleeing the scene.

An Aussie cyclist appeals a $1.7 million judgment for crashing into his riding partner after he hit a wooden stake in the bike lane. Seems like whoever was responsible for maintaining the bike lane should be held at fault, instead.

 

Finally…

Denver drivers rant about “idiot drivers” in the fast lane, neglecting to consider that the speed limit is the maximum allowed, rather than mandatory. If you’re going to ride off with an $1,800 bike from a New Orleans bike shop, it’s probably best not to leave your own invalid credit card as security.

And we only have to worry about dodging LA drivers; Brit bicyclists have to avoid ramming sheep.

 

Morning Links: Reflections on crappy cyclist, sailor charged in fatal hit-and-run, and more Mobility madness

Sometimes, drivers have a point when they complain about bike riders.

And sometimes, people on bikes survive the streets, not because of their own skills, but because of the caution shown by those around them.

The other day, I found myself driving down Santa Monica Blvd to attend a meeting in West Hollywood.

As I drove, I watched a fixie rider make his way through traffic, buds firmly affixed to both ears, his lack of skill — and presumably, experience — evident by the way he awkwardly swayed from side to side with every pedal stroke.

I passed him, moving into the next lane to give him plenty of space, even though he was hugging the door zone.

About a block later, I found myself behind a line of stopped cars in the right lane. So I put on my signal, checked my mirror and started to pull to my left. Then jammed on my brakes, as he swung out around me, apparently blind to my change in direction.

He split the lanes, weaving through traffic before cutting suddenly to the right, the driver he’d just cut off narrowly averting a rear-end collision as he was forced into a panic stop.

A block or two later, I watched as he first jumped a light, weaving through vehicles coming from both directions, despite their far superior claim to the right-of-way, then swung around a Brinks truck without warning as it was pulling away from the curb.

In each instance, a collision was avoided, not through any skill of the guy on the bike, but through the alertness of those he shared the road with.

This is not intended as a rant against fixie riders, many of whom can put my own skills on a bike to shame. Nor is it intended as a complaint against riders who cut through traffic, even though I can’t recommend it; I’ve seen some who can slice and dice through moving cars like a chef at Benihana.

This guy was neither of those.

He lacked the skill to pull off the moves he made. Yet somehow survived his trip, not through the grace of God, but because others on the road were watching out for him when he wasn’t watching out for himself. And seemingly oblivious to the close calls he’d had.

Proof that those behind the wheel aren’t always the bad guys. And that our streets work best when we all look out for one another.

On the other hand, his reckless riding and lack of skill did not reflect on me.

Or anyone else who takes to two wheels, anymore than a crappy driver makes every other driver look bad.

………

It took awhile, but there may be justice for Philip White after all.

The hit-and-run victim was found lying next to his crushed bike in an Oceanside cul-de-sac early one morning last September. Police quickly identified a suspect, but no charges were filed.

Until now.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Christopher Noah, an active duty sailor stationed at Camp Pendleton, has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

According to the U-T, personnel on the base noticed the damaged to Noah’s car, and convinced him to contact police.

He admitted to being the driver, while insisting he didn’t know he had hit anyone. However, evidence at the scene reportedly contradicted his statement, including indications that White’s body appeared to have been moved.

The paper questions why it took 10 months to file charges; I’d question why Noah doesn’t face more serious charges, since White might have had a chance if his killer hadn’t left him to die alone on a deserted street.

………

KPCC interviews Venice Councilmember Mike Bonin about the city’s newly approved transportation plan.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton weighs in on the plan on KCRW’s Which Way LA, along with Eastside Councilmember Jose Huizar, UCLA’s Madeline Brozen and a spokeswoman for the group threatening to sue over it.

An attorney writes on City Watch that the Mobility Plan is based on fatally flawed data and wishful thinking, and the city failed to follow proper procedure — even though it was based on over five years of public process.

KFI’s John and Ken rage over the Mobility Plan, riling up their listeners by misrepresenting both it and bicycling in the City of Angeles. And you know the plan’s on the right track when Rush Limbaugh bloviates against it.

It’s important to remember that radio personalities like those mentioned above aren’t reporters, they’re entertainers. Their job is to anger their listeners enough to keep them coming back for more in order to drive up ratings; in doing so, they’re no more committed to the facts than any internet troll.

………

Bicycling fatalities among children under 15 have dropped 92% since 1975. Which would be good news except the decrease may be due to fewer kids riding bikes these days.

………

Local

The Great Streets section of Venice Blvd will get a road diet, protected bike lanes and mid-block crossings, though maybe not all at once.

CiclaValley says biking to Dodger stadium is the fast and easy way to get there.

Bike Portland visits CicLAvia, and says we have some things to teach our friends up north about open streets.

Santa Monica police are conducting another bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation today, and more in the next few weeks. So observe the letter of the law when riding through the city.

LAist offers 39 reasons why they love Long Beach; the city’s embrace of bikes is just one of them.

Wolfpack Hustle’s annual Civic Center Crit races around City Hall this Saturday.

UCLA Lewis Center and Institute of Transportation Studies will host a webinar this Wednesday on Streetscape Design to Improve Walking and Cycling.

The second-annual Santa Monica Bike Expo will take place at the pier on October 10th and 11th, and will include a 15-mile Tour of Santa Monica bike ride.

 

State

Calbike says the legislature’s extraordinary session to find money to fix the state’s crumbling streets and highways should include funding for bikeways.

Some people in Coronado really, really don’t want more bikes or a bike path on the beach.

Menlo Park may remove parking along the bay to make way for bike lanes.

Only the state can legalize the Idaho stop. So instead, a San Francisco supervisor has introduced an ordinance to make enforcement of cyclists riding through stop signs the police department’s lowest law enforcement priority.

Bike traffic on San Francisco’s Market Street sets a new record, with over 100,000 bike trips recorded in July.

The Marin County cyclist convicted of the road rage beating of a motorist now faces a personal injury lawsuit, as well as his upcoming sentencing.

 

National

Good article intended for police officers on the how’s and why’s of enforcing bike laws.

How to prevent the most common bicycling injuries.

Denver’s Streetsblog says public bike infrastructure shouldn’t have to depend on private money.

A 75-year old Kansas ‘bent rider hits the 120,000 mile mark.

Texas police officers don’t have a clue who to ticket for a right hook collision. Hint: the same right-of-way violation applies if a driver turns in front of a bike as it does if he turns in front of a car in the next lane; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link.

Ohio police want to know why a cyclist was riding salmon in the traffic lanes of an Interstate highway in the middle of the night. If they find out, I hope they tell us.

A 17-year old Indiana driver had a blood alcohol level of .28 — 3.5 times the legal limit – when she plowed into two cousins out for bike ride, killing one; prosecutors plan to charge the teenager as an adult.

A Boston researcher says the city should calm traffic and improve lighting, education and enforcement to increase safety for cyclists.

A Florida bike rider thanks the stranger who gave him a ride home after an early morning flat.

 

International

Calgary cyclists who have survived collisions share their frustration with the attitudes of drivers.

Caught on video: A London rider stops for every red light, yet manages to keep up with a guy who jumps them all. A lot of us have had that same experience.

No bias here. When a British man and his family are arrested for planning to join ISIS in Syria, the press identifies him primarily as a “keen cyclist.”

A Brit women’s racer says riding in London is safer than it seems, but women riders need to be more assertive.

Mashable goes behind the scenes of London’s secretive pedicab industry.

A new Dutch track bike only looks like it’s made of wood.

The founder of what was once the world’s largest bicycle maker has died in India; OP Munjal started the company because he was tired of sharing a single bike with his two brothers.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons insists there’s no scientific evidence that Australia’s mandatory helmet law has had an adverse effect on health by discouraging people from riding.

Aussie site Cycling Tips goes behind the scenes to look at pro cycling’s financial model. And it’s not a pretty picture.

 

Finally…

A Texas driver slams into a Walmart, so naturally, there’s a bike involved. Someone smashed the glass on a Clovis bike shop to steal a Stolen bike. Putting that in the window is just tempting fate.

And anyone can climb Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains; these guys are riding up them.

 

Morning Links: Newport hit-and-run driver turns himself in, and more fallout from the new LA Mobility Plan

More on the 14-year old girl who was critically injured when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding in Newport Beach Tuesday night.

Thirty-six-year old Anthony Michael George turned himself in to police at around 2 pm Wednesday, which would have given him plenty of time to sober up.

Assuming he had been drinking, of course, which only seems like a given.

That was after his badly damaged car was discovered by a sharp-eyed Newport resident out for a run.

His victim, who was riding a beach cruiser with a group of other riders, was on vacation with her family from San Carlos; she’s now fighting for her life after she was hit head-on with enough force to shatter the car’s windshield.

She was not wearing a helmet, despite state law requiring them for anyone under the age of 18. Whether it could have made a difference, given the description of the collision, is questionable.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the link about the car discovery.

………

The Daily News says the newly passed Mobility Plan offers promise, but questions whether the city is dictating new habits or anticipating them. Neither, actually. It’s aimed at improving safety while giving people the option of how they want to travel, rather than how they currently feel they have to.

LA Times readers offer surprisingly rational responses to yesterday’s story about the shift in LA transportation priorities.

KNBC-4 misses the point, saying community groups oppose taking travel lanes — not auto lanes, thank you — from streets like Westwood Blvd, even though current plan for Westwood don’t involve removing a single lane or parking spot. Which makes you wonder what the real reason for their opposition is, along with that of Councilmember Paul Koretz, who appears to be in the pocket of wealthy homeowners.

Larry Mantle discussed the passage of the Mobility Plan on KPCC’s Air Talk; the LACBC’s Tamika Butler made some good points by stressing it’s not just about bike lanes, although the remarks by motorhead Jay Beeber — and many of the comments — are infuriating.

Speaking of which, I’m told you should only read the comments on KFI’s Facebook page, home to the bike hating John and Ken, if you want to lose all hope for humanity.

And Bicycling wants to arm you with responses to the typical anti-bike comments you’ll find to any online story about bicycling.

Meanwhile, this is what the story looks like from an overseas perspective.

………

Brenda Miller of the Alliance for a Healthy Orange County writes to say they’re looking for vendors with experience in hosting bike rodeos.

Orange County will be holding bike rodeos the month of September, 2015, and is seeking bids from vendors experienced with such bicycle education events. Funding for the rodeos is provided by the non-profit, Alliance for a Healthy Orange County, as part of a community health grant received from the CDC. Contact info, details/specs, and a list of Q&A’s submitted by potential vendors is downloadable via Dropbox HERE.

………

Matt Brammeier, the cyclist injured in that horrific Tour of Utah crash, as been released from the hospital.

………

Local

Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office is preparing a pop-up Great Streets installation on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista early next year, including improved — and possibly protected — bike lanes.

Richard Risemberg says even if we get bike lanes, once the paint dries, we’re on our own.

Bike thefts continue in DTLA, as six people have their rides taken, four after the locks were cut; one man was arrested trying to take one.

There will be a pop-up community open house for the Cesar Chavez Great Street, which doesn’t appear to include anything to improve bike safety, this Saturday. Maybe you can point out the error of their ways.

 

State

San Francisco police back off their heavy-handed crackdown on scofflaw bike riders in the face of angry bicyclists, after 200 riders were ticketed for rolling stops, running lights and not stopping for pedestrians in just a two-day period. A petition protesting the crackdown drew over 19,000 signatures.

The Yolo County driver who intentionally ran down three cyclists in succession behind the wheel of a stolen car now faces attempted murder charges and a sanity hearing. That’s Yolo, not YOLO.

 

National

Bicycling talks to the people behind everyone’s favorite bike comic.

VeloNews asks what the rise of e-bikes means for the world of bicycling. Less pedaling, for one.

Bloomberg notes that crowdfunding is the latest way to get bikeways built, but questions just what the purpose of taxes is, then.

Not a bad idea. A new light attaches to your brake cable, giving you an automatic brake light for just $10.

If a judge agrees, an Anchorage teen could get less than three years in juvie for the DUI hit-and-run death of a bike rider. The collision came just eight days after she completed — and evidently failed — a drug abuse program; she was on Ecstasy, coke and marijuana at the time of the crash.

A car is a man’s — or woman’s — castle in Kansas; just reaching inside could entitle the driver to use deadly force. Good thing that personal space doesn’t extend to the air around it.

Caught on video: This is what a dangerously close pass by a Texas driver looks like.

A fifth Minneapolis bike rider has been attacked by a rock-throwing SUV driver; the latest victim suffered a broken clavicle.

The Cleveland Clinic offers advice on how to avoid neck pain caused by cycling. Or maybe you suffer from hay fever while riding, instead.

An Ohio driver gets a lousy three months in jail for sideswiping a cyclist with his trailer after following behind a group of riders for several hundred feet, honking and yelling at them out his window.

The athletic director at Middle Tennessee State University considers himself lucky after breaking two neck vertebrae and a wrist when he went off the road while riding his bike.

Bicycling casualties are raising red flags in Boston, where 13 people have been killed riding bikes in the city in the last five years. Nearly that many died in Los Angeles last year alone, with 11 bicycling deaths within the city limits in 2014.

A Florida man faces a manslaughter charge after killing another man with a single punch in a dispute over a stolen bike. Seriously, recovering your bike isn’t worth taking a life. Or spending the next several years behind bars.

 

International

Hundreds of cyclists formed a funeral procession for a popular British bike advocate who was killed in a road rage assault while driving his car.

Add this to the list of things you wouldn’t see while driving, as Town Mouse spots a very hidden young deer on her ride to town. And note that her definition of a busy road is spotting half a dozen vehicles in four miles.

The next time you’re in Amsterdam, look bikes with a yellow rack for a free ride on the back from an unofficial bike ambassador.

Australia’s Senate is told that mandatory helmet laws do more harm than good.

New Chinese augmented reality glasses currently raising funds on Indiegogo promise to give you a heads-up display while you ride. Because it just takes too much effort to look down at a Garmin.

Over 40,000 Thai cyclists have registered for a ride this Sunday to honor the country’s Queen on her 83rd birthday.

 

Finally…

Seriously, when a driver tells you to get off the road, just flip ‘em off if you have to respond, instead of causing $300 damage to the jerk’s car. If you’re riding a stolen bike armed with burglary tools and a stun gun, don’t ride on the damn sidewalk.

And caught on video: A Chinese bicyclist just barely avoids serious injury when he hops off his bike milliseconds before it’s hit by a driver making a dangerous U-turn in a busy intersection. Naturally, police conclude it wasn’t really the driver’s fault.

 

Morning Links: OC hit-and-run truck driver guilty; SGV bike rider found beaten to death; get ready for CicLAvia

Looks like the OC DA’s office is on a roll.

In their latest court victory, truck driver Filemon Reynaga was found guilty Thursday in the hit-and-run death of 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez as he rode his bike to work in October, 2013.

Reynaga reportedly drove off after getting out of his truck to look at Rodriguez, leaving him lying unprotected in the street where he was hit by a second vehicle.

It was impossible to tell which one ultimately struck the fatal blow.

Clearly, the jury decided it didn’t matter, convicting Reynaga of felony hit and run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. It only took them 90 minutes to reach a verdict.

He now faces up to four well-deserved years in prison.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein for the heads-up.

Filemon-Reynaga-conviction

 

………

A man was found beaten to death next to a bicycle in an unincorporated part of the San Gabriel Valley near West Covina early Thursday morning.

According to KNBC-4, he was identified by his mother as 25-year old Ontario resident Victor Pacheco after she rushed to the scene. Witnesses saw him being chased on his bike by a blue pickup just hours before his body was found in a vacant lot.

………

Before you go to CicLAvia this Sunday, take a moment to brush up on these safety tips. Most important, in my experience, is to remember it’s not a race and maintain a safe speed; it’s the differential between fast and slow riders that seems to cause most conflicts. And always look behind you before you change directions, even to just pass another rider.

Get discounts along the route. Oddly, Tito’s Tacos doesn’t seem to be on that list.

As if CicLAvia itself wasn’t reward enough, you can enter to win free prizes including a weekend in Culver City, a Tern foldie and Cirque du Soleil tickets. Or win CicLAvia swag by taking photos at their photo hunt stops.

As a personal aside, you’ll find some of the city’s best coffee at The Conservatory along the CicLAvia route on Washington Blvd in Culver City; tell ‘em I sent you. Not that they know who the hell I am. Update: Margaret reminds us that the Conservatory is closed on Sundays; hopefully, they’ll make an exception just this once.

And just in time for CicLAvia, Walk Bike Burbank is offering free bike tune-ups on Saturday.

………

VeloNews provides a nice tongue-in-cheek examination of what it would look like if the NFL was run as badly as pro cycling. And 37-year old Ivan Basso will determine his future in the coming months after recovering from surgery for testicular cancer.

………

Local

A Westside resident says there aren’t enough bicyclists on Westwood Blvd to justify bike lanes, and bus-only lanes could move more people through the corridor. Never mind that bike riders are allowed to use bus-only lanes, and there might be more bike riders on the boulevard if they had a safe place to ride.

West Hollywood now has a bike-through coffee and juice window.

Registration is now open for Santa Monica’s Breeze bikeshare system; a trial system will kick off for six weeks next Thursday, while the full system is expected to go into operation in November.

CiclaValley rides the Dominguez Channel bike path, calling it “another path that was constructed as an afterthought in an area that is particularly void of bike infrastructure.”

 

State

An Irvine company is modifying their single-lever brake system to work on children’s bikes; one lever applies the front and rear brakes simultaneously, eliminating the risk of a major endo.

Not even a decorative bike attached to a private Bakersfield community library is safe from the scourge of bike theft.

A San Francisco bicyclist puts his foot down at every stop sign, since the SFPD is now ticketing bike riders — without legal justification — if they don’t, and nearly got run over as a result. Meanwhile, the SF Gate calls the crackdown on scofflaw cyclists a waste of police resources that endangers San Franciscans and incentivizes bad behavior.

When a Tahoe tourist on a rental bike does something stupid, it does not reflect on every other cyclist. When I observe stupid driver tricks, I don’t think it makes every other driver look bad; they usually do that themselves.

 

National

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske examines three-foot passing laws, and the need for police to get with the program, already.

Bicycling looks at the 500-plus pound man who started bicycling cross-country to lose weight and get his wife back; the couple has reunited and she’s now riding along with him.

The Department of DIY strikes again, as a Portland bike rider paints a warning on a hazardous road grate after getting tired of complaining about it for the past eight years; needless to say, the state DOT is not pleased.

A road-raging Kansas cyclist is lucky to get off with just 59 months in prison for shooting a motorist during a dispute; the victim gets just $2,600 of the court-ordered $19,600 restitution, despite losing an eye.

After a high school student in my hometown has his bike stolen, police find it 775 miles away in Abilene TX. And he gets personal return service, as a detective just happened to be driving down with his daughter to visit a Texas university.

Nice story, as people pitch in to help a homeless man biking across the US who cares for every stray dog he finds; the former California resident towed 11 dogs 2,000 miles in his homemade bike trailer.

People are fuming in the Bronx over New Jersey getting New York’s latest bikeshare expansion before they do.

A Virginia cyclist wins a $300,000 settlement after she’s injured when a jogger turned in front of her with no warning.

A writer for Miami’s alt weekly gets tired of the constant wrangling over the rights of cyclists, and spells out what riders can and can’t do under Florida law.

 

International

Writing about Calgary, a columnist says the city’s car culture comes at a steep price. Substituting Los Angeles for Calgary wouldn’t change the story, or the conclusion, one bit.

A Toronto writer says it’s a mixed up world when pedestrians try to punch out bike riders, and suggests the solution is to ban cars from certain streets.

A London group fixes up old bikes to provide transportation to refugees, and teaches women to ride since many weren’t allowed to learn in their old country.

The number of London bike commuters has doubled in the past 10 years.

City Lab looks at how Cambridge became the UK’s model cycling city.

An Aussie cyclist says we need to future-proof our infrastructure to find a balance between cars, bicycles, pedestrians and public transport.

Variety reviews the Hong Kong cycling flick To the Fore, calling it blandly inspiring, but with propulsive, bone-crunching cycling action. Works for me.

 

Finally…

Nine signs you need to ride more. It’s hard enough riding the Pyrenees, Alps and Dolomites back to back; now imagine doing it with one leg.

And evidently, drunk bicycling is a bigger problem than we realize; a new bike lock with a built-in breathalyzer will keep you from unlocking your ride if you’re wasted. Now if they could only make something like that to keep drunk drivers off the road. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the link.

 

Morning Links: OC truck driver goes on trial; Montebello hit-and-run reward; Metro bike workshops start tonight

The trial of truck driver Filemon Reynaga started on Monday in a Santa Ana courthouse.

And kicked off with one big revelation.

Reynaga is charged with felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor manslaughter for the 2013 death of 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez.

According to the Orange County Register, Reynaga was shown on surveillance video pulling out of a store parking lot after an early morning delivery, and making a blind right turn without stopping. He ran directly into Rodriguez’ bike, dragging Rodriguez under his trailer as he made a second right onto Orangewood Ave.

A witness testified that Reynaga got out of his truck and walked back to look at Rodriguez, coming within five feet of his body. Then he got back in his truck and drove away, leaving his Rodriguez lying in the street, where he was struck again by another car moments later.

Why that doesn’t warrant a murder charge is beyond me, since he knowingly left his victim lying in harms way.

To make matters worse, his defense attorney argued that Reynaga isn’t at fault because Rodriguez might have been killed by the second driver, instead. Even though the other driver probably wouldn’t have hit him if Reynaga hadn’t left him there unprotected in the early morning darkness.

Then again, he also argued that Reynaga a) didn’t cause the collision, b) may not have even hit Rodriguez, and c) may not have known that he hit him if he did.

Let hope the jury will pick d) he’s guilty as hell.

………

Montebello is offering a $10,000 reward for the hit-and-run death of fallen cyclist Steven Vasquez Garcia last month.

Montebello Reward

………

Metro is hosting a series of Open House Workshops to develop a  strategic plan for active transportation — including bikes and pedestrians — starting tonight in San Gabriel.

We want to hear from you! Metro is developing an Active Transportation Strategic Plan to identify needs, resources and strategies to improve and increase walking, bicycling and transit use in LA County, and your input will help create a meaningful, effective plan.

The workshops will:

  1. Gather input on improving first and last mile access to transit and improvements to the regional network of walking and bicycling facilities, including shared-use paths and on-street bikeways
  2. Explore opportunities for supporting local and regional partners to get these projects and programs implemented

The workshops are designed for planners, engineers, traffic safety professionals, public health and injury prevention professionals, advocates, transit riders, transit operators, non-profit organizations, decision-makers, and other interested stakeholders. Each workshop will include information about the overall plan and information specific to the sub-region. We encourage you to attend the workshop specific to your sub-region; however, staff will be available to answer questions and gather input at all workshops.

Click here for dates and locations.

………

The Tour of Utah brings big-time pro cycling to the Beehive State, with 10 riders to watch. However, two-time champ Tom Danielson won’t be one of them after failing a drug test; he could face a lifetime ban thanks to a previous six month suspension.

The best news in this year’s racing season is Taylor Phinney’s return to the peloton following last year’s horrific crash in the National Championships days after winning the time trial title. And better yet, he finished third in a breakaway in Monday’s stage.

Sunday’s competition in the Crested Butte Big Mountain Enduro race was cancelled after Will Olson was killed while competing in the off-road race on Saturday; competitors rode in his honor instead.

………

Local

A new study shows bikeshare really is an effective form of transit; LA’s upcoming system could take that a step further by offering transfers to and from other forms of transit.

LA’s Mobility Plan comes up for a vote before a joint meeting of the city council’s Transportation and Planning and Land Use committees at 2:30 today at City Hall. At least two of the councilmembers who have been working to scuttle the plan sit on those committees, so we have our work cut out for us.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee — the only official voice for bicyclists in our city government — holds their bi-monthly meeting tonight; the location has been changed to the Meeting Room at Pan Pacific Park.

 

State

Get your resume ready. Delaware-based Blue Bicycles is moving to Orange County by the end of the year; the company will release over 20 models for its 2016 line after being off the market for two years following an unsuccessful merger.

People in Santa Barbara support a well designed bike network, but question whether the one currently under consideration fits that description.

Cyclelicious says don’t bother uglifying your bike to deter thieves.

British bike scribe Carlton Reid says Davis set the standard for what a bike friendly American city could be, though it’s going to take work to return it to bike paradise it once was.

 

National

Bicycling looks at the 13 best bike rides in US national parks. And asks pro cyclists to tell us about their favorite places to ride.

People for Bikes says cities can’t prioritize vehicle speed and volume, just as turning up a hose too far causes more harm than good. It makes more sense when you read it.

An architecture website offers seven rules for safer cities.

A cyclist shares what he learned from riding across the country.

An Albuquerque thrift store sold a man’s $1,500, 1937 antique bike to another customer for $4.99 while he shopped. I’m going to have nightmares about that one.

An Iowa bike rider is grateful for the hit-and-run that broke his leg, mangled his arm and cost him his job; if he hadn’t been hurt, doctors might not have found the tumor that probably would have killed him.

A heartbreaking story, as a Minnesota man returns to the site of the hit-and-run that took his wife’s life and left him seriously injured as they returned home from a bike tour one year ago.

Not many 12-year old bike riders have sponsors. A Minnesota boy runs his own advertising service by selling ad space on his bicycle.

Vermont police conclude a cyclist was at fault in the collision that killed him, even though the driver blew a .123 alcohol level right after the wreck — well over the .08 legal limit — and had Xanax, Sertraline and Nortriptyline in her system. But it’s just a coincidence that the driver is married to a cop, right?

A Virginia bike rider is shot in an apparently random act of violence. And a VA hit-and-run victim wants to know what kind of person would slam into a bicyclist, then leave him sprawling in a ditch without stopping. I suspect we know the answer to that one.

A North Carolina driver tells a reporter he didn’t do it on purpose after killing a cyclist while driving under the influence. Oh, well okay, then.

 

International

A cyclist died after going 50 feet off a bridge at the site of the worst traffic fatality in British history. Maybe it’s time to fix the damn road, already.

A 15-year old boy from India takes gold twice in the Special Olympics time trial events, after just one month of training; he didn’t even have a racing bike when he qualified last year.

Is nowhere safe from bike thieves? A South African woman was bike-jacked while competing in a mountain bike race.

Bicycling rates are up in Western Australia, though the Aussie state faces the same gender gap everywhere else does.

Evidently, Japan isn’t quite up for Vision Zero yet, planning to cut traffic deaths by 50%. Maybe they call it Vision Less; thanks to an anonymous source for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride through floodwaters, make sure you know where the damn curb is. Maybe you find spandex too confining, but please wear something. Anything. Except unsightly calf-high bike socks.

Especially if you’re planning to use what’s basically an adult balance bike.

 

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver to face trial; parking meter bike racks approved for Westwood, but not lanes

Apparently, justice delayed is not justice denied after all.

At least not in Orange County.

Nearly two years ago, 19-year old Manuel Morales Rodriguez was his riding bike on Missile Way in Anaheim when he was struck by a semi-truck driven by 49-year old Filemon Reynaga as he was pulling out of a driveway.

Reynaga dragged Morales Rodriguez and his bike under his truck onto Orangethorpe Ave, leaving him lying in the street where he was struck by another vehicle. There’s no way to tell which one struck the fatal blow, but Morales Rodriguez might have had a chance at survival if Reynaga has stopped as the law, and human decency, dictate.

Reynaga is scheduled to go on trial Monday, charged with felony hit and run causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He faces up to four years if he’s convicted.

And the OC DA’s office has a good track record of getting convictions and serious jail time in traffic cases.

 

Filemon Reynaga trialThanks to OC cyclist and attorney Edward Rubinstein for the heads-up. That’s Rubinstein with an I, not an E, as I bone-headedly spelled it in an earlier post.

………

Westwood Village points out that it’s technically illegal to lock a bike to a parking meter in Los Angeles, though the law is seldom enforced.

The reminder was made after the city council approved a motion to install bike racks on over 100 parking meters in the village, at the urging of Westside councilmember Paul Koretz. Never mind that they could have just changed the law to allow locking up to meters.

So evidently, Koretz supports bike parking in Westwood, just not safe ways to get there.

Be A Green Commuter looks at the needless controversy over bike lanes on Westwood Blvd through the eyes of UCLA students who have to ride it, dangerous or not. And describes the dispute as “a handful of anachronistic curmudgeons and an LA City Councilmember pitted against transportation experts, UCLA and many Westwood businesses.”

Meanwhile, Joel Epstein calls out Koretz for caving into the demands of “a handful of NIMBYs who haven’t gone out without their car since LA hosted the Olympics.”

And since he broached the subject, Forbes examines just how much NIMBYism costs us.

………

On a related subject, the LA Mobility Plan is scheduled to come up before a joint session of the city council’s Transportation and Planning and Land Use Management committees on Tuesday.

Some of the bikeways, such as Westwood and North Figueroa, are under attack in an unprecedented attempt to remove them from the bike plan, which was already unanimously approved by the city council and incorporated into the Mobility Plan.

If approved bikeway plans that were developed as part of an extensive public process are allowed to be removed at the whim of individual councilmembers and others who failed to participate in the process, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

As a result, a coalition of advocacy groups have designated this Monday as Mobility Monday, urging you to contact your councilmembers to urge them to approve the plan as written.

You’ll find email addresses and a sample email at the link above.

And if you’re free on Tuesday afternoon, drop by City Hall to let them know how you really feel.

………

Great news from the BMC racing team, as Taylor Phinney and Peter Stetina, both badly injured in horrific bike racing wrecks, will make their comebacks in next week’s Tour of Utah.

Maybe they’re onto something in the UK. Just a week after British rider Chris Froome won the Tour de France, a pair of Brit road riders take gold in the Special Olympics.

………

Local

LADOT Bike Blog says corridors and plazas are the malls of the future. Like this car-free plaza that just opened in Pacoima, for instance.

CicLAvia presents a neighborhood guide to the Culver City Meets Venice open streets event coming up a just a week from Sunday. Hopefully, we’ll have the Militant Angeleno’s guide by then, too.

CiclaValley says LA’s first bike park could be coming to the Valley.

The LACBC’s monthly Sunday Funday ride takes a family friendly roll through Lakewood this Sunday, led by board president Steve Boyd.

 

State

San Diego’s new bikeshare program may be off to a bumpy start.

The chair of the San Diego Bicycle Advisory Committee explains how improving bicycling conditions will benefit the city and its residents.

The local paper suggests that giving 60 Coachella Valley kids refurbished bikes abandoned on the local bus system could lead to culture change.

Cyclelicious discusses public safety and bike commuting after an Antioch cyclist is mugged while riding home from work.

The San Francisco Police Department has officially revised their deadly driving campaign to target people walking and biking who, unlike dangerous drivers, pose little risk to others around them. Meanwhile, the SF Weekly looks at what happens when bike riders follow the letter of the law.

 

National

USA Today names the nation’s top 10 beachfront bike rides; our own Marvin Braude trail, stretching 22 miles from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades, tops the list.

A Portland paper offers advice for riding in a heat wave as Pacific Northwest cyclists face temperatures in the 100s.

Oddly, a bike helmet didn’t keep a Spokane cyclist from suffering a serious spinal injury in a solo fall; a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with medical expenses.

Bicycle Colorado says three is the magic number when it comes to traffic lanes and road diets.

Minnesota Public Radio asks what will it take to get you to put your damn phone down while driving, while Georgia cops pose as construction workers to nab texting drivers. Maybe the LAPD, LASD, and CHP et al could take a page from the Georgia playbook; thanks to F3nugr33k for the heads-up.

Bike commuting is up a whopping 400% in Pittsburgh, despite the usual arguments over bike lanes versus parking. Nice way to bury the lede, though.

Philly’s bikeshare system may take a back seat to His Holiness, even though the pope is a bike rider himself.

It looks like some of New York’s bike lanes are being allowed to fade to black.

 

International

People for Bikes says Canada is leaving the US in the dust when it comes to protected bike lanes; separated lanes helped Vancouver reach its goal of half of all trips being made by bike, foot or transit.

News is just coming out of a horrifying case of vigilante murder in Hamilton, Ontario, as a driver deliberately stalked and ran down a bike rider in the mistaken belief he was a pedophile; police still haven’t solved the case despite keeping a lid on it for two years.

Caught on video: A road raging British driver chases a bike rider after being called out for a close pass, and takes a tumble in the street.

Bicycling is going upscale in the UK as part of a luxury lifestyle. Try telling that to the people who rely on a bike for transportation instead of an expensive fashion accessory.

A Brit rider is fined the equivalent of nearly $1300 for riding off after plowing into a toddler. And deservedly so.

A government minister for the Isle of Man calls for the equivalent of a nearly five-foot passing law after a driver walks away with a suspended sentence for killing a cyclist.

More on Munich’s plans for a series of radschnellverbindungen, the equivalent of bike autobahns spreading across the city like a spider. No, really, look at the map.

A study from an Australian university identifies the most dangerous intersections for cyclists in Perth. No one knows the most dangerous intersections for bike riders in LA, because the city has never bothered to find out.

 

Finally…

A cyclist admits what so many drivers already think — we’re just here to fuck with them. A Chicago gas station owner would probably agree, as the bike-riding residents of the Wicker Park neighborhood force him out of business.

And maybe drones could be used to make sure you straighten up and ride right on your next group ride.

 

Juries, Judges and Your Bike Crash

Bikes Have Rights™
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP 

Jury box

This may well be the most controversial blog post I’ll ever write. It’s likely that many of you are going to hate reading this. Some of you will tell me that what I say here isn’t fair and that I’m blaming the victim.

Be assured, I’ve represented many bicycle riders in bike crashes and I know as well or better than anyone how the system is stacked against them. As to fairness, well, it isn’t fair that I don’t have the same head of hair that I had as a younger man either, but that’s the way it is.

What I’m going to tell you is the hard truth. It’s not fair, but it IS an undeniable, regrettable fact: many people have strong, negative feelings about cyclists. If you are in a bike crash and it goes to trial, the judge and/or jurors will probably not be cyclists.

Though the people on your jury and the judge presiding over your trial have probably encountered hundreds – if not thousands – of law-abiding bicyclists, those aren’t who they remember. They remember the helmetless cyclist who cut them off or rode through a red light and saluted them with a middle finger as they blew by. It’s always that “one” ne’er-do-well who people remember.

The U.S. Bicycling Participation Benchmark Report, commissioned by People for Bikes, reported that though the number of Americans ages 3+ who rode a bicycle last year is larger than had been previously thought, 30% of these cyclists rode 5 days or fewer in 2014.

The chance of getting a cyclist on your jury or a judge is probably even worse when you add the number of seniors who willingly sit on juries. (Think of that the next time you attempt to get out of jury duty or complain about being called for jury duty.)

The result is that the judge and jurors, more than likely, are going to be people who are biased against cyclists. When I am questioning potential jurors in a bicycle case, some of the most common comments I get from people are:

  • Bike riders ride recklessly, not stopping at red lights or stop signs.
  • Bike riders should ride on the sidewalk and stay out of traffic.
  • Bike riders ride too fast on the sidewalk.
  • Bike riders ride in car lanes, sometimes side-by-side or as a group, which interferes with traffic.
  • Roads are for cars, not bikes.

You know all this. If these things have never been said to your face, you’ve read them in comments on articles and posts on social media.

These are the people who are going to decide your legal case. Their inclination is going to be to blame YOU – the cyclist – for your own “accident.” Furthermore, insurance adjustors and defense attorneys know this, and they are going to cater to this bias.

It would be nice if more people understood the rules of the road. “Fair” doesn’t enter into the equation. In a trial, we have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt, and in most bike crash trials, it’s contending with the prejudice against our cyclist client.

To be successful in trial it is critical for your trial lawyer to understand how people perceive you. As a trial lawyer, I have numerous strategies I utilize to attempt either to overcome this bias or to focus the jurors on the person the cyclist is, not his/her activity. I want the juror to see the cyclist as a person who has more in common with the jurors than s/he has different. An experienced trial lawyer utilizes specific strategies in every part of the trial, from jury selection at the beginning of the trial to how jury instructions are crafted near the end of the trial, and everything in-between.

I believe we can change these preconceptions, but it isn’t easy, and it isn’t going to happen tomorrow, next month, or even next year.

As a cyclist – whether you ride for recreation or as a commuter – you can be part of the solution. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Join the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and your local bicycle advocacy organization. Even better, get involved. These people are on the frontline of change. At the very least, sign up for the LACBC’s e-newsletter (no membership required) and join these advocacy organizations’ Facebook pages. (And in a shameful plug, “friend” the FB Pocrass & De Los Reyes Bicycle Law page, too.)
  1. I suggested above that you join your local advocacy organization. Many of these are chapters of LACBC, all of them work together. Almost all cities have such organizations, including Claremont, Pomona, the Eastside, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Santa Clarita, and many more.
  1. Join the California Bicycle Coalition, our state-wide organization that is instrumental in lobbying for biking conditions and laws for California cyclists.
  1. Get involved with SAFE (Streets are for Everyone). The nonprofit advocates for changes in the law to make streets safe for bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, and everyone else.
  1. Know and follow the Rules of the Road. The LACBC has a wonderful wallet-sized brochure that explains what these are. They are available at every event attended by the LACBC. The organization also is offering FREE bicycle safety classes through the end of September throughout the Southland. Don’t be that one cyclist who will be burned into the brain of those who come in contact with him/her for his/her bad behavior.
  1. Cyclists over the age of 18 are not required by law to wear a helmet when they ride. We strongly urge you to wear one, regardless of your age. The obvious reason for wearing a helmet is that it very likely increases your chances of surviving or limiting brain injury should you crash. A less obvious reason is that not wearing one adds to the jurors’ and judge’s biases that you SHOULD HAVE BEEN wearing a helmet and if you had been wearing one, it would have protected you so your injuries “are your own fault.” (Don’t kill the messenger, please. I said I was going to talk reality here.)
  1. Think before you post on social media. Specifically, insurance companies and defense attorneys troll your social media accounts to see what can be used against you. What you write on social media will come back if you’re ever a plaintiff in a jury trial. Generally, furious posts filled with expletives (I understand the urge, believe me), reinforce non-cyclists’ attitudes about the “arrogance” of cyclists.
  1. Educate the non-cyclists you know. Back up your arguments with facts and statistics. Try to be calm and rational in the discussion, but the one-on-one discussions are the best way to change perceptions. Remember, no one goes out to kill someone with their car (okay, almost no one), but most drivers are angry because they’re scared. No one taught them how to share the road. No one taught them how to drive sharing the road with a cyclist. You can say that’s not your problem, but the truth is, it’s everybody’s problem.

Often when I read bikinginla.com and see the slap on the wrist so many drivers get for hitting cyclists, I am frustrated by the slowness of the process to eliminate cyclist bias. But it’s coming, and by working together, I believe we can make it happen.


 

Jim Pocrass Trimmed

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

For more than 30 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at info@pocrass.com or visit www.pocrass.com.

 

 

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