Tag Archive for aggressive drivers

Who we share the road with: Alleged road raging DUI driver kills pregnant woman; and help keep Culver Blvd partially carfree

This is who we share the road with.

A pregnant woman and her unborn baby are dead, thanks to the allegedly drunken, road-raging driver she had the misfortune of sharing a pickup cab with.

The driver was allegedly chasing another driver through several blocks in Long Beach when he lost control of his truck, and crashed into a number of other vehicles.

One more tragic reminds that getting behind the wheel brings out the worst in far too many people.

And that some people just shouldn’t drive.

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This is who we share the road with, part two.

And speaking of people who just shouldn’t drive. Or maybe shouldn’t be allowed to drive ever again.

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The Culver City council will consider whether to keep Culver Blvd open for people, and partially closed to cars, at tonight’s meeting.

Bike Culver City urges you to voice your support before then.

Meanwhile, my old friend and longtime LA bike advocate Kent Strumpell forwards a reminder about tonight’s webinar to explain upcoming changes to restore the Ballona Wetlands, which will impact the popular Ballona Creek Bike Trail.

Reminder: WEBINAR: RE-ENVISIONING THE BALLONA CREEK TRAIL IN THE WETLANDS

An online presentation hosted by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands including a Q&A by CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the project planners.

Monday, August 9, 2021, 5:00PM
Register here:                                                  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2782870943479543820

And Streets For All is urging your comments before the LA County Board of Supervisors consider a motion addressing inequities in county infrastructure planning at tomorrow’s meeting.

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This may link to a story from last year.

But it’s a good reminder of what we’ve been saying here for some time. Bike helmets are designed to protect you from a fall off your bike. Not protect your skull — or anything else — from a motor vehicle.

Yes, you should wear one when you ride. I never get on my bike without one.

But don’t expect it to be some sort of magical hat that makes you impervious to injury, head or otherwise.

A bike helmet should always be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails.

Not the first.

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Admit it.

Your bike club never looked this good.

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

No bias here. The founder of a Chinese American citizen’s alliance argues against planned bike lanes by insisting that only wealthy white people ride bicycles, not ordinary people like the residents of Brooklyn’s Chinatown. Yet somehow, the photo accompanying the article clearly shows two people on bikes, including a heavily loaded cargo bike.

She gets it. A Kiwi writer asks drivers to please stop trying to kill her when she’s riding her bike.

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

British police finally busted a serial groper who allegedly prowled pathways on his mountain bike looking for victims; the 19-year old man is suspected of assaulting at least 20 women.

A Spanish thief has died after he was pushed off his bicycle by a Barcelona cop, who chased him down as he was trying to make his escape after stealing a woman’s cellphone; the death is already under investigation.

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Local

SoCal Cycling considers the pro football players who’ve added bicycling to their fitness program.

Rapper T.I.’s recent arrest in Amsterdam didn’t scare him off his bike, as he and his wife went for an extended ride in Santa Monica.

 

State

California State Parks wants your input on hike and bike camping.

Tragic news from San Jose, where a young girl was killed when she struck a raised curb while riding her bike downhill and hit her head on a concrete retaining wall. And no, she wasn’t wearing a helmet, despite a California law requiring one for anyone under 18.

A hit-and-run driver turned himself in two days after allegedly killing a bike rider in Ceres last week — but walked out without being arrested, because the CHP said they still needed to build their case. I’d call a confession a pretty good case, but what do I know?

While San Francisco bike riders cheer a decision to ban cars from John F. Kennedy Drive through Golden Gate Park, museums worry the loss of motor vehicle access will halt a post-pandemic rebound. Because evidently, their collections aren’t worth seeing if you can’t park right on top of them.

 

National

Streetsblog says there’s more good news, and even better amendments, in the bipartisan Senate transportation bill. Along with one really bad and unneeded mega-highway.

Wired offers a rudimentary how-to guide for getting into BMX for anyone inspired by the events in the Tokyo Olympics. But no, it’s not everyone’s favorite event, regardless of what the magazine says.

Your next ebike could be a Schwinn-style Harley chopper complete with banana seat and raised handlebars.

An Oklahoma cowboy remembers his wannabe childhood, saying a bicycle is the next best thing when there’s not a horse ride.

Police in New York are looking for a man who spat in the face of a 52-year old woman, and called her a racial slur as she was attempting to dock her bikeshare bike.

Speaking of the NYPD, they’ve arrested the alleged hit-and-run scooter rider who ran down 65-year old Gone Girl actress Lisa Banes, then went directly to a bike shop to get his scooter fixed while she lay dying

A New Yorker decides he’ll have to leave the city if it replaces free curbside parking with a bike lane, because evidently, there’s no other way to get around in the American city best served by transit.

Scammers are switching QR codes on bikeshare bikes in the Big Apple, getting a free $3 ride when an unsuspecting mark scans it — and maybe even a free bike.

 

International

A Canadian writer traveling 5,000 miles as part of a cross-country group decries reckless drivers, calling them the scourge of bicyclists, and saying maybe they’d reconsider their actions if they could see the world from a bicycle seat.

A British bike rider credits a “guardian angel” with saving his life after he lost control of his bicycle and plunged 30 feet off a bridge and into the river below; he was rescued by an RAF doctor who watched the crash from her home just a few feet away.

Half of all adults in the UK are considering buying an ebike.

Reminiscing about a childhood bicycle crash, a British TV host was the living definition of oversharing, as he told about having to have his partially severed penis sewed back on afterwards.

Bicycling Australia examines the intersection of van life and bike life, living the life of a bike bum while living out of your van.

This one’s easily the story of the day. A New Zealand woman wants to thank the young man who loaned her his own “expensive” bicycle so she could make a followup exam with her cardiologist on time, after her bike suffered a flat he couldn’t fix. He then walked her bike to the office to exchange it for his, before riding off without a word.

 

Competitive Cycling

Congratulations to San Diego native Jennifer Valente on winning the women’s omnium at the Tokyo Olympics, the first ever track cycling gold medal for US women, after a massive crash took out much of the competition.

Now that the Olympics are over, the Tokyo Paralympics move in to take their place; San Diego microbiome researcher Josie Fouts went from reluctant bike commuter to elite paracycling champ representing the US in just a few months.

 

Finally…

It doesn’t matter how cool you think you look on your bike, Hollywood still thinks you’re a dork. Why should people be the only ones who get to ride, when animals might like it, tooThanks to an anonymous source for the link.

And there’s DIY, and then there’s assault with a hacksaw.

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

Examining the carnage caused by speeding drivers, the bike boom runs on batteries, and early LA bike cops

Speed kills.

In a column for the LA Times, the paper’s Steve Lopez examines the rising carnage on our streets caused by speeding drivers.

Lopez constructs his story through the lens of the needless deaths of 68-year old Larry Brooks, killed by a driver in $280,000, 200 mph McLaren, and 32-year-old Monique Munoz, whose life was taken by a 17-year old in a $200,000-plus Lamborghini SUV.

Not that you need a high-end super car to speed. Or take an innocent life.

In fact, it seems to be a rising trend.

In the first month of the pandemic last spring, the California Highway Patrol reported that although traffic volume was down 35%, the number of citations for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour had increased by 87% over the same period a year earlier. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 4,851 more CHP citations were issued for speeding at 100 miles an hour or more, a 93% increase over the same period a year earlier.

And too often, the people who pay the price aren’t the ones with their foot glued to the gas pedal. Three years ago, speeding played a role in roughly a third of all crashes resulting in death or serious injury, according to the most recent stats from the CHP.

Not that more timely statistics would help prevent more deaths, or anything.

Then there’s the broken promise of Vision Zero, which was supposed to be well on its way to ending traffic deaths in the City of Angels by now.

Not making more of them.

The Vision Zero campaign, announced by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2015, set an ambitious goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries and making streets safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists by 2025. The progress, and the reviews, have not been sterling. In the Arts District, where Larry Brooks was killed, residents have begged for more sidewalks and crosswalks. A $15-million state grant for such improvements has yet to be put to work.

Budgets, bureaucracy, politics and competing priorities have stood in the way of safety improvements such as turn lanes, crosswalks, signage and enforcement throughout the city. But (LADOT General Manager Seleta) Reynolds said progress is being made and her department has identified 450 miles of city streets where more than two-thirds of the fatal and serious collisions have occurred, with improvements there being prioritized.

Except nibbling at the edges of traffic safety wasn’t what we were promised. And won’t bring about the wholesale changes to the city’s traffic grid necessary to make a substantial dent in the rate of traffic deaths.

Let alone end them in the next four years, as the mayor committed to in announcing the plan six years ago.

Or do much to reduce the number of speeding drivers on LA’s over-engineered streets, as evidenced by the LAPD’s own stats.

(LAPD Traffic Division Cmdr. Gerald) Woodyard ran stats for the 12 pandemic months ending Feb. 28 of this year and found that fatal collisions in which speed was a factor increased from 15% to 21% of the total. Of the 253 fatalities, 117 involved pedestrians, and 48 of the victims were identified as “homeless or transient.”

Let’s hope that the state legislature gets serious about eliminating that deadly 85th Percentile Law that allows drivers to set speed limits with their right foot, and legalizing automated speed enforcement to slow them down.

And maybe Los Angeles can spend some of the $1.35 billion it will be getting in the latest Covid stimulus package to fully fund Vision Zero, and stop using that for an excuse for why nothing gets done.

Then our elected leaders will just have to grow a spine. Or at least enough of one to stand up to angry drivers who demand the right to keep going zoom zoom on our streets, unimpeded by anything that might slow them down.

Like a person, for instance.

If not, maybe we can replace them with new leaders who already have one.

Take a few minutes to read the full piece. It’s worth your time to grasp the full cost of drivers who insist on putting the pedal to the metal.

Because let’s face it, you can’t spell “carnage” without “car.”

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels.

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Speed kills, part two.

Two people were killed, and four seriously injured, when a speeding driver lost control on Vineland Ave in North Hollywood, slamming into two other cars and killing a man who had just stepped out of a liquor store; a passenger in one of the cars was the other person killed.

The crash occurred just blocks from the bike lanes on Vineland.

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More proof that much of the current bike boom runs on batteries.

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Actually, it looks like most of those “hats” are helmets on the heads of the LAPD’s first bike cops.

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

It takes a real lowlife to torch a Cambridge, Massachusetts ghost bike.

People are attacking a Welsh bikeshare provider, with an average of two bikes damaged each day over a five-week period; 20 people have been arrested so far for vandalizing the bikes.

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

Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter complains she almost channeled her rage-filled superhero alter ego when she was rudely hit on by a bike riding man while walking on a sidewalk.

British police bust a 19-year old, bike-riding serial groper accused of attacking 12 woman on a Cambridge bike path.

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Local

Officials conclude that a proposed bike lane on Western Ave in Rancho Palos Verdes won’t have a negative effect on traffic.

 

State

Calbike says it’s time for California to legalize the Safety Stop, which would allow bike riders to legally treat stop signs as yields, as most bike riders — and many drivers — already do. Actually, it was time about 30 years ago; now it’s way past time to get it done.

Encinitas will host a free ebike seminar on the 26th.

No bias here, either. A Santa Barbara letter writer says the new bike lanes on State Street make no sense, and accuses leaders of kowtowing to “the minority bike lobby.”

Sad news from Bakersfield, where a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision Saturday evening; he was allegedly riding the wrong way when a driver hit him head-on.

Kindhearted members of a Cal Fire crew bought a new bicycle and helmet for an eight-year old Pescadero boy after his were damaged when he was hit by a driver.

No bias here. A Chico State student investigating police bias and racial profiling in campus traffic stops unexpectedly finds himself stopped by three university police officers in a pair of squad cars as he was riding his bike, long after leaving the campus. He was told he somehow looked suspicious because he rode his bike away from the cop he didn’t see, who wasn’t trying to stop him. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

 

National

City Lab examines the irrational growth in the sheer size of pickup trucks, some of which now weigh as much as 3.5 tons, posing a dramatically increased risk to everyone on the road around them. Correction: I originally wrote the pickups weigh up to 7 tons, rather than 3.5. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction.

Washington state is moving forward with a bill to bar sales tax for ebikes.

Bodycam video appears to show a 17-year old Arizona boy reaching for a gun after fleeing from police on foot, after what originally began as a simple traffic stop for not having a headlight on his bike; he died three weeks after the shooting — and after begging the cop not to let him die. Thanks to BGD Reporters and Rafe Husain for the tip.

A Utah bike rider was stabbed in the arm in a random attack, moments after an attacker robbed another person just to smash their phone on the ground.

PeopleForBikes spends a day with a bike-borne Boulder CO food rescue.

Despite their new found legal status, ebike and scooter riders find themselves banned from New York’s Hudson River Greenway.

Once again, a driver has fled after running down multiple riders; one woman was killed and another seriously injured when they were rear-ended by the heartless, cowardly driver while on a Florida bike club’s annual member appreciation ride.

 

International

A new Cannondale ad campaign is appearing at iconic sites around the world, as the bike boom pushes the company into the mainstream.

Take a single-track excursion on a Mexican mountain bike Mecca built by a Walmart heir.

We already knew Harrison Ford was one of us, as he dons his spandex for a nearly 800-mile ride from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Although some people can’t seem to get over his “skintight outfit.”

Canada’s Liberal government is attempting to solve the country’s first mile/last mile problem by allocating a whopping $400 million for bike paths.

Thieves are feasting on bicycles from bike shed in an English housing development certified as secure by the local police department, because of ventilation holes big enough for someone to reach in and unlock the door. Evidently, the police wanted to ensure the bikes got plenty of fresh air when they weren’t in use.

A UK prosthetics experts is back on his bike after becoming his own patient when he lost his right arm in a bicycling collision with a truck driver.

Photographic proof that the British royal family are no strangers to bicycles.

When is a bicycle not a bicycle? When you strap a gasoline engine to it in Ireland.

A man was fatally shot after threatening a Paris bike cop with a knife outside a train station.

Spanish former F1 champ Fernando Alonso will now have to race with two titanium plates patching his fractured jaw after collision while riding his bike last month.

Peshawar becomes the first city in Pakistan to open a bikeshare service.

An Israeli man who once rode 41,000 miles around the world is credited with saving seven lives by donating his organs when he was hit by a bus driver while making an Everesting attempt near Haifa.

South African bike thieves are using pepper spray to knock riders off their bicycles. But at least they haven’t put a stop to the Cape Town edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Business is booming for Taiwanese bikemakers, with revenues up as much as 80%, even though delivery times are down.

An Aussie woman thanks a passing driver for saving her daughter’s life when the bikes failed on the girl’s borrowed bicycle, and she crashed into a parked car.

 

Competitive Cycling

Another reminder that there’s no sure thing in bike racing. Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič lost his firm grip on the Paris-Nice podium by falling twice on the last stage and dislocating his shoulder. Germany’s Max Schachmann made up a 52-second deficit to take the win.

 

Finally…

Evidently, your body is a bicycle. Your next bike could have no crossbar, fork or seat.

And who hasn’t ridden 163 miles just to get a cup of coffee?

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

New hope for Venice Blvd, entitled drivers and anti-bike bias, and an antidote for overly aggressive car ads

There may be hope for Venice Blvd yet.

Recently formed political advocacy group Streets For All has unveiled a new website to promote — or maybe fight for — a Complete Street plan that goes far beyond the limited lane reduction and parking protected bike lanes in Mar Vista.

The group is demanding that the city live up to the promises it made in approving the city’s mobility plan, Vision Zero and Green New Deal Sustainability Plan, and implement dedicated bus lanes, protected mobility lanes and pedestrian improvements to create a safer, cleaner, and more livable Venice Blvd for everyone.

It’s a worthwhile goal.

Venice is one of the few streets that runs from DTLA all the way to the coast, making it a prime thoroughfare for anyone needing to cross the city.

It also cuts through countless neighborhoods along the way that could experience new life and improved safety for the people living nearby.

And it could — and should — provide safe and affordable mobility options for people who don’t own cars, or who choose not to drive. for whatever reasons.

But the most important thing is, all they’re asking for is what the city already promised to do.

Isn’t it time we held our elected leaders to their word?

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No bias here.

An entitled Antioch driver says his car should somehow have priority over all those entitled bicyclists who ruined his recreational drive along the coast.

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No bias here, either.

A Missouri writer complains that the traffic statistics bike advocates cite are just lies, and that the Complete Streets that don’t even exist in his little town cause road rage.

No, seriously.

And he goes on to blame people on bicycles for causing the injuries suffered by pedestrians.

But then concludes this way.

I hope that I’ve dispelled some concerns and encouraged others to give bicycle riding a try. Perhaps we’ll meet soon. I’ll ring my bell!

Um, sure.

I feel much better now.

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And definitely no bias here.

A writer for a right wing Central California site goes on a tirade about bike lanes and Compete Streets, saying gas tax money is being “stolen” for bike and transit projects.

Even though that’s exactly what the state said they’d be used for.

And accusing governor Newsom of using road diets to force “California residents to reach back to the 19th Century when bicycles and trains were the only transportation, other than horses and wagons.”

Damn. That sounds wonderful.

She’s on to us, comrades.

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That’s more like it. Or maybe not.

A Belgian bike thief got a well deserved three year sentence after a judge ruled the theft was an ecological crime, because it forced the victim to use a less-clean form of transportation.

But don’t expect him to serve that sentence anytime soon.

He’s already been sentenced to a total of nine years for a massive rap sheet that includes 44 arrests with 17 convictions.

But he hasn’t spent a single day behind bars.

Yet.

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Curbed’s Alissa Walker takes car makers to task for relying on ads that portray their cars, trucks and SUVs being driven recklessly on the same streets where people keep dying.

But here’s an antidote to those heavy footed, over aggressive Super Bowl ads.

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Blink and you’ll miss it.

Hidden in plain sight in Jeep’s Groundhog Day Super Bowl ad was the official reveal of their upcoming 750-watt ebike. Or maybe it’s actually twice that powerful, capable of literally ripping a bike chain to shreds.

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Can’t find the carbon fiber mountain bike frame you want? Just build your own.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

An Iowa woman got a whopping 40 years behind bars — yes, four zero — for killing a man riding a bicycle in a Cedar Rapids parking lot while driving at twice the legal blood alcohol level; she claimed she was only trying to run over his bicycle, but he just happened to be on it at the time.

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

A New Mexico man was busted after riding his bike up to an undercover cop posing as a prostitute, then asking if he could pay her later because he wouldn’t have the money until Friday. Then finally agreed to pay her with the hamburger he was carrying.

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Local

Curbed says the proposed makeover of Hollywood Blvd would be a big improvement, but hardly radical compared to San Francisco closing Market Street to cars.

Selena Gomez used to be one of us, but now she’s unloading the bikes she used to ride with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber.

A writer for the New Yorker apparently thinks you can see the air in LA most days, and just breathing here feels like smoking three cigarettes — let alone riding a bike. Maybe I’ve been privileged living on the Westside most of my time in LA, but in 30 year as an Angeleno, I can count the times I’ve experienced that on one hand with most most of the fingers closed, not counting nearby wildfires. 

Burbank is making traffic improvements around three schools to create safe routes for students who walk or bike to school. Unfortunately, though, those improvements don’t appear to include bike lanes.

 

State

San Diego’s Ocean Beach Bike Path will be closed for construction work most of this month, starting today.

The owner of The Bikesmith in San Diego’s Pacific Beach neighborhood has been wrenching bikes for 50 years, earning the sobriquet Bikesmith Bob. Correction: Somehow Pacific was autocorrected to Pacificas last night. This bike shop is in Pacific Beach, as Robert Leone pointed out.

The annual Tour de Palm Springs rolls this Sunday, bringing riders from 46 states and four countries to the roads of the Coachella Valley.

Speaking of the Coachella Valley, the planned CV Link bike path around the valley continues to move forward, thanks to a $29 million state grant; however, the once 50-mile trail has shrunk to just 40.

Streetsblog says San Francisco’s 28-year old Critical Mass movement deserves credit for banning cars from Market Street, with one of the founders saying the rides made it possible for the “tepid, wimpy bike coalition people to do their thing.” Ouch. Especially considering the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is one of the country’s most successful and progressive advocacy groups.

 

National

CNN suggests Lyft should be doing well, but it keeps shooting itself in the foot.

Life is cheap in Washington, where a possibly impaired driver walks with a ridiculous two days behind bars after copping a plea to vehicular homicide in the death of a 75-year old bike rider — about 14 months and 28 days less than the typical minimum sentence. He claimed he didn’t know his medication could cause impairment, despite being on it for the past four years.

Denver officially shutters its docked bikeshare system after ten years, but looks forward to exploring other forms of micromobility.

A solo bike crash last year left a nationally recognized spinal surgeon in Houston a quadriplegic, after he caught his front wheel while riding in a park and went over the handlebars. It’s a sad commentary on our society that even someone like him needs to crowdfund money for the things not covered by insurance.

A Good Samaritan bought new bikes for two Texas boys after theirs were stolen outside their school; the local police also pitched in some new locks.

Illustrating the difficulty in keeping dangerous drivers off the roads, a Milwaukee driver confessed to the hit-and-run death of a bike rider — even though he’s never held a driver’s license.

No bike helmet requirement for Indiana kids, after a state legislator backed off on his proposal because his peers in the legislature considered it too intrusive.

Data from Atlanta’s pop-up protected bike lane experiment confirms that sharing road space benefits everyone.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a backpack from a Baton Rouge bike rider after he was killed by a pair of street racing brothers.

A New Orleans carnival krewe teams with a local neighborhood to call attention to bike and pedestrians safety, eleven months after an extremely drunk driver plowed into a group of bike riders near a Mardi Gras parade at 80 mph, killing two; Tashoni Toney will serve 90 years hard labor after pleading guilty in the crash.

This is why you don’t just toss old tires away. A Florida manatee has been spotted once again after having a bicycle tire stuck around him for at least a month.

 

International

A Toronto writer goes on an anti-Vision Zero rampage, insisting it was created by leftists to drive traffic down to turtle-like speeds and force drivers out of their cars.

A former British soldier set a new Paralympic hour record nine years after losing a leg when he was run over by a tank.

A driver in the UK got eight weeks behind bars for calling a bicyclist wearing a pink jersey “gay boy” and spitting on him; that was his big mistake since authorities traced his DNA through the sample he deposited on the victim. Unfortunately, the original article is hidden behind a paywall, so scroll down Road.cc’s page for the story.

A writer for the Guardian predicts an epic disaster if Great Britain allows e-scooters to infest the country, both for pedestrians and the people riding them. The scooters, not the pedestrians.

You might want to rethink that dream of bicycling the Emerald Isle. Bicycling fatalities have risen an average of 8% a year over the last decade, four times the rate of the next-worse European countries, France and the Netherlands.

Paris provides a prime lesson in what a real climate mayor would do to reinvent a city before it hosts the Olympic Games. Or even just let it live up to its potential.

How about a family bike tour along the Danube from Vienna to Budapest?

 

Competitive Cycling

Those proclamations that the era of doping is over might be just a tad premature. Danish and Norwegian media are reporting that Jakob Fuglsang, the world’s number two ranked cyclist, has been spotted training with Lance’s alleged doping doc Michele Ferrari, who has been banned for life from working with athletes due to his involvement in Armstrong’s US Postal Service team doping scandal.

Bicycling offers five takeaways from this year’s Cyclocross World Championships — including a surprising medal for the US in the women’s U-23 race.

Spanish cyclist Mikel Landa became just the latest pro to have a run-in with a car bumper while training, after he and a riding parter were both run down by a hit-and-run driver last week; fortunately, neither was seriously injured.

Three time men’s ‘cross champ Mathieiu van der Poel faces a tough choice between mountain biking and competing in the Grand Tours.

Columbian cyclist Egan Bernal is going to have some nasty road rash after wiping out rounding a bend on a high-speed descent during the country’s national championships.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying meth and a pipe on your bike and riding with an outstanding warrant, put some damn reflectors on it, at least. Same goes for carrying heroin and a loaded gun, with a warrant from another state.

And your next ebike could look like a vintage motorcycle.

But why would you want it to?

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Ride safe out there. If this wind gets any stronger, we may have to change the name of this site to BikinginOz.

And I don’t mean Australia.

 

Friday’s ride, in which I dodge cars, help prevent a collision and thank a bus driver

It didn’t take long to realize it was going to be one of those rides.

Within the first three miles, I’d been right hooked, left crossed, and squeezed out of a left turn lane by a driver who inexplicably decided there was enough room for both of us.

So I made a point of riding extra carefully, assuming that every car could be a threat and every driver might do exactly the wrong thing in any given situation.

Most of the time they weren’t, and didn’t. But I ran into enough minor traffic kerfuffles and acts of sheer stupidity that the extra caution more than paid off before I got home.

Including one last one, as I rode back on Ohio about a mile from my home.

Just east of Westwood, the road goes up and down over a couple of short, steep hills. As a result, I make a point of taking the lane through there, since it’s too narrow to share a lane and I can usually get down one hill and up the next long before the cars behind me.

On occasion, though, some rocket scientist will decide to pass me anyway.

Like the one today who evidently decided I wasn’t moving fast enough, even though I was doing 23 mph — uphill — in a 25 mph zone.

I heard an engine rev behind me, and sure enough, I looked back to see a minivan start to zoom around me on the wrong side of the road. And I knew that section of road well enough to know that was an exceptionally bad idea.

Then again, it’s usually not a good idea to drive on the wrong side of the road, anyway — especially not on a hill that completely blocks the driver’s view of oncoming traffic.

So I threw my hand out in what I hoped would be seen as warning to stop, though it could just as easily have been interpreted as a left turn signal. Either way, he seemed to get the message and quickly cut back in behind me, just as two cars came over the hill from the other side.

Cars he would have hit head-on if he’d continued trying to pass me.

Yeah, those bike haters are right.

We’re the problem, alright.

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Funny how life repeats itself sometimes, but with vastly different outcomes.

Last December, I filed a complaint after I got dangerously buzzed and right hooked by a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus in front of Franklin Elementary School on Montana Ave.

On Friday’s ride, I found myself in exactly the same situation, in exactly the same location.

As I rode up Montana around 2:45 pm, I found myself being followed by another Big Blue Bus. And once again, the driver felt a need to pass me as soon as the roadway widened, even though I was riding nearly as fast as he could legally go.

Then just like the last time, as soon as the bus passed me, the driver spotted someone waiting at the bus stop by the school. But instead of cutting over to the curb — and cutting me off in the process — the driver stopped right where he was in the traffic lane, leaving me a clear pathway to proceed on his right.

And it was only after I’d cleared the bus — number 3810, route 3 — and gave the driver a wave of thanks that he pulled safely to the curb.

So it’s only fair.

Last time I called to complain about the driver who cut me off. So on Monday morning, I’m going to call to compliment the driver who didn’t.

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Mark Cavendish sprints to victory in Stage 18 of the Tour de France, his fourth of this year’s Tour after overcoming months of hardships. Saturday’s individual time trial will determine whether Schleck or Contador rides into Paris as the winner; the sprinter’s title is still up in the air, too. Cruise and Diaz join Contador on the podium. Backstage notes from the Tour, and the unwritten rules the riders live by.

And in today’s pro doping report, some fans hope the cheaters get caught.

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The driver in last week’s death of Santa Ana cyclist Michael Nine faces charges of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and driving without a valid license, and may be subject to deportation.

On the other side of the country, a leading Charleston bike advocate was critically injured in a SWSS; Dave Moulton says the story doesn’t make sense for such an experienced cyclist. Just before I posted this, news broke that the rider, Edwin Gardner, passed away on Friday.

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In upcoming events, Walk and Ride for a Safer 4th Street on Saturday. Or you can help plan two new parks in downtown Santa Monica.

The LACBC is hosting the 2nd Regional Meeting for bike activists from around the region on Wednesday, July 28th. And on Thursday, August 12th, join the LACBC for the 1st Annual City of Lights Awards Dinner.

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Two cyclists are cuffed and one ticketed for not having a headlight — even though the officer himself had turned it off. More fallout from the campaign to ticket cyclists in Malibu. Courtesy of Streetsblog, Joe Linton and Josef Bray-Ali offer thoughts on the new bike plan and Thursday night’s Webinar. Dancer a la Mode is looking for volunteers for an easy biking experience; all you have to do is ride a little slower on alternate days. Bicycle Fixation suggests turning 4-way stops into 4-way yields. Grist looks at our falling-off-a-bike mayor, and has the exceptional good taste to quote yours truly. Speaking of the mayor, turns out he broke his elbow in eight places, but he’s back to a regular schedule. Cyclelicious has the details on the Colorado Heaven Fest from traffic hell that banned bikes and pedestrians in favor of cars. A Jacksonville writer admits to being a vehicular segregationist. A suspended Portland bus driver explains why he blogged “Kill this bicyclist.” How to get that tight little bike butt. A Kansas writer says can’t we all just get along — or at least not try to kill each other? A bike riding conservative says even righties can ride, regardless of what some people insist. London’s Guardian newspaper offers a look at five new European biking adventures, the best Brit bike trips and a guide to Europe’s best bicycling cities — and advises you to insure, lock and yes, deface your bike to fight theft. The final three Toronto secrets to cycling in traffic; ride with others, avoid the right hook and practice your route. Detailed advise on how to get better at climbing.

Finally, a look at frequent linkee and bike advocate Cecil Yount, author of Zeke’s Great Smokies 2-Wheeled Adventures and co-founder of his local bicycle advisory council.

An epidemic of aggressive roadway entitlement

The other day I was riding along one of my favorite routes through the Westside — a quiet, two lane street wide enough that cars can pass, while keeping me comfortably out of the dooring zone.

I came up behind an SUV that was stopped in the traffic lane, waiting to make a left turn onto a side street. A large pickup was stopped behind it; its wheels angled to go around the SUV on the right.

However, the driver appeared to be waiting for me to clear the area first. So I caught his eye in the mirror, nodded my thanks, and was about to ride through the gap when a car came speeding up on my left, blaring his horn for the other vehicles to get the hell out of his way.

Noticing the space I was about to move into, he cut sharply right to go around the other vehicles, forcing me to jam on my brakes. That meant he had to drive in the parking lane, though, and there was no way to complete his move without hitting the park car ahead of him.

So he was stuck right there, next to the pickup. And so was anyone else, since he’d boxed in the pickup in and was blocking my path, as well.

We all had no choice but to sit there until the SUV driver finally found an opening she was comfortable with, and made her left.

The gesture I made left little doubt what I thought of his driving skills. Yet his response surprised me. He merely pointed towards the other two cars, as if that explained everything — suggesting that they were responsible for what he had done, simply because the other drivers were in his way.

Once my path was clear, I rode off, wondering where that sense of entitlement comes from.

It’s not like he’s the only one. I see the same sort of thing just about any time I hit the streets, whether I’m on foot, on my bike or behind the wheel.

A car slows to make a right turn, and the driver behind will honk simply because he has to slow down. A stop light changes to red, and a trailing car zips around the cars ahead to go through the light anyway.

I’ve even seen a driver honk at a little old lady using a walker to cross the street, because she didn’t move fast enough for his satisfaction.

Then there was the truck driver who came to a sudden stop in the traffic lane ahead of me. And when I gestured to ask what was going on, he held out his cell and yelled, “I’m on the phone, a**hole!”

Oh, well that explains it then.

I used to think this was just an L.A. phenomenon. Or maybe the result of so many New York transplants bringing their famous impatience out west with them.

But as I’ve travelled around the country, I’ve seem similar behavior almost everywhere, even on the relatively bucolic streets of my old home town.

Of course, it’s not just drivers.

It’s the same attitude shown by pedestrians who step out in front of oncoming traffic in the middle of a block, expecting drivers to stop for them — even though they’re only a few feet from the next corner or crosswalk.

And the one shown by cyclists who blow through one red light after another, despite the presence of traffic, or who weave through traffic regardless of right-of-way. Even though the law, safety, common courtesy and common sense would seem to dictate otherwise.

I’ve tried to understand. Honestly, I have.

But I just can’t grasp the concept that one person’s convenience outweighs their own safety, as well as that of everyone around them. And it seems to be counterproductive, because it slows the overall flow of traffic as other road users are forced to respond.

So the net effect is that everyone deals with more congestion, more frustration. And more anger.

Maybe you can explain it.

Because I just don’t get it.

………..

The LACBC urges cyclists to urge the governor to sign the bicycle crosswalk and CA bike route bills. A writer for the Washington Post survives a week of biking in L.A. If you’re looking for somewhere to ride, Travelin’ Local offers a list of free days at L.A. museums. An Arizona newspaper applauds a police crackdown on cyclists who ignore traffic rules; evidently, drivers there never break the law. Why do so many drivers assume we think we’re invulnerable, when most cyclists have a keen sense of our vulnerability? The D.C. ghost bikes are gone once again. Yehuda Moon nails news coverage of cycling accidents. Biker Chicks crack down on two-abreast group riders. Town Mouse suggests that more bike lanes could keep us from having to become ninja cyclists. Finally, not bike related, but one the greatest Americans passed away in L.A. last week.

A jerk by any other name

Let’s talk about jerks.

I mean, it’s not like there’s any shortage of them around here. Like the one I ran into — almost literally — on the bike path in Venice last week.

Thanks to the winter-time lack of crowds, it was easy to maintain a good head of speed. So I made a point of letting slower riders know I was there before I passed them, and gave them as much clearance as possible when I did. No point in ruining someone else’s day just so I could enjoy mine.

Unfortunately, not everyone felt the same.

Just as I was rounding a sharp bend in the path and about to swing around couple slower riders — in other words, at the worst possible moment — a cyclist suddenly appeared on my left. No warning, and passing so close that he actually brushed against me as he went by.

Needless to say, I was pissed. But the massive over-the-ear headphones he wore suggested that he wasn’t likely to hear a word of it, so I saved my breath.

Instead, I warned the other riders ahead that I was about to pass. And about the jerk who was also passing them right in front of me.

As it turned out, he wasn’t that much faster than me. So I watched as he passed other riders in the same fashion; at one point, nearly knocking over a young mother riding with a small child on the back of her bike.

And that, in my book, pretty much defines the word “jerk.” Along with several others I’d rather not use right now.

Problem is, to much of the non-riding public — and even some members of the cycling world — such riders are the rule rather than the exception. They see us as a rude, arrogant and lawless band hellbent on obstructing their God-given right to the road, and flaunting every law and courtesy in the process.

And people like him — the ones Bob Mionske calls scofflaw cyclists — offer all the proof they need.

I have another theory.

As far as I’m concerned, a jerk is a jerk. And it doesn’t matter if that jerk is on two wheels or four. Or pushing a shopping cart through a crowded market, for that matter.

Because really, what’s the difference between an aggressive driver who weaves in and out of traffic at high speed, and a cyclist who blows through red lights even in the presence of oncoming traffic?

They both operate as if the law doesn’t apply to them, with total disregard for the havoc they leave in their wake. To people like that, it doesn’t seem to matter if they cause an accident, as long as it doesn’t involve them.

It appears to be exactly the same mentality at work when a driver intentionally cuts off a cyclist, as when a cyclist blows through an intersection and forces everyone else to swerve or brake to avoid him. Or her.

A jerk is a jerk is a jerk.

And while it is in everyone’s best interest to encourage everyone to ride safely, as cyclists, we bear no more collective responsibility for the two-wheeled jerks, than other drivers do for the four-wheeled ones who are undoubtedly speeding down the 101 or 405 at this very moment.

Which is to say, none at all.


Evidently, cycling isn’t the only sport with a doping problem. Even Arkansas considers sharrows, so what’s taking L.A. so long? Following Bob Mionske’s final column for Velo News, comes word he’s moving to Bicycling Magazine. A New York writer says bike lanes aren’t the whole solution; you have to learn to ride safely in traffic, tooA Santa Monica columnist, who gave up cycling because it was too dangerous, insists that creating livable streets and making the roads safer for bikes is wrong if it means slowing down traffic, and rails against the “small cadre” of “snarky” “gonzo cyclists” who dare to disagree with him. And finally, a current Santa Monica cyclist sells his Burley bike trailer, only to see it in the pages of People. Welcome to the bike blogosphere, J.

We’re here. We ride. Get used to it.

Let’s go back to those Letters to the Editor we were discussing yesterday, now that the Times finally has them online. (You may have to search for the letters the paper printed on Saturday.)

The first printed letter, signed by Cecelia Grace of Los Angeles, ends with this: Motorists will respect cyclists when cyclists respect the rules of the road.

In other words, drivers don’t need to drive safely around us, because we just don’t deserve it. It’s our fault that, because of our bad behavior, they get mad and run us off the road. Isn’t that the same excuse every spouse batterer used? It’s not my fault, because you made me do it.

Or from the second letter they published on Saturday, from Lillie Reines of L.A., referring to those bad, bad people who ride for recreation: They are the ones who come steaming down the curves and cut off cars pulling out of driveways. They are the ones who encourage road rage.

Yes, she actually wrote that we encourage road rage. And the Times, for reasons that will forever escape me, actually printed it.

So let’s just make this as clear as humanly possible:

No one encourages a road rage incident, any more than they encourage a drive-by shooting.

Yes, there are rude cyclists, as well as riders who seem to feel the law does not apply to them, just as there are drivers — and pedestrians, for that matter — who demonstrate the same dangerous traits.

But no one deserves to be the victim of violence. Not drivers. Not pedestrians. And certainly not cyclists, no matter how egregiously rude or law-flaunting they may or may not be.

The simple fact is, a motor vehicle is not a weapon, nor is it an instrument of justice. It is not a tool of divine retribution or an outlet for even the most righteous anger. It is, simply, a car. A means of transportation. A way of getting from here to there.

And we are not your victims.

Cyclists may or may not deserve your respect, but you are required to give it, nonetheless. That is the agreement you make when you accept a drivers license. We are legally entitled to use the roadway, and you are legally required to let us do so, no more or less than you would any other vehicle.

And there is nothing we can do on or from the seat of a bicycle that would justify anyone using a vehicle as a weapon against any one of us, or any other human being. Nothing we may do gives you the right to kill, maim, injure or threaten us in any way.

Nothing.

So if a cyclist impedes your progress or breaks the law, call the police. It’s their job, let them deal with it.

If a rider is rude or insulting in any way, feel free to be rude in return. Give him the finger. Yell something. Or better yet, be the better man — or woman — and turn the other cheek. Just grit your teeth, go around him and get on with your life. You can tell your friends all about it later, as they nod in agreement and chime in with their own stories about all those rude and aggressive cyclists.

And we can go home to our wives, husbands, children, dogs, cats and/or goldfish.

Because, like it or not, we have a right to ride.

We have a right to the road.

We have a right to live.

And we’re not going anywhere.

 

According to yesterday’s article in the Times, anecdotal evidence suggests that more people are taking up cycling (sorry, drivers), and we need to find a way to live together. If you don’t like sharing the streets with us, it could be worse — according to the Bottleneck Blog’s Steve Hymon, we could be passing you the next time you’re stuck in gridlock on the 405. And LAist points out that those on two feet can be just as annoying as those of us on two wheels.

 

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