Never put it past the police to blame a victim for riding legally in the traffic lane.
That appears to be the case in Calexico, where an unidentified man was killed while riding his bike on a local highway just before sunrise Tuesday.
According to KYMA-TV, the victim, who appeared to be in his early 30s, was riding his bike somewhere on Highway 111 when he was struck by a southbound van driver.
A spokesman for the Calexico Police Department stressed that the victim was wearing dark clothing, and “was not riding off to the shoulder, as bicyclists should be riding.”
Except there is no requirement under California law that says how someone on a bicycle has to be dressed. And absolutely nothing requiring bicyclists to ride on the shoulder, which is not legally considered part of the roadway.
It’s true that people on bicycles are required to ride as far to the right as practicable. But as far as the law is concerned, that requirement ends at the white line.
It may be wiser to ride on the shoulder, in some cases, but many people prefer the traffic lanes to the broken glass and rocks that collect on unswept shoulders.
Even the DMV says that bicyclists may ride in the center of any substandard lane for increased visibility; drivers are expected to not only see them, but move to the other lane to go around them.
Dark clothing or not.
And substandard is defined as any lane too narrow for someone on a bicycle to safely share with another vehicle, while leaving a minimum three-foot passing distance.
Frankly, there is something terribly wrong when the people who are charged with enforcing the law appear to be so ignorant of it.
And don’t get me started on the local TV station insisting on showing the victim’s blood running off the highway.
This is at least the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in sparsely populated Imperial County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.