Tag Archive for California Association of Bicycle Organizations

Morning Links: CABO opposes protected bikeway bill; Brit driver kills 5-year old, then says shit happens

Once again, CABO — the California Association of Bicycling Organizations, not to be confused with the California Bicycle Coalition — has come out in opposition to a measure that would benefit the overwhelming majority of bike riders in the state.

AB 1193 would legalize protected bike lanes, which are currently considered experimental under California law, creating a fourth class of bikeways in the state to go along with Class 1 off-road bike paths, Class 2 bike lanes, and Class 3 bike routes.

The bill, sponsored by the CBC, would require Caltrans to work with local jurisdictions to establish minimum safety requirements for protected, or separated, bike lanes, rather than rely on Caltrans’ antiquated rules that have severely limited innovation and safety.

I have no doubt CABO is sincere in their opposition, which appears to be based on maintaining the overly conservative Caltrans standards they helped create.

But their opposition stands in the way of encouraging more people to get on their bikes, and improving safety for all road users. And gives needless support to those in the legislature who oppose bicycling and bike infrastructure in general.

Instead of opposing a very good and necessary bill, they should find a way to support it. Or at the very least, stay neutral.

Or they will continue to find themselves out of step with most riders, and further marginalized in a state where the CBC has become the voice of mainstream bicycling.



Richard Risemberg asks what part of traffic calming doesn’t councilmember Gil Cedillo understand?

A Pasadena bike rider is assualted and robbed by passing motorists, possibly at gunpoint.

Nice. LA’s Milestone Rides prepares to ride from Vancouver to San Francisco.



San Diego City Beat goes drinking with BikeSD advocate Sam Ollinger.

The inaugural Big Bear Cycling Festival rolls at the end of next month.

A pipe bomb is found next to a Pacific Grove bike trail. The question is, did someone just hide it here, or were they targeting bike riders?



Good read, as Vice Sports says you can kill anyone with your car, as long as you don’t really mean it.

Great ideas never die. Okay, sometimes. But the self-inflating bike tire is back after a six year absence.

Utah will put rolling billboards on six semi-trucks to promote the state’s three-foot passing law. But will the drivers practice what they preach?

Two New Mexico bike riders find a missing 9-year old girl.

Biased much? A Denver TV station says cyclists are at fault in several bike vs car collisions, but fails to back it up in any way.

If you want to get away with murder, use a car. A Philadelphia judge acquits a driver of vehicular manslaughter for running down his bike-riding romantic rival.

A North Carolina bike lawyer explains why it’s often safer to ride abreast.



Paris’ Velib bike share system has added kids bikes to their rental fleet.

German bike rider poses for photos atop wrecked cars.

The Deutschland high court wisely rules that not wearing a helmet is not contributory negligence in the event of a collision; I’m told some American juries are starting to find otherwise.



Sidi unveils a new camo mountain bike shoe. You know, for all those cyclists who want to be even less visible when they ride. Then again, whenever I see someone wearing camo, I want to walk up to them and say “I can totally see you.”

And a Brit lawyer insists his client really is remorseful, despite saying “Shit happens, life goes on” after being convicted of killing a five-year old bike rider while driving at over twice the speed limit.

Big heart, that guy.


Is an anti-bike fraud being committed in your name?

As a rule, I make a point of not criticizing other bike advocates.

Even when we may disagree, we’re all working towards the same goals of improving safety and increasing ridership, even though our vision of how to achieve that may sometimes vary.

Though clearly, not everyone agrees with me on that.

But when that so-called advocacy runs counter to the interests, safety and desires of the overwhelming majority of California cyclists, I feel I have no choice but to speak up and point the finger.

Especially when it purports to be done in our name.

That’s exactly what happened this week when CABO — the California Association of Bicycling Organizations — successfully opposed AB 819, a bill in the state assembly that, in its original intent, would have allowed California counties and municipalities to implement advances in bicycling infrastructure that have been proven to work in other places.

Things like separated bike lanes, cycle tracks and bike boxes that have been proven to work in places like New York, Chicago and Portland, but are currently considered experimental under Caltrans’ antiquated guidelines.

In other words, why re-invent the wheel when we already know it works?

Unfortunately, CABO took the position that such innovations are still unproven and potentially dangerous — despite their inclusion in the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide.

And CABO successfully lobbied the State Assembly Transportation Committee to require that any bikeway designs considered nonstandard under Caltrans guidelines must be studied and approved by Caltrans before installation — potentially adding years of delays and needless additional costs to the design process.

Or risking denial by one of the most conservative, foot-dragging and anti-bike transportation agencies in the nation. After all, this is the same massive bureaucracy that, along with the CHP, successfully encouraged Governor Jerry Brown to become just the second state governor — along with current GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry — to veto the state’s three foot passing law.

Something else that CABO initially opposed, before later switching sides.

And earlier this week, the Transportation Committee voted to gut AB 819 by adopting CABO’s proposed wording.

Wheel, meet endless study and bureaucratic delays.

But, you may think, if the original wording of AB 819 was opposed by one of the state’s leading bike advocacy groups, they must have had a darn good reason.

Yeah, you’d think.

However, that presupposes something that just isn’t true. Despite their protestations to the contrary, CABO isn’t the state’s leading bike advocacy group. Or even one of the leading groups.

In fact, I suspect they are a fraud.

Their name may have been accurate when they were founded in 1972. But they have long since ceased to represent the state’s leading bicycling clubs and advocacy organizations.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is not a member of CABO, nor is Bikeside LA or the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, by far the state’s largest bike advocacy group. Fosuch as the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, the Orange County Bicycle Coalition and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition have left the organization, as have a number of other groups that have allowed their previous memberships to lapse.

Also missing from their membership are such prominent riding clubs such as Velo Club La Grange and former members Los Angeles Wheelmen.

No wonder the CABO doesn’t list the groups that support them on their website.

In fact, a list of active member organizations, as of November, 2010, named only 12 cycling groups as then-current members, as well as six individuals.

Short of contacting each of those clubs individually, there’s no way of knowing which remain members of CABO 14 months later. But it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the total number of cyclists they represent is less, perhaps far less, than that of the LACBC alone.

And it’s certainly significantly less than the number of cyclists represented by the California Bicycle Coalition (Calbike), which supports AB 819 in its original form. And which drew hundreds of riders from throughout the state to their recent California Bike Summit.

And that’s the problem.

Calbike conducted dozens of seminars over the Bike Summit weekend to gauge the interests of organizations and individuals representing tens of thousands of California cyclists. And the sort of innovative infrastructure that would be allowed under AB 819 in its original form ranked very high among their desires.

So while CABO’s opposition to AB 819 may or may not reflect the desires of its members, it’s far from the desires of most bike advocates in the state, as well as that of most mainstream cyclists.

Yet CABO continues to lobby state officials and legislators, purporting to speak on your behalf, while actively opposing your interests.

And those lawmakers and bureaucrats listen, having no idea that CABO actually speaks for just a fraction of the state’s cyclists — mostly the tiny minority of exclusively Vehicular Cyclists who actively oppose separate cycling infrastructure of any kind.

Let alone understand the conflict between Vehicular Cyclists and more mainstream riders, who may ride vehicularly when appropriate, but prefer effective infrastructure over sharing uncontrolled streets with dangerous motor vehicles.

I have no problem with CABO fighting for what they believe in — even when it goes against my own interests, as well as the majority of riders in the state.

But I do have a problem when they imply — if by name only — that their positions reflect anything other than the small number of riders they represent.

It’s time to speak up.

And tell your state representatives that CABO does not speak for you.

And you want AB 819 passed in its original form.

Update: Sam Ollinger of the excellent Bike SD contacted the Channel Islands Bicycle Club, which wrote back to say they are not, and never have been, members of CABO. Instead, they support the California Bicycle Coalition and the League of American Cyclists.

Also, Sam made a suggestion I should have thought of – contacting the members of the Transportation Committee directly to let them know that CABO does not speak for you, and ask them to reconsider their ill-advised changes to AB 819.

Update 2: Jim Parent, Chairman of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition — which I mistakenly referred to as the San Diego Bicycle Coalition — reports they are members of CABO, as well as the CBC. 


I had promised that I would look at the startling stats behind last years Southern California bicycling fatalities this week, after remembering the names behind the numbers. But an usually heavy workload has kept me from being able to do that; I’ll try to get it in the coming days.

An expert analysis of tickets and bike seizures in the Long Beach Critical Mass fiasco.

For the past few years, Long Beach has been the beautiful face of cycling in Southern California, showing the state what a bike-friendly community can be.

But these days, that face has an ugly black eye, thanks to the local police department’s heavy-handed crackdown on the city’s first “official” Critical Mass ride, despite organizer’s repeated attempts to get the city’s cooperation. And many area cyclists find themselves questioning whether any city can truly be bike friendly when the authorities seem to make up the law as they go along, and seize bikes with no apparent legal justification whatsoever.

Recently, Al Williams forwarded me an email written by Alan Wachtel, legislative liaison for the California Association of Bicycle Organizations, in response to that crackdown.

In it, he offered an expert analysis of the citations issued by the LBPD, as well the department’s authority to impound the rider’s bikes — by far, the most detailed and complete examination of the subject I’ve seen. As a result, I contacted Wachtel, and got his permission to share the email with you.


Citations issued to the cyclists included:

  • B240497 – Running stop sign
  • 21201 – No Brakes
  • 1050020 – No Registration;
  • Riding more than two abreast (Code 1048040)
  • Turning off lights after getting pulled over
  • No horns/bells
  • Riding an unsafe vehicle

The Vehicle Code preempts all local regulation of bicycles, except as expressly authorized. The affected cyclists should hire a lawyer not only to get these bogus citations dismissed, but to sue the City for harassment.

B240497 – Running stop sign: This appears to be a citation number rather than a code violation, which should be VC 22450. Whether it’s valid depends on the violation alleged and the facts; however, nothing in the Vehicle Code requires a cyclist to put a foot down in order to make a legal stop.

21201 – No Brakes: Vehicle Code 21201 requires that “(a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.” It’s arguable that backpedaling on a fixie qualifies, because the fixed gear itself can be considered the brake. In any case, it shouldn’t matter how the bike is made to skid.

1050020 – No Registration: I.e., Long Beach Municipal Code section 10.50.020, which says that “No person shall ride or propel any bicycle upon any street, alley, park or bicycle path or other public place in the city which is not registered, or for which the appropriate fee has not been paid or which does not bear a bicycle plate as required by the provisions of this chapter.” But the Vehicle Code provides that:

39002. (a) A city or county, which adopts a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution, may provide in the ordinance or resolution that no resident shall operate any bicycle, as specified in the ordinance, on any street, road, highway, or other public property within the jurisdiction of the city or county, as the case may be, unless the bicycle is licensed in accordance with this division.

Non-residents therefore may not be cited, and the maximum fine for residents is $10 (section 39011). Moreover, the Vehicle Code no longer allows impoundment for lack of registration.

Riding more than two abreast (Code 1048040): I.e., L.B.M.C. section 10.48.040: “Persons operating bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.” Invalid because preempted by the Vehicle Code.

Turning off lights after getting pulled over: Vehicle Code section 21201(d)(1) requires “A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle” (thus allowing for generators). There is no requirement to display a light when stopped.

No horns/bells: Seems to refer to L.B.M.C. section 10.48.080: “No person shall operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk unless it is equipped with a bell, horn or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet, except that a bicycle shall not be equipped with, nor shall any person use upon a bicycle, any siren or whistle.” But this applies only on sidewalks (and if it did include the street, it would be preempted by the Vehicle Code).

Riding an unsafe vehicle: Vehicle Code section 24002 provides: “(a) It is unlawful to operate any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in an unsafe condition, or which is not safely loaded, and which presents an immediate safety hazard.” But a bicycle is not a vehicle, and this section belongs to Division 12, “Equipment of Vehicles,” which does not apply to bicycles.

Impounding vehicles: Vehicle Code sections 22651 through 22711 set forth the authority to impound a vehicle, such as when it’s abandoned or illegally parked, or the driver is incapacitated or arrested. But I see nothing that would authorize what happened in Long Beach. Even in the case of a bicycle that was arguably unsafe for lacking brakes, Section 24004 provides that “No person shall operate any vehicle or combination of vehicles after notice by a peace officer . . . that the vehicle is in an unsafe condition or is not equipped as required by this code, except as may be necessary to return the vehicle or combination of vehicles to the residence or place of business of the owner or driver or to a garage, until the vehicle and its equipment have been made to conform with the requirements of this code.” So the cyclists should at worst have been allowed to ride home–except that this provision, too, belongs to Division 12 and doesn’t apply to bicyclists.


Speaking of Long Beach, Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy says the city is moving in the right direction, though maybe not as fast as some people would like. The Long Beach Press Telegram provides a quiz on bike rules, along with tips for motorists and cyclists. And Bike Long Beach offers a two-part bike traffic skills course; maybe they can offer similar training for the police department.


After the Vail District Attorney refuses to press felony charges against a hit-and-run driver because it could jeopardize his job — as if everyone charged with a crime doesn’t face that problem — Cyclelicious calls for a boycott of the city, and asks the organizers of the Quiznos Pro Challenge to drop the planned Vail stage of next year’s inaugural race. Works for me.

Meanwhile, People For Bikes directs your attention to a petition asking the Eagle County CO District Attorney to protect all road users, and BikePortland calls it yet another black eye for bikes in Colorado.


Thanks to soon-to-be former Congressman Jim Oberstar for his support of cycling issues. Not surprisingly, conservatives are already gearing up to push for an auto-centric transportation policy; meanwhile, Richard Risemberg, writing for Orange 20 Bikes,  says fiscal conservatives should be big fans of bicycling.


L.A.’s proposed cyclist anti-harassment ordinance goes before the full City Council at 10 am this Wednesday, November 10, at Downtown City Hall. As long as you’re Downtown, you can join in on the third, and hopefully final, Ed Magos Ride for Justice that takes place on Wednesday at noon.


It only looks like the Give Me 3 posters are starting to come down; then again, you can always download your own poster. Despite claims, L.A.’s bike plan is surprisingly non-ambitious. The students who live in North Westwood Village face some of the worst streets in Los Angeles; thanks to Be A Green Commuter for the link. The Claremont Cyclist offers great photos from the first day of L.A.’s first Griffith Park Cyclocross — as well as a photo of a competitor’s bike that was stolen after the competition; there’s a special place in hell for bike thieves — and here’s another great shot from dudeonabike. Sometimes, it’s not hard to tell that the people responsible for placing bike racks don’t ride themselves. Robbers push a Pasadena teenager off the bike he was riding, and steal it and his cell phone; meanwhile, San Francisco bike thieves slash a cyclist who resisted their robbery attempt, but get caught a few blocks later. Critics file suit against a proposed project to widen Highway 101 through Ventura County — not because in would increase the highway from four to six lanes, but because it includes a bike lane on the ocean side.

Cyclists need dedicated pathways, not shared-use paths that don’t work for anyone; South Carolina cyclists could face a 20 mph speed limit on a popular bike path. The problem with treating bikes equally with other traffic is that traffic laws weren’t written with bikes in mind. A Facebook group says we’re people on bikes, not lifeless obstacles in your way. Do we need a special slowpoke lane on bike paths and sidewalks? Portland plans to upgrade bike boulevards to Neighborhood Greenways. A Utah mother forgives the driver who killed her 11-year old bike riding daughter. A look at the Denver premier of Race Across the Sky, a movie about the 2010 Leadville 100 mountain bike race won by Levi Leipheimer. A Tampa Bay hit-and-run victim shows that no life is unimportant.

UCI rules Alberto Contador will face disciplinary action over his failed drug test. Aussie researchers call for scrapping the country’s mandatory helmet laws. An 18-year old Aussie cyclist, a gold medalist in the Commonwealth Games, is suspended after drunk driving collision that left a friend with serious injuries. Australian police force a teenage cyclist to deflate his tires and walk home after catching him riding without a helmet. A Kiwi cyclist asks if it’s unreasonable to expect off-road riders to be considerate of other trail users — and their dogs.

Finally, No Whip does the inconceivable and discovers the seemingly impossible by riding a bike to LAX to catch a flight, and discovering a bike rack in front of Terminal 1 — and actually finds his bike safe on his return four days later.

And best wishes to Claremont Cyclist, who succumbed to the national job layoff epidemic of today; let’s all hope he gets a bigger, better job soon.

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