Tag Archive for California State Legislature

Morning Links: Calbike ranks LA area state legislators, and no charges in the Texas death of a San Diego cyclist

Great chart from Calbike showing the voting records of LA area legislators on bicycle issues in the recent legislative session.

I’m pleased to see my Assembly Member has a 100% rating.

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Sad news from Texas, as a San Diego man on a cross-country ride to bring awareness to homeless vets was killed in a collision last week.

Stephen Michael Clift was riding eastbound on I-40 near Groom, Texas, when he was rear-ended by a driver who admitted looking away and never seeing Clift’s bike before he ran him down.

Apparently, that’s a good enough excuse for drivers in the Lone Star State, since police announced he won’t face charges. Evidently Texas drivers have no responsibility to pay attention while operating multi-ton machines, let alone avoid killing innocent people.

The former participant in the Occupy movement had reportedly given up everything he owned to take part in the March Across America for Homeless Veterans bike tour.

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Local

A video from Metro flies viewers through the plans for an improved Union Station, including a bikeshare station scheduled for next year, and a new Bike Hub due in two years.

CiclaValley details the first part of his journey from LA to San Diego by bike for the recent Calbike Bicycle Summit.

The Santa Monica Spoke offers details on the official launch of the Breeze bikeshare program a week from tomorrow in front of SaMo City Hall.

The Long Beach city council considers improving access to the LA River bike path, including a traffic signal opposed by some residents.

Former Long Beachers The Path Less Pedaled are headed back down to SoCal for a visit.

 

State

A student at Fullerton College explains why she is afraid to ride a bike to campus. Although she’s mistaken about one thing; bicyclists are allowed to ride in the full lane on any street where the right lane is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle.

San Diego responds to the death of a 15-year old boy by looking into safety improvements on the street, including bike lanes.

The San Diego Union-Tribune offers advice for runners and riders on how to stay safe after dark, including a warning to watch out for wild animals.

Still more news from San Diego, as the suspected bike thief who stabbed a cop trying to stop him pleads not guilty to four counts, including attempted murder of a police officer.

Sad news from Palo Alto, as well, as a bike rider was killed while riding on a popular bike route Tuesday morning.

The mother of a fallen San Francisco cyclist calls for safer streets in the wake of his death; police say he was thrown into the path of a bus after his bike got caught in streetcar tracks.

Napa County gets its first green bike lanes in St. Helena.

A Napa bicyclist suffered serious injuries after she allegedly went through a stop sign and was hit by a car. Once again, reports that she actually blew the stop should be taken with a grain of salt unless it can be confirmed by independent witnesses.

 

National

The Daily Beast looks at what it call the inevitable event when a self-driving car kills someone on a bike.

The next time you need a royalty-free photo of someone riding in a bike lane, People for Bikes has you covered.

Since Washington state legalized marijuana use, the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes with THC in their systems has nearly doubled.

Gizmodo explains how a former video game designer helped create Salt Lake City’s first-in-the-nation protected intersection.

An Aspen CO man is arrested for DUI twice in just three hours.

The cyclist killed in the Colorado Springs Halloween Day shooting spree was an Iraq veteran and a father of two. Sadly, it might have been prevented; a woman called police to report a disturbed-looking man walking down the street with an assault rifle prior to the shooting, only to be told they couldn’t do anything because the city has an open carry law.

Now that’s taking traffic crime seriously. A Michigan woman will spend the next 25 to 50 years behind bars for the DUI hit-and-run death of an eight-year old boy while he was riding his bike; she had heroin, cocaine and Xanax in her system at the time of the crash.

The Orlando paper offers a reminder not to buy a big box store bicycle-shaped object for the holidays, and suggests getting a clearance bike from your local bike shop for close to the same price instead.

 

International

Unbelievable. Not one day behind bars for a Vancouver cop convicted of punching a bicyclist in the head — while handcuffing him for running a red light. He also gets to keep his job, although he does have to pay a whopping $100 restitution.

Evidently, Edmonton’s bike corrals have to hibernate for the winter.

The Guardian looks askance at the crowdfunded proposal to build a floating bikeway through the heart of London on the Thames River. The people behind pseudo-visionary projects like this miss the point; one of the joys of bicycling is the ability to immerse yourself in the city and go wherever you want, rather than be totally isolated from it. Although it might be fun to ride on the famed river once or twice.

Scottish police are looking for a cyclist who pushed a 72-year old bike rider off his bike and punched him repeatedly while riding on a bike path. Sad to see the road rage that has become far too common among motorists spreading to the bike world.

PRI looks deeper into why some refugees are riding bikes across the border between Russia and Norway.

Olso, Norway is investing the equivalent of half a billion dollars in bicycle infrastructure.

A Turkish cyclist explains why he’s traveling the world by bicycle; he hopes to finish his journey by 2020.

 

Finally…

If you swerve your truck to crash into your bike-riding friend because he took it the night before and owes you money, you’re probably not really friends. Evidently, an e-bike has to look cool before commuters will use it.

And TV’s Supergirl not only rides a bike, she has one tattooed on her ankle. Like they couldn’t have found a photo of it?

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Come back later this morning, when we’ll have a great guest post from LA BAC member Jonathan Weiss explaining your rights to ride two or more abreast in California, reposted from the Velo Club La Grange newsletter.

 

A polite response to a very wrong safety campaign, and blocking the bikeway in Manhattan Beach

Don’t get me wrong.

It’s nice when government agencies try to bring a little peace to our streets. Let alone when they respond to the demands of bike riders to do something — anything — to improve safety when too damn many people are dying just for riding a bike.

But it would be even nicer if they actually made things better instead worse.

Take Scotland’s new Nice Way Code, which tells drivers to think of bike riders like horses — without the requisite crap on the roadway, hopefully — and blames every bike rider for the actions of others.

Not so nice, actually.

That’s why a group of well-mannered Scot bike riders have written a very polite response asking the Scottish government to pull the campaign and put it where the sun don’t shine.

Okay, so I might have added that last part.

The Nice Way Code is failing in its own terms

At the launch of the Nice Way Code, Transport Minister Keith Brown said, “The Nice Way Code campaign seeks to build a culture of tolerance and patience between cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and all other road users across Scotland.” However, everything that has come out of this campaign – which was paid for out of the active travel budget – seems likely instead to create conflict, reinforcing divisions between people based merely on their mode of transport. One advert encourages cyclists not to run red lights simply in order not to give other cyclists a bad name (and not because it’s dangerous and discourteous, not least to pedestrians) – lumping all cyclists together and implying bad behaviour by a tiny minority justifies hostility to everyone who chooses to ride a bike.

As cyclists we are used to hearing from a few uninformed drivers that ‘all’ cyclists run red lights, ride on the pavement, hold up traffic and generally deserve to be treated like obstacles on the road. But we never expected our own government to run adverts saying the same thing. As nine cyclists have died on Scotland’s roads already this year, it’s unsurprising that this campaign seems to have angered almost everyone who regularly rides a bike.

Safer roads will not come from lecturing people and pandering to stereotypes. We believe they will come from rethinking our current emphasis on designing roads purely for motor traffic and redesigning them to remove the sort of conflicts these adverts reflect. Pending that, it’s clear that many people who don’t ride bikes themselves are unaware of the needs of cyclists on the road. A campaign that really aimed to build a culture of patience and tolerance could have helped to educate them about these things, and to get cyclists, drivers and pedestrians to see things from each others’ point of view. Calling cyclists names is not it.

We urge the Scottish government to recognise that it has made a mistake and to pull this campaign before it ramps up tensions on the road even further. We suggest that it takes this opportunity to start a real dialogue between road users about how we can recognise that we are all people, and behave accordingly.

The letter was signed by over 85 people.

If I lived in Scotland, or thought I might find myself riding there anytime soon, you’d find my name on that list, as well.

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Photo by Don Hayashi

Photo by Don Hayashi

Don Hayashi emailed this photo of an apparently legally blocked Marvin Braude bike path in Manhattan Beach, writing:

I’ve always wondered what the criteria was for forcing the bicyclist to walk their bikes at the pier was.

In this case a Manhattan Beach camp employee has set up the barrier so that his charges can cross safely during their lunch break. He said his boss told him he could.

Funny thing he only set up the barrier on one side of the pier. So bikes were still riding from the other direction. I guess it was to inconvenient to set up the other sign.

The municipal code actually says that a public safety officer has to make the decision.

Apparently legal, that is, under CVC 21211(b):

21211.   (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

It’s that damned “safe operation” clause that gets you, which seems to give local governments the authority to shut down bikeways anytime they think it’s appropriate.

As well as write local ordinances like the one linked to above.

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Cyclelicious offers a detailed update on all the bike-related bills before the California legislature, including the state’s third attempt to get a three-foot passing law past our bike-unfriendly governor’s veto pen.

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Amelie Le Moullac, the 24-year old bike rider killed in a San Francisco right hook yesterday, was a 2011 graduate of USC. CicLAvia unveils the official route for October’s Heart of LA event. The LACBC needs your help for this years bike and pedestrian count; scroll up for a chance to win a free trip to San Diego’s Tour de Fat when you become a member or renew your membership. A bank of full bike racks at one of the city’s leading hospitals is a good problem to have. Helen’s Cycles is inaugurating a no-drop, womens-only ride this Saturday. Streetsblog’s new SaMo edition goes online Monday. Santa Monica hosts a meeting to discuss the proposed Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greeway this Saturday. San Marino talks bikeways at Monday’s meeting of the Traffic Advisory Commission. The SoCal Cross Prestige Series announces their fall and winter racing schedule.

A 45-year old Costa Mesa bike rider was injured when she allegedly ran a red light; unfortunately, the details are hidden behind the Register’s paywall. A young Temecula city employee is given a bike to commute to work. A 68-year old Oxnard rider was seriously injured in a SWSS when he reportedly drifted out of a bike lane. I Bike Kern offers a graphic look at a 100-year tradition of bicycling. San Jose readers argue over whether bikes belong on local roadways. A 56-year old Freemont cyclist remains in a coma in critical condition a week after he was injured in a hit-and-run. After a blind Los Altos man invents a high-tech bike for sightless riders, some colossal jerk steals it. An 18-year old Pleasanton driver faces a murder charge for killing a cyclist after tweeting about going on a death ride; thanks to murphstahoe for the heads-up. San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere was formerly sentenced to three years probation and 1000 hours of community service for the death of a pedestrian. Get to know the co-founder of Public Bikes. San Francisco police are shaming bike thieves on Twitter. How to ride safely around trucks and buses. Should bikes be treated like cars, pedestrians or something in between? Grist calls MonkeyLectric the world’s coolest lights for bike wheels; might be fun to have those cartoon dogs light up the night.

A Las Vegas man with cerebral palsy is still riding his bike 45 years after doctors said he was going to be six foot under. Greg LeMond, now America’s only Tour de France winner, talks bikes and doping in Portland. A new Seattle road diet and bike lanes helped boost business 400%, or at least didn’t hurt it. Boulder CO is becoming a living bike lab. My hometown considers adopting a stop as yield law for bike riders. An Evansville firefighter is handcuffed and threatened with a stun gun after waving at a cop while riding through a stop sign. Michigan State University opens new secure bike parking facilities; I’m looking at you, USC. Long planned Jersey City bike lanes are still coming, cross their heart. New York police continue their crackdown on all those dangerous bicyclists, including writing tickets for supposed infractions they didn’t actually observe. The NY Times considers the problem of keeping the city’s bikeshare racks in balance. A DC church fights a long-planned cross-city separated bike lane, claiming “the slaves who built the church were not thinking about bike lanes;” then again, they probably weren’t thinking about cars speeding past every day, either.

After saying no one should jump to quick conclusions, a Canadian paper does exactly that by calling for a mandatory helmet law for adults. In a completely wrong-headed approach to traffic congestion, a UK city fines cyclists for violating a ban on bikes in the city center. Brit cyclists and drivers fight it out over Twitter. This is why you never ride with your head down, as a British rider competing in a time trial dies after rear-ending a stopped trailer. Evidently, hit-and-run isn’t just an LA problem, or even an American one, as two Irish riders are lucky to be alive when a driver flees the scene after running them down.

Finally, there’s a fatal loophole in an Aussie territory’s hit-and-run law, as it turns out drivers are free to flee if they actually kill their victims instead of merely injuring them.

Then again, in LA you just have to be a celebrity.

AB 766 — An open letter to the California State Assembly

As you may recall, I recently wrote about the need to pass the Safe Streets Bill AB 766.

As part of that, I encouraged everyone — and yes, that includes you — write a letter in support of the bill, and email it to SafeStreets@BikeWritersCollective.com for presentation at a committee hearing next week.

Here is my letter, which I have just emailed to the Bike Writers Collective — the group behind the recently passed Cyclists’ Bill of Rights. Feel free to copy any portion of this to use as the basis for your letter, or write your own in your own words.

But please, write something.

Dear Assembly Member,

The highest responsibility of state government is the protection of its citizens, as well as the countless neighborhoods that make up our state.

Sadly, California is failing in that duty.

Currently, state law allows local governments to use radar to control speed limits; however, in exchange for that privilege, they are required conduct a study of average traffic speeds every seven years. If most drivers exceed the speed limit, which most drivers in California do, they have no choice but to raise the speed limit — whether or not that’s a good idea, and regardless of the harm it may cause to the local community.

The result is that the lives of local residents are needlessly placed at risk, as pedestrians and bicyclists must contend with traffic moving at ever higher speeds, while collisions between vehicles are likely to be far more dangerous and destructive. At the same time, higher speeds encourage through-traffic, as opposed to local destination traffic, contributing to the declines suffered by business districts and residential neighborhoods along the way.

AB 766, the Safe Streets Bill, would rectify that situation by giving the local community a voice in deciding whether or not to raise the limits, without requiring that they give up a valuable enforcement tool in exchange.

I urge you to support this vital measure, and cast your vote to return control of our streets to the people who know them best, and will be most impacted by any increase in speed limits — and allow the people of this state to protect their own lives and communities.

Sincerely,

Ted Rogers, BikingInLA.com

Enci Box discusses her upcoming trip in support of AB 766 in her own compelling way, while Damien Newton notes a wave of support for the legislation. And on a related subject, L.A. Council President Eric Garcetti wants to know how you want to spend the city’s stimulus funds. Can you say, bicycling infrastructure? Sure you can.

 

A great video showing British MPs learning about cycling from the Dutch, courtesy of my favorite Welsh slow-biking blogger — now if we could only get the Metro board to take the same tour. Also from across the pond, proof that bad cycling signage isn’t just an American problem. Meanwhile, LAist discusses what L.A. could learn from Tokyo Bike Culture, as does the Time’s Steve Lopez. Yes, that Tokyo. Bicycle Fixation observes the increase in fixie-riding bike commuters. Central Illinois cyclists prepare to participate in an international cycling memorial ride later this month. And finally, The Denver Post says cyclists need to know the rules of the road, too; don’t miss the comments, which capture the full range of the cyclists vs. drivers conflict — and evidently, someone out there takes safety tips from yours truly.  Glad I could help.

The ugly side of an ugly incident

It was a shocking, disturbing and hideous case of road rage that sent two local cyclists to the Emergency Room — one made worse by the realization it could just as easily have happened to any of us.

But surprisingly, some good has come out of the good doctor’s Mandeville Canyon brake test. The Cyclist’s Bill of Rights has gained some traction as a result, in the hope that we can keep things like this from happening in the future. A real dialogue has finally begun between cyclists and Canyon residents. And for the first time, we saw an overwhelming response from our new-found biking community.

Unfortunately, we also saw how ugly that community can be.

As you may have noticed, I go out of my way not to name of the doctor who cause the injuries to those riders — and who reportedly refused to offer any medical assistance afterwards.

There’s a reason for that.

It’s not like it’s hard to find his name online. And as outraged as I was when I read about the incident, I was just as  sickened to read on LAist’s followup to the incident: *Note: There are other Dr. (name deleted)s in the Los Angeles area who work in medicine and unfortunately some are being wrongly threatened.

And this from the moderator of the Socal Bike Forum’s thread on the Mandeville Incident:

Just to clarify on the “name” issue. We all know who the guy is now, where he lives and where he works… but there is no good reason for posting his personal information on a public board. On another bike site, his name and phone number was displayed and some yokels thought it would be fun to start systematic harassment. Turns out, they posted the number of the wrong guy. (EDIT: LAist just closed their “Comments” feature because a number of men with the same name have been threatened.) Similarly, the hospital where the doctor works undoubtedly has more pressing issues than dealing with phone calls from a bunch of angry cyclists. That is why we do not want such information posted. The two riders have asked that no one take matters into their own hands, and to let the police do their job…

As my friend, and author of the excellent Altadena Blog that covers life in Pasadena’s less pretentious northern neighbor, put it, “…but it’s OK the threaten the RIGHT one? Anonymous phone calls to HIS mailbox are OK? I’m with the bikers on this one, but…let the cops do the threatening! That’s what they’re paid for!”

I wonder what the doctors who were mistakenly threatened think about cyclists now? Our public perception is bad enough in this town without going around threatening innocent people.

If you’ve been following the story online, like I have, you’ve undoubtedly seen countless comments threatening the doctor, or vowing retaliation against other drivers — just as there have been comments that the riders had it coming. And countless others vowing mass traffic disruptions if the charges are dropped, or if the good doctor should somehow be acquitted.

This isn’t the time for violence — as if there ever is a right time — or aggressive civil disobedience. That would only undo the progress our community has made over the past two weeks.

No, this is a time for action.

Contact the mayor’s office and your local council member to support passage of the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights, and demand prosecution of all violent acts against cyclists, as well as an end to police bias in favor of motorists. Contact the governor’s office, as well as your local representatives in the state legislature, and ask them to take real action to protect cyclists and encourage safe cycling everywhere in California.

And while you’re at it, remind them that you bike.

And you vote.

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