Tag Archive for clueless drivers

Morning Links: Upcoming bike events, auf Deutsch look at LA bicycling, and right hooks and left crosses on the Orange Line

Let’s kick things off with a handful of upcoming bike events.

On Sunday you can ride the COLT without fears of getting bucked off at the free Chatsworth Orange Line Tour bike rally and health walk.

The LA Design Festival will talk bikes on the 19th of this month, with a Culver City panel discussion on Biking in LA — Bridging the Gap in LA’s bike network. Or many gaps, for that matter. And no, I have nothing to do with that one; the title of the talk is just a coincidence.

The next edition of CicLAvia rolls on the last day of June, with the Mid City meets Pico Union open streets event.

The popular Wolfpack Hustle Presents: 2019 Forsyth Cup returns to the Encino Velodrome for three days of bike racing on July 20th, August 17th and September 1st. There will be free admission and cash prizes, with free tacos, rice and beans for all spectators and participants courtesy of BikinginLA sponsor Thomas Forsyth.

Calbike will hold their annual California Bike Summit in Los Angeles this year from October 15th through 17th.

And as we mentioned yesterday, the 19th annual edition of LA’s favorite fundraiser ride rolls this Sunday; the LA River Ride helps fund the LACBC’s operations throughout the year, allowing them to keep fighting for you at city hall and on our streets.

Photo by Huỳnh Mai Nguyễn from Pixabay.

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Sprechen sie Deutsch?

I was recently interviewed by a German radio reporter about the miserable conditions on the streets of Los Angeles, and the lack of any real action on Vision Zero in the city.

Then helped her correct the, um, errors in the information she got in a later interview with LA’s favorite traffic safety deniers Keep LA Moving.

Now her report has been broadcast in Austria, and posted online for a limited time.

The only problem is it’s in German, naturally.

So if you understand the language better than I do, give it a listen and let us know how it went.

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The biggest problem with the popular Orange Line Bike Path comes when you have to cross a major street. And drivers don’t exactly cooperate, as Brayden Dakota illustrates with a trio of videos.

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Here’s your chance to work as a Public Affairs Specialist at the Southern California Association of Governments.

Or maybe you’d rather put in your days as a Digital Communications Manager for CicLAvia.

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Local

No bias here. An Associated Press report carried by KTLA-5 says e-scooters are like a death wish, as injuries and fatalities mount. Even though only nine people have been killed on rental scooters since the beginning of 2018, compared to 38.5 million trips last year alone — which works out to just one death for every 4.2 million trips. I’ll take those odds to Vegas any day.

 

State

Costa Mesa is moving forward with plans for a multipurpose trail along the Paularino Channel, despite residents fears it will bring “transients, vandals and criminals closer to their backyards.”

San Diego appointed long-time bike advocate Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego Bike Coalition, as to lead the city’s new Mobility Board.

An alleged bike-riding San Diego serial killer has been found competent to stand trial; Jon David Guerrero is accused of riding up behind several homeless people and jamming railroad spikes into them.

A San Luis Obispo paper examines how the city’s most popular mechanic came to die alone while riding his bicycle after years of alcohol abuse.

NorCal’s Caltrain is adding seats to the bike cars on their coming electric trains so riders can keep an eye on their bicycles.

 

National

Outside picks the best uncrowded state and national parks in every state, settling on Redwood National and State Parks in California.

After actress Selma Blair decided crowdfunding was taking too long, she gave a fellow MS patient a new mobility bike.

This is why you don’t ride your bike on a freeway. A man was killed by a hit-and-run driver while trying to exit a Houston freeway on his bicycle; no word on why he was on the freeway to begin with.

Tacoma WA police are looking for a bike-riding armed hotel robber.

A Wisconsin jury awarded the family of a fallen bicyclist over $15 million, although state law says they’ll only actually get a little over $5 million of that.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a popular disabled Ohio man’s bicycle.

Ohio bike riders rode to the courthouse for the arraignment of a 21-year old hit-and-run driver who critically injured a woman riding her bike.

An Ohio man completed a 4,200-mile bike tour around all of the Grand Lakes.

A Massachusetts man was convicted of the hit-and-run death of a bike rider and burning his car to cover up the crime, as well as getting his girlfriend to give him a false alibi.

People for Bikes flew 25 women professionals from the bike industry to DC to lobby Congress for better bike funding.

The Washington Post says maybe select civilians should be able to ticket driver who park in bike lanes or commit other parking violations.

 

International

Forget the supplements. The World Health Organization says the best way to ward off dementia is with a healthy Mediterranean diet and exercise. Like riding a bike, for instance.

A British Columbia newspaper goes heavy on the sarcasm, saying they miss the days when bike riders actually signaled their turns.

California’s popular Sea Otter Classic goes to Europe.

London’s mayor calls for a 20 mph speed limit in the central city to cut traffic deaths.

A UK newspaper says bike riders and pedestrians need to be separated on the road because they just can’t get along.

Over two-thirds of British drivers think you should have to have a license plate on your bike.

British agent Sonia d’Artois was one of us, parachuting into German-occupied France nine days before D-Day to train the resistance and carry messages and weapons on her bike.

A writer for the Guardian takes a bike tour of D-Day sites in Normandy on the 75th anniversary of the allied landing that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany less than a year later.

Aussie driver Thomas Harris got a $1,250 fine for filming himself hurling abuse at a pair of bicyclists while driving on a separated path — who turned out to be off-duty cops. Harris said a traffic offender program made him realize it’s not about him. Thanks to F. Lehnerz for the link.

Lifehacker says don’t throw your old bike away, recycle it or give it to a group to refurbish. Like the entrepreneur who’s collecting unwanted Chinese bikeshare bikes to distribute to school kids in Myanmar.

 

Finally…

Slow it down already. Smacking a bike rider with your mirror is a pretty good indication you probably didn’t obey the three-foot passing law.

And that feeling when Google’s street view immortalizes the moment you fell off your bike.

 

Door-flinging driver causes near-quadruple collision; election year politics behind horrible House bill

The sheer stupidity of some drivers amazes me.

Or maybe it’s carelessness — in the most literal sense of the word.

I had a business event to attend on the Miracle Mile last night. And rather than go through the hassle of fighting rush hour traffic in my car, I decided to ride the relatively short five mile distance from my home. Dressed in semi-professional casual wear, I might add.

For the most part, it was a mostly pleasant and uneventful ride. Other than the driver who flipped me off when I yelled out a warning after he cut me off, of course.

But that’s almost to be expected in L.A. traffic. There’s always some jerk who has to take out his or her frustration on someone else. And since cyclists are exposed and vulnerable, and stand out from the overwhelming majority of traffic, we seem to make as good a target as any in the eyes of the angry and misguided few.

But it was just past the intersection of Charleville Blvd and South Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills that things really got interesting.

Charleville is a great street to bypass the bumper-to-bumper madness of Santa Monica and Wilshire Blvds. It’s lightly traveled, and most drivers seem willing to make room for bikes; the only downside is the stop signs on virtually every corner.

And the occasional idiot behind the wheel.

I had just waited at the light to cross Beverly along with a number of cars. Once it turned green, I allowed the first few cars to pass, then took my place in the lane as we entered a narrow section with a lot of parked cars.

Suddenly, the lead car screeched to a stop when the driver of a massive SUV flung her door open directly in its path. And the car behind it jammed on its brakes, avoiding the bumper of the car ahead by just inches.

So there I was, riding at traffic speed with two stopped cars directly ahead of me, another coming up from behind and a huge door blocking the path to my right.

There was no time to make a conscious decision.

Yet somehow, my mind worked out the complex mathematics of my few available possibilities, the same way a baseball player calculates exactly when and where to catch a ball without consciously thinking about it. Even when that catch seems impossible.

Given my speed, it wasn’t possible to stop before colliding with the back of the vehicle ahead of me. And even if I did, I would have been rear-ended by the car behind me — and probably sandwiched between the two cars.

So I instinctively cut hard to the right to take my chances with the open door. And came to a panic stop just inches away from it. Meanwhile, the car behind me stopped just short of the one ahead — right where I would have been if I hadn’t swerved.

And that’s when I heard it.

I don’t know what the driver of the lead car said. But the attractive young women who’d caused the whole problem responded by calling him a “crazy person.”

I just couldn’t help myself.

Since I was stopped right next to her, I suggested, as calmly and politely as possible, that the crazy person just might be the one who threw open her door and left it open in heavy traffic, nearly causing a quadruple chain reaction collision.

“What,” she responded, “I’m not allowed to get out of my car?”

“Not if it causes a wreck.”

So I did my best to explain the concept and consequences of dooring, and how drivers are legally required to verify that the road is free of traffic and that it’s safe to open the door before doing so. And then only for as long as necessary to get in and out.

In other words, not leaving it open to adjust her skirt and fix her hair before leaning back in to grab her purse while traffic around her screeches to a halt.

But I might as well have been talking to the SUV she just got out of, which seemed to be at least as comprehending as she was.

“Whatever,” she said, storming off with her panties in a twist.

So at least three drivers and a cyclist were put in jeopardy simply because she couldn’t wait until it was safe to get out of her car. But that, in her mind, wasn’t her problem.

Because she, like, had a right to get out of her car, okay?

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Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have declared war on anyone who uses anything but motor vehicles to get just about anywhere. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood calls the new highway-focused House Transportation Bill the worst ever; he’s a Republican, by the way.

While cycling and pedestrian organizations are up in arms — and rightfully so — about this unprovoked attack on average Americans, it’s worth noting that this bill has no chance of becoming law with a Democratic majority in Senate. And the sponsors know it.

Instead, it’s just election year politics, as the L.A. Times notes. A paean to their Tea Party supporters, as well as big donors in the oil industry; a political shot over the bow that was never expected or intended to become law.

And unfortunately, one that leaves a much better bi-partisan Senate bill similarly dead in the water.

But it’s fair warning what could happen if the more radical elements of the party win control of both houses this November.

Let alone the White House.

It’s not about party affiliation.

It’s about electing candidates who understand what they’re voting on and the effect it will have on their own constituents, rather than paying off big donors and political pressure groups.

John Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage nearly 60 years ago.

Something tells me today’s Washington would make him weep.

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Don’t miss Wednesday’s BikeUP! LA benefit for the California Bicycle Coalition next Wednesday at the Living Room in Silver Lake. CicLAvia is hosting a fundraising Valentines Party at Atwater Crossing next Friday. Better Bike recounts the uphill battle to get bikeways on Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills. Downtown’s Spring Street green bike lane will soon get a partner one block over on Main Street; hopefully, this one will last a little longer. Leading Eastside bike advocate Carlos Morales asks where the outreach was for the 1st Street bike lanes. Hit a celeb, lose your license — Reese Witherspoon now wears bangs, courtesy of the driver who ran her down; thanks to Todd Munson for the heads-up. A Monrovia gang member is convicted in the 2008 attempted murder of a cyclist. Glendale’s Honolulu Avenue is about to go on a diet. Claremont Cyclist encounters the Trickster; and no, not our frequent correspondent from New Zealand. A writer urges us to stop saying good things about vehicular cycling. Better bike security through technology.

AB 819, the proposed law to modernize bikeway standards — and which was gutted at the urging of CABO — has passed the state Assembly; maybe the Senate will have more sense. Just Another Cyclist, one of my favorite bike bloggers, is moving to a new online address. Santa Ana residents seem to have missed the memo that bike paths increase property values. Temecula elementary students take the bike train to class. A La Jolla cyclist is injured after blowing through a flashing red light; for anyone unclear on the concept, a flashing red should be treated like a stop sign — and no, that does not mean you should run it. A plea has been reached in the case of the San Francisco cyclist who ran a red and killed a pedestrian; however, the ruling has been delayed so the rider and the victim’s husband can face one another in court. An SF rider is seriously injured when she’s hit by a mail truck. If you’re an ex-con carrying a concealed weapon, maybe you shouldn’t ride against the flow of traffic; I’m just saying.

A Las Vegas BMX rider is killed in a SWSS; further details reveal he was riding salmon and in a crosswalk, which is prohibited there. Guess what happens when Helena MT uses crushed glass to improve traction on icy streets. A Missoula man is charged in a drunken hit and run, first claiming he hit a rock before blaming his victim for riding without lights. An Iowa court rules a police search of a bicyclist violated his rights. A Houston driver may have intentionally attacked a bike rider. Cyclists in Texas — and everywhere else — want cleaner bike lanes. Three riders are hit in two days in one Louisiana parish. Grid Chicago offers a detailed record charting the many failed promises for the city’s long-promised bike plan — something every city could use to hold our elected leaders to account; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link. An anonymous landlord in New York’s Crown Heights neighborhood urges his peers not to rent to immodestly clad bike riding goyim, or maybe even hipster Hasids. The NYPD evidently falsified reports to protect a killer driver. A rider in the most dangerous state for cyclists and pedestrians in killed when he’s hit and run over by three cars.

London’s Guardian joins the Times of London in calling for safer streets for cyclists, saying the city’s biking mayor BoJo is wrong — and has the stats to back it up — while yet another fatality demonstrates the need for better safety. A writer for the Manchester Evening News makes his bid as Great Britain’s anti-bike village idiot with a bizarre rant, while a Telegraph scribe evidently believes we deserve to die because we’re already smug enough; if he’s looking for unbearable people, I’d suggest starting with the mirror. The Guardian asks who is the American heir to Lance? A former pop star turned vicar evangelizes for biking. A New Zealand writer calls for the equivalent of a six-foot passing law for drivers — and for cyclists passing parked cars. Cycling seems to be an uphill battle in Singapore.

Finally, the schmuck hot-tempered driver/former cyclist who attacked Long Beach expat and The Path Less Peddled’ Russ Roca pleads guilty to the assault; sentencing will take place next Month. We’re rapidly approaching the 150th anniversary of the first header. And PETA opposes a bid to make Dorothy’s bike basket-riding Cairn Terrier the state dog.

If California needs a state dog, I nominate Snoop.

Cyclist pedals into action to prevent disaster on the Venice Boardwalk

It’s been less than a decade since the disaster at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, when a confused motorist plowed through a crowd of pedestrians, killing 10 people and injuring 63.

Last weekend, it could have happened again. This time on a busy Venice Boardwalk crowded with tourists.

Fortunately, a cyclist named Kim Rivera was riding her bike north through Venice around 8:30 pm last Saturday night, making her way towards Santa Monica, when she saw a possible tragedy in the making.

As I approached one of the parking lot entrances, I saw a car driving on the Boardwalk.  Right behind it, I saw a black Jeep follow the first car.  Both continued driving north on Ocean Front Walk. The 1st car was driving at a normal speed (I estimate 22-25mph). The Jeep was slower.  They both drove past a restaurant with people sitting outside. Pedestrians moved to the sides of the walk and were calling out “wrong way!” but the drivers seemed clueless.

A lot of people would have just shaken their heads and continued riding on their way, or stood to watch it all unfold before them. Instead, Kim swung into action to try and catch the drivers before it as too late.

I was riding right behind the Jeep.  My intention was to ride up along side him and point him in the right direction, but I couldn’t safely get to the side since people were already moving to the sides of Ocean Front Walk. Soon the Jeep got a clue and turned right toward the alley.

That left one more car still threatening the safety of everyone on the Boardwalk.

The 1st car was well ahead of him.  I road toward him cautiously because I didn’t know if he was drunk or what he might do next. He started to drive onto the Santa Monica Pedestrian Path that parallels the bike path, about half a car length, before stopping. He backed up and started to make a U-turn.  His car was now sideways on Ocean Front Walk.

That’s when I felt it was safe enough, and rode up about five feet away, stopped my bike lengthwise along the passenger side of the car and waved my arms, yelling “No! No! You can’t drive here.  No cars!”  He asked where he was supposed to go.  I told him this was not a street, and pointed for him to drive alongside the condos at the end there and enter the alley.

Unfortunately, the confused driver still didn’t get it.

He slowly continued to make his U-turn, so I started doing the same thing again; parked in front of him with my bike, arms waving.  He pointed to the Boardwalk and asked me, “But I can go back this way?” So I said a THIRD time, “No cars! This is not a street. You could hurt someone!”

He finally ended up going where I told him and into the alley.

Disaster averted, if barely.

Overall, they didn’t drive very far on the Boardwalk. I think they entered from Rose, but there were still a lot of people there that could have gotten hurt. Especially toward the far end near Santa Monica where it gets real dark.

Next time I ride that way, I plan to stop and take a look at the entrance to the Boardwalk at Rose, and see if something needs to be done to keep clueless drivers off.

And say a little thanks that Kim was there that night to keep a minor incident from turning into something worse.

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