Tag Archive for Dennis Romero

Morning Links: More bizarre Fix the City allegations, and even the LA Weekly supports the Mobility Plan

You didn’t really think we were done with the needless controversy over the new Mobility Plan, did you?

KPCC offers an exceptionally even-handed report on the lawsuit filed by the ironically named Fix the City, which includes this bizarre statement from their attorney:

Palmer also said that the L.A. city charter requires that any amendments to the mobility plan leading up to its August approval needed to go through the mayor’s office and the city planning commission — which didn’t happen, as the Council approved the plan outright.

Bizarre, since the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan last May. And the only amendments approved by the council were one to include equity in the implementation of the plan, and another to consider safety and community input before any paint hits the streets.

Neither of which changed the plan itself in any way.

It’s also interesting to note the suit is based on the assertion that removing traffic lanes will reduce Level of Service — that is, how many vehicles can travel through an intersection in a given amount of time — and lead to greater congestion, resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions.

But the state legislature addressed exactly those sort of specious challenges last year, following the fiasco in San Francisco, in which a single aggrieved litigant held expansion of the city’s planned bikeways at bay for several years by arguing that they would result in increased air pollution, until a judge finally tossed out the lawsuit.

Just like Fix the City is arguing.

And hopefully, with the same result.

AB 743, which was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, instructs the state’s Office of Planning & Research to draw up new regulations expressly prohibiting the consideration of traffic congestion and Level of Service in determining environmental impact.

Unfortunately, I’m told those rules have not been drawn up yet, so it’s questionable whether the law would apply to this suit. Although a good lawyer would certainly argue that the intent of the legislation was to prohibit lawsuits just like this.

And LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, who will most likely defend the suit, gives every indication of knowing what the hell he’s doing.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Joe Linton argue, as I have, that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti needs to stand up and be counted if he truly believes in safer streets and improving mobility. While he’s done a great job setting policies, like the city’s adoption of Vision Zero, he’s been noticeably absent from the street-level fights required to implement those plans.

LA Times readers react to the debate over the new Mobility Plan; one gets it, one doesn’t. Especially considering that businesses benefit by slowing traffic, which encourages drivers to stop at the shops and restaurants they pass.

And the biggest surprise may be that the LA Weekly’s notoriously bike-baiting Dennis Romero, who complained vociferously about the non-existent traffic jams caused by the 7th Street road diet, thinks the plan offers much needed vision for the city.


Nicholas Roche claims Thursday’s stage of the Vuelta, while Joaquim Rodríguez is running out of time to reclaim the leader’s jersey. Good news, as critically injured Belgian rider Kris Boeckmans is finally out of the medically induced coma he’d been in since crashing in stage eight.

Thirty-one-year old former skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender aims to win a spot on the US Cycling Team riding a 1991 Cannondale, with just four months racing experience.

Good news for ‘cross racers, who can now take a swig without getting disqualified.

And talk about Method acting. In order to portray disgraced doper Lance Armstrong in an upcoming movie, Ben Foster actually tried doping. Although if he really wanted to step into Lance’s cleats, he should have ruined someone’s career trying to cover it up.



The Eastsider looks at Monday’s town hall meeting to discuss the Rowena Ave road diet.

CiclaValley roams far from home to report on the grand opening of the East Side Riders bike co-op in South LA.

The Source explores Chicago’s bikeshare system, with an eye towards the coming Metro bikeshare in DTLA.



Laguna Beach opts for safety over cars in rebuilding Laguna Canyon Road, selecting plans to add bike lanes and pedestrian walkways over widening the road for more traffic lanes.

Police say a San Leandro boy did everything right, but was still hit by an SUV driven by an unlicensed driver while walking his bike across the street on his way to school. After watching paramedics cut off the boy’s clothes, police chipped in to buy him a new outfit. Seriously, though, a kid shouldn’t need a helmet just to walk in a damn crosswalk.

Like drivers everywhere, motorists in Redwood City are incensed that a road diet has added a few minutes to their commute, and want it ripped out before it’s even finished.

Up to 400 San Francisco 49er fans can ride to the stadium and leave their bicycles with a bike valet; the Denver Broncos will also offer a bike valet and hold your bikeshare bike for free during the game. No word yet on whether either of the planned LA area stadiums will even have safe bike access, let alone anywhere to park a bike.

A Sonoma Coast cyclist needed an air rescue after he rode off an embankment and dropped as much as 50 feet down to a creek.

A driver will face a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of a Danville cyclist earlier this year.

The $10 million makeover of the highway through Donner Pass will include bike lanes and wider shoulders. Hopefully, that will keep bicyclists from getting trapped and having to eat their traveling companions.



House Democrats work to save bike and fed funding in the US transportation bill.

Everybody loves a great rack.

The owner of an IndyCar and NASCAR racing team is one of us; team owner Chip Ganassi broke his collarbone in a bicycling fall over the weekend.

A writer for Bicycling describes the harassment women receive just for having the audacity to ride a bike in public.

In a stroke of uncommon common sense, a Portland company now rides a bike instead of using a truck to remove graffiti on bike paths.

A Seattle radio host complains that temporarily closing 46 blocks for four whole hours for an open streets event is excessive and poorly thought out. And worries where all the cars will park.

A Las Vegas paper says drivers and cyclists need to share the burden of making roads safer, then places that burden squarely on the latter. Hey, Las Vegas Review-Journal — how many of those seven cyclists killed while not wearing a helmet actually suffered a fatal head injury? And how many of those wrecks could have been survivable, with or without a helmet?

The Brits aren’t the only ones with bike superhighways. Texas is building a 64-mile pathway connecting Dallas and Fort Worth. On the other hand, we can’t even manage a bike lane connecting WeHo with Century City.

An Austin TX woman commutes by bike with her two dogs, one in a backpack and the other on her rack.

A St. Louis Animal Cruelty Task Force patrols by bike to rescue animals in distress.

Minnesota drivers can’t seem to grasp the concept behind a new parking-protected bike lane.

Most people are happy to have some coffee after a ride. A New York firm wants to brew coffee while they ride.

A star NFL running back would rather ride his bike to work in Washington DC, and he even has his own private parking space. No bias from Fox Sports, though; they think he ditched his car for something worse.

A Virginia driver who killed a cyclist over the weekend had received numerous moving violations in the past few years, was facing charges for a previous hit-and-run, and being sued for a third wreck. Just the latest example of the authorities working together to keep dangerous drivers on the road until they kill someone.



A Canadian cyclist’s bike has been ridden every day for the last 5,000 days, even if he needed a stand-in for a few months.

Former Pro David Millar plans to bring London’s Saville Row styling to bikewear.

Once again, a Brit driver faces charges for intentionally driving up on the sidewalk to hit a cyclist, this time in a dispute over an allegedly stolen bike.

Bad enough when some jerk steals a bike; worse when it’s a 1920s Pashley Butcher’s Bike pilfered from a UK oysterman.

Denmark’s Princess Mary doesn’t look or act like one as she pedals her kids around in a cargo bike.

A new Honda concept car was specially designed to carry bikes.



If you’re driving drunk and wanted in LA for a 26-year old point blank gangland execution of a bike-riding rival gang member, make sure both of your headlights work. British police put out brightly colored bikes to let thieves know they’re watching, but evidently, not closely enough.

And a tiny Japanese robot may be able to ride a miniature bike, but can he carve a perfect corner with his knee nearly scraping the pavement?

I didn’t think so.


Thanks to Joseph Rozier and John Montgomery for their generous donations to support this site. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to the people who opened their hearts and wallets this week to help keep BikinginLA coming to you every day.

And thank you for reading.


Boring video proves Weekly writer wrong, anti-bike bias runs rampant, and riders run down on video

Sometimes it seems the truth doesn’t even matter anymore.

At least, not when it gets in the way of a bias against bicycles and those who ride them.

Stick with me here, because this is going to be a recurring theme today.


Just one of the many riders the LA Weekly claims don't ride on 7th.

Just one of the many riders the LA Weekly claims don’t ride on 7th.

We’ll start with what was apparently a semi-tongue-in-cheek article in last week’s LA Weekly.

In it, writer Dennis Romero — who famously proclaimed impending disaster before the first CicLAvia and seldom seems to miss an opportunity to unleash his snark on those of us on two wheels — offers five suggestions for solving the city’s traffic problems, from penalizing drivers who stop the flow of traffic to mandatory loss of license for any driver over 65.

Never mind that drivers aged 65 to 74 have the lowest rate of fatal collisions of any age group.

Then there’s his number one traffic solution — Take back the bike lanes.

….taking an entire car lane and giving it to bike riders, as has been done in some parts of town, is useless. It means double the number of cars in one lane and, often, an unused bike lane that neither protects riders from cars nor particularly entices the cyclist. Take a ride down 7th Street, which used to have four lanes and now has two, and you’ll see both mad traffic and an empty bike lane next to you…

That reference to “mad traffic — whatever that means — took me by surprise. Because 7th Street, post road diet, has morphed into one of the calmest, sanest and safest streets I ride on a regular basis.

It wasn’t always so.

Before the road diet went in about a year-and-a-half back — or before it was right-sized, to use the current, more PC planning term — 7th felt more like the wild west, as impatient drivers took to the lightly utilized street to zoom past more heavily congested routes such as Wilshire Blvd and 6th Street, just one and two blocks north, respectively.

And many of those drivers seemed less than disposed to share those lanes with the cyclists who rode them specifically because they were quieter, if not always safer, than those other streets.

Post downsizing, it has become one of the most popular riding routes between Downtown and the Westside. Despite the city’s failure to repave or patch the badly broken asphalt where the bike lanes went in, leading to an at-times bone-jarring ride, especially after dark when the potholes and cracked pavement are harder to see.

Let alone avoid.

I frequently use it myself, at all times of the day or night, as I ride in or out of DTLA for various meetings.

And despite what Mr. Romero suggests, I have yet to see anything close to traffic congestion on the repainted street.

Or angry — or crazy — drivers, for that matter.

Or any other form of the word mad, as it could be applied to traffic on the street.

But don’t take my word for it.

Consider this helmet cam video from last Thursday, recorded as I rode to an interview during what passes for the lunch rush on 7th.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing exciting about it.

In fact, it may be the most boring video I’ve ever posted online. Nothing of any consequence happens.

There’s no right hooks. No left crosses. No near doorings. No impatient drivers honking for me to move out of their way.

Although I did catch a motorist driving in the bike lane about a minute-and-three-quarters in, something I missed until I looked at the footage later that night.

And more to the point, no traffic congestion or angry drivers. No back-ups. No needlessly impeded traffic.

And no, it wasn’t any different when I rode back home at rush hour. Except I saw a lot more bike riders using the bike lanes in both directions.

Where Romero encounters that “mad traffic” that would justify yanking out the bike lanes and restoring automotive hegemony over the street is beyond me.

But I can say without the slightest doubt, it’s not on 7th Street.


Speaking of bike lanes, I was shocked to see new bike lanes on Wilshire Blvd — yes, Wilshire — in the Westwood area.

Evidently, the lanes went in after the roadway was recently repaved from Beverly Glen Blvd east to Comstock Ave, finally fixing one of the worst stretches of roadway in the City of Angeles, unaffectionately known by local cyclists as The Gauntlet.

It may go further west, but I was unable to see beyond the crest of the hill before making my turn at Beverly Glen. But I’m told the bike lanes will eventually reach west to Selby.

Of course, the bike lanes are only going in because the Condo Canyon millionaires’ row in the Westwood area was carved out of the planned Bus Rapid Transit Project, where bikes would have shared a lane with buses, allowing the hoi polloi to mingle with the overprivileged, at least on the streets.

But I’ll gladly take the bike lanes, and the finally, and unexpectedly, smooth pavement.


Now then, back to today’s theme.

In one of the most egregiously misguided pieces in recent memory, a writer in the UK takes issue with a new paved shared-use pathway in the Warwickshire countryside, decrying what sounds like an ideal pathway as a “grim cycle route” has become the domain of the “Lycra Brigade.”

Thankfully, most of the comments question her judgment. If not her sanity.

Thanks to DD Syrdal for the link.


Then there’s this one.

Writing for the London Guardian, the Executive Director of Scotland’s Daily Mail says that encouraging his fellow countrymen and women to bike will only result in more heart attacks, while making offices smell like “a badger’s arse.”

Though just how he has become intimately acquainted with the unique aroma of a badger’s butt is a question I am reluctant to ask.


For the benefit of motorists like those above, a Canadian writer offers six ways to kill a cyclist.

Although he forgets one of the simplest and most effective — just frighten riders off the road until they eventually die of inactivity in front of the TV or behind the wheel of their surprisingly not-actually safer SUV.


A British study shows that maybe that driver really didn’t see you, as over a fifth of all motorists seem blind to cyclists; thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.


Fargo Street FMLIAR

Photo by Patrick Pascal

Speaking of Matt, Patrick Pascal shared a great photo of Sunday’s view from the top of Fargo Street, as the competitors in L.A.’s 8th Annual Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer stage hill climb race organized by Mr. Ruscigno struggle up the near impossible and virtually impassable climb.

Hopefully, we’ll soon find out who won.


Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has his right shoulder replaced after a serious fall from his bicycle. Odd; I would have assumed he’d lean to the left. Thanks to David Huntsman and Patrick Pascal for the tip.


And finally, maybe there is something to that study, as a Mulholland motorcyclist plows a pair of bike riders.

I’m told the rider somehow fixated on the cyclists directly in front of him, and was unable to avoid what he was staring at.

Scary, indeed.

Reports are the rider seem to be okay; one walked away while the other was taken to a hospital to get checked out. No word on whether the motorcyclist was injured, ticketed or charged.

My sincere thanks to everyone who submitted a link to this video via email, comments on here or Twitter. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten another story from so many sources.

Three years for Swarzman killer, help shape L.A. cycling policy & the L.A. Weekly continues its anti-bike crusade

And just like that, it’s over.

Joseph Ricardo Fernandez was sentenced to three years in state prison today for the hit-and-run death of Encino ultra-distance cyclist Jim Swarzman last April.

As you may recall, Swarzman was riding along Highway 101 in the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas with his fiancé and another man when he was hit by a truck driven by Fernandez.

Actually, hit is a mild term; his fiancé, Nicole Honda described the collision as an explosion as she watched Swarzman fly past her through the air, while the driver continued down the highway without even slowing down.

Fernandez turned himself in a day later, reportedly telling police investigators he thought he might have hit something over the weekend.

Though how you manage to hit someone with that much force without knowing it will forever be beyond me.

After Fernandez waived his right to a jury trial, he was convicted of felony hit-and-run causing death in a two-day bench trial conducted by Vista Judge K. Michael Kirkman, facing a possible four years in prison.

Instead, he got three.

Three years for plowing down another human being and leaving him in the street to die.

Oh wait.

Although I suppose we should be grateful the Fernandez got any time at all. I’m glad he was sentenced for his crime, even if he did get less than the maximum sentence.

But this is one time when the time does not fit the crime. Maybe now that the trial is over, we can finally find out why Fernandez only faced charges for hit-and-run, rather than being charged with actually causing Swarzman’s death.

And if the rumors are true about the judge blaming Jim Swarzman for improper lane positioning, in what would seem to be a basic misunderstanding of bike law.

Update: San Diego’s 10News reports that Fernandez was sentenced to just two years in prison, rather than three. No explanation yet on the discrepancy.


If you’re not doing anything tonight, drop by the Pitfire Pizza at 108 W. 2nd Street in Downtown Los Angeles at 7pm. And help set the agenda for cycling in the City of Angels.

Because, as of this month, I’m taking over for Stephen Villavaso as Chair of the LACBC’s Planning Committee.

Don’t get me wrong.

Stephen’s done a great job in chairing the committee. Quite frankly, I would be just as happy, if not happier, if he’d been able to continue in the role. And I want to thank him for all the hard work he’s done as Chair, and hope he’ll continue to offer his invaluable insights as a member of the Planning Committee.

However, any change in leadership provides an ideal opportunity to rethink the role of the committee, as well as the projects and policies we want to pursue.

As a result, the primary topic of this month’s meeting will be a discussion of exactly what the Planning Committee is, and what you’d like to see come under its heading. I hope to conclude the meeting with a clear agreement on the role and future direction of this committee.

In addition, I’d like to begin a discussion of the programs and policies we want to support on a state and local level. This doesn’t have to be limited to anything that is currently under discussion within the LACBC or anywhere else. Use your imagination to come up with solutions that could make bicycling better, safer and/or more enjoyable for bike riders in California, L.A. County, or in your own neighborhood and the areas you ride.

I have my own ideas. But I really want to hear your thoughts as we shape an agenda for the months to come.

I’d like to personally invite everyone to attend. You don’t have to be a member of the Planning committee, or even a member of the LACBC. If you ride a bike in Southern California, or care about those who do, we want to hear from you.

Because the more voices we hear from, the better our work will reflect the attitudes and desires of the local riding community.


Note to Dennis Romero of the L.A. Weekly:

You didn’t encounter a shitstorm of criticism because you expressed your opinion about L.A.’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance. You were deservedly taken to task because you blatantly misrepresented the new law.

And continue to do so.

Attorney Bill Blum may or may not make some valid points in his Op-Ed in the L.A. Daily News — though you’d think any lawyer worth his salt would know that neither drivers or cyclists are a protected class under the Equal Protection Clause.

Let alone that the laws regarding cyclists and drivers are not, and were never intended to be, symmetrical in their application to each. The courts have long accepted that drivers can be required to have a license —which can be taken away — because of the threat their vehicles pose to everyone else on the streets. On the other hand, cyclists don’t require a license precisely because we pose so little risk to those around us.

So much for the courts requiring that both be treated equally.

Yes, we may piss you off.

But the biggest risk most drivers face from cyclists is that we may get a little blood on your paint when you run us over.


I’m facing a busy work load this week — the first time in months I’ve had as much, if not more, paying work on my plate as I can handle. So let me offer my apologies in advance if I don’t manage to post as much or as often as usual.

Besides, I’ve got a committee to chair.

On the other hand, that makes it a perfect opportunity to submit a guest post of your own. So if you have anything you’d like to say on any subject directly or indirectly related to bicycling, just drop me a line at bikinginla at hotmail dot com. Whether you agree with me or not.

And yes, that includes Mr. Romero.