Tag Archive for jerks on wheels

Many drivers blind to how badly drivers drive, British press demonizes bike riders, and building greater inclusion in bicycling

Just 225 days until Los Angeles fails to meet its Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025.
So stop what you’re doing and sign this petition to demand Mayor Bass hold a public meeting to listen to the dangers we all face on the mean streets of LA.

Then share it — and keep sharing it — with everyone you know, on every platform you can.

We’ve made it up to 1,135 signatures, so don’t stop now! I’ll be forwarding the petition to the mayor’s office this week, so urge anyone who hasn’t already signed the petition to sign it now! 


No bias here.

A British Columbia columnist wants you to imagine what would happen if drivers behaved like some bicyclists, saying there’s no gain if aggressive riding keeps others off the supposedly all-ages-and-abilities trails and lanes.

Passing at high speed without signalling verbally or with a bell. Passing at high speed without signalling on a blind curve. Passing someone else who’s passing at high speed on a blind curve. Passing within a hair’s breadth of a pedestrian at 40 km/h with no warning. Plunging through a pack of pedestrians, dogs and small children on the Selkirk Trestle at full speed.

Of course, vehicle drivers don’t typically behave this way because we have a robust system of vehicle licensing to ensure they know the rules of the road, and a somewhat less robust system of enforcement (less all the time, given the number of red-light runners observed of late.)

Yes, there is a sizable segment of bicyclists who ride in an aggressive manner, with little or no regard for how that affects others. Or how that makes people see us.

Yet it’s remarkable that so many people are blind to how motorists actually behave, as if bicyclists are the only ones who do dangerous and aggressive things out there — as if the people on two wheels somehow posed a greater risk to others than the ones in the big, dangerous machines.

Yes, scofflaw bike riders can be extremely annoying. I’ve been tempted more than once to clock some asshole who zoomed by on a narrow sidewalk, nearly hitting my wife or I, let alone our dog.

But the fact remains that even the worst bike riders pose the greatest risk to themselves, while aggressive drivers are a risk to everyone else on — or off — the roadway.

The number of people killed in collisions with bicyclists in the US each year can usually be counted on one hand, while you’d need more than 4,000 hands to count the people killed with motor vehicles, using every finger and thumb.

Especially that one.

The simple fact is, human nature dictates that some people will always be jackasses, regardless of how they choose to travel.

The only difference is which ones actually pose the real peril.


The demonization of bike riders by the British press in the wake of an 82-year old woman killed in a collision with a speeding bicyclist in London’s Regent Park is still going on.

A London tabloid posted photographs of “reckless” cyclists still flouting the rules, just days after leaders of the UK’S Conservative Party proposed strict new rules, including 14-years behind bars for bike riders who kill — although I wouldn’t exactly call riding while holding a cellphone in your hand reckless.

The husband of a woman killed by a bicyclist seven years ago applauded the new restrictions, while suggesting he had to overcome a super-secret bike cabal “blob” somehow entrenched within the British government. Although no one ever seems to question whether the pedestrian may have been at fault, automatically blaming the person on the bike.

And a writer for The Spectator says a crackdown on bad bicyclists can’t come soon enough, as she dreams of the day when police can immobilize ebikes and electric scooters by zapping them with pulses fired from special backpack under development from a government defense lab.

On the other hand, British bike hero Chris Boardman decried as hate speech a recent article disparaging bicyclists, while it turns out that the article claiming a bike rider was clocked doing 52 mph in a 20 mile zone was in fact co-written by a BBC fact-checker, who failed to fact-check the physically impossible report.

Cycling Weekly says parity in punishment is no problem, but “death trap” journalism that capitalizes on misinformation is unforgivable, because we can’t pretend that creating more laws for cyclists will result in equality on the roads.

And London bicyclists say Members of Parliament are spinning out of control as they peddle fears of the dangers posed by scofflaw bicyclists.

Maybe someone should explain the concept of collective guilt to the members of the press so intent on painting bike riders as the bad guys.

Because there’s no surer sign of bias than pretending the actions of some members of a group should somehow condemn the others.


Today’s other common thread reflects the need for inclusion in the bicycling community.

The new book Black Cyclists: The Race for Inclusion examines the mostly unknown history of Black cyclists, from Major Taylor to today’s riders.

Forbes talks with the founder of the Jafe Cycling Foundation, a group dedicated to exposing middle and high school students to the sport of cycling in order to increase Black ridership, at a time when Black cyclists make up less than 1% of the pro peloton.

Bike Radar says derogatory comments and actions — intentional and otherwise — reflecting the dominance of straight males are still prevalent on the trails, within the bike industry and in the race scene, fostering an environment that discourages many women from riding.

Speaking of which, the WeHo Bicycle Coalition is hosting a group ride next month to kick off Pride Month, riding from Hollywood and Highland to the West Hollywood Pride Fest.


It’s not every day Saturday Night Live satirizes bike riders. Mostly because it only airs on Saturdays.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.


It’s now 153 days since the California ebike incentive program’s latest failure to launch, which was promised no later than fall 2023. And 35 months since it was approved by the legislature and signed into law — and counting.


The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Bike lanes have become a division issue in the mayoral election in Mississauga, Ontario, as a local group is offering to support any candidate that will undo a plan for protected bike lanes passed by the city council last year.

The Magistrates Courthouse in Wimbledon, England — home to the famous tennis tournament — says don’t even think about bringing your bike onto the premises, even though they have plenty of room for parking cars.

Bicyclists slammed a proposed city ordinance in Zaragoza, Spain, which would impose a mandatory insurance requirement for everyone on a bicycle — including children — while urging motorists to dangerously overtake bike riders on the roads.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

Police in New York are looking for a sidewalk-raging teenaged bike rider, who attacked and pummeled two young Jewish kids for blocking his way as he rode on the sidewalk; the cops are investigating the assault as a hate crime.



The Signal offers photos from Saturday’s Hit the Trail self-guided community bike ride in Santa Clarita, even though the “community” all rode individually.



Grab your mountain bike and head to Orange County’s Silverado Canyon, where the sweeping canyons and lush wildflowers of the Red Rock Wilderness has just been opened to the public.

This is who we share the road with. A former Riverside craft brewer was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after accepting a plea deal for the drunken, high-speed hit-and-run that killed another motorist in Ontario, after prosecutors dropped a 2nd degree murder charge; Ryan Cavender Wicks earned the heavy sentence because of a previous DUI conviction.

A writer for the Fresno Bee says recent trip by city leaders to sister city Münster, Germany could offer lessons for making Fresno a safer place to ride a bike.

San Francisco bicyclists aren’t the only ones who want to feel safer on the popular route known as The Wiggle, as seniors who live along the route also risk getting hit by impatient drivers.

Frequent contributor Megan Lynch offers a Mastodon thread about her lengthy and ongoing fight for accessible bike racks at UC Davis, as campus officials can’t seem to grasp that equal accessibility is required under the Americans With Disabilities Act.



Bike shops nationwide are struggling in the face of excess inventory, as demand plummeted after manufacturers overbuilt, and bike shops overstocked, while overcompensating for the bike shortages of the pandemic.

Architecture Daily examines bike-riding urbanism pioneer Jane Jacobs, at a time when American car culture “has produced and normalized new forms of sociopathy,” and carmakers have adopted an angry-looking, “murdered-out” esthetic.

Another person riding a bicycle has been killed in police chase, when a domestic violence suspect in Phoenix fled from the cops and slammed into the bike rider as he tried to make his escape.

Here’s one for your beer bucket list, with a 25-mile bike tour of six breweries in and around Golden, Colorado, ranging from local craft brewers to the massive Coors complex.



Yes, a Mexican transit company really did put their drivers on stationary bikes to get buzzed by buses so they’d know how it feels to people on bicycles.

A British Columbia lawyer says cost savings for the province’s no-fault insurance program was made on the backs of victims like him, accusing it of shortchanging him after a bicycling crash left him a paraplegic. Thanks again to Megan Lynch. 

London plans to install planter boxes and rumble strips along a popular Thames River multi-use path to slow speeding bike riders, while stressing that pedestrians should be given priority.

I want to be like her when I grow up. An 82-year old London woman rode through fog and hail to conquer the legendary Mount Ventoux, raising the equivalent of nearly $24,000 for the children of Gaza, and counting.

Here’s another one for your bike bucket list — okay, maybe just mine — with a list of the most beautiful bike routes in Ireland.

Momentum recommends Europe’s best spring bicycling destinations for nature lovers.

French bikemaker and sports retail giant Decathlon urged politicians to implement the European Union’s Cycling Declaration ahead of the European Parliament elections to make it easier for people to bike, while focusing on infrastructure and bike theft, and calling for more sustainable bicycle manufacturing.

A Chinese man is current riding through Africa on a bike tour that has led him through a dozen countries so far, despite loosing an arm and a leg when he was electrocuted as a teenager.

Seven-thousand people turned out in Seoul, South Korea for the 16th Seoul Bike Festival on Sunday, following a 13-mile course along the banks of the Han River.

Japanese bike riders are almost universally ignoring the country’s new mandatory helmet law, with just ten percent of bicyclists nationwide donning skid lids; meanwhile, new laws will allow police to crackdown on scofflaw bicyclists.


Competitive Cycling

Kristen Faulkner and Sean Quinn are your new women’s and mens US National Road Cycling champs.

Tadej Pogačar entered the final rest day of the Giro by demolishing the field in yet another solo breakaway, extending his lead to a virtually insurmountable six minutes and 41 seconds.

At this point, the only thing that may derail Pogačar in the Giro is the virus that’s sweeping the peloton, with 21 riders abandoning so far.

A writer for Velo says Pogačar is a “risk-taker, an entertainer, a high-wire act” who’s the current King of the Hill, but won’t be forever.

Um, no. Cycling Weekly’s Dr. Hutch ponders the point where a long solo break ceases to be polite, and becomes a case of showboating.



Tackle the local time trial with a ‘bent. That feeling when someone thinks $1599 is “pricey” for an ebike. Your next ebike could be a golden Porsche.

And who needs lights when your whole bike glows in the dark?


Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin

Bonin promises actual implementation, biking & walking mean happy commuters, and expensive cars mean bigger jerks

This could be good news, for a change.

The LA City Council’s Transportation Committee approved a motion calling on LADOT to come up with a plan to implement the city’s Green New Deal and the mayor’s recent Climate Directive.

In addition to calling for a 30% improvement in bus speeds, it calls for the development of active transportation corridors for walking, bicycling and micromobility, with “at least one major regional project and one neighborhood-oriented network per year.”

It now goes before the full council, and if approved, will require LADOT to respond with an implementation plan this July.

So what we basically have is a motion for a plan.

And as we’ve learned the hard way, Los Angeles is very good at coming up with plans, but not so good at actually putting them on the pavement.

Like the 2010 bike plan. Or the more recent halfhearted non-embrace of Vision Zero.

Perhaps sensing the growing frustration, Transportation Chair Mike Bonin had this to say.

Let’s hope he means it.


In what may be one of the most telling surveys ever, a Utah university finds that, given the choice, three-quarters of drivers and car passengers would rather teleport to work, along with two-thirds of transit riders.

But only 35 percent of bike riders and 28 percent of people who walk to work concurred. Which tells you that the overwhelming majority of people who walk or bike to work actually like it.

As opposed to the overwhelming majority of people stuck in traffic who don’t.


Once again, science confirms what most of us have already figured out.

The more expensive a driver’s car is, the more likely he or she is to act like an entitled jerk behind the wheel.


Not only did a driver in Lincoln CA fail to stop after crashing into a man on a bike, he kept going for another quarter mile with the badly injured victim lodged on the roof of his SUV.

According to The Sacramento Bee, the 85-year old driver said he didn’t know he’d even hit anyone.

Which seems a little odd, given the crumpled hood and shattered windshield directly in front of his steering wheel.


A San Diego TV station tells the tale of how nine-year old Connor Stitt of San Marcos rocketed to internet fame when ESPN featured a video of his arial acrobatics.

We showed the clip back in December, but it’s worth seeing again.

And again.


Presenting the world’s lightest balance bike, for all those three and four-year old weight weenies in your life.



The 13-mile Park to Playa Trail connecting Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area to Playa del Rey is nearly complete; all that’s missing is a soon-to-be-built bridge allowing people and small animals to cross busy La Cienega Blvd.

Curbed quizzes LA council candidates on the bike issues currently facing the city, including housing, homelessness and cars.

More on the near-fatal crash that sent renowned LA chef Walter Manzke of Republique fame to the ER with several broken bones; he was getting out of his car near his upcoming new bistro Bicyclette when he was run down by the driver, who stopped, for a change.

Bike the Vote LA endorses Trisha Keane in Pasadena’s 2nd Council District, while Streets For All reminds us they endorsed Sarah Kate Levy in CD4 and Loraine Lundquist in CD12. I cast my vote for SKL yesterday, in case you’re wondering. And it was so much fun, I’m thinking about going back and doing it again tomorrow. 



Pink Bike raves about a mountain biker’s perfectly sculpted jumps on a California trail. Call me crazy, but a split scrotum does not suggest a successful landing in my book.

A reminder to never leave your bike on a car rack. A would be Seal Beach bike thief was interrupted by the owner as he tried to make off with a $3,500 bicycle.

An Oceanside bike rider was severely injured when he was struck by an SUV driver after allegedly running a stop light.

A San Diego man is suing the city, claiming its new pump track is too dangerous because it allows bike riders and skateboarders to use it at the same time — even though the injuries he’s claiming came in a “brutal attack” by a boarder, rather than a crash.

Palo Alto is resuming work on building a network of bike boulevards, which was halted two years ago because some residents couldn’t figure out how a roundabout works.

No bias here. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, if you’re not white, male and earn $250,000, the city’s bike lanes aren’t for you. Except, of course, for the 75% of regular bike lane users who earn less than that, and the 33% that are female. Or who don’t otherwise fit with their highly skewed premise, based on notoriously unreliable census data.

A Bay Area woman got drunk, and apparently decided driving in the new barrier protected bike lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was the perfect way to bypass all that car traffic in the other lanes.



A writer for Gear Patrol explains why good bikes are so expensive. Except there are a lot of good bikes out there that aren’t.

Meanwhile, the apparently unrelated Gear Junkie offers tips on how to build up your own mountain bike.

A bike-riding Oregon teenager was very lucky to escape with just minor injuries when he was struck by a driver doing 55 mph.

A New Mexico City councilor doesn’t like the census, early childhood education, the state’s red flag law or the Democratic primary. But he does like bike lanes, so he can’t be all bad.

An eleven-year old South Dakota boy has ridden his bike to school every day for six years — nearly 1,000 days in a row, rain or shine. Or snow.

Kindhearted Kansas business owners gave a new top-of-the-line gravel bike to a woman battling colorectal cancer.

Got to give him points for persistence. A Brooklyn bike thief broke through the roof of a building to steal a bike, then walked it out the front door.

Anti-safety vigilantes are tying yellow ribbons around trees on New York’s Staten Island to warn drivers about speed enforcement cameras.



A British ebike rider faces charges for killing a pedestrian by plowing into her at 30 mph — ten miles faster than legally allowed.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is testing a system to electronically slow the fastest pedelec bikes down to the speed of regular bikes. Now try it on cars, please.

A Berlin firm is hosting the first-ever virtual world bicycle conference.

Mumbai is working to become bike-friendlier with bike mayors for each of the city’s 24 districts, along with two junior bike mayors. Which is about 26 more than you’ll find in Los Angeles.

An Australian city votes to spend $2 million to rip out part of an $8 million protected bike lane network that was only finished two year ago, claiming it’s causing too much traffic congestion. No, it’s all those cars causing that traffic; take more of those off the road and the congestion goes away.


Competitive Cycling

Four American women are working together to win three spots in the mountain biking events at the Tokyo Olympics.



If you’re riding your bike with a stolen handgun, a sock full of meth, ten fake or stolen IDs, a criminal record and an outstanding warrant, maybe try riding a little closer to the curb. Ramming your bike into a police car is not likely to hurt it — or help you get away.

And you only wish this was your commute.

If you were harassed by a driver in a white van Monday morning, Bus Bench has it on video

According to L.A.’s Bus Bench website, they were nearly hit by a speeding white van while driving to work on Cesar Chavez Blvd. Monday morning.

Shortly afterwards, they saw a cyclist arguing with the driver of the same white van, who had nearly hit the rider as he sped by. The driver lurched forward as if to strike the cyclist, then swerved away at the last second, nearly hitting another car in the process.

What the driver didn’t count on, however, is that they recorded the incident, as well as license of the van.

So if you had an altercation with a jerk in an older white van about 6:20 am Monday on Cesar Chavez, you’ll find witnesses and video documentation at thebusbench.com.

Monday’s ride, on which I got dangerously buzzed

I never get honked at when I ride.

I honestly can’t remember the last time it happened. I go out of my way to ride safely and courteously. Yet the other day, two separate drivers honked at me as I was riding.

Maybe it was the stress of driving crowded L.A. streets. Maybe they were still ticked off about some other cyclist who cut them off or ran a red light. Or maybe Rush Limbaugh or some other bike-hating jerk went on another anti-bike rant and got their listeners riled up once again.

Maybe it was just a coincidence.

But two drivers honked at me yesterday. And not in a friendly way.

The first came about 30 miles after my encounter with the undead dog. I was riding east on Washington, after the bike lane from the beach ends a few blocks before Abbot Kinney.

Even without the bike lane, the roadway is wide enough that I was out of the traffic lane, and riding only a few miles below the speed of traffic. And yet, as a driver came up on my left, he suddenly blared his horn.

Not the friendly tap some drivers employ in a misguided attempt to tell us they’re there. As if we don’t already know. No, this was a loud, long leaning on the horn that could only be heard as “get the f… out of my way, ‘cause I’m coming through.”

No really. I’m quite proficient in horn as a second language. And there was no mistaking his message.

Nor was there any mistaking mine as he went by.

Of course, he was shocked and appalled that I would respond in such a manner. In fact, he wanted to continue the conversation at the next red light. But I’ve had that discussion before, and didn’t see any reason to get into it again.

So I gave my signal, and made a left onto Abbot Kinney as he continued to shout after me.

The next one was more troubling, though.

I was headed north on Ocean, directly in front of the Frank Gehry designed building with the binoculars.

The road is narrower there, although traffic is lighter, so I’d taken the lane since turning off from Abbot Kinney. As I passed the Gehry Building, a huge garbage truck came up from behind.

I moved slightly to the right to give him a little more room. But just as his front bumper came up beside me, he suddenly laid on his horn — a loud, long basso profundo blast that was completely unnecessary, since he was already in my field of view.

Then he buzzed me, passing not more than a foot away, so close that I couldn’t extend my elbow — let alone my arm — without hitting him.

Fortunately, even though I was startled, I stayed in control. Because swerving in either direction could have been fatal.

Had I reacted by swerving left, I would have hit him and probably ended up under his wheels. Swerving to the right would have sent me into the parked cars, and most likely caused me to ricochet back into him with the same result.

Of course, what he did is perfectly legal in California. While other states are rapidly adopting the three-foot passing law, the law here only requires that motorists pass at a safe distance — which is usually interpreted as anything that doesn’t actually come in contact with the rider. And there is no law here against harassing a cyclist, even if that harassment causes an accident.

Sure, other charges can be filed. But they usually aren’t. And calling the police is often a waste of time.

In retrospect, I wish I’d chased the driver down, and gotten enough information to get him fired. Anyone who drives like that doesn’t belong on the street. Let alone behind the wheel of a multi-ton vehicle the size of a small house.

But I was too shaken to even catch the name of the company. And frankly, even though I knew I could catch him, I was angry enough that I didn’t trust what I’d do once I did.

So I rode home, shaken and angry.

And he gets to keep his job, and will likely do it again to someone else — who may not be as lucky.

And he’ll probably get away with that, as well.


The Mid City West Neighborhood Council — covering what the rest of us would call the Fairfax District — took matters into their own hands, and designed their own bike plan. Write your Congress person to support HR 2521, which would create a development bank to fund infrastructure projects, railways and — dare we hope? — bikeways. Stephen Box explains how Melbourne has it backwards, or maybe upside down, compared to L.A. Mark your calendar for the upcoming Bike MS 2009 charity ride, and movie night at the Encino Velodrome (be honest, did you even know there was an Encino Velodrome?). Here’s your chance to tour Pasadena by foot or bike, and discover upcoming bike routes. The Christian Science Monitor asks if bikes and cars can really share the road, while N.Y. Times finds that more bikes lanes fail to bring peace to the city. A paper in Quebec goes on an anti-bike rant — citing a tragic pedestrian-bike collision that occurred nearly 20 years ago — and suggests that all bike lanes in the city center be removed. Paramedics in London — where everyone has medical coverage — have taken to their bikes. Finally, goodbye Teddy. You’ll be missed.

A jerk by any other name

Let’s talk about jerks.

I mean, it’s not like there’s any shortage of them around here. Like the one I ran into — almost literally — on the bike path in Venice last week.

Thanks to the winter-time lack of crowds, it was easy to maintain a good head of speed. So I made a point of letting slower riders know I was there before I passed them, and gave them as much clearance as possible when I did. No point in ruining someone else’s day just so I could enjoy mine.

Unfortunately, not everyone felt the same.

Just as I was rounding a sharp bend in the path and about to swing around couple slower riders — in other words, at the worst possible moment — a cyclist suddenly appeared on my left. No warning, and passing so close that he actually brushed against me as he went by.

Needless to say, I was pissed. But the massive over-the-ear headphones he wore suggested that he wasn’t likely to hear a word of it, so I saved my breath.

Instead, I warned the other riders ahead that I was about to pass. And about the jerk who was also passing them right in front of me.

As it turned out, he wasn’t that much faster than me. So I watched as he passed other riders in the same fashion; at one point, nearly knocking over a young mother riding with a small child on the back of her bike.

And that, in my book, pretty much defines the word “jerk.” Along with several others I’d rather not use right now.

Problem is, to much of the non-riding public — and even some members of the cycling world — such riders are the rule rather than the exception. They see us as a rude, arrogant and lawless band hellbent on obstructing their God-given right to the road, and flaunting every law and courtesy in the process.

And people like him — the ones Bob Mionske calls scofflaw cyclists — offer all the proof they need.

I have another theory.

As far as I’m concerned, a jerk is a jerk. And it doesn’t matter if that jerk is on two wheels or four. Or pushing a shopping cart through a crowded market, for that matter.

Because really, what’s the difference between an aggressive driver who weaves in and out of traffic at high speed, and a cyclist who blows through red lights even in the presence of oncoming traffic?

They both operate as if the law doesn’t apply to them, with total disregard for the havoc they leave in their wake. To people like that, it doesn’t seem to matter if they cause an accident, as long as it doesn’t involve them.

It appears to be exactly the same mentality at work when a driver intentionally cuts off a cyclist, as when a cyclist blows through an intersection and forces everyone else to swerve or brake to avoid him. Or her.

A jerk is a jerk is a jerk.

And while it is in everyone’s best interest to encourage everyone to ride safely, as cyclists, we bear no more collective responsibility for the two-wheeled jerks, than other drivers do for the four-wheeled ones who are undoubtedly speeding down the 101 or 405 at this very moment.

Which is to say, none at all.

Evidently, cycling isn’t the only sport with a doping problem. Even Arkansas considers sharrows, so what’s taking L.A. so long? Following Bob Mionske’s final column for Velo News, comes word he’s moving to Bicycling Magazine. A New York writer says bike lanes aren’t the whole solution; you have to learn to ride safely in traffic, tooA Santa Monica columnist, who gave up cycling because it was too dangerous, insists that creating livable streets and making the roads safer for bikes is wrong if it means slowing down traffic, and rails against the “small cadre” of “snarky” “gonzo cyclists” who dare to disagree with him. And finally, a current Santa Monica cyclist sells his Burley bike trailer, only to see it in the pages of People. Welcome to the bike blogosphere, J.