Tag Archive for LA County Sheriff’s Department

5 mph speed limit on SaMo bike path, Kizzee protestors sue Sheriff, and bike rider gives his life to save his daughter

They’ve got to be kidding.

David Drexler writes that Santa Monica has finally installed a curb separating bike riders and pedestrians on the newly widened Marvin Braude bike path through the city’s beaches.

But at the same time, they’ve installed a ridiculous 5 mph speed limit on the pathway, which is a fast walking pace, and slower than most people run. And almost half the 8 mph speed limit in Hermosa Beach.

Never mind that, as he points out, it’s hard to ride a bike that slowly without falling over, even on a cruiser bike.

Just more evidence of biking rules being set by people who’ve never ridden one.

Photos by David Drexler.

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Los Angeles County protestors aren’t backing down in the ongoing street confrontations with the Sheriff’s Department.

A group of people have filed for a temporary restraining order against the LASD’s use of nonlethal weapons during sometimes violent crackdowns against protestors following the shooting of Compton bike rider Dijon Kizzee.

Deputies have insisted that they are justified in cracking down on the protests, citing things like bike helmets and shields as proof of protestors’ violent intent.

Meanwhile, the people protesting Kizzee’s shooting have decried what they consider heavy-handed assaults on largely peaceful protestors.

It’s hard to say who’s right, since the department has gone out of its way to intimidate and arrest legitimate members of the press.

Meanwhile, bike riders in many parts of the county continue to express a fear of being harassed or arrested by sheriff’s deputies for Biking while Black or Brown.

Which is something no one should ever have to fear.

Let alone experience.

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Once again, a bike rider was a hero.

Tragically, this time.

A 45-year old Tracy CA man was riding bikes with his nine-year old daughter when a speeding driver suddenly drove directly towards them; his final act was urging his daughter to safety before the careening car took his life.

Compounding the tragedy, the formerly two lane street where the crash occurred has suffered from speeding drivers since being widened to four lanes earlier this year.

We’ll never know if he and his daughter might have both made it home to their family if it hadn’t been.

And someone should ask Sacramento’s ABC10 why it took until the next-to-last of 17 paragraphs in their story to mention that the damn car even had a driver.

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A frequent bike rider, who asked not to be named, forwarded this dashcam video taken during a recent drive through Santa Monica, demonstrating why stopping for red lights matters.

Or at least observing the right-of-way.

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A new short film documents life in Los Angeles for people on two wheels, with a veritable who’s who of LA bike luminaries.

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Former pro Phil Gaimon explains why bicyclists ride in the road, answering the question countless clueless drivers have hurled at him over the years.

Got to hand it to Gaimon.

He may not have set the world on fire in the pro peloton, but he’s become one of the most effective and entertaining ex-pros after retiring.

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

No bias here. A BBC crime program ostensibly about bike theft wasted its time with an unrelated call for mandatory helmets for bike riders. Call me crazy, but even 100% helmet compliance would do nothing to stop the theft of a single bicycle.

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

Police arrested a San Mateo CA man as he attempted to flee by bike after shooting up his neighbors’ mobile homes, then barricading himself inside his trailer.

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Local

You could get the Bird for your birthday or some other special event. Or just buy your own from the Santa Monica-based company for the low, low price of $599.

Pasadena police ticketed 79 drivers during the city’s latest bike and pedestrian safety crackdown, along with 12 bicycle riders and 12 pedestrians.

 

State

More bad news from Northern California, where a San Jose bike rider was killed in a collision Sunday night.

No surprise here, as Bay Area advocates complain about city officials and employees speeding in San Francisco and willfully blocking safety infrastructure in Oakland.

Good news for Bay Area bike riders, as Colorado’s bike-friendly New Belgian Brewery is establishing its first West Coast outlet in San Francisco’s Mission Bay.

San Francisco authorities are struggling to identify a hospitalized man who was seriously injured when he was hit by a driver while riding his bike. This is why you should always have some form of ID that’s not likely to get lost or stolen when you ride your bike. I always wear my RoadID, but you can also carry a card with your name and emergency contact information.

 

National

Tech Crunch likes the new Lumos smart helmet.

Now we’re getting somewhere. A small DIY ebike conversion kit attaches to the disk brake mount on your mountain bike — although it will set you back nearly two grand.

A rider for Jalopnik is fascinated by the process when he takes an old steel Schwinn to an expert framebuilder to have his broken frame repaired.

Four years after an Iowa collision in the middle of a coast-to-coast bike ride left a man confined to a wheelchair, he’s back to finish the ride using a handcycle. And raising funds for a cancer charity.

Kindhearted cops bought a pair of new bikes for a couple of Detroit sisters after learning the girls had to share a single bicycle.

New York bike riders will be on their own, as city officials plan to close part of the Hudson River Greenway for reconstruction work with no safety provisions for riders forced to detour onto the streets; the pathway is the busiest bike path in North America. Which is saying something for anyone who’s ever tried to ride the Venice bike path on a holiday weekend.

A Philly bike messenger offers advice on how to bike commute with confidence. Although that the last bit of advice to “Act like you’re in a car,” could taking up too much space, emitting noxious gasses, and threatening everyone else on the road. And yes, you can read it on Yahoo if you’ve been blocked by Bicycling’s draconian firewall. Which kind of makes you wonder what’s the point of having it.

A Virginia billboard honors five-year old Cannon Hinnant, who was fatally shot point blank by a neighbor for the crime of riding a bicycle on his lawn earlier this year.

In a near mirror image of the Tracy crash, an angry Florida family wants to find the hit-and-run driver who injured a seven-year old boy as he was riding bikes with his father.

 

International

Cycling News explains the difference between mountain and gravel bikes.

Vancouver has just quadrupled the fine for dooring a bike rider. Although the new $368 fine still seems too low. And that’s Canadian dollars.

A British military vet says losing his right arm and shoulder in a motorcycle crash is the best thing that ever happened to him, after competing as a paracyclist in the Invictus Games and becoming an advocate for positive body images.

Owners of Belgium’s Cowboy ebikes will get a free GPS-enabled crash detection system through a software update to alert emergency contacts with their exact location; the company says the risk of a false alarm is “near zero.”

Berlin police are engaged in a bicycle and pedestrian safety crackdown of their own in the face of a rising traffic death toll.

Great idea. Mumbai bike riders can get free emergency IDs issued by the city to provide their name and emergency contacts, as well as doctors and vital health information, in the event of a crash. That San Francisco unidentified bicyclist could have used something like that.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling News looks back at eight memorable moments from this year’s Tour de France.

Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar ditched his power meter and relied on the Force for the pivotal ascent during Saturday’s time trial. Okay, so maybe the Force reference was just a metaphor.

French judicial authorities are investigating doping accusations against Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana’s Arkea-Samsic team, as well as entourage members who aren’t actually with the team. However, that does not necessarily mean Quintana or other team leaders have been implicated. Good thing the era of doping is over though. Right?

 

Finally…

Evidently, even mountain lions like to watch kids ride bikes — unless maybe they’re just looking for dinner. Who needs to actually ride a mountain bike when you can just play it on your phone?

And when you’re carrying funny money, oxy laced with fentanyl, pipes, scales, knives and brass knuckles on your bike, put a damn light on it, already.

And poop before you go out.

Seriously.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

LASD exonerates itself in Kizzee shooting amid calls for sheriff to resign, and e-scooters just ain’t the problem

No surprise here.

Nearly three weeks after LA County Sheriff’s Deputies shot and killed Compton bike rider Dijon Kizzee, the department held it’s first press conference.

Not surprisingly, it exonerated itself completely, even while multiple investigations are still ongoing.

And even as community activist Najee Ali accused the Sheriff’s Department of trying to “blame a Black man unjustly shot … for his own murder by his deputies” while speaking on behalf of family members.

According to a department spokesperson, deputies originally attempted to stop Kizzee for riding salmon, a crime that does not normally carry the death penalty.

Kizzee reportedly was carrying a gun that had been stolen in Las Vegas, which he was not legally allowed to have due to a prior felony conviction and a restraining order.

Deputies fired at least 15 shots after spotting the weapon when he dropped it, along with some clothes he’d been carrying.

However, after giving the deputies over two weeks to get their stories straight talk to investigators, the gun somehow went from the ground, as the sheriff’s department originally stated, into Kizzee’s hand as claimed in the new report.

Never mind that security video appears to show the deputies shooting at Kizzee as he ran away.

Unfortunately, we may never know for sure what happened, since LA County Sheriff’s Deputies aren’t currently required to wear body cams.

But the shooting does raise questions, especially in a department where gang-like groups wear matching tattoos and call themselves names like the Executioners.

It doesn’t matter who Kizzee was, or whether he had a record. It also doesn’t matter that he ran from the deputies, or briefly tussled with one when they tried to tackle him.

For the crime of riding on the wrong side of the street.

What matters is whether the deputies had a legitimate reason to fear for their own lives, or that of the public, before opening fire.

Let alone whether the department can, or will, conduct an honest investigation of its own deputies. Especially under the current administration.

Because this one doesn’t begin to pass the smell test.

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On a closely related subject, the LA Times says LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has repeatedly ignored subpoenas and attempted to dodge civilian oversight, is the best advisement for the need for “muscular” oversight.

In addition, several city and county officials are calling on Villanueva to resign, including LA Councilmember David Ryu and county supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl.

Yeah, that’ll happen.

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CBS News says micromobility is proving increasingly deadly, citing 41 deaths linked to e-scooters, ebikes and hoverboards over a three-year period.

Which compares to roughly 112,500 people killed in motor vehicle collisions over the same period.

Admittedly, I’ve never been very good at math, but I’m pretty sure 41 is less that 112,500.

A lot less.

So which one is really the problem on our streets?

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Something is seriously wrong when you’re not even safe from cars and their drivers in your own home.

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Here’s one for weight weenies, as GCN investigates whether bike weight really matters in the Tour de France.

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

Police in San Diego busted a bike-riding arsonist who used “molotov cocktail-like devices” to repeatedly set shrubs on fire outside a police station.

Chicago authorities are on the lookout for a masked bike-riding groper who has assaulted several women.

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Local

The LA Times catches up with the founder of the magical Venice Electric Light Parade weekly bike ride.

A former LA city planner accuses Los Angeles officials of being closet climate change deniers in environmentalist clothing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a temporary halt to the Long Beach State Cycling Club, which is unable to keep riding under current university restrictions

 

State

Seriously? San Diego washed away a series of children’s chalk drawings supporting Black Lives Matter on a La Jolla bike path just days after they were finished, citing complaints that they were “hate speech.”

Santa Barbara is looking for a way for bike riders to coexist with pedestrians after the city closed a popular street to make room for shopping and dining while social distancing, which was also the spine of the city’s bike network.

 

National

The Idaho Stop Law is slowly spreading across the US, allowing bike riders to treat stop signs as yields.

A writer for Bicycling says never mind the cliche about never forgetting to ride a bike, because the truth is, you never forget how good it feels to ride one. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you out

Good question. Wired wonders why Uber wasn’t charged in the death of an Arizona bike rider who was killed by one of their driverless cars, instead of the admittedly distracted human behind the wheel.

A new study from Portland’s Alta Planning and Design says don’t cut corners on corner design to prevent unsafe turns by drivers.

A kindhearted Texas cop replaced a nine-year old boy’s bike after it was stolen.

An Arlington Texas police detective was released from the hospital following a crash that killed a fellow bicyclist when a driver plowed into the group they were riding with. But since the driver remained at the scene, it’s evidently okay.

A Houston reverend will bike 500 mies through Michigan to raise funds to fight hunger in Guatemala.

Martha Stewart is one of us, enjoying the coronavirus quarantine while popping her new line of CBD-infused fruit pate and riding her ebike around her 153-acre New York state farm.

He gets it. A New York assembly member says the state should subsidize ebike purchases to wean people off of cars. We need to start hearing that from California officials, too.

 

International

A Scottish bicyclist who was nearly killed in a Texas collision while riding across the US will attempt to set a new record for riding nonstop over 500 miles through the Scottish Highlands, taking aim at the existing record of 31 hours and 23 minutes.

Paris is the latest major city to announce that 31 miles of popup bike lanes that were installed at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown will be made permanent. That compares favorably to Los Angeles, which will make zero lanes permanent, out of the zero popup bike lanes that were installed. 

Here’s something you won’t see in the US. The king and queen of the Netherlands took a casual bike ride while meeting with local officials, wearing a suit, gown and practical pumps.

A Singapore letter writer says licensing drivers doesn’t seem to make them any safer, so maybe it’s not the answer for bike riders, either.

 

Competitive Cycling

The 600 pound gorilla that is Team Ineos finally performs as expected in the Tour de France, at least for one stage.

The president of Slovenia is pretty pumped that two of his countrymen could be standing on the final podium when the Tour gets to Paris.

The director for leading team Jumbo-Visma got the boot from the Tour after losing his cool when inspectors allegedly damaged leader Primož Roglič’s bike checking for signs of motor doping.

Defending champ Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands is out of next week’s worlds after crashing while leading the Giro Rosa

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be made of wood. Seriously, don’t bite the guy whose bike you just stole.

And don’t put dog poop in Trump supporters mailboxes.

On a bike or otherwise.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Bike League addresses South LA bike rider killed by deputies, Streetsie Awards announced, and don’t be a schmuck

I may have to start a new religion. 

Three days after my laptop died, it somehow miraculously resurrected itself yesterday morning. 

No assurances that it’s up and running for good, but at least it gives me a chance to catch up on this week’s news. And maybe buy a little time to come up with the money to replace it. 

Photo by Life Matters from Pexels.

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The Bike League offered a statement on the killing of Black bike rider Dijon Kizzee in South LA last week, seemingly shot in the back by sheriff’s deputies as he tried to run away from a traffic stop.

I’d planned on just posting an except from it, but the whole thing is worth reading.

Dijon Kizzee was a bicyclist. He was a person on a bike. He was a Black man in America on a bike.

According to police reports he was doing something illegal on a bike, violating a section of the traffic code. As most people who bike know, most of the traffic code was not created for them; is not known by many people, including law enforcement; and is enforced in a highly discretionary manner. Much of the traffic code that deals with bicycling is focused on protecting the rider from the drivers of motor vehicles that we share streets with. We as an organization are committed to doing whatever we can to make bicycling safe for everyone, including reducing interactions between bicyclists and the police that can escalate into violence.

A biking code violation should never lead to police violence and deadly force.

Dijon Kizzee died after being stopped while bicycling. A protected bike lane or statutory change would be unlikely to change that.

Racism is much larger than bicycling, but to make safe streets for everyone requires confronting racism. Confronting institutional racism in our justice systems, police practices, and cycles of investment is necessary to make safe streets for everyone.

To make sure that #BlackLivesMatter to us as a bicycling organization, bicycling while Black must be treated as a threat to the safety of bicycling in the same way that we treat lack of infrastructure, distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and the many other things that people think of when they think of bicycle safety.

Los Angles Sheriff Alex Villanueva says the department has almost concluded its investigation of the shooting, and is just waiting to interview one of the deputies, who still hasn’t spoken with investigators over ten days after the shooting.

Meanwhile, there’s this hard-hitting piece by a Black writer, who wonders when we’ll talk about the fear Black people experience as they walk their dogs, ride their bikes and work in their yards, as opposed to a fear of Blackness.

An Asian man in Garden Grove was the victim of a racist rant from a neighbor as he rode a stationary bike in his garage; the woman only left after he picked up a knife. Needless to say, the woman’s husband insisted she’s not racist and it was all a misunderstanding. Hint: If you don’t recognize your own neighbor, and describe him as having “slanted eyes,” you’re pretty damn racist.

And an Illinois woman faces hate crime charges for trying to run Black bike riders off the Winnetka Pier, falsely telling them they needed a permit to be there. Correction: I originally wrote that the incident took place on Chicago’s Navy Pier, rather than Winnetka. Thanks to Andy Stow for the correction.

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Congratulations to BikinginLA sponsors Jim Pocrass and Josh Cohen on being honored with this year’s Streetsblog LA Streetsie Awards.

Other honorees include LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Culver City Councilmember and former Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, LA City Commissioner and CicLAvia Chief Strategist Tafarai Bayne, and climate advocacy group Climate Resolve.

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This one’s definitely worth the click. And maybe even a few copycats.

Thanks to W. Corylus for the heads-up.

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That feeling when you can’t decide whether to build a cycle track or a pump track.

bike lane in Körmend, Hungary from UrbanHell

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Leslie Jones is one of us now, too.

https://twitter.com/Lesdoggg/status/1302365492070379520

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It takes a major schmuck to tell a handicapped bicyclist who doesn’t have use of his legs that he can’t use his mobility device on public trail.

Whether or not it’s technically within the rules.

Seriously, don’t be this guy.

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

An unlicensed driver faces charges for intentionally trying to run down a mother riding with her young daughter, after they complained he was blocking a San Francisco bike lane.

DC authorities are looking for a driver who intentionally ran down a man riding a bike; for a change, the police are treating it as a homicide.

An Ontario, Canada letter writer says bike lanes should be built on a “use it or lose it” basis, suggesting they should be removed if not enough people use them. Maybe we should put the same rule in place for motor vehicles.

No bias here. A British tabloid exposes the “secret” hand signs that bicyclists use to warn other riders about road hazards, which drivers apparently aren’t supposed to know about.

No bias here, either. A British motoring magazine says Covid-19 is being used as an excuse to rob drivers of their precious traffic lanes, and motorists need to keep fighting to claw them back.

Or here, as a British tabloid goes ballistic claiming a fire truck became stuck by a planter intended to block traffic on a Slow Street — even though the fire captain said in the same article that they didn’t get stuck, and supported the traffic restrictions as a safety measure.

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

A group of New York firefighters chased down and detained a bike-riding man who swerved onto the sidewalk to punch a 60-year old woman, apparently at random.

A Saskatchewan woman suffered serious injures when she was struck by a bike rider who rang his bell before plowing into her; the crash may or may not have been his fault, but leaving the scene afterwards was.

Seriously, don’t be that person, part two. A woman on a bike rode off without an apology after being confronted by a child’s mother for hitting and dragging her one-year old daughter in a London Park.

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Local

Surprise! It’s Bike Month in LA County, such as it is this year. Instead of Bike to Work Day, we’ll have Ride a Bike Day on Tuesday the 22nd, aka World Car Free Day; you can celebrate virtually with Burbank and the LACBC.

This is how you change the world. South LA’s East Side Riders Bike Club has been serving a free breakfast to the community all summer; now they’re extending hours to feed children before school, and working on serving lunch.

Look, we get it. It’s great that the former Governator is one of us. But we really don’t need to see daily photos of his daily ebike rides through Santa Monica.

 

State

The bike boom is going full force in San Diego, where a new study shows bicycling rates shot up 40% over last year since the Covid-19 stay at home order was issued.

Highland police will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement crackdown today. Standard protocol applies — ride to the letter of the law until you cross the city limits, so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

A Big Bear bike rider says it’s time to dust off the local bike plans, because there are too many drivers “who either don’t see cyclists or don’t like cyclists on the road.”

The family of a Vallejo bike rider will receive a $6 million settlement from the city, after he was fatally shot by a cop who wanted to warn him about riding on a busy street.

A Los Altos bike rider describes roads emptied by the fires in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties as a cycling Nirvana. Even if everyone was being asked to stay off them.

Santa Clara-based chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices is getting into the bike business with a pair of eponymous ebikes.

 

National

Nice read from a new bike rider, who comes to the realization that it’s okay to take up space on a bike. And that some drivers insist on getting in front, even when it’s not smart.

Cannondale is recalling defective front racks on some of its Treadwell bike models.

A bike rider documented the destruction from a wildfire that ravaged his southern Oregon town.

Now that’s more like it. A Nebraska man got 18 years behind bars for the hit-and-run death of a Colorado bike rider; that compares with just four years for a similar crime in Los Angeles.

A Texas man is riding 3,000 miles around the perimeter of the state, after previously riding 4,900 miles through every street in Austin.

This is why you don’t chase down a bike thief. A Wisconsin teenager faces an attempted murder charge for repeatedly shooting a man who chased after him when the teen allegedly stole a bike from his property.

Chicago has seen a spike in bicycling fatalities, with seven deaths so far this year, including the first death on city’s e-bikeshare.

This is the cost of traffic violence. An assistant Brooklyn DA and experienced bicyclist was killed when she was struck by the driver of a charter bus while riding her bike; advocates point the finger at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for failing to make the city safer. De Blasio responded by saying if you think riding a bike in the city sucks now, just imagine what it would be like without him.

New York’s spare mayor, who would take over if de Blasio stepped down for any reason, says he worries about his own safety while riding a bike, after getting hit by a driver while riding last week.

New York bike advocates call on the NYPD to stop prematurely blaming bike riders for their own deaths before even conducting an investigation.

No charges have been filed against a pro-Trump driver who plowed into a group of bike riders last week at a Black Lives Matter protest in New York’s Times Square.

Someone please tell “Northern Virginia’s leading news source” that robbing, assaulting and exposing yourself to people on a local bike trail is not the same as aggressive bicycling.

A group of North Carolina seniors were heroes after finding four grand in cash while on a bike ride, then tracking down the money’s owner who had literally lost his nest egg.

 

International

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, as a Canadian medical resident biking home from work came across someone passed out in the street, and was able to save their life with a dose of naxalone.

One of Canada’s best-know tech investors was paralyzed from the waist down when he was struck by the driver of jackknifed truck as he was riding his bike last week.

London bicyclists were twice as likely to be seriously injured or killed by speeding drivers during the city’s coronavirus lockdown.

Life is cheap in Wales, where a driver walked after playing the universal Get Out of Jail Free card, claiming he couldn’t see the bike-riding man he killed because the sun was in his eyes. A second driver played the same card in the same crash, but a jury didn’t buy it in her case.

Good for her. The wife of a fallen British bicyclist unleashed her fury on the court for the lenient sentence given her husband’s killer, who got just six months for hitting him head-on while speeding on the wrong side of the road.

Tragic news, as a well-known 86-year old UK bicyclist died while trying to ride the length of the country for a second time, after he was found in the roadway suffering from serious head injuries; he’d completed the 621-mile ride once before when he was 77.

A Berlin court ordered city officials to remove popup bike lanes that had been installed during the pandemic, after opponents accused them of using it to push through their traffic agenda.

Bollywood star Salmon Khan is one of us. Then again, he’s also an accused hit-and-run driver who was never held accountable.

An Indian man had a little time on his hands during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. So he used it to build an eco-friendly wooden bicycle.

Kenyans are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to fall in love with bicycling again.

Tokyo responds to the worldwide bike boom by doing exactly what Los Angeles has failed to do, building bike lanes on 62 miles of major roadways to accommodate the increase in bicycling.

 

Competitive Cycling

By now, it’s not a spoiler to report Britain’s Adam Yates put up a fight before losing the yellow jersey earlier this week, and said leading the Tour de France was fun while it lasted.

French favorite Julian Alaphilippe faltered when his legs gave out on a breakaway yesterday.

Italy’s Fabio Aru had to abandon the Tour due to physical issues that the Former Vuelta winner doesn’t understand himself.

Cycling Weekly catches up with everyone who’s gotten a financial slap on the wrist in this year’s Tour.

Bicycling offers 14 fun facts about the Tour de France you can use to impress your friends. Even though most American’s don’t care in the post-Lance fiasco age.

Seriously, if you’re going to get in the face of the competitors in the peloton, put your damn mask on.

And when people complain about the disparity between men’s and women’s cycling, this is exactly what they mean .

 

Finally…

Your next bike could be a Lamborghini. If you barely get out of the parking lot, you didn’t escape following a bank robbery, whether on a bike or anything else.

And apparently, victory does not always go to the sweaty guys in spandex.

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I continue to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of the people who read this site. Thanks to James L, Fred D, and Janice H for their very generous donations to help me get it up and running again.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask, already. 

Bike rider killed in Lancaster rear-end collision Saturday morning

A man was killed Saturday morning when he was the victim of a rear-end collision in Lancaster.

According to a news release from the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the victim was struck from behind while riding his bicycle west on Avenue K east of Stanridge Ave around 6 am.

A driver traveling in the same direction reportedly swerved into the bike lane, throwing him forward. However, there are no bike lanes visible in a street view or satellite image of the seven lane street.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The male driver apparently stayed at the scene. The report says it does not appear that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, although authorities are investigating whether speed played a role.

It’s unclear what the speed limit is on the street. However, the straight roadway and wide lanes, with long segments uninterrupted by traffic signals, would appear to encourage high speeds, regardless of the posted speed.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Traffic Investigators at 661/948-8466.

This is at least the 32nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones. 

Update: LA County Sheriff’s Deputy dies after falling in San Diego century ride

Sad news from San Diego, where a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy died nearly two weeks after falling in a century ride.

Brian Villa, a 29-year veteran of the department, fell while riding in the Orange County Wheelmen’s Amtrak Century on September 9th.

He suffered a severe head injury, and was taken to a local hospital in grave condition; he was taken off life support and passed away on the 21st.

The crash apparently occurred somewhere between Solano Beach and Torrey Pines in San Diego County.

Villa was training for the annual Police Unity Tour. He leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.

A ride will be held in Irvine on October 28th to raise funds for his family, while a GoFundMe page has raised over $25,000, $10,000 more than the $15,000 goal.

This is the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the fourth in San Diego County. Six of those have been the result of solo falls.

Update: I’m told Villa was 56 years old, and may have been a resident of Orange County. He had participated in the Unity Tour in 2015.

A source places the location at 200 Camino Del Mar in Del Mar. The photo of the site below showing a deep pothole suggests why he may have crashed.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the Brian Villa and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to Bill Sellin, Ellen Steel and Greg “Sarge” Christopherson for the heads-up.

Photo from GoFundMe page

LA Sheriff’s reserve deputy dies competing in World Police and Fire Games mountain bike race

Tragic news from what should have been a fun competition.

The LA Daily News reported this afternoon that a mountain biker competing in the 2017 World Police & Fire Games suffered a heart attack around 9:30 this morning.

He was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital from the course near Castaic Lake, where he arrived in full cardiac arrest.

Sadly, he didn’t make it.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced on Facebook this evening that Reserve Deputy Jacob Castroll passed away at 11:14.

According to their report, he was found unresponsive on the trail by another competitor at approximately 9:40 am.

Castroll’s death is being investigated by the department’s Homicide Bureau since the circumstances of his death are unknown.

It’s possible that he may have fallen after suffering a heart attack or some other physical problem, or that he may have gone into cardiac arrest after falling.

He had served as a reserve deputy with the Malibu/Los Hills sheriff’s station for the past seven years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

The Daily News gives Castroll’s age as 68.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th in Los Angeles County.

Update: Contrary to earlier reports, The Acorn reports Castroll died due to blunt-force trauma to the head and neck, suggesting a fall rather than a heart attack.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jacob Castroll, and all his family and friends.

 

Morning Links: Tesla driving blind to bikes, LASD doesn’t get it, and Justin and Jimmy go tandem riding

Maybe you want to get off the road if you see a Tesla behind you.

Especially if the driver isn’t holding the steering wheel.

According to a review of the Tesla Autopilot feature, it recognized less than one percent of the bicyclists it encountered as a person on a bicycle.

Which means that 99% of the time, it might just run over your ass.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Once again, the LA County Sheriff’s Department demonstrates that their deputies just don’t understand bike laws, passing too close and giving a rider a warning for not hugging the gutter.

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I don't understand why I need to be pull over by L.A. Sheriff officer there a sign somewhere I may take full lane and I can't be in right shoulder all the time there's glass, small pieces of woods and other small debris that I could get hurt. Just a warning without warning ticket ……. there a bicyclist on the sidewalk I don't get it !!!! Sheriff officer didn't gave me 3-4 feet dangerous passing me and did not indicated going to turn right at the intersection. #bike #bikeCommute #compton #bicycle #ShareTheRoad #cycling #cars #street #cyclinglife #bikeroute #bicycles #GoPro #biking #bikenight #road #rideyourbike #cyclists #bicycling #bikes #mountainbike #cyclist #police #dumb #sheriff #wtf Be safe out there and I'm always against the winds not against the law.

A post shared by 🚴🏼ℍ𝕖𝕔𝕥𝕠𝕣 𝔻. 𝔾𝕠𝕟𝕫𝕒𝕝𝕖𝕫🚲🇺🇸🇲🇽🇬🇹 (@mobiler19) on

It’s a very sad commentary when people on bikes know the law better than the people charged with enforcing it.

The LAPD put together a bicycle training module for their officers six years ago, and made it required viewing for every street level officer. It’s long past time that the LASD did the same.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the tip.

………

Evidently, Justin Timberlake is one of us. And so is Jimmy Fallon.

On the same bike, no less.

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Bro-biking. @jimmyfallon 🚲 #memorialdayweekend

A post shared by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake) on

………

David Huntsman shares video of juniors Madison racing, which he describes like this:

Bike racing is chess on wheels; track racing is 3-D chess on wheels; Madison is Quidditch.

………

A writer asks if the decision for other riders to attack when Tom Duloulin stopped for an emergency bowel movement was poor sportsmanship; in the end, it didn’t seem to matter. Although the star of Saturday’s penultimate stage was a man carrying a stuffed fox wearing a pink scarf — the fox, not the man.

An Italian cyclist is just the latest pro to be hit by a car while training.

Ella Cycling Tips looks at the good, the bad and the ugly rivalries driving women’s cycling.

You can now own a piece of the Team RadioShack cycling team, which has gone belly-up along with its primary sponsor. Thanks again to Erik Griswold.

………

Let’s pause for a moment for a quick sponsored message from our friend Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles.

Don’t let National Bike Month slip by without adding Where to Bike Los Angeles to your cycling library. It’s the best riding guide for LA by far, and you can pick it up during the ongoing one-month sale — this May only — for less than twenty bucks a copy directly from the authors’ Amazon store.

………

Local

The LA Times examines how that free bike, pedestrian and equestrian bridge over the LA River in Atwater Village turned into a $16.1 million expense, mostly born by LA taxpayers.

CicLAvia has released its interactive map of the Glendale Meets Atwater Village route on June 11th. Now we just have to wait for the Militant Angeleno to release his guide. Or will CiclaValley once again try to beat the Militant at his own guide game?

Speaking of CicLAvia, next April’s event will roll seven miles through San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont.

Metro says the bikeshare dock at 7th and Fig is on the move to the other side of the street.

Bike SGV continues their series of Bike Month profiles.

The City of Vernon wants your input on plans to finally extend the LA River bike path through the city.

A new documentary premiering in Long Beach on June 8th follows two friends as they rode over 4,000 miles from New York to Long Beach.

Long Beach continues its efforts to restore a human scale to the streets with a 1.5 mile Complete Streets makeover of Broadway, reducing it to two lanes and adding bike lanes and walkways. Maybe LA could take notes.

 

State

Over 100 people turned out to honor fallen Fallbrook cyclist Paul Burke after he was killed by a suspected stoned driver last week.

An Antioch police officer restores a 12-year old disabled girl’s faith in cops after he recovered her $4,000 adaptive bicycle and arrested the man who stole it.

The San Francisco Examiner talks with folk-rocker Cindy Lee Berryhill as she attempts a comeback ten years after her first album came out, after spending seven years caring for her husband during his slow decent into dementia following a bicycling crash.

Once again, Bay Area bike riders protest the lack of a protected bike lane by forming a human barrier between bikes and cars.

Sad news from Sacramento, where a man was riding to his new job when he was run down from behind and left lying in the street; his body wasn’t found until four hours after the crash. His sister notes that it’s possible he might have survived if the driver had stopped and called for help. Which means his killer should face a murder charge once he or she is found.

The Bike Fairy has been giving out free lights to Davis bike riders for the past month.

A local newspaper offers advice on how and when to make the challenging 72-mile ride around Lake Tahoe.

 

National

A professor says the problem with painted bike lanes is that drivers don’t realize they’re bike lanes, saying there needs to be some sort of physical barrier separating the bike lanes from traffic lanes. I’d have to disagree with that assessment; I don’t think drivers are unaware of bike lanes, I think many just don’t care.

A New Mexico jury rules it was a triathlete’s own fault that she crashed into a blob of tar apparently pushed into a bike lane by state highway contractor. Which of course wouldn’t have been there to crash into if the contractor hadn’t put it there.

The family of Texas firefighter received a $39 million judgment three years after he was killed riding his bike when a landscaping truck stopped in traffic with no warning cones or flags, and no lookouts to redirect traffic.

Bicycling says Chicago’s Bloomington Trail is the world’s best bike path.

Ella Cycling Tips profiles the great Sky Yeager, who destroyed the myth of the male dominated bicycling industry by designing some of the world’s most iconic bikes; she’s now working for Detroit’s Shinola.

Life is cheap in Indiana, where a 19-year old man won’t spend a single day behind bars for fleeing the scene after running down a cyclist while driving distracted.

The war on bikes goes on. A Memphis man was critically injured when he was shot twice while riding his bike. Thanks to Bob Young for the link.

Bicycles are more than just tools for transportation; in upstate New York, they’re tools for fighting addiction.

New York police are looking for a bike-riding gunman who shot four men outside a West Village Deli.

New York Streetsblog says reducing traffic fatalities isn’t enough if conditions for bicycling and transit riders don’t improve, as well.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 92-year old WWII vet rode his bicycle 350 miles to Washington DC to promote peace, after surviving the 1944 battles for Peleliu and Okinawa.

Vice President Pence kicked off the 10th annual Project Hero Memorial Day Bike Ride calling attention to PTSD among veterans.

NASCAR driver Jimmy Johnson led a group of fellow drivers and cyclists in a 69-mile ride from the Charlotte NC Speedway to honor fallen motorcycling world champ Nicky Hayden, after he died last week following a bicycling crash.

A North Carolina father and son are facing murder charges after a bike rider died two weeks after they allegedly beat him; they reportedly followed him and another rider prior to the unexplained attack.

A South Carolina newspaper explains the history and meaning of ghost bikes, noting there’s a growing number in the area, which ranks as one of the most dangerous states for bicyclists.

 

International

Toronto will conduct a safety review of the city’s entire 300 mile trail system after a five year old boy fell off his bike on a trail and landed in the roadway in front of ongoing traffic; a simple barrier separating the trail from the street might have saved his life.

A London woman was the innocent victim of a shooting, as she was caught in the crossfire of a shootout between gunmen on bicycles.

London’s Telegraph asks if bike-based delivery service is the next tech bubble.

A London bicycle rider was the victim of a road-raging motorcyclist who got off his bike and attacked the other man, apparently because he jumped a red light.

An Irish ped-assist bike rider was banned from the streets entirely for three years for riding drunk, and under the mistaken belief that his gas-powered bicycle didn’t require a license, which he’d already lost for ten years for driving drunk without insurance.

Caught on video: A Scottish cyclist catches up to Labour leader Jeremy Corbin’s car and shouts a few words of encouragement. Any bets on whether Trump would roll down his window for someone on a bicycle — even before he became president?

Maltese bicyclists are complaining about the dangers posed by haphazardly parked cars.

An Israeli reporter took a ride along the border that once divided Jerusalem to see if the city is truly united now, taking his GoPro along for the journey.

An Aussie woman describes nearly dying of heat stroke after going for a short morning ride in Saudi Arabia that turned out to be much hotter than she expected.

 

Finally…

Don’t try to pay the toll in France. Or decide to ride the entire left coast towing a rhino.

And your helmet may not protect you against cars, but it could come in handy for bears.

 

Morning Links: Surprising stats on CA bike crashes, and unarmed bike rider shot by sheriff’s deputies in Castaic

LA County is by far the most dangerous place in California to ride a bicycle.

Or maybe not.

Following up on his brief look at national bicycling crash stats, Ed Ryder is back with a more detailed look at bicycle injuries and fatalities on a countywide basis in California, from 2004 to 2016. And the results are both exactly what you might expect, and very surprising, depending on how you look at the data.

The good news is, bicycling fatalities dropped slightly in 2014, following a steady upward climb from 2009 to 2013, while injuries continue a gradual decline from a peak in 2012.

State Report 1

Not surprisingly, Los Angeles, as the state’s most populous county, led the way with 41% of bicycling injuries, followed by Orange and San Diego Counties.

State Report 2

The same held true for bicycling fatalities, as Southern California counties dominate the stats, led by Los Angeles at 30%, followed by Orange, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino.

State Report 3

However, the surprise comes when you look at injuries and fatalities on a per capita basis.

When Ryder examined the rate of injuries per one million population, he found that Los Angeles County barely made the top ten, coming in just above the state average. Santa Cruz County led the way, followed by San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Marin and Yolo.

State Report 4

When he looked at the rate of fatalities per one million population, Los Angeles didn’t even make the top ten. It turns out that Stanislaus County is actually California’s deadliest place to ride a bicycle, followed by Tulare, Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties. However, Southern California was still well represented with Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange Counties making the list.

State Report 5

So what exactly does this mean?

It could be more evidence of the safety in numbers effect, as you’re more likely to be injured in less populated counties.

Or the low death rate could be evidence of lower average speeds and better access to emergency care in Los Angeles County.

But the main thing it shows it that too many people are still getting injured or killed on our streets.

And we need to keep fighting until the last person killed riding a bicycle in California really is the last person killed riding a bike.

You can read the full report on California bicycling injuries and fatalities here.

………

Questions are being raised after LA sheriff’s deputies shot an unarmed bike rider in Castaic Tuesday night.

The victim, a homeless man named William Bowers, reportedly jumped off his bike and tried to flee on foot as the officers chased him. He was shot when he allegedly reached for something in his waistband.

However, a witness says he was just walking down the street, after crashing his bike when deputies ordered him to stop, and had his hands down at his side when they opened fire.

The Times says it was unclear why the officers tried to stop him in the first place.

Local residents said the victim was well-known in the area. And despite suffering from drug problems, he never caused any trouble, though he did have a habit of trying to get away from deputies on his bike.

It wasn’t that long ago that shooting an unarmed man was enough to cost an officer his badge.

Now the accusation that someone reached for his waistband is enough to exonerate a cop.

Even if the victim was just trying to hold up his pants.

………

Cyclelicious takes a deep dive into the Caltrans/UCLA report on bicycle crashes in LA County. If you don’t have the time or patience to dig through the full 97-page report, he offers an excellent summary of the key details.

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Bike SGV is hosting a used bike sale today through Saturday.

Bike SGV Used Bike Sale

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Defending silver medalist Lizzie Armistead insists she’s clean as she prepares to lead Britain’s cycling team into the Rio Olympics; she claims the missed drug tests weren’t her fault. Although missing three drug tests in 12 months does not exactly inspire confidence; after the repeated denials from Lance, Floyd, et al, it’s hard to believe anyone who denies doping these days.

Bicycling gets in the mood for Rio with five crazy moments in Olympic cycling history.

………

Local

Metro votes to put the transportation tax increase, including funding for bike and pedestrian projects, on the November ballot.

KPCC’s Air Talk discusses the new law requiring temporary plates on newly purchased vehicles, which should help identify hit-and-run drivers.

CiclaValley continues his report on the ten most essential climbs in the LA area.

There will be a fundraiser this Saturday for bike shop owner Josef Bray-Ali’s grass roots effort to unseat anti-bike CD1 City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, aka Roadkill Gil.

Covina police arrest a burglary suspect who fled by bicycle after breaking a car window and stealing a purse.

The host of Tom Explores Los Angeles will explore the history of Santa Monica later this month with a tour that’s part walking and part bikeshare.

 

State

Mind the letter of the law in OC this weekend, where sheriff’s deputies will be enforcing traffic violations involving drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, in the latest effort to improve safety for the latter two.

Exclusive La Jolla may get a few docking stations for San Diego’s bikeshare system whether they want it or not. Meanwhile, a La Jolla man has discovered the alleys of the community because he’s not comfortable riding his bike on the street.

The madness continues in Coronado, as a letter writer says a proposed bike and pedestrian bridge would just bring more transients. Because evidently homeless people can’t figure out how to take the ferry, or follow the bike path around the bay to the strange little town.

A suspected Palm Springs car thief fleeing from the CHP on a bicycle suffered minor injuries when he allegedly swerved left into the patrol car that was driving right beside him. Sure, that’s credible; a suicide swerve makes much more sense than the cops cutting him off with their car to stop him.

Congratulations to Bakersfield on 29 new bouncing baby bike racks.

Bay Area advocates are pushing for a bike and pedestrian bridge over an estuary near Jack London Square.

An Oakland man was shot in a bike-jacking. Seriously, if someone has a weapon, just let them have the damn bike. No bicycle is worth your life.

 

National

A new Streetfilm says building an equitable bikeshare system is possible.

A man and his dog traveling cross-country by bike were both banged up when their rear wheel “exploded” while riding in South Dakota.

A group of Columbus OH cyclists will ride in purple tutus this weekend to honor a friend who died of leukemia.

A bicyclist slammed into a pedestrian in New York on Wednesday. Notice how no one ever seems to suggest that it might not have been the rider’s fault in cases like this, even though the pedestrian was jaywalking.

A New York study shows protected bike lanes reduce bicyclist and pedestrian injuries and fatalities at intersections by a whopping 53%. Despite claims by some that protected lanes would leave riders more vulnerable at intersections.

A Pennsylvania bike rider offers seven reasons not to hit a bike rider with your car. Reason #8: I know a lot of good lawyers.

The coaching staff of the Washington Redskins commute to training camp by bicycle, despite what they describe as a wild ride dodging car doors and riding salmon.

She gets it. A Charleston SC columnist says it’s time to stop bitching about traffic caused by a bike lane on a bridge, and focus on building a community that serves and protects all people, not just the ones in cars.

An off-duty Charleston cop has been charged with assault and battery following a fight with a salmon cyclist; the officer resigned while the case was under investigation.

A pair of Hilton Head SC thieves stole a pickup from a driveway, and left a bicycle in its place. Sounds like the owner of the truck may have gotten the better end of the deal.

 

International

Cycling Weekly explores the eternal question of what’s the right tire pressure.

If you build it, they will like it. Saskatoon, Canada residents are happy with a pilot bike lane network in the downtown area, even if it leaves a lot to be desired.

A Welsh woman was killed when she rode off a the edge of a ravine in the Pyrenees while cycling in a heavy fog.

Brit commenters argue over who’s at fault when video surfaces of a bike rider getting right hooked as he overtakes a taxi, whose driver failed to signal. So why does it have to be one or the other? Isn’t it just possible that both of them might have contributed to the situation?

An 81-year old Pakistani man is scraping by as a Lahore rickshaw driver after being hailed as a hero when he competed for the country as a cyclist in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics.

Caught on video: A bike-riding Kiwi mail carrier goes out of his way to get a few licks from a nine-month old German Shepherd.

Malaysian authorities raided the country’s cycling officials after accusations of substandard tracks and a lack of safety barriers during the recent Malaysia Games, even though funds had been allocated for the courses.

 

Finally…

No, really. It’s okay if you blow that red light, because you’re just following the rules of calories. How to tell if you’re a Fred.

And yes, you can cart a caribou carcass by bicycle.

 

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

……..

10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

……..

It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

……..

South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

Bike rider killed in South LA collision last week

Sometimes bad news never makes the news.

According to the South LA Sheriff’s Department, a bike rider was killed in a collision with a car last Tuesday, Jan. 26th, at the intersection of Ocean Gate Avenue and 132nd Street in unincorporated LA County. The victim was taken to a local hospital.

Unfortunately, no other details are available.

A street view shows a pair of quiet residential streets; matching that up with the photo in the sheriff’s post suggests that the driver was headed west on 132nd.

A comment to the post says the victim was a boy; she also says the driver had the right-of-way, but may have been speeding. However, there’s no way to verify the comment.

This is the 11th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the third in Los Angeles County. That compares with just two in SoCal this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family.

Thanks to GhostBikes for the heads-up.

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