Tag Archive for liability insurance

$10 million ebike rebate added to CA budget, onerous bikeshare insurance bill, and Beverly Hills gives up on bikeshare

This is beginning to look like a watershed year for bicycle bills in Sacramento.

Calbike writes that a proposed $10 million program to help Californians buy ebikes has made it into the latest draft of next year’s state budget.

SACRAMENTO – CalBike is thrilled to announce that legislators approved a $10 million e-bike incentive program in next year’s state budget. Funded as part of the state’s campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, the program will help thousands of Californians get access to e-bikes to replace car trips. Bikes eligible will include bikes “designed for people with disabilities; utility bicycles for carrying equipment or passengers, including children; and folding bicycles.”

It joins bills to decriminalize jaywalking (AB 1238) and allow bike riders to treat stop signs as yields (AB122), which both pass out of committee in the state senate last week.

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Calbike and the LACBC are also stepping up efforts to oppose AB371, which would force bikeshare and e-scooter providers to extend insurance coverage to their customers, which could have a chilling effect on micromobility.

This is why we are frightened by a bill in the state Senate that could kill shared bike and scooter systems. It would require nonprofits, government agencies, and private companies that operate shared bike and scooter systems to extend their liability coverage to the sole negligence or reckless behavior of a rider, setting a legal precedent that no other industry is subject to. Just like a rental car company cannot be held liable for the reckless actions of their drivers (Graves Amendment), neither should shared bike and scooter operators Further, the proposed form of insurance would be highly susceptible to fraud due to the low cost and ease of staging accidents, with minimal burden of proof.

The bill would even apply to the nonprofits and government agencies that just got funded to operate bike share systems with some of the $20 million in Clean Mobility Options grants. The Air Resources Board clearly understands the potential of these systems; the legislature should also, and abandon this attempt to impose a fatally impractical requirement.

Let’s hope they get it.

While more probably can and should be done to protect bikeshare and scooter users, and those around them, this is not the time to make them financially untenable and drive micromobility users back into their cars.

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You can kiss Beverly Hills Bike Share goodbye.

The tony city is joining a growing list of SoCal cities in pulling up stakes on its docked bikeshare system at the end of this month.

I wouldn’t hold your breath on those new shared mobility options, though.

At least not as far as bikes or scooters are concerned.

Thanks to David Drexler for the forward.

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Cable news outlet Spectrum News 1 highlighted Walk ‘n Rollers bike repair hub and free bicycle distribution program.

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

No bias here. The mayor of an Iowa town is begging for lawsuits, let alone funerals, after posting a large sign telling drivers not to stop for bike riders where a popular bike trail crosses a two lane highway. Even though he insists he rides a bike himself, and only wants to improve safety by encouraging people in cars to kill people on bikes just keep going. Sure, let’s go with that.

A London school is using traffic cones to block a new bikeway, claiming bicyclist are endangering the students — never mind that they’re endangering their own students and parents who ride bikes to school.

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

An English ebike rider with defective brakes walked without a day behind bars after he was sentenced for recklessly weaving in and out of traffic before running a red light and crashing into a car; he suffered serious head injuries in the crash.

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Local

Los Angeles was ranked as the nation’s 14th most future-focused city, based in part on LA’s bike score. No, really.

KCRW considers what a post-pandemic Los Angeles will look like, as UCLA architecture and urban design professor Dana Cuff points to CicLAvia as a sign of hope.

LA Taco offers a photographic look at the annual Chief Lunes Fireworks Party Ride through DTLA and Glendale on the 3rd.

Pasadena is looking for input on the city’s proposed pedestrian plan.

KNBC4 sounds its “bulbous bike horn” over the return of CicLAvia in Wilmington next month.

 

State

There’s justice for a fallen San Diego bike rider, after Abbas Karama Shariff copped a plea in the hit-and-run death of 35-year-old Daryl Treadwell in May of last year; he’ll be sentenced to the maximum penalty of four years behind bars.

A new study from San Diego’s Juiced Bikes confirms that riding a ped-assist bike over challenging terrain burns as many calories as a game of basketball. Playing, that is, not watching.

Streetsblog San Francisco calls Oakland’s decision to keep the protected bike lanes on Telegraph Ave a “resounding win for safety.”

Bike riders in Los Altos are calling a new freeway expansion project a death zone, with riders on the Foothill Expressway now expected to cross left over double right turn lanes in order to keep going straight.

Sad news from Chico, after it turned out the bikepacker killed by a grizzly bear while camping in Montana earlier this week was a 65-year old woman from the NorCal city.

 

National

Bicycling says yes, there’s a shortage of bicycles and parts due to the pandemic bike boom, but you don’t have to be a jerk about it. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Outdoor Life rates trunk-mounted bike racks.

A pair of Nebraska nonprofits formed the state’s first all-girl mountain bike team to encourage young women to get out and ride.

There’s a special place in hell for the owner of a historic St. Louis building, who is threatening to evict a bike charity by Monday after the bicycles they’d planned to donate to disadvantaged kids were damaged in a partial building collapse last summer — even though the owner was renting them space in a building that had been condemned in 2013. They estimate it will take another $40,000 to clean and repair the bikes so they can be safely ridden.

A Houston rabbi is recovering from multiple broken bones after the bike path he was riding on ended without warning, and he crashed into some large traffic barrels that were lining the roadway.

A Virginia bike shop owner calls the state’s new law requiring drivers to change lanes to pass someone on a bicycle “a blessing,” saying most people didn’t know how to judge the previous three-foot passing requirement.

Good for them. Inspired by a five-year old amputee, a group of Lafayette, Louisiana high school students are hoping to take a product they developed for a robotics competition to market; the adaptation kit they created can be added to any bicycle in minutes to assist people with missing or compromised legs to ride a bike.

 

International

A group of young Bolivians are battling pollution by forming the first bicycle messenger and delivery service in the smog-choked city of Cochabamba.

This is the cost of traffic violence. An eleven-month old baby is dead and his father hospitalized after they were collateral damage in a collision between the drivers of a supercar and an SUV in Vancouver, when one of the vehicles slammed into a group of pedestrians.

I want to be like them when I grow up. Canada’s Royal Academy of Octogenarian Cyclists Facebook group is for people over 80 who still love to ride a bike.

When my wife and I visited London several years ago, we quickly learned walking around Parliament and Westminster Abbey meant taking your life in your hands. Now plans are in place to cut Westminster speed limits to just 20 mph to improve safety and encourage more people to walk and bike.

Call it a royal tandem, as the queen’s daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, took to two wheels to support a “new initiative to tackle rising unemployment among people who are blind or partially sighted,” with the program’s appeal manager as stoker.

A British motorcycle rider got three years behind bars for fleeing the scene after slamming into a bicycle rider when he clipped the wheel of another bicycle and sliding across the roadway. He was arrested after he returned to the site of the crash on a borrowed bicycle, and was chased down by a cop who had to borrow another bike to catch him.

A new Austrian study confirms what most of us already suspected — suburban living is the worst for carbon emissions.

Victoria, Australia will give new See.Sense smart lights that collect roadway data to 1,000 bike riders in an effort improve safety for bicyclists.

 

Competitive Cycling

Yesterday’s Tour de France winner claimed his fourth career stage win, on the most prestigious stage of the world’s most prestigious bike race. Meanwhile, no change in the yellow jersey, even if it did crack a bit.

Germany cyclist Tony Martin was forced to abandon the Tour after crashing into a ditch.

Sadly, we don’t have to worry about spoilers in women’s cycling. Twenty-one-year old Dane Emma Norsgaard won her first stage in the Giro Donne by just edging out SoCal’s Coryn Rivera on a course that circled Lake Como. No word on whether they waved to George and Amal Clooney as they went by.

Pink Bike examines how technology pioneered in mountain bikes is making its way into pro cycling.

Flo Bikes looks forward to this weekend’s Mountain Bike Nationals. They’re being held at the Colorado resort where I learned to ski, back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

A 29-year old Poway man with cerebral palsy is on his way to Tokyo to compete on the US cycling team in the Paralympic Games.

 

Finally…

Police seldom have much of a sense of humor when you blow through the barricades and nearly run over a bunch of bike cops. Los Angeles bike riders have to watch out for LA drivers; bike riders in Maine have to beware of itchy caterpillars.

And this is what the latest installment in the Fast & Furious franchise looks like to a traffic safety advocate.

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

Cyclists v. drivers — who’s to bless and who’s to blame

So let’s pick up where we left off the other day.

I ended on Monday by saying, if I may be allowed to briefly quote myself:

…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.

Later that day, I was flipping through the March issue of Bicycling, and found an excerpt from a truly devastating article by David Feherty, the bike riding CBS golf analyst who was nearly killed last year in a collision with a truck:

…I am sick up to my coin purse of hearing cyclists apologize for the behavior of a tiny minority of morons on two wheels. Sure, they give the rest of us a bad name. Get over it. This problem is caused by careless and inattentive drivers, period.

Read the article. Seriously.

But read it on an empty stomach. Because his description of the accident and its aftermath will make whatever you have in there want to come back out — the hard way.

I can’t agree with his contention that drivers are the only ones responsible for bicycling accidents. I’ve seen riders do some damn stupid things. Myself included.

But he’s absolutely right that it’s time to stop apologizing for the actions of a small minority of riders.

I am not responsible for the jerk I saw drafting on a Big Blue Bus through Santa Monica traffic last year. Neither are you. Unless you happen to be that jerk, in which case I’d really like to have a serious conversation with you.

No more than I am responsible for the driver who followed a city bus through a stop sign in Westwood yesterday, without even pausing. And nearly hit my car in the process.

We see it every day, whether we’re in the saddle or behind the wheel, crossing the street or riding the bus. Drivers speeding and weaving, running red lights and stop signs, making U-turns in traffic, reading behind the wheel, chatting on their cell phones or putting on makeup.

Yet no one would suggest that drivers are responsible for the careless and irresponsible actions of other drivers.

Frankly, I’m tired of being blamed for things I didn’t do. And having my life endangered by drivers who can’t be bothered to observe their legal responsibility to drive safely and attentively.

The problem is, we live in a society where most drivers aren’t held accountable for their actions. The legal requirement that all drivers carry liability insurance means that there is no financial penalty for having an accident — except in the most extreme cases — other than a possible increase in insurance rates.

And drivers are seldom held legally responsible for their actions, simply because we as a society insist on believing that most collisions are simply “accidents,” rather than the result of carelessness or a failure to drive safely and maintain control of the vehicle, as required by law.

Meanwhile, as noted by Bob Mionske, we face an institutional bias against cyclists, both in law enforcement and in the media, and an attitude of blame bicyclists first.

It’s not going to change.

Not unless we demand that it does. Demand that our elected officials enact laws that protect our right to the road, and place the burden of responsibility on the operator of the more dangerous vehicle. And support candidates who support cycling.

Demand educated and unbiased law enforcement, knowledgeable in the rights, as well as the responsibilities, of cyclists. And insist that the press report cycling incidents fairly and objectively, rather than just parroting police reports.

 

A Santa Barbara writer insists on her right to be irritated when a cyclist impedes the progress of her Suburban, while another writer encourages bikers to increase their chances of survival by riding responsibly. An Austin cyclists befriends other riders — and steals their bikes. CityWatch’s Stephen Box notes that LADOT’s bikeway successes remain works in progress. And Fox News discovers four of the country’s deadliest highways are right here in Southern California.

The nail that stands out, pt. 2

 

Feel free to copy and use this image. Or make a better one, and I'll post it here.

Feel free to copy & use this image. Or make a better one, and I'll post it here.

After I put yesterday’s post online, I went out for a nice, long ride down the coast to Hermosa Beach, enjoying the ride, the sunshine and the bikinis. And those wearing them, of course.

But then, as I was nearing my home, I started kicking myself — mentally anyway; doing it physically would be kind of difficult with my feet locked into my pedals. And after 46 miles on the bike, I’m not sure I would have had the energy, anyway.

Because it occurred to me that in my response to Mr. Rowe’s letter to Rupert Murdoch’s latest acquisition, I failed to address a key point. Consider the penultimate line of his screed:

“…Bicycles should be required to have a fee-paid license plate and be ticketed for infractions….”

It’s a variation on the same old canard you’ll find on virtually any message board or letters column discussing cycling. Sooner or later, someone will suggest that all cyclists should a) have to study and pass a test, b) have a license, such as a driver’s license, c) have license plates, as Mr. Rowe suggests, and/or d) carry liability insurance.

The catch is, we already do.

You see, in today’s auto-centric society, most cyclists are also drivers. In fact, while I’m sure there must be some, I don’t personally know of a single cyclist over the age of 16 who does not have a driver’s license.

Which means that we have studied the rules of the road, so there is no excuse for any bicyclist not knowing the rules of the road — just as there is no excuse for any driver being unfamiliar with the traffic laws and regulations, including laws regarding cyclists’ right to the road.

We can also be ticketed, just like the operator of any other vehicle — legitimately or not. And while I have no personal knowledge of the subject, I would assume that any ticket received while cycling can result in points against the recipient’s driver’s license, under the provisions of section 21200 of the California Vehicle Code, just as they would for a driver who receives a similar citation.

And as I discovered when I was struck by a car several years ago, car insurance in this state covers the driver, not the vehicle — which means that the driver is covered when operating his or her car, or any other vehicle. Including a bicycle.

In fact, State Farm paid my entire medical bill under the uninsured driver section of my policy. And as my agent explained at the time, any other section of my policy — including liability coverage — would be equally valid, whether I was in my car, driving someone else’s car, or on my bike.

So the problem isn’t one of licensing or liability coverage. It’s just that some cyclists, like some drivers, are jerks. In fact, I’m convinced that people ride their bikes the same way they drive. If someone is a safe driver, he or she will undoubtedly be a safe cyclist, while those who drive like jerks will undoubtedly ride the same way. Just like drivers, they usually get away with it simply because there’s seldom anyone around to enforce the law.

And here in L.A., the cops usually have more important things to do than worry about whether a cyclist blew through a stop sign.

 

Will uses my new favorite word in an attempt to track down the indignorant Mr. Rowe, and sacrifices a chunk of flesh to a man-eating chainring. Next weekend’s Brentwood Gand Prix will reward competitors with a special prize for the Sex and the City crowdA lone cyclist takes to the freeway; as Richard Pryor would say, that _______’s crazy!  A town in Arkansas weighs becoming a LAB-approved bike friendly city. If only our own local cared that much; we’re still waiting for action on the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights.

 

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