Tag Archive for license plates

Morning Links: Another ill-conceived bike license letter, rough road to Arroyo Seco, and Santa Ana River bike open house

Here we go again.

A Cleveland driver and motorcyclist trots out the same old ill-conceived demand that bike riders should pay a fee for the use of the roads.

And says we should all have a license plate on our bicycles so we can be held accountable for our misdeeds.

Unlike now, evidently, when people on bicycles get tickets just like anyone else.

But maybe he thinks he’ll be able to read a small, bike-sized license plate at a distance, and call the cops to have them track down and arrest the rider for running a stop sign.

Even though most states prohibit police from making an arrest for a simple traffic infraction. And cops aren’t even allowed to write a ticket unless they actually see the violation themselves.

But maybe his real concern is that people who ride bikes need to pay our fair share for the use of the roads.

In which case every bike rider should get a rebate, since almost every adult bike rider already pays the same gas taxes and registration fees drivers do, because most of us are one.

And we all pay the same state and local taxes, which pay for the overwhelming majority of non-freeway roadwork. Whether or not you use more than a slim fraction of it, striped or otherwise.

However, if his concern is that we should pay for damage to the road surface caused by our lightweight vehicles, he should add some zeros to that check. Because bikes cause an infinitesimal fraction of the damage caused by a typical car, let alone a massive SUV.

This chart originated on the now-defunct Pedal Fort Collins website, now found on streets.mn. Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

Granted, many people who ride bicycles could and should show better adherence to traffic laws.

Just like most motorists. And pedestrians, for that matter.

Never mind that mandating bike licenses creates yet another barrier to riding a bicycle, pushing people back into their cars and making traffic that much worse for everyone.

But sure.

Let’s require virtually unreadable and practically useless license plates on every bike. And cut everyone who rides one a fat check for their share of the roads.

Because it will make people like him feel better.

Oh, and he also wants you to have a mandatory stroke light on the back of your bike.

Because drivers just love being blinded by bright lights. And they don’t complain enough about the flashers we use now.

That’s the license on my old Trek, measuring a whopping 3″ by 2.5″. Just try reading that on a moving bike from several feet away.

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Maybe things aren’t looking so good on the Arroyo Seco Bike Path after all.

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Riverside and San Bernardino counties are hosting a bike day and open house on the Santa Ana River Trail this Saturday.

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Vice looks at the thriving brotherhood of New York bike riders — particularly from Harlem and the Bronx — who prefer riding on one wheel.

Or maybe standing on the frame with no hands.

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CONTROL > COMBOS 🛸

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Meanwhile, this New York ride out is exactly what has Long Island officials in a panic.

Maybe it’s less about what they’re doing on their bikes than who’s doing it.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

A Boulder CO bike rider tells drivers I know you hate me, but please don’t kill me.

Someone tried to sabotage an Arkansas century ride by spreading tacks across the road the night before, leading to complaints of at least a dozen blown bike tires that could have resulted in serious injuries. Or worse.

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

New Jersey police are looking for a trio of bike riding porch pirates.

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Local

Los Angeles marked California’s Clean Air Day with free LADOT bus rides and Metro bikeshare rides.

No surprise here, as bike theft is up at USC, with 37 bicycles reported stolen last month.

UCLA reaches its lowest drive-alone rate yet, as just under half of students and staff members commuted to campus alone in their cars.

Keep Pasadena Moving, the Rose City offspring of traffic safety denying pressure group Keep LA Moving, will conduct an online survey to determine what people in Pasadena think of upcoming traffic safety projects. Anyone really believe their poll will be fair, unbiased and scientific? I didn’t think so.

Caltrans has killed plans for the proposed High Desert Corridor Freeway, which would have build eight to ten traffic lanes through the northern section of LA County, along with a bike path and rail corridor. Maybe they can take the nearly $2 billion in savings and apply it to building bikeways in the rest of the county.

 

State

Business owners on San Diego’s 6th Street are complaining that new protected bike lanes mean there’s no place to unload supplies.

A San Diego man suffered serious head and spine injuries when he lost control of his motorized bicycle in the Barrio Logan neighborhood.

A new report from the Circulate San Diego nonprofit group calls for a Vision Zero program for the North County region.

A 53-year old woman is fighting for her life after suffering major injuries in a Ramona-area hit-and-run; police thought they had the driver’s license plate number, but the plate turned out to be stolen.

Oxnard police are looking for the heartless coward who ran down a 46-year old man on his bike, dragging him 100 feet under his car and leaving him in critical condition with major injuries. Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up. 

Mountain View approved an $81 million Complete Streets makeover of El Camino Real, including protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and new signalized crosswalks.

San Francisco bike advocates want to know if someone really has to die before the city finally gets around to finishing the protected bike lanes on Valencia Street.

Once again, bike riders are heroes, as a group of Roseville kids turn junior detectives and set out on their bikes to find a missing 97-year old woman.

 

National

Electrek takes a look at the new Tern HSD e-cargo bike, and likes it. But unlike most Terns, this one doesn’t fold.

Who knew there’s a nearly 3,000-acre wetlands park outside of Las Vegas — let alone with a 14-mile bike path?

Yet another example of authorities keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late. Or nearly too late, in this case, as a Utah driver faces multiple charges for fleeing the scene after hitting a six-year old boy and driving home with his bike still wedged under the car, leaving the kid with facial and skull fractures; the unlicensed driver had long list of traffic violations, including repeated failure to install an interlock device after a 2014 DUI.

A trio of Illinois priests are on a five day, 350-mile bicycle trek across the Peoria diocese to encourage young men to join the priesthood.

A Michigan Planet Fitness gave a new handcycle to a man who was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash so he can compete in a Detroit marathon.

Indiana is planning to build a 90-mile bike path through five counties along the Wabash River. Which means one day, you might be the famous Wabash Cannonball.

A judge has ordered the release of an Indiana man convicted of murdering a college student in 2000 after she went for a bike ride, ruling he had ineffective legal representation.

A Columbia University grad student has developed a sustainability index to rank 35 American cities. Needless to say, the LA area checked in near the bottom, trailing every other California city listed.

That’s more like it. A US senator from Delaware hopped on a bike for a tour of state bikeways to promote the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) of 2019. Maybe if every elected official would try that, we might actually get safer streets.

I want to be like them when I grow up. The Baltimore Sun talks with a group of spandex-clad Maryland seniors who are still riding their bikes in their 70s and 80s, including one man who’s still doing half centuries at 89.

 

International

Lime is launching an international influencer campaign, tapping local advocates to promote their e-scooters. And maybe bikes, if they still plan to have them.

Kids in Columbia’s second largest city say they live for gravity biking.

Tragic news from British Columbia, where 22-year old Canadian ski cross racer Mikayla Martin died after crashing her mountain bike while riding on a trail with a friend.

Life is cheap on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, where a driver faces just two years for killing a woman riding her bike as she trained for a triathlon.

The BBC offers a photo essay of bicycling women and non-binary people of every description.

A British driver got lousy 21 months behind bars and a five-year driving ban for fleeing the scene after speeding through a red light and slamming into a bike rider, leaving him with multiple fractures; naturally, he tried to blame the victim for the crash.

A distracted driver in Great Britain was sentenced eight years in prison for killing a bike rider while chatting on his cell phone and driving the wrong way on a one way street.

A 16-year old English boy is on trial for murder, accused of tossing a bikeshare bike into the path of a motorcyclist and causing him to crash.

 

Finally…

Some cycling fashion trends are best forgotten. When bike cops police them, rather than ride them.

And the next time you can’t remember if an LA roadway is a boulevard, avenue or street, just check this handy-dandy color-coded map.

Map by Erin Davis

Morning Links: Leading San Diego bike advocate dies, CA bicycle car license plates, and 2017 Tour de France route

Heartbreaking news from San Diego, as one of the city’s leading bike advocates has passed away.

The news came this morning that Bill Davidson, a passionate fighter for the rights of bicyclists, had died earlier this month of undisclosed causes.

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Bill was a reader of this site, and had contributed to it in the past. And he was quick to shoot me an email if there something he thought we should know, or to correct any perceived mistakes.

While I didn’t always agree with him, I always listened to him and respected his opinion. And more than once he managed to change my mind through his detailed and impassioned reasoning. Or at the very least, get me to see things in a different way.

The California bicycling community will be much poorer without him.

Services will be held at 4 pm today.

He was only 53.

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David Drexler forwards a photo of a bicycling automotive license plate from Oregon, and asks how we can get something like that here in California.

Oregon Share the Road License Plate

Actually, Calbike is already on it.

Even if their webpages aren’t loading properly, for some reason.

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The Tour de France unveils its route for next year’s edition of the race. The Telegraph says it’s designed to break the dominance of Chris Froome’s Team Sky, while the Guardian says it’s designed for sprinters like Froome. Reuters says it will favor aggressive riders.

Bike racing returns to Colorado following the collapse of the USA Pro Challenge, with the four-day Tour of Colorado stage race; the race is part of the UCI Americas Tour, along with another new four day race in Richmond VA.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks at Sunday’s CicLAvia, and the changes LA has seen in the six years since the first one.

In a rare moment of wisdom, the LA County Board of Supervisors votes to bring all the various interest groups together to craft a single, unified master plan for the LA River; hopefully, that will include bicyclists.

KNBC-4 reports on the call to ban bikes from the LA River bike path in Elysian Park. There’s almost no chance of an actual ban, but it’s yet another reminder to always ride safely around people who are walking.

Evidently, we have a budding bike racer in the making, as Pink’s five-year old daughter takes third in her first BMX race; her father is former motocross champ Corey Hart.

Pasadena’s Gooden Center will host their fourth annual Richard Selje Ride for Recovery on Saturday the 29th, with rides of 100, 62 and 25 miles benfitting Pasadena’s oldest non-profit recovery center.

Someone stole three bikes worth $1000 each in a smash and grab burglary from the ElectroBike store on Main Street in Santa Monica.

Serious Cycling in Agoura Hills is hosting a SoCalCross Happy Hour Tour this evening, ending with a few cold beers at Ladyface Ale after the ride.

 

State

A Costa Mesa man dropped his bike and fled onto the 405 Freeway to avoid a drug bust, shutting the freeway down for ten minutes early Tuesday morning.

Police seek witnesses after a 92-year old Newport Beach bike rider suffered major injuries in a crash Monday night.

Irvine’s ARB Cyclery is holding a shop ride, followed by a screening of a new documentary about Ride 2 Recovery a week from tonight.

San Diego beach communities continue to fight against bikeshare stations, while the owner of a bike rental business claims the city’s bikeshare system has cost him $120,000 over the past two years.

Apple Valley will begin work on a 2.75 mile multi-use path along the Mojave River next week.

Calbike honors the founder of Santa Barbara’s Bici Centro with the organization’s 2016 Dreamer Award.

Sad news from Kern County, where a bike rider was killed in California City Monday morning.

 

National

A new bike helmet will monitor your heart, signal your turns, allow you to communicate with other riders, and send a text alert if you fall off your bike; no word on whether it will actually protect your skull.

The historic Colorado casino town of Black Hawk, which famously — and unsuccessfully — tried to ban bicycles a few years back, is now trying to lure mountain bikers by building 12 miles of singletrack in the mountains above town. Which is not the same as welcoming bicyclists on the main street through town.

Once again, a bike was a getaway vehicle, as Kansas grocery store was robbed by a man with a mask who made his escape by bicycle.

A St. Louis man is alive today because his heart rate monitor warned he was having a heart attack while he rode. And the first person who came along after he got off his bike just happened to be a doctor.

A Chicago cyclist won the title as the fastest bike messenger at the North American Cycle Courier Championship last week.

Chicago advocates call for an unbroken, 27-mile long bikeway along both branches of the city’s eponymous river.

A road raging Connecticut driver faces charges for assaulting a bicyclist and throwing his bike across the road after he right hooked the rider, who had responded by yelling what “may” have been a swear word.

In a bizarre case from upstate New York, a woman committed suicide by handcuffing herself to a mountain bike and riding into a lake.

New York hopes more protected bike lanes will help the city close the cycling gender gap. Meanwhile, an editor for Gear Junkie takes a white-knuckle ride with a bike messenger through the city’s streets.

A South Carolina teacher starts a crowdfunding campaign to give all 650 students in her school a new bicycle for Christmas; GoFundMe tossed in another $10,000 for winning the company’s competition for the most successful school crowdfunding campaign.

 

International

Vancouver business leaders oppose construction of a permanent separated bike lane on a busy commercial street, citing stats saying only seven percent of shoppers arrive there by bike. Which is kind of like saying don’t build a bridge because only a handful of people currently swim across the river.

Many cyclists ask motorists to give them at least an arm’s length passing distance; a Montreal man will settle for a pool noodle. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Caught on video: A London bike rider is knocked on his ass when a scooter rider cuts directly into him.

A new short film from Apple shows Rapha designers crafting their new line on iPads.

The award for learning Gaelic goes to an Italian cyclist.

A Kiwi cyclist was saved by his fellow riders when he suffered a heart attack during a crit while medical staff were occupied with a crash.

Even in extremely auto-centric Australia, the city of Adelaide decides future streets will be built to favor pedestrians and cyclists while reducing vehicular traffic; naturally, one city councilor complains that it’s social engineering.

 

Finally…

Anyone can lead police on a car chase; it takes skill to lead police on a 20-minute bike chase because you don’t want a ticket for an open container. Clowns may be creepy, but they’re not bike thieves.

And once again, don’t ride your bike over another man’s Lamborghini.

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Thanks to everyone for your kind words yesterday. It’s been a rough 24 hours, but I’m glad to be back at work.

 

Morning Links: The bi-coastal bikelash goes on, and good news on the medical and track racing fronts

The bikelash goes on.

Sometimes, even from people who profess to be cyclists themselves.

Take this writer from Goleta, just outside Santa Barbara.

Please.

He starts with a suspicion of a grand conspiracy to force drivers out of their cars.

According to him, road diets, bulb-outs and bike lanes are planned, not to improve safety or provide transportation options, but to make driving so miserable that people have no choice but to give up on their cars and take to bikes.

Never mind that if bicycling somehow miraculously reached the level of ridership found in the Netherlands, it would still only amount to 27% of all trips.

He insists that those behind it are those damn progressive politicians and traffic department bureaucrats, environmental advocates, and the “well-funded, politically powerful Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition.”

Which would no doubt come as a surprise to the SBBC. And make it one of the few well-funded bike advocacy groups anywhere.

Or maybe the only one.

Then he pivots to the standard complaint that bicyclists don’t pay for the lanes they ride on. Which is based on the false assumption that drivers do, rather than being the most heavily publicly subsidized form of transportation.

The obvious solution, in his mind, anyway, is licensing cyclists.

Even though the money raised by licensing is unlikely to bring in enough to even cover its own operating costs. And even though bike riders already pay more than their share for the roads through their own taxes.

Naturally, he also complains that bike riders break the law. Except for him, of course.

And unlike motorists, who would never, ever dream of speeding, driving distracted or making an unsafe lane change in a vehicle capable of doing far more harm than even the worst scofflaw cyclist.

So the law needs to crack down on cyclists, he insists. And we all need to carry liability insurance, because maybe someday, in the bike utopian world he so fears, a distracted cyclist could cause a massive bike pileup that forces a poor, innocent driver off the road.

No, really.

It’s worth the read if you need a good laugh.

Unlike the New York Post’s latest attack on former NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

In what passes for an exceptionally auto-centric, yet pedestrian review of her acclaimed new book, a writer for the paper goes on the attack, less for what she wrote than what she wrought.

He complains about “her ruinous tampering with historic traffic patterns” as she sought to turn the city into one of the world’s great bicycling cities, “everyone else be damned.”

Even though surveys consistently show most New Yorkers support the city’s bike lanes and the changes she helped make, and traffic fatalities have reached historic lows.

He goes on to complain that public plazas around Times Square are so crowded and overrun with tourists and hucksters that New Yorkers “assiduously” avoid it. Sort of like Yogi Berra’s famous proclamation that “No one goes there’s anymore. It’s too crowded.”

And in his eyes, moving parked cars away from the curb to form protected bike lanes makes the streets look like parking lots. Unlike before, when the same cars were far more attractively parked on the same streets.

Somehow, those cars also make it harder to see what’s on the other side of the street. Because they were apparently transparent before being moved a few feet to the left.

He tops it off with the assertion that the city’s bike lanes are only used by food delivery people most times of the day.

Never mind that bike commuting doubled in just five years, and more people are riding that ever before. Let alone those 22 million Citi Bike riders, who have to be riding somewhere.

He ends by complaining that the damage done by Sadik-Khan’s reign is with us to stay.

For which most New Yorkers are undoubtedly grateful.

And the rest of us can only envy.

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If you haven’t already, take a few moments to sign the petition asking for all new or used cars sold in California to leave the lot with a temporary license plate.

It doesn’t take much effort watching traffic to realize that too many cars are on the streets with no front plates — or any license plates at all — making them virtually impossible to identify in the event of a hit-and-run or other traffic crime.

And enforcing the law requiring front and back plates on every vehicle seems to be a very low priority.

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Exciting news on the medical front, as stunt cyclist Martyn Ashton takes his first mechanically assisted steps with a new hi-tech walker, three years after he was paralyzed from the waist down.

And after an injection of neural cells taken from his nose, a Polish firefighter can now ride an adaptive tricycle, four years after he was paralyzed from the chest down after a stabbing.

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US women win their first-ever gold in team pursuit at the track cycling world championships; Temecula’s Sarah Hammer was part of the winning team, and qualified for the Rio Olympics in another event.

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Road raging drivers are one thing. Getting chased by an ostrich is another.

And he really needs to learn to hold his line.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Amy Wong of Women on Wheels.

Russell Crowe goes mountain biking on Sunset Blvd, while the Brit press goes gaga over his biceps.

Burbank residents beg for safety improvements on Edison Blvd, including a proposal to install bike lanes to tame traffic.

A Pacoima man was shot to death Thursday night, apparently while riding his bicycle.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride with roll this Sunday, with a pre-St. Patrick’s Day themed ride through DTLA led by board member Patrick Pascal.

 

State

It’s been over 49 days since the Marines impounded a number of mountain bikes after their riders strayed onto the Miramar Marine base in San Diego, with no resolution in sight.

A Silicon Valley bike commuter creates a website to provide consumers with more information about insurance companies in an effort to force them to improve their customer service.

 

National

Here’s your chance to work in bike advocacy, as the Bike League is hiring a new Education Director and a Member Services Coordinator.

The Tucson truck driver who plowed into a group of cyclists while allegedly high on meth is being held on $1.5 million bond. Which somehow seems too low.

Two-thirds of Iowans support proposed legislation that would require drivers to change lanes to pass bike riders. Although someone there clearly doesn’t like cyclists, as a popular Des Moines bikeway is sabotaged with tacks.

Chicago is building three curb-protected bike lanes, with an eventual goal of 50 miles of low-stress bikeways.

The Washington Post argue that the federal government should not reclassify bikeshare as mass transit programs, which would qualify it for Fed transit funding.

 

International

The new Audi A4 has lights on the doors to warn drivers if a bike is coming to help avoid doorings. Because actually looking before you open the door is just too hard.

A Vancouver business site says instead of investing $5 million in bikeshare, the city could have bought bicycles for about 200,000 children in low-income households. Which kind of misses the point.

A Toronto lawyer says cars are becoming the weapon of choice, yet drivers who use them to attack others still get their licenses back.

Nice piece on bicycling in Victorian England, which suggests that the bike-riding men of the day were the original hipsters.

Belgian rider Femke Van den Driessche is just 19 years old, and facing a lifetime ban for motor doping.

An Aussie writer says the only thing the country’s mandatory bike helmet law protects you against is fines. Meanwhile, an Australian news network does its best to whip up a panic over e-bikes.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 85-year old Kiwi cyclist refuses to let a collision with a trailer keep him off his bike.

 

Finally…

The next driver who runs you off the road could have two left feet; no, literally. Ford wants to save you from those embarrassing moments when you can’t unclip from your pedals.

And I think we can all agree BikinginLA deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So who has an extra $30,000 lying around?

 

Identifying the real dangerous vehicles on the road

These days, bike licensing seems to rear its ugly head every time the topic of cycling comes up.

Not among cyclists, of course.

But with those members of the four-wheeled, non-riding set who consider cyclists a dangerous menace on the roads. And demand some way to identify scofflaws, so they can be ticketed and prosecuted for the harm they cause to all those law-abiding drivers, who evidently live in constant fear of us.

And yet, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 698 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents nationwide in 2007 — 109 of those in California; the overwhelming majority of those were killed in collisions with motor vehicles.

At the same time, over 40,000 drivers and their passengers were killed in motor vehicle accidents. While no statistics on the subject seem to be available, I suspect the number of those killed by cyclists was somewhere in the neighborhood of zero, give or take.

Talk about blaming the victim.

I was thinking about that because of an email I received the other day. A reader, who asked not to be identified, wrote that he had been the victim of yet another hit-and-run while riding over the weekend.

A Hummer had crossed over into the bike lane he was riding in, striking him with its mirror as it drove with two wheels in the lane. Fortunately, he was able to maintain control and wasn’t seriously injured, even though incidents like that can be extremely dangerous, frequently resulting in serious injuries.

Or worse.

The problem came when he attempted to identify the vehicle so he could report it to the police. Only to discover that, just like all those scofflaw cyclists, the SUV had no license plates of any kind – even though California law clearly requires license plates on both the front and rear of most cars, trucks and SUVs.

The difference being, not only is a Hummer capable of causing serious injury or death, this one had just struck a cyclist and fled the scene.

Of course, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Last April’s infamous Hummer Incident began when an SUV without plates struck a cyclist on a group ride, and the other riders blocked the truck to keep it from leaving, since they had no other way of identifying the driver to the police.

And we all know how that ended.

(For those who don’t, after threatening the cyclists, the driver drove over the bikes blocking his way, continuing until the police stopped him with a bike still lodged under his vehicle. The investigating officer concluded the cyclist was at fault and let the driver go without so much as a warning — then told the cyclists if he had been driving the Hummer, he might have used a gun instead of just driving over their bikes.)

And that’s the problem.

You don’t have to ride, walk or drive these city streets very long to notice that, despite the law, more than a few of the vehicles sharing the road with you have no identifying license plates, front or rear. And more that a few of those seem to be high-end Hummers, Navigators and Escalades.

And it’s not just a problem for cyclists. As my correspondent said in his email,

Its an issue for anyone on the road who wants a little insurance against hit-and-runs, but obviously its a bit more urgent for riders.

We need to be able to identify the dangerous drivers if we’re going to be safe on the road.

And we can’t do that if the laws requiring the display of license plates on the vehicles that actually need them isn’t enforced.

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Once again, bikes are shut out of the Festival of Lights after opening night. Damien is looking for volunteers to help judge the annual Streetsie Awards. The Eastside Bike Club invites riders — or Ridazz — to join them for the Lincoln Heights Christmas Parade this weekend. A San Diego cyclist gets a ticket for observing CVC21202. Missouri’s Tracy Wilkins is in awe of the Fat Cyclist; evidently, Johan Bruyneel is, too. New York joins the long list of states — not including California — considering a three-foot passing law. Hampshire cyclists are stopped by the police and given hi-viz vests. The perfect gift for cyclists who take the lane. Who was the rocket scientist who put Edinburgh’s new tram tracks parallel to the bikeway? No sentence yet for the Auckland driver who ran down four cyclists. Denmark and Holland are the Galapagos Islands of bicycle culture. Finally, the Orange County Register says it’s time to stop killing cyclists. Or getting killed, for that matter.

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