Tag Archive for misinterpretation of traffic laws

How to make bicycling more inclusive, police demand bike licenses in Lompoc, and $1000 ebike rebates in Sonoma

A new study from PeopleForBikes takes an in-depth look at how to break down the barriers to bicycling in the US, and make it more inclusive.

Bicycling Retailer reports the study concluded with five recommendations.

  • Meaningfully engage with historically marginalized communities on their turf: This is critical for facility planning, implementation, and promotion of cycling. It means going to places of work, play and residence and not expecting them to come to traditional meetings.
  • Don’t shy away from conducting focus groups in and with communities of color: A lesson learned during the study was the lack of experience many had with engaging and recruiting people of color to participate in the focus groups. It’s important to continue building rapport.
  • Expand private-sector encouragement programs: Businesses should encourage employees to commute by bike and provide incentives, from financial to amenities like shower facilities and indoor bike storage.
  • Develop tailored and culturally relevant educational materials, marketing, and outreach strategies: Bicycle safety and road sharing education needs to be provided for drivers, bicyclists, e-scooter users — and police officers, too.
  • Build and invest in bicycle infrastructure, both the big and small stuff: Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or age, most focus group participants said having a network of protected bike lanes was the No. 1 factor that would increase comfort and safety while bicycling. This is especially true with women and less-experienced bicyclists in high-traffic areas.

I’d add a sixth recommendation — find a way to overcome the inbuilt bias in favor of motor vehicles that permeates virtually every city, and prevents the building of safe bike infrastructure that would encourage more people of every description to ride.

Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay.

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In a report that doesn’t make any sense, a group of Santa Barbara-area TV stations say Lompoc police will now require bike riders to have a bicycle license, which is illegal under California law.

Not to mention every other state.

According to the report, the goal is to curb reckless bike riding by groups of young people.

The police department said it commonly receives reports of a group of young bicyclists riding in and out of traffic dangerously, cutting off vehicles, riding throughout parking lots and blocking traffic.

“The biggest complaint that we get is on these kids riding wheelies in the middle of traffic and playing chicken with vehicles,” said Sergeant Arias. “They’ll ride a wheelie for a long distance of time and a vehicle is coming and they’ll stay with the vehicle, and right at the last second they’re swerving to miss the vehicle and the goal is to see how close you can get to a vehicle.”

The problem is that only the state is authorized to write laws governing traffic, and it strictly controls what cities are allowed to do. And operator licensing is a right reserved to the state, which only requires them to operate motor vehicles.

Not to mention that police are only allowed to enforce traffic laws, not make them.

It could simply be a matter of bad reporting, with the station confusing bike licenses with registration.

State law allows cities to decide whether to require bicycle registration to prevent theft, and impose a small fine for failing to do so.

(I can’t find the code online right now, but as memory serves, it’s somewhere around $12.)

But the purpose of the law is to aid in recovering a stolen bike, not to rein in bad bike behavior.

So either the police intend to abuse the bicycle registration requirement to enforce behavior, or they are illegally attempting to rewrite the state vehicle code.

Neither one is good.

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A Sonoma Clean Power program is offering select ratepayers a $1,000 rebate to buy a new ebike.

Which raises the obvious question of why isn’t it available everywhere?

Or at least here in Southern California, where we “enjoy” the nation’s worst traffic and air quality, and desperately need efficient — and affordable — alternatives to driving.

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Pink Bike wants to show you how to survive mountain biking in wet weather.

Aside from just not doing it, that is.

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

A North Carolina bike rider learns the hard way exactly what a brake check looks like after complaining about a too close pass.

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

No bias here. A San Clemente CA letter writer wonders why the city is concerned with banning ebikes from the boardwalk, when local residents are “literally terrorized” by bullying roadies who refuse fail to comply with any traffic laws.

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Local

The LA Times explains how to hike the Santa Monica Mountains’ 67-mile Backbone Trail in eight easy day hikes. I know that’s not about bikes, but it’s all I found today.

 

State

San Diego residents will now be able to voice their concerns about dangerous road conditions, including bike lanes or the lack thereof, in new online forums maintained by the San Diego Association of Governments. Which could be a great idea if they actually read and act on them — without letting the motoring/NIMBY crowd dominate the conversation.

A professor emeritus at UC Berkeley says he’s back on his bike after nearly losing his life on his 19th cross-country bike tour, when the lane he was riding in suddenly ended on a steep descent.

No bias here. A Sacramento TV station warns about dangerous street rides taking over area roadways, then proceeds to report on a weekly, well-mannered family ride in Tracy, where even the police say there have been few problems.

 

National

She gets it. Curbed’s Alissa Walker says America’s standstill traffic is the only thing keeping traffic death rates from being even worse.

Recovering raptors in Bend, Oregon have a bike shop to thank for their new perches, as a local bike shop recycles its used tires by sending them to a nearby wildlife hospital.

Bike Portland profiles a “35-year-old, gay, armless, bike-loving former Russian orphan who wants to be Oregon’s next governor.”

Seattle bike shops are warning customers that the pandemic bike boom, and resulting bicycle shortage, is still going strong, and if you want a new bike this summer, you’d better order it now. Although an industry expect says a bike glut is inevitable when this is all over.

A 16-year old Las Vegas boy decides to pay it forward when strangers raise over $1,000 to replace his bicycle, which was stolen while he was at work; the boy, who has been in and out of foster care most of his life, will hold a bike drive this weekend to help others.

Missouri state troopers remind drivers that bicyclists have a right to the road, and motorists have a responsibility to drive safely around people on bicycles and motorcycles.

A New York website examines why so many automakers are now offering ebikes, concluding if may be less of a transitional step to buying an electric car than a realization that “life’s much more fun (and less expensive) on two wheels.”

A county executive on New York’s Long Island vetoed a measure to ban reckless bicycling by allowing police to “confiscate bikes and issue fines to cyclists who weave through traffic or ride with no hands, among other infractions.”

 

International

Cyclist dishes advice on how to make your bike faster, including reducing drag from flapping clothing and getting a good bike fitting. Although in my experience, the best way to get faster is to drop your own weight, if you have a few extra pounds to lose.

Sad new from Ecuador, as 59-year old former Olympian cyclist John Jarrin was killed when he was struck by the driver of a garbage truck as he rode his bike to work in the city of Cuenca.

A short film from Outside profiles the trail builders behind British Columbia’s new Kamloops Bike Ranch.

Good idea. A new sign now tells drivers when someone is riding a bicycle on a British Columbia bridge.

An 80-something London letter writer argues that he sometimes walks and sometimes rides a bike, but that doesn’t make him a cyclist or pedestrian. And that the best way to get more people to walk and bike is to reduce motor vehicle traffic on the crowded streets.

Hello contradicts former bonny prince Harry’s statement to Oprah in the recent interview that he didn’t get to ride a bike as a kid, showing photos of him riding with his royal parents.

British bike legend Chris Boardman says e-cars are now the biggest hindrance to active transportation, because they give people a reason not to change their behavior.

 

Competitive Cycling

Early season bike racing continues, as France’s Julian Alaphilippe out sprinted the peloton to win the second stage of the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, while Belgium’s Wout van Aert holds the overall lead.

Cyclist profiles all-time women’s great Jeanie Longo as part of their series of legendary women; Longo continued winning races into her forties, despite allegations of doping.

Cycling Weekly asks if enough is being done to protect riders in the peloton from concussions. Short answer, no.

 

Finally…

Presenting a new city bike with a real twist — no, literally. And a collision between a bike rider and a truck driver is a wreck, not a battle.

Even if it does feel like a war out there some times.

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

Misinterpretation of bike safety trumps state law in Pasadena

L.A. cyclists are just beginning enjoy a police department committed to fair enforcement of the law and respecting the rights of cyclists.

Unfortunately, riders in other local jurisdictions aren’t always as lucky.

While Pasadena works to become more bicycle friendly, the Pasadena Police Department has clearly failed to grasp the concept.

In an astounding display of the department’s failure to understand either state bicycle laws or basic bike safety, a certified cycling instructor has given up after spending $4000 to fight a ticket for riding too slowly and too far out in the traffic lane in Pasadena.

Riding on a street with narrow traffic lanes, Chris Ziegler took the lane exactly as cyclists are taught to do for their own safety.

Yet the officer — and evidently, the department — seems to believe that “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb” meant riding to the far right regardless of whether Ziegler thought that would put him in jeopardy.

And regardless of whether he was legally entitled to take the lane.

That’s right. In what we can only hope is a horrible misquote, Pasadena Police Lt. Randall Taylor said that the department’s incorrect assessment of bicycle safety trumps the traffic laws of the State of California.

“Someone who has ridden a bike for more than 20 years obviously knows more about bicycling than I do,” he said. “But it comes down to common sense.”

Taylor, who is assigned to the traffic section, said safety may dictate asking cyclist (sic) to do things that run contrary to the law.

“The street may be too narrow and the law might say that he should ride in the middle of the street,” Taylor said. “But here is a 2,000-pound car and you have a 30-pound bike. Do you want to be in the middle of the street where a driver isn’t looking for you?”

Yes, he actually said that the police may require bicyclists to break the law.

Cyclists are taught that we are more visible riding in the lane than hugging the curb, and that riding too far to the right in a substandard lane only encourages drivers to pass in an unsafe manner.

In fact, the California DMV has this to say on the subject:

How Far to the Right?

Ride on the right, but not so far that you might hit the curb. You could lose your balance and fall into traffic. Do not ride too far to the right:

  • When avoiding parked vehicles or road hazards.
  • When a traffic lane is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side.
  • When making a left turn.
  • To avoid conflicts with right-turning vehicles.

Unfortunately, the PPD — and the judges who accepted their misinterpretation of the law in order to uphold the ticket — evidently never read that.

Or simply don’t care whether they violate state law and put cyclists at needless risk if it fits their concept of safety.

So for the time being, you may want to ride in Pasadena at your own risk.

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Evidently, the publicity helped this week, as a tipster turns in the 74-year old driver who ran down 22-year old Benjamin Zelman — after the city council increased the reward by $25,0000. Now if they could just put as much emphasis on finding the killers of Robert Painter and Ovidio Morales.

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Ivan Basso bounces back from his two-year suspension to take the lead in the Giro D’Italia, coming from 2:27 back gain a :51 advantage. And for a change, a pro cyclist is found innocent of recent doping charges, after former world champ Alessandro Ballan is cleared in an internal investigation by his BMC team.

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In this weekend’s rides and other assorted bike activities, Bike Town Beta 3 takes place in and around the Fairfax District. Will takes riders past the high points of historic West Adams, including the site of the infamous Black Dahlia murder. The SoCal Cycle Chic Ride rolls this Sunday for anyone who “rides in normal clothes.”

Wait, you mean spandex isn’t normal?

The California Car-Free Challenge begins next week. And you’re just over a week from the 10th Annual River Ride on Sunday, June 6.

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The great sharrows volunteer study begins, with paint on the ground promised in two weeks. Mechanically inclined volunteers wanted for BiciDigna, the community bike repair space sponsored by the LACBC, Bicycle Kitchen and IDEPSCA. L.A. Creek Freak says the answer to future oil needs is more riding, not more drilling. In Pasadena, burglars escape by bike, or try to anyway; thanks to Altadenablog for the heads-up. An Orange County man faces 25 years in prison for keying his neighbor’s car. Cyclelicious says he’ll respect motorists’ privilege to use the roads when they learn to obey the rules; amen, brother. Leave your car at home and pedal your way to the Indy 500. A budget conflict sinks this year’s Tour of Missouri. The Bike League apologizes for mentioning the big, evil retail giant in their newsletter. A Santa Cruz area father is shot at trying to retrieve his son’s stolen bike. Colorado raises the penalties for careless driving resulting in death to a level that will automatically mean loss of driving privileges. New York cyclists get a European-style right-side bike-only left turn lane. A blonde American woman bikes through the Middle East and survives to write a play about it. Cyclists offer their support to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood for his support of cycling. A North Carolina man is charged with six counts of felony hit-and-run after plowing into a group of cyclists earlier this month. A look at the bike that won the Giro for Andy Hampsten in ’88. After this week’s dismissal of the Darcy Allan Sheppard, Canadian bike messengers are officially roadkill. A Brit cycling group starts a campaign to keep Posties on their Pashleys.

Finally, Barclays buys the naming rights to London’s new bike share program for £25 million — about $36 million — which should give a hint about how L.A. could finance our long-discussed pilot program if anyone at LADOT or city hall is listening.

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