Tag Archive for Mississippi Circuit Judge Roger Clark

LACBC Planning Committee tonight, blaming OC biking victims & guilty of DUI but not killing cyclist

The LACBC’s Planning Committee will meet at 7 pm tonight at the Downtown Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main.

Tonight’s agenda will include a presentation by Alison Kendall of Kendall Planning + Design on the upcoming USC Campus Bike Plan, as well as a possible discussion of traffic calming efforts on Via del Monte in Palos Verdes Estates — which has already nearly taken the life of at least one cyclist.

You don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate. Just give a damn about safer, more livable streets.

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I honestly don’t know what to think about Orange County Register columnist David Whiting.

I mean, his heart seems to be in the right place. I think he genuinely cares about keeping cyclists safer and diffusing tensions on the road.

He just too often seems to go about it by blaming the victims.

For instance, he complains about perceived offenses such as riding two or more abreast, which, much to the surprise of many misinformed motorists — and law enforcement personnel — is not even mentioned in the California Vehicle Code. Let alone prohibited.

But then he follows it up with mostly well-reasoned advice from the Executive Director of the OC Bicycle Coalition. Though I’d take issue with the rationale behind this bit of advice, as well as the second suggestion.

Seven: Running stop signs

Running stop signs irritates drivers.

Smart: Respect stop signs and the right of way of vehicles. If a driver waves you through, stop and put your foot down to show that you “get it.” Most drivers are so amazed to see a bicyclist stop, they chill out for next rider they pass.

Yes, stopping at a stop sign is important, especially when there are other vehicles or pedestrians around. It’s one thing to carefully go through a stop after ensuring there’s no one else around; dangerous and foolish to do it when someone else has the right-of-way.

But intersections are risky enough without trying to unnecessarily complicate matters by insisting on stopping when someone else safely defers the right-of-way to you.

Then there’s his most recent column with comments from readers that include complaints against overly entitled riders and suggestions that bikes don’t belong on the road when there’s a perfectly good bike path nearby. Not to mention a former law enforcement officer who claims to have ticketed a rider for doing 41 mph in a school zone.

If I got a ticket for going that fast, I wouldn’t fight it.

I’d frame it.

But what ultimately puts me off Whiting’s writings is his frequent insistence on the old auto-centric fallacy that better behavior by cyclists will result in greater respect and courtesy from drivers.

It won’t. It doesn’t. And it never has.

Yes, you should always ride safely, and as legally and courteously as the situation allows — bearing in mind that it’s your life that’s on the line, and what’s legal isn’t always what’s safest.

But angry drivers don’t act that way because of anything you do or don’t do on the saddle. In reality, they’re usually upset by your simple presence on the road. Let alone the fact that you’re in front of them, which means a few seconds delay in their death-defying rush to wherever they’re going.

Telling cyclists not to make drivers mad is like telling a battered housewife to be more obedient so her husband won’t beat her anymore.

It’s long past time to stop blaming the victims.

Thanks to David M. Huntsman, Esq. for the links.

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Then again, a comment by a Streetsblog reader pretty well sums up the whole argument.

Yesterday I saw a bicyclist do [insert dangerous, stupid, inconsiderate, boneheaded move here] and it nearly inconvenienced me. This means all bikers better watch out because the responsible, productive, law-abiding members of this community aren’t going to tolerate this kind of anti-social behavior from you riffraff much longer.

Yesterday I saw a car driver do [insert dangerous, stupid, inconsiderate, boneheaded move here] and kill someone!  A tragedy, but it was an accident, no one’s fault really, just one of those bad parts of living in the modern age that we all have to put up with. After all, anyone can make a mistake. It would be a shame to even suspend the driver’s license over it because they really might need it to get to work. It certainly is no reflection on me or how most people drive.

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A Ramona driver is convicted of being under the influence of methamphetamine and driving under the influence when she killed a cyclist, followed by hitting a parked car, stop sign and a liquor store.

Yet according to the Ramona Sentinel, she wasn’t responsible for his death, because the cyclist was drunk when he was killed.

David Bruce Menea was riding with a BAC of .17 — over twice the legal limit — as well as riding without lights when he reportedly rode out in front of Suzanne Nicole Reed on September 11th of last year. Despite veering right to avoid him, Reed hit and killed Minea before crashing into the other objects.

She was sentenced to one year in jail, with all but 90 days suspended, as well as 5 years probation and fined 2008.

Now, if Whiting wants to complain about drunk cyclists riding without lights, I’m totally in his corner.

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A Mississippi Gulf-area judge shows that at least some jurists take drunk driving seriously, dishing out the sort of sentence Long Beach Fire Captain John Hines and underage drunk driver Jaclyn Garcia may have deserved, but could never have gotten here in the late, great Golden State.

Let alone drivers high on meth who kill other people.

Circuit Judge Roger Clark threw the book at convicted drunk driver Robin Lee Vo for critically injuring a cyclist while driving at over twice the legal limit — sentencing her to 20 years in prison, 10 years suspended, plus $400,000 restitution.

That’s 10 years in state prison, compared to one year apiece in the comparable California cases, and just 90 days for meth-driving Reed.

Are you listening, judges?

I don’t know a damn thing about Mississippi judge Roger Clark, but he’s got my support for any office he wants to run for.

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Not only do those damn cyclists back up L.A. traffic, but they actually seem to be enjoying themselves. L.A. endurance athlete and registered dietitian Matthew Ruscigno amusingly takes up cyclocross; maybe he’ll be at this weekend’s Santa Cross in Griffith Park. Flying Pigeon’s next Get Sum Dim Sum ride takes place this Sunday, while Walk Bike Glendale will host a family-friendly holiday ride. Santa Monica Spoke invites everyone to the LACBC’s 3rd Annual Mid-Winter Merriment at the Library Alehouse on the 27th, and looks for volunteers for the bike valet. The Daily News finds flaws in L.A.’s new bike plan. The Hansen Dam bike path gets security upgrades after series of after dark assaults. The Port of Long Beach will approve the final environmental impact statement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge — including bike lanes. Ride with Alta Planning principal Mia Birk in Long Beach Thursday. Rancho Cucamonga cyclists and pedestrians now have their own bridge over freeway-like Foothill Blvd. How to repair your Joe Blow.

Holiday season riding means dodging crazed shoppers. The Senate considers an amendment that could improve safety for all road users, yet at the same time, considers banning cyclists from some roads on federal lands. Interestingly, the percentage of people who bike is pretty evenly distributed across all income levels. A graphic argument on how bikes can save us. A series of 60-second sprints could help control Type-2 Diabetes. Columbia MO allows parking in bike lanes, and a local bike advocate thinks that’s a good thing. Seriously? Advil promotes winter bike congestion relief in Chicago. A Wisconsin study shows transit costs $50 per year per household, while roadways cost $779. Turns out a Wisconsin town isn’t planning to ban bikes and pedestrians after all — but the scary thing is, they could. A leading bike safety advocate is killed when he’s run down from behind. A U.S. Representative keeps the pressure on following the deliberately botched investigation of a cycling fatality by tribal police on a New Mexico reservation. A cyclist is the latest injury in New York’s contested Prospect Park. A North Carolina driver claims she was blinded by the sun and sneezing when she ran over a cyclist; oh, well it’s okay then. North Carolina cyclists may be left out in the cold on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Louisiana authorities suspect alcohol use in the death of a 76-year old cyclist; the victim, not the driver. When it comes to traffic signals, Florida cyclists just want fair treatment.

A Canadian cyclist is nearly refused entry to this country because he didn’t have a helmet. The Department of DIY strikes in Toronto. An Ottawa cyclist files suit after an open manhole leaves him an incomplete quadriplegic. Evidently, English soccer fans — or at least Hotspur fans — are too dense to figure out the difference between Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy and Premier League referee Chris Foy. In the UK, they actually enforce speed limits on popular cycling routes; go figure, huh? What do Dutch expats miss more than bicycling? Herring. An Aussie driver goes on a crime spree after killing a cyclist. Long Beach’s biking expats take their Path Less Pedaled to New Zealand.

Finally, the rules of bicycle touring haven’t changed much in the last 128 years, as bad teeth was no barrier to enlistment in the bike corps, and even billionaire robber barons rode bikes.

And returning to this century, frame meister Dave Moulton offers 10 tips for driving around cyclists; don’t click the link unless you’re in the mood for the best laugh of the day.

Maybe David Whiting should read that before he writes his next column.

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