Tag Archive for right hook

Irrational bike hate on the roads, Black bike rider confronted by wealthy white SF resident, and right hooked in Los Angeles

She gets it.

A New Zealand writer perfectly captures the fear and frustration bike riders feel, where we’re blamed and threatened just for being on the road.

Or maybe on the planet.

Discrimination based on stereotypes and assumptions is unacceptable, whether it’s racism, sexism or speciesism. Hatred of bike riders is another -ism, and there’s no justification for it. It’s bullying. It incites drivers to harm or intimidate people on bikes. Whether it’s a shock jock on talk back or The Daily Blog, hating on bike riders is dangerous and can endanger peoples’ lives.

When you ride a bike, it’s like you have a target painted on your back. Every day, when I get on my bike, for fun, fitness and transport, I become a target for people who suddenly irrationally hate me– because maybe they saw someone on a bike who ran a red light once, or something. But I don’t suddenly turn into a bad person on my bike – to the contrary, I’m very happy!- I’m just someone trying to do my bit for the planet, who wants to get home alive…

It’s not rational to hate cyclists even though it seems to be a national sport, whether you’re a driver or not. So give us a break. Car drivers don’t actually own the road. People on bikes aren’t some foreign species undeserving of the right to life. We’re mums and dads, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunties. We’re loved, and we love life. But every time you hate on us, condemn us for riding, you risk us staying alive.

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What the fuck is wrong with people these days?

Once again, a Black bike rider is confronted by an allegedly racist White man. And once again, the interaction is caught on video.

In this case, the man on the bike is delivering Narcan to a halfway house to help prevent opioid overdoses in San Francisco’s wealthy Pacific Heights neighborhood, when he’s accosted by a man questioning what he’s doing there.

As if bike riders of color don’t belong in the overwhelmingly white community.

And yes, driving and biking while Black or brown is a real thing.

Or walking, for that matter.

And not just in the Bay Area.

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This is what a right hook looks like.

And how to bail to avoid one.

https://twitter.com/EntitledCycling/status/1401551927062667264

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Great video showing hundreds of Angelenos Riding for Freedom in South LA on Saturday.

https://twitter.com/bRuc14/status/1401382048363794435

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Paris wasn’t Paris that long ago, either.

Just remember that the next time someone says Los Angeles isn’t Amsterdam. Or Copenhagen. Or New York.

Or anywhere else, for that matter.

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Never mind the trashcan in the bike lane.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the heads-up.

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Yeah, no.

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How to vinyl wrap your bike shoes to add a little bling, without suffering the indignity of bedazzling them.

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Adventures in bad headlines. Something tells me the unfortunate bicyclist was more than just “involved.”

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Here’s your Monday mountain bike break.

Although you may want to take your dramamine first.

Unless maybe you’d rather ride in Utah.

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

No bias here. A surfing writer admits to fantasizing about running down bike riders on PCH, and says ultra-surfer Kai Lenny reveals a sadistic side by embracing the pain that comes with surfing and his newfound love of road cycling. Apparently he’s confusing sadism — inflicting pain and suffering on others — with the self-inflicted suffering of masochism.

A New York state legislator calls for requiring helmets, operator’s licenses and registration plates for every bike and scooter rider in the state, regardless of age — because he nearly killed a bike rider “who came out of nowhere” while he was driving. Even though all of those requirements have been show to be ineffective or counterproductive, at best. And maybe he’d be better off paying more attention to the road, because no one ever comes out of nowhere.

A Kiwi hardware chain has to publicly apologize after an employee used his personal Facebook page to threaten bicyclists — while including a reference to the company he worked for. Oops.

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

Police at the University of California Sacramento, aka Sacramento State, are looking for a bodycam that was stolen from an officer after he or she was rammed with a bike when he told a group of bicyclists to stop doing stunts on a sign they tore down to use as a ramp, then was surrounded and attacked by a group of 10 to 12 riders before backup arrived; two people were arrested.

Once again, Minneapolis police are accused of using their bicycles as weapons against protesters. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

This is the cost of traffic violence. Gone Girl, Six Feet Under and Nashville actor Lisa Banes is in critical condition after an apparent hit-and-run collision involving someone on a motorized bicycle or scooter in New York City’s Upper West Side.

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Local

Nice to see LA Times columnist Nita Lelyveld profile Kenny Uong, everyone’s favorite Metro transit meister, who many of us have watched come of age on Twitter.

Learn how to fix your rear derailleur with Metro this Wednesday. Thanks again to Keith Johnson.

 

State

San Diego proposes eliminating parking requirements for businesses near mass transit or in small plazas near dense residential areas, allowing them to immediately transform parking into outdoor dining areas or extra retail space.

Team USA BMX Cycling champ Brooke Crain was censored by administrators when she was invited to talk to students at her Visalia alma mater, who refused to let her share her coming out story while calling for suicide awareness and prevention, following the death of her own father at his own hand.

 

National

Bloomberg says bike prices are up, if you can find one — and you might have to wait until the new models come out later this year.

A bighearted 29-year old Illinois man set out to ride 4,400 miles across the US to raise $4,400 for the Trevor Project to help prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth. Then he just kept going, riding 17,000 miles through the US and Central and South America, raising over $11,000 in the process. Make that nearly $13,000.

A Spokane, Washington paper celebrates the state’s 700-mile Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route. There’s no reason why California shouldn’t have a similar cross-state trail. And probably more than one.

A travel website makes the case for Tucson — yes, Tucson — as a bicycling paradise.

Nice move in Mad City, where advocates are helping to build a library of adaptive bikes for differently abled people.

Oneida NY’s Community Bike program donated over 200 refurbished bikes to children and adults who need an affordable means of transportation.

The director of a Pittsburgh advocacy group celebrates the progress they’ve made on the city streets and the likely election of the city’s first Black mayor, while noting they still have a long way to go.

Philadelphia’s edition of the World Naked Bike Ride will return this August, with riders expected to wear as much or little as they’re comfortable with. Just make sure you get the date right, otherwise it’s frowned upon. Thanks once more to Keith Johnson.

 

International

A new study shows more than half of all women who ride bikes suffer some genital numbness and mild sexual dysfunction, especially on bikes with drop handlebars.

A pair of Canadian First Nation members are riding 215 kilometers for the 215 children whose bodies were found buried at a Catholic Indian school; the 135-mile ride has raised $1,110 of a modest $2,150 goal.

Londoners walked and rode bikes on a trail named for a former bike-riding mayor to commemorate her death at 92 years old; Jane Bigelow was mayor of London from 1972 to 1978.

An English writer schools himself when he discovers, despite his own biases, that the overwhelming number of bike riders use bike lanes, rather than taking to the sidewalk as he suspected. But he never bothers to find out if there’s a reason why some people ride on the sidewalk, instead.

Bike commuting rates in Britain have more than doubled over the past year, from six percent to 13 percent, making it the nation’s third most popular form of transportation behind driving and walking.

Something doesn’t add up, though, as Scottish drivers call for scrapping popup bike lanes in light of the country’s 30% drop in bicycling rates over the past year — despite the pandemic bike boom, and the overall jump in bicycling in the UK.

Toyota gets ridiculed for a British ad showing a man on a cheap ass mountain bike next to a $38,000 SUV, while calling it their “ideal adventure.”

Seventy-seven years after the D-Day landing, a Canadian museum in Normandy, France received a folding bicycle carried ashore by a Canadian soldier landing on Juno beach; when his unit shipped out to Germany, he gave the bike to a French farm boy, who rode it for school and work for another 40 years.

A Catholic website looks at people making a two-wheeled pilgrimage to worship at Italy’s shrine to the Madonna del Ghisallo, the patron saint of bicycling.

Police in Berlin shut down streets in half the city to make room for over 10,000 people on bicycles, who rode to the Brandenburg Gate to demand faster implementation of a plan to build a citywide network of protected bike lanes and safer intersections, as well as reducing the number of deadly crashes. If Los Angeles could ever turn out even half that many bicyclists we might finally see some real action here, too.

A severe storm nearly turned fatal for a 12-year old year old German girl when she was hit by a driver after a nearby lightening strike knocked her off her bike.

This is who we share the road with. After the pandemic shut down the world of dance, a Kolkata, India dancer and choreographer took a job as a food delivery rider to make ends meet — and got hit and threatened by an allegedly drunk motorcycle cop after just two days.  Although he may have been on a motor scooter, since the Indian media doesn’t usually distinguish between bicycles and motor cycles.

The head of India’s opposition Congress party promises to take care of the family of the famed Bike Girl, who pedaled across the country carrying her sick father on the back of her bicycle at the beginning of the country’s lockdown, so she can continue her studies and her passion for bicycling after her father’s death from Covid. Which is great, but what about the countless other less famous Indian families that have been left destitute by the virus?

 

Competitive Cycling

American Ian Boswell took a stand for transgender rights while winning the Unbound Gravel race in Kansas, formerly the Dirty Kanza, raising his arms in victory while wearing an armband in the colors of the trans flag.

Now that’s dedication. American cyclist Kiel Reijnen ran 18 miles in his socks after busting a wheel during Sunday’s Unbound Gravel race; he finally threw in the towel two hours later after realizing he wouldn’t make the cutoff.

Five people were seriously injured in a crash during an Australian bike race, ranging from broken ribs and collarbones to major facial injuries that required a medivac flight to the ER.

 

Finally…

Your bike helmet could have 5G before your phone does. Apparently, riding a half-century is good for your golf game, too.

And that feeling when the new song from world beating boy band BTS seems to be about a bicycle.

Although it may help if you understand Korean. Which I don’t.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a mask

And get vaccinated, already.

Morning Links: Westbound PCH closures for fire repairs, CiclaValley gets right hooked, and more ‘Tis the season

It’s the 13th day of the 4th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive.

Your support keeps SoCal’s best source for bike news and advocacy coming your way every day.

And allows me to devote whatever I have left on this planet trying to make it a better place for people on two wheels. 

Anything you can give helps, and is truly and deeply appreciated!

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Don’t plan on riding PCH anytime soon.

Caltrans will be closing sections of the right lane and shoulder on a 20-mile stretch of the westbound PCH in Malibu between Coastline Drive and Decker Canyon Road to repair damage caused by the Woolsey Fire.

The work will take place between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm, Monday through Saturday; no word on when they expect to be finished.

The state will also close one lane in each direction on PCH between Puerco Canyon and Corral Canyon roads to work on a median project.

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CiclaValley has a notable ride to work for the second day in a row — and not in a good way — after yesterday’s high-speed buzz by a motorcyclist.

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A second Dutch bike rider barely avoided getting run down by a train after riding around crossing barriers, just days after video surfaced of a similar incident.

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‘Tis the season.

One hundred kids from a Gardena youth and family services program got new bicycles courtesy of Chargers running back Melvin Gordon and Rally Health.

London’s Telegraph offers a holiday gift guide for roadies.

An English news site is attempting to raise the equivalent of nearly $160,000 for the country’s MS Society this holiday season; woman with MS who bought an ebike with a grant from the group calls it a game changer.

And in less happy news, a Cape Town, South Africa bike shop was vandalized and looted in the wake of a festival kicking off the holiday season; authorities were able to get four of the stolen bikes back.

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Local

An environmental justice advocate is recruiting bicyclists to monitor air quality in Southeast and East LA.

Pasadena public radio station KPCC examines why California’s three foot passing law is so seldom enforced in the LA area, and how that contributes to the city’s well-earned status as America’s worst bike city; you can find the same report on LAist if you’d rather read than listen. Both versions have the extreme good taste to quote yours truly.

 

State

San Diego will spend $2.3 million to connect two existing bike paths in Carmel Valley, closing a missing link in the regional bike network.

A Palo Alto bike rider was the victim of a hit-and-run when he was run down from behind by the driver of a Porsche SUV, while riding in a green bike lane.

San Francisco voted to become the first major city in the US to eliminate minimum parking restrictions.

The City by the Bay will add parking protection to an existing bike lane to keep parents out of it when they drop off and pick up their kids from a nearby school.

On the other side of the Bay, Oakland approved plans for a purple and green parking protected bike lane.

 

National

Streetsblog offers suggestions of what a Green New Deal could look like.

The former head of the Chicago and DC departments of transportation says the solution to quickly and easily accommodating e-scooters and other forms of micromobility is restriping streets to create narrow “slow lanes.”

An 1896 Portland map shows the city’s bike culture goes back at least 122 years.

Oregon police use a bait bike to bust four bike thieves. That’s something that the LAPD still doesn’t use, despite the city’s soaring bike theft problem, due to the City Attorney’s office fears of entrapment.

A Washington man rode 4,233 miles through 13 Mid-American states in the shape of a heart to unite Americans in love and political balance. Although it doesn’t seem to have worked just yet.

The LA Times recommends a seven-day bike tour through the Arizona desert, beginning and ending in Tucson, for the low, low price of just $2,995. Or you could just, you know, go to Tucson, get on your bike, and start riding.

Now that’s more like it. A DC-area county has approved a new bike plan calling for an additional 750 miles of paths, trails and separated bike lanes, to go with 250 miles already on the ground; as usual, they just need the money to pay for it.

Florida bicyclists want to know why the distracted driver who killed two bike riders wasn’t charged; police say the sun was in her eyes, yet somehow it didn’t blind the group of riders she slammed into.

 

International

National Geographic offers their take on the world’s best bike cities. San Francisco made the list; oddly, Tucson got the only honorable mention, despite ranking just 24th in the US according to Bicycling. Needless to say, Los Angeles didn’t.

An Irish writer politely notes that some bicyclists are “bending the rules,” perhaps because the explosive growth in bicycling is outpacing bike infrastructure. Or it could be that some people are just jerks, whether on two wheels or four.

Dutch bike writer David Hembrow says overuse of motorized transport is destroying everything.

He gets it. The mayor of Tehran has joined the country’s Car-Free Tuesdays movement to help reduce the effects of air pollution, riding his bike to work this week, while taking a subway last week.

Apropos of today’s weather in Los Angeles, Bicycle Times offers tips from an Aussie rider on how to stay safe while biking in the rain.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Daily Breeze posted, then removed, a story reporting next year’s Amgen Tour of California would end with a stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena. So maybe you now have advanced word if they took it down because they jumped a news embargo. Or not.

VeloNews explains why elite women’s ‘cross is must-see TV.

Phil Liggett say the death of close friend and broadcast partner Paul Sherwen is hard to believe, and hints that it may cause him to rethink his role as the voice of professional cycling.

American pro cyclist Ian Boswell explains what happens when a bike racer turns race promoter.

 

Finally…

The bicycling model of financial management. Evidently, wearing a mask on your bike in the cold can get you arrested for frightening children.

And London’s bike shop to rock royalty.

Somehow, it’s hard to imagine Keith Richards riding a bicycle. Fortunately, you don’t have to

Morning Links: Tour de Tucson this weekend, yours truly gets right hooked, and bike theft by drone

It’s a light news day, so let’s get right to it. 

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Frequent contributor David Drexler sends a brief note asking for a mention of this weekend’s Tour de Tucson.

One of the best road bike rides/races in the USA that everyone can participate in, Tour de Tucson, is this Saturday.

Last minute registration is allowed on site on Friday I did that last year, can’t go this year.

I have raced it 4 times over the years.

100 miles, everyone get a timing chip and you can race/ride in your age class so it’s possible to come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

Tucson really turns out for it, broadcasting it, shutting down all roads, driveways, tons of police, raised over a million for charity.

At the front start are pros some from Olympics, Amgen, and the WorldTour.

Your name is published with finishing time.

Today is the last day for online registration for the Tour de Tucson. You can learn more about the race — a lot more — here.

Photo by Markus Spiske via Pexels.com.

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Ride long enough, and you develop a sixth sense for when you’re about to get right hooked, long before a belated turn signal.

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Local

CiclaValley looks at the before and after images of the tragic Woolsey fire, comparing the aftermath to the scenes from some of his previous rides.

What could be more LA than watching a bike rider get hit by a car in the background as TMZ interviews comedian Mike Ross as he steps out of a WeHo bar?

 

State

An Op-Ed in the Orange County Register says lawsuits against scooter makers threaten innovation.

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition invites you to join them for the opening of a new bike art exhibition this Thursday, as I Love To Ride My Bicycle opens at San Diego’s SDSU Downtown Gallery.

They’re onto us, comrades. A Palo Alto writer says a plan to add bus lanes and protected bike lanes on a major street is just a scheme to increase congestion.

 

National

Bicycling takes a photographic look at the “long and glorious” history of cycling.

A Seattle website says it’s time to take #MeToo to the streets because planners need to listen to women who walk and bike.

Houston residents argue that public safety isn’t a public health issue, even though public health experts disagree.

 

International

A local magazine offers ten reasons why an Ontario town is a car-first community.

A new report says ebikes could replace up to 813,000 trips in London every day, reducing CO2 emissions by 184 metric tons.

A British county is raising funds to buy five children’s ebikes in an effort to fight childhood obesity.

A Scottish bike advocacy group calls for dropping speeds on rural roads to 40 mph to improve safety for people on bicycles.

Life is cheap in Ireland, where a careless bus driver loses his license — and probably his job — for four years for killing a woman as she rode her bike, but won’t spend a day behind bars.

Another one to add to your bike bucket list, as a bicyclist photographs her way through Crete.

Founders of Moscow’s massively popular bike parades say the city’s Department of Transport is muscling in on them with a goal of taking them over and shutting them down; the three-times a year rides attract as many as 30,000 people each time.

An Aussie website recommends using an ebike to pull yourself out of a rut.

Kyoto, Japan is addressing climate change by setting itself on a path to become the Copenhagen of Asia.

 

Competitive Cycling

Transgender world masters track champ Rachel McKinnon is still facing a backlash — including death threats — a month after winning the title. I’ll leave it up to others to determine if being born male gives her an advantage or not — but she followed the rules, and beat cyclists who had previously beaten her. And no one deserves that crap, especially over a damn bike race.

 

Finally…

When your ride is interrupted by wild Alaskan cows. If you’re going to get drunk and trash a bar, try not to crash into a police car as you pedal away.

And now we have to worry about airborne bike thieves.

Or not.

Because that doesn’t look staged at all.

No, really.

Morning Links: Woman injured by cyclist in Elysian Valley, and sidewalk cyclist injured in WeHo right hook

My apologies for the continued lack of email notifications for subscribers. We’re still working on it.

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This is why you always have to ride carefully around pedestrians.

According to the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch, a woman was critically injured in a collision with a cyclist this past weekend.

This past Saturday, a senior citizen, a mother, grandmother, active member of the Jardin del Rio Community Garden and a beautiful EV neighbor sustained life threatening injuries while on her morning exercise walk on the Elysian Valley Pedestrian/Bike path. She is said to have been struck from behind by a speeding cyclist at or around 8:00 AM, near the Riverdale Ave. street access to the path. Minutes ago, I visited her at the USC Medical Center with her son, where she is in ICU (intensive care unit) with head injuries that have her intubated and with a “no bone flap on right side” of her skull.

The Elysian Valley Neighborhood watch has called for safety on the path and necessary City correction from the inception of the bike path, a flawed design that neglected area historical pedestrian use and that today has a beloved neighbor battling for her life. The decision by City officials to favor the cycling community and to respond to area calls for safety improvements with bandaid approaches makes the city complicit in this injuries and grossly negligent.

Unfortunately, there’s no word on whether the rider stopped following the collision, or just fast he or she was actually traveling.

It’s always possible the victim may have stepped into the path of the rider without looking, something familiar to many of us who have used shared pathways.

But regardless, it’s up to all of us to ride in a safe and careful manner around pedestrians, to slow down and give them as much passing room as we’d expect from a motor vehicle. And give some kind of audible warning before passing to avoid tragedies like this, whether it’s “passing on your left” or a cheerful “good morning.”

Because this is what can happen if we don’t.

However, the writer goes on to call for immediately closing the bike path to cyclists until improvements are made — even though no one would ever demand all cars be banned from a street if a driver hit someone.

Let’s hope this woman pulls through, and makes a full and fast recovery.

And that the local community will work with bicyclists to find solutions that will benefit everyone.

Thanks to Patrick Pascal and Colin Bogart for the heads-up.

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A woman was injured in an apparent right hook collision with a big rig truck while riding her bike in a West Hollywood crosswalk yesterday morning; unfortunately, there’s no word on her condition.

This should be a reminder to always use extreme caution when entering an intersection if you’re riding on the sidewalk. Or better yet, ride in the street; statistics show you’re actually safer on the roadway where you’re more visible to everyone.

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You’d think for $12,000, the wheels would stay on.

Specialized is recalling 1,000 of their high-end Venge bicycles because the rear wheel can come out of the dropouts, fracturing the rear triangle and causing the rider to lose control and fall.

Which is a bad thing.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the tip.

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Stunt rider Danny MacAskill is out with his latest video; Red Bull discusses the making of a Wee Day Out.

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Local

A new “cycling lifestyle” shop is scheduled to open in Echo Park this Saturday; Banker Supply Co. is the second outlet of a Pittsburgh store designed to appeal to a wide range of non-spandex clad riders, including women.

The leader of rising band Warpaint goes for a bikeshare ride through DTLA.

DTLA’s Metro Bike Share will expand to Pasadena next summer with at least 400 bikes in 34 stations; however, most of those stations will be south of the 210 Freeway, potentially underserving the poorer communities to the north.

The Daily Breeze reports on Palos Verdes Estates’ decision to overrule the PVE Traffic Safety Committee and not place “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs on the city’s streets, saying it would cause confusion since they aren’t posted in other cities on the peninsula. Even though those signs only clarify to drivers what bicyclists are already allowed to do under state law.

A Long Beach student paper says it pays to bike to work, as an Aussie study shows bike commuters saved an average of nearly $7.70 per day compared to motorists.

 

State

San Francisco cyclists get nifty new wayfinding signs.

Construction has been completed on the fully separated bike path on the east span of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, although it won’t open for another few weeks. And even though it only goes halfway across the bay.

Santa Rosa nears the opening of a new pump track bike park, thanks to the unrelenting efforts of a local cyclist.

 

National

Keep your cool out there. A new study from the American Heart Association says exercising while angry triples your risk of a heart attack.

Colorado authorities file hate crime charges against a pair of men caught on video attacking another man, allegedly because he was gay, as he tried to ride away on his bicycle.

Texas police and fire departments surprise a Wataburger employee with a new bicycle after hers was stolen from behind the shop on Monday.

A Chicago fire lieutenant is the latest rider to lose his life in the Windy City; the city has already exceeded its average yearly total for bicycling fatalities.

The Minneapolis Bike Coalition questions whether bicyclists are being stopped for biking while black, after stats show nearly half of the tickets written to cyclists went to black riders in the overwhelming white city.

Once again, a Michigan driver has killed multiple cyclists, as a 76-year old man drifted across the fog line and rear-ended two women riding on the shoulder; that comes just four months after five riders were killed in the drug fueled Kalamazoo massacre.

 

International

Unbelievable. Police blame a Canadian cyclist after he’s hit by a city road patching truck, even though he was walking his bike in a crosswalk after suffering a double flat.

Caught on video: A London cyclist directs a driver out of a protected bike lane.

An Irish writer says she nearly killed three cyclists in just the last week because they were dressed in black and riding dark bikes, insisting it’s a disgrace that helmets and reflective vests aren’t mandatory. She’s got a point about riding with lights, although if she’s had that many close calls in a single week, the problem may not be with the people on the bicycles.

The head of Ireland’s no-frills Ryanair goes off on cyclists once again, ranting that Dublin’s city council had destroyed the city center through “nonsensical pandering to bloody cyclists;” it was only five months ago he said cyclists should be shot.

Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge visits an American-style bike co-op in the Netherlands, helping kids work on a bike wheel despite her haute couture outfit.

As bicycling booms in cities around the world, bikes are being crowded off the streets of Vietnam, where bike riders are seen as poor or low class.

 

Finally…

Evidently, doping is one thing, motor doping another — especially if it hadn’t been invented yet. It looks like sabotaging bikeways is nothing new.

And when the water’s over your wheels, maybe you should find an alternate route.

I’m just saying.

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Thanks to Samuel Kuruts for his generous donation to support this site. If everyone who visits this site today donated just $10, it would fund BikinginLA for a full year.

 

Last night’s ride, in which I flip off an impatient driver

In retrospect, I should have been further out into the lane.

Instead, I tried to be polite and let cars move up next to me, not anticipating that one incredibly impatient driver would deliberately right hook me.

She couldn’t wait two seconds — literally — for the light to change. And it was worth it to her to risk the life of a total stranger because I didn’t get the hell out of her way.

I don’t recommend flipping off anyone.

But this one earned it.

If I’d gone when the light turned green, I’d be in the hospital right now.

Or worse.

Just another right hook — from the left lane

After awhile, you get to know the streets you ride.

Like this intersection on eastbound Ohio Ave, one block west of Sepulveda. I’ve learned to slow down there in anticipation of right hooks, as drivers stuck in traffic make a sudden decision to turn right without checking the bike lane first.

But I’ve never been right hooked from the left lane before.

Cutting through the confusion — LAPD clarifies why driver wasn’t cited in last week’s right hook wreck

Call it a case of miscommunication.

Last week’s failure to ticket the driver who right hooked Melanie Freeland as she biked to work — despite being witnessed by two police officers — quickly went from bad to worse.

As Freeland questioned why the driver wasn’t ticketed for failing to signal and yield the right-of-way as required by law, it quickly devolved into a desk officer arguing with her and refusing to put through her call to the bike liaison for the Central Traffic Division.

And led to an explanation from the Watch Commander on duty at the time of the collision that made it appear that most police officers are prohibited from writing traffic tickets, even if they witness the incident.

Or maybe not.

That bike liaison in question, LAPD Central Traffic Division’s Sgt. Laszlo Sandor, went to great lengths to clarify matters at last night’s regularly scheduled bike liaison meeting, which evolved from the department’s long-standing bike task force.

First off, the officers who witnessed the collision could have written a ticket on the spot. The reason they didn’t wasn’t that they didn’t have specific training in traffic law, as Freeland had understood from the Watch Commander’s explanation. It was that they were due in court, and had to hand the case off to someone else to avoid the wrath of an angry judge.

Or worse, having their case dismissed.

Secondly, Freeland reported that the Watch Commander had described a Catch 22 that would seem to prevent most patrol officers from writing a ticket in virtually any situation.

She stated that in order for a traffic citation to be issued two criteria must be met. An LAPD officer must witness the incident and be trained in traffic laws (taken the special course in traffic). Because the [traffic officer] didn’t witness the incident it did not meet the two criteria. Secondly, the officer who did witness the incident is not trained in traffic laws, so again it does not meet the criteria.

In other words, as she understood it, in order to issue a ticket at the scene, an officer must 1) actually witness the infraction, and 2) have specialized training in traffic investigations.

Which counts out the overwhelming majority of officers on the street.

Well, almost.

As Sgt. Sandor explained, there are two ways a driver — or a bike rider or pedestrian, for that matter — can be held accountable for an infraction.

The first is the one we’re all familiar with.

Someone commits an infraction, like running a red light, for instance. An officer sees it, fires up the lights and sirens, and tickets the violator on the spot.

Or in this case, can write a ticket after actually witnessing a collision. Which these officers could have done, but didn’t, for the reason explained above.

The second way is what the Watch Commander evidently tried, and failed, to explain. A driver can be ticketed after the fact if the investigating officer can conclusively determine what actually happened based on witness statements and the evidence at the scene.

But in order to do that, the officer must have specialized training in traffic investigations.

So any officer can write a ticket for any infraction they witness. Or an officer with specialized traffic investigation training can write a ticket or make an arrest after the fact, based on the totality of evidence.

In addition, there are two ways a driver can be held accountable for an infraction.

Again, he or she can be ticketed or arrested, depending on the severity of the infraction. Or the investigating officer can find the driver at fault in the traffic report, in which case the driver won’t face a fine or jail time, but will be charged points against his or her license by the DMV.

That appears to be what happened in Freeland’s case.

So justice was, apparently, won, despite a full week’s worth of aggravation and confusion.

The officers at the meeting suggested that, in some ways, it’s better to have the driver found at fault and have points charged by the DMV, since, unlike a ticket, it can’t be fought in court or dismissed if the officer is unable to attend the hearing.

Although if the driver is convicted, he will still have points charged against his or her license, as well as face additional penalties from the court.

As for the argument with the desk officer, Sgt. Sandor suggested that the officer was actually trying to help, since he — Sandor — was out of the office for several days.

But in the end, we all agreed that it would have been better to simply send the call to his voice mail, rather than appear to screen the bike liaison’s calls.

On the other hand, all of the department’s bike liaisons at the meeting agreed that email was the best way to contact them, rather than calling. Email leaves a written record of the conversation that they can refer to later. And they receive emails on work computers as well as on their personal devices, regardless of whether they are in the office.

And one more thing.

This morning I received an email from Melanie Freeland, who reported that she was back on her bike and once again riding to work, exactly one week after she was hit by the car.

Now that’s good news.

………

Thanks to Sgt. Sandor for looking into the matter and clarifying a very confusing situation. And thanks to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Colin Bogart, who worked with the LAPD and city officials to assist Freeland in this case.

The LACBC doesn’t often trumpet its victories or the work it does to help individual bike riders — perhaps to its detriment.

But as in the case above, I’ve often witnessed their staff members fighting behind the scenes for the rights of bike riders, whether collectively or on an individual basis. And whether or not they’re members of the coalition.

It’s an organization I’m proud to support and be a part of.

Meanwhile, writing on LA Streetsblog, an LA attorney offers advice on what to do if the police fail to adequately respond to a collision.

Update: LAPD traffic investigators evidently don’t believe other cops who witness a right hook bike collision

Evidently, cops aren’t credible witnesses.

At least as far as LAPD traffic officers are concerned.

Imagine you’re riding along when a driver right hooks you — not just turning across your path, but illegally making a right turn from the left lane — and in the process, not only violates your right-of-way, but causes a collision.

And for once, not just one, but two cops witness the whole thing.

And then…

Nothing.

………

That’s exactly what happened yesterday morning, when Melanie Freeland was making her regular bike commute from Highland Park to Downtown LA.

She was riding on North Broadway through Chinatown around 8:40 am, in the right peak hour lane — that is, what would normally be the parking lane, but converts to a regular traffic lane to accommodate rush hour traffic.

As she was passing the Far East National Bank at 977 N. Broadway, the Lexus traveling in the lane on her left — what was, in effect, the center of three lanes — suddenly turned into the building’s parking lot. The driver cut across the lane Freeland was riding in, without warning, forcing her off the roadway and causing her bike to collide with the car’s door and front panel.

A classic right hook, with the extra added benefit of an illegal turn from the wrong lane. Without signaling, no less.

If that’s not clear, just imagine you’re in the right lane of a two lane street, and the driver on the left suddenly makes a right turn directly in front of you.

And for once, a cop saw the whole thing.

Two police officers — one in uniform, the other in plain clothes — were on their way to court when the collision occurred right before their eyes. They pulled over to offer assistance, calling for an ambulance and staying with her until a regular traffic officer arrived to investigate.

Both officers — I’m leaving out the names of all the cops involved, though Freeland provided their names and badge numbers* — said the driver failed to signal or yield the right-of-way. But even though they were the ones who witnessed the wreck, it would be up to the traffic cop to actually issue a ticket.

The officers gave their report to the traffic investigator, then left for the courthouse.

………

And that’s when everything went to hell.

The investigator told Freeland he couldn’t issue a ticket or determine fault in the collision because he did not actually witness it, saying he “could not issue a traffic ticket for something he did not see.”

Never mind that two sworn officers did. As well as a security guard for the building, who supported the first officers’ version of events.

So Freeland smartly asked to speak with the traffic officer’s supervisor. Yet when the Sergeant arrived, she repeated the exact same sentence.

And added that “It is not a crime to hit a pedestrian.”

Note to police: bike riders are not pedestrians. We have all the rights and responsibilities of motor vehicle operators, and are allowed on every public street cars are allowed to use, with the exception of some limited access freeways. Calling us pedestrians implies we belong on the sidewalk and belittles our legal right to the roadway.

While it’s true that police officers are generally prohibited from writing citations for traffic violations they don’t witness, I’ve been assured by officers that they can write a ticket or make an arrest based on clear evidence pointing to responsibility for a collision or other violation.

And if the testimony of two cops who witnessed the whole thing — as well as a third independent witness — isn’t clear evidence, I don’t know what the hell is.

Instead, the officers sent just as clear a message that, as far as they’re concerned, bikes don’t’ belong on the street. And good luck getting justice.

Just like the bad old days of LAPD’s anti-bike, windshield bias I thought we’d left long behind us under Chief Beck’s more enlightened leadership.

As Michael MacDonald put it in an email informing me of the case,

There are a lot of things wrong in this picture, not the least of which is that LAPD has again made it clear that cyclists are essentially fair game. I am particularly frustrated that someone I know that had made a concerted effort to make a mode shift towards cycling and to educate herself to ride safely now feels no degree of protection on the road, and is deterred from ever commuting by bike in Los Angeles again.

Fortunately, Freeland does not appear to have suffered any serious injuries, although she was due to be examined by a physician late yesterday.

She’s following up with the original officers, and contacting the department’s bike liaison for the Central Traffic Division. And she plans to reach out to Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Jose Huizar to express her disappointment and call for safety improvements on Broadway.

Police officers also tell me you should contact the Watch Commander overseeing the officers involved as quickly as possible after an incident like this.

But make no mistake.

Yesterday the LAPD failed Melanie Freeland.

Tomorrow, it might be you.

*My purpose here is not to embarrass the officers. The LAPD was been provided with all the names and badge numbers; it’s up to them to deal with the individuals involved.

Update: Okay, now I’m pissed. Melanie Freeland emailed this morning that she tried to call the bike liaison officer for the Central Traffic Division after I passed his contact information on to her. Except the desk officer who took the call initially refused to put the call through, significantly misrepresenting her case and saying “I know the same laws he does.”

She was finally able to leave a message, but hasn’t heard back yet.

Under former LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer, the department made great strides in improving relations with the bicycling community. But the expanded bike liaison program is absolutely meaningless if self-appointed gatekeepers are allowed to screen their calls.

And no one should ever have to face an argument when reaching out to anyone in the department for help.

I’ve praised the LAPD as one of the most progressive and bike-friendly police departments in the county since Chief Beck took over. But this is starting to feel like a huge step back to the bad old days.

Update 2: Freeland reports she spoke with the Watch Commander on duty at the time of the incident. Who turned out to be the same Sergeant who came to the scene and backed up the original traffic officer. 

In the course of a long conversation, the officer described a Catch 22 that makes it almost impossible for the department to issue a ticket to anyone. Which goes a long way towards explaining the wild west mentality of LA streets, where drivers feel entitled to do virtually anything without fear of consequences.

I called the Central Traffic Division and asked to speak with the Watch Commander on duty yesterday. As I probably should have guessed it was [the Sergeant she’d spoken to at the scene].  I explained to her my phone conversation with [the desk officer] and she stated she did not know why he would state it was a rear end incident when it wasn’t.  We talked at length about why a citation would not be issued for this offense.  She stated that in order for a traffic citation to be issued two criteria must be met. An LAPD officer must witness the incident and be trained in traffic laws (taken the special course in traffic). Because the [traffic officer] didn’t witness the incident it did not meet the two criteria. Secondly, the officer who did witness the incident is not trained in traffic laws, so again it does not meet the criteria.  Thus it is now my understanding, due to the letter of the law that it is not possible for the LAPD to issue a citation to the driver who hit me.

But aren’t all officers trained in traffic law at the Academy? 

And are you seriously trying to tell me that a uniformed LAPD officer lacks sufficient judgement and training to determine that a driver failed to signal and violated the right-of-way of another road user?

Sorry, but this explanation sounds like BS.

And if it isn’t, even worse.

This is what a right hook looks like

California law requires drivers to merge into a bike lane before making a right turn, after ensuring that the lane is clear.

This is why.

Update: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach in apparent right hook collision; 8th OC bike death this year

Getting word from multiple sources that a woman was killed this morning while riding in Newport Beach.

The victim, identified only as a woman in her 20s or 30s, was riding eastbound on East Coast Highway near Bayside Drive around 10:35 this morning when she was struck by a stake-bed truck traveling in the same direction.

According to Corona del Mar Today, the truck was making a right turn onto Bayside when it ran over the woman in an apparent right hook. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Satellite photos show what appears to be a bike lane on the east side of Bayside, but only a wide right turn lane where the victim may have been riding.

Both the Orange County Register and Corona del Mar Today note that she was wearing a helmet, while the Register says she was in cycling clothes.

However, there’s not a helmet made that can protect a cyclist from being run over by a multi-ton truck.

This death comes just one day after the first ever National Women’s Bike Summit was held in Long Beach, in which a large part of the discussion was about encouraging more women to ride. Maybe we need to start by making our streets safer so the ones who already do can get home alive.

This is the 53rd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the eighth in Orange County; of those, seven have died in traffic collisions, and one of a fall that may have been cause by health conditions.

Note: If you have a strong stomach, read the comment from Jamie on the Corona del Mar Today site to show just how little human compassion some motorists have when it comes to cyclists. A woman is dead, and this jackass guy rants about disbanding the ‘militant, special interest, “Bicycle Committee”.’  His mom must be so proud.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones. 

My thanks to Ann, David Huntsman, Ed from the OC Bicycle Coalition, Sydney Hunter, and jg for the heads-up; sorry if I left anyone out.

Update: Corona del Mar Today updates their story to indicate that a witness stopped at the intersection saw the collision as it occurred. According to  Amanda Walter, both the driver and the cyclist were turning right, and the truck was traveling too close to the curb.

“I saw the truck come around the corner and I though, ‘Wow, he’s going too fast,’” she said in a telephone interview. “I saw the cyclist and said, ‘Oh my…God…he’s going to hit her.’ He cut her from behind. She went down and he ran over her.”

The paper reports the victim was initially awake and struggling to speak, but passed away within a few minutes. And apparently, the driver never saw her.

The truck driver kept insisting that he looked twice and the cyclist wasn’t there, Walter said.

According to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, the victim is still unidentified.

According to Sgt. Mark Hamilton, “The identity of the victim is still unknown at this time. Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is urged to call the Newport Beach Police Department Traffic Division at 949-644-3742″. If anyone is missing a loved one that was riding a blue bike with white tape and saddle in the Newport area, and they haven’t returned home yet,  please contact the NPBPD.

The OCBC also reports that there have been 16 bike-involved collisions in the last 10 years, though this is the first fatality.

Update 2: Newport Beach bike lawyer David Huntsman offers a little more information about the site of the collision.

By the way I ride this road several times a week. It is truly a nightmare intersection going south, because of the very long high-speed dedicated right turn lane.
 
I was right-hooked into the gas station just south of the intersection when I moved here after returning from Australia two years ago. I didn’t go down, to the surprise of everyone around – including the driver- but mentally marked this as one of the most dangerous intersections around. 
Update 3: The victim has been identified as 29-year old Sarah Leaf.
I’m getting second-hand reports that she was a serious cyclist and a very fast rider, possibly a triathlete. And someone who was very well-liked, who will be sadly missed.
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