Tag Archive for they drive among us

They drive among us: an astounding display of far right anti-bike bias

Honestly, I thought anti-bike stupidity reached it’s peak in the ‘80s.

That’s when Denver sportswriter Woody Paige, then writing for the late Rocky Mountain News, unfavorably compared professional cyclists competing in the Coors Classic — including Greg LeMond and the legendary Bernard Hinault — to children riding with playing cards stuck in their spokes.

Tony Kornheiser’s misguided rant not withstanding.

Yet in an online edition of the Waterbury, CT Republican-American, which — despite an obvious conservative bent — has nothing to do with the political party of the same name, D. Dowd Muska does his best to trump them all.

Starting with his headline: 4 wheels are good; two wheels are bad. (Note: The Republican-American has blocked access to the column, but you can find it online by searching for the author’s name).

Seriously, I should have stopped reading right then. But then, I’ve always been one to rush in where wise men fear to tread, to wit:

There is something profoundly wrong with a nation where more adults ride bicycles than children.

America might now be such a nation.

Yeah, seriously. Denmark, and much of Europe, should be ashamed to place such a high priority on two-wheeled transport over man’s God-given right to drive a Hummer whenever and wherever he damn well pleases.

While kids sit at home texting their friends and slaying computer-generated monsters, a growing number of their parents and grandparents are clogging the roads atop a contraption that once was considered a child’s toy.

Amazingly, it goes downhill from there.

Two odious ideologies fuel the popularity of bicycling: anti-obesity extremism and eco-lunacy. Pedal power, we are told, will not only make you thinner, it will reduce your “carbon footprint.” (It’s a nanny-state twofer.)

Already slim, or pursuing other means to lose weight? Like your SUV, and don’t swallow the discredited theory that man is baking the planet? Then obviously you’re an idiot.

Well, if the shoe fits.

Of course, he goes on to spout the usual nonsense about scofflaw cyclists, since no drivers ever speed, fail to come to complete stops or forget to use turns signals. And describes the industry trade group Bikes Belong as an “agitprop shop,” citing their clearly insidious goal of “putting more people on bikes more often.”

There’s more, of course.

Isn’t there always?

Rants about “dubious bike schemes” and “Big Bicycle” dipping its toe into federal gas tax funds and the bank bailout. And quoting a self-hating cyclist and Cato Institute scholar as saying:

“There really is very little evidence that any of (these efforts) are reducing the amount of driving. They’re just making it more annoying to drivers.”

Then again, Muska had already refuted that himself in the third paragraph, where he noted the recent rapid rise in ridership, as exemplified by Philadelphia’s 97% increase in bike commuters over just three years.

Or maybe those people formerly commuted by flying carpet before switching to bikes.

But then, I suppose you can’t expect someone like that to confuse himself with something as trivial as the facts.

Or rational thought, for that matter.

………

The Art Theater of Long Beach is screening Riding Bikes with the Dutch tonight (Thursday) at 7 pm.

………

More coverage of the Critical Mass Takedown, as the Times reports on Mayor Villaraigosa’s letter to the LACBC, yet oddly, has nothing to add to the story. L.A. Weekly goes into far more depth to cover the story, but doesn’t quite grasp the concept of Critical Mass, or that a lot of cyclists who don’t ride Critical Mass still care very deeply about the problem of hit-and-runs.

………

Cyclelicious offers a couple of great looks at the Blackhawk, Colorado bike ban, which was supposedly done for safety reasons — even though there were no cyclist or pedestrian deaths in the entire county in the last four years for which records are available. Meanwhile, the Denver bus driver who ran over a 72-year old cyclist, leading to a possible bike ban on the city’s 16th Street Mall, didn’t brake because he “had passengers” on board; thanks to George Wolfberg for the link.

………

Transportation Committee members reconsider plans to widen the historic North Spring Street bridge, supposedly for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians. Gary gets credit for better Broadway bike lanes. LADOT’s bike blogger offers a recap of last Sunday’s River Ride. Forty percent of Claremont car trips are short enough for a 6-year old to bike, while local authorities want to pave the Wilderness Park to put in more parking; maybe they don’t understand the meaning of Park in this context. The scum bucket suspect accused of attacking four cyclists in San Francisco appears in court. Good advice on how to share the road with cyclists. The Chicago Sun-Times talks to bike blogger Dottie Brackett of Let’s Go Ride a Bike. A two-inch crack in a New York bridge results in 40 stitches and a fractured hand. Sharrows are popping up everywhere in Portland — and soon here, we hope? How lawyers and legislators devalue your life. Georgia is the latest state to consider a three-foot passing law. UCI warned Floyd Landis not to go public with his doping allegations against one of their officials. Carlos Sastre, 2008 Tour de France winner, is doubtful for this year’s Tour due to a back injury. A Belgian biking Olympian finally gets his gold 62 years later. A Lycra-free London guide to cycle chic; then again, who needs bike shorts when you can ride naked? There’s enough crap in the bike lane without having to deal with crap in the bike lane. You could be riding on your recycled printer cartridge on the newest Aussie bikeway; just another reason to continue those “discredited” eco policies anyway.

Finally, why you should always wear a helmet, tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek edition.

They drive among us: More insights on cycling from the gasoline addled

Sometimes, they make it too easy.

The Times felt a need to troll for more online readers. So naturally, they turned to bikes, knowing the subject always keeps the comments flowing — even though they covered this same subject just last week.

And sure enough, the comments about the Bike Working Group’s proposed Backbone Bikeway Network has brought out the usual bike-hating suspects. Surprisingly, though, the comments have been overwhelmingly in favor of building the network.

Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the Times moderates comments on their blogs. So all the rabid, mouth-foaming, life-threatening, death-to-cyclists borderline insane, so-bad-they-make-the-Good-Doctor-look-good comments may be circling the silicon drain.

And man, would I like to see those.

So instead, we’re left with the observations of the relatively sane, though perhaps somewhat gas-addled drivers who managed to make it through the paper’s filtering process.

I read ‘em so you don’t have to.

Of course, many of the anti-bike comments fall into to usual category of bicyclists should be licensed and insured, just like drivers.

Yes, Just make sure they are licenced and pay fee’s like car owners do, and make em get insurance too!

Posted by: john | February 08, 2010 at 08:54 AM

And

If bikes want more space on the roads of LA then the bike should be registered just like cars and bikers should be licensed just like drivers. They should also be tested just like drivers after all it is a privelege not a right. And no bikes should be allowed on two lane roads if they pose a hazard to drivers.

Posted by: Jerry Brunner | February 08, 2010 at 12:41 PM

A perspective that fails to consider that the overwhelming majority of adult cyclists have a driver’s license, and have passed the exact same test as their accusers. Or do they honestly think that no one on a bike has any other transportation options?

Then there’s the fact that here in California, the operator is insured, rather than the vehicle. Which means that your car insurance policy should follow you regardless of what vehicle you operate — even a bike, as I learned the hard way following my road rage case, when my car insurance company picked up the entire tab for my medical expenses.

There are those who will only support cyclists when we obey the law.

only if they start obeying the traffic laws. 75% run stop signs and red lights

Posted by: Jon | February 08, 2010 at 09:11 AM

And no drivers ever speed, run stop sighs or fail to signal. Or park in bike lanes, for that matter.

Then there’s this rocket scientist, who can’t seem to grasp the concept that fixies can still manage to stop, even without added brakes.

Sure, as long as the cyclists follow the rules of the road like everyone else. Too often I see them running stop signs and even red lights with wanton disregard for their own safety. The worst offenders are the people on fixed-gear bikes that don’t have any brakes at all. I am not allowed to drive a car with no brakes, so why should someone be allowed to ride a bicycle with no brakes on that same road?

Posted by: Kirill | February 08, 2010 at 09:21 AM

There are comments that say get on the sidewalk.

no. infact the old law allowing people to ride bikes on the same roads that cars and trucks drive needs to be ended. they are a road hazard that should be on the sidewalk. when a person riding a bike is in the fast lane of a two lane road and is trying to make a left hand turn across traffic he is endangering himself and all the motorist on that same road. only if there is no side walk should it be legal to ride a bike on the road and only on the far right side at that. i am actually shocked that the ultra greedy insurance companies have not pushed for this already to avoid payouts that result from there injuries.

Posted by: dman in the inland empire | February 08, 2010 at 09:31 AM

And comments that say stay off the sidewalk.

The question ought to read “Should cyclists give pedestrians back the sidewalks?” I will give them room on the road if they will let me walk on the sidewalk.

Posted by: LBGirl | February 08, 2010 at 09:38 AM

Even some that say get on the sidewalk you damn commie liberals.

No! Bikers need to stay on the sidewalk or learn to drive a car. I am sick of liberal cheapskates on bikes slowing down the traffic just so they can save a few bucks on gas.

Posted by: Hal | February 08, 2010 at 09:40 AM

A few think there are better places to ride. Like the desert, for instance.

I disagree with giving them more room. The law provides enough room for bicyclists as it is. If they want somewhere to ride, they can ride to the desert and have all the room they want. As mentioned above, they are self-righteous and sanctimonious and do not DESERVE anything. Those idiots we see riding along the orads in their tight shorts and stupid helmets are not going to work and, therefore, should not get in the way of those of us who have to fight traffice every single day. I say drop the subject altogether,

Posted by: Gary | February 08, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Yeah, cycling a hundred miles out of your way in 112 degree temperatures is so much fun, when you only wanted to go a few blocks down the “orad” for a loaf of bread.

Or maybe Orange County.

I’m sorry but Los Angeles should not cater to cyclists. There are plenty of trails in the suburbs and most cyclists choose to live somewhere with more trails anyways. Suburbs like Orange County are prime real estate for pretty boy cyclists. LA is an inner city kinda place and always will be

Posted by: Phil | February 08, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Meanwhile, Julie is tired of getting stuck behind cyclists on the 405 Freeway.

I am begging you – NO!!!!!! let bicyclists ride on paseos and around neighborhoods. Bikes are NOT viable methods of transportation for work and should NOT be treated as such. I do not want to have to drive at 10 miles per hour because I’m behind a bicyclist on the 405….Please stop the insanity.

Posted by: julie | February 08, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Or did she think “bicycle freeways” meant we were actually going to ride on the freeway? And Rick, too.

On the freeway are they nuts or just have a death wish, totally unaccecptable

Posted by: Rick T | February 08, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Clearly, not enough emphasis is paid to reading for comprehension in today’s schools. And don’t even get me started on what some of these comments say about literacy rates these days.

Some say traffic is too bad for a solution that might actually provide an alternative to driving.

Yet another idiotic “politically correct” idea. Traffic is congested? Then let’s make it more congested so a handfull of bicycles can move freely while tens of thousands move even more slowly.

Posted by: rick1946 | February 08, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Never mind that many L.A. streets are already at or above capacity, and that the only viable solution is to reduce the number of cars on the roads. Or do they want us to remove the sidewalks so they can add another traffic lane?

On the other hand, Ron hates cyclists because of our fashion choices, as well as riding habits.

yes, please get these rude idiots off the streets, bicyclists don’t give a damn. they don’t care about anyone but themselves. Everywhere I go I see them challenge drivers, Never in single file, Run stop signs so they won’t lose momentum, ect…. Just because you ride an expensive bicycle and outfit yourself in ridiculious effiminite clothing, Does not give you the right to take over the road , which is what they do in packs. Are we supposed to stop all our cars on busy streets because your club needs to get to starbucks? I’m surprised there aren’t more road rage incidents against these self centered elitists. These people are riding for pleasure, the rest of us are trying to get to work,So stay out of the way, Heelhook

Posted by: Ron | February 08, 2010 at 09:40 AM

Some are only concerned with our safety:

For God’s sake, NO! NHTSA statistics have shown that a mile traveled on a bicycle is 14.7 times more likely to result in a fatality than one traveled in a passenger vehicle. Not only is it far more dangerous, bicycling, unlike motorcycling, is disastrous to efficient traffic flow in a region notorious for that problem already. Bicyclists who want this are zealots who care nothing for all those they would inconvenience.

Posted by: klesb | February 08, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Of course, he fails to mention that cars are far more likely to kill someone.

Some have clearly never heard of dooring.

Are you kidding me, they cause enough hazards on residential streets as it is. Why do they need more space they all just ride on the line anyways. Is it that important to hug the white line? They are putting their lives at danger. Then they get upset when a car passes them going the speed limit. Scoot over to the right bikers, you have the whole bike lane to ride in.

Posted by: T Nahas | February 08, 2010 at 11:09 AM

There there’s the argument that bikes need to pay their fare share for use of the roads.

Bicycles should be registered and riders licensed the same asrequire for Autos. The fees collected can be used for more an wider bicycle lanes.
Auto registration fees in Calif have risen, the fuel tax in Calif is one of the highest in the nation and the bicycle riders want the motoring public to share the revenue to build them bike lanes instead of improving the road ways for autos for which the revenue is intende?
Les be fair, the autos pay for the auto lanes and the bikes pay for the bike lanes.

Posted by: David Wayne | February 08, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Hey, I’m all for that. Gas and licensing fees cover less than half of all road construction and maintenance fees, which means those who don’t drive or only drive a little subsidize those who do. So a tax that charges people for their use of the roads would mean a huge increase for people who drive two hours to work every day. And a huge decrease for those of us who don’t.

Put that on the ballot, I’ll vote for it.

Some think there just isn’t enough demand.

I think all three bike riders in Los Angeles deserve more space on the road. Maybe we could give them each their own lane.

Posted by: Ranger | February 08, 2010 at 02:04 PM

Then again, there are some who just hate bikes. But at least this guy’s honest about it.

No, I hate all you bike riders that try to take over the roads. If you arent a car, you shouldnt try and act like one. stay out of my way.

Posted by: bikehater | February 08, 2010 at 11:06 AM

………

LADOT to lose 12 staffers in the latest round of mayor-ordered layoffs, Planning Department loses nine; how Bikeways will be impacted is yet to be determined. Public Radio KCRW’s Warren Olney, reportedly doored last week, misses today’s show with a possible concussion. Metro hosts a Cycling Roundtable Downtown on Friday, the 19th; RSVP by this Friday to attend. LA Weekly picks up the story that nearly a quarter of all cycling collisions are hit-and-runs. The California Supreme Court reaches the obvious conclusion that bicycle foot rests are not brass knuckles. Clearly, bikes have entered the zeitgeist, as Biking In Heels notices they’ve penetrated the Wedding Industrial Complex. After surviving the Snowpocalypse, a North Carolina cyclist wonders what that blinding light illuminating everything is. The scumbag musician who killed a Miami cyclist in a drunken daylight hit-and-run is back in jail. It’s time to stop blaming scofflaw cyclists for the actions of motorists; I couldn’t agree more.The usual suspects come out in Portland, as well, with a renewed call to register, inspect and insure bikes, while bikes are increasingly the exception. A critical look at policing Critical Mass. Horrifying photos of the aftermath of a life-threatening bike accident tell the whole story. A Florida writer asks how much of a bother bikes can really be. The head of the Lafourche Parrish Sheriff’s Patrol Division, in new NFL champion Saints territory, rides to relax. An Aussie writer rags on rude Lycra-clad cyclists with middle-aged butts. In the US, conservatives hate bikes, in Budapest conservatives promote them. Two years after a cyclist is killed, a UK community considers removing the railings that caused her death. Finally, in a bit of good news, an elderly Aussie rider falls off his bike, then over a bridge — and suffers only scrapes and a possible broken leg.

Evidently, we should be glad there’s such a low turnout in local elections

Back when I was in college, one of my Political Science professors gave a lecture about low voter turnout in the U.S.

He pointed out that far more people turn out to vote in formerly totalitarian countries, because they understand the true value of the freedom we take for granted.

Then he flipped through a few surveys, highlighting the percentages of people who hate blacks, Jews, gays and other assorted minorities. As well as those who believe the moon landing was fake and the Earth is flat.

His point was that a lot of people don’t vote.

And maybe we’re better off for it.

Case in point, the 91 and counting comments that followed the brief story on the Times website about the proposed bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance. The overwhelming majority of which were of the standard “I’ll respect bikes when they (choose one or more of the following): respect the law, stop for red lights and stop signs, signal, stay on the sidewalk, stay off the sidewalk, get out of the lane, get out of my way, get a life, grow a pair, and/or stop wearing those ugly clothes.”

I read ’em so you won’t have to. You can thank me later.

Take these two, for example, which pretty much sum up the tone of today’s conversation (and yes, I’ve left the spelling and punctuation exactly the way I found it):

Im a fireman. Experience has shown me that SPANDEX AND HEAVY STEEL DONT BELONG ON THE SAME ROAD!!!!!! Common since. Legislation is not going to change physics! Ride at your own risk!

Posted by: Steve | January 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Bicyclists are full of it. There are legally obligated to follow the motor vehicle code. However, I see them run stops signs, run redlights, and make sudden lane changes without signaling all the time.

If bicyclists want respect, they need to follow the rules of the road.

Posted by: Stump Barnes | January 28, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Then there was this one:

Here’s some ideas how to get people to be more vehicle friendly with cyclists;
1.Get cyclists to be more courteous with vehicles & pedestrians
2.Get cyclists to start opeying all driving laws
2. Require all cyclists to install I.D. licence plates on their bike’s so they can be identified when they either break a law, cause an accident, or start somesort of road rage.

Cyclists are known to be rude, obnoxious, law breaking jerks for the most part. They use strong profanity, they spit, they flip you the bird, and they provoke fights, knowing that they can easily get away because they can’t be identified. They seem to have all City Officials on their side, and since they are not wasting gas or polluting the air, they get away with just about anything. What’s it going to take to get Officials to wake up and realize that the root of the problem is the cyclists themselves.

Posted by: Dave Reynolds | January 28, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Dave, have you ever considered that if you’re running into so many rude, obnoxious, swearing, spitting, finger-flipping, fight-provoking, law-breaking jerks, that maybe, just maybe, the cyclists aren’t the problem?

Just a thought.

Anyway, after reading all those comments, I was truly shamed, realizing for the first time what dangerous scofflaws we cyclists must be. And understanding that, yes, these people are right to harass us because we pose such a risk to their two+ tons of glass and steel.

I mean, I might actually dent the bumper and get blood on their shiny paint and stuff.

So when I set out to ride today, I took notice of the drivers around me, hoping to learn from their example how to properly assume my place on the road.

Imagine my surprise.

Three of the first four drivers I saw ran stop signs. Not just a rolling stop, mind you — that’s what the fourth one did — but full blown, not slowing down don’t care if you’re in the way I’m coming through anyway stop sign running.

And for the first 1.83 miles, I didn’t see a single driver use a turn signal — and yes, I did make a note of it, because it was so surprising when someone finally did. And no, he wasn’t the first one to turn or make a lane change.

Far from it.

Then there were these four rocket scientists of the road.

I encountered the first two as I sat waiting at the front of the intersection for a light to change, just to left of the right turn lane. Next to me was a small utility truck, which kept inching forward. So I gestured to the driver, pointing out the “No right turn” sign directly ahead of him. Evidently, though, it doesn’t apply to small utility trucks, because he made his turn anyway.

Then the SUV behind him pulled up to the light. Unlike the previous driver, she waited patiently in the right turn lane until the light changed. Then went straight, nearly forcing me into the car on my left before she cut in front of both of us and sped off down the road.

But not before giving me the finger.

Although, to be fair, that was after I called her a jackass. Which I thought showed remarkable restraint, given the circumstances.

Then there was the driver in the Escalade, who saw me signal to move left into the traffic lane. And responded by speeding up to cut me, forcing me to jam on my brakes to avoid rear-ending the parked car ahead of me. Because there just wasn’t room for a massive Escalade and a bike in the same lane at the same time.

The real winner, though, came when I pulled up behind a car that was stopped at a stop sign, waiting patiently for a woman to cross the road. So the driver behind me crossed the yellow line onto the wrong side of the road, passing us both, then blew through the stop without slowing down — forcing the pedestrian to dodge out of his way.

So yes, I can easily see why all these people think we’re such dangerous, law-flaunting outlaws, undeserving of equal protection from law enforcement, since that right is reserved for real, law-abiding, gas-guzzling Americans.

I take comfort, though, in knowing that most of these self-proclaimed traffic law experts probably won’t be voting in the next election.

Oh, and Dave?

“Licence” is usually spelled with an “s.”

I’ll let you figure out where to put it.

Bike cases fill the dockets — Dr. Thompson was just the beginning

As Bob Mionske noted in the Times last week, the Thompson case does not represent a sea change for cyclists.

It was just one case, with unique circumstances. Like driver who admitted trying to “teach them a lesson.” A car with a unique, memorable license plate. And at least three other cyclists who could testify to similar incidents involving the same car, and the same driver.

Not to mention a police department that took it seriously — which isn’t always the case.

Unfortunately, it’s also just the tip of the iceberg.

As cyclist/attorney DJ Wheels pointed out recently, while Thompson got 5 years for intentionally injuring two cyclists, Alejandro Hidalgo got just two years for getting drunk and killing Jesus Castillo, then fleeing the scene.

Call me crazy, but on my balance sheet, Intoxication + Death + Running Away outweighs Intent + Injury. Even if it wasn’t the first time.

And that’s just the first of at least 10 other cases involving cyclists working their way through the investigative and legal process in the L.A. area.

Like Teri Hawkins, for instance.

She reportedly ran a stop sign before striking a cyclist, knocking him 30 feet through the air. The 40-year old Simi Valley resident turned herself in to the police 4 days after the hit-and-run collision that resulted in “major injuries” to the 26-year old rider, who has not been publicly identified.

After pleading no contest to hit-and-run with injury (CVC 2001a), her request for probation was denied and she was sentenced to 16 months in state prison last week, with credit for 76 days time served. Hawkins was also ordered to pay restitution, with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the San Fernando courthouse.

Wheels notes that turning herself in may have been a mitigating factor in the relatively low sentence — although it should be noted that her conscience seemed to kick in after her car had been located and impounded by the police.

Wheels also provided an update on the status of some of the other cases:

The preliminary setting for Robert Sam Sanchez — the driver accused of killing Rod Armas and seriously injuring his son Christian on PCH in Malibu last June — has been continued for the third time.

Sanchez was arrested shortly after fleeing the collision, which took place near the completion of the L.A. Wheelmen’s 200-mile Grand Tour Double Century. The preliminary setting, held prior to a preliminary hearing, is now scheduled for February 11 in the Malibu Courthouse. Sanchez has pled not guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (Section 191.5a of the California Penal Code) as well as driving under the influence (CVC 23152a) and failure to stop after an accident involving an injury (CVC 20001a).

Rod’s sister-in-law reported last summer that Christian was doing well physically, though making it clear that the family was struggling with his loss. And an acquaintance of Sanchez noted that he was not a bad person, despite a drunken decision to get behind the wheel that has forever changed two families.

Mark Antonio Valencia was high on drugs and alcohol when he mowed down five cyclists in Santa Clarita on the morning of July 11, killing Joseph Novotny and seriously injuring two others. Valencia, who was driving his sister’s car without a license after two prior DUI convictions — as well as multiple arrests for drug and alcohol possession, selling tear gas and obstructing officers — had already been reported to authorities before the collision; unfortunately, sheriff’s deputies couldn’t catch up to him in time.

DJ Wheels reports that Valencia is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in the San Fernando courthouse on January 22. Valencia is still being held on $1.3 million bail, charged with 13 criminal counts including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and several DUI charges.

In a very personal case, the driver who threatened a group of cyclists, resulting in injuries to Wheel’s new wife, will be arraigned on January 26.

On January 28, the driver accused of injuring local cycling advocate Roadblock in a hit-and-run collision is scheduled for a pretrial hearing.

A February 3 hearing has been scheduled for four men charged with attempting to rob a female cyclist by striking her in the face with a baseball bat.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into the hit-and-run that sent community leader Ed Magos to the hospital on January 6. Despite driving off and leaving another human splayed on the pavement unable to move, the driver was not arrested when she turned herself in later; no charges have yet been filed.

No word yet on the status of Patricia Ann Izquieta, who was arrested for the hit-and-run death of Donald Murphy in Irvine last month. Or whether any charges will be filed in the death of Gustavo Ramirez in Long Beach on the 5th. It doesn’t sound likely, though, since initial police statements seemed to blame Ramirez; the Press-Telegram reports on last weekend’s ride in his honor.

And there’s still no word of an arrest in the hit-and-run death of Robert Painter, the cyclist killed while riding in a crosswalk in North Hollywood last month. Fittingly, the driver is likely to face murder charges once an arrest is made.

……..

Controversy over plans for a bikeway near JPL. Travelin’ Local maps L.A. by bike. A North County San Diego paper questions whether current criminal penalties are strong enough when cars hit bikes; a drunk cyclist unwittingly volunteers as a test case. Another rider is killed in the nation’s most deadly state for cycling; Transit Miami examines why it happened there. Austin’s planned bike boulevard hits some bumps. Anchorage holds a very frosty bike race. A Colorado town revives the legendary Morgul Bismark stage from the Red Zinger/Coors Classics. German pro Matthias Kessler suffered a serious brain injury after a cat runs in front of his bike. London residents question traffic calming and bikeway plans. Lance has won seven tours; World Champ Cadel Evans says he’s only lost five.  Bikeways to the sailing venues for the 2012 Olympics could use some improvement. Scotland awards over $1.2 million to promote cycling in Edinburgh. The UK promotes child cycling through the new Bike Club. An Indian Nobel Laureate and confirmed cyclist says cars set a bad example, while a Danish politician says bikes are the obvious solution. Finally, the Trickster did indeed say it first — Michael Vink is a rising rider to keep an eye on.

And a woman walks into a bike shop

I’d know that look anywhere

I grew up in Colorado, where men are men and sheep run scared. Or so the saying goes.

In fact, I grew up right in the heart of sheep country. My high school football team was even called — I kid you not — the Lambkins. Not exactly a name to strike fear the heart of opposing teams.

So I know that look.

The same one I saw in the face of the woman driving the BMW this afternoon.

I was cruising down a side street in Brentwood, making my way home from today’s ride when I saw her car waiting at a stop sign up ahead. I watched closely as she looked to her right and waited. And waited.

And waited.

Even though I knew better, I decided to ride past her, since I had the right of way and there was no way of knowing how long she was going to sit there. Besides, she still hadn’t cast a single glance to her left.

But sure enough, that was exactly when she started to turn left — without ever looking my direction.

So I yelled “Look out!” and jammed on my brakes; she hit hers and we both skidded to a stop, ending up with me directly in front of her. And as I looked at her, she gazed back with the same uncomprehending expression I normally associate with wool-wrapped ruminants.

I was tempted to say something, but it was clear it would just be a waste breath. So I shook my head and rode on, leaving her sitting there with that same blank look on her face.

Then there was the earlier incident, as I was just starting my ride, when I pulled away from a stop sign about the same time as an SUV going in the other direction — only to have her brake angrily as I blocked her from making the left she hadn’t signaled for.

Seeing her window open, I shouted, “Turn signal would be nice.”

And as I went by, I heard a woman in the crosswalk next to me say, “Yeah, good luck with that!”

……..

After nearly five years of delays, the Transportation Committee wants to see some progress on getting Sharrows on the street — official ones, this time. Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl wants some answers by next month; LAist says maybe by May; LADOT just says maybe.

………

Mark your calendar as last year’s successful — and fun — Bike Summit turns into this year’s new and improved Street Summit. LAPD asks for cyclists’ help in finding a sexual assault suspect. Will Campbell captures scofflaw pedestrians and a motorized red light runner, and sticks up for his Ballona, assaults and all. Photos from the first 60 days of the new Bikerowave. LACBC looks back on a successful 2009, and looks forward to 2010. The upcoming county bike plan will look at new paths along L.A. rivers and creeks, as well as improving existing bikeways, among others. Council Member Tom LaBonge would rather see bike stations than bike sharing. What do you do when Luckman Plaza won’t let you take your bike up the elevator? Sacramento ranks 4th in the U.S. in bicycle commuting. San Francisco’s Streetsblog looks at the statewide bicycle agenda for 2010. Springfield, MO gets bike lockers. Over a quarter of all traffic accidents collisions are caused by occur while drivers are on cellphones or texting. Boston Biker looks at drivers arguments from a cyclist’s perspective. Yellow Springs, OH cyclists are encouraged to use the whole lane. Manchester’s new bikes on trains policy make Metro’s limitations seem generous. As L.A. considers a three-foot passing distance, Ireland raises the ante to nearly five feet — 4.921259842519685 feet, to be exact. A call for improved biking infrastructure, or any for that matter, in Karachi. Finally, the world’s Top 10 Cycling Cities; oddly, Los Angeles isn’t on the list.

Go figure.

Being human

We’ve all seen it a thousand times before.

The other day, I pulled up next to car at a red light, and when I looked over at the driver, his finger was unselfconsciously inserted deeply up his nose.

And oddly, it occurred to me for the first time that I’ve never seen a cyclist do that.

Not that we don’t have our own questionable habits. But not only have I never seen a cyclist pick his or her nose, I’ve never seen one floss, shave, put on makeup, change clothes or — yes, masturbate — or any of the countless other things I’ve seen people do behind the wheel that are usually best performed in far more private settings.

Wrapped in a two ton cocoon of steel and glass, drivers have an illusion of privacy. Even though they’re surrounded by windows on every side, they feel separate from the world around them, free to do things they would never do standing on the street corner just a few feet away.

At least, I hope they wouldn’t.

On the other hand, we cyclists are well aware of our exposure. In fact, we revel it, taking pleasure in our intimate experience of the unique sights, sounds and smells that envelope us as we ride, as if the world itself were wrapping its arms around us.

We never, ever feel that sense of privacy that so many drivers seem to take for granted. We understand that anything we do while we’re riding can, and probably will, be seen by someone else.

So why don’t drivers see us?

I don’t mean that in the standard careless driver, “I just didn’t see him” sense, that seems to offer a universal excuse for virtually any driver who runs a cyclist to the ground. Even though the law in every state requires that drivers be alert and aware of conditions and vehicles around them.

No, I mean why is it that so many drivers can look at a cyclist, and fail to see a fellow human being?

Take the Good Doctor, Christopher Thompson, who dedicated his career to saving lives, yet had no problem sending two people to the emergency room — insisting in a 911 call that they weren’t really hurt, despite nearly severing the nose of one rider and separating the shoulder of the other.

Or the drivers we discussed yesterday, who couldn’t have cared less about knocking one rider off his bike, or deliberately cutting another off in traffic.

Or countless other drivers, across the city and around the world, innumerable times each and every day. Somehow, they look at us, and don’t see a student on his way to class, or a worker struggling home after a long day. They don’t see a wife, a mother, a husband or a father, a son or a daughter. Someone riding for their health or their passion, for the good of the earth or the good of their community; someone who’d stop to help a stranger or an animal in need.

They don’t see a person who is loved. Or the empty bed or seat at the table, the gigantic hole that would be ripped through the world if just one person didn’t make it home from their ride.

They don’t see a fragile human being. They just see another cyclist.

And they feel justified in hating us.

Simply because we ride a bike.

And we’re in their way.

………

More on the bike plan:

Steven Box reports on The Department of DIY’s initial efforts to create our own, better, bike plan; Dr. Alex reports on neighborhood councils demanding an extension of the comment period, and Ubrayj responds to a student reporter, saying the best part of the city’s new bike plan is that it contains the words “bike,” “bicycle” and “bike lane.”

And Damien Newton offers a great update of the process up to this point, noting that BAC Chair Glenn Bailey has been promised that comments will be accepted until the final plan is released next year.

………

A visit to Linus Bikes on Abbot Kinney. Travelin’ Local reports on a website to report, track — and presumably, fix — roadway, bikeway and sidewalk problems. San Diego riders are encouraged to attend a meeting on new road standards this Friday. The latest bike friendly communities have been announced; you can download the full list here. A writer in New Hampshire says waiting 15 seconds to safely pass a cyclist is time well spent. Opus notes that he can’t test a new product that allows a rider to lock his helmet with his bike because he can’t find a place to lock his bike. TreeHugger looks at bike locks, including the new AXA Defender offered at Flying Pigeon. A rider notes that some drivers can’t see him, but evidently they can still hear him. A lawyer claims a champion Aussie rider who ran over his former riding partner doesn’t deserve jail because he didn’t actually flee the scene, but ran to get help; evidently, they don’t have cell phones Down Under.

They drive among us: What are these people thinking?

Last week, I was riding along Ocean Blvd through Santa Monica, on my way home from a long ride to the South Bay, through that section just above the pier lined with upscale restaurants and boutique hotels.

Shortly ahead, an SUV signaled for a right and turned across the bike lane into a parking lot entrance. Granted, state law says drivers should enter the bike lane before making their turn, rather than cut across the lane, in order to prevent right-hook collisions. Then again, it’s only been on the books for 32 years, so I could understand his confusion.

The truck was far enough ahead that it didn’t pose an issue for me, though.

Until he changed his mind, that is.

First he backed up a little, then pulled to the curb as if he was going to park there. Then without warning, he changed his mind again, and started moving back across the bike lane to re-enter traffic.

Problem was, by then I was right next to him.

So I yelled out a loud warning, and reached out to slap the side of his car. He braked to a stop about three-quarters of the way into the bike lane — a few more inches and he would have pushed me out directly into the path of an oncoming car. I managed to slip past and rode on, taking a few blocks to calm myself down and let my heart rate return to a more sustainable level.

I didn’t bother to look back.

Experience tells me there’s a slight chance I would have gotten a gesture of apology. More likely, I would have gotten the same sort of response I’ve gotten countless times before. The same response Josef got last week when a careless — or maybe uncaring — driver nearly ran him over.

I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if I’m in a designated bike lane, riding exactly where and how I’m supposed to. Or how dangerous or careless a driver — or sometimes, a pedestrian or another cyclist — happens to be.

Eight times out of 10, I’ll get the finger, the horn, the hurled insult. The ninth, I’ll get an invitation to fight, or at least, an aggressive vehicular acceleration punctuated by a sharp turn across my path — especially if I commit the unforgivable crime of touching their precious vehicle in a self-serving attempt to get their attention and avoid getting killed.

So frankly, looking back just wasn’t worth the added aggravation.

Take Josef’s experience for example.

First the driver zoomed around him after he’d taken the lane — even though he was riding at the posted speed of traffic — then cut back in front of him and slammed on her brakes when the light changed. A bit later, he was riding right next to her when she changed lanes despite his shouted warning, hitting the box he was carrying in his bakfiets.

And while his response wasn’t exactly designed to win friends and influence people, as someone who’d just been hit by a car and knocked off his bike, he deserved better than the finger and “F*** you!” he got in response.

Then there was this exchange, in which the generally genial and self-composed Bike Girl was brought to tears by a driver who informed her that the life of another human being wasn’t worth an extra one-second delay — all that it would have taken to wait until Bike Girl had passed to change lanes safely. And this for the crime of riding in the lane, on one of the frequent occasions when that clearly fits the definition of “as far right as practicable.”

Another vigilante driver who was willing to try, and convict, a cyclist for an imagined violation of the law — then carry out the sentence herself, even if that results in the death penalty.

Remind you of anyone?

Before he changed his story and claimed it was all just an accident, the Good Doctor allegedly told police he slammed on his brakes in front of two cyclists “to teach them a lesson.”

Today, in the trial of Dr. Christopher Thompson, Ron Peterson was shown a photo of hole in the broken rear windshield of the Good Doctor’s Lexus.

And said “My face did that.”

Nice lesson, doc.

……….

Thanks to the times for covering the opening arguments in the Mandeville Brake Check trial. Will Campbell visits the Berlin Wall on today’s ride to work. Travelin’ Local takes a look at Bike Stations. Someone is deliberately trying to injure New Mexico cyclists booby trapped bike trails in Albuquerque. Remembering possibly the greatest cyclist of all time, who ruled the two-wheeled world a century before Lance. New turn signal and automatic brake light for bikes. More cyclists on the roads mean more injuries. A bike-friendly New Amsterdam may someday rival the old one as a tourist destination. Slate takes a look at vehicular and facilitator cycling. Honda thinks the best way to teach cycling is on a simulator. Drugs and doping take the life of a former cycling hero. In more news from New Zealand, police seek the hit-and-run killer of a popular doctor, while friends ride in his honor and an elderly repeat offending drunk driver gets her license back just a month after she murdered a cyclist. Finally, next time Beyonce is in town, I’m going out riding; you never know who you’ll meet out there.

Evil on trial: testimony in the Mandeville Canyon begins Friday

The judge is assigned, the jury empanelled.

If you’re looking at this one Friday morning, opening arguments may be taking place as you read this, Judge Scott Millington presiding — previously notable for handling the drug case of Redmond O’Neil, son of Farrah and Ryan, as well as serving as a prosecutor for over a decade.

According to L.A. cyclist/attorney DJwheels, it’s shaping up as a very interesting trial.

As you may be aware, Dr. Christopher Thompson is on trial for last year’s infamous 4th of July incident in Mandeville Canyon, accused of intentionally cutting in front of two cyclists, then slamming on his brakes directly in front of them, resulting in serious injuries to both.

He faces a long list of charges, including one felony count of reckless driving causing injury, two felony counts of battery with serious injury, two counts of causing great bodily injury while attempting to commit a felony, and one count of mayhem; he’s also charged with one count of misdemeanor reckless driving causing an injury for a separate incident in which he is accused of forcing another cyclist off the road the previous March.

The seriousness of the charges is reflected in the size of the good doctor’s entourage. According to DJwheels, the defense rat pack includes, in addition to his attorney, the attorney’s legal partner, two associates, a jury consultant and two very large body guards, as well as other assorted assistants and helpers.

Appropriate, because the Good Doctor reportedly admitted his guilt when initially questioned by the police. And a conviction on felony charges would undoubtedly mean the loss of his medical license, as well as significant jail time.

Which made jury selection unusually important.

DJwheels reports that, not surprisingly, cyclists were automatically excluded by the defense, with the exception of a former BMX racer. Evidently, he was acceptable because he said that bikes belong in designated places like bike paths and sidewalks — not, apparently, on narrow canyon roads through residential neighborhoods.

On the other hand, the prosecution asked most of the potential panelists about their attitudes about physicians. Like whether the stress of their job excused their actions, and whether they had a right to get away with things as a result.

And the judge dismissed one woman himself, after she said she wouldn’t be able to remain impartial since she has friends who’ve been hit by cars while riding.

The panel they ended up with reflects the diversity of the city — mostly women, with white, African American, Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern members, as well as one who may be Indian or Pakistani, according to Wheels, with an average age somewhere in the mid-30s.

He added that the one thing they all seemed to have in common was a recognition that there are bad drivers and bad cyclists. And that fault could lie with either party, depending on the facts.

Which is, I suppose, all we can ask of any jury.

Although personally, I’d feel better if they all showed up in spandex, cycling shoes and Livestrong wristbands for opening statements.

For me, though, the most interesting part was a ruling the judge made on Wednesday to excluded friends of the Good Doctor and other Mandeville Canyon residents as potential witnesses.

That suggests a defense strategy based on blaming the victims, or at least, blaming the actions of cyclists as a group for creating an atmosphere in which the Good Doctor’s actions were understandable, if not justified. Combined with earlier reports that he now claims it was an accident — despite his initial statements to the police — that suggests that he may say he was merely trying to stop so he could confront the cyclists or collect evidence of their actions for the police.

And that could negate the intent to cause harm that would be required to convict on the most serious charges.

DJwheels say the exclusion of the other witnesses may also mean that testimony the Good Doctor could have to testify himself — a move most attorney’s are reluctant to allow because it exposes their client to cross-examination.

And that’s one day of testimony I’d pay to see.

Opening statements are scheduled for Friday morning, between 9 and 11, at Department C of the Airport Courthouse, South La Cienega Blvd just below Imperial Highway; no afternoon session is scheduled due to a previous juror obligation. The trial is expected to last through the end of the month.

………

The Department of DIY creates a new bike lane on the UCLA campus. Evidently, L.A. cycling infrastructure wasn’t much better at the turn of the 20th Century. No Whip provides a great update on the new L.A. bike plan, and what you can do to get involved. Gary joins in support for Saturday’s L.A. Bike Working Group’s look at the bike plan, noting the new time and location. Dr. Alex dodges a massive flying disc while riding (no, not the possible hoax in my home town). CNN asks if ebikes will be the new “commuter cool.” Courtesy of our New Zealand correspondent, TheTricksterNZ, a report of a fatal hit-and-run in Auckland; clearly, it’s not just an American phenomenon. More evidence of a blame the victim mentality north of the border, including testing the victim for drugs or alcohol — but not the driver who killed him. A look back at the Higginson twins, cycling champs from the 1950s. A report from India notes the rise in cycling injuries in the U.S. A cyclist is injured in an apparent hit-and-run in Holywood — no, the other one with just one L. Finally, good news for lovers of massive burritos — East L.A.’s El Tepeyac isn’t going anywhere.

Evil on trial: the Mandeville Canyon case comes to court

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

— Macbeth, Act 4, scene 1

Just in time for Halloween, the Good Doctor returns to frighten cyclists once again.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the long-delayed trial in the infamous Mandeville Canyon Brake Check — one of a number of bike-related cases currently working their way through the legal system — in which a respected ER physician verified the stopping power of his Infinity by slamming on his brakes directly in front of two cyclists.

The incident left both riders seriously injured — one with a separated shoulder, which eventually led to surgery, metal implants and arthritis; the other, who ended up embedded in the driver’s rear windshield, with a broken nose and front teeth, his nose nearly peeled off his face.

And even after identifying himself as a physician, Dr. Christopher Thompson refused to treat either victim.

Amazingly enough, he admitted the act was deliberate. According to the LA Times, Thompson told police he did it to “teach them a lesson,” complaining that he was tired of the cyclists who frequently ride through the canyon.

Later he reversed course and pleaded not guilty, claiming it was just an accident. Though how it’s possible to buzz two experienced riders, exchange insults, cut in directly in front of them and accidently slam on your brakes is beyond me.

Then again, this wasn’t the first time it happened. The Good Doctor also faces charges for another incident four months earlier, in which he is accused of stopping in front of two other riders, forcing one off the road and the other into oncoming traffic, then attempting to hit them again before speeding off.

These are the actions of a monster. A psychopath with no regard for human life.

And yet, by all accounts, Dr. Thompson was an excellent physician — a man who dedicated his life to saving accident victims just like the ones he is accused of causing.

And that’s what is so frightening.

It would be easy to argue that the pressures of a high stress job, combined with what he considered rude, if not illegal, behavior from the cyclists pushed an otherwise good man over the edge. Yet the fact that he did it at least once before suggests someone who felt justified in his actions — that he felt he had the right to use a motor vehicle to violently enforce his mistaken interpretation of the law.

And he’s not alone.

Consider this comment by James Sullivan on the Times website:

My sympathies are with the doctor. Far too often I see pretentious idiots wearing tights who think they are Lance Armstrong riding bicycles recklessly. This incident is an excellent example. How fast does a bicyclist have to be moving to generate enough force to ram their head through the rear windshield of a car.? The fact of the matter is that these bicyclists were riding way too fast and were a hazard to everybody on that road. By their own admission when the doctor told them to ride single-file (AS REQUIRED BY LAW) they hurled profanities at him and made threats. I’ll bet they were chasing the car and thought they could catch him at the bottom of the hill.

Or this one from Alex:

His only misdeeds were to admit he was tired of these stupid road hazards and stop to give assistance to these jerks who deserve their pain.

Lets do the right thing here, let Doc go, charge the bike twits and ban non-powered vehicles from public roads/sidewalks/spaces.

And BTW bike jerks next time you get on someone’s butt remember what happened to these guys, and wonder if you are next. I hope you do it to me.

You see Officer, a chipmunk ran out in front of me so I attempted to stop.. and that why Lance is stuck to my trailer hitch.

If the Good Doctor had used a gun instead of a car, would these people still feel he was justified? Or he could have used a bat, like the men who recently beat and robbed an 18-year old cyclist in the Mid-Wilshire area, leaving her with massive facial fractures, and four suspects under arrest.

So the challenge will be to find 12 honest men and women who don’t reflect the attitudes demonstrated above, and don’t think that the crime of riding a bike in a place and manner you don’t approve of justifies a violent attack with a 2,000 pound lethal weapon.

According to L.A. cyclist and attorney DJwheels — whose own girlfriend was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver — yesterday’s court session was dedicated to assigning a new judge to the case, and the hearing of motions.

Today, they’re scheduled to select a jury, with testimony slated to begin Thursday.

I won’t be attending.

As much as I’d like to report on every detail, I don’t trust myself to sit silently in a courtroom and listen quietly as lawyers justify the potentially murderous actions of a self-appointed traffic vigilante.

So if you have the stomach for it, be my guest. And if you want to report the details, you can find my email address here.

But be careful out there. Because these people drive among us.

And that’s the really scary part.

……….

Here’s your chance to rework the proposed new bike plan — or better yet, write your own. A perfect example of carhead succinctly summed up in a bumper sticker. Riding along the Hudson River with bike writer David Byrne. NY Times readers debate the new New York bikeways, while a Denver initiative would make bikable and walkable streets a priority. A bold vision for an Embarcadero bikeway by the Bay. Seattle riders ask if killing a cyclist should be a crime (I vote yes). An Aussie writer rides the Marvin Braude bikeway end-to-end. Taking London’s new bikes-for-hire for a test ride. China considers charging passengers of drunk drivers as accomplices. An Aussie driver was high on wine and LSD, and on his way to buy more drugs, when he killed a cyclist on Christmas Eve. The ideal recumbent for anyone who wants to leave this world the way they lived in it. Finally, Bike-friendly Santa Monica limits itself to six new bike racks per year; I guess you’re welcome to ride through the city, as long as you don’t stop.

When someone complains about dangerous cyclists, show them this

As we drove through the Westside this past weekend, my wife and I watched in amazement as one driver after another attempted maneuvers you won’t find in the driver’s manual, with varying degrees of success.

We agreed that the overall quality of driving in L.A. was worse than we’d ever seen it. And it clearly hasn’t gotten any better since.

Take yesterday’s ride, for instance.

It started before I could even get out of the alley behind my building. A driver was trying to back his van around a blind corner from the street into the alley. His view was completely blocked by the building next to me, so he had no idea what, if anything, was behind him — yet he did it anyway.

And what was behind him was me.

So I hugged the side of the building and waited until he finally stopped, then pulled around him, shaking my head as I passed.

Just two blocks later, I waited at a stop sign as a trash truck crossed the street in front of me. Instead of clearing the intersection, though, the driver stopped part way, then backed around the corner onto the street I was on. It wasn’t until he finished backing up and was facing me that he finally saw me there, waiting to cross.

Most drivers would have recognized that I had the right-of-way, and let me go first. Instead, he looked directly at me as he cut me off to complete his three-point U-turn.

A few minutes after that, I crossed Wilshire Blvd on a green light. Just as I reached the other side, a car lurched out from the curb just ahead of me, then stopped, blocking the lane, and cut me off again as he turned left into a driveway. All without signaling, of course.

I don’t know if he didn’t see me, or just didn’t care.

Then at the very next intersection, I pulled up to a four-way stop at the same time that two cars came up to the intersection on the cross street, one behind the other. The first driver looked my way, so I nodded for her to go, then started across the street.

As I was crossing, the second driver looked directly at me, gunned her engine and cut me off as she zoomed through the stop sign just feet in front of me. But evidently, it was okay — in her mind at least — because she gave me the dismissive “so sorry” wave as she passed.

I responded with another kind of wave. And forty-two days of middle-finger sobriety went down the drain.

And that was just first mile of my ride.

By the time I got back home, I’d also encountered a Range Rover — without plates, of course — who cut into the bike lane right in front of me so he could pass a long line of cars that weren’t speeding quite fast enough for him.

Then there was the driver who pulled out from a cross street right in front of me — which another driver waiting to cross in the opposite direction took as her signal to go, even though I was directly in front of her. Fortunately, she stopped just in time, as I braced for the impact.

The winner, though, had to be the driver I encountered on the last leg of my ride as I rode east on Ohio.

I took the lane soon after crossing Westwood Blvd, like I always do. The street is too narrow for cars to pass safely there, while the steep downhill lets me to go as fast, if not faster, than the speed of traffic.

This time, however, the driver behind me tried to pass on the wrong side of the road, even though I was riding at least as fast as the 25 mph speed limit — and common sense — allowed.

We were side-by-side as we went through the intersection at the bottom of the hill. Then she zipped up the next hill and turned left at the next corner, running the stop sign in the process — all without ever coming back to the right side of the road.

Of course, not everyone drives like that.

Even though it seems like a lot, these were just seven drivers out of the thousands I encountered that day — many of whom went out of their way to pass safely or wave me through a challenging intersection.

But the next time someone complains about all those damn law-flaunting cyclists, remind them that we’re not the only ones who do stupid, illegal and extremely dangerous things on the road.

Sure, there are cyclists out there who treat traffic laws with an excessive degree of flexibility.

But safe operation has nothing to do with the number of wheels you travel on.

……..

Brayj gets a neighborhood council to endorse the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, after biking to the wrong meeting. The Anonymous Cyclist explains how to address the problem of putting 135 mm disk hubs on a 130 mm road bike frame. Santa Clarita ambushes drivers with unannounced bike lanes. Now Hollywood celebs can finally afford to ride along with their dogs; poor people will have to continue holding the leash. Santa Rosa experiments with a Bike Boulevard, proving a city can move forward without making a permanent commitment. A Silicon Valley cyclist bounces back from a near-fatal collision with a drunk driver. Even in Baton Rouge, where I was once regarded as a two-wheeled freak, they’re making room for bikes — maybe there’s hope for L.A. after all. Cycling deaths are up in Seattle despite increased spending to make cycling safer because drivers fail to yield — a $101 ticket. Cyclists attack a Boca Raton driver for passing too close; witnesses say he hit one of the riders. A Staten Island driver faces charges for assaulting a cyclist who tried to make a point by blocking cars from a bike lane. A Texas cyclist gets shot with a pellet gun, and assumes it’s a prank. Finally, it appears to be legal in New York to ram your car into a bicycle and drive 200 feet with the rider clinging to the hood, as long as he isn’t seriously injured. Gentlemen, start your engines — it’s open season on Gotham cyclists.

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