Tag Archive for Velo Club La Grange

Morning Links: New theme song for your next bike ride, honoring LaGrange founder, and Bike with a Cop on Sunday

Cody Westheimer says instead of having his daughter’s playlist stuck in his head when he rides, he wrote and recorded his own bike-themed song to keep him company.

And he’s kind enough to share it with us, so we’ll have something better to get stuck in our heads, too.

I haven’t had a chance to hear it yet, since I’m not on Spotify.

So tell me what you think.

And yes, I promise I’ll sign up for the free app later today and give the song a listen.

Cross my heart.

………

The founder of LA’s Velo Club LaGrange will be honored with an official city proclamation this Sunday.

………

Here’s your chance to bike with the LAPD’s Wilshire Division this Sunday.

………

Who needs an e-scooter when you have Corgi power?

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

Someone has been setting a Massachusetts bike trail on fire, including a pair of docked bikeshare bikes.

………

Local

Josh Brolin is one of us, as he takes his shirtless new dad body to the beach in Santa Monica for a bike ride with his wife and eight-month-old son.

Metro’s BEST program is teaming with the LACBC, West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition to offer a free Bike 1 — Back to Basics course this Sunday.

CiclaValley goes gravel grinding on Pacifico Mountain. And no, it was not named for the Mexican beer empties someone left at the top. Probably. 

 

State

Watsonville releases its Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths. Let’s hope they’re more committed to it than Los Angeles has been.

They get it. San Francisco Streetsblog says it’s great that the legislature is considering tripling the state’s rebate for electric car buyers, but where’s the rebate for ebikes?

Two Chico men ended up with stab wounds after a fight over a bicycle; one man used a knife to steal it and the other fought to defend it.

 

National

Happy birthday BMX biking

CNET offers tips on how to stay safe on an e-scooter.

One more reason to ride a bike. A border surveillance firm wants to profile drivers, passengers and their likely reasons to drive into New York.

A Chicago writer discovers she can ride an e-scooter, even if she can’t ride a bike.

An autistic Michigan boy can ride his bike again, after a mysterious donor gave him a new adult tricycle because his was stolen a few weeks ago.

Sound familiar? The Boston Globe calls on the city to pick up the pace on building bike lanes, saying Boston has a good plan to improve bike safety, but is “vexingly slow” in doing it.

Speaking of the Globe, they recommend riding a gravel bike to explore the road less traveled.

More on Tuesday’s New York die-in, where hundreds of bike riders turn out to demand safer streetsBicycling says it’s shocking just how badly New York is failing bicyclists. Even though the city is light years ahead of Los Angeles.

The Department of DIY strikes again. Or in this case, New York’s self-described Transformation Department, a group of “rogue cyclists” credited with creating a toilet plunger-protected bike lane.

New York Streetsblog suggests a solution after a new study shows the city’s bikeshare program primarily serves rich white people.

A DC bike commuter makes the conservative case bicycling, in the face of bone-headed, windshield-biased right wing calls to ban bikes from the streets — and pave the roads with our bones.

A Charleston SC paper says the city’s streets are built for fast cars, and inherently deadly for anyone else.

 

International

Ottawa police say they’re investigating the road rage punishment pass which resulted in a driver clipping a bike rider’s handlebar mirror.

Nothing like that dry British wit. A TV station claims its program Cyclists: Scourge of the Streets was a “balanced documentary” that offered “an unfiltered look at both sides of the fence,” while a cycling magazine says can’t we all just get along? Wait. You mean they weren’t trying to be funny?

A Welsh bike rider credits his helmet with saving his life when he hit a traffic cone at 40 mph; his broken neck, not so much.

An 81-year old Welsh grandmother suffered serious injuries when she was the victim of a hit-and-run bike rider who went through a red light as she was crossing the street.

The next time you can’t find a safe place to park your bike, consider that Utrecht in the Netherlands is nearing completion of the world’s largest underground bike garage, with room for over 12,500 bicycles.

A British professor set a new record for riding across Europe in just 16 days, 20 hours and 59 minutes, breaking the four-day old previous record by more than two days.

An Irish columnist says foul smelling, polluting cars must be driven from our cities. Meanwhile, an Aussie website says you should physically avoid cars when you ride to keep from sucking in half your daily dose of air pollution. Although I prefer their other idea — melt down all the cars and turn them into free bicycles.

Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry are two of us, too, as they go for a pre-wedding tandem bike ride on a French island.

Turning China back into the Bicycle Kingdom to fight pollution.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Sacramento Bee says French pro Julian Alaphilippe brings panache to the yellow jersey.

Peter Sagan overcame a hilly course to claim Wednesday’s stage of the Tour de France, while his bike got back-to-back wins.

Dutch pro Annemiek van Vleuten is building what could be an insurmountable lead in the Giro Rosa.

 

Finally…

Cow farts are bad for the planet, bike lanes aren’t. Your next bike could come with pigeon poop pre-installed.

And riding with LA’s preeminent moped gang.

 

Morning Links: Pasadena anti-bike lane bias, sharing shared scooter helmets and return of LaGrange Grand Prix

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I accused the Pasadena Star-News of showing an anti-bike lane bias for a story that said protected bike lanes would come at the expense of traffic lanes, even though city’s the first one, on Union Street, wouldn’t.

Except it does. 

My understanding was that only parking spaces would have to be removed to make room for the bike lanes. But the truth is just the opposite. 

Advocacy group Active SGV informs me that local residents and business want to preserve as much parking as possible, preferring to give up a largely unused traffic lane to losing parking spaces. 

I’m not sure how I got it wrong, but clearly, I did. 

My apologies to the Star-News for the error. And thanks to Active SGV for the correction. 

Here’s what I originally wrote:

No bias against bike lanes here.

The Pasadena Star-News considers the proposal for Pasadena’s first two-way cycle track, imagining that protected bike lanes must come at the cost of traffic lanes — even though the one proposed for Union Street won’t.

They also suggest that the protected bike lane on Temple City’s Rosemead Blvd is a failure, because one councilmember says he seldom sees more than one or two riders using it at any given time.

Which would actually make it pretty busy, given the few seconds a passing driver can devote to noticing it.

And bearing in mind that anecdotal evidence isn’t worth the traffic study it’s not based on.

Credit Joe Linton with the photo, which was shamelessly stolen, uh, borrowed from LA Streetsblog.

………

Unfortunately, the story is hidden behind a paywall.

But evidently, LA-based sit-down scooter company Wheels has applied for a patent to build a detachable helmet directly into the scooter itself.

Which means you’ll share that helmet with whoever used it before you. And unless they can also build some sort of disinfectant and insecticide into the scooter, whatever was on their heads and in their hair.

I’ll pass, thanks.

………

I’ve been expecting someone to introduce this sooner or later.

A new clip-on device promises to turn any bicycle into an ebike, yet is small and light enough to fit into a backpack. Allowing you to carry it with you, and snap it on when you need a little extra boost to make it up a hill or get back home.

………

LA’s Velo Club LaGrange has set a date for the return of the bike club’s formerly annual Grand Prix, which will now be held in Carson, rather than Brentwood.

………

Local

LA Times letter writers says traffic deaths won’t end until drivers change their attitudes. Meanwhile, the Times’ Steve Lopez says a carfree future doesn’t sound all that bad.

Metro talks Bike Month in a sponsored Streetsblog post.

Santa Clarita jumps back in the saddle with a number of events to celebrate Bike Month.

 

State

San Francisco is getting new red light cameras to help stop dangerous drivers. Meanwhile, Los Angeles isn’t, after they were yanked out several years ago to appease angry drivers.

A new study shows that capping the number of e-scooters in San Francisco just drives more people back into cars, while Bird announces a monthly rental program to get around those restrictions.

Alaska Airlines is offering Bay Area residents airline miles to bike their commute on Bike to Work Day.

 

National

The Oregon house passes a bill to correct a bizarre court ruling that concluded bike lanes don’t exist in intersections unless they’re striped all the way across.

A San Antonio TX public radio program looks at the city’s Vision Zero, and concludes its roads aren’t safe for people on bicycles.

Auto-centric Houston TX puts Los Angeles to shame, building 50 miles of bike lanes in the past 12 months, while LA’s mayor is only willing to commit to ten. And “commit” may be a strong word.

Great idea. A Milwaukee ferry company offered free tickets worth $161 to anyone who brought in a gently used bicycle they could donate to local kids for Earth Week, even though they exceeded their own 500 bike limit.

A Memphis morning news anchor was lucky to escape with a leg broken in two places when her bike was hit head-on by a driver.

Streetsblog talks with the mayor of Cambridge MA, crediting him with finding a way to neutralize anti-bike lane NIMBYs.

New York police are looking for a hit-and-run bike rider who collided with a woman in Queens, leaving her with a broken arm.

The father of a fallen bicyclist calls on New York’s mayor to stop senseless traffic deaths.

A New York cop was busted for beating an ebike delivery rider who nearly hit the officer’s little girl. Which may be understandable, but is still wrong. And illegal.

A DC website says the Red Cup Project shows how vulnerable people are riding without protected bike lanes.

A Baltimore letter writer says a parking protected bike lane is a disaster waiting to happen, and should be ripped out because there are more children, parents and grandparents than there are bike riders. Because evidently, children, parents and grandparents don’t ride bikes. Or care about safety.

The stumbling drunk driver who killed two bike riders and injured seven others near a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade was indicted on two counts of vehicular homicide and seven counts each of hit-and-run and vehicular injuring.

A Florida safety expert explains why it’s the deadliest state in the US for people on bicycles.

 

International

A British grocery chain refuses to let bicyclists leave their bikes inside on “hygiene grounds.” Yet allow people to walk inside with their shoes on, which touch the same dirty streets bike tires do.

Pink Bike looks at eight “gorgeous” bikes from the Aussie Handmade Bicycle Show.

No bias here, either. The Japanese edition of Stars & Strips relates the rules of the road for the bike riders, while saying most most riders are oblivious to the laws, and many are crazy.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling calls Nebraska’s Ashton Lambie the most interesting bike rider in America, as he prepares for the Olympics after just two years of racing.

 

Finally…

If you know when and where a group ride will be coming by, just stay out of their way, already. That feeling when your massive corporation somehow feels the need to fight a bike path logo that no one would ever confuse for yours.

And more proof bikes can go where cars can’t.

Guest Post: BAC member Jonathan Weiss explains California law on riding side-by-side

Riding abreast on Rodeo Drive, without breaking the law

Riding abreast on Rodeo Drive, without breaking the law

One of the most frequently misunderstood laws governing bicycling is the right to ride two or more abreast, both by bicyclists and — especially — law enforcement. Police too often misinterpret the requirement to ride to the right as forbidding riding abreast.

Although law might be the wrong word, since it isn’t even mentioned in state law.

Los Angeles Bicycling Advisory Committee member Jonathan Weiss has done an exceptional job of digging deep into state law to explain when it’s legal, and why.

This should be mandatory reading for every police officer in California.

……….

Side by Side

Admit it – you ride side by side so you can chat. But is it legal? The simplest guidance I can formulate is: Except where local laws forbid it, California law allows riding side by side (by side) where the road is not wide enough or in good enough condition for cars to safely pass bicyclists.

Most states allow side-by-side riding – California law is silent

U.S. National Champion road racer and Olympian (and bicycle lawyer) Bob Mionske reported in his 2010 Bicycling.com article, “Road Rights – Two by Two, How and When to Ride Side by Side,” that 39 states expressly regulate riding side-by-side on a statewide basis.  California was (and is) not one of them.  So, he says, side-by-side riding is implicitly allowed in California – except where localities regulate it.

California’s “ride to the right” law (Vehicle Code section 21202) has been interpreted as barring side-by-side riding

If you know anything about laws applying to bicycling, you’ve probably heard that Vehicle Code section 21202, subdivision (a), requires bicyclists to “ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.“ Section 21202 was (and is) the law governing operation of bicycles on roadways. So, when a Statewide Bicycle Committee (set up by the California Legislature – see note at end) asked the Attorney General his opinion on the legality of side-by-side cycling, he relied on section 21202 to say it was forbidden. (“It is our opinion that section 21202 does preclude bicyclists from legally riding abreast of one another assuming both bicyclists are on the roadway.”) When the Deputy Attorney gave his opinion in 1975, Section 21202 said: “(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) [re one-way streets], every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.” Therefore, bikes could only be side-by-side when passing one another.

The Deputy Attorney General wasn’t unsympathetic to the law’s impracticalities. He concluded by joining in the Committee’s recommendation “that section 21202 be amended to expressly provide that bicyclists are permitted to move to the left when passing a slower moving vehicle, when preparing for a left hand turn, or when seeking to avoid hazards in the roadway.” Indeed, the Bicycle Committee had proposed those amendments and more. They wanted to allow cyclists to “Occupy a full lane to avoid being forced off the roadway when the lane is too narrow for a vehicle to pass safely in the lane, in accordance with CVC Section 21656.”

In 1976, Governor Brown signed a bill adding all of those exceptions to the ride to the right requirements in section 21202.

  • (a)  Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
  • (1)  When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • (2)  When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  • (3)  When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

The newly added exceptions are discussed below.

The “substandard width lane” exception to the ride to the right law

Even if you knew about the ride to the right law, you may not know about the “substandard width lane” added in 1976. The “substandard width lane” exception means that, where “a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane” – cyclists don’t have to ride to the right. In other words, where there is no room for a car and a bike, the cyclist can (one might say should) take the lane by riding in the center.  (More on that later.)

The “safely side by side” phrase in Vehicle Code section 21202, subdivision (a)(3), was recently clarified by the three foot passing law. Vehicle Code section 21760, subdivision (b), says – “A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.” A three foot buffer is how much space a car must leave to be “safely side by side” with a bicycle.

This rider on Westwood Blvd could legally take the lane, and probably should

This rider on Westwood Blvd could legally take the lane, and probably should

Consider, for example, northbound Westwood Boulevard between Pico and Santa Monica Boulevards. The curb lane is 12 feet wide. During morning rush hours, there is no parking in that lane. With a cyclist taking about 3 feet (counting from the curb – to stay off of the concrete gutter pan), and the 3 foot passing law, a 6 foot wide car, that’s the tightest fit possible. But with wider SUVs, buses (8 ½ feet wide), and trucks plying that same space – taking the lane is clearly legal.

The “surface hazards” exception to the ride to the right law

The law also allows straying from the road’s edge when reasonably necessary to avoid “fixed or moving objects” or “surface hazards” “that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge ….”

So, if the road is busted up (like Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills) or has unsafe storm drain catch basins (along the same roadway), then there’s another reason to take the lane.

The “speedy rider” exception to the ride to the right law

Section 21202 only requires cyclists riding “at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic” to stay right. So, since the 1976 amendment, those cyclists who can keep up with traffic may take the lane no matter how wide the road or its condition.

If you’ve legally taken the lane, you can ride side-by-side (by side)

The Statewide Bicycle Committee recommended allowing cyclists to “Travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded.”  But that never became law. Therefore, there is still no state law permitting – or limiting – the number of cyclists riding side-by-side. Local entities can (and have) applied their own restrictions. (Under Vehicle Code section 21, most local entities cannot overrule the Vehicle Code.) Locally, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Long Beach, and Irvine (is that local?) allow no more than two abreast riding. No other local cities appear to limit riding two by two – or more. But that doesn’t hold everywhere. In San Anselmo, you must have a license (is that even legal?) and one condition on the license is that “Every person, when operating a bicycle upon a highway, shall ride such bicycle in single file only.”

So, if you’ve legally taken the lane under the substandard lanes, surface hazards, or left turn exceptions, no state law says your pal can’t ride next to you. And, in most cities, you can ride three (or more) abreast.

Please, please, don’t hold up lots of traffic

Sometimes, even after taking the lane, you must pull over. Vehicle Code section 21656 requires slower moving traffic to move over when safe: “On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, behind which five or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout by signs erected by the authority having jurisdiction over the highway, or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following it to proceed.”

So, for example, if you head up Benedict Canyon (which is probably substandard in many areas), and if five cars stack up behind you, you would have to pull over.  On the way down, however, you may go about as fast as the cars, so no need to pull over.  This wouldn’t apply on Beverly Hills’ Santa Monica Boulevard, since it’s not a two lane road.

Why ride side by side?

I started off suggesting you might ride side by side to chat. But there are better reasons to do so. The Statewide Bicycling Committee noted them in its report:

It is not unusual for a motorist to attempt to pass a cyclist in the same lane when it is not safe to do so. This often results in the cyclist being forced off the roadway. Cyclists contend that it is safer in a narrow lane to occupy the full lane, thereby causing the motorist to pass in an adjacent lane or to wait until the cyclist moves off the roadway at the first safe and available opportunity In accordance with CVC Section 21656.

Taking the lane (occupying a full lane – as the Committee put it) may be best achieved with the help of friends. Two bicycles are more visible than one, and so forth.

Jonathan Weiss

This article is dedicated to the memory of cycling lawyer and advocate Howard Krepack.

Note: As background, the Statewide Bicycle Committee was formed in accordance with Senate Concurrent Resolution 47.  The Committee was charged with the following responsibilities:

  • To study problems related to bicycling in California.
  • To review the California Vehicle Code and recommend changes which will benefit both bicyclists and motorists.
  • To develop a Model Bicycle Ordinance for use by local jurisdictions.

You can find the Statewide Bicycle Committee report here; the AG’s opinion is at the very end.

………

Thanks to Velo Club La Grange for permission to repost this piece, which originally appeared in the club’s newsletter.

Crappy photos by BikinginLA.

 

%d bloggers like this: