Tag Archive for Velo Club La Grange

Olive Street bike lane hits the street, vital bicyclists Black Lives Matter discussion, and parking in 7th Street bike lane

I give up. 

I’ve been battling low blood sugar for over four hours now, as I’ve struggled to finish today’s post. Despite my best efforts, I’ve finally reached the point where I have to throw in the towel. 

Unfortunately, I’ve only gotten about halfway through today’s news, so let’s just call this Morning Links lite.

And we’ll catch up with the rest tomorrow. 

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In today’s photo, Patrick Pascal sends proof that DTLA’s Olive Street bike lane is becoming a reality, looking south from 8th Street.

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This may be the most important video you see today.

Or maybe this year.

Tuesday evening, LA’s Velo Club La Grange hosted a two hour online discussion of racism, and what it’s like to be a Black bicyclist in the City of Angels.

This is how they describe it.

On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, Velo Club La Grange hosted a virtual Town Hall where a number of local Black cyclists shared their perspective and experiences and engaged in an interactive question and answer session. We invite you to watch this critically important conversation.

But that doesn’t begin to do it justice.

The panelists — a group of successful Black professionals — didn’t say anything I haven’t heard before from other people.

Yet hearing so many variations of the same hateful story, calmly told by so many people, was absolutely devastating.

Seriously, block out some time, and watch it. It may change the way you view race forever.

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When is a bike lane not a bike lane?

When its a parking lot.

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Help BikeSD raise funds for the Climate Ride this weekend.

https://twitter.com/BikeSD/status/1281066125724246016

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Submitted without comment.

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Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique is one of us, arriving for an important La Liga match on his ebike.

https://twitter.com/MovistarFutbol/status/1280934558175821824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1280934558175821824%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fheavy.com%2Fsports%2F2020%2F07%2Fgerard-pique-bike%2F

Eddie Redmayne is one of us, too.

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Photographer Sterling Lorence discusses how to get the perfect mountain bike shots.

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

A New York driver plowed through a group of bike riders blocking an intersection for a Black Lives Matter protest, leaving a string of mangled bicycles in his wake; the driver was arrested two blocks away after being chased down by protesters.

A teenaged Pennsylvania driver faces charges for chasing down a bike rider and intentionally ramming hm with his car, for no apparent reason.

A British bicyclist was pushed into a canal by a group of thieves intent on stealing his bicycle, the latest in a string of similar attacks.

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Local

No news is good news, right?

 

State

Popular San Francisco nonprofit bike shop Pedal Revolution calls it quits after years of financial loses compounded by Covid-19.

 

National

Nice piece from Popular Science explaining the differences between cheap bikes and more expensive models. Or to put it another way, between mass market Bicycle Shaped Objects, and bikes you’ll actually want to ride more than one summer.

A writer for The Next Web addresses the age old question of whether you should buy an e-bike or an e-scooter; concluding, both.

Specialized is finally making the jump to e-commerce, allowing its bikes and frames to be sold online.

Louisville KY’s bikeshare system puts its money where its bikes are, posting Black Lives Matter signs at the docking stations.

Once again, a bike rider is a hero, but in a different way, as a Minneapolis bicyclist creates an organization to collect up to 100 pounds of household supplies for people in need and deliver them to community service organizations, all by bicycle.

Incoming Michigan football player RJ Moten is one of us, putting his lockdown time to good use with 50 mile bike rides. Let’s hope he keeps it up, because the chances of actually playing football this fall aren’t looking good.

A Massachusetts town gets creative with its bike racks. Although most bike riders would gladly trade artistic racks for better security. 

An Orlando newspaper recommends three outstanding bike trails for your next trip to Florida.

 

International

The European Court of Justice rules that Brompton’s unique functional shape can be copyrighted.

Bike Biz considers the role bicycles can play during the age of Covid-19.

Streetsblog says US states should copy Scotland’s E-Bike Grant program to replace car and transit trips with bike rides.

A former British firefighter discovers what it’s like to open a new bike shop in the middle of a pandemic, which counterintuitively turned out to be the perfect time.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cyclist exults over the pending return of bike racing.

VeloNews explains how budding Canadian cycling star Michael Wood made the transition from running to bike racing.

 

Finally…

At last, a bike you ride sidesaddle. That feeling when your bike ride turns into a cheesy DIY porn shoot.

And yes, you’re actually supposed to sit on this.

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

Coronado driver hits 4 bike riders, racist attack on preteen bike rider, and Velo Club La Grange talks Biking While Black

This is why people continue to die on our streets.

A man in Coronado plowed into four people riding their bicycles in a bike lane after having an undisclosed “medical issue” while driving.

Three of the bike riders were taken to the hospital, with injuries described as ranging from minor to serious.

The other rider declined medical treatment — as did the driver, even though he was unresponsive when police arrived.

So his condition is serious enough that he can pass out behind the wheel, but not so serious he needs medical attention afterwards.

And presumably, he was allowed to leave on his own, without so much as a ticket, despite putting three people in the hospital.

Because, you know, a medical condition.

Hopefully, someone will stop him from driving before it happens again. But don’t count on it.

Thanks to Phillip Young for the link.

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In yet another sign of the times we’re living in, a San Francisco man faces hate charges after assaulting a preteen boy.

The 12-year old victim was riding his bike to Walgreens with his friends when he stopped to help a woman who was sobbing in the parking lot.

It was then that 29-year-old Brendon Kruse “ran up to him and began screaming epithets,” according to SFist.

Though the victim’s friends ran away, the boy held tight — perhaps because Kruse prevented the victim from taking his bike — while Kruse continued yelling insults at him; Kruse at one point showed his lightning bolt and skull tattoos and explained to the boy they meant he “kills [plural n-word].” Kruse allegedly also threatened to kill the boy.

Kruse faces well-deserved charges for “criminal threats, child endangerment and false imprisonment with hate crime enhancements.”

Seriously, there’s not a pit deep enough for someone who could do that.

And something tells me we know who made the woman cry, too.

Note, I would have linked to the original story in the San Francisco Chronicle, except for their paywall. 

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While we’re on the subject of race, Velo Club La Grange, LA’s longtime leading cycling club, is taking a big step towards understanding what it means to bike while Black in the City of Angels.

On Tuesday, July 7th at 7 pm PT, La Grange will be hosting a virtual Town Hall where a number of local Black cyclists have agreed to share their perspective and experiences and then engage in an interactive question and answer session. The Town Hall is open to all. We invite you all to attend and hope you will join us for this critically important conversation. Please feel free to share with fellow cyclists and anyone interested!

The Town Hall meeting will take place online on Tuesday, July 7 @ 7pm; click here for access to the Zoom meeting

You can read the club’s Full Anti-Racism Statement here

Thanks to Jaycee Cary for the heads-up.

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Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum takes a look at the problems faced by Black bike riders in the US, and how bicycling could help drive racial equality, saying “It is time to dissociate racialist culture and bicycle culture; cycling in itself is agnostic to any culture.”

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This is who we share the road with.

A Seattle man faces two counts of vehicular assault for driving the wrong way up an offramp, around a road closure barrier installed by the state police, and onto a freeway that had been closed for a protest over police brutality.

He swerved around several cars that had been parked across the roadway to serve as barricades, and slammed into two of the protesters.

Twenty-four-year old Summer Taylor was killed, while another person remains in serious condition at a Seattle hospital.

No word yet on why he did it.

But we can probably all take a guess.

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A Friday town hall will discuss SB 288, a California state senate bill that would exempt bike and pedestrian projects from CEQA requirements.

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David Drexler forwards this opportunity to put your favorite transportation modality where your mouth is.

No, literally.

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Forget bike polo.

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

Horrible story from the UK, where a woman riding a mountain bike was attacked and severely beaten by a 60-something man wielding a six-foot long stick. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

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Local

CicLAvia is now part of the Highline Network, which credits the organization with building a “unifying social fabric,” rather than permanent infrastructure.

 

State

She gets it. A Bakersfield columnist says the Slow Street movement slowly making its way through the state could change our cities for the better, permanently.

No surprise here, as the annual Sea Otter Classic has gone virtual for 2020.

A nearly $25 million state grant will build 74 low income apartments in Modesto, as well as rail improvements and a new 1.5 mile, high-quality bike path.

Tragic news from San Raphael, where a 36-year old man was struck and killed by a train after falling on the tracks when he reportedly rode through the crossing gates. Never do that, no matter how big a hurry you’re in or how tempting it is.

 

National

Senate leader Mitch McConnell calls the bike-friendly US House infrastructure bill a “Green New Deal masquerading as a transportation bill.” Works for me.

Streetsblog looks into the bill, and offers four things they think every advocate of sustainable transportation should know. Unfortunately, the bill is likely to be dead on arrival in the Senate as long McConnell is in charge.

Dump the woodie, and strap your board to your “uncool” ebike the next time you head out to surf.

A new clip-on device promises to add turn signals to any bike helmet; you can preorder it on Kickstarter starting at the equivalent of $51 for the next few days.

A Catholic paper briefly explains how the Madonna del Ghisallo became the patron saint of bicyclists, amid a story about the patron saints of various summer activities. Never mind that many of us don’t just ride in the summertime  Still, a little devine intervention couldn’t hurt; I never ride without my helmet, or my Madonna del Ghisallo medal.

Maybe there’s hope after all. Tacoma, Washington has repealed a 26-year old ordinance requiring bike helmets for all bike riders. Which only leaves another 20 or so cities in the state to go.

About damn time. A new Colorado law gives bike riders the right of way in bike lanes, requiring drivers to yield to people on bicycles. Which seems like an obvious thing, but apparently isn’t. At least not as far as California is concerned.

A South Chicago Bike Out rolled to protest a decision to keep cops in schools, as well as another to allow a scrap metal recycler to move to the area.

The New York Times considers whether the city is finally on the road to becoming a bicycling city, while a 102-year old Queens bike shop struggles to keep up with the pandemic bike boom.

The Guardian looks at the Black-led groups that are biking against racism in New York.

The Bike League bizarrely named Florida the nation’s tenth most bike-friendly state — despite consistently being the nation’s most dangerous state for bike riders and pedestrians. Apparently, it’s a great place to ride a bike, if you survive.

 

International

CyclingTips explains why the dreaded speed wobbles happen when you’re descending. And more importantly, what to do about it.

The Business Times says bicycles are edging cars off the streets of Europe as the coronavirus accelerates a shift away from motor vehicles.

The bike boom has hit Mexico City, too, with new riders taking to a network of popup bike lanes on major arteries throughout the city, to minimize one-on-one contact on public transportation. Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles, home to the world Climate Mayor, <crickets>. 

A Winnipeg, Manitoba business is confronting Covid-19 by paying its employees $50 a month to bike to work.

After inexplicably destroying tens of thousands of Jump bikes around the world, new owner Lime is reintroducing the dockless ebike system to London.

Six years after losing her leg — and nearly her life — when she was hit by a distracted truck driver, a 28-year old London woman is riding a bike for the first time by using a three-wheeled adaptive handcycle.

An English man in his 70’s was critically injured in a collision with a bike rider. Pedestrians can be unpredictable, and very fragile. So always ride carefully anytime they’re around.

The auto-centric UK lawyer who calls himself Mr. Loophole accuses government officials of rushing through plans for a one-year e-scooter pilot program. Even though the country is over a year behind the rest of the world.

No bias here. A Scottish columnist tosses told water on Vision Zero, saying the only way to prevent traffic deaths is to ban cars, which he says is no more realistic than banning kitchen knives to prevent stabbings. Yet the example he uses is a 91-year old driver who killed a three-year old boy outside a toy store, as if nothing could have been done to ensure someone that old could safely drive car.

After walking out of the hospital, British BMX champ Jason Bynoe thanked the medical staff who cared for him after he somehow ended up under his car when he swerved to avoid a deer; he suffered multiple fractures, as well as horrific road rash, and feared he would never walk again, let alone compete.

It’s not just an American problem. A popular Spanish bicyclist was run down and killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver who left him to die in the street.

Turkish actor Engin Altan Duzyatan is one of us, and so is his four-year old son.

He gets it, too. The German ambassador to Pakistan urges the country to get on its bicycles.

A joint city and state committee was formed to examine bicycle safety after a Brisbane, Australia woman was killed riding her bike, just feet from the hospital where she worked.

An Aussie mountain biker was lucky to survive falling over 30 feet down an unmarked mine shaft. And needless to say, he’s planning to sue.

 

Competitive Cycling

Sad news from Belgium, where 20-year old amateur cyclist Niels De Vriendt died of a heart attack, after crashing in the country’s first bike race following the coronavirus lockdown.

Disappointing news, as SoCal’s Over the Hump mountain bike racing series has been cancelled for this year.

The NTT cycling team holds the lead in the pretend Tour de France currently taking place on Zwift, as France’s Julien Bernard took the pretend second stage.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to rob a man to steal the bike he’s walking, make sure he isn’t walking it because the tire is flat. Going for a bike ride while suffering from Covid-19 may be the best argument yet to require helmets for MMA fighters.

And evidently, cars have been around a lot longer than we thought.

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

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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Crappy photos by BikinginLA.

 

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