Tag Archive for Wilshire Blvd Bus Only Lanes

Morning Links: Buzzed by Metro Bus, blown off by Metro security, and a better Share the Road sign

This is what it looks like when an LA Metro bus passes way too close, in violation of the three-foot passing law.

And common sense.

Thanks to Don Ward and Carlos Morales for the heads-up.

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Speaking of Metro, you may recall last week Michael MacDonald wrote a guest post about being told by a sheriff’s deputy to get out of the Wilshire Blvd Bus-Only Lane.

Even though he was directly under a sign reading “Bikes Okay.”

On Friday, MacDonald, along with the BAC’s David Wolfberg, met with Metro head of security Alex Wiggins.

Suffice it to say it did not go well.

We hope to have a follow-up from MacDonald about his meeting, once he has time to think the matter over.

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Frequent contributor and unofficial BikinginLA proofreader Mike Wilkinson says he just happened to stop into his local Performance bike shop over the weekend, only to discover LACBC volunteers getting ready for next Sunday’s LA River Ride.

Volunteers from the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition were at Performance Bicycle in Long Beach yesterday signing up riders for Sunday’s 16th Annual Los Angeles River Ride. The event will feature rides from two miles to 100 miles that are meant to be enjoyed by every type of rider. The ride benefits the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Online sign ups are available through Wednesday, and there is more information on the LACBC website.

Volunteers sign up LACBC River Ride participants at Performance Bike

Volunteers sign up LACBC River Ride participants at Performance Bike

Adrian Oviedo and Sandy Brambila pose with the LACBC River Ride logo at Performance Bike in Long Beach

Adrian Oviedo and Sandy Brambila pose with the LACBC River Ride logo at Performance Bike in Long Beach

Meanwhile, CiclaValley looks forward to the River Ride.

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Bike lawyer Bob Mionske points out the real reason you need to wear a helmet: defense lawyers will use it against you if you get hit by a car and don’t have one on your head.

And Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas offers an improvement to the useless and too-often misunderstood Share the Road signs.

Bikes May Be In The Way

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A driver’s training school forwards advice for young cyclists and drivers on how to safely share the road.

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Muhammad Ali may not have been The Greatest if someone hadn’t stolen his bicycle when he was 12 years old.

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Local

The LA Weekly asks if the City of Angels can really reduce the number of traffic deaths to zero, in a surprising fair report.

Richard Risemberg looks at LA’s non-network of disconnected bikeways.

A complication that could hold up the completion of the LA River bike path — and restoring the river itself — is the 400 parcels of river channel controlled by individual owners.

We already knew the former governator was one of us, as he takes a helmet-less spin in LA. So are Liev Schreiber and sons on the other coast.

Burbank residents suggest a bike lane would help beautify a sound wall along the 5 Freeway.

Santa Monica is revamping the beachfront parking lot at Ocean and Hollister Aves to reduce conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

 

State

The Daily Pilot gives a brief mention of Saturday’s memorial for eight-year old Brock McCann, who was killed by a garbage truck while riding his bike in Newport Beach last month.

The OC Register’s David Whiting looks at the ongoing conflict between mountain bikers, hikers and horse riders. Which could be solved with just a little courtesy and consideration on everyone’s part.

Napa is experimenting with roundabouts leading to the downtown area, though local cyclists aren’t too sure about the idea. Meanwhile, the victim of Friday’s fatal bicycling collision has been identified as a Napa bike commuter and advocate.

Not surprisingly, the hit-and-run driver who intentionally ran down three bike riders to culminate a Sacramento-area crime spree has pled not guilty by reason of insanity. As if a rational person would run down three innocent people just for the hell of it.

 

National

A website for Millennials offers five ways to reduce stress on your bicycle commute. Which actually make pretty good sense for a change.

USA Cycling dumps a British anti-doping expert after he calls for a re-examination EPO, asking why some substances are banned while others aren’t.

A Denver TV station breaks the shocking news that some bike riders break the law. Unlike, say, most motorists.

A group of fathers is riding 1,500 miles from Boston to Chicago by way of Baltimore to support fatherhood and raise funds for organizations that support parenting. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole the ghost bike for a highly decorated former Navel Seal who was killed while riding in Maryland last year.

A Louisiana legislator says drivers in his district shouldn’t be punished for hitting someone on a bicycle if they insist on playing in the street.

 

International

Canadian cycling champ Jocelyn Lovell has passed away at age 65, 33 years after a training collision that left him a quadriplegic.

If you build it, they will come. Bicycles now outnumber cars on two of London’s new bicycle superhighway corridors, with up to 1,200 riders per hour.

Seriously? After a British cyclist is clipped by a passing car, the local press responds by asking if bicyclists should stay off the roads. Sounds like they’ve been talking with a certain Louisiana politician.

A mountain biker in the UK was saved from a near-fatal heart attack because during a race because the riders behind him just happened to be medical resuscitation specialists.

A record 150 people from eight countries will take part a 55-mile ride from Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp to the Jewish community center in Krakow to commemorate the Holocaust.

Touching story, as an elderly Chinese woman was killed falling off her bike, and the eight stray dogs she had taken in surrounded her body to guard her for over six hours.

 

Finally…

Your next bike could have a belt drive and no seat tube — or Chinese Lacquer and no seat tube. If you’re going to pull a gun on someone who asks for his friend’s stolen bike back, get rid of the evidence. And the meth.

And if you’re going to steal a bicycle, at least put some damn pants on.

 

Guest Post: Law Enforcement Needs to Understand Traffic Laws

Despite years of effort, we still have a long way to go in educating police officers on the rights of bicyclists. 

It seemed like we had solved the problem, in Los Angeles at least, five years ago when the LAPD worked with bike riders and the City Attorney to clarify the laws governing bicycling, and create a bicycle training module that all street level officers were required to complete.

Yet bicyclists still encounter officers who seem to have missed, or forgotten, that training. And as architect and bike commuter Michael MacDonald learned the hard way, we still haven’t made any progress with the Sheriff’s Department. 

lasd_interaction

By Michael MacDonald

I’m frequently the recipient of harassment, insults, and aggression from drivers who don’t understand that riding on the street is perfectly legal. Commuting by bike around Los Angeles — with little-to-no bike infrastructure within a 5-mile radius of my house, I’ve come to expect the regular rage-fueled driver. And yet as frustrating as this aggression is from the motoring public, it is even more demoralizing to receive similar harassment from law enforcement personnel. Too many officers in Los Angeles aren’t familiar with the fact that a person on a bike is perfectly within their rights to control a travel lane on almost all Los Angeles streets, and that cyclists take the lane for safety.

Before I started riding a bike in Los Angeles, I had thankfully had very few interactions with law enforcement. But then in 2013, I was detained in the back of a Sheriff’s Department squad car because 2 deputies thought that a person riding a bike on the street in Rosemead didn’t look right.

Over the last 2 weeks, motorcycle officers have twice stopped me – for riding in the street, legally.

The first incident was on returning from the wonderful CicLAvia Southeast Cities on May, 15 2016. On my way home by bike, still on a high note from the event, I took Central Avenue. Despite its lack of bike lanes, Central is a critical North/South connector within South L.A. Proposed bike lanes on Central are included in the City’s Mobility Plan 2035, have widespread community support, and are needed to address Central’s horrific safety record. But frustratingly, Councilmember Curren Price has blocked the bike lanes from being installed and is working with Councilmember Paul Koretz to try to get them removed from the Plan, so they won’t even be considered in the future.

While I was waiting at a red light in the rightmost travel lane on Central at 27th Street, an LAPD motorcycle officer approached at a rapid pace and stopped inches from me. He proceeded to aggressively explain, “This isn’t your lane – you can’t ride in the middle.” I have been riding long enough to have nearly memorized California Vehicle Code, not just CVC 21202(a)(3), but 21656, 21760, and 22400 too. I knew he was wrong. And yet his tone and demeanor made it clear this wasn’t a conversation. This was a stern demand with the threat of a ticket seconds away.

As he pulled off, I wasn’t even clear on how he expected me to ride since the lanes on Central are so narrow. I stopped and took some time to compose myself after this demoralizing experience of state-sponsored harassment. Then, I continued to ride in the middle of the lane: where it’s safest when bike lanes aren’t provided, and where California’s Vehicle Code says I have the right to ride.

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10 days later, I was again confronted with a similar situation – but this time I had my helmet camera rolling. During the Tuesday evening rush hour on May 24th, a Sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside me as I rode in the Wilshire Blvd bus/bike lane through Koreatown (Wilshire & Kingsley). Just as before, the deputy clearly wasn’t familiar with relevant California traffic laws, but still felt the need to tell me what I was doing would not be permitted and that I would receive a ticket if I continued on.

First, as an aside, I will say that these Wilshire bus/bike lanes are so frequently filled with dangerous scofflaw drivers that it’s a tiny bit refreshing to see them actually being patrolled, and I commend Metro/the Sheriff’s Department for efforts to try to speed up the 20 & 720 buses on this route. But this deputy seems to be completely unaware that these lanes are also for the use of people on bikes, just as the lane’s signage says.

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

Photo of Los Angeles’ peak hour bus/bike lane signage, credit: Marc Caswell

He started by claiming that cyclists are not permitted to use the bus/bike lane whatsoever. After I pointed out the sign ahead saying, ‘Bikes OK,’ he said that cyclists must ride the curb edge, which is dangerous and without legal basis. Finally, he claimed that cyclists are required to get out of the way of buses. Of course, how people on bikes are supposed to accomplish this feat within this tightly sized lane with no turnouts is a mystery to me.

Just to state the obvious: this deputy is wrong on all counts. First, LADOT has designated these lanes for the use of bicycles and accordingly posted signs stating “Bikes OK.” Second, there is no requirement to ride along the curb as CVC 21202(a)(3) applies, since the lane is too narrow to for a bicycle to be safely be ridden side-by-side with a vehicle, let alone a bus. Metro’s own “Bike Guide” even instructs people on bikes to ride at the center of the lane when proceeding straight. Third, there is no requirement for bikes or slower vehicles to turn-out on a multi-lane roadway. CVC 21656, the law requiring vehicles to turn out, only applies on 2-lane highways – and even then, it only is triggered when there is a queue of 5 vehicles behind.

This isn’t the first time someone has been pulled over by LASD in a bus/bike lane in Los Angeles. In 2014, my friend, Marc Caswell, was wrongly ticketed by a Sheriff’s deputy for legally riding in a bus/bike lane on Sunset Blvd. In the end, the deputy failed to appear at the hearing, so the ticket was dismissed.

But it isn’t just being pulled over. Twice last year, I was aggressively instructed by Sheriff’s deputies to ride up onto the sidewalk to let a bus pass while in the Sunset Boulevard bus/bike lane. And when I called to report Tuesday’s incident on Wilshire, the LASD Watch Commander also appeared to be completely unfamiliar that bikes might be permitted to ride in bus/bike lanes or centered within a lane.

If I have been the recipient of these types of incidents three times in the last year, how many other Angelenos have received the same dangerous misinformation, been ticketed incorrectly, or had an unwarranted traffic stop trigger other policing problems? If we are to look to officers to enforce traffic laws, it seems only reasonable to expect that they would understand the law. And, certainly, we should not accept these officers instructing people to endanger themselves by riding in an unsafe way just to speed up motor vehicle traffic.

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It’s obvious to me at this point that LADOT, Metro & the Sheriff’s Department need to sit down and get on the same page about bus/bike lanes and the Vehicle Code. There is a simple fix: Sheriff’s Department deputies, who are acting on Metro’s behalf, need to understand the laws they are sworn to enforce. Since these patrols are funded by Metro, the Agency has the responsibility to ensure that these deputies are performing enforcement in compliance with Metro policies.

The bigger picture is that all L.A. law enforcement needs to step up their game on bikes. I am not suggesting special treatment, just that officers take some time to better understand the laws they enforce. Different departments have made some commendable strides, recognizing that cyclists belong on the street and don’t deserve extra scrutiny beyond that which is applied to motorists. But we are well past the point where any law enforcement officer patrolling L.A. streets has an excuse to not be familiar with the fact that people are allowed to ride bikes in the street and legally afforded options to maintain their own safety.

The City, County, and State all have ambitious goals to increase bicycle commuting to increase public health and reduce greenhouse emissions. To paraphrase a friend of mine: People are not going to be attracted to cycling as long as you need to be a traffic law expert – capable of citing Vehicle Code chapter, line, and verse – just to ride on L.A. streets.

We need law enforcement to get on board. And fast.

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South Los Angeles-based architect Michael MacDonald is a frequent bike commuter and a steering committee member of local advocacy group, Bike The Vote L.A. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, provided design for Street Beats, one of 8 project teams awarded by the Mayor’s Great Streets LA challenge grant program to re-envision Los Angeles streets.

Morning Links: Bikes aid Paris healing, Calbike wants to know what you want, and Wilshire bus/bike lanes open

A nice moment amid all the tragedy, as a German musician towed his piano behind his bike to the Bataclan Theater following Friday’s Paris attacks, where he played John Lennon’s Imagine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfbph4VCVtk

Initial reports also indicated that that many Parisians used the city’s Vélib’ bikeshare system to get home following the attacks, though those stories seem to have disappeared.

Pro cyclists respond to the attacks, while former world time trial champ Michael Rogers worries that bike races could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks because of the close proximity of fans, who don’t undergo any security checks. Anyone who watched last year’s races where riders were punched and splashed with urine by spectators knows it’s only a matter of time before something more serious happens.

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Calbike wants to know what you think they should address in the coming legislative session.

I’m asking for bikes to have unquestioned right-of-way in bike lanes, and clarification on whether bicyclists can ride in crosswalks. Even if it does feel like I’m sending my letter to Santa.

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The final section of the Wilshire Blvd bus lanes opens today in West LA. Cars aren’t allowed to use the lanes during rush hour, but bikes can.

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I’ve long been a fan of Ride 2 Recovery and their efforts to help wounded veterans overcome the trauma of war. I’m even more a fan now, after learning they also help female vets overcome abuse.

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Local

A warrant has been issued for the man accused of pushing a young boy off the bike he’d just won at Ted Watkins Park and riding away with it; he’s considered armed and dangerous. And not above attacking a little kid.

UCLA’s Daily Bruin profiles engineering student Philippe Videau, who helped develop a unique foldable bike helmet made from mushrooms.

The CSUN student paper talks with a professor who bikes 25-miles from Pasadena to the Northridge campus twice a week.

Richard Risemberg wishes NIMBY’s would just try riding a bike to work instead of claiming people like him can’t do it.

Santa Monica authorities consider whether to explicitly ban all motorized vehicles from the beachfront bike path, including Segways and hoverboards, while possibly lifting the ban on pedicabs.

EcoVillage is hosting a Carfree Chat Tuesday night with Streetsblog Editor Joe Linton, and anthropologist and editor Adonia Lugo.

 

State

The Orange County Register looks back at the recent Tour de Coop in Laguna Beach.

National City drivers have to figure out how to back into angled parking spaces designed to increase the number of parking spaces and improve safety for bicyclists.

A Chula Vista man is found safe on Friday after somehow suffering a head injury while riding his bike; he had failed to return home after going for a ride the night before.

A Santa Maria family is looking for donations to provide new bikes to needy children for the holidays in honor of their son, who died 10 years ago. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

The driver of a San Francisco tour bus somehow lost control on Friday, hitting virtually everything in its path for nearly two blocks, including a bicyclist; four people were critically injured.

San Francisco cyclists get their first raised cycle track. And needless to say, want more.

Even though the investigation is officially ongoing, the CHP is quick to blame the victim in a fatal bike wreck when the driver is a Superior Court judge.

 

National

Even in Missoula MT, the transportation planning manager understands that crashes aren’t accidents.

The newly formed Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition calls for safer roads; they urge an end to referring to crashes as accidents, as well.

New York’s Mayor De Blasio recommits to Vision Zero, noting that speed limits have been lowered to 25 mph, and 130 streets have been redesigned to improve safety. We’ve got a long way to go to catch up, and lawsuits trying to block LA’s Vision Zero-based Mobility Plan don’t help.

 

International

Clearly, winter cycling means something entirely different for riders in the Great White North than it does here in LA.

A British man rode 5,334 miles around the coast of England and Wales to raise money for a children’s hospice.

The BBC looks at the year’s most beautiful bicycles in 10 separate categories. Not one of which is a hi-tech carbon road bike.

Eurostar backs off on a requirement that cyclists dismantle their bikes before using the London-to-Paris train beneath the English Channel.

A planned Copenhagen bike bridge will carry riders and pedestrians more than 200 feet over the harbor.

Russians are becoming more physically active, including loosely organized rides called pokatushki, similar to LA’s own Midnight Ridazz.

Add this one to your bucket list. A new 37 mile dirt bike trail circles the Thimphu Valley in Bhutan.

Over 10,000 Philippine cyclists took to the streets of Manila to support bicycling as alternative transportation and support the coming climate talks in Paris.

A Thai bike shop serves food and drinks for potential customers. Although the name of the shop seems better suited for Colorado or Washington.

Over 3,000 people attend a Taiwanese bicycling festival at Sun Moon Lake, with riders from 13 foreign countries, including the US; CNN declared the trail around the lake one of the world’s 10 Breathtaking Cycling Routes.

 

Finally…

If you’re feeling particularly fierce, how about a women’s bike inspired by The Hunger Games? Caught on video: a baby buggy attaches to a bike to form a sidecar, although the baby in it would be in his or her 60s by now; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

And who needs a golf cart when you can ride a bike?

 

TranspoComm takes up Wilshire BOL; NoCal driver witnesses solo bike collision she may have caused

The City Council Transportation Committee takes up the Wilshire Blvd Bus Only Lane — aka Bus Rapid Transit or BRT lane — on Wednesday.

Writing for HuffPo, Joel Epstein says a Wilshire without bus lanes is no longer acceptable.

As I’ve stated before, anyone who has taken the 720 bus from the Westside to Downtown knows how desperately this is needed. Not to mention that it will make cycling safer by sharing the new, smooth pavement that would be installed with riders, who are legally allowed to ride in the bus lane.

Wealthy residents of Brentwood and the Westwood’s multi-million dollar Wilshire Corridor are up in arms about allotting a full lane of traffic to a form of transportation they would never lower themselves to use. But traffic-choked Wilshire Blvd is only going to get worse until something is done to get people out of their cars and onto other forms of transportation, making more room for their Bentleys and Beemers.

And it’s not like we’re going to see the long-promised Subway to the Sea anytime soon.

Establishing the BOL for the full 7.7 mile route recommended by Metro is a vital first step in turning around the ever-worsening situation on our streets, as well as ending L.A.’s infamous car culture Councilmember Bill Rosendahl famously proclaimed more than a year ago.

Now it’s time to turn his bold words into real changes on our streets.

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Courtesy of Witch on a Bicycle comes this story of a NorCal woman who sees a cyclist riding in a bike lane, in full control of her bike.

Then less than 100 feet after she passes him, watches in her rearview mirror as the rider wobbles, loses control and suffers a severe brain injury in what’s described as a solo bike accident.

Anyone want to guess what’s wrong with this picture?

Yes, it’s possible that it was a total coincidence. The rider, Richard Kadet, could have simply lost control of his bike on a fast descent and fallen all on his own.

Possible, but highly unlikely given the circumstances. Far more likely is that the witness passed too close, causing Kadet’s fall, whether from the effects of the vehicle’s slipstream or over-reaction by a startled rider.

Just more evidence that it’s possible to pass a cyclist safely without passing safely. And that many police still don’t understand what causes bike collisions.

And one more reason why we need a minimum three-foot passing law to let drivers know how close is too close.

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The LACBC’s Alexis Lantz joins with William Roschen, President of the L.A. City Planning Commission to discuss L.A.’s new bike plan tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Naturally, the meeting will take place in Santa Monica, at 2515 Wilshire Blvd.

The same link will also take you to news of Bicycle Kitchen co-founder Jimmy Lizama speaking at UCLA on June 18th from 12:15 to 3 pm, with the intriguing title I am a Bicycle Messenger, My Message is Bicycle. Having heard Lizama speak, this one comes highly recommended.

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Former Angeleno and current NYDOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan discusses how we can get the most out of our streets. More great photos from last Sunday’s River Ride. An arrest is reportedly near in the Highland Park case of a driver accused of intentionally running down a cyclist; remarkably, the local Patch virtually invites retaliation against the driver by publishing his personalized license plate. Santa Monica finally turns the single line on 11th Street into a real bike lane, and marks spots for future bike racks. KCRW’s Shortcut’s blog keeps up with the latest bike news from the California Bicycle Coalition. Adam Bray-Ali, co-owner of L.A.’s Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, writes about Alhambra city codes that can discourage cycling.

The much improved KCET website looks at the new Long Beach Bicycle Business Districts, and suggests a similar approach for L.A.’s 7th Street. Inland area bike groups teach repair techniques to encourage new riders. A funeral will be held today for Nick Venuto, the cyclist killed when a car flipped onto an off-road bike path in San Diego last week. A 25-year old man was found dead on the campus of UC Santa Cruz lying 15 feet from a bicycle, the apparent victim of a hit-and-run. One of the joys of riding is exploring new areas. Cyclelicious discusses how to make a fast stop without pulling an endo; my technique has always been to squeeze the rear brake a fraction of a second before pulling the front, with a little practice it becomes second nature.

Bike touring can benefit local economies. The Vet Hunters will ride 1900 miles in a search to help homeless veterans. Making a movie about riding a ’67 Schwinn across country wearing a tux. River Ride was great, but it didn’t offer fresh bacon on the bikepath. CNN looks at how early bikes meant freedom for women. What’s your best excuse not to commute by bike? Bicycling offers advice on how to get your kids started with cycling. An Oregon man banned from driving argues that an electric bike is not a car; does it help or hurt his case now that Hertz is renting them? Thankfully, the 7-year old Alaska girl severely beaten when she refused to give up her bike is expected to make a full recovery. My bike-friendly hometown gets its first bike box. The Bozeman, MT newspaper says get a bike and use it, you’ll be glad you did. Chicago riders get a warning to obey traffic laws. The former Ugly Betty bikes the Big Apple. The trip leader of a national Bike and Build group was killed while riding in Alabama; this is the second fatality to strike the group in less than a year.

Bike Radar offers 10 tips to make your road bike faster. Should bicycling and running events be moved off city streets to accommodate motorists horribly inconvenienced on one or two days a year? Your next bike helmet could be made of cardboard. London Cyclist asks if one bike is enough, or is enough never enough? London’s Torries walk about to avoid voting on a proposal to protect cyclists and pedestrians. International transportation leaders say it’s time to take cycling seriously. Riccardo Ricco is once again banned from competitive cycling, just days after being reinstated.

Finally, apparently having learned absolutely nothing from last year’s Tony Kornheiser fiasco, ESPN once again allows a pair of their radio ranters to ride off the rails with a 20-minute long discussion of how much fun it would be to door cyclists. Maybe it’s time to let Disney — ESPN’s parent company — know that we don’t want their employees encouraging people to kill or injure people on bikes.

Then again, idiotic shock jocks aren’t just an American phenomenon

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