Archive for category traffic

taking back the streets

I really like the design of this bike lane. The parked cars between the road traffic and the bike lane offer protection to cyclists and, I imagine, make the lane feel safe. It’s hard to tell, but the bike lane itself looks a little narrow for two way traffic but, overall, it’s a good example of how cities can safely integrate cycling with street traffic.

hat tip sac cycle chic


that’s a big dog

Vanessa Carillo, 21, of Patterson, was driving a 1999 Toyota west on Fulkerth at approximately 55 mph when she apparently struck the man’s bicycle from behind, Pimentel reported.

Carillo continued driving. About an hour later, she called 9-1-1 to report she thought she hit a dog.

Upon further questioning, she told officers she might have collided with a person. The CHP said Carillo admitted stopping in the middle of the road, looking through her rear view mirror and seeing a body on the ground.

I feel bad for Vanessa; her life will never be the same. But if she stops and provides assistance to the man she hit, if she calls 911 right away, does that increase the likelihood that he lives?


Hit-and-run driver gets 90 days community service

A 19 year-old drunk driver received 90 days of community service in addition to three years of probation despite injuring a cyclist so badly that his teeth were left embedded in her car.

Celine Mahdavi struck cyclist Louis Deliz in December of last year in the downtown area of Los Angeles. Last week a judge passed down the sentence which permitted Mahdavi to retain her driver’s license, even though she fled the scene of the accident. Police caught her shortly afterward and registered a blood-alcohol level between .05 and .08.

The apparently light sentence was met with protest from bicycle advocacy groups, one of which – Bikeside LA – swore to seek legislation in Sacramento to protect cyclists’ rights. One particularly objectionable remark from the judge, Eldon S. Fox, they say, involved his decision to allow Mahdavi to keep her license. Fox ordered that Mahdavi “shouldn’t drive unless she has a valid driver’s license”.

Deliz spent 49 days in hospital following the assault, including 8 days in a coma and 11 days in intensive care. He suffered multiple injuries, including two broken legs, a broken hip, a broken jaw, a punctured lung and several broken fingers. Judge Fox ordered Mahdavi to pay restitution, but stopped well short of recommending a custodial sentence.

The legislation being sought by Bikeside LA would make mandatory the revocation of a driver’s license for anyone convicted of a hit-and-run assault. 1,300 Los Angeles area cyclists descended peacefully upon the Beverly Hills courthouse to promote the initiative, called Life Before License.

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cycling hints from ms. evelyn hamilton

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* sorry about the click through unable to embed the video properly

I saw this in a couple of places but I’ll give Sac Cycle Chic the hat tip because she’s local.

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James Martin, you are not alone

Sacramento Bee columnist Stuart Leavenworth’s timely editorial on July 20th highlighted a phenomenon which regular road cyclists are unfortunately very familiar with: the “joke” of swerving a motor vehicle into a bike’s path to intentionally frighten the rider.

Leavenworth’s excellent piece focused on Sacramento-based radio talk-show host Mark Williams, who was recently expelled from the National Tea Party Federation for characteristic racist comments. Leavenworth points out that Williams has a history of hate-speech, but that his ire is not solely directed at African Americans, socialists and Muslims. In 2005, Williams went on the air to actively encourage motorists to swerve at cyclists. His comment stirred up furious responses from regional and national bicycling groups, and Williams issued a hasty apology, but much of the damage had been done.

Williams’ dangerous and offensive comment echoes similar remarks by British celebrity chef, James Martin, who has also advocated for reckless endangerment of cyclists. In an article published in the conservative tabloid The Daily Mail, Martin expressed his loathing of cyclists before gleefully recounting one recent effort to cause actual bodily harm to a group of English riders. Martin side-swiped the riders on a narrow country lane, using the powerful but silent electric Tesla sports car to execute his thoughtless and illegal stunt.

“The look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge was the best thing I’ve ever seen in my rear-view mirror.” He bragged, remorselessly. Like Williams, Martin issued a weak apology afterward, in an apparent effort to stave-off the flurry of criticism and a popular Twitter campaign to lambast the irresponsible TV chef.

As cyclists know all-too-well, riding on roads without adequate dedicated cycle lanes can be very frightening. Many of the roads in the Sacramento area that offer the best cycling terrain are unfortunately among the most dangerous for riders. Rural, isolated arteries offer great opportunities for challenging climbs and beautiful scenery, but on these roads the risk of encountering a cyclist-hating driver appears to be much higher. Rarely can cyclists enjoy a ride on some of the spectacular roads in Placer and El Dorado counties without being intimidated by dangerous drivers. Familiar techniques of intimidation include sudden acceleration past riders, leaning on the horn, yelling profanities, swerving into the cyclist’s path, throwing objects or actually forcing riders off the road.

Cyclists who have experienced intimidation at the hands of a driver may be unaware that they are the victims of assault. The law defines assault as “the threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm”, which certainly includes the implicit or explicit intent by a driver to threaten a cyclist with his or her vehicle. Indeed, perhaps if more drivers were aware that what seems like an hilarious joke actually constitutes reckless endangerment and assault, they might be less inclined to target cyclists.

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in everyone a pedestrian cyclist?

In the last few weeks I’ve found myself in the middle of conversations with non-cyclists who complain about cyclists on the road. “They shouldn’t be there…there’s no shoulder…it’s not safe…get out of my way…”

In my experience most drivers feel like bikes don’t belong on the road. Bikes are obstacles, delaying your daily commute. The way drivers treat cyclists is somewhat unique. The anger drivers direct at cyclists does not, in general carry over to pedestrians and I imagine that drivers spend at least as much time, probably more, waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street as they spend delayed behind a cyclist; I’m not aware of any Facebook groups suggesting we run pedestrians off the road.

Most people are pedestrians almost everyday. They understand what it means to be a pedestrian, what it’s like to trust that the F150 barreling toward the intersection will stop when the driver sees you in the crosswalk. The pilot of the F150 realizes it too and, when he sees you there, ambling across the street (legally or illegally) he slows down, stops, let’s you get out of the way. In most cases there isn’t swearing.

And about three paragraphs from this point I realized I could rant on and on about cars and bikes and safety and sharing the road. Really all I wanted to do was post this slide show that Bicycling Magazine put together.

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