Monday, September 29, 2008

Sepulveda Pass Bike Lane... Not a Bike Lane Actually.

Sepulveda Pass. In Los Angeles it's a commonly traveled by-way by both cars and bikes. Sepulveda Blvd extends from south of Los Angeles international, north to Mission hills. The section that I'm most familiar with is the section of Sepulveda Blvd between Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles and Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks. It's this section that shadows the 405 freeway, passes the Getty and the Skirball Cultural Center and has multiple exits and entrances onto the 405...

Like many cyclists, I have a route that includes this section of Sepulveda Pass, and I travel it often. On one of my many travels including Sepulveda Pass I was rolling south nearly under the 405 underpass. My friend Chris and I were waiting at the light when I woman in a car said "Don't you have a bike lane?" To which Chris replied, "This is my bike lane", pointing in a way that indicated that the right lane was our bike lane. The woman looked thoroughly offended in her white Jaguar and sped off when the light turned green. Chris and I had a laugh as we continued on our ride.

Since then there has been the L.A. Bike Master plan meetings, ridiculous increases in gas prices and a lot of efforts by a lot of folks to try and get more people on their bikes more often. It got me thinking about the Sepulveda Pass "Bike Lanes" so I decided that this weekend, on this ride, I would pay attention to the markings on the roads and the "bike lanes" as well as the signage. I figured the Sepulveda Pass "Bike Lane" would have the required pavement markings, bike lane signage and "No Parking Anytime" signage as well despite the deplorable conditions of the Sepulveda Pass "Bike Lane".

So on Saturday I rode my Mulholland ride and caught Sepulveda Pass south to head to the beach. As I was on Sepulveda Pass I noticed that even the south bound "Bike Lane" fluctuated in width pretty wildly, but for the most part the lane is only 18 wide, which is NOT wide enough for it to be considered a bike lane. Additionally, there were a number of obstacles, like this one:

On the way down the road, I saw that there were a few green "Bike Route" signs but there was no markings on the road denoting a bike lane, nor were there any "Bike Lane" signs. Even after the 405 free way underpass there are a number of "Bike Lanes" that begin and end, but no Bike Lane signs or bike lane marking on the pavement. There were also a number of cars parked in some of the different sections of "Bike Lanes". On the way up San Vicente I noticed that there were proper double white lines with bike lane markings on the pavement. I noticed it, as did a few other people I'm sure. This guy missed it though,

I'm sure he had things that were way more important than the well being of cyclists though which makes his blocking the bike lane totally acceptable. But back to the point. On the way back, heading north on Sepulveda Pass I decided to take some pictures of the "Bike Lane" since it's the north bound "Bike Lane" is well known for kind of just disappearing when it's needed the most. Here is a quick pictoral break down:

This is about how the "bike lane" on the NB Sepulveda side starts, a couple feet wide

Then it get's really wide

Then it goes back to the way it was

Then it goes down to about a ft or so

Then it basically disappears

After doing this ride and paying attention I realized that the Sepulveda Pass "Bike Lane" isn't a bike lane at all. There are no bike lanes on Sepulveda Pass, none, not one, any where. Sepulveda pass is a "Bike Route" but there is definitely no bike lane. I'll tell you this, from one cyclist to another... If you have to take a lane to get around a hazard or obstacle, do it... take the lane, because that single white line denotes a shoulder, an unmaintained shoulder that you are simply not required to stay in. Take the lane.

For cyclists everywhere else, Don't let drivers bully you onto an unmaintained shoulder because it's your "Bike Lane". If it's not an actual, marked bike lane, then you have a right to the road, to a lane and the right to use it. Even if it is a bike lane, but there is debris or an obstacle you have the right to exit the lane to go around it. You should still do as the law says and follow the rules of the road, but don't let yourself be pushed around.

On a somewhat unrelated note, just because you drive a Prius doesn't mean you get to stop paying attention to the road because you're being slightly more eco friendly than someone in a 95 Geo. It doesn't mean that you're automatically not a D-bag either, like this guy, who almost hit me on riverside despite having two completely empty lanes and zero competing traffic, other than me of course

D-bags come in all shapes and sizes, but all have license plates
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Friday, September 26, 2008

This Sounds Familiar

In an article published by the The Herald Sun questions regarding the death of Scott David Peoples have been brought to unfortunate clarity. Scott was an exceptionally talented cyclist who was only 20 years old, merely on the verge of a surely exciting and brilliant career. The driver who killed Scott was Kenneth Blay an elderly gentleman who, by all reasonable limitations, should never have been on the road that day...

It turns out that Mr. Blay was partially blind and suffered from a litany of other health problems. He was permitted to miss his court appearance as he suffers from dementia. Additionally Mr. Blay injured ANOTHER cyclist in 2003 on the same stretch of a road. Now I know this is in Australia, which is a world away, but it underscores an endemic problem world wide. If Mr. Blay, who was partially blind wasn't permitted to drive, this tragedy would not have occurred. I find this especially problematic is that the exact same thing happened to me when I was 18, minus the death.

I too was hit by a driver who was "Legally blind" yet who was permitted to keep his drivers license and permitted to drive every day unrestricted on roads that are shared by all groups of vehicles. Had this driver not been allowed on the road I wouldn't have been hit. There are countless stories like Scott's and mine, all of which are bad, some of which are tragic. My point is this: Driving restrictions are simply too loose. California has begun to restrict some of the problems such as Texting and Phone usage while driving, but not enough is being done to ensure safe passage for all on the roads through out America, and the world for that matter. There needs to be tighter restrictions, greater and more frequent testing and education as well as higher penalties when rules are broken or people are hurt. Driving is a privilege, not a right, it needs to be treated that way.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

California <3 ur txt. rotflmao.

In the never ending battle for drivers attention; the road, and the responsibility of paying attention to it, seems to be winning... In California at least...

LAist an excellent source of real time news information has let everyone know that our Governator signed into law a ban on text messaging while you drive. Although the fine for this is unreasonably small ($76) it's definitely a step in the right direction. I can't tell you how many close calls I've had due to the fact that the driver was "multi-tasking". The law becomes official January 1st 2009.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some Things About Some Stuff and uh... New Jerseys!!!

I've been busy working on some stuff, which accounts for why I haven't written in a little while. I gave a speech a while back and have been sending letters and e-mails to various government officials to try and get some stuff rolling with new infrastructure and policy. Other than that...

I've been reworking the jersey for 2009. Can you believe it's almost 2010? They made a movie about that year and we're not even close. It probably has something to do with bass-ackwards politicians and bank scandals, but who am I to really say. Sorry. The Jerseys. So I've reworked the original "Share the Road" jersey, and added a jersey for next year as well. I know that a lot of people had reservations about wearing a white jersey which folks seemed to think would turn to see-thru in the rain (not true). So I added a black jersey that mimics the "3 ft." T-shirt. I"m going to be doing pre-orders for both jerseys starting September 29th and closing the pre-order on Halloween night. Here are a the mock ups for the Jerseys.

This time all of the jerseys ordered will be club cut. I learned that the race cut jerseys simply fit too small and that the club cut seems to fit most people better. For Womens jerseys they are all club cut all the time, so there won't be any change. I'll place the order on the first of November, so the jerseys will arrive to me around the first of December. This means they will arrive to you around the first middle of December, or just in time for the Holiday seasons. You'll be able to order the jerseys directly from the blog, through two Paypal windows in the upper right hand corner of the blog. If ordering directly from the blog makes you uncomfortable you can order directly from me. You can send me an e-mail at: Jersey's will cost $59.99 and will included shipping. If you live close enough to me for you to pick up the jersey then e-mail me and let me know. All in all know this: If you have any questions... ANY AT ALL, just e-mail me.

Also, I checked my t-shirt shop and saw that someone ordered a couple of the 3 ft. t-shirts. I'd like to say thank you.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is This Guy Serious?

Recently in the Providence Journal, some yahoo named warren wrote an OPED piece. I've republished it here, along with some counter arguments. If any of you kind readers end up squaring off with some one as thick as this guy feel free to use some of the commentary I've listed below.

Leon Urban: Get bikes off the road 01:00 AM EDT on Monday, September 22, 2008 It is often suggested that automobile drivers should learn to share the road with bicyclists. In my opinion, it is foolhardy and dangerous for bicyclists to be on the highways with motorists, period. Bicycles no more belong on roadways than autos belong on bike paths.
Well buddy, thanks for your opinion despite it being completely void of critical thought and objective point of view. Through out America, states have vehicle code that include bicycles as a vehicle that have a legal right to the road. The only reason it's "foolhardy and dangerous" is because of reckless and careless motorists who seem to share your groundless opinion that bicycles don't belong on the road. Now cars don't belong on bike paths because they are bike paths, which are kind of like bicycle "Freeways", like your car "Freeways", where signage clearly prohibits bicyles, mopeds or pedestrians.

Bicycles are slow, small and difficult to see; autos may weigh tons, and, with their automatic transmissions, are powerful and fast at a light touch of the foot. There is a question of timing and visibility here; and should a tragedy occur, proof of who is at fault would do nothing to mend bodies.
Bicycles are "Slow" no more than cars are "Slow". There have been many times where I have had to press my brakes on my bike because the cars in front of me can't keep the same pace as me. Saying a bike is "slow" shows your complete lack of common sense. The rider on the bike may be slow, but the bicycle itself is not. To this, Mopeds are also small and difficult to see, and often do not have max speeds comparable to cars. Should we ban them from the roads as well? What about Motorcycles, often times drivers complain that they are "hard to see" as well. Your logic creates a slippery slope. It appears the problem is not with the "hard to see" object, but with the driver who finds things "hard to see".

Too many cyclists are clueless as to rules of the road — either for automobiles or for bicycles. This complicates matters for motorists, who are required to pass a written examination on rules of the road, and pass a road test to obtain a driver’s license. And young teenagers are required to attend a 30-hour driver-ed course, to boot. This is gross and unfair to motorists, whom we expect to share the road with bicyclists.
Too many drivers are clueless to the rules of the road. I would challenge you to find me 10 drivers who are completely aware of all their legal obligations on the road and who uphold those obligations to perfection. In fact, I bet it would be a challenge to find half of that many drivers who are even half aware of half of their obligations to the road. Not all teenagers take a 30 hour drivers ed course, since it's not required, and those drivers ed classes are taught by subcontracted individuals who are independent of the government. There is little to no oversight so the content taught varies greatly depending on where you are from. Most don't teach "ALL" of the rules of the road, which ironically include rules about watching out for bicycles or even motorcycles. Yes you do have to pass a test, but motorists are piloting a ton of motorized steel, bicyclists pilot maybe 30 lbs that is self propelled.

This unfairness is magnified immensely when contrasting the mandatory costs of having the two types of vehicles use our highways. Registration and license fees, taxes and a sensible insurance package with liability and collision coverage may cost in the thousands of dollars for a responsible car owner but perhaps zero for unwitting cyclists. Should a bicyclist be the cause of an accident, there would be no mandatory liability insurance for any injured parties; in all probability too, in court, the cyclist would walk.
Driving is a privilege, not a right, and there are certain requirements placed on drivers. You talk like you are some how entitled to motorized transportation which you are not. If you choose to drive a car, be prepared to pay all the required "fees, taxes and registrations". To that, insurance is not required to "drive" I've been hit by an uninsured driver and the brunt is more than you can imagine. So if an uninsured cyclist caused you "Bodily harm" and "Reasonable damage" in a car-bike accident that was TRULY the cyclists fault, you'd be in the same boat as if you'd been hit by an uninsured driver, only probably a lot better off as bicycles rarely do any "Bodily harm" or "Reasonable damage" to cars.

Additionally, bicycling is a transportation "choice" as well, one that is currently void of such "fees, taxes and registrations". It's that lack of "fees, taxes and registration" as well as lack of "fuel" that leads us to "Choose" bikes over cars.

Even drivers of automobiles say they are afraid to drive on the highways. Yet they have the car’s protection and the stability of four wheels. “Driving is no pleasure,” they say. They will even say, “It’s crazy out there — like a racetrack, a war zone.” No one owns the roads; bicyclists are permitted and certainly welcome on them. Still, it is folly and dangerous for them to be out there. - Leon Urban Warren
Again, it seems to be that the problem is less the "roads" or even "bicyclists" and more "those who use them" in a "crazy" way like a "racetrack" or a "war zone". Your argument is trite, foolish and completely subjective. Your editorial seems to indicate that drivers need to be re-educated and that more people should ride a bike since the financial burden is so much less. The truth is this: Bicycles are vehicles, and have a legal right to the road... period.

If you have such a hard time accepting bikes on the roads that are "shared access" I recommend you just get everywhere you need to go on the "Car Only Freeways". Read more!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

D-bag Report: Carlsbad D-bag on the Rampage!!!

This last weekend saw the Amtrak Century completed with minimal incident and maximum fun. The ride all in all was a success and very enjoyable. There isn't anything I would have changed about the event, it's planning, support or execution. What I would have changed though was the interaction with this Douche bag in Carlsbad...

Here's what went down. As my group was making our way though Carlsbad we were using the bike lane, which was wedged between a curb with a railing on the right, and a two lane road on the left, which can be easily seen in the photo below. What can also be seen is that this "bike lane" is actually treated as a "multi use lane" which includes pedestrians, longboarders and weirdos riding pocket bikes. "Multi use" in Carlsbad also means that you should throw your trash, empty Corona bottles and wooden debris in the lane as well.

I took this picture to show where we were riding in the lane, who was riding in the lane with us, and the two traffic lanes to the left. This picture was taken slightly after the incident though. We were having to maneuver in and out of the bike lane to avoid some sections of broken glass and other debris, as well as maneuvering to pass other cyclists. So as we were out of the bike lane for a few moments a driver behind us would lay on the horn, in a pretty aggressive manner. I figured it was the Honda, but it passed us kindly using the #2 lane, and as he had passed the honking continued. I looked back trying to see who the culprit was. Soon, a Lexus SUV charged up to us, not giving a full lane thus squeezing us back into the bike lane. The driver yelled "It's called a bike lane Asshole! use it" and sped off passing the rest of my group with little room to spare.

I've included this second image to show you who the aggressive driver was. I cropped the picture to make sure there could be no question as to which car it was that had harassed us.

Notice the green arrows indicating what was on top of his car, and the blue arrows used to demonstrate what my group was doing. That's right, we were harassed by not only an overly aggressive driver, but one who poses as a cyclist to try and create some kind of rift in the community. Now, I've seen D-bag motorists posing as cyclists on message boards saying things like "I'm an avid cyclist, but you shouldn't expect to get to share the road with cars, just take the bike path" and so on, but never in my time have I ever seen a D-bag motorist go as far as to put on a cycling jersey and place two bikes on the roof of his gas guzzling SUV to impersonate a cyclist. This D-bag is totally committed to undoing our community with his attempt to create some kind of "Reverse Sympathy" for motorists who have to wait an extra 15 seconds while some cyclists try to safely navigate around an obstacle. An "Avid Cyclist" would never behave in such a way, which makes me sure that this D-bag was DEFINITELY NOT A CYCLIST.

Which led me to wonder just how far this imposter would go? Would he ever hurt a real cyclist? I don't know. So just in case I figured I better warn our community about a blue Lexus with this license plate:

Ride carefully dear friends. And watch out for D-bag motorists.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Your Tax Dollars Hard at Work

Here we have a truly awesome video. 37 cyclists were detained on the 6th of September by over 15 police officers and 14 squad cars. Why? Obviously there must have been some major trouble making right? You're right my keen and observant reader, about 5 dollars worth of allegedly stolen beer...

Now I'm sure there are people being murdered, women being raped and children being molested/kidnapped somewhere in L.A. but I'm also sure that most of those victims are Black or Hispanic so this high profile crime gets obvious priority. I especially like how one of the officers has all of the cyclists line up after a few minutes like it's for a class photo so he can give them a good old fashion scolding. Good to see L.A.'s finest hard at work. I'm not sure but this seems to feel a bit like harassment.

14 squad cars and 37 people searched for $5 of allegedly shoplifted beer from LAPD illegallysearches on Vimeo.
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Monday, September 8, 2008


Seriously!!!! How do you drag someone 40 ft. when you're just getting rolling. And how did this driver not see this guy? This was even hard for me to watch. The driver is either mentally handicapped, or he was talking on the phone/texting or drunk or something. Where's the regard for human life? Where's the compassion? Most likely in the dumpster with Respect and Tolerance...

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Amtrack Centery Ride Party Report

I'll start by saying that I was planning on taking it easy for this century. That didn't happen. When Joseph called and said he was interested in "Going along for the ride" I knew it was going to become a hammer fest. and it was. We managed to finish in just under 5 hours saddle time and our average speed was 20.6 mph. I saw people I know, there was a pretty good sized group of PAA riders, and met new folks as well. The weather was beautiful, the temperature perfect and the scenery was great.

Unfortunately because of the pace of the ride that's about all I can tell you. We went on some roads the pointed south (generally) went by some trees and some hills and on the freeway and through some cool towns and rode by the ocean and... yea that's about all I can remember. Oh, I can remember something else, how my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest most of the ride.

The pace we set was pretty hard core. For much of the ride as I looked at my Garmin (while it was working) our speeds were 21-24 mph. Significant sections of road were covered at 25-30 mph and some descents that were faster. A few sections of climbing knocked the pace down to 12-15, and there were a few sections where we managed to keep the pace a nice and peaceful 18 mph.

For pretty much the whole second half of the ride we worked with a couple from Arizona who turned out the be the party marshals on the train ride home. They were really strong, and the wife could climb like nothing else. As she and Joseph would bolt of the front, her husband Rod and I would just kind of hang back and chill. We rolled into San Diego pretty early, around 12:20. We were the first group of riders in with the exception of one guy in a Georgia Tech jersey. Since Centuries are rolling starts I'm almost never the first one in, so I was pretty impressed.

That's about all I can tell you about the ride.

The train ride back, Well, that's a different story. We'll let the pictures do the talking.

Rod is here to make sure you're Partying. "You Partying!!!" "Yes Sir! I'm Partying Sir!"

Some folks brought food and drink

Others just brought the drink

There was a general Party Atmosphere

Some folks partied a little to hard right off the bat

The train cars seemed to each have different kinds of parties. This was the "Dance Party" train car

The "Limbo Party" train car

The "Stripper Party" train car

No Garmin info since my Garmin broke. Stupid Garmin. Read more!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

As the Wheel Turns...

Get it? As the "Wheel" turns? Like the soap opera, only for bike stuff? Get it? Nevermind. Anyway... Here's some news from around the Internets box.

Politicians Get Around...On Two Wheels
Freewheelin and Bikes belong partnered to bring 1,000 free bikes to both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. They managed to gather bikes from Trek, Raleigh and a few other companies to contribute bicycles to the effort.

Here are the totals for both conventions:
Total number of rides: 7,523
Total miles: 41,724
Total Estimated Calories burned: 1,293,429
Total reduction in Carbon Footprint for Convention: 14.6 Metric Tons

So which Political party contributed more? I don't know This is a non partisan site.

Cyclists Still Getting Run Over
This tragedy being the most obvious, cyclists are still getting run down by motorists every day. Cyclist's getting hit is an unfortunate but regular thing, and it happens to all kinds of folks, even West Virginia's First Lady. Aparently Gov. Joe Manchin was out on a ride with his Wife when she was hit by a motorist pulling onto the road.

This is Cool
Apparently the state of California is looking at ways to incentivize more people to ride bikes, which would be good since since bicycling has a carbon footprint of just about zero. Many options have been considered, including rewriting the laws to allow cyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. There's some more information here. Now, some folks would like you to think this means that you can just "Run" stop signs and red lights whenever you feel like it, which is not the case. You still have to yield the right of way if there are cars present, it's only allowed if you are the only vehicle there.

Well, that's it for now.
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