California law requires drivers to merge into a bike lane before making a right turn, after ensuring that the lane is clear.
This is why.
California law requires drivers to merge into a bike lane before making a right turn, after ensuring that the lane is clear.
This is why.
Getting word from multiple sources that a woman was killed this morning while riding in Newport Beach.
The victim, identified only as a woman in her 20s or 30s, was riding eastbound on East Coast Highway near Bayside Drive around 10:35 this morning when she was struck by a stake-bed truck traveling in the same direction.
According to Corona del Mar Today, the truck was making a right turn onto Bayside when it ran over the woman in an apparent right hook. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Satellite photos show what appears to be a bike lane on the east side of Bayside, but only a wide right turn lane where the victim may have been riding.
Both the Orange County Register and Corona del Mar Today note that she was wearing a helmet, while the Register says she was in cycling clothes.
However, there’s not a helmet made that can protect a cyclist from being run over by a multi-ton truck.
This death comes just one day after the first ever National Women’s Bike Summit was held in Long Beach, in which a large part of the discussion was about encouraging more women to ride. Maybe we need to start by making our streets safer so the ones who already do can get home alive.
This is the 53rd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the eighth in Orange County; of those, seven have died in traffic collisions, and one of a fall that may have been cause by health conditions.
Note: If you have a strong stomach, read the comment from Jamie on the Corona del Mar Today site to show just how little human compassion some motorists have when it comes to cyclists. A woman is dead, and this
jackass guy rants about disbanding the ‘militant, special interest, “Bicycle Committee”.’ His mom must be so proud.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones.
Update: Corona del Mar Today updates their story to indicate that a witness stopped at the intersection saw the collision as it occurred. According to Amanda Walter, both the driver and the cyclist were turning right, and the truck was traveling too close to the curb.
“I saw the truck come around the corner and I though, ‘Wow, he’s going too fast,’” she said in a telephone interview. “I saw the cyclist and said, ‘Oh my…God…he’s going to hit her.’ He cut her from behind. She went down and he ran over her.”
The paper reports the victim was initially awake and struggling to speak, but passed away within a few minutes. And apparently, the driver never saw her.
The truck driver kept insisting that he looked twice and the cyclist wasn’t there, Walter said.
According to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, the victim is still unidentified.
According to Sgt. Mark Hamilton, “The identity of the victim is still unknown at this time. Anyone with information or who witnessed the collision is urged to call the Newport Beach Police Department Traffic Division at 949-644-3742″. If anyone is missing a loved one that was riding a blue bike with white tape and saddle in the Newport area, and they haven’t returned home yet, please contact the NPBPD.
The OCBC also reports that there have been 16 bike-involved collisions in the last 10 years, though this is the first fatality.
Update 2: Newport Beach bike lawyer David Huntsman offers a little more information about the site of the collision.
By the way I ride this road several times a week. It is truly a nightmare intersection going south, because of the very long high-speed dedicated right turn lane.I was right-hooked into the gas station just south of the intersection when I moved here after returning from Australia two years ago. I didn’t go down, to the surprise of everyone around – including the driver- but mentally marked this as one of the most dangerous intersections around.
Sometimes it’s better to start at the end.
So let me start by saying that Michael Eisenberg is okay. Which is not what you’d expect after reading his description of the right hook collision he suffered on Sunday while riding his bike through Brentwood on his way to the Marina.
But we’ll let him tell the story.
I am very lucky. I was riding my road bike from home near the Chatsworth reservoir to Marina Del Rey today (Sunday) to go sailing. At noon, I was westbound on Sunset Blvd looking to make a left on Kenter Avenue.
There was too much traffic to work over to the left turn lane, so I chose to do what I thought was the safest alternative. I pedaled across Kenter, stopped at the corner, and waited for the traffic light to change so I could then cross Sunset. I could see a line of cars in the lane behind me with a Toyota Prius at the head of the line. I did not see a right turn flasher.
The light changed, and I proceeded to cross Sunset. The next thing I remember is my shoes disengaging from the pedals of my bike followed by me slamming into the windshield of the Toyota Prius. My next recollection was of lying in the middle of Sunset Blvd, about 10 feet away from the Prius and my bike another 10 feet farther down the street.
I was surrounded by bystanders. One was a cyclist who was an EMT asking me who the president of the United States is. Another bystander was a Doctor, and he started a basic neurological evaluation. LA City Fire arrived shortly afterwards, I’d guess within 2 minutes. LAPD arrived Code 3 in another 5 minutes. Fortunately, this was not a hit & run, as the 75 year old female driver of the Prius was a little shaken up.
The LA City Fire EMTs could not find any injuries, and I was feeling little discomfort. The most interesting anomaly was that my heart rate monitor had recorded an instantaneous jump from 70 to 160 at the moment of impact. For better or worse, I decided to decline a ride to the hospital. It was then the LAPD’s turn to write the accident report. I didn’t actually see the report, I only received an incident receipt to use to acquire the report in the future. I did mention to the female Prius driver, while standing next to the LAPD officer, that if her handicap placard wasn’t hanging from her rear view mirror obstructing her vision she probably could have seen me.
When all the paperwork was done, I checked my bike and equipment and found everything to be scuffed or cracked. My 2 month old BH Prisma Force looked trashed, but still operable. My Specialized helmet, gloves and carbon shoes were all scuffed. They all did their job blunting the impact and receiving road rash, saving my skull and skin from being injured.
I finished up the last 5 miles of my ride to the Marina. By that time there were various parts of my body (hip, calf, neck) that were causing me just a little discomfort. I elected to get a ride from my son to Kaiser for a quick check. That is where I received the biggest assault to my dignity. The Doctor came into the examining room, and said “I see you ran into a car”. I politely corrected him, and he then said “the nurse wrote down that you ran into a car, so you must have run into a car.” I felt I was being branded as guilty because I am a cyclist.
Anyway, X-rays showed nothing to be concerned about. The recommendation was to take it easy for 3 days, with application of an ice pack as necessary on my neck for a mild strain. The next step for me is to contact the Prius driver’s insurance company and see what they are going to do about replacing my bike and gear.
As Michael says, he was lucky.
And yes, it sounds like he did exactly what he should have done. I usually try to use the left turn lane to make a left, but when traffic conditions or a dangerous intersection make that too risky, I’ll make the same sort of L turn he did. I try to position myself just in front of the right fender of the lead car at the intersection, or just in front and to its left if it’s making a turn.
The problem comes when drivers too often don’t indicate they’re turning. Combine that with an obstructed view from behind, and you’ve got a situation where you can do everything right, and still get hurt.
It will be interesting to see if the police report agrees when he gets a copy.
Herb Meyerowitz forwards a flyer he received while trying to enter the parking lot at Malibu Bluffs Park, a popular parking spot for cyclists preparing to ride PCH.
I’ve been aware for some time that Malibu was considering asking cyclists to park elsewhere in order to leave sufficient space for other park visitors; complaints have been made that we hog too many weekend parking spaces, leaving little room for actual park visitors.
However, this is the first I’ve heard that they’re actually attempting to herd bike riders Webster Elementary School.
It seems like a reasonable request — especially with the promise that restrooms and water will be made available to riders.
Let me know how it works out if you give it a try.
According to multiple sources, Robert Verhaaren, a 42-year old father from Mesa, Arizona, reportedly swerved to avoid a pothole on over a Snake River bridge in Wyoming. He lost control, hit the guardrail and went over the side of the bridge, falling 35 feet to his death.
The 206 mile ride from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the longest race sanctioned by USA Cycling; tragically, Verhaaren died just eight miles from the finish line.
The victim in last weekend’s Topanga Canyon hit-and-run has been identified as 60-year old Gary Morris of Van Nuys. Police are looking for a 1996 to 2000 Land Rover with possible damage to the right front. Anyone with information should call CHP Investigator Brooke Covington at 818-888-0980, ext. 228.
A Denver cyclist says traffic laws weren’t made for cyclists. And uses that as justification for breaking them.
Meanwhile, an Asheville writer says cyclists have to give a little, too.
A hyperventilating commenter on an earlier story says cyclists are crazy to ride on major roads, where speeding cars pass them by just inches.
Do I really need to say I disagree?
Former doper tainted meat eater Alberto Contador makes a dramatic comeback by winning his second Vuelta; fellow Spaniards Alejandro Valverede and Joaquin Rodriguez finish second and third, respectively.
Finally, a writer for the London Mail rips the cycling world a new one — especially the life-threatening Lycra louts she claims hit her elderly mother twice in just three weeks. Only problem is, she wrote almost exactly the same story two years ago; thanks to UK bike scribe Carlton Reid for the links.
Yesterday, Will Campbell was right hooked by a driver in a small car.
A day earlier, a Long Beach cyclist was killed when a truck driver did virtually the same thing.
In the video he posted, you can clearly see the car cut directly across Will’s path, and his rapid reduction in speed as he brakes hard to avoid a collision. And you can hear his restraint as he urges the driver to be more careful in the future.
Now contrast that with the incident in Long Beach, in which an experienced cyclist collided with a semi-truck making a right turn.
According to published reports, Gustavo Ramirez, a 30-year old resident of the Belmont Shore area, was riding eastbound on the sidewalk along East Shoreline Drive in Long Beach about 10:30 am Tuesday, when he hit the side of the truck as it turned onto Shoreline Village Drive. The driver reportedly had missed his exit off the 710 Freeway and was attempting to turn around when the collision occurred.
The popular cyclist, who worked at the Manhattan Beach REI, had survived another recent accident when a car cut him off while riding in the Bixby Knolls area.
Charles Gandy, the mobility coordinator for the city, was quoted as saying that many cyclists feel uncomfortable riding a busy street with no bike lanes like Shoreline Drive, so they may prefer to ride on the sidewalk.
Judging by the city’s website, that may or may not be legal. Long Beach’s municipal code suggests that riding on the sidewalk is allowed in most areas, with a maximum speed limit of 15 mph — 5 mph when pedestrians are present. However, there are a number of exceptions where it’s prohibited; I don’t know the area well enough to say if any of those would apply around there.
Then again, as complicated as the exceptions are, I’m not sure if anyone else does, either.
As a general rule, I advise against riding on the sidewalk, because drivers anticipate cyclists on the sidewalk even less than they do on the street, and aren’t likely to look for you when they’re pulling out of a driveway or turning onto a cross street. In fact, according to a 1998 study by Dr. William Moritz, there’s a 24.8 times greater risk for cyclists riding on the sidewalk as compared to a typical street with no cycling facilities.
However, I can also understand why a cyclist would make an exception there. The southern end of the 710 Freeway dumps heavy traffic directly onto the street just blocks from where Ramirez was killed; more than a few drivers fail to make the mental adjustment from freeway to surface street driving.
It’s clear from the description of the incident that Ramirez collided with the truck, rather than the other way around, striking it on the right side just behind the cab.
Some of the comments online suggest that proves he was at fault. But as Will’s video clearly shows, when a driver turns in front of you without warning, there’s not much you can do except jam on your brakes and pray. If there’s time.
The fact that Ramirez hit the truck just behind the cab suggests that the driver was just beginning his turn when the collision occurred, so there probably wasn’t enough time to react. It also implies that he was probably already alongside the truck when it turned, so he might not have been in a position to see its turn signal, assuming the driver used it.
And even if he was wearing earphones, as a friend of his suggested, it’s highly unlikely that any experienced cyclist would be unaware of such a large truck on the roadway right next to him.
Still, that didn’t stop the usual online comments blaming cyclists from running red lights, calling for licensing and testing — or expecting cyclists to yield regardless of who has the right of way. Or even demanding that the new health care plans impose a surcharge on people who engage in risky behavior like riding a bike.
And that’s not counting the many comments that were deleted for being too offensive. Like the ones questioning whether Ramirez — or the driver — were in the country legally, just because of their names.
It’s tragic enough when any human being loses his life. But no one should have to die simply for riding a bike.
And it shouldn’t be an opportunity for people who hide behind the anonymity of the internet to show just how little compassion and common sense they have.
Members of Midnight Ridazz are planning a ghost bike and memorial ride for Friday the 15th.
A Downtown cyclist was run down by a hit-and-run driver yesterday, yet somehow managed to avoid serious injuries. Damien offers the definitive response to the bike plan; the deadline for comments is tomorrow. An L.A. rider tries, and fails, to reach Downtown by following the county bike map. Flying Pigeon gets Belgian-made Achielle bikes in stock. An East Coast cyclist learns to take the whole lane — and in a skirt, no less. Ft. Collins, CO cyclists demand equality, and get the same traffic-calming surcharge drivers face. A New York school bus driver backs over a cyclist in a fatal collision. A Louisville writer goes car-free, and gets a new Pashley. A North Carolina newspaper complains about a planned bike route for “design cyclists,” whatever that is. The League of American cyclists wants to make U.S. university campuses bike friendly. London cyclists outrace the Tube. The hit-and-run plague even extends to Oxford Dons. Adelaide cyclists get a boost in infrastructure spending. A Canadian cyclist is killed by a truck’s oversize load, yet the court rules no one is at fault. Tips on riding in the snow, not that it’s an issue here. Finally, proof that not all cyclists are nice people, even in Copenhagen; then again, neither is everyone who offers to help recover your bike.
It’s the holiday season.
When the city takes on a festive glow, and visions of sugar plums dance in countless heads, even if no one seems to know what those are anymore. And stressed out, distracted and/or intoxicated drivers hit the road, with the possible presence of cyclists the furthest thing from their minds.
I have no idea if that had anything to do with the problem I ran into today. I only know I arrived home simultaneously mad as hell and thanking God I was in one piece.
It’s not like I wasn’t prepared.
Experience has taught me that driving gets worse the closer we get to the holidays. In fact, the last Friday before Christmas — tomorrow, in other words, or possibly today by the time you read this — is often just this side of a demolition derby as people stumble out of countless office parties and into their cars.
So I wasn’t too surprised when a driver nearly right-hooked me. Or even when a pedestrian stepped right out in front of me without ever looking up, forcing me into a panic stop that ended with his extremely startled face just inches from mine.
But what I wasn’t prepared for was the bus driver who cut directly in front of me — apparently on purpose — in what seemed from my perspective like a road rage assault. Then again, maybe she was just an incredibly crappy driver.
I first encountered her as I rode through the commercial district on Montana Avenue in the Bicycle Friendly City of Santa Monica, headed east in the bike lane. One of the city’s Big Blue Buses was loading passengers at a bus stop, then pulled out and cut me off as soon as I started to go around it.
I wasn’t happy about it, but that’s almost to be expected. I see buses do the same thing to drivers on a daily basis.
Then a few blocks down the road, I moved ahead of the bus while it waited at a red light, since it was clear the driver was going to pull over at a bus stop just past the light. That put me safely out of its path, and I left the bus and its driver far behind me.
Or at least, that’s what I thought.
A few blocks further down the road, I could feel the bus coming up behind me. By that point, though, the bike lane had ended and the road had narrowed down to a single lane in both directions, with parking on each side. I had already taken the lane, since there wasn’t room for a car to pass safely — and certainly not enough for a bus.
I wasn’t too worried about it, though. While I don’t enjoy having a bus on my ass, I was doing over 20 mph in a 25 mph school zone, so it wasn’t like I was holding anyone up.
Evidently, the driver disagreed.
The moment we cleared the center divider, she gunned her engine and cut around me on the left — way too close for my comfort — then immediately cut back in front of me to pull over to the bus stop in front of the elementary school.
At that distance, stopping was not an option; I would have rear-ended the bus, which would not have been pretty at that speed. So I squeezed my brakes and leaned hard to the left, just clearing the rear bumper of the bus and zooming past; if I’d clipped its bumper, I would have been thrown into oncoming traffic, and probably wouldn’t be here to write this.
Again, not exactly a desirable outcome.
About half a block down the road, I thought better of it, though, and turned back to take down the number of the bus — 3830 — and the route number (3). Then I sat back and waited for the bus pass, somehow managing to keep both my words and fingers to myself.
After all, it wasn’t like she hadn’t known I was there. She’d just followed me for about a block, then sped up to go around me — even though it would have been much smarter to simply wait a few seconds and pull over safely behind me.
Somehow, though, I suspect that my safety was the last thing on her mind. Then again, pulling a stunt like that in school zone suggests she wasn’t too concerned about the kids, either.
I’ve already filed a complaint. And been assured by the very pleasant woman who answered the phone that they take things like this very seriously.
Update to the recent item about Andrew Wooley, the San Diego cyclist wrongly convicted of violating CVC21202 for passing a short line of cars in the right turn lane on the left, even though he was riding faster than the current speed of traffic.
In a surprising turnaround, the San Diego City Attorney’s office issued a formal position clarifying the law and reversing the undeserved conviction. Bike San Diego discusses the lessons learned, and interviews Wooley about the case — including the frightening revelation that the officer involved visited Wooley’s work and filed a complaint with his boss after Wooley had discussed the case with the officer’s supervisor.
In what may be a sign of the apocalypse, L.A.’s mayor endorses cycling, or at least CicLAvia. Bike Girl offers a cautionary tale about choosing your battles. Burbank adopts a new bike plan that actually connects to other cities. A 30 minute car commute now takes 20 minutes by bike. A 9-year old Thousand Oaks boy is injured in a hit-and-run, while 39-year old Camarillo father is killed in a cycling collision; for a change, the driver stuck around. Conejo Valley volunteers give away 160 refurbished bikes, while Temecula’s Rotary Club gives away 39 shiny new ones this holiday season. Ridership in America’s bike paradise goes down for the first time in five years. Cyclists and drivers fight over Santa Rosa’s first bike boulevard; in Austin, it’s cyclists vs. business people. An innocent Chicago cyclist is killed when caught between road raging drivers. If New York’s South Williamsburg Hasidic community though cyclists were scantily clad before, just wait until this weekend. Arizona cyclists win the right to take the lane on appeal. New Bikes Allowed Use Of Full Lane stickers on sale now – which brings up the new Federal standards for bicycle signage. A Toronto man gets roughly one day in jail for each 3.3 of the 3,000 bikes he stole. British Cycling announces the first 50 members of its new Hall of Fame. Finally, the plot thickens as a cyclist hit by a car containing actress Anne Hathaway may have been a paparazzo intent on getting a photo. No wonder he didn’t stick around.
Hi, I’m BikingIn…
Sorry, we only use first names here.
Oh. Okay. I’m, uh…Biking, and I’m a middle-finger-holic.
I promised myself I was going to quit. Really, I was. And I was doing okay. I hadn’t made a single obscene gesture or swore at anyone for over a month, no matter how much they deserved it.
Until today, that is. (blushing in shame)
Well, there I was, riding up San Vicente on the way home from today’s ride, when two cars right-hooked me within just a couple blocks.
See, that surprised me, because most drivers there seem to be used to cyclists. And just look at me. Six feet tall and 180 pounds, bright yellow, black and white jersey. I mean, I’m pretty hard to miss.
But sure enough, some woman in a black Mercedes zipped by on my left, then cut across right my path to make a right turn. So I jammed on my brakes to avoid a collision, and next thing I know, I’m sending a one-fingered solute her way.
Then couple blocks later, bam! It happens again. This time an older guy in a ‘70s era rolling junkyard. He zooms by, cuts right in front of me to make his turn, then casually glances my way as I panic stop to avoid him. And yeah, the bird flew once again.
Five weeks of middle-finger sobriety down the drain.
Why’d they do it? Who knows.
Maybe they don’t know how dangerous it is, or maybe they didn’t know I had the right of way — same way a car in the left lane can’t cut off a car in the right lane. Could be they wanted to send a message, like the good doctor did last year, or didn’t think my life was worth the few seconds of inconvenience it would have taken to let me pass safely.
Or maybe they just didn’t care.
Worst part is, it’s not like those gestures did any good. Even if they saw it, it’s not going to convince the drivers that they did anything wrong. It just confirms that cyclists are rude a**holes, so they feel justified driving like that again next time.
Which is why I’m really, really trying to quit.
On the other hand, I could’ve flipped off the driver in Brentwood shortly after that. But I didn’t. No matter how much he deserved.
See, he was cruising along looking for a parking space. And not only was he clogging the whole right lane, he was also driving with two wheels in the parking lane, blocking my path, as well.
I checked to make sure there were no other cars coming, and swung around to pass him on the left. Then he sped up again, with no idea that I was riding right next to his driver’s side window.
The cars ahead of us were stopped at a traffic light, and there wasn’t anyone behind us. And I was going at least as fast as he was, so that meant I was moving at the speed of traffic.
And I could ride anywhere I wanted.
You see, section 21202 of the California Vehicle Code clearly states:
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…
But since I was moving at the speed of traffic — in fact, I’d picked up my pace a little, making me, at that moment at least, the fastest vehicle on the roadway — I took the lane.
The left lane.
Then once I was safely ahead of him, I signaled my lane change, and crossed back over to my usual position on the side of the road. Leaving one very surprised driver in my wake.
But I didn’t say one word, or make a single gesture. I mean, that’s got to be worth something, right?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to call my sponsor. And get back on the road to middle-finger sobriety.
Metro finally considers lifting their ban on bikes at rush hour – hey, a radical idea like that could actually encourage people to leave their cars at home! Metblogs comments on all the non-cyclists clogging the beach bike path. A tourist in San Diego is killed after falling from a pedicab. In a truly heartbreaking report, a 90-year old Visalia cyclist is in critical condition after being struck while turning by a driver “who could not avoid the bicyclist.” Right. The NY Times asks if bicycling is bad for your bones; based on personal experience, I’d say it is if you fall. Popular Mechanics note that le Tour is a proving ground for innovations that could filter down to your level, including the new electronic shifters. A writer in the Hamptons argues for shared roadways. Finally, if you can’t find Will this morning, he’s at the Jackopalooza saying his farewells to Michael.
One of the most dangerous situations any rider faces is when a driver passes on the left, then makes an immediate right turn. Or when a driver tries to make a left turn directly in front of an oncoming rider.
Most of the time they get away with it. And sometimes they don’t, resulting in a serious, often fatal, accident in which the rider smashes into the side of the turning vehicle.
The problem is that drivers often underestimate the speed of the bike, and think they’ve got time to complete the turn. Or they just drive too aggressively, and assume they have the skill to pull off an exceptionally risky move — or want to send a message by forcing the cyclist to panic stop in order to avoid them.
The only way to stop it, and protect the safety of cyclists, is to ban it entirely — and require that drivers wait until any oncoming rider passes before making their turn, whether right or left.
Bicycle Fixation observes we’re getting closer to genuine critical mass (lower case). The Utne Reader discovers conservative cyclists aren’t a myth after all, while conservative #1 plans to open the way for mountain bikes in the national parks. Now if he’d just restore their funding before he makes his ungraceful exit in January.