Update: Taco Tuesday cyclists cited for bad behavior; anti-bike DWP employee a fake

August 11, 2011

In a story that seemed important at the time, police responded to complaints about the popular Taco Tuesday ride in Playa del Rey Tuesday night.

Upwards of 100 — or maybe 200 — riders were reportedly engaging in drunken, unruly behavior at the intersection of Culver Blvd and Vista del Mar.

At least six riders were cited for various traffic infractions, while four others were ticketed for curfew violations; a white van accompanying the riders was impounded after stopping briefly in a tow-away zone.

However, despite numerous reports that the riders were intoxicated and drinking in public, no arrests were made for liquor violations or biking under the influence, which is illegal under California law.

In the end, it was nothing more than a bike ride that may have gotten out of hand. A few hundred — or maybe just a few out of a few hundred — engaged in exactly the kind of two-wheeled boorish behavior that gives every other cyclist a bad name. And encourages the sort of bike hatred we all face in online forums and on the streets.

But it was not the near traffic riot some might suggest.

However, if this comment from the Daily News story about the event really is from a city employee, it may not be bad behavior from cyclists that we have to worry about.

Michael Walter · Sr. Purchasing Clerk at Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power

Cyclists are highway vermin. Run ’em down with your Hummer.

Surely a city employee isn’t dumb enough to post a threat — even one which he would undoubtedly claim to be a badly failed attempt at humor — under his own name and title.


Update: Good news. I just received a phone call from LAPD Sgt. David Krumer, who said he contacted DWP to followup on this comment, and was informed that no one by that name works for DWP and that position does not exist within the company. Evidently, someone with a grudge against DWP created the Michael Walter Facebook account and made the comment in order to make them look bad.

Somehow, it’s comforting to know that this is just the work of a random psycho, rather than a city employee.


I’m told that charges have been filed against Glenn Michael Moore and Michael Dennis Roach, who were allegedly street racing on PCH when a collision sent Moore’s Accord sailing onto a nearby bike path, where it struck and critically injured cyclist Richard Lauwers.

Both are charged with a misdemeanor count of engaging in a speed contest; Moore is also charged with felony DUI causing great bodily injury and felony DUI with a BAC over .08% causing great bodily injury — despite the fact that the collision occurred around 8 am on a Sunday morning.

Fortunately, reports are that Lauwers has recovered from his injuries and continues to ride his bike.


Late calendar additions:

Metro is holding a roundtable discussion to talk about operator training, bicycle outreach and education on Monday, August 22nd from 6 to 8 pm. Anyone whose ever been buzzed by a bus — which means just about every cyclist in L.A. — may want to attend.

The LACBC is co-sponsoring a bike tour of historic Glendale this weekend, and co-hosting a weekend-long training program for bicycle and pedestrian advocates with the Alliance for Biking and Walking in October. Meanwhile, the Coalition is forming a new West Hollywood affiliate chapter at 7 pm on Friday, August 19th at Poinsettia Park.

And C.I.C.L.E. and the Santa Monica Museum of Art co-host the Cause for Creativity: Tour da Arts on Saturday, August 21 from noon to 7 pm; pre-registration is advised since it usually fills up.


Bob Mionske says congratulations to Los Angeles for passing the first-of-its-kind anti-harassment ordinance. And in a must read, he looks at the tendency of police and the media to blame the victim in cycling collisions.

In one of the cases he mentions, anti-bike bias rears its ugly head as a Kelowna, British Columbia rider is blamed for riding too fast in a bike lane after she’s right hooked by a driver.


In bike racing news, American racing prodigy Taylor Phinney loses 35 seconds to drop to 8th place in the Eneco Tour after holding the leader’s jersey; and no, I never heard of that race before this year, either. But I have heard of the Tour of the Netherlands.

Tour de France champ Cadel Evans heads a strong line-up for the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado later this month. SoCal Cycling looks at last weekend’s Brentwood Grand Prix (scroll down), as does the Claremont Cyclist. A Tahoe cyclist relates life as a Category 1 racer; how to make the jump from Cat 4 to Cat 3. And a 15-year old Manhattan Beach bicyclist is invited to train in Europe by USA Cycling.


The city releases its first quarterly report on the Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT); thanks to George Wolfberg for forwarding the link. But when cyclists were offered a chance to set the BPIT agenda, only two people bothered to respond.

Even so, Bikeside insists there’s no way to achieve progress on implementing the bike plan, while Alex Thompson considers the whole thing a complete and utter failure.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica cyclists applaud the city’s newly unveiled bike plan, while the Santa Monica Spoke applauds the process and city staff behind it. The Spoke offers a link to the plan and an email address to offer comments, bikeplan@SMSpoke.org.


Damien Newton blames the poor design of De Soto Ave for contributing to the death of Alex Romero by encouraging drivers to speed. L.A. attorney and cyclist Howard Krepack says it’s past time to invest in Safe Routes to Schools. The biking black hole of Beverly Hills bars transparency by banning search engines; what ever happened to the idea of open government? KPCC looks at how to start cycling in the city. Turns out triple bike racks on buses could be against the law. KCET asks if L.A. needs a bike share program. A memorial grows for Jeremy Perez, the 7-year old cyclist killed in Redondo Beach on Saturday. The West San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Coalition — an LACBC affiliate — is working to make Alhambra bike friendlier. The Claremont Cyclist reports on local riders behaving, in some cases very, badly.

A San Francisco pedestrian has died after being struck by a red light-running rider last month. No DUI charges in the death of a cyclist walking his bike on PCH in Ventura as prosecutors apparently misplace the blood alcohol results. Here’s your chance to go downhill in Death Valley. A state grant has been awarded to close a gap in a Thousand Oaks bike lane. A mountain biker is rescued after being injured on a Laguna wilderness trail. An arrest has been made in the hit-and-run death of a Santa Cruz area cyclist; unlike the father of Dominique Rush in the Alex Romero case, the driver’s parents urged her to turn herself in and co-operated in the investigation. The owner of a Humboldt County trucking company clearly gets it in a look at the proposed three-foot passing law. San Francisco’s Rapha Cycle Club is a new kind of biker bar. A cyclist breaks into — not out of — Folsom prison. The Navy Seabee who saved the life of triathlete Jordon Rapp following a cycling collision last year receives a well-deserved honor for his efforts.

Broken Sidewalk looks at the problem of bicycle infrastructure designed by drivers — definitely worth reading. Transportation as a civil rights issue. The hidden perils of urban bike paths. Advice on how to wash your bike, and how to refresh your legs fast; personally, I use two hard boiled eggs and a café mocha — to bounce back, not wash. A Wisconsin rider says it’s time for all of us to take the pledge to make our streets a little safer, one driver and cyclist at a time. The Green Bay Packers are role models for cycling. Cyclists are rude, drivers are ruder. Rolling out the bike rides to commemorate 9/11. Bike lanes are used for everything but bikes. A well thought-out response to the typical complaint about cyclists not paying taxes. An Irish poet pedals across the U.S.

Tijuana sets the example in showing how bicyclists and motorists can co-exist peacefully. Building bike lanes pays dividends, despite perceptions of local merchants; meanwhile, Toronto’s mayor declares war on bikes. Bikes as looting lookouts and the subjects of violence on the streets of Hackney. The UK has seen a more than 10% jump in annual cycling casualties, defined as death or serious injury. Seeing Beijing in a whole new light after buying a bike.

Finally, a personal injury attorney with offices throughout L.A., O.C. and the Bay Area talks about L.A.’s new anti-harassment ordinance, and repeatedly insists there are only 13,000 cyclists in Los Angeles — missing the mark by roughly 587,000 monthly riders, according to estimates in the new bike plan.

And in the wake of the Dominique Rush case, a couple of readers remind us of another case where a father actively assisted in a cover-up after his son killed a cyclist; thanks to maggie and Jim Lucas for the heads-up.

Daily News fans the flames of anti-bike bias with misinformed — or maybe dishonest — editorial

August 1, 2011

In an exceptionally misguided editorial, the L.A. Daily News attacks L.A.’s newly passed bicyclist ant-harassment ordinance as a missed opportunity to create more harmony on the roads.

It would be nice, however, if they had bothered to read the bill — instead of the knee-jerk auto-centric online comments against it — before going off half-cocked in opposing something they clearly don’t understand.

Or worse, trying to stir up controversy by blatantly misrepresenting the new ordinance.

Under the new law, sponsored by Councilman Bill Rosendahl, any car driver who “harasses” or deliberately distracts a bike rider is committing a crime for which the bike rider can sue for and receive monetary damages. What counts as distracting a bike rider – A honk? A wink? A barking dog? We can be sure the lawyers will explore that one in ludicrous detail.

As they should already know — or would, if they had bothered to get the facts first —  no one would be subject to this law simply because a driver winked at a cyclist or honked a horn — unless that honk could be clearly interpreted as a threat to the life and safety of the cyclist.

To quote LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer,

It appears that some folks are not exactly sure what harassment means within the context of the ordinance.  You can still yell at a cyclist who engages in bad behavior.  You can not however threaten a cyclist with physical harm or make comments like “I am going to run you over.”  You also can not engage in conduct that is likely to put a cyclist in harms way such as:

1) Revving your engine multiple times as it is an implied threat that they may get run over if they don’t move out of the way.

2) Tailgating a cyclist

3) Passing a cyclist at too high a speed or to close a distance so as to scare or intimidate them off the road.

4) Riding up at a high rate of speed and honking at a cyclist (this has caused cyclists to get scared and fall of their bikes).

Hope this sheds light on what “harassment” means.  In short it is an ordinance that prohibits threats (explicit and implied) as well as behavior likely to cause injury.

Maybe the Daily News was on a deadline and didn’t have time to pick up the phone and talk to Sgt. Krumer. Or anyone else who might know what they hell they’re talking about.

Though you’d think they might have corrected it before the same editorial was picked up by partner paper the Daily Breeze, spreading their ludicrously inaccurate interpretation of the ordinance even further.

Then there was this from the editorial:

Now, this is not to condone hostility, verbal abuse or threats by anyone against anyone else. But there are plenty of laws currently on the books protecting a person from inflicting harm on another person, whether it be by car, by hate speech, by meat cleaver or by Chihuahua.

Of course, if they had bothered to send a reporter to the council session to listen the debate leading up to the passage of this ordinance, they might have understood that the things addressed by it are in fact already illegal, since it was discussed repeatedly during the debate.

The problem is, harassment and threats against cyclists are almost impossible to enforce because the violations usually have to be observed by the police before they can take action against a threatening motorist. And not many people are stupid enough to threaten a cyclist when a police officer is watching.

Simply put, this law is necessary because, despite their best efforts, the police aren’t capable of protecting cyclists from motorists 24/7 throughout the vast expanse of this city. So the City Council wisely saw fit to empower cyclists to protect ourselves.

The editorial writers for the Daily News should have known that. But they either didn’t do the most basic due diligence required of their profession, or weren’t willing to let the truth get in the way of stirring up controversy.

Instead, they chose to fan the flames of the conflict on our streets, while simultaneously, and hypocritically, decrying it.

And quite frankly, I find it morally repugnant that anyone could equate a cyclist “blowing a stop sign” with a motorist deliberately threatening the life and safety of another human being.

But hey, that’s just me.

Meanwhile, Carter Rubin does a great job of responding to — and eviscerating — the Daily News stance for Streetsblog.


The L.A. Times asks if a new grassroots awareness campaign that thanks drivers for seeing cyclists will help adjust attitudes. If so, I’d suggest sending a few cases to the Daily News.


Ride With!, an online photo project presents “awesome” cyclists from around the world, and asks “Who do you ride with?”


Yesterday’s story about the Oroville driver’s failed attempt at humor by confessing to an assault with a deadly weapon — her car — against a group of cyclists in a local newspaper column has lead to some passionate and on-target responses, some from names you may recognize.

Now the question is, will it lead to an investigation from local authorities — let alone from the editor who erred in allowing something like this to be published?

I wouldn’t hold your breath.


Forget the article, this is one of the coolest bike photos I’ve ever seen. Bikerowave volunteers lend a hand at A Place Called Home. Great advice on riding skills and bike etiquette for beginning cyclists. High salaries for Beverly Hills officials don’t result in improvements for cyclists; Rick Risemberg says more bike parking for South Beverly Drive could solve their parking problems. Summer racing at the Encino Velodrome. Arnold celebrates his birthday by riding bikes with the guys in Santa Monica; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Long Beach’s biking expats look back on their first month of touring the Northwest by Brompton. The preliminary hearing has been postponed until September for John Hines, the Long Beach fire captain accused of seriously injuring a cyclist in a drunken hit-and-run.

A former Alhambra city councilman goes car light. A cyclist suffers serious injuries after being rear-ended by a car in Montbello Friday evening, while an 18-year old cyclist was critically injured in Norco on Saturday. Bike Newport Beach says they need sharrows now; you really have to wonder just what the city’s official Bike Safety Committee is so afraid of. San Diego cyclists reflect following the hit-and-run death of a local cyclist last week. San Francisco repaints a green bike lane accused of causing collisions.

Bob Mionske offers advice on how to fight bike licensing proposals. A car writer says fight distracted driving collisions by making accident avoidance systems mandatory. How bike shops can encourage cycling in low income areas. Oregon Live says Portland has moved past the sort of driver vs cyclist conflicts that lead to L.A.’s new anti-harassment ordinance; I’m sure many cyclists would disagree. A Boulder CO dump truck driver who killed a 73-year old cyclist in June was ticketed for a previous road rage incident with a cyclist in 2009, as well as brawling with cyclists after running them off the road in 2003. Boulder riders can now enjoy a state-of-the-art bike park, where they can presumably be safe from road raging truck drivers. The Witch on a Bicycle is back, and rightfully complaining that drivers who kill a human being should face a greater penalty than for littering. No shit. Springfield Cyclist rides into an episode of COPS. A writer for the Boston Globe asks can’t cyclists and motorists just get along? A Richmond VA writer offers the 10 things that frustrate him in the conflict between cars and bikes.

Philippe Gilbert continues his amazing year with yet another classics victory. Why is UCI, bike racing’s governing body, reviled instead of respected? Town Mouse wisely says what unites us as cyclists is bigger than what divides us.

Finally, the maker of Brooks saddles causes a panic when they announce they’ll be shutting down after 140 years.

For the next two weeks, that is.


I hope you’ll join me in offering best wishes to Joe Linton, one of L.A.’s leading bike and eco advocates, on the loss of his mother. And L.A. endurance cyclist and vegan registered dietician Matthew Ruscigno on the death of his great uncle.

Best wishes to my Muslim readers for a blessed Ramadan.


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