Deputy Chief Dave McGill just called me to announce an arrest in the hit and run death this Saturday of Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz. “An arrest was made at 2am; we got the guy and the vehicle.”
Read the NBPD Press Release.
California’s State Assembly will vote on enacting SB 1464, the 3-Foot-Passing-Law, Friday in Sacramento. It is not too late to send your assembly person an email urging a ‘yes’ vote using this handy link. Please pass this on to any California cyclists and their friends and families.
Riding bikes on the sidewalk, in this case outside Ace Hardware on Coast Hwy in Corona del Mar, is never a good idea.
Here, these two nearly collided as the cyclist in white made a move to pass the cyclist in black — and who would expect to be passed while you’re riding on the sidewalk?
Sharrows should reduce the incidence of bikes on the sidewalk, as riding in the road gets safer.
“That exceded my expectations,” was what I heard several times Monday evening as the Newport Beach Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee wound to a close. The Police Department put on quite a show, the focus on crash data for the past five years, presented by Sgt. Psaros.
Kudos to Newport Beach for grinding out the bike lane signage on Irvine Blvd across from Newport Harbor High School. They must have realized that the bike lane was extremely misleading and quite dangerous because of the parking allowed along much of this stretch. Irvine happens to be a well traveled road for bikes, including a corridor for numerous children riding to three schools- Mariners, Ensign and Newport Harbor HS.
What about simply riding your bike on the sidewalk on this stretch? Wouldn’t that be the biking smart option? No. Number one, it is illegal. Number two, as can be seen, there is no sidewalk for much of this stretch, and hazards galore to maneuver.
Cars backing out of driveways pose another major problem for bikes traveling close to the curb along Irvine Blvd. Not to mention pedestrians. Would you want your kids being in this situation?
Is there a solution? Probably not one single solution, but Sharrows should be strongly considered by Newport Beach as part of the solution. Unfortunately, the Sharrows shown in the above three photos had to be added through photo manipulation, but here are three quick reasons for real Sharrows to be added on this short section of Irvine Blvd:
1) This is the epitome of a residential and school area where slower, safer speeds would be appreciated by the neighborhood. Sharrows contribute to traffic calming.
2) Sharrows have been shown to reduce one reason for bike/car accidents- wrong way bike riding. As this stretch of Irvine Blvd is currently configured, it practically encourages wrong way bike riding for cyclists.
3) Sharrows do not confer any new rights for bicyclists, or subtract any motorist rights. They are simply a visual reminder for both drivers and cyclists that the roadway exists for both of them to share. A reminder that should be appreciated by everyone that travels this stretch of Irvine- motorists and cyclists alike.
4) Did I say three? Lastly, this location has all of the “best practice” traffic engineering reasons for Sharrows- two lanes both ways, a speed limit of 30 mph, no obvious parallel pathway, etc. In other words, an excellent, high visibility location for Newport Beach to install Sharrows. The fake Sharrows look great in the first three photos, but the time for real Sharrows has arrived.
Newport Beach Police Department Enforcement Campaign Targeting Vehicle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
The Newport Beach Police Department will be conducting a specialized Bicycle Safety Operation on March 17th and 24th, 2012. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles. Officers will be addressing traffic violations made by all vehicle operators, bicyclists, and other vehicle drivers that lead to vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian collisions.
The goal of the program is to educate the public about the safe and lawful use of bicycles, as well as the safe and lawful use of vehicles that share the roadways with bicycles and pedestrians. Prevention is a key component of the program, which centers on the traffic laws that can prevent bicycle riders and pedestrians from becoming injured or killed due to illegal use or reckless behavior by vehicles and bicyclists. In addition, the Police Department may be required to enforce obvious violations of the City’s Municipal Code to maintain safe operations.
With more traffic congestion on our city streets and more people turning to bicycles as a transportation alternative, we need to make sure that all road users understand the rules, laws and safe behavior; particularly how bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists share the road.
For additional information, please contact Sergeant Damon Psaros, at 949-644-3743.
For full details, view this message on the web.
Sent by Newport Beach Police Department, 870 Santa Barbara Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660
I had a meeting today with a policy-maker, someone who wields considerable influence over municipal government. The kind of person a cyclist would be very glad to have in his corner.
In the course of discussing cycling-safety issues, a notoriously dangerous local intersection came up. It is an intersection of two very high-speed streets where the bike lane basically just ends, pretty much abandoning the cyclist when infrastructure is needed most. This leaves cyclists to make their own way through the intersection and, afterwards, to fight their way back over to the right of the road amidst high-speed traffic entering from the right from an uncontrolled “free right turn”. To do so, a cyclist must cross a solid white line separating the right lane from the “new” lane entering from the right.
Newport Beach cyclists who read this will be able to guess what several intersections I might be talking about, if not the actual one. Suffice it to say, it is one of several very dangerous intersections for cyclists which were engineered for high-speed motorists, without much thought at all for cyclists.
Anyway, the speaker — who is a road cyclist — presented the problem from the perspective of the windshield of a merging motorist passing through the uncontrolled right turn, and suggested the conflict presented itself by cyclists who “…merge over to the right before they are supposed to, over the solid white line…” in front of accelerating cars. Which is interesting. Because while she did not describe the cyclists’ action as illegal, that is certainly the implication. And my initial research suggests a merge over the solid white line in question is not illegal. Apparently in this situation in California, in the absence of road signs directing what drivers in a particular lane must do, the solid white line is advisory. And according to section 3B.04 of California’s 2012 MUTCD, single solid white lines are to be used where crossing is discouraged, and double solid white lines are to be used where crossing is prohibited.
And that’s a textbook example of anti-cycling bias: The Windshield Perspective. The “cars have priority” fallacy. The presumption that in a conflict situation where the cyclist is extremely vulnerable, it can’t be the case that the cyclist is right and should be given some distance. The presumption, instead, that a cyclist is breaking a law just by being there and by doing what he has to do to survive in a car-centric culture.
(Update: here is an excellent article by bicycle lawyer Bob Mionski about a truly egregious example of anti-cyclist bias.)
I’ve just asked the Newport Beach Police Department to provide traffic accident and traffic violation data for the last several years.
I’m looking for numbers and descriptions of car vs. bicycle accidents, as well as enforcement details of certain California Vehicle Code and Newport Beach Municipal Code sections that motorists might think of as “No Harm, No Foul” violations. But as I explain below, they are not.
With that in mind, I have asked if the Newport Beach Police Department could provide the following:
In addition, I have asked if the Department could provide “ticketing” numbers or some other tabulation of motor vehicle code violations / infractions in Newport Beach for the last three years. The specific violations I am curious about are:
-21209: Driving in a bike lane
-21211: Stopping in a bike lane
-21703: Following too closely
-23123: Using a handheld phone while driving
-23123.5: Texting while driving
Not knowing how records of these traffic tickets would be kept, I understand that data may not be readily available in the format requested and so I have asked whether I need to clarify the request, and have asked the Department to let me know if there is other data that may be helpful to the effort (which I describe below).
From the non sequitur files:
A few days ago, in Melbourne, Australia, Shane Warne was driving his car down a road and – depending on whose story you believe – Mr Warne either was randomly assaulted by a cyclist or drove his car into a cyclist. (Edit – a motorist who says he was behind the incident has come forward and told the press he saw Mr Warne intentionally strike the cyclist with his car.)
Protesting the incident, Mr Warne tweeted that cyclists should be registered to be allowed to use the road.
Mr Warne’s point was that he had no way of identifying his ‘attacker’.
Of course, the same logic would require pedestrians to wear number plates in case one of them attacked Mr Warne’s car with a leg or a baby stroller.
Cadel Evans’ wife Chiara Passerini has spoken out, tweeting: “I would be very scared of meeting someone like @warne888 during a bike ride. His hate towards cyclists is worrying!” And now Australian professional cyclist Bridie O’Donnell has made her low opinion of Mr Warne’s irresponsible ranting very clear. (It occurs in passing that Mr Warne, a champion of a sport that has limited global appeal, may be jealous of a sport like cycling that is growing world-wide, unlimited by borders, and certainly on the cusp of glory days in Australia. Tall-poppy syndrome, anyone?)
OK, everyone will have a different interpretation of what happened. But a few things are clear: Mr Warne has a big audience, and is spreading anti-cyclist vitriol in reaction to what is, in the light most flattering to him, a reckless move in a motor vehicle. He claims he heard a thump and saw a cyclist hanging on to his car. If anything, he should not have driven once any kind of collision occurred.
Mr Warne needs to re-think his comments and learn a lot more about cyclist and pedestrian rights on the public roads and why motorists (who drive the heavy, high speed vehicles which can cause damage when misused) are required to be licensed, registered and insured.
UPDATE – January 30, 2012: Cyclist struck by Mr Warne to sue.