No sympathy for the devil

July 7, 2014 § 104 Comments

Bicyclists of California, unite!

The Los Angeles Sheriffs Department has embarked on a methodical campaign of illegal ticketing, threats, and intimidation against law-abiding cyclists who dare to exercise their right to ride in the lane on Pacific Coast Highway.

Despite personal assurances given by Captain Patrick Devoren, assurances made in the presence of me, Gary Cziko, and Eric Bruins of the LA County Bicycle Coalition, the department has stepped up its illegal ticketing and harassment campaign against cyclists. Even worse, the captain and his deputies have targeted the Big Orange cycling club in a brazen attempt to use force, threats, and fines to frighten cyclists out of the roadway.

Bicyclists who believe that they are inferior, who support the right of motorists to abuse and intimidate them, and who think that legally using PCH on a bicycle is counterproductive because it will “anger the motorists of Malibu” will be thrilled to know that they are firmly on the side of the sheriffs department.

Cyclists who do not consider themselves second class citizens will be outraged.

After being promised by Captain Devoren at a meeting in January that we would no longer be cited by deputies for obeying the law, the same abusive deputy — Deputy Duvall — pulled over David Kramer on June 29, 2014 while he was legally riding two abreast in the far right lane on PCH.

David was part of a 20-person contingent, and Deputy Duvall cited him for violating VC 21202, which requires a cyclist to stay as far to the right of the lane as practicable unless the lane is of substandard width or unless the lane cannot safely be shared by both motorist and bicycle. If these either of these conditions apply — and both did — cyclists are not required to ride “FTR” (as far to the right as practicable), and they are allowed to use the full lane pursuant to the section of the Vehicle Code that gives bicycles the same travel rights on roadways as motor vehicles.

Check out these two videos, both of which show that Deputy Duvall has no idea what the law is and is simply harassing the riders because he can:

Video 1
Video 2

While Deputy Duvall was citing Kramer, I phoned the watch commander who, after patient discussion, agreed with our interpretation of the law: That the cyclists were allowed to ride in the lane 2-by-2 on that section of PCH. Duvall cited Kramer anyway.

The following day I spoke with Captain Devoren, who proposed a meeting — I never heard back from him after that — at which we could explore, possibly with judicial input, the legality of our interpretation of the law, a law which needs no interpretation because it is explicit regarding when and where cyclists are not obligated to ride FTR.

Yesterday, July 6, a motorcycle deputy pulled over a group of Big Orange riders again and cited cyclist Scott Golper for “riding in the lane,” allegedly in violation of CV21202. Scott at the time was at the back of the group and hugging the fog line. The deputy took Duvall’s absurd mis-interpretation of the law even further and told the cyclists that they were not allowed to ride in the road at all. When asked to put the rider’s road position on the citation, he threatened Scott with arrest. He then added that bicyclists on PCH were an endangerment to cars, and if cyclists didn’t want to ride in the gutter they should STAY OFF PCH.

Deputy Young then called the watch commander and told him he was citing “the same group as last week.” It was clear from his tone of voice that the department had decided to target Big Orange, and that they were using this intimidation tactic to get the word out to all cyclists on PCH: Ride on the shoulder or don’t ride PCH at all.

Most incredibly, the deputy admitted to Scott that he probably wouldn’t even appear as a witness to prosecute the case, which means that the case will be dismissed. This is exactly what Deputy Duvall did in a previous case against Greg Leibert, a matter which required multiple court appearances, expert witnesses, and legal representation just so the department could harass cyclists, force them into court, and then not show up to prosecute their bogus case. This is harassment of the worst sort. The ticketed cyclist has to defend himself or hire a lawyer and the deputy just writes the ticket, harasses the group, and goes about his business.

Below is a video of Deputy Young in action, adding his truckload of cluelessness to the body of law enforcement ignorance that already makes riding PCH extremely unpleasant as well as hazardous for law abiding cyclists. That this unpleasantness and danger is exacerbated by the very people who are supposed to make PCH safe is outrageous beyond words.

Video 3

Keep in mind that there is no law in California that requires a cyclist to ride on the shoulder, and that Deputy Young is telling Scott that he can’t do what’s legal, and that he must do what isn’t required.

What I believed was a professional and honest attempt on the part of Captain Devoren and his deputies to reach an understanding with cyclists about proper enforcement of the law was apparently a ruse that the department has been using to keep us from collective action to defend our right to use the road.

I have taken David’s and Scott’s cases pro bono in an attempt to get a fair decision from the Santa Monica court in which the court will rule in our favor on these tickets and every other one like them. The motorists who pull the strings at LASD have obviously elected to make this the battleground, and it will have repercussions throughout the state of California.

If cyclists can be legally harassed, threatened with incarceration, fined for riding in the road on PCH, and illegally ordered to ride on the shoulder, then you can be absolutely certain that law enforcement will take this very significant victory and use it to illegally prosecute cyclists throughout the state.

Riding in the lane is a matter of safety, and more importantly it is a matter of legality. We are entitled to use the roads only to the extent that we are willing to stand up and fight for that right. Motordom and the police state would prefer that we either ride on bike paths or not ride at all. Imagine every group ride you do for the rest of your life being subject to this new and illegal prosecution of law-abiding bicyclists.

So, how can you help?

Simple.

  1. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Your monthly $2.99 donation will be used to defray the legal expenses of defending David and Scott and to promote activities that oppose harassment by the LA Sheriffs Department.
  2. Email me at fsethd@gmail.com if you are willing to actively oppose this illegal harassment of law abiding cyclists. Activities will include letter-writing, phone calls, organized full-lane rides on PCH, and mass meetings of cyclists with the sheriffs department to demand that they stop their illegal harassment.
  3. Notify me if you or someone you know has been cited for a VC 21202 violation so that I can try to arrange pro bono representation in defending their citation.

 

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§ 104 Responses to No sympathy for the devil

  • sibex9591 says:

    How different and fast the situation there has changed. I would guess that it is highly probable that local pressure has been applied, and in the time honored spirit of “The Squeaky Wheel gets the Grease”, it probably doesn’t take too many calls from local residents to achieve acquiescence from the captain, and a return to harassing legal and law abiding cyclists.

    Not sure what I can do here from NJ other than subscribe (which I already have done), and buy your book (which I have already done as well). If you had the Seth Davidson Bicycle Advocacy Fund IPA on my local shelves, I could enjoy a good IPA and help that way as well.

    Good Luck.

    • fsethd says:

      Thanks for all your support! Just one more obstacle to climb over … or to bunny-hop, as the case may be.

  • Gary Cziko says:

    Seth, some of us might want to contribute more than $2.99 per month to defend cyclists’ rights in California. How do we do that?

  • Gary Cziko says:

    And what about setting up a Facebook group for cyclists willing to actively oppose the harassment of California cyclists?

    • fsethd says:

      I think that Cyclists Are Drivers and several other FB portals exist to document this. We also have plenty of social media outlets to get the word out. The next step is going to be getting people to step out of the online world and into the real world of advocacy — time, bodies, action. Stay tuned.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Agreed. We have enough echo chambers.

      • channel_zero says:

        It’s a common strategy to “run down” the opposition with what amounts to lawful “death by a thousand cuts.” Enough tickets, enough trips to court and the opposition tires and law enforcement is paid just the same.

        The next step is time, bodies, judicial and political action.

        Either give Seth some money, or your time, or shut up about traffic conditions.

      • fsethd says:

        Thanks! Or, ship him a couple kegs of Racer 5 IPA and rest assured he’ll never stir from his apartment again.

      • billdsd says:

        Echo chambers is right. The word is not getting out to non-cyclists.

        I used to get a honk or a yell maybe once every few weeks. Lately, it’s been every single time that I ride, usually at least a couple of times. It’s even been pretty regular on roads with BMUFL signs and sharrows.

        I’ve had particular problems with people who won’t change lanes — on multi-lane roads. Today I had one and the lane I was in was becoming a right turn only lane with a bike lane on the left. The driver eventually moved into the lane to the left, because they wanted to go straight — but they just couldn’t bear to do that with a bicycle in front of them.

  • Is the sheriff elected? It may be necessary to involve the political process.

    • fsethd says:

      Yes, but our county is huge and this one issue won’t change the landscape of law enforcement issues at election time. We need strong local pressure on the substation, local pressure on the county supervisors and the sheriff’s employer in the area, which is the city of Malibu, and direct action.

  • Deb Banks says:

    Seth, the third video didn’t show the citation process, only the group moving down PCH and then stopping. You may want to check that again.

    Bravo to the cyclists who kept their cool and talked about safety to the officers in the first ticketing.

    As a NorCal cyclist, what happens here could have repercussions statewide, and so we all should at the very least, be carrying the vehicle code on our phones, if stopped.

    +1 to Cziko – this will take more than my 2.99 a month….

  • David Huntsman says:

    This is unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine what this is about. And in light of a looming civil action against the LASD on behalf of the late Milton Olin, it is especially difficult to understand why its directors are allowing its deputies to be so confrontational (and wrong).

  • Karen Karabell says:

    Seth, you wrote: “Riding in the lane is a matter of safety, and more importantly it is a matter of legality.”

    I would flip those clauses: Like any other driver, we not only have the legal right to control the traffic lane we are using; lane control offers us the safest way to use a roadway.

    • fsethd says:

      I thought a lot about that, Karen, before I wrote it, and I knew that many people would feel that safety comes first. It certainly does from a traffic engineering perspective.

      However, I believe that cycling is inherently dangerous, and that approaching legal problems from the standpoint of public safety puts the cart before the horse. With regard to the law, we should be allowed to do what’s legal even if we endanger ourselves. I personally believe that lane control is the safest way to ride PCH, but the problem we have on PCH is that the sheriffs department refuses to recognize our legal right, claiming safety issues predominate.

      So we then get into a “Where’s the safest?” argument, which, even if we win, doesn’t answer the legal question, which is “Do we have a right to ride here?” In other words, this is an issue that need not devolve into disagreements over whether the lane is better than the gutter. It should be decided based on the clear language of the statute.

      If safety is really the concern, and lane control really is more dangerous than gutter riding, then that’s an issue for the state legislature. My narrow strip of turf is the law, and not letting the sheriffs department arbitrarily make up laws and punish/prosecute/harass us for choosing to enjoy our rights.

      Thank you for your careful reading of that sentence and for inquiring about it!!

      • PatrickGSR94 says:

        Cycling inherently dangerous? Statistics and my personal experience say otherwise. I surely applaud what you’re doing, though, and hope this can bring about some real change and education to “them” as a whole.

      • fsethd says:

        Good point. It’s not nearly as dangerous as caging. I’m trying to express the thought that being on a bike has a unique feeling of vulnerability to it, especially when in traffic, and the issues related to safe cycling practices, though important, are not the winning argument for these bogus citations. The winning argument is that we have a right to be there, whether it’s “dangerous” or not.

        Your comment also makes me reflect on how we intuitively accept the “dangerousness” of bicycling just as I intuitively accepted the “dangerousness” of riding in the lane.

        Thanks for noting this, and correcting it!

      • Karen Karabell says:

        Understood why your argument is the winning one, Seth. My check is in the mail :-)

        I have an observation and question. From afar, it appears that PCH cyclists willing to control their travel lanes have the “control” part nailed. However, we know that no motorist wants to drive behind a cyclist for an extended length of time. If it appears that motorists are piling up behind you, are there safe strategies for releasing these motorists, and then getting the PCH to yourselves again? Or is there simply so much traffic that the “platoon effect” doesn’t exist on the PCH?

      • fsethd says:

        There are two, maybe three sections in a 25-mile stretch where traffic can pile up. There are easy “releases” in each of those points simply by moving over to the shoulder, even though it’s not required by law on a four-lane roadway. Even in the worst places, the extended period of time that cagers get backed up never exceeds ten or twenty seconds. And, this is on a roadway with long empty stretches on which those twenty seconds mean nothing. But you’re right, any time there’s a bike in front of a car, the car is likely to be unhappy, very.

      • Karen Karabell says:

        “Even in the worst places, the extended period of time that cagers get backed up never exceeds ten or twenty seconds.”

        Sheesh! Is that all? What in the heck is the fuss about??

        Those sheriff’s deputies need to get a life.

      • fsethd says:

        Right?? Usually it’s a 1-2 second delay. Fuggin’ cagers.

      • darelldd says:

        In light of our past-blog dialog on the same subject, I am *certain* that you thought through your emphasis and ordering of “law and safety.” In surprise of your choice of priority, I had to read that sentence a second time as well. I see where you are coming from, and I agree that “the law” is the more objective metric here. It is the easy one to discuss at the side of the road, and it is the most straight forward to argue in court (guessing here, since of course I’ve never done that). In the end, the VC’s purpose is: To ensure safe and convenient transportation. In this way, our VC “laws” are the handmaiden to safety. There is no reason for the VC if it doesn’t make us safer.

        I don’t want anybody choosing their actions because it is “the law.” I want actions chosen because it is the safe, decent, courteous thing to do. In a perfect world, our laws would reflect those ideals, and we’d all live happily ever after.

        I trust you to put this into the proper priority and context to most effectively make the point that needs to be made. I only ask that you avoid discounting the safety aspect, because nobody wants bullshit laws that do nothing more than toe the line to make us “legal.”

        (I’ve purchased your book, I’ve been subscribed to this blog. I will now make an extra donation to the cause. I mean this could be almost as important as a Ti bottle cage! In the meantime, you can put me on the list for “remote support” – I already write the sort of letters you’ll be needing, and I already advocate locally for cyclists rights. This is important. This is what I do. Sign me up.)

        Cheers,
        Darell

      • fsethd says:

        Well, you’re spot on. The laws exist to enhance safety, and if they don’t do that, fugg ‘em.

        Once we’re cited, however, or once the citation process begins, we have “safety” flung in our face as justification for illegally prosecuting us. From the standpoint of a legal defense, even if you can prove you’re safer in the lane, it doesn’t prove that you didn’t violate the law.

        Far from discounting safety, you and I agree that riding in the lane, especially somewhere like PCH, is the only safe option, and that’s why we do it. But once the harassers try to strip us of the safest alternative with a criminal complaint, it is imperative that we defend the criminal complaint and not get distracted by the reason for the law in the first place (which is to give us a safe place to ride).

        And … thanks very much for the support and the ongoing intelligent commentary and critiques.

  • Quiche says:

    Way to go, Seth! Riding in San Diego this weekend on Highways 78 and 67, I realized again how important it is that we be allowed to ride safely. And when that means taking the lane, we must be able to do it without fear of harassment, not only from law enforcement, but also from motorists. THANK YOU for fighting the good fight. I’m willing to write letters. Also, I don’t have paypal and I don’t like their policies to set up an account. Can I go back to the stone age and mail a contribution?

    • fsethd says:

      Thanks! Yes, you can:

      Seth Davidson
      20355 Hawthorne Blvd., 2F
      Torrance, CA 90503

      I’ll be following up with a post about next steps. Money is great, but live, pissed-off bodies are even better!

      Really appreciate your support. Also, this has come to a head thanks to the tireless efforts of Mike Barraclough, Greg Seyranian, Ron Peterson, Dave Kramer, Greg Leibert, Eric Bruins, Gary Cziko, and a ton of other dedicated activists, not least of whom are the members of CABO.

  • Noel says:

    I believe my point isn’t that i enjoy the harrasment of any of my friends out there, or that i think it’s ok that the CHP is incapable of understanding the law and than enforces against us just to harass… but rather that the taking the lane for the sake of the legal right, where there is often ample room on the shoulder… would create a polarization in their response against us. I understand the ideological battle… and i want the same safe and fair experience for everyone. I’d love to enjoy the safety of the lane (and I often do but not for the whole of the ride for the point of it)… I dont foresee… and I say this having lived and workd in Malibu, having gone to school there, and having ridden PCH for 3 decades… I can’t imagine that, inspite of PCH being a designated bike route, that they will do anything but harrass us and put us in more danger, by us asserting that right. I know that’s crazy and sad… but I think the end result of this campaign won’t be that we will enjoy the roads as the law provides.. but rather we will turn an already unconfortable relationship with the folks that use PCH into something more agressive and less good. I think it’s a unique behavioral habitat and that we’re going to end up with less than we have rathert than more. I would feel much more comfortable agreeing with you, after all you’re a pal and more than that … you’re (and all of Big O) family. I think you’re seeing that response burst I mentioned… and in spite ofthe law that supports us…the practice against us will get worse. It’s sumer, its PCH, its a different animal and culture and the laws on the page never really translate to the conditions that are PCH. And if all the folks in Malibu and all the CHP, ad the users of PCH enjoyed the highway lawfully… it would be the perfect place to take the lane no matter how juicy and wide some sections of shoulder or how perilous and crazy parts of the highway are… PCH in the summer is a clusterfuck and they just wont support every rider taking the lane. They think they are harrasing you off the lane to the shoulder to protect you… and this will only make them feel more rightly so. I’ve seen this come up in al it’s different forms.. I’ve seen first hand officers enroce the incomprehnesibly stupid and wrong against cyclists.. and that most CHP officers don’t understand the law they’r eentrusted to enforce… because it’s chaos out there for them. Regardless…. love you tons. I want the same bike friendly PCH you do…I don’t see that happening until major paint and signage changes lhappen first. I’ve been run over twice on PCH.. once by an elderly man having a heart attack (in the lane), and once by an ill sighted seventy something lady that was flossingher teeth while driving (on the big shoulder near the Getty going south). It’s always life or death out there.

    xknoll.

    • the real says:

      No problem, put your head back down and go back home. Others will stand strong in your absence.

    • Marty MMRCC says:

      Your response fails to consider the repercussions for all cyclists on all roads if this harassment is allowed to continue. And the agency involved here is the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, not the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

      • fsethd says:

        Everyone gets to choose how they want to handle with this abusive harassment. Some will choose to ignore it, or to ride in the gutter, or to stop riding on PCH, or to wait until the summer traffic dies down, or to stop riding altogether. Why die for recreation?

        Others will refuse to have their rights denied and will fight until the law is fairly applied.

        There’s no middle ground on this one. You either acquiesce or you resist, and only you can decide what’s best for you.

  • Midnight Ridazz / Wolfpack Hustle says:

    We would like to organize rides with you all. Thanks for fighting the good fight. Please post up any info on organized “protest rides.”

    • fsethd says:

      Dude! This makes my day! You guys are the benchmark I’m always striving to reach. You may not know it, but a lot of your written comments on CABO last year and elsewhere have inspired me to try and do more and to make sure that rhetoric is matched by actual, rubber-on-the-road change. Your brand of activism is the best model, and your support is profoundly appreciated.

      I will be posting a couple of scheduled rides for later this month.

      Thanks so much for your support. This is like having Gandhi on our side.

      • RC White says:

        The only problem I have with midnight ridazz is their actual behavior as witnessed on many occasions around the Marina Del Rey area. I don’t think having them involved helps. Objectively I can see where it would hurt. They used to have a helmetcam video up on their home page that demonstrated their cavalier breaking of almost every traffic law on the books in a five minute video. This a few clicks above their mission statement about riding with respect, law abiding, yah, yah, yah… Conflicted to say the least, but as actions speak louder than printed words the picture was clear.
        Maybe lightening has struck and things have changed. Their established legacy is a hard one to live down though. “Protest” is their M.O. The problem with “protest” is that it ends there as well. Why not utilize energies to actually make changes happen as opposed to yelling about what you don’t like. Put your money where your mouth is. Seriously. Do you want to facilitate change? or do you just want to ride around in circles flapping your jaw?

        Gandi wasn’t a man of verbage. He was a MAN OF ACTION.

        Seth, I implore you to choose your alliances carefully.

      • I concur with RC White. I’m not sure the support of MR Is going to lend any credibility.

        Let’s take up the whole road, intimidate drivers and pedestrians and run through red lights. That’ll help. This isn’t so much Ghandi as OWS.

      • fsethd says:

        MR and Roadblock are my idols. So, STFU.

      • fsethd says:

        Have you given me money? No? Then STFU.

  • Tom says:

    What a fat-ass Duvall is — says he won’t read anything unless it’s a hardcopy letter with a seal on it?!

    Maybe he wants a wax seal with some king’s ring emblem pressed into the wax?!

    Some of those police get belligerent & aggressive when they know they’re on video — lucky that didnt happen here.

    And just think — in a couple yrs he’ll retire with some $150K taxpayer-guaranteed pension.
    Amazingly , many of them somehow become “disabled” in the final few months on the job, and IIRC that entitles them to exempt 1/2 their pension from Calif income tax, along with some other perks of being classified as “disabled”. It’s abusive.

    • fsethd says:

      The way he keeps his hand on his gun the whole time is so noxious. He doesn’t know the law, but he’ll kill you if thinks he needs to.

  • Gary Cziko says:

    Seth, you might want to get Signage Dude to make some signs for cyclists on the PCH. Remember him, the wanker who rode around on the NPR with the BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE: CHANGE LANES TO PASS sign on the back of his bike?

    I think he had hairy legs, too, and even used a helmet mirror!

    http://pvcycling.wordpress.com/?s=signage+dude

  • BHNelson says:

    What I noticed in his behavior was quite simply that he stayed away from the shoulder as much as possible; certainly because he knows, better than most, that the shoulder is a dangerous place to be.

  • Noel says:

    I hate it when I hit send before I get to fix typos. I’m absolultey setting myself up to get pounded here. So far, the only actual effect has been that more cops are harrassing riders (no matter what they say behind closed doors) about misinterpreting the law. I’m not failing you guys or the arguement by suggesting that I think the real world actual response is, in effect.. the opposite of the desire we all share for informed policing, and that we get to ride the highway as the law intends. I’m all about that… but reality will interfere as it does…. and the CHP is going to double down over the summer with this lameness (as they have historically). We went through this when Bobby’s group got cited years ago after a car chopped them and took them out and the CHP let the car go and cited the riders for riding ‘too close to each other’. PCH is a microsystem…. and I think the only thing that will effect real change is money. And that money will have to go into a lot of big ass signage and paint that reminds drivers that the bike lane is the lane. The CHP is focused on what works for them… and they are showing you that no matter how you assert the law… they’re happy to ‘ruin’ your ride, make you show up to court (while they don’t). The point is to win the fight. I don’t think a few of us agreeing with eachother about our marginalized rights or that the lane is all ours.. is going to move the ball…. rather it’s going to invite frustration and harassment from the CHP abstracted and generalized to all cyclists…. and, I think that’s what you’re already seeing on the ground. The world is all middle ground unless your distorting it into black and white. The best advocacy you guys can do for us all is through Eric Bruins and through signage… the guys in the uniforms are basically incompetent barring a culture shift. You’re just going to get pulled over until ‘they’ win or its winter and less awful and understaffed for them. They think they’re making it safer for you… and the worst thing you can all do is glibly agree with yourselves. And I go back to the LA Times Steve Lopez article about the bike path and the dangers and injuries to cyclists by peds (it was a bike only path). The city publicly stated it would enforce and then quietly changed the paint to multi-use. The fact is, they hate us on the highway, the motorist hate us, and the cops don’t understand us and don’t care because the think we are a hazard. I think they’re going to be happy to make it worse for us…. as they did on the stupid path. I’m suggesting every rider do a constant gut check the whole ride and ask themselves every few seconds where its best for them to put their wheels, rather than what’s they’re right. The truth is, we’re both (Seth) right… be smart out there.

    N.

    • fsethd says:

      You suggest that the only proper advocacy is through Eric Bruins and signage. So the cited riders should just pay their fines and shut up?

      You talk about culture shift and middle ground, but these are vague and meaningless words. The “shift” means “an order from Captain Devoren to his deputies to stop writing these illegal tickets.” Are you suggesting this can only happen through LACBC and signage? Also, what do you mean by “middle ground”?

      Cyclists have some simple questions: Where is it legal for me to ride? Where is it safest for me to ride? CVC 21202 answers the first question definitively. CABO and lane control cyclists have a clear answer to the second question and it is very simple and easy to understand: ride your bicycle like the vehicle it is; a “vehicle” according to the CVC.

      It’s troubling that you suggest we have to find a middle ground without telling us the middle ground, or your authority for propounding it, or giving even a shred of scientific evidence that your approach is the best one, or even a good one.

      We are not both right if you think cyclists don’t have the right to ride in and control the lane on PCH where it is four lanes. We have that right. People who believe we do not are factually wrong, just like people who “believe” the earth is flat. It is not.

      We are not both right if you think the solution to harassment is to lay low. We are also not both right if you believe the only effect of our actions has been more harassment. I say this because submitting to harassment only begets more harassment. When is the last time you got your way by letting someone abuse and mistreat you? Never.

      Protesting and fighting in court is changing the landscape in our favor. LASD and cycling advocates throughout the state are now focusing on this issue in a way they never would have done had we followed your approach. There is an upcoming sheriff’s election. LACBC is fully trained on this issue. Giants in the bike advocacy world like Roadblock are offering to lend support. People are donating money to fund these advocacy efforts. Would these things have happened by telling Big Orange to quit riding in the lane? No way.

      You have made it clear what your position is, and you have also made it clear that your idea of positive change is to criticize our approach without laying out a competing vision that might achieve the same or better ends. How, for example, can we get signage when LASD is still actively writing tickets for legal behavior? You say Eric should be the agent of change, but he already is. No one is more focused on this than Eric Bruins, and he’s made it clear that LACBC won’t accept this continuing second class treatment.

      It’s frustrating also that you continually refer to law enforcement on PCH as CHP — it’s the sheriffs department and it’s a huge distinction. Instead of repeating the mantra that we are being too black and white and that we are increasing hostility among motorists, it’s time for you to either propose alternatives that you’re willing to fund in terms of time, effort, and money, or to quit banging away at us. We get your position, we just disagree with it, and continually hammering away without offering any coherent strategy, time, effort, or money beyond the keyboard is not changing anyone’s mind.

      Feel free to keep posting comments, but I don’t know anything further to add, so don’t be offended if I don’t respond. This is taking away time that could be spent with folks who agree with us and support our efforts.

  • Emac says:

    Seth, what you’re doing here is great -as soon as my financial situation allows, I’ll contribute what I can. In the meantime, unfortunately, all I can do is send mental/spitritual support from Oregon. Keep up the good work/fight.

  • Egressing says:

    Good read Seth. I’m shocked that the deputy would admit that he likely won’t show up to trial. Sounds like an admission that he lacks probable cause for the violation. Although it’s not my area of law (lawyer code for I’m talking out of my ass), isn’t that a useful fact for a civil rights action (1983)? Not trying to further complicate legal proceedings, but if LASD is going to write this tickets to harass but not show up in court to defend, it is going to be difficult to get any sort of judicial interpretation of VC 21202, it’s going to waste none of LASD time but lots of cyclist time, and gets the LASD harassing message across. DIsm for lack of prosecution isn’t so useful for the crusade.

    • fsethd says:

      You’re exactly right, and if we can’t get this resolved in the form of a departmental order to stop writing these tickets, we’re going to seek injunctive relief and go from there.

  • Quiche says:

    Seth, Do you think Duvall’s statements that he has no intention to appear on the tickets he writes are evidence of harassment? Don’t his statements show that even he doesn’t think the tickets are valid and he is issuing them with the objective to intimidate? I’m not 100% clear on what LEOs can do, but this seems to be outside the scope of employment.

    • fsethd says:

      I think that may have been Deputy Young, but yes, it is clear evidence of harassment. If we have to seek injunctive relief against the department, we will use this video. It’s clear evidence that they are just making it up as they go along, seeking only to keep cyclists off the road.

      • darelldd says:

        My favorite part about that discussion was the cyclist’s question, “How do you suggest we ride home from here (if we can’t ride on the roadway)?” And the answer, “Ask the judge.”

      • fsethd says:

        Who doesn’t happen to be working on a FUCKING SUNDAY.

      • stuartlynne says:

        Ask the judge to hold the case over and issue a bench warrant for the ticketing officer. At the very least you’ll get his attention if not the attention of his immediate superiors.

  • Reblogged this on securelosangeles and commented:
    Time for LASD to get some training!

  • vladluskin says:

    Subscribed after many months of freeloading. Seth, thanks for fighting the good fight.

  • Carlos Ovalle says:

    I used to ride PCH decades ago when I lived in Santa Monica. Never had any trouble from cops back then, but traffic all around was a lot lighter. The problem begins on the drawing board, long before the cops get involved. Transportation departments and planning departments design roads around the almighty vehicle (the kind with 4 wheels running on toxic substances) and neglect the cyclists except, when we’re lucky, as an afterthought.
    I applaud you for your struggle against the cops but to be really effective we ought to be bringing the fight to the cities, counties, state and fed governments, to consider cyclists on better (not equal) standing than the motorists. After all, we do own the F’n road, it was our efforts that led to the development of a paved road system! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement

  • Gary says:

    Thanks Seth! – I subscribed for all the $2.99 is worth. Maybe a legal defense fund should be set-up.

  • Bearclaw says:

    Alright, buddy. I am now an official subscriber. That is, until I beat you up Crest,,, which won’t happen for a while so you should be good to go! w00t!

    • fsethd says:

      Thanks, Michael! Thanks as well for your video editing, johnny-on-the-spot journalism. Really appreciate it.

  • Wankomodo says:

    I have been enjoying nice open roads ever since I moved to Santa Clarita. I take the lane on 2 lane mountain roads and many of the drivers give me a friendly honk before they pass. I sure don’t miss PCH (though I miss all the South Bay Wankers). Looking forward to the organized protest rides. I will load my bike up on the bike rack and drive down there to join you all for sure. Hopefully I can bring along my new neighbor who is a CHP officer and an avid cyclist.

  • Gary Cziko says:

    Compiled Video of Sherff Deputies’ Harassment of Cyclists on PCH

    Here is a 10-minute edited compilation of the two videos shot by cyclist Michael Barraclough documenting L.A. sheriff deputies Doug Duval and John Young, Jr.’s harassment of cyclists on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, CA. on June 29 and July 7, 2014, respectively.

    The Youtube description field of the video includes transcriptions of several key segments (click “Show more”). The time stamps will take you directly to the source of each transcription (also copied below in this comment for reference).

    The video may also be accessed via easier to remember URL http://tinyurl.com/pchharassment

    06/29/2014: Deputy Doug Duval

    00:16 “If you guys ride anything but single file on this road you will be cited.”

    01:11 “Three deep is violation of the law, period.”

    01:17 “If I’m out here I’m gonna write the ticket and you guys are going to have to go to court. And I’ll tell you right now, I haven’t lost one yet. I haven’t lost one yet.””

    01:35 “I could have cited about eight people. I’m going to make an object lesson and you guys are going to continue on and do it the right way.”

    03:34 “When I see what you’re doing, riding three deep, that’s not going to be anything but illegal.”

    03:40 “You have to ride single file and you have to stay as close to the right as possible.”

    03:56 “I have the legal authority to give you an order on this road and if you fail to do otherwise [sic], I can take you into custody.”

    06/07/2014 Deputy John Young, Jr.

    04:04
    Cyclist: “So what we don’t want to do is cause a problem, but it would be helpful to get clarification of where we should ride when there’s cars over here . . .”
    Deputy Young: “Ask, ask the judge, sir.”

    04:19
    Cyclist: “Am I allowed to be in the lane when I’m riding back?”
    Deputy Young: “Ask the judge.”

    08:14
    Deputy threatens to arrest cyclist when cyclist requests that it be specified on citation that he was riding in the middle of the RIGHT lane before signing the citation.

    09:56
    Cyclist: “Where should we ride here to Will Rogers [Park] . . . ”
    Deputy Young: “To avoid problems you shouldn’t be riding on this road at all, honestly.” of Sheriff Deputies’ Harassment of Cyclists on the PCH

  • Obvious says:

    If you want the cop there so legal precident can be set, why don’t you subpoena him.

    • fsethd says:

      It’s unethical and constitutes malpractice for a lawyer to try and get his client convicted.

      • sibex9591 says:

        I guess what you are implying here is that if the officer shows up in court your client will lose for sure, so therefore, you will not do anything to guarantee the officer shows.

      • fsethd says:

        No. But when you represent a defendant, you always seek the dismissal rather than the trial. When the officer doesn’t show up, you automatically win. When you have a trial, you sometimes lose. Your duty as the attorney is to set it up (if you can) so that your client wins.

      • Sausage says:

        No, what Seth is saying is that if the officer does not show up, then his client is assured of NOT being convicted, and thus doing something like issuing a subpoena that might compel the officer to show up, which action could result in even the slightest chance of his client being convicted, would be unethical and constitute malpractice.

        In defending his client, a lawyer’s duty is to that client’s individual best interests, not the interests of the cycling community as a whole. So if the officer does not show up and hands Seth the W, his duty is to take that W for his client – end of story

        Now as for the larger issue facing the cycling community – the chronic misinterpretation of the Vehicle Code by the LASD – that will require resolution through channels such as additional communication with LASD or an injunction ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction, e.g. as a result of Seth filing an action for declaratory relief. But those channels would be separate and distinct from Seth defending his individual client in the pending action.

      • fsethd says:

        Perfect. Exactly. Thanks.

  • marc caruso says:

    Seth I’m just curious when do you plan to start retaliating. Like file a civil suit against the officer. So he has to go to court as the defendant. So it hits him in the wallet. And he can’t just hide behind his badge. Make the officers afraid to write bogus tickets for fear of personal financial repercussions.

    • fsethd says:

      Marc, we’re going to follow through defending these two citations and try to get them dismissed while seeking a departmental order to the deputies to stop writing VC 21202 tickets to cyclists.

      If that fails, we will seek injunctive relief. It’s important to take it in stages for several reasons, not least of which is the cost of litigation.

    • Joseph Lyons says:

      I’m not sure what legal theory would support a civil suit against these officers, although I’m sure more creative attorneys than me might have some ideas. I do wonder if there are informal ways to get these videos into the hands of judges that these deputies appear before frequently. Especially for the implication that the ticket makes you go to court, but I don’t have to show up. There is not a judge in this country that wants their docket filled for no reason.

      • darelldd says:

        >> I’m not sure what legal theory would support a civil suit against these officers <<

        Amazing to me is that it is legal for a peace officer to issue a citation to an individual who is not breaking the law. Why do we allow that? Why is that not grounds for a civil suit? Seems to me that it is right up there with filing a frivolous lawsuit that clogs up the courts and wastes public money.

        I know nothing about "legal theory." I only wonder how we ended up with the enforcement that we have.

      • fsethd says:

        If it continues, I think we can seek an injunction to stop it. Some have suggested a civil rights action under USC 1983, but I’ve never filed such a suit.

      • fsethd says:

        This last sentence is gold. So true.

    • Tom says:

      @marc:
      “Make the officers afraid to write bogus tickets for fear of personal financial repercussions”
      ——-
      When do *any* gov’t employees ever get held personally accountable for their actions?
      It’s so extremely rare, it makes headlines. The pervasive looting of the public treasury by officials in the city of Bell CA corruption case, is a rare example where govt employees have deservedly gone to prison.
      But Benghazi? Illegal IRS harassment of conservative political groups? Nothing.
      And they’ll probably all get some sort of pre-emptive, prophylactic, presidential pardons at 11:59 pm on Jan 19, 2017 … just like the convicted tax evasion felon Marc Rich did, on Pres Bill Clinton’s last day in office.

  • Noel says:

    Seth, I think it’s great that those enforcing the law shoud be held accountable and to stop harrasing us (lovely on all folks concerned moving that foreword). I think it’s also important that regardless of the law… the reality of PCH and it’s users is complex and there are parts of the highway its best to move over. I wouldn’t want anyone riding up the hill at Pepperdine in the lane… I’m wanting everyone to be careful out there and to think and be hypervigilant because there are so many folks behind the wheel.. including law enforcement… that are so painfully clueless… and that there are simply times, moments, and contexts where it’s good for everyone to think beyond the law to the surround. Regardless of the law… PCH is a a funny little sick overused ecosystem and I want to remind everyone to be vigilant and thoughtful for where they put their wheels. I just want someone saying that out loud in this conversation…. because I dont think everyone regardless of group size or comtext should assert the lane at all times just because it’s legal… I think the highway is much more akin to the ocean and its riptides and for the sheer number of folks on bikes out there on any given day, in all its incarnations of traffic and light, hills, and corners… that every doesn’t go to a default take the lane. And further… that we have to rethink how we use it if we’re asserting the right to be there. Should there be rides with sprints and finish lines and 70 folks of varying dergrees of skill levels? As for taking the time to respond… I don’t need you to respond… I just want folks thinking beyound the issue of the law without facing attack.
    For mutual friends reading, this isn’t a beef between Seth and myself… it’s just two pals clashing through ideas. I’m not angry at any of this and while I can’t speak for Seth… I don’t interpret any from him either.
    N.

    • Seth has written on both sides of this issue over the last month or so and has discussed the problems with taking the lane just because you can, when you are by yourself and the harassment that ensues. So I find it disingenuous that he or anyone else here is asserting that you should always take the lane on PCH or anywhere else under all circumstances.

      We really need the support of people in the cycling community and need to be united regarding our legal right to the road. We have enough people on the other side of the aisle that are out to get us. I actually had some moreon I’m friends with on FB this morning compare people standing in the road on the TdF and riders having to swerve around them to drivers and what they have to deal with with cyclists on the road: “now you know what we have to deal with”. So you’ll have to forgive me if I have no patience for idiotic commentary…

  • […] in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reports that sheriff’s deputies have been ticketing cycling groups for failing to ride to the right in violation of CVC 21202 — despite the fact that the law doesn’t apply on […]

    • Jeanette says:

      NOEL: Yes, I’m using all caps….stop. You’re just being a contrarian. Really, stop. Bring valid points to the discussion. You are simply running off at the mouth just to hear yourself talk. I value your opinion(usually), but I just can’t take your drivel anymore. As Seth asked earlier: offer solutions, not just criticism. Don’t paint yourself as the opposition…you are anything but….PLEASE, take a moment and consider how your input can be positive. THANK YOU!!!

  • The Malibu Sheriffs’ behavior is unacceptable and best and reprehensible at worst. These guys are supposed to “protect and defend” not “harass and arrest.”

    I’ve made a contribution that I hope is helpful. Go get ‘em.

  • RC White says:

    Deputy Duval has a history of doing this. He loaded his accident report for my being hit by a car on PCH with speculation and conjecture couched as fact. I showed my Dad, who is a Superior Ct. Judge, and he just laughed, saying 95% of the report was not admissible since the officer hadn’t been present at the time of the impact.

    CYCLISTS: GET A SPINE!!!, Read the CVC sec. 21202, and bite back. Don’t be a whimp and let the malibu sheriff abuse you. The more cyclists who “admit guilt” by paying and not fighting the worse this will get. You are essentially setting an unlawful precedent and opening up the door for more abuse.

    IF A BUNCH OF YOU GET CITATIONS ON THE SAME DAY ARRANGE FOR SAME DAY/SAME TIME COURT APPEARANCES AND GET SOME LEGAL COUNSEL BEFORE YOU SHOW UP. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS IS NOT JUST A SAYING. STACK THE BREAK-AWAY IN YOUR FAVOR. This will piss the judge off and make a public mockery of the sheriff’s deputy. A public shaming if you will, all in YOUR FAVOR. As I mentioned, Duval has an 8+ year history of abusing cyclists. Do you want it to continue?

    Personally, I’m over hearing most pch cyclists whine about it then pay the fine. You are making the situation worse for all of us. If you pay the fine and walk away, you should feel like a worthless POS and not be allowed to ride with the rest of the self-respecting cyclists who take the time and make the effort to turn a wrong around. You are just as worthless as the sheriff who issued the citation.

    Yes, I hope you feel guilty now.

  • RC White says:

    Just watched “video 3″. Listening to the dialogue, the sheriff was eating up his power trip.

    If a sheriff pulls you over there is a 99+% chance he is going to cite you. If you whine and debate the issue as the two cyclists are doing you are just feeding into the sheriff’s powertrip. Trying to engage him is foley.

    Here’s a tip: Don’t flap your pie-hole. Answer with “no” or “yes” only. No debate, no whining. Take it to court. Period.

    The law(noun) doesn’t give a s__t about your interpretation of right and wrong.
    The law(noun) is ONLY CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW AS WRITTEN. PERIOD.

    Save you emoting for FB.

  • Jonathan says:

    For once the CA DMV puts something in a fairly clear, easy to understand language. Worth reading the whole thing, but the “Bicycles in travel lanes” section is a pretty good plain language intepretation of the laws.

    http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk//shr_slow_veh.htm

    Maybe a copy of this should be mailed to the LASD officers? What is the address of their station? I’ll do it if you think its wise.

    • fsethd says:

      They know the law, they just don’t want to apply it properly. Yet.

    • Gary Cziko says:

      Jonathan, that DMV publication is not the law and is misleading in several respects. Here are some misleading, inaccurate points concerning bicyclists:
      ==========================================

      Are lawfully permitted to ride on certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route.

      Shall ride as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as practical– not on the sidewalk.

      May choose to ride near the left curb or edge of a one-way street.

      Should ride single file on a busy or narrow street.

      ==========================================

      I’ll leave it as an exercise for others to point out what is wrong with these points.

      • darelldd says:

        Ooops… I already was doing the exercise when you posted, I guess! Looks like you and I are on the same page of the same book here!

    • darelldd says:

      I don’t find much to like in this document. Clear it might be. Accurate… not so much. It seems to tell just enough of the story to make it seem as if cyclists should do everything they can to stay out of the way of cars. The implication is still that cyclists must always be single file and should rarely be on the roadway.

      > Are lawfully permitted to ride on certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route.

      Sounds like cyclists are only permitted on the roadway in rare instances. Truth is, there are only “certain sections” on which cyclists are NOT allowed. I honestly have no idea what the point of that bullet item is.

      > Are legally allowed to ride in the center of the lane when moving at the same speed as other traffic.

      Sounds like this is the only reason that the center of the lane can be used. No mention of the other instances where center of the lane (or anywhere in the lane) is “legally allowed” (any of the 21202 exclusions).

      > Should ride single file on a busy or narrow street.

      Should? The code says nothing like this. That a street is narrow is often a valid reason (legally supported) to take the whole lane. There is no language in the CVC that talks about single file, and it has no place in this summary of how cyclists can use travel lanes – especially when a
      “narrow street” releases a cyclist from any lane position restrictions.

      All of these things just lead to more of the same misconceptions of where cyclists can and should be on the road. I can’t see how this document helps anybody but the folks who wish to keep bikes out of the way or cars. Please don’t send it to the officers. It just supports what they are already doing.

      • Gary Cziko says:

        Nice job. As you demonstrate, that section of the manual is pretty useless and pretty much relegates cyclists to second class road status.

  • Gary Cziko says:

    Here’s an illustration by CyclingSavvy’s Keri Caffrey showing why the right lane of the PCH in Malibu is not shareable side by side with motor traffic. The right lane varies from about 10.5 to 12 feet wide.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/13Z9NV3Ho0s4-4P49ZFYFUaHTUSJ0s2_FkBDIcRtMpyI/edit?usp=sharing

  • Brian says:

    I’m going to donate because it is a fight I believe in. We had a discussion up north about how do we educate the uneducated that we have all rights to be in the roadway. The uneducated get most of their information from television. The cycling community should unite through the existing coalitions, because none of them have the resources to do it alone, and get a tv spot stating the facts. Let the arguments start flying after it airs. It might even make the 5:00 News (which isn’t really news).

    Let me know when the protest ride is and I’ll do everything I can to drive down and be part of it. My preference is for a weekend.

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