Progress

July 13, 2014 § 43 Comments

As a result of the rants posted on this blog, the videos taken by Big Orange, the letter sent by LA County Bicycle Coalition, the voices of individual cyclsts, and Gary’s green wrinkled shirt with the tomato stains in front, a small step forward has been made with regard to riding 2×2 in the lane on PCH north of Temescal up to LA’s county line.

Captain Pat Devoren, who runs the Lost Hills substation, reached out and suggested a meeting to further discuss the issue of cyclists on PCH. Eric Bruins of LACBC, Greg Seyranian and Dave Kramer of Big Orange Cycling, cycling instructor Gary Cziko, and I met on Thursday with the captain, three of his officers, and two traffic officers who work for California Highway Patrol.

After about two hours of discussion, we learned that there is resistance on the part of all law enforcement to allowing bicyclists to control the lane by riding 2×2 all the way up PCH. The resistance is based on disagreement regarding where on PCH the CVC 21202 exceptions apply, and because of the concern that so many cyclists will begin using lane control that the right-hand lane becomes, at certain times, so filled with bicycles that it impedes traffic. Impeding traffic involves a separate section of the vehicle code.

What we were all able to agree on is that there are some sections of the roadway on which it is legal for cyclists to ride 2×2 and to fully control the lane. The disagreement is where we cannot. Rather than engage in an theoretical legal dispute about exactly where the lane is either of substandard width or where it is reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, Captain Devoren make a great suggestion which we immediately agreed to: Let’s do a ride-along with law enforcement on PCH so that we, the cyclists, can point out the points of the roadway that make riding as far to the right as practicable … impracticable and unsafe.

We improved on the suggesting by agreeing that we’d do part of the ride-along following a group of cyclists so that law enforcement can see the difference with regard to traffic safety when you have riders switching from gutter to lane versus controlling the lane in a 2×2 formation. The date for the ride-along has not been confirmed, but it will likely be the latter part of this month. In the meantime we were asssured by Captain Devoren that there would not be additional citations written under the same conditions as the two that were written in the past couple of weeks.

The goodwill and sincerity of LA Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol was undeniable. They want this to work and they want all users of the roadway to be able to safely and legally use the road. The dialogue was fantastic and I’m optimistic that after a ride-along, law enforcement will see this stretch of roadway differently.

Captain Devoren also invited LACBC to work together by providing education to his deputies regarding application of 21202 and cycling law.

We’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of effort by trying to find a collaborative solution, and we’re not there yet, but it would never have occurred without the support and assistance of so many riders out there, and readers of this blog. I’ve received over $600 in donations as of today, money I’m using to show my wife when she asks why I’m not doing “real work.” Much of that money has come in the form of small monthly $2.99 donations to this blog — are recurring in nature and they add up. Thank you to everyone who has also offered vocal support and who has asked to be put on the list of people who are willing to write letters, make phone calls, and engage in other outreach as it becomes necessary.

Here’s the info about how you can contribute:

  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 help secure the right of cyclists to ride on PCH.
  2. Email me at fsethd@gmail.com if you are willing to actively support these efforts. Activities will include letter-writing, phone calls, organized full-lane rides on PCH.
  3. Notify me if you or someone you know has been cited for a CVC 21202 violation so that I can try to arrange pro bono representation in defending their citation.

Tagged: , , , ,

§ 43 Responses to Progress

  • sibex9591 says:

    Seems like definite step forward. Let’s hope they see the road the same way the riders do.

    Also, why is it that every con argument has to be taken to an extreme? “The lane will become so clogged with bikers…”

  • Karen Karabell says:

    Seth, you wrote: “The resistance is based on disagreement regarding where on PCH the CVC 21202 exceptions apply, and because of the concern that so many cyclists will begin using lane control that the right-hand lane becomes, at certain times, so filled with bicycles that it impedes traffic.”

    Leaving aside the fact that cyclists are traffic, this line of reasoning takes me back 25 years to my early days as a homeschooler. When we announced our intention to homeschool, the flak we received was constant and unremitting.

    There are two parallels to your situation on the PCH:

    1) What will become of those gorgeous boys? Will they turn out all right? This was Grandma’s argument, and it is the genuine fear that people have for your safety on the PCH. Most people just don’t know yet that cyclists are by far safest when they are visible and predictable and following the rules of the road (um, like all drivers should).

    2) What if everybody starts homeschooling? The parallel: What if every cyclist starts taking his or her place in traffic like any other driver?

    This argument conveniently forgets the fact that you on your bicycle, Seth, take up .05 percent of the space on the road of you in your Land Cruiser. I hope that one of you reminded the officers during your meeting that cyclists are the easiest “obstructions” to pass on any road.

    I just don’t see chaos and gridlock unfolding in the wake of cyclists waking up and reclaiming the drivers’ rights that we lost to motordom a few short decades ago. Again, there is a parallel to homeschooling: Despite all the fears and hand wringing, our culture has seen that homeschooled children do just fine.

    I hope that our culture soon discovers that cyclists who respect themselves as a normal part of traffic–and who respect other drivers and their equal rights to the road–are by far the easiest with whom to coexist.

    • fsethd says:

      Perfect analogy. “What if????”

      I think the ride-along will go a long way.

      • Karen Karabell says:

        A word to the wise: Don’t let your officers ride in the shoulder while you are controlling the lane. Be very clear with your expectations and description of how you will ride before you go out.

      • fsethd says:

        Good advice.

  • Winemaker says:

    Be very careful with the captain, the CHP, and the entire breadth of what “law enforcement” is…. in LA County, SoCal, (and California in general). Each officer is human (which means they’re mean and nasty creatures) and can make a mistake. And, they all carry guns.

  • One could argue the ride along would be more effective if a few of these LEO’s were on bikes, risking their life along with the rest of you. Then they might come to have a more genuine appreciation of the issues.

    • fsethd says:

      I agree and will extend that offer.

    • Cory says:

      One could argue that they are well-versed in risking their lives, without ever getting on a bicycle.

      • fsethd says:

        No one has disputed that law enforcement has a dificult job. But they signed up for it. What we’re asking is that they understand that they’re not the only ones at risk, and what they’re trying to do endangers us.

  • Carlos Ovalle says:

    “The resistance is based on disagreement regarding where on PCH the CVC 21202 exceptions apply, and because of the concern that so many cyclists will begin using lane control that the right-hand lane becomes, at certain times, so filled with bicycles that it impedes traffic. Impeding traffic involves a separate section of the vehicle code.”

    Perhaps the officers should have read the law before mentioning it. So here’s the law. Consider the items between brackets {} as my highlights:

    V C Section 22400 Minimum Speed Law

    22400. (a) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, {unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation}, because of a grade, {or in compliance with law}.

    No person shall bring a vehicle to a complete stop upon a highway so as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless the stop is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

    (b) Whenever the Department of Transportation determines on the basis of an engineering and traffic survey that slow speeds on any part of a state highway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the department may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall drive a vehicle, except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law, when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected along the part of the highway for which a minimum speed limit is established.

    {Subdivision (b) of this section shall apply only to vehicles subject to registration}.

  • Noel says:

    Gee, taking the lane in some parts where it’s obviously safer and surrending to the big shoulders in others for the sake of all the road users … where have I heard that? hmmmm… Crazy notion.

  • Noel says:

    Actually the opposite… and really.. I don’t know why you charactize me this way. I understand there is a world bigger than us and that we have to deal with them or they will deny us PCH. The sum effect of this is that they are going to encode where we can and can’t put our wheels and that’s a step backwards for us (because it will reduce it to pinch points instead of the flow of traffic and what’s happening around us). I’m fighting for the same thing you are… preserving how we use the highway…. its just not going to do anything but push them against us if we do it in some myopic narrow well intentioned vision of what’s right. I’m a friend for countering you on this… and trying to get you to ride the highway in a way that leaves room for all of us and doesn’t embolden them against us. You can’t honestly say you think I dont want us on PCH… that’s just you doing the thing you do when you’re sitting at a keyboard. Cmon Seth… it’s me. There’s a reality out there bigger than our desires and PCH as been a battleground for residents, 101 north and southers, tourists, and us for decades….

  • Well done Seth…this is huge. And if it wasn’t for Gary’s shirt, or his unpronounceable last name…this may have gone the other way!!! Anyway… kudos to you guys!

  • …oh, and if you so much as need a postage stamp…

    shoot, i’m not sure how to finish that sentence…i’ll bring you the stamp with the denomination of your choosing?

  • Brian Crommie says:

    Amazing work Seth, thank you

  • Peter Schindler says:

    Thank you Seth, the cycling world will be in a better place because of your efforts.

  • channel_zero says:

    You may want to take a video of the ride-along from both perspectives. The point being to be able to come up with something *brief* the law enforcement office can use to educate officers. Nothing else. Obviously you’ll need buy-in, but I can’t imagine a better way to signal your good intentions.

    I realize that taking a video in a patrol car during the ride-along may not be possible for 10,000 legitimate reasons.

    Good luck.

  • marc caruso says:

    You need to make them ride on bikes without their police kits. When you do the ride along. This way they can experience close passes honking and other stuff. People will behave differently if they are in uniform explain this to the captain. Tell them you want them in plain clothes but you don’t object to them carrying their service revolvers or whatever they carry now. As long as it concealed.

    • fsethd says:

      “Make” is probably the wrong word here, x1000.

      • marc caruso says:

        Sorry.

        Politely request that they do a sting and write tickets to motorists by radioing ahead. They seem to be ticket happy imagine how many tickets they could write for improper use of the horn.

  • Matt McPhail says:

    Liberals make great community activist.Keep up the good work Seth.

  • kurt says:

    Tommorrow night cyclists from all over Florida will ride to Key Biscayne to witness the Aaron Cohen Act signed into law. This law will make mandatory three years jail time to all hit and run offenders who cause injury and seven to ten yesr for those causing fatality. How does this apply? Cyclists activated through cycling clubs petitioned the government for change. It was no small endeavor yet it has been successful. You can make this work.

  • Graeme says:

    How many will be in the ride along? As you stated, cars behaved differently as numbers of riders increased. Perhaps there needs to be a single plain clothes officer riding either ahead or behind (or both) the main group so as to introduce a control group to the study, and, additional but separate riders will also create a more a more real-world scenario as drivers who get annoyed at one cyclist/group will likely become more annoyed as they encounter additional ones.

  • Tamar T. says:

    Seth, sorry for the late comment but want to acknowledge all the work you have done to keep cyclists safe on PCH. Congratulations on the progress and I hope it continues. Kudos to you; you rock.

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