Private theft of public property

July 26, 2016 § 27 Comments

I just got back from a three-hour meeting of the Rancho Palos Verdes traffic safety committee, where a group of resident numbnuts had thrown together a petition demanding that the city illegally ban cyclists from “their” .7-mile of roadway, and require “permitting” for group rides.

There was so much stupid to wade through that it’s impossible to sum it all up, so I’m just posting my meeting notes.

  • Massive thank you to chair Jessica Vlaco, vice-chair Dave Kramer, and committee members Yi Hwa Kim, Henry Ott, and James Guerin. These people truly define community service and government by the people.
  • Vice-chair Kramer (to city staff): Is it legal to ban bikes from a public roadway? City staff: No. [You’d think that would be the end of it, but noooooo … ]
  • Local Moron #1: It’s dangerous to share the road so we should ban bikes!
  • Local Moron #2: There are many collisions on Crest Rd. East!! [Sheriff Department has records for ZERO collisions there in the last five years.]
  • Local Moron #3: Bikers have to ride so close to the edge of the road which is too narrow and dangerous!!
  • Local Moron #4: All 76 homes in our gated sub-sub-subdivision of Rancho Palos Verdes Estates suffer from hazardous conditions caused by bicycles! There are no other roads up here! They train on weekends! They are hazardous for all! There’s no space! Cars can’t pass but motorists must pass! I almost hit one! There are numerous accidents here! Residents are held responsible for accidents! My friend’s nanny who is on vacation with the family now in Africa and can’t come was in a collision with a biker! The bike struck her car and it was the biker’s fault but he SUED HER!!! [Cf. sheriff’s records of no reported collisions.]
  • Local Moron #5: This is a huge safety issue. I almost hit a cyclist!
  • Local Moron #6: Each resident in our sub-sub-subdivision has at least two vehicles, not to mention our housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, and service worker people. Cyclists endanger all of us!
  • Local Moron #7: There are cyclists who are not polite! They should hurry up!
  • Local Moron #8: I spent an additional half hour getting home because I was stuck behind a peloton! Bikers are like people whose dogs crap on your lawn!
  • Local Moron #9: I’m concerned about safety! Cars are big! It’s a blind corner!
  • Local Moron #10: I’ve lived here 34 years. There have been 5 accidents! It’s out of control!
  • Local Moron #11: I asked the guards to count bikers one weekend! There were 158!
  • Local Moron #12: Some cyclists almost hit me! These are blind turns! There are no bikes on freeways! Public safety requires banning bikes! Many bikes ride four abreast every day it’s why we’re frustrated! City liability! This is an unsafe situation!
  • Local Moron #13: My son almost failed his driver license test because he drove too slowly! And all those Orange outfit riders from Orange County on the Donut Run!

After being subjected to a perfect vacuum of fact and rational thought, the cyclists had their say. Mostly we were amazed at all the hatred, especially since we are the ones getting creamed and killed, not the angry NIMBYs in the sub-sub-subdivision with Palos Verdes Estates envy.

And of course the bikers made out with a few actual facts, such as:

  • Banning bikes is illegal.
  • There are no records of collisions along this deadly stretch of turrble deadly roadway.
  • The law lets bikes take the full lane when it’s too narrow to share with a cager.
  • You can fix this non-problem with sharrows, Bikes May Use the Fuggin’ Lane signage, 3-Feet It’s the Law signage, and citations for scofflaw motorists and cyclists.
  • Anecdotal “deadly cyclist” stuff is crap; if you want to understand the roadway’s safety issues, commission an engineering study.
  • If you’re so concerned about our safety, how come you never reached out to us?
  • We’re not responsible for other riders, just like you’re not responsible for irresponsible cagers.
  • And the best, by far, was Michael B.’s takedown: You people are so dumb and lazy that you didn’t even bother to check the law before you signed a petition demanding that the city violate it. Also, there’s a solution to pesky cyclists and it’s codified: Slow the fugg down.
  • The real issue is out of control cars: 33 drivers have been cited for unsafe driving and not a single cyclist.
  • Lumping all cyclists together is offensive and no different from lumping together people of an ethnic group.
  • Best of all was Dave Kramer’s impassioned speech regarding law and the obligation of drivers to slow down and pass safely. The committee then voted to examine sharrows, BMUFL signage, lower speed limits, and an engineering study as ways to make the scaredy sub-sub-subdivision residents and their nannies feel safer.

Finally, one of the last local morons admitted that what they really wanted to do was to make the public road private and they intended to petition the state to give them the road. Such an amaze-balls power grab was great to see, because it proved what the angry invective suggested all along: The sub-sub-subdivision residents really just wanted to steal public land, perhaps in the hope that the extra square footage would make them feel better about not living in Palos Verdes Estates.

Best of all, putting the total lie to their claim that they were in it for “bicycle safety,” all of the resident maroons left after they’d vented and didn’t stick around for the real item on the agenda, which was approval of a work plan that included development of a bike safety master plan for the entire city. The minute it came to hard work, or cooperation, or understanding the other person’s point of view, or, you know, actual bike safety, they were long gone and venting on Facebag and NextDoor.

Frankly, their departure was awesome because a big contingent of bikers stuck around and requested that a subcommittee be developed for the bike safety master plan that included the voice of local cyclists.

Huge thanks to every cyclist who showed up. Barraclough, Leibert, Duong, Landes, Zwagermann, Cooper, Cooney, Loui, Kempton, Park, Richardson, White, Meyer, Phillips, Robertson, and about half a dozen other names that escape me made the marathon session and spoke up when it counted.



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They really do care about us

July 22, 2016 § 38 Comments

Every once in a while I let my guard down and think positive thoughts. Recently, the city of Rancho Palos Verdes committed to developing a bike master plan through its traffic safety committee. I was at the meeting where that decision was made and it was awesome. Kumbaya and etc. and such.

Then further letting down my guard, the city of Palos Verdes Estates was receptive at the committee level and at the city council level to installing some Bikes May Use the Fuggin’ Lane signs. The vote occurs on July 27, so it’s not a done deal, but the process has been positive and invigorating.

Finally, when I was on the verge of recriminating myself as a crusty, distrustful, skeptical old shit and admitting that cagers really aren’t a bad lot, they’re simply people like you and me who happen to choose to lock themselves into inflammable steel boxes rather than pedal freedom machines, I got this happy note:

On Monday one agenda item for the TSC [in Rancho Palos Verdes] to discuss is whether to ban cyclists from the top of Crest Road between Ganado Drive and the domes. The city has received a petition with 100+ signatures from local residents requesting that. I doubt very much that this will pass since it is a public road. The petition claims that the road is unsafe for cyclists and there have been numerous accidents. They also asked if Big Orange has obtained a permit that indemnifies the city from liability. Here is a link to the agenda:


You have to admit this is pretty awesome. We actually have one hundred people who live in an exclusive neighborhood at the top of a hill overlooking the sea who are so concerned about cyclist safety that they have gotten a petition together to ask the city to appropriate public roads for private use.

You may think, “Hasn’t that been tried before?” and you may wonder “What happens when a group of crazies tries to take public property?”

You may even be surprised that a gang of rich cagers are so consumed with the safety of bicyclists that they’re willing to close public roads to bikes to protect us from ourselves, even though we’re convinced that riding our bicycles instead of riding the couch makes us happier, healthier people and better citizens.

This is one where, unfortunately for cyclists, the cagers are right. The best people to decide how to use a road are the ones who live near it. Having cyclists storm up and down Crest at all hours of the day (by the hundreds, if not thousands), having bikers hither and thither, and most importantly, having pedal pushers getting hurt on a road that is simply too dangerous for them as evidenced by the one or two crashes per year are all excellent justifications for closing a road to a particular type of traffic.

The standard that the residents have enunciated is a good one and makes for sound policy. Let’s review:

  1. Close roads that endanger users.

  2. Require groups who insist on dangerous road use to indemnify cities/counties against lawsuits stemming from injuries that occur there.

I will be attending the Monday, July 25 traffic safety meeting to wholeheartedly support this, and hope you will, too. In addition to closing Crest between Ganado and the radar domes, I will be making the following additional proposals for consideration by the committee using principles 1 & 2 above.

  1. Close the 405, 110, and 91 freeways. These roads see thousands of collisions and hundreds of casualties. To date there have been zero bicycle fatalities on any of these roads, so banning them to cars and opening them to pedestrians and cyclists makes sense and will protect millions of vulnerable cagers.
  2. Require every group of more than two people who use a roadway to buy comprehensive indemnification insurance, with immediate application to FedEx, UPS, and every business with more than two vehicles. Also include every household with more than two vehicles.
  3. Close every road in Rancho Palos Verdes to the type of vehicle that has the larger number of collisions, beginning with Crest Rd. between Ganado and the radar domes.*
  4. Since closure/banning are more desirable than improving conditions to make the roads safer, such as paving dangerous cracks and potholes, putting up Bikes May Use the Fuggin’ Lane signage, education, and law enforcement, the city of RPV should apply the closure/banning principle in all of its deliberations:
    • Close the Pacific Ocean.
    • Close the airspace above RPV and preferably the state of California.
    • Close the insane asylum from which the petition signers have obviously escaped.
*Oops! That will mean closing it to cars! Sorry!



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Getting the word out

July 21, 2016 § 4 Comments

Every now and again someone comes up with a great idea to help promote cycling in SoCal. These ideas usually founder because they are a) unprofitable b) unprofitable c) extremely difficult to maintain.

Although it’s too early to proclaim it a financial success, Brian Co has started an ambitious podcast project at This fills a huge void for news and quality information about what’s going on in the SoCal bicycling world. With fourteen episodes since its debut on April 20, the project is going strong.

Better than print, the podcast format lets you download each episode and listen to it when it’s convenient. I spoke with Brian about his idea and he said, “There are no local cycling news podcasts. If you want to listen to a one-hour symposium on disc brakes, sure, that’s being done. But local bike news? Nothing. So I decided that’s what I’d do.”

The results are of astonishingly high quality. Brian uses state of the art recording equipment and he goes all-out to put together programs that will interest anyone who cycles in Southern California.

Best of all, he’s creating a model for every other locality in the world that wants to showcase the very best regarding its cycling community. Give it a listen. You will not regret it!



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The stubbornness of a good idea

July 16, 2016 § 43 Comments

Few people are as infuriating as John Forester. I’ve never met him but I have read countless of his commentaries on bicycling safety. To call him a thorn in your side is like calling a lobotomy a “minor procedure.”

John is a real old dude and I doubt that he rides a bike much, if at all. I’ve certainly never heard of him showing up on a group ride. That’s kind of weird because all he ever writes about is bikes and bike safety.

Not only that, he has an unparalleled ability to aggravate. When he puts pen to paper, there is an edge to his writing that just pisses you off. I’ve often tried to figure out what that edge is. It’s not the commentaries that sometimes spill over into ad hominem attacks, although that’s part of it. What really gets me is his tone, which is the tone of “STFU, I’m right and I know it, and if you had half a brain, you’d know it, too.” Takes one to know one, I guess.

John was the subject of a hit piece in the Los Angeles Times the other day in which the author announced that John’s philosophy of “vehicular cycling” was officially dead. If you wanted to sum up John’s approach to bicycling in traffic, it’s this: Bike fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.

In other words, for us to be safe we don’t need bike lanes or protected cycle tracks or anything other than the roads we currently have, along with a set of equally applied rules. The hit piece essentially says that John got it wrong. The best way to boost ridership is by shunting riders out of traffic and into bikes-only infrastructure. Create a parallel, separate-but-equal system (that conveniently costs billions), and you will have more cyclists and fewer car-bike casualties.

While I loves me a good hit piece, and while John is a super annoying, crotchety old curmudgeon, I don’t loves me a shit piece. And I especially don’t loves me a shit piece when it’s dumping on a super annoying, crotchety old curmudgeonly sonofabitch who happens to be right.

Not simply right, but one-hundred-fucking-percent right. The language may have changed from “vehicular cycling” to “sharrows” and “BMUFL–Bikes May Use the Fuggin’ Lane,” but Forester’s principles are as ironclad and correct as they were when he first proposed them.

Riding off to the edge, stuck in the gutter, dodging trash and glass and cracks and manhole covers and used dildos (yes, Knoll once found a giant pink dildo on PCH) makes cyclists less visible and much more likely to get clipped, right-hooked, rear-ended, or otherwise hurt. John’s principles embody the Savvy Cycling course and they give cyclists control over what happens to them in traffic. Unlike the false perception of safety afforded by bike lanes, BMUFL gives cyclists the real protections of a) being seen, and b) not being treated as inferior road users, but rather as vulnerable ones deserving of special attention and care by bigger, faster, deadlier cars.

In his inimitably annoying way, Forester demolishes the shit piece in the LA Times with diamond hard prose, not a comma out of place, relentless, unapologetic, with the force of an artillery shell hitting a cardboard box. To wit:

“Pitting cars against cyclists” is the first lie. Vehicular cycling holds that motorists and cyclists have equal right to use the roads. Is that pitting cars against cyclists? The logic is all wrong: cars are obviously not motorists. So are the politics; making sure that black people have the same legal rights as white people cannot, justly, be held to be pitting blacks against whites. Besides, the only cycling alternative to advocating legal equality was accepting Motordom’s motorist supremacy policy and its Jim Crow laws that demeaned cyclists. There’s no doubt about it: I stood up for cyclist equality and fought motorist supremacy.

The claim that vehicular cycling had any dominance in American cycling policy at any time in the past is the second lie. At no time, at least since 1925, have cyclists been officially considered equal to motorists, and they were made legally subservient to motorists in the 1944 Uniform Vehicle Code. The idea that American governments had a policy that cyclists were legally equal to motorists is just plain false. If any jurisdiction differed in that, it certainly had insignificant effect. At all times (with maybe some insignificant exception) cyclists were legally inferior to motorists and instructed to be subservient to them.

The argument that American governments supported cyclist equality because they failed to put up money for bikeways is another lie. They failed to fund bikeways because they didn’t care to spend money on bicycling facilities, not because they supported vehicular cycling. While some bikeway advocates make that argument, they fail to produce the official budget arguments stating the support for cyclist equality.

The fact that American governments now fund bikeway construction demonstrates only that America has now decided to fund the bikeways that Motordom has always demanded to instutionalize motor supremacy.

It is correct that the bikeway funding by American governments is now also supported by bicycle advocates in a program designed to accommodate fearful, traffic-incompetent, rules of the road rejecting cyclists with only the maturity of an untrained eight-year-old. That program has won its political battle and is now irreversible. But the political victory does nothing to change the content of the program. What it means is that those of us who reject the emotionalism and anti-science bases of that program have the legal means to refuse its imposition upon us simply because it is trying to unlawfully impose Motordom’s selfish motorist supremacy upon us. Rejecting Motordom and teaching vehicular cycling to all we can reach, and maintaining our legal opposition to Motordom’s motorist supremacy policy, are the two tasks to which we should devote ourselves.

John’s methods have made me a better rider, kept me alive and unhurt longer, taught countless motorists about how to safely deal with cyclists, and inspired thousands of people to ride bikes with confidence and competence.

If the price for that is a cranky old dude yelling at people from his porch and shaking his fist at passing cats, it’s well, well, well worth it.



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Tough race

July 13, 2016 § 31 Comments

This sport is all about endurance. You have to spend a ton of time on your rear end, seated in an uncomfortable position, patiently waiting while all the idiots around you shoot their bullets until the perfect moment comes to stand up, lunge to the front, and make your move.

Sometimes the riders around you will cuss, fart, spit, blow snot rockets, complain, jostle for position, and do everything in their power to grind you down. You have to be patient, even as you too are gradually getting worn down from the exhaustion, the pain, the misery, and the idiocy of the contest.

Over and over you say to yourself, “Why the hell am I here?” and “What’s the friggin’ point?” and “I’m done, I’m going home,” but somehow you grit your teeth and endure the pain, the torture, and each needle of agony as the event slowly grinds on.

But then that moment comes in the city council meeting when it’s your turn and you get up to the lectern and all the clever things you were going to say begin with “Uh,” and “Um,” and your scintillating speech that was going to bring the crowd to its feet dribbles out in a rehash of what the other fifty speakers said and you fall into the Public Speaking Time Warp Dimension, where your three-minute speaker time allotment goes by in what seems like three seconds, whereas for your audience it goes by slower than three years of Chinese water torture.

Last night’s call to arms at the Palos Verdes Estates city council meeting was a complete success. About ninety cyclists absolutely packed the church pews in the council chambers so that it was standing room only. All of the yammerers and complainers and bitchers and email spammers and NextDoor-pitchfork-vigilantes who we feared would show up en mass and shout us down stayed exactly where you’d think Internet trolls would stay: At home, venting more spleen in yet another livid email.

We were also concerned that the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch might make a cameo appearance and bombard us with grunts, but then we realized that since the meeting started at 7:30 PM, they’d already be fighting with their younger 40-year-old-ish siblings over who was getting the couch and who was getting the carpet.

What we found instead were the large, mostly washed masses of cyclists who’d tromped in from as far away as the San Fernando Valley and Huntington Beach to give voice to their support for BMUFL (Bikes May Use the Fukkin’ Lane) signage. Of the forty-two people who spoke, only one person didn’t speak in favor of BMUFL.

The outcome of the meeting was straightforward. The council will vote on BMUFL signage on July 26. Our voices have been heard and will be taken into account. The council will likely approve the traffic safety committee’s recommendation to:

  1. Take down the Darth Vader signs ominously saying “Bicycle Laws Strictly Enforced.”
  2. Put up the Luke Skywalker signs saying “3-Feet It’s the Law.”
  3. Send the BMUFL signage recommendation back to committee to decide the actual number and placement of signs.

Although it’s entirely possible that the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch and the Internet Troll Commission will show up in force at that meeting because it’s the one at which the actual vote will occur, the council was incredibly receptive to and appreciative of our input, all 4,835.2 minutes of it. Talk about an endurance sportt! The bike blab-a-thon portion ended at 9:30 and the council still hadn’t even reached the main items on its agenda.

None of this would have happened without the incredible leadership of Michael Barraclough and Delia Park. And it certainly wouldn’t have happened without the support of the many cyclists who attended the protest ride and all of the other meetings, proving a key point: The cycling community is so vast that no one has to attend every meeting. We can fill entire council chamber rooms with a mostly new group of people every single time.

The meeting begin with a web site tutorial oriented towards the average PVE resident who apparently is just now learning about the Internet. It’s hard to describe, but think of the Internet as a bunch of computers connected together that can share information. It’s like Bingo without the excitement.

The city has a new web site with lots of links and a content management system which will give employees one more awful task they have to slog through. And although the web site’s only two images were an ocean cliff, presumably to leap from, and an antique Porsche that trust me, you can’t afford, it immediately occurred to me that what that web site is really going to need is a section called “Cycling in the Peninsula,” where the 3-foot law, the BMUFL law, and the mutual obligations of bikers and cagers to follow the traffic laws are set forth.

After learning about web sites and the Internet, the council sank into their chairs for what promised to be a long night of biker blabber. They begged us not to be repetitive and to keep it short, but we just couldn’t resist using that allotment of three minutes and as their looks of resignation turned to despair we soldiered on. If I weren’t an atheist I’d nominate each of those council members and the mayor for sainthood.

The speakers were:

Bruce Steele, lawyer and biker dude.
Diego Binatena, pro cyclist and Eagle Scout in uniform.
Julie Lansing, Scout leader and lifelong cyclist.
Craig Eggers, Big O bulwark and dude who’s been cycling more years than he’s been driving.
Annie Spalding, mom, wife, and non-cyclist who is vitally affected by what happens to cyclists because her husband and son ride.
Bob Spalding, rock of the South Bay, iron-legged Canyon Bob who has never met a flat he couldn’t fix or a rider in distress he wouldn’t stop to help.
Sam Spalding, college student commuter cyclist who compared cycling in Minneapolis and Portland to PVE.
Michael Lewis, lifelong cyclist.
Mike Barraclough, heart and soul of the movement whose speaking time was interrupted by the Shot Clock Controversy when the clerk forgot to start his 3-minute timer and then shaved too many seconds off his speaking time, after which the coach protested, a time-out was called, and on a fast-break to the inside Barraclough stuffed an 0ver-the-rim behind-the-back triple axel forward 4-and-a-half somersault in the Pike postion to score a perfect 10 and win the game in double overtime on penalty kicks.
Trish Botsko, PV Bike Chicks cyclist who spoke eloquently about bike signs and safety.
Mario Obejas, BCCC engineer dude and member of one of the best and biggest clubs in the South Bay.
Jose Godinez, South Bay stalwart and biker dude who has been to almost every meeting.
Eric Bruins, hard core advocate and professional bike dude who talks change and sense and collaboration all at the same time and doesn’t sound insane.
Tom Duong, Flog Ride regular, another you-aint-getting-rid-of-me advocate who has been integral to every meeting and protest.
Cassady Davidson, my awesome daughter who came with her husband Torazo and my grandbaby Rin-chan, who took one look at all the people and did a double-diaper-blast, after which he was unceremoniously removed from the proceedings.
Brian Gee, cyclist and talker dude.
Patrick Noll, German cyclist dude who is more articulate in his second language than I am in my first.
Steve Thorpe, cyclist dude who supports BMUFL, as he should.
Chris Tregillis, winner of the City Council KOM and super articulate talker dude.
Nigel Stewart, biker and talker dude.
Delia Park, how awesome is Delia? That would be “very.” Inspiring, committed, always shows up, keeps the troops in line, and please don’t even think about pissing her off with your dumb comments.
Yasuko Davidson, my cute wife who was too short for the mic and who got in a stiff uppercut to the jaw for BMUFL.
Joey Cooney, another stalwart who has made every meeting, dude rides, is local, and sticks around like badly burnt eggs on the bottom of an iron skillet.
Alan Stoddard, biker talker dude.
Geoffrey and Austin Loui, dad-and-son combo, Geoffrey also makes all the meetings and brings his kids. Start democracy young.
Joann Zwagerman, best speaker with a broken arm and funniest comment about her mom: “Okay, Joann, you’ve proven you can ride a bicycle. Now stop!”
Joel Elliott, conducted an awesome plebescite: “How many of you wankers ride?” [99% of people raised their hands]. “Now, how many of you wankers have been hit?” [98%].
Don Wolfe, drove from Westchester, awesome rider and talker and BWR dude.
Kevin Nix, succinct talker and bike race winner dude.
Jonathan Fredrick, best sense of humor dude whose last name has one “e” and whose last name can get you into trouble if you leave out the “r.”
Wendy Watson, another stalwart, rides better in her 70’s than I did in my 20’s.
Mark Maxson, awesome resident cyclist and talker father PVE dude.
S. Davidson, blah blah blah but at least it was brief.
Vic Cooper, cyclist and talker dude.
Ray Colquhoun, Big O hammer.
Hung Nguyen, dude drove from Huntington Beach and got the sprint jersey as a result.
Carl Frushon, military cancer survivor biker and fundraiser for charitable events dude.
Carlos Jura, cell tower dude and coastal commission complainer dude and bike admonisher dude.
Kristie Fox, only person who brought up science, comparing the British and American models for roadway usage and why the Brits were good and the US sucks, which leads us to ask, “Why do you hate America?”
Denis Faye, only dude to mention a crazy pack of ferrets and cycling in the same sentence.
David Brindon, cameraman and Olympian and world champion cycling dude.

After the lovin‘, the mayor and city council, all of whom stayed awake, thanked us for our input and encouraged us to return on July 26, although inwardly they prayed that if we did show up again we wouldn’t speak endlessly about the same damned thing because, you know, they get it. Police Chief Kepley thanked us for our civility and professionalism, and we adjourned, leaving the council to another several hours of brutal business that had nothing to do with bikes.

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to attend. Thank you to Mayor Jennifer King, you have the patience of Job and the endurance of an Ironman winner. Thank you to council members James Vandever, Betty Lin Peterson, Jon Rea, and James F. Goodhart. It’s local elected officials like you, unpaid except for the gratification you get from bettering your community, who are the bedrock of our democracy.

And democracy really happens when people show up.



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July 10, 2016 § 18 Comments

Now that the PVE residents have screamed bloody murder about cyclist scofflaws, as if that has anything at all to do with putting up signs that say “Bikes May Use Full Lane,” and “3-Feet, It’s the Law,” the police department has, shall we euphemistically say, “stepped up” its enforcement against bikers who violate The First PVE Cager Commandment:

  1. Thou shalt stop at stop signs.

On this morning’s Donut Ride, which I was mercifully absent from as Matt Wikstrom set a new KOM up Crest, when the group came lawlessly swooping through Paseo del Mar at the incredible speed of 30-ish miles an hour, a PVE cop lay in wait at the Cloyden Road t-intersection and burst into the middle of the peloton.

One rider later said, “I was sure twenty people were going down.”

Another rider said, “I know that crime doesn’t pay, but this is ridiculous. ”

A third rider said, “Brillo pad and bleach on my chamois for a week.”

So the PVE bike haters have successfully linked two completely unrelated issues. In order to be granted the legal right to ride on their roads, all cyclists have to obey the law. Doesn’t matter that cagers don’t. Doesn’t matter that not a single citation has ever been written for violation of the 3-foot law. Doesn’t matter that on the same day that the Donuteers blew through the stop sign at which there were no cars, endangering no one at all, another rider caught a driver on video committing assault with a deadly weapon against a cyclist. And of course it doesn’t matter that no charges will be filed against the pickup driver who was caught on video camera tailgating John Bacon shortly before his “mysterious” death.

None of that matters.

What matters is that if you ride in PVE, you had better understand that you will be subjected to strict enforcement of the First Commandment. If that means we are on our way to getting recognition of BMUFL, and if it means that the city is going to bring an equally heavy hand down on cagers who break the 3-foot rule, I’m not going to complain.

But if it’s just another attempt to privatize the public roads for the convenience of cagers, well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. See you at the PVE council meeting this Tuesday, July 12, at 340 PV Drive, Palos Verdes Estates, 90274.

PS: If you’re planning on attending the Tuesday, July 12 meeting of the PV City Council, please note: 1) Although the meeting starts at 6:00 PM, public comment won’t begin until 7:30, and probably not until after that. So no need to be there at 6:00. 2) The council will be voting on the signs at their next July meeting; this meeting is an opportunity for us to communicate to the council that we support the signage and want them to vote on it at the next meeting. Hopefully you can attend both meetings.



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The Empire Strikes Back

July 9, 2016 § 19 Comments

Now that the City of PVE’s traffic safety committee has recommended the radical and revolutionary step of putting up a couple of signs that say “BMUFL” and “3-Feet,” a group of residents has proposed banning bikes from certain public roads within the city.


I will be charitable and assume they don’t understand that the streets in PVE are public and that bicycles are legally allowed to ride on them. I will be charitable and assume that they don’t understand that municipalities cannot preempt the California Vehicle Code. I will be charitable and assume that they haven’t thought through the ramifications of a few  angry citizens seizing public property.

But I won’t be charitable when it comes to the cycling community.

Here’s why: On July 12, at 6:00 PM, there will be a city council meeting at Palos Verdes Estates council chambers, 340 PV Drive. Cycling and the approval of the new signs is not on the agenda.

However, opponents of the signage, who also advocate illegally restricting cyclists from public roads, have already met with police and city officials. Postings on social media indicate that some PVE residents are going to virulently oppose any affirmative steps taken by the city to make cycling safer, or to increase enforcement of California’s 3-foot law.


Happily, I’m one of the targets in all this. Two members of the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch Gang showed up at the protest ride and introduced themselves as “Rich dudes,” then interviewed me and did a great job of proving that I was wrong when I said that none of the roads in PVE were wide enough to accommodate a car and bike side-by-side. After heckling our protest ride, they put together a video and proved pretty clearly that a very short portion of the road we were on was 18 feet wide.

They neglected to note that it was only a couple of hundred feet long before it immediately narrowed down to a substandard width, and they agreed that the 3-foot law needs to be enforced. Bizarrely, the street that they have proven to be wide enough to accommodate bikes and cars (for a few hundred feet) is now part of the very same section of roadway that the angry residents are trying to ban cycle traffic from.

Moreover, they didn’t think my blog was funny, which is weird, because I try really hard to write a fair, balanced, ordinary bicycling blog that is non-controversial. Why? One simple reason: My mom sometimes reads it and I would be mortified if she ever saw me write words like “fuck” and “shit.”

But back to the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch. They deserve props for caring enough about the issue to show up, scream at peaceful protesters, video it, spend two weeks and all 56 of their combined IQ points editing it, and then share it from an email called And I mean that. They do care. They may be unemployed bums, but unemployed bums have a whole lot of choices about what to do in a day, and choosing to counter-protest is pretty healthy for democracy, certainly more so than another drunken day harassing women and vandalizing cars at an illegal rock shelter built on protected public state shorelines.

The bicycling community now needs to build on the success we’ve had with the traffic safety committees in PVE and Rancho PV. What does that mean?

It means it’s time for usto show up.

The city council will allow concerned members of the public to address the signage issue even though the council won’t be voting on it at this meeting. This past Wednesday 17 cyclists made polite, sincere, and intelligent appeals to the PVE traffic safety committee. That needs to happen again on July 12, and again when the council meets to formally vote on the recommendations. You can rest assured that the PVE residents who don’t want the 3-foot and BMUFL signs installed have already met, spoken, and emailed every single council member, the city manager, the city engineer, and everyone on the traffic safety committee.

If you can’t make it, fine. What about your husband or wife pr boyfriend or girlfriend or kids? If you can make it, why not bring your husband, wife, or kids with you? The roads may be in PVE, but PVE doesn’t own them. To the contrary, the city takes hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to pave and maintain them. They are our roads, too.

Democracy isn’t Facebook. It’s not Twitter. It’s not email or Reddit or NextDoor or campaign contributions and it’s sure as hell not this blog.

Democracy is you, your family, and the most precious resource you have: Your time. The elected officials in PVE are like elected officials everywhere else. They show up, struggle with problems, and try to find the best solutions for the least price that results in the most happy constituents and the fewest angry ones.

In short, if they’re doing their jobs even remotely correctly, they compromise.

We can be part of the compromise, but only if we collaborate by showiung up. I know that Tuesday is Telo training crit day and Eldo training crit day and there are lots of better places to be at 6:00 PM, but we can’t be heard by the people who matter unless we’re in the chambers with our names on a speaker card.

Please show up and help. Ironfly, South Bay Wheelmen, BCCC, PV Bike Chicks, and especially the members of the Double Secret Probation Cycling Committee, i.e. Jim Hannon & Eric Bruins & Mike Norris. LaGrange will be sending people, and they’re not even in the South Bay–they’re coming because public access to public roads isn’t a joking matter, and safety in PV is crucial to every cyclist on the coast.

We need you.

You will be empowered by the engagement and you’ll gain a ton of respect for the council members and the police. You’ll also gain respect for the people who oppose safer and better streets, and who think that bicycles are a plague. They may see the world differently, but they care enough to show up and make their case. They want their city to be a better place, and to them that means fewer bikes.

They care.

Do you?


PS: If you’re planning on attending the Tuesday, July 12 meeting of the PV City Council, please note: 1) Although the meeting starts at 6:00 PM, public comment won’t begin until 7:30, and probably not until after that. So no need to be there at 6:00. 2) The council will be voting on the signs at their next July meeting; this meeting is an opportunity for us to communicate to the council that we support the signage and want them to vote on it at the next meeting. Hopefully you can attend both meetings.


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