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Note: Don’t forget – San Jose Bike Train rolls Wednesday morning, 8 AM from Diridon Station.

California’s three foot passing law takes effect today. In spite of the predictions by a few dozen malcontents who predicted gridlock on California roads, nothing much happened. As of this writing, three bicycle crashes have been called into the CHP statewide today, which is about average. Ho hum.


Crossing the centerline to pass

Nationally, there has been some discussion about the legality of crossing the yellow line when passing a very slow moving vehicle like a typical bike. When the California legislature first passed a three foot bill in 2011, it contained a provision to allow motorists to cross the yellow center line when passing a cyclist. Governor Jerry Brown said this was unsafe and vetoed the bill.



I think most cyclists understand that the yellow line is warranted to warn drivers that passing is unsafe, but there are locations where sight lines might be insufficient for passing a vehicle traveling near the speed limit in a 45 MPH zone, but there’s plenty of room for a cyclist pushing uphill at 10 MPH. As the video above from Santa Cruz County shows, crossing the yellow line can be perfectly safe.

Eli Damon and Steven Goodridge go in depth on the history, reasoning, and safety of the the yellow centerline with mixed speed traffic over at iamtraffic.org.

Caroline Kennedy bicycle Tohoku

The only surviving child of JFK and current U.S. Ambassador to Japan joined 2,800 people in the Tour of Tohoku charity ride in Northeastern Japan.

The Tour of Tohoku in Miyagi Prefecture raises funds to aid in the region, which is still recovering from the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami that devastated the Pacific coast of northern Japan on March 11, 2011.

The Ambassador to Japan often rides her bike through the Tokyo Imperial Palace East Garden, which is open to the public.

The Palo Alto, CA police department ask the public to watch for a man who impersonated a law enforcement officer when he ordered two children to stop their bikes before brandishing a weapon at them.


Palo Alto Police Impersonator

According to the Palo Alto Police Department, two high school students were just riding along in the bike lane on Channing Avenue near Rhodes Drive on the afternoon of Friday, September 5, 2014. A man in a car behind them order them via a P.A. system in the vehicle to ride single file in the bike lane, instead of side by side.

The students look back to see what they think is an unmarked police car and comply with the driver’s unlawful instructions.

After the two students part ways at the next block, the mystery creep is still shadowing one of the teens when the bully activates flashing police-style lights and orders the teen to stop. The sociopath inside the vehicle pulls alongside the child, shows a badge, and angrily lectures the child about his riding habits. The driver then pulls out a weapon — either a handgun, a stungun, or some similar proxy for the man’s missing penis — and waves it in view of the teen on the bike.


channing at Rhodes, Palo Alto CA

The suspect then drove away. The child rode home and told his parents about the contact, who in turn called the Palo Alto Police Department.

The student described the suspect as a while male in his sixties with balding short gray hair. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a heavy build. He was wearing a light blue collared shirt, similar to a uniform shirt. The badge he displayed was silver but had a color design on it, with a green tree in the center. The suspect’s vehicle was a cream-colored four-door sedan. It had radio antennas on the roof.

With this incident, police remind the public that stops in California can be done from marked or unmarked vehicles, but detectives in official, unmarked vehicles will rarely (if ever) conduct a traffic stop unless there’s an extremely dangerous moving violation. Detectives in unmarked vehicles are not gonna stop a couple of random kids on a bike. Unmarked detective cars in Palo Alto are not equipped with a public address system.

Valid stops in California must be done using a siren and a steady illuminated red light above the hoodline. People are advised to call 9-1-1 if they have any doubt about the legitimacy of a stop.

I further remind cyclist that California has no law that mandates single file riding. This idiot in the car needs to lay off of the gas fumes and his vigilante fantasies and pay attention to actual laws, like CVC 22500 (f), which prohibits parking on the sidewalk like all of those cars on Channing Avenue are doing as shown in the Google Streetview screenshot above.

New and improved Bike Train with two departure times!

San Jose Bike Train rolls again next Wednesday, September 17, 2014 from Diridon Station for destinations towards north San Jose along the Guadalupe River Trail. The regular 8 AM train departs at 8 AM. We now also have a conductor for a 6:30 AM train, which departs after Caltrain #102 that arrives in San Jose at 6:26 AM. For this early morning train, lights are required.

Why Bike Train?


12 MPH - by bike or by car to North San Jose

Traveling from south and central San Jose to your office in the north part of San Jose along Highway 87 can be frustrating and slow. San Jose Bike Train is designed to help those who would like to try a commute by bike ease into the process with a stress-free, casual, low-speed, non-judgmental group ride. We stop for coffee, watch for urban roosters, and chat as we ride before we all start the day. After departing Diridon, the ride takes place almost entirely on a completely grade-separated path. This means no car traffic for most of the ride.

Bike Train is designed to combine transit with a bike commute. If Diridon Station is not a convenient start location for you, however, we’re currently looking at park-and-bike options. We already have group who meet up with Bike Train after they start in Willow Glen. If you need help getting to Diridon from your start location, we’ll try to find bike sherpa to guide you along the way.

Please RSVP in the comments here, via Twitter or on the San Jose Bike Train Facebook page so we know to look for you.

I was sent a sample of Zjays Saddle Sore Soother in exchange for consideration. This unscented soothing gel is applied to your personal problem spots after your ride and shower.


zjays saddle sore soother

This is not a chamois cream for use pre-ride, but is applied post-ride to help provide relief for your pain in the posterior. The ingredients are fairly simple and non-toxic, consisting of a solution of hydrogen peroxide and salt buffered with citric acid and sodium bicarb suspended in a carbomer polymer gel. It feels like a very thin hair gel, with easy application and a non-greasy feel.

Problem is, I can’t evaluate this right now because my taint is currently sore-free.

In the interest of science, what can I do to encourage saddle sores?

I believe any advice on sore creation can be considered a howto on how to avoid saddle sores in the first place, right?

ZJay’s is a creation of Chris Leiferman and Zana Buttermore-Baca, a couple of triathletes and cyclists in Boulder, CO. They know saddle time and they know butt sores. Learn more and try it for yourself at their website.

My Instagram feed is full of photos from the huge bicycle industry show at Las Vegas. I see a lot of interesting new stuff, but I’m not there.

Read below the striped socks dude for bicycle news, both local and far flung.


Striped socks on the Guadalupe River Trail  #sanjose #cycling

California’s Three Foot Law takes effect next Tuesday. As word gets around, several people all around the state are complaining in online newspaper forums and various other social media sites about the new law.

Some of my cycling friends believe a three-foot law unnecessarily antagonizes motorists. Personally, I’ve noticed a real difference in passing behavior. There are still the occasional aggressive close-passing morons, but many people seem almost timid in how they pass me, even when I’m riding in lanes that are clearly wide enough to share. It seems the media attention has worked to effectively education drivers that they should give a little bit of space when passing.

Still, there’s a lot of hyperventilating from motorists who believe congestion caused by cyclists is bad, while congestion caused by cars is good. This general perception was summed up years ago by John Forester in the definition of his Cyclist Inferiority Complex: “The cyclist who rides in traffic will either delay the cars, which is a Sin, or, if the cars don’t choose to slow down, will be crushed, which is Death, and the Wages of Sin is Death.” Barb Chamberlain of Washington Bikes (nee Bicycle Alliance of Washington), however, reminds that our expectation of speedy, free-flowing traffic isn’t a natural born right.


More bike news

58 year old cyclist killed by a Honda Accord on San Juan Grade Road near Crazy Horse Canyon Road, Salinas, CA. This is not a shareable road, but the media reports this as a suicide swerve. With condolences to the cyclist’s family.

Eiry Bartlett was just riding along in the wide shoulder of Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz when she was rear-ended by a 2013 Ford F-150 when the unnamed driver drifted into the shoulder. Bartlett, who was cycling from Vancouver, BC to San Ysidro, was airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. She was treated and released; the bike is toast. Unlike the case in Monterey County above, investigators don’t believe the driver’s story that the cyclist mysteriously and suddenly swerved in front of the truck. Well wishes for Bartlett.

“Sheryl’s” har har.


Video from road.cc: What Apple’s new watch means for cyclists

Discussion on those orange pedestrian crossing flags to help as you play Frogger. These flags and other pedestrian safety aids are used because motorists are an uncontrollable, unthinking force of nature, same as divers using shark cages.

More shark cages: The Protective Headgear for Cyclists Aged Fourteen Years and Under (Research) Bill.


Bike thefts down 50% after implementation of free bicycle registration program at Temple University.

One less car?


Bamboo bicycles benefit working women in Ghana

Women cycling in Afghanistan.

Bicycle Magazine on LA Bike Train. Reminder: the next San Jose Bike Train happens next Wednesday morning, 8 AM from Diridon Station.

Three Foot Law

26 American states now have a three foot law on the books; Pennsylvania has a four foot passing law. What’s your experience with a Three Foot Law and passing in your area?

The city of San Jose DOT invites one and all to attend their “Prioritizing Sidewalks for Pedestrians Pilot Project” workshop next Wednesday, September 17, 2014.


Sidewalk rider causing trouble near downtown San Jose California

The state of California authorizes local jurisdictions to regulate bikes on sidewalks. Currently, the city of San Jose does not restrict sidewalk cycling in any way at any location. Downtown San Jose has wonderful, heavily used pedestrian walkways. The situation is improving for cyclists, but cyclist facilities are still lacking for several streets. Because of that any the many one-way couplets through downtown, many people ride on the sidewalk, in the pedestrian plazas and alleys.

I don’t generally recommend sidewalk cycling, but I have been seen doing so in DTSJ.

Because of the scorchers who cycle down busy sidewalks at speed, a number of downtown residents, business owners, and visitors have been calling for a ban on sidewalk riding for a couple of years now. I’ve been hit by these idiots a couple of times so I sympathize, but instead of a ban I’d like to see enforcement action against these idiots who ride too fast, in the same way <SARCASM> SJPD aggressively enforces other traffic laws </SARCASM> like speeding, right-of-way violations, red light running and so forth.

On the agenda for this September 17 meeting: “Evaluation of Initial Measures” — which will be a discussion on the “Walk Your Bike” signs posted earlier; a “Consideration of a Ban on Sidewalk Cycling”; and “Next Steps.”

This meeting takes place next Wednesday (Bike Train Day!) 6 PM to 7 PM at San Jose City Hall in Wing Rooms W118-W120.

Administrivia: This site might be down for a few days beginning after midnight tonight. My hosting expires tomorrow, and my son and I both lost our debit cards this weekend and await replacements. Hence, no way for me to pay for another year of hosting until after I get my replacement card. Please feel free to follow Cyclelicious on Facebook and Twitter.

The California Highway Patrol issued a press release about the three foot law that takes effect on September 16, 2014. They provide two paragraphs about the law, and three paragraphs with six bullet points explaining how children on bikes should be more responsible for traffic safety than the entitled, whining adults are in their automobiles.


CHP press release on 3 foot law

I’ve added the highlighting. Note also the instruction for children to “ride as far right as possible.”

The onus of responsibility on traffic safety lies on those controlling the more dangerous equipment. Teaching children the rules of the road is fine, but a press release directed to motorists reminding them of their ethical responsibility not to kill people is probably not the right place for this instruction.

You can view the original here.

Props to the Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office, which once again defies the conventional wisdom when Assistant District Attorney Greg Peinado charged Brenda Alcala-Velador with a crime after she ran over a ten year old boy in Watsonville, California last March. Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge John Salazar ruled in a preliminary hearing yesterday that there’s sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.


Left Cross!

A Watsonville police officer testified in the hearing that he saw Alcala-Valador speeding down Main Street in Watsonville. He pulled out to stop and cite her for speeding when Alcala-Valador saw a traffic light ahead turn yellow. She allegedly sped up to catch the light, which turned red before she entered the intersection. The driver then left 50 feet of skid marks on this 25 MPH street in a downtown area with heavy pedestrian traffic, where she struck a 10 year old boy, who now has permanent brain damage.

The defense attorney said a lot of the things you often hear at collisions like this: the driver did everything right — she wasn’t impaired by drugs or alcohol, neither was she texting or talking on her phone. “This was a tragic accident with tragic results,” he told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

The prosecutor’s office disagrees, as does the judge in the preliminary hearing. “If this isn’t reckless driving, than I don’t know what is,” says Assistant District Attorney Greg Peinado.

Compare against George Gascon’s office in San Francisco, which declined to file charges against Gilberto Alcantar, who fatally hooked a cyclist with his truck last May, because “we are unable to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Compare also against the Contra Costa County attorney, who also fails to prosecute when a driver plows into a pedestrian in the crosswalk because the case is not “winnable.”

This morning’s targeted enforcement against kids on bicycle in Palo Alto reminds me of this incident, in which the Santa Clara County attorney declined to prosecute a man driving on a suspended license at least 10 MPH over the limit in the bike lane while he was high on meth because “we could not find a single case where similar driving was found to be reckless.” The boy was riding a bike in the bike lane when the driver, Luis Felipe Hau, steered his Nissan Quest minivan into the boy, sending the boy to a long-term rehab facility.

The big news this past week has been the LA County Attorney’s failure to file charges against the deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin when Deputy Wood failed to control his vehicle while typing into his computer.

And remember, there’s a protest ride beginning at 4 PM tonight.

If you really want to send a message, remember LA Attorney Jackie Lacey’s position on public safety when she comes up for re-election in 2015. Gascon in San Francisco also comes up for re-election next year. Jeff Rosen in Santa Clara ran unopposed this year and will come up for re-election in 2018. The District Attorney’s office is sometimes a springboard to higher office, so keep your eyes open.

In another high profile case, Santa Cruz County successfully prosecuted the Tesla driver who killed cyclist Josh Alper on Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz earlier this year.

If you want to avoid criminal prosecution for what you might think of as minor traffic infractions, don’t drive like a sociopath. Bob Lee in Santa Cruz easily won this year’s election, but he’s reportedly suffering from an undisclosed illness so we’ll see what happens.

For those in the USA, I hope you enjoyed the Labor Day holiday. Remember, San Jose Bike Train runs the first and third Wednesday of every month, which means we leave 8 AM tomorrow morning from Diridon Station. We meet by the Amtrak bus shelter.

Read through the smattering of bike news below to learn how you can find free coffee in Little Italy San Jose this week.


cycletrack San Fernando Street, San Jos CA

Weekend Roundup

Dave Zabriskie and his Yield to Life will host a ride Wednesday, September 3 to protest Los Angeles County District Attorney’s decision not to prosecute the police officer who killed cyclist Milton Olin Jr.

Bike-vs-bike collision on La Honda Road closes this highway through Woodside, California.

Camden, NJ police Chief “tells his officers that he measures their success not in tickets written, but in the number of children riding bicycles on the street.” Via David Curtis.


Santa Cruz Sheriff arrests alleged bike thief in Felton, CA after stolen bike spotted on Craigslist.

Norwegians get a free sample of laundry detergent at a cycling event, hospitalized after they mistake it for for a sports drink. Given some samples I’ve tasted at outdoor events, the mistake is completely understandable.

Bicycling in Marin County California outpaces the rest of the state.

This is clever: bike shop donates a bike fixit station that’s now installed on a local bike path.

President of Taiwan brags about the big expansion in the island’s bike path network.

Four hit and run bills pass California legislature and await Jerry Brown’s signature.


A San Jose dad rants about speeders on his residential street in this Mr Roadshow column.

Vote for Pedro and tips on avoiding hassles at the Canadian border when you don’t actually enter the country.

Another Mr Roadshow: State gas tax might jump 30 cents in California due to cap-and-trade unless Assembly Member Henry Perea from Fresno gets his way with his AB 69, which would exempt transportation fuel from the state cap-and-trade program.

An anonymous benefactor has contributed cash to the Bel Bacio sospesa pot in San Jose’s Little Italy. Ask for a “bike train sospesa” and if there’s any cash left, you get a free coffee!

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