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Let’s (Not) Avoid the Real Issues

Letter to the Editor, by Bob Mionske

RE: “Santa Barbara cyclists have gone collectively insane.”

That was the conclusion readers of the Santa Barbara View were invited to reach, based on anecdotes involving exactly two cyclists. Do you see the logic? If two cyclists were doing something wrong, that must mean that all cyclists—at least in Santa Barbara—are collectively insane.

bike5And since all cyclists have gone collectively insane, we can just ignore all of the cyclists who were riding lawfully on the same day that these two riders were behaving badly. If two cyclists were not riding lawfully. all cyclists are collectively guilty, all are “collectively insane.” Even the ones who were riding lawfully and courteously that day, and every day. Tar them all with the same brush, and let God sort them out.

By the same token, we can also ignore all of the drivers who were breaking the law that day. Speeding? Why that’s a driver’s sacred right, isn’t it? Sure, it’s the number one cause of traffic “accidents,” and virtually every driver does it, but why quibble over that, when we have far, far bigger fish to fry, like one irresponsible guy who was speeding on a bike?

Why point out that virtually every driver rolls through stop signs—the world-famous “California stop”—with a little “pretend-to-stop” tap on the brakes if they can be bothered, when we can look down our noses at a cyclist who wasn’t wearing a helmet? Sure, helmets are not required, and aren’t even designed to provide protection for collisions with cars. But if we don’t blame cyclists for not wearing a helmet, we might have to look at the real cause of cyclist injuries and fatalities, and we wouldn’t want to open that Pandora’s box. Just like we wouldn’t want to require drivers to wear helmets, even though head injuries are much more common for drivers than they are for cyclists.

What about drivers violating a cyclist’s right of way? No, we don’t want to talk about that either, even though it’s the most common cause of bicycle collisions, and has happened to every cyclist out there. Instead, let’s complain about the “cycling hell” of somebody getting some exercise once a month. Let‘s complain that some cyclist was wearing—Shock! Horrors!—cycling clothes while riding his bike.

And while we’re studiously avoiding the real issues, why not make up some imaginary laws that victimize drivers while we’re at it? In all my years of handling bicycle injury cases, I have never once seen a driver cited for hitting an at-fault cyclist. Nor has anybody else ever seen such a preposterous injustice. In fact, in the real world, it is all-too-common for an at-fault driver to face no charges after injuring, or even killing a cyclist. And when drivers are cited for carelessly causing serious injury or death, it is almost always on a minor traffic violation, like “failure to yield.” If you were killed by a careless driver who got the kid glove treatment afterwards, would you feel like drivers are the victims here? Would your bereaved family feel that way?

But let’s ignore that reality, for the convenient fiction of a make-believe world where drivers are all scrupulously law-abiding victims of insane cyclists run amok, rather than the often careless law-breakers of the real world, who injure some 50,000 cyclists and kill some 700 cyclists annually.

That way, we won’t have to deal with the real issues.


Bob Mionske is the author of Bicycling & the Law, and writes a monthly column on bicycle law for Bicycling magazine. A former U.S. Olympic and pro cyclist who was on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team with Dave Lettieri, owner of FasTrack Bicycles in Santa Barbara, Bob has since become a nationally-known cycling lawyer and advocate for the rights of cyclists at

85 Responses to “Let’s (Not) Avoid the Real Issues”

  1. John Dell

    Oh, please! If you don’t think that the majority of local bicyclists ROUTINELY break major traffic laws every day, you’re just not paying attention. Hang around the corner of W. Micheltorena and Chino Streets for any length of time and see how many bikers even slow down at the four-way stop sign, let alone actually stop. Go to downtown State Street and see how many bikers slow down or stop for a red mid-block light. Go to any residential area after sunset and see how many bikers are riding with lights. True, motorists break traffic laws all the time, but certainly not to the degree that bicyclists do. For every biker who actually stops at a residential neighborhood stop sign, there are at least 10 who don’t.

    Ms. Redd isn’t attacking bicyclists (I’m one myself). She’s just pointing out that a huge number of bikers jeopardize themselves and others by their screwball antics. To pretend this isn’t a very real problem accomplishes nothing. Most (there, I said it) bicyclists in Santa Barbara couldn’t care less about obeying traffic rules. The tragedy is, it’s always the motorist who winds up paying for it when the errant biker comes to grief under the wheels of their car.

    • el_smurfo

      Yet another spandex clad bike Troll commenting on our local traffic scene from his armchair across the country. If I wanted to debate religion, I’d wait for the EcoNuts column…these guys have too many bugs in their sinuses to make a reasoned argument.

      • Bill Davidson

        @el_smurfo: Bob Mionske is one of the best known bicycle lawyers in the country and he’s based in Oregon, which is not exactly “across the country”. He’s on the same coast as Santa Barbara, just several hundred miles north.

        I don’t see any reasoned argument from you.

    • Charles Hudak

      The DRIVER pays when a cyclist ends up under the wheels of their car? What alternative universe do you live in?

      I’m sure the grief of the driver who kills a cyclist and faces no legal repurcussions is horrible compared to the person who lost their life and their family who gets to grieve over their death.

      You are clearly NOT a cyclist.

    • Are you SERIOUS?!? Cyclists break more laws on the road than DRIVERS?!?!?!? Do you even KNOW what traffic laws ARE for cyclists?!? When was the last time a driver stopped for a red before a right turn, instead of rolling through it? Speeding, no signal for turning or changing lanes, double-parking (which cyclists CAN’T do)? How many drivers follow the 3-foot law? How many drivers find a proper place to park instead of a bike lane?

      Drivers are NOT entitled. . .to ANYTHING. Driving is a PRIVILEGE, not a right, and the size and speed capacity of a car gives you NOT A DAMN THING.

      And as far as the motorist paying when the errant cyclist winds up “under the wheels”. . .doesn’t happen. Carlos Bertonatti was RAGING DRUNK, carried a murdered cyclist’s bike under his car for MILES before being caught; it took him over three YEARS to go through the system, where he finally pled guilty. The overwhelming majority of drivers who cripple a cyclist and destroy his/her property SOMETIMES get a TRAFFIC TICKET, “improper lane change”, or somesuch GARBAGE.

      Grow UP.

      • John Dell

        Indeed I’m a cyclist, and I still ride the Peugeot UO8 10-speed that I’ve had for years. I think if you’ll do a little research, you’ll find no scarcity of car-vs.-bike accident cases involving auto insurance payouts to injured bicyclists who were clearly at fault. As with many insurance cases, it’s cheaper to throw a couple of thousand bucks at people to shut them up, rather than go to court. This also applies to pedestrians. A few years ago, a lady of my acquaintance stepped without looking, directly into the path of a car on San Andres Street. The accident was clearly her fault and she was cited by the police, yet–YET—the motorist’s insurance paid all of her medical bills.

        And yes, any casual observation of bicyclists will not only reveal far more traffic violations by bikers than car drivers, but far more serious ones. Which is more dangerous, a car making a California stop at 2 mph, or a biker whizzing through an intersection at 20 mph? Again, go to any 4-way stop intersection in town and see who commits the most violations, cars or bicyclists. It’s the bicyclists every single time.

        Further, the totally bogus 3-foot law won’t go into effect until the summer, so citing it now is meaningless. I’m confused about the comment about parking in bike lanes, since most suburban bike lanes aren’t dedicated bike lanes, but run adjacent to legal street parking spots.

        It strikes me as odd that bicyclists are the ones who are always ranting and squawking about car drivers, when it’s pretty obvious to one and all that it’s the bikers who are the most persistent and blatant traffic violators of all. If you don’t believe it. stand by any downtown mid-block traffic light and count the cars that pay no attention to it when it’s red. Then count the bikers who run it. I rest my case.

        • Bill Davidson

          By all means, go to that 4 way stop and count. You might be surprised.

          Bike lanes are by definition dedicated but bike lanes next to parallel parking are all too common and extremely dangerous.

          I don’t believe you that bicyclists are the most persistent traffic violators of all because I have eyes and I can see and I actually know the rules of the road.

        • Seriously? Which poses a greater risk to others, a 3,000 pound car or a 200 pound +/- bike rider — regardless of speed?

          Even the most reckless cyclist is primarily a danger to him or herself, while a careless, distracted or aggressive driver is a danger to everyone around them.

          As for breaking the law, I dare you to find one driver who never speeds, always signals and comes to a full stop at every stop sign. The problem is not that some bicyclists break the law, but that our society feels free to ignore both traffic regulations and common sense. And has forgotten that cars are big, dangerous machines capable of taking a life with a moment’s carelessness.

          The simple fact is, if we all obey the law and ride or drive safely, it’s almost impossible to have a wreck. Pointing the finger at one group or another accomplishes nothing; we all have to make road safety our top priority.

          • Thanks for this. CARS KILL PEOPLE, bicyclists, for the most part, do not.
            Everyone, drivers and riders should act responsibly and consciously on the road, but as in life, we all don’t, all of the time. It is amazing how much antipathy some people have for cyclists. I’ve always wondered why they resent them so? Is it jealousy? If a bicyclist chooses to go through a red light – after looking – when there is no cross traffic at all, who is harmed by that? If I am walking and come to a red light and there is no traffic at all around, I cross. Am I a criminal?

      • The lady who hit me, head below the steering wheel at 40mph on hot springs and blew the double yellow right into me got a improper lane change and was sent home. Look it up, Blume vs Boone Santa Barbara courthouse. Stop being ignorant, your driving a giant weapon!

    • Bill Davidson

      I see far more law breaking by motorists than I do by bicyclists.

      Every time I’m on the road I see numerous drivers speeding (usually a majority). The vast majority do not signal turns or lane changes. Quite a lot roll right on red and roll stop signs when there is no cross traffic. Most will not yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk unless there is a stop sign or red light and many won’t even yield then. I see a lot of tail gating. Quite a lot do not move as far right as practicable before a right turn. I could go on and on.

      Meanwhile, motorists kill over 4000 pedestrians per year in the U.S. and over 28,000 motorists. Bicyclists hardly ever kill anyone other than themselves.

      People clinging to the “bicyclists as dangerous scofflaws” myth are just making excuses to not share the road. They pretend to care about the law. They don’t. They pretend to care about safety. They don’t.

  2. I concur with Mr. Dell. Unless you’re from another planet, it’s obvious that a majority of bike riders don’t obey the traffic laws. Just prior to this writing I drove through Summerland, having to follow at a crawl a pack of bikes in the traffic lane, new expensive bike lane to the right. Not one of the cyclists cared that everyone was waiting for them to MOVE TO THE RIGHT, as is required by law, and STAY IN THE BIKE LANE, also required. They just looked back and ignored the line of cars. This isn’t some anomaly, it’s like that every single day. It’s clear that your ego was offended by Ms. Redds comments which were long overdue, and as she said no one wants to say it because it’s not PC. But hey buster, your bike riders are blowing off traffic regs all the time. Case in point today in Summerland. Yesterday in Summerland. Everyday in Summerland and everywhere else.

    Listen, the bikers and the bike lobby will get no creds whatsoever until and if ever a majority of bikes obey the traffic laws. Not all, just a majority. There will always be people who blow off the rules, but it’s not a minority, it’s MOST. These jerks in Summerland today, just your average bikie with a newfound attitude due to Pedro ‘Ignoramus’ Nava and his grand plan to create confusion and animosity. Looks like it’s already working.

    • Bill Davidson

      Where was this exactly where you were slowed to a crawl? That pretty much never happens to me when I’m driving. I always hear about it from the haters but I never see it. Of course, when I took driver’s education in 1979 I was taught how to move over to pass. Maybe you don’t know how to do that which is why you are slowed to a crawl.

      Even if there was a bike lane, the mandatory bike lane use law, CVC 21208(a) contains exceptions, which may have applied. So does the keep right rule for bicycles, CVC 21202(a), which usually has at least one or two exceptions that apply.

      • It’s not rocket science Bill. Lillie Ave. in Summerland, get around much? There isn’t any excuse for the bikes in the traffic lane there or most places, except that they feel like it. Whip out the law book all day, the jerks should have moved to the right. There was room in the bike lane, a new shiny expensive bike lane, regulation width, unless you just feel like riding three abreast and ignoring traffic. This is what Nava created, a pre-written excuse for bikers to act like jerks and then whip out the new law- it won’t work. Oh by the way it’s also illegal under this new law to cross over a yellow line to pass the crawling bikies in the traffic lane. Looking at this post it seems you have gone down the list to counter everyones observation that bikes aren’t following the rules very often and act like spoiled babies about it when they get called on it, like by Ms. Redd.

        Yes Bill we’re all blind and only you can see. How many stop signs will you blow today Bill? All of them if I had to make an educated guess based on observations along the road.

        • Bill Davidson

          You’d be guessing wrong about those stop signs but given your clear prejudice and bigotry I’m not surprised that you think that that is an educated guess.

          Lillie Ave in Summerland is only 0.7 miles long. It’s one of those annoying roads that changes names as you go along. How long did it take you to go 0.7 miles behind them? The speed limit is 25mph. Those big groups are usually pretty fast and were probably not going all that much less than that which means that the difference in time for you can probably be measured in seconds, not minutes.

          On the portion that is called Lillie Ave I see conditions which satisfy exceptions especially frequently or continuously approaching places where right turns are authorized. See CVC 21208(a)(4). By the way, those diagonal parking spaces qualify as places where a right turn is authorized and there are a lot of them. So are all of the driveways and intersections.

          After it becomes Ortega Hill on the west end, the bike lanes disappear.

        • all the parked cars in summerland are a danger, you have to ride in the lane or risk getting hit, those are not bike lanes those are edge lines. Again, educate yourself, maybe go for a ride yourself.

    • It’s not uncommon for drivers to mistake a fog line and paved shoulder for a “bike lane.” If what you thought was a bike lane was actually a newly-painted fog line and paved shoulder, the cyclists were not required by California law to be riding on the paved shoulder of the road, and were fully within the law to be riding in the lane.

      Of course, you might think they should still get out of your way on your road, but that is not the law.

  3. Triker Striker

    Better to listen to the very real complaints and rather than beat us up, take it to heart and organize fellow bikers to control their own kind. Vigilant vigilantes would make us all happier.

    Reminds me of the chronic “yeah, but what about alcohol” defense, when one points out the very serious bad effects of dope.

    “Yeah, what about cars” shows bikers don’t get it. There is nothing to defend their bad behavior. Police your own in the best way you can because if/when regulations come they will hit everyone.

    • Bill Davidson

      That’s just B.S. The people complaining about bicyclists are just angry that they have to share the road with what they see as lesser beings. It has nothing to do with compliance with the law or safety or even time lost. It’s childish territorialism and nothing else.

      • Nonsense. Bikes have their place, cars theirs. Both must share the road. But by and large, bikers around here are far more cavalier about traffic rules than autos. We walk a lot and experience both. Perhaps it’s because car drivers are more concerned with getting tickets, and of course they’re not agile like bikes are. Go to a European country with a more established bike culture and look at the difference. Bikes stop at signs and lights, yield to pedestrians, and stick to designated lanes when available. None of this rude gesturing or inconsiderate and juvenile blocking of traffic. We shouldn’t have to be wary of zooming bikes (and skateboards) busting the red lights at downtown crosswalks, but we do. Time for more courtesy and consideration on all fronts.

        • Bill Davidson

          Your territorialism and tribalism is the problem.

          Bicyclists are traffic. CVC 620.

          Bicyclists have as much right to travel on the road as motorists do. CVC 21200(a).

          It’s funny how in 34 years and 750,000 miles of driving I’ve never been stuck behind bicyclists for much more than a minute and I can count on one hand the number of times that it’s even been in that range.

          Usually when there’s a bike in front of me I change lanes. Problem solved. In the rare case that I can’t, I slow down and wait until I can and that’s usually just a few seconds at most.

          You need to let go of the delusion that the road is your exclusive territory. It isn’t.

          CVC 21202 and 21208 contain exceptions which cover many common conditions. Bicyclists don’t always have to ride far right or in the bike lane. Those exception address very real safety problems with riding far right or in the bike lane. Your ignorance of the law and bicycle safety is a big part of the problem here.

        • anon knows wazzup

          anon, my experience as well. Excellent observations. Never once ran into the hot dog arrogant and obscene attitudes in Euro bikers, that one certainly experiences on the streets and particularly the sidewalks in Santa Barbara. The arrogant territoriality of bikers on sidewalks deserve a special ring in hell.

      • Its pretty easy to see where Bill is coming from, anyone who decides anyone who doesn’t agree with them thinks their opinion is because they consider everyone else “lesser beings”. Throwing in territorialism and tribalism is another giveaway. He is one of those who is truly intolerant, much like a backwoods preacher, sovereign citizen type so blinded by his hatred and convinced of his message he can’t see any other sides arguments.

        I drive and bike and am convinced that the majority of those I share the road with are insane whether biking or driving. This just makes me be more defensive as you are all crazy.

        A final note on Mr Bill if he has to pull up google maps to find out where a road that everyone else on a hyper local blog knows from experience it shows how much of his opinion on the matter is based on any real knowledge of conditions. Therefore one should take any comment he makes with the appropriate grain or in this case hill of salt.

        • When Godwin was a Schwinn

          Godwin’s Laaw takes many forms. Excessive exaggeration in the middle of a sane discussion means game’s over.

        • Bill Davidson

          You have an opinion which is based in ignorance and rationalizing your delusions of entitlement.

          Anti-cyclists NEVER know the rules of the road with regard to bicycles. They always act like they are experts but they simply have no idea what the law actually says. They make up their own ideas about the law and assume them to be true and then they are disappointed when bicyclists do something different than their imaginary version of the law.

          Anti-cyclists NEVER know the principles of bicycle safety. I have studied bicycle safety from the League of American Bicyclists, Cycling Savvy, Effective Cycling, Cyclecraft, Bicycling Street Smarts and others. I have been riding on the road since 1971 and I have well into 6 figure mileage experience. I also have 34 years and about 750,000 miles of experience driving all over the country.

          Opinions of ignorant bigots who hate people for no good reason are not worthy of being respected.

          “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” – Isaac Asimov

          Hatred of bicyclists is not based upon concerns about safety or the law. Pretending that it’s about safety is laughable given that motorists are responsible for almost all of the death, serious injury and property damage on the roads. Concerns about the law are also laughable given that most anti-cyclists are precisely the types of people who exceed speed limits, roll stop signs and break numerous other laws themselves.

          I’ve had people run me off the road on a multi-lane road simply because they couldn’t tolerate the trivial inconvenience of changing lanes to pass a bicycle. I had every legal right to use the full lane and I can cite division, chapter and section of the CVC to back it up. I can also cite what actual safety experts say.

          People pushing hatred for bicyclists try to pretend that it is safety and/or law but they are invariably lying about the motivation for their hatred. They hate bicyclists because bicyclists are different from them and in their eyes inferior. They believe that the road is their territory and that bicyclists are invading it. That’s all there is to it.

    • That will be a credible argument when you take it upon yourself to force all other drivers to obey the law. As a bike rider, I am not responsible for the actions of any other bicyclist any more than I am the actions of speeding drivers when I’m behind the wheel.

      I am responsible for my own actions on my bike or in my car, just as you — and everyone else — are responsible for your own.

  4. Anonymous

    I would have to say, cyclists have not gone insane in SB, they have always BEEN INSANE. Anyone who does not have to navigate our streets in ANY VEHICLE or on foot has no clue. And I have no respect for anyone (Bob) who can defend the indefensible because he likes to ride bikes too. Cyclists flying through red lights and stop signs are absolutely a daily occurrence here. I watched someone ride through a red light the other day because they didn’t think there was any traffic. But the left turn arrow had just turned green. If not for the drivers who were really paying attention she would have been spread all over the intersection. She did not even seem to realize how close to death she had come. I could give you examples of this kind of behavior every day. Perhaps the wording of the other article was misleading, but what I think the author meant to do was give those two as examples of the mentality of bikers in our area. The mentality of the biker who was riding into oncoming traffic and flipped off the car that was in the lane is a perfect snapshot of the mentality of cyclists here.

    • Bill Davidson

      The reality is that you don’t notice most bicyclists. You only notice the ones that you see doing something wrong or something that you think is wrong even though it isn’t.

      It’s called confirmation bias. Look it up.

      • Standout

        You are right Bill. I would notice cars driving on sidewalks, flipping me off and yelling if I pointed out the cars belonged on the roads too.

        • Bill Davidson

          You won’t find me on the sidewalk unless I’m walking.

  5. Sick of Us Them

    This is the kind of inflammatory hyperbole just like the ‘alcohol is worse’ argument vs dope. Ms. Redd wasn’t attacking all bicyclists. And she pointed out poor car driver behavior. People need to stop feeling so stung and shouting ‘well what about those other guys!’ Dude, if you’ve been guilty of some poor behavior, then just cut it out. If the bicyclists are reading Mionske’s rants as Biblical, then NO WONDER we have a problem here!

    • Bill Davidson

      You claim that “Ms. Redd wasn’t attacking all bicyclists” and yet she explicitly said: “Santa Barbara cyclists have gone collectively insane.”

      How exactly is that not attacking all cyclists?

      Yes, the problem is that people like you are trying desperately to rationalize your irrational hatred and excusing the real dangers on the road while vilifying people who aren’t really hurting anyone.

  6. Anonymous

    The real issue is the exhibitionist nature of cyclists. I often swim at the YMCA but I sure don’t walk down to Jeanines in my speedo. Why the spandex crowd feels that it’s OK to walk about in man tights exposing one’s junk in coffee shops is beyond me. Bring along a pair of shorts for heavens sake or head down to the more mesa nude beach.

    • Bill Davidson

      The real issue is how they dress? Really?

      You’re special, aren’t you?

    • YOU have got to be kidding. Did your Mommy laugh at you when you were naked? Good Lord. Do you think everyone who’s on a bike has their car in a parking lot? When I lived and rode in SB, we used to ride down from Isla Vista and have coffee at The Roasting Company after the ride. Are you suggesting people should stuff a pair of pants in the micro pocket of their jersey just so you don’t have to look at a Ken bump in someone’s pants? Wow….glad I’m not married to you Ms./Mr. seriously repressed. Grow up.

  7. There is no way I would ride a bike on most local streets and roads. Foothill, Via Real, Modoc, Las Positas, anywhere cars can go more than 5 miles an hour. If I did my bike would be festooned with every kind of balloon, flag and flashing light available on the market, making the trip impracticle via bike. I won’t be ripping down State St. either, hoping the tourists from Illinois gawking at the scenery don’t wipe me out, and praying that I don’t wipe myself out while gawking at the scenery. Some very fine scenery indeed.

    No, I’ll be out on the bluffs or on an old no-traffic road enjoying the scenery without large objects whizzing by driven by maniacs on meth talking on the phone while swigging a sixpack while stuffing his face and yelling at the kids.

    I’ll get to my destination relaxed and happy, and hungry. I won’t have to wear that ridiculous looking garb, I can dress like a normal once-in-awhile biker, tennis shoes and whatnot. I can stop to enjoy a view let alone at a stop sign. I’ll sit at that sign all day until every car crazy has gone by, then amble across the road on my beater with the little ringy bell my gf gave me. People will ask ‘Where’s Toto? and we’ll laugh together about it. Just the mere thought of having to huff and puff along like a Lance makes me slow down and smell the roadside flowers. Sooner or later I’ll arrive home, look at the pics, smile.

    • Bill Davidson

      See the League of American Bicyclists web site for a directory of safety instructors near you. You can ride safely on most roads when you know how. It’s not difficult. It just takes a little bit of time to learn it.

  8. patrick

    I think the problem is that people (on all sides: bikes, cars, peds, skateboarders, etc) not obeying the agreed upon rules (i.e. laws). If we just obeyed the laws and showed common sense, there wouldn’t be a problem. As a cyclist (commuter, not a spandex fishing lure), I pretty much ride like I am in a car, obeying the same basic laws that I do when I drive, including signaling turns, stopping at lights, using lights, staying on the correct side of the road, frequently checking my rear view mirror, etc, and I generally don’t have problems or feel unsafe, nor do I cause drivers unnecessary grief.

    One thing I do find irritating is when drivers try to give me special privileges, like waiving me through an intersection when they clearly have the right of way — it really screws up traffic flow and irritates the drivers behind them.

    On my two daily round trips from home to/from work, I would say that the law that appears most commonly broken (by any mode of transportation) is drivers talking on cell phones, which I perceive as the biggest threat to my safety as a bicyclist.

  9. We do not want to be in cars way and cars do not want us in their way, so I prepose this, why don’t all you cyclist haters vote for us to have separate but equal facilities? There is no logical argument to this. Enjoy.

      • Doesn't sell the point

        Sorry but the only point is continuing to use a bike in competition with roads and cars is simply not a good transportation alternative. Buy a car instead when you want to get around.

        Stick to some other recreational activity that is safer and drop the idea you have superior or even equal shared rights with cars on the road.

        • You do realize that a lot of people can not afford a car right? Step down from your elitist tower and see that not everyone is privileged as you or wants to live like yourself.

          • Class envy drivers

            Carson, OMG, it is now a class envy issue. Best advice I can offer in your reduced circumstances is find a place where you can afford to live within your talents and your means. But do not ever ask a community to conform to your choices, after you chose to live there. You adapt to their standards instead of imposing yours on them.

            That is how it works. If the majority in this town don’t want to accommodate bikes taking over their sidewalks and through ways, that is the way it is in this town. You will be a lot happier if you stop fighting reality and the residents to get what you want; not them.

            Time for you to step down off your high horse. Thanks for letting us know where you are coming from. May there be a Tesla in your future if you work and save for it.

        • Bill Davidson

          @Doesn’t sell the point: Some people can’t drive cars. My friend Eli has impaired vision. He can see well enough to ride a bike but not well enough to get a driver’s license. He’s also a League of American Bicyclists certified safety instructor and one of the safest riders on the road.

          I suppose you think he should be forced to walk or use public transit or bum rides off friends to get around?

          I’ve been riding on the road since 1971. Bicycles work great for transportation for people with relatively short distances to travel and without a lot of stuff to carry. Bicycles on the road works just fine. You just think it doesn’t because you have no idea what you are talking about. You clearly have not studied bicycle safety which is why you think that it cannot be done safely. I can be done safely when you know how.

  10. Just a little of what we have to deal with out there.

    I was traveling eastbound on Cabrillo (a 2 lane in either direction road) on my bike at about 17mph. In-between the Chase Palm Park Center and Casa las Palmas I had an encounter with a newer model BMW Wagon sliverish/blueish, this segment is two lanes in each direction, i was riding in the sharrowed lane closest to the parked cars. He revved his engine at me from the back, coming within inches of my rear wheel! Then proceeded to come around me on the left and jerk the wheel and his car towards me, I felt like he was trying to put me into the parked cars. He then speeded off and I wondered why for less than a split second (because most of these guys want to yell or flip you off or something). Then I saw a moto cop pulling into Casa las Palmas right across the street where they often sit for speed enforcement. So I waved my arms violently and yelled so loud my voice now hurts “OFFICER!!!” 3-4 times (thinking that I might actually get one of these asshat drives for once) noticing that he wasn’t going to respond I turned my head back forward to try and get the plate off the BMW but he was long gone since I can only assume he saw the cop and hit the gas.

    After waiting for traffic to clear so I could safely make a U-turn I road back to the officer and said very sternly, [in a mildly gasping breath] “excuse me officer!” He then proceeded to use his arm to motion me back so he could get a clear line of sight with his speed detector, I said louder, “Are you often in the habit of ignoring people in distress!” He kept doing what he was doing for 20-30 seconds while I said that I was just assaulted by a car. A lot of words were exchanged most by me explaining what had just happened, he actually said he saw me waving my arms but didn’t think it was meant for him. He remained calm and in a seemingly smug tone, mentioned a couple times that I was keeping him from getting speeders. I was flabbergasted that he was annoyed that while I was trying to tell him I was just assaulted by a man driving a vehicle and his basic response was that I was hindering him getting his quota and that he was not at all concerned for my safety.

    About half way through all this lady came from the area of Casa las Palmas and proceeded to try and interject that when she was driving down the road she couldn’t tell who I was yelling at and that she doesn’t like it when she has to drive to work and there are 10-20 cyclist in the road, I yelled at her, “I don’t fucking care I was just one person, a cyclist, who got assaulted by a person driving car!” (I know thats not PC but people are just ignorant!) The officer eventually took my info and called it in, not as if it matters.

    To add salt to the wound about 1/2 mile after leaving the officer, right after the stop sign at Ninos, a car behind me laid on its horn and motioned for me to get out of the way, again in the sharrow lane, and no cars in the number 1 lane meaning he could have simply changed lanes and went around me. As if I wasn’t have a bad enough day, after that I came off the bike path onto butterfly beach, in the other lane coming towards me from the other direction was a trolley (front) a SUV and a car all going about 20-25mph the car in back decided that it would be just fine to pass the SUV and the Trolly over a double yellow making me come to a very precarious sandy road stop/avoidance, while she honked at me and flipped me off.

    I just don’t know what to say.

    • Class envy drivers

      Carson, after reading what you write now you probably gave attitude to the BMW driver and got what was coming. Some attitude back. Stop playing with fire and your entitlement attitude and see if being a good neighbor works better than someone with a class envy chip on their shoulder.

      • No attitude was given, the first way I knew that he was even in existence was when he laid on the horn behind me. I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing exactly where the law says I was to do it, there was a whole empty lane to the left, all the BMW driver had to do was change lanes and go around me. Entitlement! I should be entailed to not be harassed for just doing what I am supposed to, people in cars that do this kinda thing to people are nothing but bullies. GROW UP.

        • Carson… “Class envy drivers” is one of those incredibly insecure people who grew up feeling like he/she was not good enough. We’ll just go with “he”. He probably lives WELL above his means in order to impress his colleagues and friends. More than likely relatively homely, bored and bereft any emotional depth. He could easily have been the idiot in the BMW revving his engine at you. Same smug, infantile attitude.

          No point in arguing with ignorant. His points aren’t sound, reasoned or even interesting.

      • Also I do not envy people who are assholes, I have a RV, Car and Motorcycle. When you assume you make an ASS out of yourself.

      • Bill Davidson

        @Class envy drivers: When you see a bicyclist in the middle of the lane on a multi-lane road and rather than just change lanes to pass, you decide to confront the bicyclist, it is you who has the attitude problem; not to mention a severe ignorance problem. Bicyclists have a right to travel on the roads. They usually have the right to use the full lane. Anyone who actually knows the rules of the road and bicycle safety knows that.

        I never initiate confrontation with drivers but some of them sure do seem to want to confront me because changing lanes is just too difficult for them to comprehend. They are the ones with chips on their shoulders. They are the ones who are militant. They are the ones with anger issues.

    • Anonymous

      Well I know what to say. It seems like everyone is out to get you, so maybe it’s you, being the common denominator in each of these scenes. Coming close to your rear wheel, otherwise known as taligating, is so common as not to warrant even a second thought other than get them off your tail. It’s scary, sure, but yelling at a cop isn’t going to help your case. At Butterfly there’s always a lot going on, cars, tourists, beach walkers, road walkers and bikes flying down the hill into this morass of cars and people, zipping in and out of everyone. You did stop at the stop sign at the top of the hill before careening down into this busy area with people hopping in and out of parked cars, narrow lanes and pedestrians everywhere? Right?

      You could have taken the bike path, but you don’t want to share it with people walking? Well it’s tough on a bike with cars all around, nature of the beast. At least now you know how crossing that double yellow works out…it DOESN”T. Remember that as you crawl along like the trolley, knowing now that the people behind want to pass. Will you let them by moving over so that they don’t have to cross the yellow line into oncomng car and BIKE traffic?

      Hopefully you learned that cars are bigger and therefore more dangerous than bikes, and are driven by weird people on some kind of a trip, and that many times they aren’t going to treat you very well. I get the same treatment in my car, on my motorcycle and on my bike. And, that cops don’t like you in their face making demands, waving arms around and screeching in an out of control manner.

      • Tailgating is illegal, the fact that it is common does not make it right. If you tailgate a car and hit it you mess up paint and plastic, if you tailgate a cyclist and hit them you harm flesh and bone.

        There is no stop sign on the top of the hill. CAN YOU READ? I didn’t cross the yellow line a car did. Also the lane to the left of me was completely wide open, no cars, so why couldn’t the BMW just have changed lanes and went around me?

        When you wave your arms and scream for HELP from a cop they are supposed to help you.

        • Rose by any other name

          Why is it a “BMW” and not just a car?

          • It was an identifier for the police, I wrote this for a police report, it has nothing to do with class status, I drive a BMW my self so get over it.

    • Carson

      Assault requires contact…. Butch up prom queen

      • There was contact, me kicking the BMW to keep him from running me into the parked cars. My handle bar hit a park cars mirror and I kicked his back 1/4 panel. It’s called self defense.

        • Bad Example

          Actually Carson from the description you give of event, and your overblown claims of assault the only person who could have been arrested would be you for kicking their car.

          • Bill Davidson

            It’s assault. If you swing a baseball bat at someone’s head and miss, that’s still assault.

            It’s amazing how some people seem to think deliberate endangerment for the purpose of coercion is somehow legal or acceptable or in any way not assault.

        • Jury's out.

          Actually, I think it is called assault since you were out of danger yourself, Carson. It was an act of failed impulse control, retaliatory revenge. Misdemeanor vandalism, perhaps.

          • They are right. A near miss is not assault. I know you felt like retaliating. It seems like you are harboring some pent up anger from the lady who ran into you. Now you ride in the middle of sharrows, draw your line in the sand, snd challenge those around you with the law. I ride my bike too, sometimes you have to suck it up and pull to the right.

          • You people were not there, he was in the process of running me into the parked cars, he only stopped because his paint was getting messed up, how do you not see that! I was not out of danger I was defending my self. You are supposed to ride in the middle of the sharrows, thats what they are there for, its called taking the lane so someone doesn’t try and pass you and a parked car does not open its doors into you. I only started kicking after my handlebar clipped a parked cars mirror.

            There is no excuse for a car that could easily pass me on the left like they are supposed to, especially because there were no cars in the left lane. AGAIN ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS CAHNGE LANES, INSTED HE CHOSE TO ASSULT ME AND I DEFENDED MYSELF.

      • Bill Davidson

        Assault does not actually require contact. It requires intent causing the reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact.

  11. Find a bench on lower State street, for example, and just sit and watch an intersection for even five minutes. You’ll see cars speeding through lights, folks jay walking, skate boarders using the bike lane, bicycles on the side walks and then suddenly veering into traffic, pedestrians on the corner facing the crossing light waiting for it to change and then one or two of them suddenly changing their mind about which way they want to cross and steps step out in front of a moving car, or mopeds splitting lanes, just to name a very few examples. I see mistakes and near misses that make me wince several times a day here.

    This lovely and unique city seems always to be in a hurry. It appears that a lot of us 1) don’t know or understand (or have forgotten) the rules for pedestrians and the variety of transportation using our streets and/or 2) they are in too big of a hurry to observe the rules. And I think most of us could use a refresher on how to communicate better with our follow travelers, i.e. making eye contact, hand signals, or using the car horn judiciously instead of an expression of anger or impatience.

    We need a major public education campaign in this city to raise awareness and educate everyone on the rules and best practices for the various types of transportation found on our city’s streets and the safest ways to navigate and share our very congested, narrow, busy roadways. I’d love to see our community take pride in road safety a priority, not through law making or traffic revisions (though we do need some of those), but through collective effort and public awareness.

    It would help to keep the concepts of vehicle and pedestrian safety in front of more people, more often, including perhaps reminder signs listing the number of days since the last fatal incident and a running tally of those lost each year as a reminder to slow down and pay attention and share the road with all our fellow travelers around us, also PSAs, school programs and parent outreach, and local business assistance in helping to spread the word about safety.

    • PSA's work

      PSA’a are very effective – we repeat and we repeat a catchy slogan until it is embedded. It worked for decades with “Stop Look and Listen” “Only You can Prevent Forest Fires”, Give a Hoot – Don’t Pollute”.

      And then we don’t hear these snappy phrase any longer and we suffer the consequences. People get killed at train crossings, all our wild fires were human caused, and scofflaws and drug lords ruin our public spaces.

      What would be a very short, snappy slogan to get all our points made here about bikes, cars and pedestrians across?

  12. Christian

    Overweight hominids are constantly complaining about cyclists who wear lycra. Well, they make clothes for fat hominids too, they call them sweats. Please note: those “skinny” jeans you got on..nobody likes to see half of your ass stuffed into your back pockets OK muffin top! ; )

  13. I ride my vintage 3 speed bike around downtown pretty often and don’t have any of the problems all these people are complaining about. Regardless of what your ride is, share the road, give up the “me first” attitude, be kind to others. Remember when people used to say “after you”? It’s worked for me for a lot of years.

  14. Anonymous

    Today’s driving log: Two bikes on Via Real weaving in and out of the traffic lane. Five bikes on Jameson ignoring the legal bike lane and riding in traffic erratically. Same five blew stop signs at Ortega Hill/Sheffield, Jameson/(that road), Jameson/San Ysidro, Jameson/Olive Mill intersection. Two bikes on Cabrillo all over the place in both traffic lanes. Both blew the light at Cabrillo by the East Beach Grill and at Milpas. Lone bike on Via Real/Cravens blew stop sign,three cars at the intersection. Lone bike at Santa Claus Lane/Via REal jerks into traffic to turn left off Via Real, no signal of any kind, almost killed by truck. Lone bike at Cabrillo/State stopped but hopping on the pedals no feet on ground falls into car next to him. Looks foolish does not apologize to driver. One bike at Coast Village/Middle road stopped at stop sign, I almost fell out of my car in shock.

    Most days this is the situation.

    • KD, 1/9, @9:47 (and his suggestions) is right; as is Carson Blume relating his experiences; and I am sure that Anonymous January 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm is accurately reporting. What he says corresponds with what I see frequently along Cabrillo Blvd, where stop signs seem to be only for cars and sidewalks are siderides.

      I love biking, have two bikes (one an older electric) but I am afraid to bike around Santa Barbara on city streets so I rarely bike but instead drive around town, and I think obey the rules, but get infuriated by the scofflaw attitudes of so many of the bikers here.

      You bikers should know that every time you blow through a stop sign while cars are waiting, you create in those stopped, watching, if not a bike-hater at least someone who strongly resents local bikers and who will react accordingly.

      • Bill Davidson

        I see drivers rolling stop signs and rolling right on red.

        Apparently only bicyclists are required to stop.

  15. Carson’s Right, and anyone who says he isn’t, hasn’t ridden a bike in the last 20 years. Just because YOU like to tool around a private subdivision’s “lake walking path” with your five year old on training wheels doesn’t mean you ride a bike too. Get out there, ride to and from work a couple times. Ditch the Tesla or Prius that I saw a few of you claiming above, and actually be green, like you say you are. That electricity you use, didn’t just ‘magic’ itself into being. It was generated, at the cost of sustainability. While the energy from my legs, pushing me speedily around, I got it for free and the only byproduct was some harmless natural gas, at best

    Appreciation for the issues Carson is raising can only be gained from real world experience of the problems. I live in Santa Rosa, a huge cycling community, and we have the same problems here. To all you cycling haters out there: I will not get out of the road, because when I do move to the side, over the fog line and off the road, you treat me like I dont exist, but I do still exist, and when you drive your 2500+lb mass of steel by me at high speeds, affording me just a couple inches of room, it scares the living shit out of me. Id rather remain that pain in your ass, the one you have to slow down for, to 20 mph, for maybe 10-20 seconds, because this way, I only annoyed you for a few seconds, but I got to stay alive for who knows how long. Pretty good trade off IMO.

    • Ahhh David thanks for showing your ignorance of our area. Not a whole lot of private subdivision with lakes down here. I ride to work at least once a week because its good exercise and I do think the insanity of some other bikers and drivers can be scary so I try to be proactive and defensive when riding or driving.

      Unlike you who doesn’t know our area and trying to chime in with no idea of what you are talking about. I can make a actual factual statement just from the info provided in your post, you come off like a real As#*ole.

      • Bill Davidson

        The claims of “you don’t know our area” are completely ridiculous.

        The roads are basically the same situation everywhere. Urban areas are urban areas. Suburban areas are suburban areas. Rural areas are rural areas. It’s all just roads.

        If you ride and you haven’t taken a safety class then you probably don’t know how to ride safely:

  16. Mirror, mirror on the wall

    We only hate attitude-pushing, scofflaw bikers; not bikers.

    Not courteous biker who are willing to share the road, recognizing their own built-in impediments to the normal free flow of traffic. You will always be slower than a car in the normal flow of traffic in most situations, so acknowledge this and stop demanding it is your way or the highway.

    Pedestrians have right away in all cross walks, but only fools walk out into harms way to assert that right in face of an oncoming car in less than safe distances. Bikers need to take the same approach to their “rights”.

    Hey, I know car drivers can be thoughtless jerks because I gave up riding my bike years ago just for that reason. But you still refuse to accept many bike riders are jerks too, because they are now making me want to give up walking on sidewalks too.

    No bozos – for bikes and cars, okay. Are we in agreement?

    • Bill Davidson

      How do you in your car share the road with garbage trucks or buses or loaded 18 wheelers? Do you expect them to just move over and get out of your way or do you expect to have to move over to pass?

      Why do you think it’s different when it’s someone riding a bicycle?

      Most lanes are too narrow for a bike and a car to travel safely side by side within the lane, particularly considering speed differentials.

      Why is it that you feel entitled to not move over to pass a bicyclist even though you move over to pass every other type of slow traffic on the road?

      The fact is that out of the many thousands of hours I’ve lost to slow traffic in the 34 years that I’ve been driving, bicyclists might account for maybe 10 minutes of it, probably less. Bicyclists hardly ever slow me down and when they do it’s usually just for a few seconds. Motorists slow me down every single time I drive. You’re focusing on the least of your problems on the road and ignoring the worst problems on the road. You do this because of prejudice and territorial delusions of entitlement. Bicyclists are not an actual problem. They are an imaginary problem.

  17. el_smurfo

    my wife in her tiny compact car was just hit by spandex warrior who was using his phone while biking. he cemented the awesome character profile of santa barbara bicyclists by calling my wife a jackass in front of my 2 year old daughter. carson really does seem to fit the profile of local entitled a$$hole bicyclists who hurt their cause more than help every time they open their mouths. maybe they should take up throwing rocks at the clean air express?

    • Anonymous

      He probably the went to the Tea Leaf and exposed his bike tights in the coffee shop causing even more traumatic damage to women and youngsters.

    • el_smurfo

      BTW, her first words were, “i’m sorry” and she has felt bad all day. Why someone feels the need to call someone an obscenity in front of their child, rather than have an adult conversation says it all about the local bicyclist community.