Bicycling in Long Beach, the most friendly

news has spread throughout the Long Beach cycling community, indeed beyond the city’s borders, of the immediate crack-down of the most recent Long Beach Critical Mass ride.

let it be noted here, now, that Long Beach Cyclists has no stance for, nor against the Critical Mass rides which take place all over the country and around the world in many metropolitan areas. what we do stand for is abiding by all traffic laws just as motorists must. “Same Roads. Same Rights. Same Responsibilities.” you can read all about the CA vehicle code as it concerns bicycles and their drivers here [LINK]. and though it’s not a legal requirement for those of us over the age of 17, we strongly recommend the proper use of helmets while biking. I, Travis Bos, current vice-pres of this organization, do not bike without one.

if you don’t know what happened with October 29th’s Critical Mass you can read the articles already published by others here (LA Times), here (P-T), here (, and here ( don’t forget to read the comments, of which there are many. this is very important dialogue occurring among cyclists.

it’s a dialogue which will be brought to Long Beach’s City Hall this Tuesday, November 9th at 5pm. our friends at PedalMovement are organizing a group to go before city council to express their concerns over this most recent clash of cyclists and non-cyclists. please, let this not be characterized as a march on city hall with picket signs and shouting and anger. these are honest citizens looking to express their concerns with a perceived contradiction in the policies and actions of “the most bicycle friendly city in America.”

PedalMovement’s plan is to meet in Lincoln Park (broadway/pacific) an hour before the council meeting to organize, clarify and galvanize their efforts. everyone will be wearing green as they step up to the podium to talk about issues such as a Cyclist’s Bill of Rights.

Ronnie Sandlin, spokesman for this issue for PedalMovement, has given his phone number for contact (562 243 2448) if you would like to be more involved. if you’d like to show up in support of bicycling in Long Beach, please remember to wear green.

Traffic Skills 101—Wednesday eve, July 21

Traffic Skills 101—the short-duration course that helps you develop skills to cycle Long Beach streets more safely—is taught by instructors (LCI’s) who are certified by the League of American Bicyclists. The course at CSULB Pyramid Annex is free, but advance registration is required. Click EDUCATION at the top of the page for more information and to link to the CSULB web site to register.

This will be will be the last opportunity to take Traffic Skills 101 in Long Beach this summer.

By the way, the photograph was lifted from the cover of the Smart Cycling pamphlet of the League of American Bicyclists. Given that the League is based in Washington, D.C., can you identify which building we see in the background? And… can you identify who is the LCI in the photo? Hint, he is well known in the Long Beach cycling community.

Traffic Skills 101—Wednesday June 16 and 19

Traffic Skills 101—the short-duration course that helps you develop skills to cycle Long Beach streets more safely—is offered only a handful of times each year. The course at CSULB Pyramid Annex is free, but advance registration is required. Click EDUCATION at the top of the page for more information and to link to the CSULB web site to register.

The last opportunity to take Traffic Skills 101 this summer will be in July.

Traffic Skills 101 for cyclists in mid-February

The next Traffic Skills 101 course taught by League-certified Cycling Instructors (LCI’s) is scheduled for February 17 and 20. You need to register in advance. The February course will meet at CSULB Pyramid Annex, (Atherton, between Bellflower and Palo Verde).

For details and to register online, click EDUCATION at the top of the web page.

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Reading Group discusses cycling issues Sunday, January 31

January 31st at 6:00 pm, join us at Portfolio Coffee House on Fourth at Junipero for an additional opportunity to discuss interesting ideas found in Jeff Mapes’ book Pedaling Revolution.

The Long Beach Cyclists Reading Group, organized by Kevin Flaherty, meets monthly to discuss books and news of interest to the local cycling community.

Click EVENTS at the top of the page, and scroll to the January 31st calendar entry to view a map pointing to Portfolio.

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Bicycle Advisory Committee in Long Beach?

Click on this must-read letter. It’s from Russ Roca. Russ writes to friends and to all those who look forward to Long Beach becoming an even better city than it already is.

Charles Gandy is the City of Long Beach Mobility Coordinator. Gandy is a nationally known cycling advocate who for the next year or two has made Long Beach home while contracted to assist the City of Long Beach in its efforts to make Long Beach a better, more livable city for all.

A League Certified Instructor (LCI) leads traffic skills courses for cyclists and other road users. Several members of Long Beach Cyclists are LCIs. Long Beach offers Traffic Skills 101 at CSULB Pyramid Annex. Click EDUCATION at the top of the web page for more details and to find out how to sign up for an upcoming course.

Russ Roca and Laura Crawford have been on a cross-country cycling adventure called Path Less Pedaled since August of 2009. They send us updates, this time from Arizona. For several years, Russ made a living here in Long Beach as the Eco-Friendly Bicycling Photographer. Daily, Russ was seen cycling here and there around Long Beach and beyond on his cargo bike—a long bike with an enormous rack to carry lots of specialized photo equipment. Many of Russ’ photographs have been featured in the District weekly and other publications. Both Russ and Laura were active participants in Long Beach Cyclists and cycling advocacy when they lived in Long Beach.

Russ and Laura, we send you a ‘hello’ from Long Beach, California!  We miss you. We wish you continued safe travels and more wonderful adventures!

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Practice what you preach

Welcome to another exciting edition of “What’s Wrong With This Picture?!

Your hosts for this show are two of Long Beach’s very own bicycle-mounted Police.

This photo was taken on E. Broadway near Promenade, looking East.

So, how many things can YOU find wrong with this picture?
Click for larger image
Illegal Cycling

As you know, Long Beach is looking for a new Chief of Police.

With the city’s commitment to become the most bicycle-friendly city in the nation – it would be ideal if the new Chief had a sense of what his officers could do to make Long Beach safer and more enjoyable for cyclists, and to set the best example possible to citizens and residents.

With that in mind, what questions would YOU have for the new Chief?

Traffic Enforcement for Bicyclist Safety

Traffic Enforcement for Bicyclist Safety from Chicago Bicycle Program on Vimeo.

Licenses, loopholes and legality

When I was 14 and working on my Cycling merit badge, one of the requirements was that the bicycle meet all legal requirements. Being in Boy Scout Troop 212 of Long Beach, that meant getting my bike licensed. I remember the Saturday morning that my father gave me a dollar and sent me down to the local fire station to get my license. I paid my dollar, filled out a form and signed a yellow piece of paper. I was legal. The end.

Since then I can count no-less-than 23 bicycles that I have had licensed. I currently have 4 bicycles, all of which are licensed pursuant LBMC 10.50.020 – within the past 2 years.

Or so I thought.

I’ve made some calls recently trying to get to the bottom of this bicycle license program. Major cities across the country are disbanding their programs, and I have personally witnessed the racial/class profiling that Long Beach’s license program is used for. I can’t get any straight answers as to what the real purpose of the program is supposed to be.

Myth #1 – for cyclists to pay their way.

  • According to the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA), 92% of the funds for local roads–the ones most often used by cyclists–come from property, income, and sales taxes. Bicyclists pay these taxes just like everyone else does.
  • FWHA calculates that 92% of federal highway funds come from user fees. But 8% come the general fund, so even a bicyclist who owns no car contributes to federal highway funds, too.
  • Many services associated with the roadways are paid out of general tax funds. Examples: police, fire and ambulance services, traffic court, subsidized parking. A typical household pays a few hundred dollars per year towards such services. Bicyclists pay for a share of these services just like everyone else does.
  • Bicycles have a very low impact on the roadway. One study found that bicycles impose about 0.2 cents per mile in roadway costs. Bicyclist pay no user fees so the entire 0.2 cents/mile comes from the general tax fund.
    Myth #2 – to stop theft

    When you take your bicycle to a Fire Station on Saturday between 9am-Noon, the firefighter does not check the serial number of the bike against the database. According to April Tomecko at LBFD, the firefighters that do the licensing do not even have access to the database.  

    The form is filled out and at some point sent to headquarters, who then sends it to the Police Department, who are then supposed to enter the information in to a database for State and local agencies to access. Not until the final step would a theft be noticed – and then it is up to a detective to take up the case and track down the bike and individual.

    When I spoke to Dorothy Nulk at the Long Beach Police Department – Child Protective Services (the department within the PD that handles bike licensing administration), I had to talk her through the process of getting a bicycle licensed. She said that she had access to the database and offered to run my name. Sounds fun, lets do it.

    No record found.

    How can that be? I have four bikes that are current, and they don’t pop up. Not only are the bikes missing, but so is any record of my name. Not one bike I have ever licensed has gotten in to the database. I have my yellow copies of the 4-sheet carbon transfer registration slip – I have them laminated – they don’t expire until December 31, 2009 – they don’t exist in the system.

    California Vehicle Code 39005.
    Cities and counties having a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution shall maintain records of each bicycle registered. Such records shall include, but not be limited to, the license number, the serial number of the bicycle, the make and type, of the bicycle, and the name and address of the licensee.
    Records shall be maintained by the licensing agency during the period of validity of the license or until notification that the bicycle is no longer to be operated.
    Amended Ch. 947, Stats. 1973. Effective January 1, 1974.

    Long Beach does not HAVE TO require bikes to be licensed, but since they do, the State requires them to keep a record of the above mentioned information. In my case, the City is not keeping up its end of the bargain. Can I write the City a ticket?

    Thanks to Dr. Brent Hugh at StLRBF for tax data.

  • E is for Educating Enforcement

    LBCyclist member and his experience with educating enforcement.

    Middle of the day. Hardly any traffic and I just got pulled over for not riding on the “right side.” I’m no racer but 15mph on 2nd Street isn’t going that much slower than car traffic through there.

    I tried to explain to the officer that any closer and I would be in the “door zone.” He seemed nonplussed.

    I cited the vehicle code and told him that it said I was to ride to the right as “practicable” which is a big difference than “possible”, because it was up to me to determine if there were any hazards. He didn’t seem to care.

    I told him that I was riding exactly where the new sharrows would be on 2nd street in a few months. The new wha? I don’t see them now.

    I was holding him up. Although I was on the right travel lane and he was on the left and he wanted me to know about it.

    I’m about as law biding a cyclist as you can get in Long Beach. I ride in the correct direction of traffic. I don’t ride on the sidewalk. One of the first things I keep trying to advocate for is that we have to educate the enforcement on the laws regarding bicycling. Maybe NOW might be a good time to start.

    For those that are curious, the CVC as pertaining to bicycles is the following. I was exercising my right (3) because I was avoiding the rather unpleasant “fixed object”…aka door, but also because when I ride as far as the right as practical, I always get buzzed too close. Hence, riding more “practicable.”

    21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
    (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
    (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
    (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.