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Stolen Bikes on eBay

Stolen Bicycles on eBay, Bikes on eBay, Bicycles on eBay

“The Wall Street Journal” has an interesting story about stolen bikes on eBay.

Stolen bikes on eBay are plentiful. And that is a major problem. The Bike GPS is committed to the fight against bike theft in America. And so we read with great interest a piece entitled “Piecing Together Clues to a Theft Drives Home How Tough It Is to Police the Online Marketplace” written by Reed Albergotti in “The Wall Street Journal” recently. Thieves apparently broke into Albergotti’s home and made off with some fancy bicycles of his. An avid cyclist, this left him quite upset and so he couldn’t help but search online to see if any of his favorite bikes were being resold. He had nearly given up when he suddenly found his 2008 Ridley Noah, which retails for thousands of dollars.

As Albergotti describes it, “In the early morning hours of March 13, thieves broke into my apartment building. They broke into a locked bike room and walked out with several expensive rides. Among them: my old racing bike, a 2008 Ridley Noah that retails for thousands of dollars. It has a custom paint job, with my last name clearly printed on the top tube. A couple of months later, someone sold the bike on eBay to a guy named Douglas who lives in Dallas. The search for my bike highlights the underside of e-commerce: The same technology that lets us efficiently buy and sell used goods is also an efficient way to unload stolen property. Policing the online marketplace for stolen goods can be a Sisyphean task.”

And while Albergotti was able to find his bike online, he ran into a whole lot of red tape when he tried to get the bike back. eBay requires that there be a documented police report and even then, since eBay doesn’t store the merchandise and is only a means by which folks can buy and sell items, they don’t really have much say in the matter. Albergotti would get in touch with the police and eBay’s anti-fraud division but, ultimately, he still hasn’t gotten his bicycle back. Bureaucracy.

Bicycling in Beverly Hills

Cycling in LA, Cycling in Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Biking

Beverly Hills homeowners are insane if they think this grass should remain “park land.” How selfish of them. This land could be used to keep cyclists safe. Shame on them (photo credit: “Curbed Los Angeles”).

Bicycling in  Beverly Hills is not safe and, if the homeowners have anything to do with it, will remain unsafe for years to come. If you’re not already aware, Beverly Hills homeowners oppose the implementation of bike lanes in Beverly Hills. And their reasons for opposing these bike lanes are, in the words of “Curbed Los Angeles,” absolutely “insane.” We couldn’t agree more. It’s no wonder the folks on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” are totally nuts. These people are not rational thinkers. Allow us to elaborate, thanks to the great research conducted by “Curbed Los Angeles.”

For starters, take a look at the photo to the left. Beverly Hills homeowners are arguing that this land is important park land and must be preserved. Doesn’t it just look like it’s calling out for preservation? Please. That lame grass area could instead be used to keep cyclists safe on Santa Monica Blvd. but instead selfish homeowners are fighting to keep it intact. So their little dogs with more clothes than their owners can conduct their business there.

But that’s not all. Here are a few other insane reasons Beverly Hills homeowners are opposing bike lanes in their city, as reported by “Curbed Los Angeles”: “Bike lanes on heavily traffic-impacted streets create dangerous conditions. ‘There are so-called ‘White Paper’ analyses that argue just the opposite in theory. But would it offend your common sense to suggest that a bike lane on the north side of [Santa Monica Boulevard] would create an un-safe condition when motorists make right hand turns across the bike lane to proceed in a northern direction while traveling in the west bound lane?’ ‘Blind-spots’ for drivers on the rear right-side create a hazard for motorists and bicyclists when drivers make a right-turn. ‘New York City had in excess of four thousand bike related accidents/ deaths last year.’” And you wonder why people think Beverly Hills homeowners are out of touch. They’re not just out of touch. They’re certifiably insane. Insane. And worse — should a biker get injured or God forbid die within Beverly Hills — this blood is on their hands. Shame on the people of Beverly Hills. Shame on the Beverly Hills North Homeowners Association!

And, while you’re here, read about a great cycling advocate who we once saw eating lunch in Beverly Hills — at Bouchon. We know what this man would have thought about these crazy Beverly Hills homeowners. Nothing good.

Intentionally Hitting a Cyclist

Hitting A Cyclist, Intentionally Hitting a Biker, Hitting Bikers

The Bike GPS scorns the decision of Manhattan’s DA, Cy Vance, to not prosecute a driver who intentionally rammed a cyclist and then fled the scene. It’s no wonder he is the son of the Secretary of State under the worst president in American history.

Intentionally hitting a cyclist with one’s car is not ok, but if those who commit these acts aren’t prosecuted, doesn’t that tell the world that it is ok? One would think! The Manhattan District Attorney, Cy Vance, recently decided to drop the assault charges that were filed against Jose Henriquez. For those not familiar with the case, Mr. Henriquez intentionally rammed a cyclist with his SUV and then fled the scene. So, to sum things up, a driver of a motor vehicle, used his vehicle as a deadly weapon to cause bodily harm to a cyclist and the cyclist won’t be going to jail. In fact, he won’t even be paying a big fine. He’ll be paying $250. That’s his fine. Let’s repeat that for effect: $250.

As reported by “Streets Blog NYC,” “According to [Steve] Vaccaro, [the victim's attorney], and a witness affidavit, at around 5:00 p.m. on July 13, 2013, Michael (not his actual name) was riding his bike on Avenue B on the Lower East Side. Avenue B is a narrow two-way street with no bike lanes and parking on both sides. To avoid being doored, Michael was riding in the center of his lane. When a motorist approached Michael from behind, tailgating and honking, he responded by flipping the driver off. Approaching the intersection of Avenue B and E. 13th Street, Michael slowed for a red light. According to the affidavit, the driver, still behind him, accelerated, striking the back of Michael’s bike and flipping him over the handlebars, causing him to hit his head on the ground. With Michael in the street bleeding from his face and head, the motorist swerved around him and attempted to drive off. A second motorist on the opposite side of the intersection tried to block the way, but the SUV driver went around the vehicle and left the scene.”

Shame on Cy Vance, the Manhattan DA, for setting this awful precedent. What this decision not to prosecute Mr. Henriquez does is tell every driver of a motor vehicle that it’s not only acceptable to plow down cyclists, but it’s then ok to flee the scene. Shame, shame, shame on Cy Vance. You bring shame to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and should be removed from this post.

Bike Racks on Buses

Bus Bike Racks, California Bus Bike Racks, Bicycle Racks on Buses

The Bike GPS salutes California Governor Jerry Brown for signing a bill that allows buses to transport more bicycles.

Bike racks on buses will soon have more room for bikes! The Bike GPS salutes California Governor Jerry Brown, who earned reelection tonight to serve a second straight terms as California’s chief executive. Interestingly, Governor Brown was first elected as governor forty years ago. This is is second go-around in this post. But we’re not saluting Governor Brown for his win. We’re saluting him because we believe Jerry Brown to be a fierce cycling advocate. We’ve now got the Three Feet for Safety Law in effect these days on California streets and, recently, Governor Brown signed a bill that allowed busses to have larger bike racks. This way, they can transport more bikes!

According to an article on bike racks on buses up on “Streets Blog LA,” “California transit agencies are now allowed greater use of bus-mounted bike racks that hold three bicycles. Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 2707 Tuesday, a bill authored Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) to allow 40-foot-long buses to be equipped with folding bike racks that can carry up to three bikes. It was the first bill signed by the governor this year that’s on Streetsblog’s unofficial watch list of bills related to sustainable transportation. Current law restricts the length of vehicles equipped with bike racks on California roads to a maximum length of 40 feet. An exception was created for AC Transit in the Bay Area, after legislation was passed several years ago to allow the agency to exceed the length limit when it added three-bike racks to the front of its buses.”

We salute Governor Brown for making cycling easier on California streets with these new bike racks on buses. If bikers get tired while biking or if it gets dark, they now have room to put their bikes on bus bike racks. It’s green friendly. It’s safe. It’s the right thing to do. This is good for cyclists and it’s good for the State of California. Well done, Governor Brown. Well done.

Shame on Ironman

Ironman Tri, Ironman Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Ironman

Ironman forgot their priorities…and their roots.

9/25 Update: We have received a communication from the CEO of Ironman, Andrew Messick: “Appreciate your feedback. Understand your frustration. we [sic] can agree to disagree on the rest.” That’s all he’s got? Talk about tone deaf. That must have taken him a long time to write such a thoughtful note. Clearly he forgot much of what he learned while getting his MBA from the Yale School of Management.
 
Originally Posted on 9/22: There are few things I am prouder of than being an Ironman. And it’s not just the pride one carries with them for finishing the 140.6 mile race. It’s about being part of a community of people who attempt the ridiculous — those who dare to do what the vast majority of others may deem impossible. From the 75 year-old woman attempting her tenth Ironman to the Iraq veteran attempting to complete his first on a prosthetic, the Ironman is for the dreamers among us. Over the past few days, the Ironman organization forgot their mission statement. They operated as a business squarely concerned with their bottom line. They let slip that they are in the business of making dreams come true.

This past Tuesday, an arsonist ignited fires in Lake Tahoe, endangering lives of brave firefighters and residents across the region. Over the next few days, the fires would spread and on early Saturday evening, the night before the Ironman Lake Tahoe, smoke filled the air across the region. The Ironman, which was set to go off at 6:30 AM, was canceled only a few minutes before the start of the race. Ironman had called for swimmers to report to the water and it was in the water, moments later, where we were informed that the race was canceled. Triathletes who came from 49 states and 65 countries would not be able to compete that day. And it was the absolute right call. The smoke’s spread had made the event dangerous to human health.

But while this was the right call, the call should have been made on Saturday night so that Placer County health officials could have been focused on what really mattered — fighting fires and saving lives rather than devoting their limited resources to the race. Ironman also dropped the ball with respect to their communications. Not once in the days prior to the race did they directly communicate with the event’s participants about the smoke. So when Ironman did inform the racers at the very last moment when we were all pumped and ready to go, it came as a shock. But it shouldn’t have. Ironman was aware of the developing smoke across Tahoe since Tuesday and made several comments to the local press. But Ironman athletes shouldn’t be expected to read the local press. Ironman had a responsibility to update their athletes directly via email, text, or Twitter. Their only direct communication about the race was to state that it was canceled.

The Ironman is a boon to Lake Tahoe’s economy. It certainly has the appearance that the Ironman organization was primarily concerned with participants — and their families and friends — potentially leaving Tahoe early or canceling their trip outright, thereby hurting local hotels, restaurants, and businesses. It’s unsettling that most of the communication to the press by “Ironman Lake Tahoe organizers” in the days leading up to the race was handled by the Chief Marketing Officer of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, and not the Ironman organization itself.

Biking to the Emmys

Cycling to the Emmys, Emmy Cycling, Biking to Emmy Awards

Why not bike to the Emmys? Way to raise awareness for cycling in LA, Tom Smuts.

Thinking of biking to the Emmys? Why not! We came across this cute video featuring an Emmy-nominated writer from “Mad Men,” Tom Smuts. Smuts decided to bike to the Emmys and he did so in style — with a group of other cyclists. His purpose? To raise awareness that Los Angeles is a cycling city. He wants to increase the number of bike lanes and support the bike lanes that have already become a part of the city’s infrastructure. He made the following video with the support of the Los Angeles County Cycling Coalition. And take a look — he even wore a cycling hat on the red carpet…not to mention he carried his helmet! Very cool. Well done, Tom Smuts. And nice spread in “The Hollywood Reporter” for your cycling efforts. #CicLaEmmys!

Cycling in Santa Monica

Cycling in Santa Monica, Bicycling in Santa Monica, Santa Monica Biking

More students are biking to Santa Monica High School than ever before! We love that.

Every day is Bike It Day at Santa Monica High School! Santa Monica city officials are reporting that more students than ever before are choosing to go to and from Samohi via bicycle. With the City of Santa Monica becoming more and more bike friendly with the new bright green bike lanes on many thoroughfares, this comes as no surprise to us at The Bike GPS. Santa Monica is quickly establishing itself as one of the nation’s bike friendliest cities.

According to an article on biking in Santa Monica in “The Santa Monica Daily Press,” “Despite the rising interest, major City Council-approved bike-friendly improvements around the school are not yet complete. The Samohi connector is funded through an $880,000 Safe Routes to School Grant and a $100,000 City Hall match. Small sections of both Michigan Avenue and Seventh Street will become one-way traffic zones. A traffic signal and crosswalk will be added at the corner of Pico Boulevard and Seventh Street near the campus’ main entrance.”

We’re sure glad that Santa Monica is making these improvements not only for the students of Santa Monica High School but for all Santa Monica residents. Thank you to the Santa Monica City Council for your efforts in making Santa Monica a cycling destination! And, while you’re here, read about Santa Monica Bike Lanes.

A True Cycling Advocate

Cycling Advocate, Biking Advocate, Biker Advocate, Cyclist Advocate

The Bike GPS salutes Mayor Penalosa for his cycling advocacy (photo credit: Dodo from Finland).

We at The Bike GPS previously came down hard on the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, for essentially blaming the death of London cyclists on the cyclists themselves. While Johnson purports to be a cycling advocate, we questioned his alignment with the interests of London cyclists. But for every mayor that doesn’t support cyclists, there is likely a mayor that does. Enrique Penalosa, the former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia and a Duke University alumnus, is one of cycling’s greatest and smartest advocates.

As featured in the documentary “Urbanized” (currently available on Netflix), one of the reasons why we love Mayor Penalosa is for making the point that parking is not a human right. While various rights are afforded to citizens of Colombia in their nation’s constitution, the right to park is not among them. And why does this matter? Well, if transportation administrations are trying to come up with ways to restrict traffic, one of the best ways to do so is to limit parking spaces. After all, it’s not the number of people who have cars that’s the chief cause of traffic jams. It’s the number of commutes. If parking spaces are restricted, people would be disinclined to commute by motor vehicle on more and more occasions.

The Bike GPS salutes Mayor Penalosa — who also gave a fantastic TED talk on how buses are democracy in action — for trying to figure out novel ways to restrict commuting by cars. In so doing, he established himself as one of cycling’s greatest political advocates.

Know Bike Laws

Know bike laws! We came across an awesome video made by a New York City cyclist that we wanted to share with our loyal readers. If you’re one of the over 13 million folks who’ve already seen this video, we’re sorry we were a little bit behind in coming across it. We pride ourselves in our timeliness. But not in this case! In any event, in the video, New York City cyclist Casey Neistat is given a ticket for cycling outside of a designated bike lane. Which we at The Bike GPS would like to point out is absolutely not illegal in the five boroughs of New York City. Every lane is a bike lane in New York City! Just because a lane is designated a bike lane doesn’t mean a cyclist can’t bike in a non-bike lane if, for instance, the bike lane is obstructed.

Know Biking Laws, Know Cycling Laws, Know Cyclist Law

The Bike GPS salutes Casey Neistat for being a voice for cyclists everywhere. What a stud.

While we at The Bike GPS have great respect for New York City police officers, having lifeguarded with many of their brave members at Jones Beach over the summer months, it frustrates us that a police officer would ticket someone for something that isn’t in any way illegal. Beyond the fact that the ticket was unwarranted, Neistat put together an incredible video — at great personal peril — to share with this police officer and indeed millions of others how it can at times be absolutely impossible to bike exclusively in bike lanes.

Watch as Neistat collides into parked taxis, garbage cans, and so much more. And, of course, watch as he collides into a police car obstructing the bike lane. One of our objectives at The Bike GPS is to advocate for cyclists and to let the world know about laws that protect cyclists. We’d like to salute the maker of this viral video, Casey Neistat, for being a champion of cyclists everywhere — for being our voice — at great personal risk to his body. He wasn’t even wearing a helmet!

And, while you’re here, read about NYC’s Citi Bike.

California Three Feet Law

California Cycling Law, California Bike Law, 3 Foot Law in California

Advocate for California cyclists. Let drivers know that a new law protecting cyclists takes the books on September 16th.

The much anticipated Three Feet for Safety Act goes into effect across the California landscape on September 16, 2014 and we at The Bike GPS are stoked about it. No pun intended. If you’re not familiar with the Three Feet law taking the books, it mandates that drivers of motor vehicles in California must stay a minimum of three feet away from bicyclists while they’re passing them. A number of folks have asked us over the course of this past year, “But what if three feet isn’t possible? Sometimes, you just don’t have room.” If this is the case, the driver must slow his or her vehicle to a “reasonable and prudent” speed. Also, the driver can only pass the cyclist if such a move will not endanger the cyclist in any way.

According to an article on California’s Three Feet Law in “The Santa Cruz Sentinel,” “Officers who spot drivers too close to bicyclists can cite the driver $35 for a first infraction; drivers who are at fault in injury crashes with bicyclists face $225 tickets, the law states. State law already requires drivers to pass bicyclists only when it’s safe, but the 3-foot rule is more specific.” But as the article goes on to say, “For many bicyclists, the 3-foot rule makes the road rule more tangible, if not necessarily enforceable.”

Cyclists, while the Three Feet Law will soon be the law of the land here in California, we urge you not to try to enforce it yourself. Educate the public when you’re not on your bike. Don’t endanger your life to teach moronic drivers about the law in California. It’s just not worth it. Part of the mission of our business is to advocate on behalf of cyclists. We want all Californians to know that every lane is a bike lane and beginning September 16, 2014, drivers must leave three feet between their cars and cyclists when passing. So start spreading the news!