Take the survey, bicyclists. Tell OCTA what you want

There is still a chance to lobby for bicycle safety in The O.C.

octalogo2If you, like the Veggie Biker, was unable to attend the Orange County Transportation Authority Long Range Transportation roundtable Nov. 15, you can still fill out the OCTA Long Range Transportation survey. You also get to comment on freeways, buses and trains. It will take about 15 minutes to complete. Bicyclists have plenty of places to write in ideas.

Here is the link. http://www.octa.net/Plans-and-Programs/Long-Range-Transportation-Plan/LRTP-2010/

For more information, contact Kelly Jimenez at 714-560-5421 or via email at kjimenez@octa.net

Bicyclists are dying for OCTA public education

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority  engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zome between car and bike.

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zone between car and bike.


It was ugly.

The high-dollar, black sedan pulled up behind me. The driver laid on his horn scaring me and causing me to swerve. The car then swooped to my left and up next to me. He rolled down the window and began shouting, “Get off the road! Bicycles don’t belong here. There’s no bike lane here!???

I yelled back. “You’re wrong. You’re supposed to wait until I get by. You don’t know the law.???

 It got uglier.

We were in the north-bound entrance to Interstate 5. I was churning up the overpass and he was trying to enter the freeway. Most bicyclists fear freeway ramps where CalTrans just abandons us in a no-man’s land of accelerating cars.

Finally, he hit the gas, cut hard right in front of my bike and zoomed down the freeway ramp.

That was the second incident between a bicyclist and a car during my ride to work today. A bicyclist was riding properly on the right side of Commonwealth in Fullerton. He changed lanes safely, crossing traffic and entering the center, left-hand turn lane. He was turning into a strip mall.

A car behind him just had to honk at him for no reason.

Potentially Fatal Failure to Communicate

What we have here in Orange County is a potentially fatal failure to communicate.

octalogo2My Orange County Transportation Authority representative, Gail Eastman, asked this Veggie Biker to write a letter about the problems he observes commuting about Orange County. But, I also need a blog post this week to keep up my “Likes,??? so I am writing the letter as a post.

I have received similar (but not as violent) abuse from drivers of all descriptions. And I have observed bicyclists of all descriptions doing totally stupid things.

Most people, like the man today, appear to think bicycles should only be in bike lanes or, if there are no lanes, on the sidewalk.  Few bicyclists are aware that one must ride with traffic—even on the sidewalk. Few bicyclists,  and certainly no drivers, are aware several cities ban riding on sidewalks. And few pedestrians on a sidewalk want to get hit by a bike averaging 17 miles per hour.

But wait! There’s more! Bicyclists text while riding, nearly running into other bikers. I have seen this not just once, but several times.

And few if any drivers know they should check for bikes when opening car doors. Twice I’ve had drivers just stand there, zombie-like, unable to understand why I should be upset they almost “car-doored??? me.

And I was car-doored by a truck that stopped in the left lane, and the passenger jumped out into the bike lane. He hit the door. I didn’t.

Drivers and Bicyclists Never Trained

I believe much of the stupidity comes from the fact the California drivers’ test has only two bicycle questions, none relevant to anything above.

OCTA has a legal obligation to teach Orange County drivers and bikers California laws. The campaign has to be in English and Spanish. Most bicyclists with whom I commute appear to be poor immigrants.

I suggest the rear of every OCTA bus should have large posters that cars can read. “Yes, bicyclists can do this!??? The posters would show bicyclists riding properly in the street or making left-hand turns, as examples.

The right  sides of busses should be devoted to messages for bicyclists. (I do understand, that ad revenue pays many of the bills.)

As I noted in another post, riding in the older cities of North Orange County is just a series of missed opportunities to die. (I could not believe when I rode through Irvine Friday just how nice urban biking can be with a choice of trails and really wide bike lanes.)

Last Mile & Last Minute

Our OCTA representatives, including Ms. Eastman, are very concerned about the last mile problem. How do people (and Orange County is getting older every year) get from the train station and bus stops to their final destinations?

I suggest Marshrutkas. These yellow mini-busses zip around Ukrainian towns following a set route, but not set times. They can stop anywhere to get as close to anyone’s apartment as possible. It’s a “swarm??? of public transportation. Forget the big hogs that flex in the middle; Give people little busses that totally flex. (Using bicycles to haul supplies, instead of using large trucks, is how General Giap won the Vietnam War.)

The Metrolink gets better every day. I no longer drive to Los Angeles in the mornings. But it is the devil to go from North County to South County in the mornings—or to go anywhere in the middle of the day.

We need more trains going opposite directions at more times.

My wife retired because she no longer wanted to waste up to four hours of her life each day in the Orange Crush. She needed a train that left Fullerton at 6 a.m. and arrived in Tustin by 6:45 a.m. She could easily walk the two miles to her office—plus earn exercise points. She worked a 10-hour day, four days a week. But the trains stopped running northward before she could walk back to the station at night. And, as in North County, South County busses, are much slower than just walking or biking.

Our OCTA representatives are caught in a chicken-and-egg quandary. We voters must get on board the entire concept of mass transport, not just a bus or train.

I can’t solve this one. But I believe I can solve the problem of public ignorance about bicycling. Let’s just do it!

Road killings are going to happen

This Public Education program cannot wait until next year. People are dying for it. Really, It’s getting ugly out here.

white bike

The number of white bicycles often placed at the site of bicycle deaths could be reduced with an Orange County Transportation Authority bicycle rights and responsibilities campaign for drivers and bicyclists.








Will Buena Park enforce 3-foot bicycle buffer law?

Buena Park Police Dodge Magnum

Buena Park Police Dodge Magnum

There ought to be a way to Yelp police departments. This is as close as Veggie Biking can get.


The Veggie Biker waved at a Buena Park policeman while bicycling west on Crescent, east of Beach. The shaved-headed officer glared back from behind his Foster Grants. His vehicle, in which he was making a u-turn in a side street intersection, looked like the Dodge Magnum above. Bad day?

A minute later, 9:36 a.m., the Veggie Biker was passed rapidly by a silver compact sedan, which was much closer than 3 feet. The new Bicycle Buffer Zone Law requires California drivers to stay at least 3 feet away when passing bicyclists.

AB1371 went into effect Sept. 16. The previous law required a driver to keep a safe distance when passing a bicyclist but did not specify how far that was. At least 22 states and the District of Columbia define a safe passing distance as a buffer of at least 3 feet.

As the silver compact was passing, the Veggie Biker saw the Buena Park police car one lane over, and just behind the silver compact. The Veggie Biker pointed at the speeding silver compact as the officer passed. However, the officer not only went on by, but ultimately passed the silver compact. He continued on toward Beach Boulevard where he waited for the light and made a left-hand turn. The silver compact made a right-hand turn.

The Veggie Biker is sure the officer will say he had more important things to worry about than bicycles. Or just did not see the violation. The silver compact driver will say he or she did not know about the law. All could be true., particularly the latter.

However, Buena Park City Council members have stated bicycles are a traffic hazard. The council has refused to create bike lanes, as one can tell by examining the current Orange County Transportation Authority bike trails map.

A telephone call to the number listed for the captain’s desk at the Buena Park Police Headquarters went to a secretary’s voice mail. Veggie Biking saw no reason to leave a message at this time. There is no email one can easily access on the BPPD website.


Have Buena Park police been trained to enforce the 3-foot bicycle buffer zone law? Or do they reflect their leaders’ disdain towards bicycle commuting?


Newport Beach needs people who count to count bicycles


Press Release from: Brad Sommers, PE, Senior Civil Engineer, Public Works Department, City of Newport Beach. Email provided by Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC)

Wed, Sep 11, 2013–As part of the City of Newport Beach’s Bicycle Master Plan, the City is conducting bicycle counts to track bicycle usage in Newport Beach. We are currently looking for volunteers to assist with the count effort.

WHEN:  Counts will be conducted on Thursday Oct. 17 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

TRAINING: Volunteers must attend a mandatory training on the counting procedure the week before.  The training will be held Thursday, October 10 at 6:30pm in the Community Room at the Newport Beach Civic Center. At the training, volunteers will be assigned count locations throughout the city and given count forms and instructions.

HOW TO SIGN UP: If you are available to volunteer, please contact me by email at bsommers@newportbeachca.gov or by phone at (949) 644-3326 by Tuesday October 8.  Please indicate whether you can count one or both dates/times.

Thank you for helping to improve cycling within Newport Beach, writes Brad Sommers, who can be contacted at: BSommers@newportbeachca.gov949.644.3326.


Austin’s Scare for the Cure offers PG-13 frights

Scare for the Cure

Scare for the Cure

Press Release provided by Stephen Mercer, Austin Scare for a Cure

Austin always offers something seasonal for the visiting veggie biker to experience. For Halloween, it is the Scare for a Cure interactive haunted house.

The Veggie Biker has followed this from a distance for several years, listening to tales of saving old buildings for their ghost town and creating scary scenarios. He even accompanied two of the Scare for the Cure volunteers to research Neil Patrick Harris’ haunted mansion in Hollywood last year. They think Scare for a Cure can do it better.

Here’s the official word:

SCARE for a CURE presents Fairy Tale Nightmare???, “Murder at Ghost Town??? and “The Boneyard???

What’s new this year?  This year not only will SCARE for a CURE have our hour long haunted adventure “Fairy Tale Nightmare???, but we’ve added two new events!  “Murder at Ghost Town???, a murder mystery and the “The Boneyard??? fit only for the bravest of souls. 


What happens when there are not more happy endings?  It’s all gone horribly, horribly wrong in Fairyland.  You may be the last hope.  Or you may become twisted like all the rest.  Forget what you think you know about Fairy Tales.  Ours are far more grimm than you can imagine! 

murder-sm The year is 1883, and the small town of J. Lorraine, Texas is burning.  Or at least many of the folks who live there are.  Someone committed an unspeakable act of cruelty and murder.  The culprit was never caught and the dead cannot rest until someone solves the crime.  Help the residents of GHOST TOWN find final peace – SOLVE the mystery of the Murder at Ghost Tow

boneyard-smStep in the mouth of madness with The Boneyard, an all-new high SCARE attraction that will have you running for your lives.  Try to find your way out of a twisted pit of the most terrifying monstrosities imaginable! Navigate the cursed junkyard with your worst nightmares nipping at your heels. 

Run entirely by volunteers, SCARE for a CURE has become one of the most popular attractions in Austin, Texas during the Halloween season. But don’t be fooled by the name, while SCARE is definitely passionate about the creation of its unique haunt experiences, the emphasis is really on the word CARE. Each year well over three hundred volunteers come together with a passion to share their talent and make a difference in their community. Last year SCARE donated $20,000 to the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas, and a percentage of our 2013 proceeds from the interactive haunted adventure will again benefit the BCRC.
Contact:Norma Crippen, Co-Founder/Marketing Director, SCARE for CURE, 512-669-2581www.scareforacure.org

Bike Coalition members advocate Fullerton pursue easy bike safety fixes ASAP

Fullerton Sharrow Logo

The City of Fullerton is looking at “low-hanging fruit” improvements in bicycle transportation safety, including painting signs to create sharrows–traffic lanes in which motorists are informed bicycles by law have full rights to use traffic lanes. It would be the first improvement in 15 months.

By Jane Rands, North Orange County Bicycle Advocates Coalition
Fullerton City bicycle advocates are pushing for inexpensive initial improvements now in bicycle safety in the city while pursuing larger projects.
A long overdue North Orange County Bicycle Advocates Coalition (NOCBAC) gathering of the usual crowd with the usual fare (pizza and beer) met Aug. 5 at Davis Barber’s office at the Villa Del Sol in Fullerton.
Among the attendees were OCTA Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) members, Vince Buck, Roy Shahbazian, and Laurel Reimer, and Alta Planning consultant, Paul Martin, who is assisting OCTA in developing the Districts 1 & 2 Bikeways Strategic Plan, which is currently in public review.
The Fullerton City Council will be discussing bicycle issues at an upcoming meeting, possibly August 20.  Vince Buck thought that NOCBAC should recommend some inexpensive bicycling facilities such as signage and sharrows.  NOCBAC members shared ideas, such as signage to fill gaps in class II and class III routes, sharrows where bike lanes abruptly end and should be placed outside of the door zone, and resurfacing roads, especially the shoulders.
Cities are adopting a common nomenclature to describe biking facilities. Class I bike routes are completely separate from traffic. Class II bike routes have on-street, outlined bike lanes. Class III bike routes are streets with signs denoting that it is a bicycle route; which can be the hash-marks-and-bicycle icon, sharrow, painted on the street.
CAC members noted that $4 million in federal Clean Air funds will be available in the fall as grants through Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for projects that are “shovel ready,” like segments in the Bikeways Master Plan that just need paint or signage.
Fullerton Mobility Planner, Jay Eastman, has applied for a grant through the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to fund the planning phase of the Wilshire Bike Boulevard.  The bike boulevard will help riders traversing between California State University-Fullerton and downtown Fullerton via the upcoming “BikeLink” bike sharing sponsored by OCTA.  Buck expressed concern over waiting for another grant to implement the bike boulevard.  Instead, NOCBAC can advocate for inexpensive initial improvements.
Wikipedia has more information on bicycling infrastructure around the world.

My Commute: Thieves continue cannibalizing locked bike

A Schwinn bike first spotted three days ago u-locked to a street sign in Milwaukee, WI, continues to be cannibalized by thieves, it appears. Unless the owner just wants to take it home one part at a time.

A Schwinn bike first spotted three days ago u-locked to a street sign in Milwaukee, WI, continues to be cannibalized by thieves, it appears. Unless the owner just wants to take it home one part at a time.

Thieves continue to cannibalize the carcass of the bicycle locked to a street sign that was featured in a post two days ago. The Veggie Biker really could use that luggage rack.

Stolen bike parts

Your bicycle can prove to be a sidewalk parts store for thieves. There’s a reason one U-Locks the frame and rear wheel to the pole, while running a cable from the front wheel, through the seat to the U-Lock.