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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
Bicyclists: Beware of the car with license plate 5XZR137 
3rd-Dec-2010 10:42 am
no more surrogates
Public service announcement: If you ride a bike in Oakland, watch out for a silver sedan with license plate number 5XZR137 — the one right in the center of this photo:

On my way in to work this morning, I was waiting at the red light at E. 18th Street and Lakeshore to make the left turn, positioned in the center of the lane right where both California state law and basic safety principles say a bicyclist should be. The light turned green, I started rolling, and the car behind me veered to the left, sped up to be even with me, and veered back to the right — very clearly sending the "get out of the lane!" message.

Of course, they got stopped at the next red light, at Lakeshore and Foothill. As I rolled up on the right, following another bicyclist, they tried to pull over right towards the curb to keep me from passing them.

Then as they passed me again, going around the curve towards the south end of the lake, they honked and did it AGAIN.

I'm pleased the photo is as clear as it is, considering I was rolling at the time. I would like a better point&shoot for this kind of photo, but for a cell phone it's not bad.

And I really want a helmet cam. Not that I expect it to do much good, because even if you videotape a driver threatening to kill you there's a good chance the authorities will refuse to prosecute. But I did tell Pirate, if I get killed by a motor vehicle, check the latest pics on my phone. If there's a shot of a car with its license plate showing, I almost certainly took it because they did something I thought was menacing or dangerous.
3rd-Dec-2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
my friend on Mandala Parkway got a ticket for running a stop sign last week. Nobody was around at the time. His bike is unpainted, which might have seemed suspicious, because bike stealers strip the paint. He couldn't get the cop to understand he makes bikes. Tickets there are outrageously expensive!
3rd-Dec-2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
That is such BS. We really need to pass the Idaho stop law in California.

The other day some guy walking a bike along the sidewalk asked Pirate and me if we wanted to buy it for $25. "We don't buy stolen bikes," said Pirate. "It's not stolen!" said the guy. "Sure, whatever," said Pirate, as we walked away.
3rd-Dec-2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
there's a good chance the authorities will refuse to prosecute

Yes. I was almost hit in a crosswalk by a van that ran a light that had been red for five seconds, so I called the police. Even with a licence plate number, a description of the van, and offers of a photo, they told me "if the police didn't see it we can't do anything".

I do acknowledge that the Oakland police department is understaffed, but they could at least put forth the appearance of caring. Justice before I die is preferable.
5th-Dec-2010 06:24 am (UTC)
I'm hella impressed you nabbed that photo while you were rolling. Nice work!

I can't figure out why some motorists have such a big bug up their arse about cyclists. I don't get it.

I'm very, very glad you're OK.
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