Jerry Brown 2.0: Bicycle Crank?

By Rick Bernardi

There was a time when California had the nation’s hippest, most innovative, progressive young Governor. I grew up in that California, and Jerry Brown was about as different a politician as you could find in a Governor’s mansion, or anywhere else. In fact, Jerry Brown didn’t even live in the Governor’s mansion. Thinking the mansion too ostentatious, Brown preferred sleeping on the floor of a modest Sacramento apartment. And instead of being chauffeured in the Governor’s limousine, Brown drove a Plymouth Satellite to work.

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Aggressive and Unsafe Drivers vs. Cyclists, Round Two

Last year, California nearly joined the growing ranks of states that are enacting 3-foot passing laws. The California Legislature did its part, passing a law and sending it to the Governor’s desk. But Governor Brown shocked California cycling advocates when he vetoed the legislation. As if the veto wasn’t shocking enough—placing him "squarely in Governor Rick Perry territory”—his rationale for vetoing the safety legislation was at least as shocking. As Bob Mionske wrote at that time,

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Making Bicycling Environmentally-Friendly Again

In 2005, San Francisco was poised to begin construction of a network of bike lanes. But that same year, San Francisco’s plans came screeching to a halt when a local gadfly with an anti-bike bee under his bonnet filed a lawsuit. To the surprise of San Francisco’s bicycle advocates, the lawsuit alleged that by making room for cyclists on San Francisco’s streets, bicycle lanes would create more air pollution. Although this seems counter-intuitive, the lawsuit alleged that bicycle lanes would increase automobile traffic congestion, and this congestion would have a negative impact on air quality. And because the bike lanes had a potentially significant impact on air quality, the lawsuit argued that the city was required to conduct an environmental review of the project—which it had not done.

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Bike Thief Gets Busted: Guy Drives From Portland To Seattle To Get His Stolen Bike Back!


Cameras Act as Black Boxes When Cars and Cyclists Collide

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The New York Times: Cameras Act as ‘Black Boxes’ When Cars and Cyclists Collide

Published: July 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — When Evan Wilder went flying onto the pavement during his bicycle commute one morning here, he didn’t have time to notice the license plate of the blue pickup truck that had sideswiped him after its driver hurled a curse at him. Nor did a witness driving another car.

But the video camera Mr. Wilder had strapped to his head caught the whole episode. After watching a recording of the incident later, Mr. Wilder gave the license plate number to the police and a suspect was eventually charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

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Bob Mionske, Fight Or Flight

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

cdmCyclist, Corona Del Mar ,CA, Frank Peters interviews bicycle attorney Bob Mionske. June 6, 2012. 

Bob Mionske, Fiught Or Flight

He’s the author of Bicycling and the Law; this former bicycle racer writes Road Rights, a monthly column in Bicycling magazine.

I wanted to get his thoughts on bike riding on sidewalks, because it’s a subject that keeps on coming up. But first we chat about mirrors, eye wear, distracted drivers, riding in the rain and 3-foot laws, like the one that’s coming back around to Governor Brown’s desk again soon. Bob reminds me of the most important part of any 3-foot rule. Then he adds the motorists’ most common defense when charged with violating the rule. Can you guess?

Early on I mention Tim Kreider’s “Cycle of Fear” commentary in the New York Times, where he connects our primal fight-or-flight mechanisms to the source of our joy of riding a bicycle.

We wrap up with Bob as my judge, grading me on my impromptu response to a neighbor who asks me my opinion on bike licensing. How does Bob rate my response? You’ll enjoy listening as he elaborates on this and many other topics in today’s show.

KPOJ Interview: Bob Mionske On Portland, Pedalpalooza, And More

 This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

KPOJ radio, Portland, OR, Carl Wolfson interviews bicycle attorney Bob Mionske. May 23, 2012.

Unbelievable. Inexcusable. And Unacceptable.

Three years ago, a popular and well-known member of Chattanooga’s cycling community was buzzed by a driver who claims he never saw the cyclist, even though the cyclist was, according to friends, “lit up like a Christmas tree,” and was riding with “an obnoxiously bright blinking red light on the back of his bike when he was hit.”

The cyclist, David Meek, was sideswiped by the passing truck and thrown under the rear wheels. He suffered severe injuries, and was taken to a local hospital. He did not survive, succumbing to his injuries.

Although the driver had sideswiped Meek, and although a 3 foot safe passing law had already been on the books in Tennessee for nearly two years, the driver was never charged with a traffic violation. In fact, as Bob detailed in False Protection, Chattanooga police seemed to be bending over backwards to invent new legal theories to exonerate the driver.

David Meek was denied justice by a police department that didn’t understand, or didn’t want to understand the law. But what’s done is done. Three years have passed. Since then, more states have adopted safe passing laws, and slowly, the laws are beginning to be enforced

Except, apparently, in Chattanooga, Tennnessee. Or more precisely, the enclave of Red Bank. Recently, a cyclist on a ride with the Chattanooga Bicycle Club was buzzed and run off the road, sustaining minor injuries. Another club member was able to get the license number of the fleeing vehicle, and the cyclist who had been run off the road called the Red Bank police to report the incident.

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Do Passing Distance Laws Really Protect Cyclists?

This article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our media archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The Atlantic Cities: Do Passing Distance Laws Really Protect Cyclists?


Cyclists in the Keystone State have reason to rejoice. In April, a new safe-passing law went into effect requiring that drivers leave a berth of at least four feet between their vehicles and road-bound bicycles. The law makes Pennsylvania one of 20 states with similar bicycle-passing requirements, a cause célèbre for biking advocates.

Most require drivers to stay at least three feet from bikers. Still, an important central question remains: do these laws make travel safer for cyclists, or are they hollow gestures that, when enacted, are easily ignored?

"A lot of times, people don’t realize that cyclists have a legal right to the road," says Bob Mionske, U.S. Olympic cyclist-turned-cycling lawyer and the founder of

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Cyclist Breaks Imaginary Law, Durango Police Let Him (And The Driver Who Hit Him) Off The Hook

After a skidding jeep slammed into 21 year-old Joshua Clark, sending him to the hospital with a possible head injury, the Durango, Colorado police indicated that they would probably not issue a ticket to Clark, who they determined to be at fault, explaining that “he’s going to have some tremendous hospital bills.”

Without a doubt, the Durango Police thought they were doing the injured cyclist a favor. And if Clark had been breaking the law, they would undoubtedly be doing him a favor. But was he breaking the law?

I have my doubts.

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