Twenty-one months after Gerardo Ramos was struck by a car in Glendale — and six months after he died of his injuries — the driver who blew through a stop sign and struck him is finally being charged.
With a misdemeanor.
According to Glendale Police Detective Ashraf Mankarios, prosecutors determined that Ramos was equally at fault because he was riding on the sidewalk, which Mankarios incorrectly states is a violation of state law.
“They agreed that it’s 50-50,” Mankarios said. “He violated the vehicle code, but in essence had she stopped, he would have gone right through and in front of her.”
As most cyclists could have told them, riding on the sidewalk may be against local Glendale ordinances, but it is not a violation of the vehicle code — and in fact, it’s perfectly legal in Los Angeles, just on the other side of the Glendale city limits.
Had the driver, Naira Margaryan, stopped as required by law, the worst consequence Ramos would have faced would have been a ticket for a local violation, and he might still be riding today.
And could still be sending money back home to Mexico to support his wife and children.
Now a driver who broke the law and killed another human being faces a relative slap on the wrist, charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and a possible penalty of up to one year in county jail or — more likely — a fine.
Their crimes were not equal.
Ramos broke a minor local ordinance, most likely because he — incorrectly — felt safer riding on the sidewalk, and posed a danger to no one other than himself. Meanwhile, the driver failed to operate a dangerous machine in a safe and legal manner, posing a risk to everyone around her.
Yet the Glendale authorities believe one violation cancels out the other.
But that’s okay.
He was only a cyclist, right?
If you’re happy with the state of bicycling in the Los Angeles area, feel free to sleep in tomorrow.
If not, you really need to be there.
And maybe we can get elected officials to take dead cyclists seriously.
The LAPD issues a BOLO alert for a getaway-bike-riding robber; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. REI is working with Bike Oven to help find a new home for unwanted bikes. A San Diego cyclist explains how to set up a bike valet. Marin County gets a $25 million bike and pedestrian tunnel next October. San Francisco takes up Bike to Work Day; ours is next week. A writer says ridership is declining, despite all appearances to the contrary. My hometown starts a new campaign to get more women on bikes. Zeke takes up proposed legislation with his state representative that would require NC cyclists to ride no more that two abreast and get the hell out of the way of passing vehicles. A 10-year old cyclist says the hit-and-run cabbie who knocked out her teeth belongs in jail. Shreveport looks forward to an appearance by our biking Long Beach expats. A look at the bikes of Lahaina. Biking through New York with a transportation ethicist. London’s mayor announces plans to spend the equivalent of $172 million on bicycling projects over the next year, with an emphasis on improving safety and reducing crime. The first two London Cycle Superhighways open July 19th; a rider takes one for a very fast test spin. A British graph clearly shows the relationship between bicycling and childhood obesity; I only wish they’d included the U.S. What a bike rush hour looks like; thanks to Todd Mumford for the link.
Finally, Vincenzo Nibali kept the pink leader’s jersey on the Giro d’Italia for a second day; in a nice gesture, his gave his jersey to the son of the legendary cyclist Fausto Coppi to place on his nearby tomb 50 years after the great racer’s death.