LBFD Captain charged with DUI & felony hit-and-run; report on last weekend’s Sunday Funday ride

This one slipped under nearly everyone’s radar.

On Friday, April 1st, a cyclist riding in a Seal Beach bike lane was hit by a pickup traveling at roughly 60 mph. The driver, who fled the scene leaving the crumpled victim clinging to life, turned out to be a captain with the Long Beach Fire Department.

And yet the story didn’t break widely until a full week later.

Maybe they thought it was a particularly unfunny April Fool joke.

The still publicly unidentified 48-year old rider was headed east on Westminster Blvd east of Bolsa Chica Street at about 1:30 pm — the L.A. Weekly inexplicably places it at 1:30 am — when he was hit from behind by a Chevrolet truck, catapulting the rider onto the side of the road. According to press reports, he is still hospitalized with major head trauma.

To answer the inevitable question, there’s no report on whether the rider was wearing a helmet. And no, it doesn’t matter — no bike helmet is capable of protecting the wearing in a 60 mph collision.

According to multiple reports, the driver did not stop to check on the injured cyclist. Witnesses followed his truck to a home in Huntington Beach, where 38-year old John Hines was arrested on charges of DUI and felony hit-and-run; he was later released on $50,000 bond.

As it turned out, Hines is not only an LBFD captain, but the son of a retired captain and nephew of the department’s former chief.

Maybe he missed the memo that fire fighters save lives, not take them.

The first report I can find of the collision appeared on a local Seal Beach website the following Monday; not unusual for a story that breaks on the weekend. It identifies the driver only by name, age and place of residence.

The association between Hines and the LBFD first appeared the following day. Yet widespread coverage of the story didn’t occur until the Long Beach Press-Telegram took it up yesterday.

Just what took so long might make a very interesting story.

.………

Late word on the condition of cyclist Adam Rybicki, critically injured in an collision with an allegedly drunk, underage driver early Sunday morning. I won’t share the details, but it sounds like he could use your prayers.

.………

Eric Weinstein joined in on last weekend’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride. I invited him to offer his thoughts on the ride and the route we followed.

About 30 riders assembled in Westwood on Sunday morning for the Crosstown Traffic Ride. Latest in the LACBC rides, this one was lead by Greg (famous LACBC Board member), on a Dahon single speed folder. Many different, average, ordinary people were on this ride, with a multiplicity of bikes: a beach cruiser, an electric, a couple hybrids, a few fixies, and a bunch of road bikes. All suitable for this fun ride exploring the nice easy routes across town. There has gotta be a nicer way than Venice all the way to Downtown for me. And there is!

Sunday Funday riders gathered across from Angelus Temple in Echo Park

The route’s interesting details follow:

We started near the Westwood Federal Building (near to UCLA), turned onto Santa Monica Blvd, then demonstrated the trick of crossing to the opposite very wide sidewalk when the bike lane ends in Century City.

We then road through the Hilton and across Wilshire to North Beverly Hills. That is were the drivers are still BH friendly, and stop at intersections to wave you through first. Amazing.

From there, we took Carmelita across to Doheny at West Hollywood, returning to the Santa Monica Bvld. bike lane where it starts up again. When it ended, we turned north and rode up to Fountain. Fountain is not bad, passing near the Hollywood Bowl and Metro, and crossing the 101 on a quiet bridge. Brian sez “Watch for glass!” as he got one on this stretch.

A stop to fix a flat tire serves as a reminder...

After that, we turned onto the Sunset Blvd bike lane. Nice place and close to Dodger Stadium, if you ever go there. Then right on Park Avenue to Echo Park, around the lake on Glendale Blvd, and a quick jog west on Beverly Blvd before heading south down on Alvarado to MacArthur Park.

Excellent notable lunch stop at Mama’s Hot Tamales. Good, inexpensive, and politically correct, just as I like it. I’ll be back!

(Ed note: Mama’s offers some of the best coffee and tamales west of Downtown. And as for the politically correct part, it’s a non-profit restaurant that trains immigrants to work in the food service industry.)

A few Westward jogs and we’re on the famous 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard. Not a bad way across town, despite what they say about the potholes. After a few miles we turned left at Cochran, then south to 6th street, and kept on going West for awhile. Here’s where it got awkward. When 6th ends, turn left, then right on busy Wilshire for a few blocks to La Cienega. Walk the bikes across, then west to Le Doux, and a quick turn on wonderful Charleville through Beverly Hills.

...to look for rare beauty in unexpected places.

We followed Charleville across all of Beverly Hills. Nice! Where it ends bear left, then right, until you come to the next awkward part at Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City. You have to zoom across with the light, then get up on the same wide sidewalk next to the golf course that we took riding out.

Got that? I really, really like this route across Beverly Hills, but it’s quite hard to find.

Weirdly (to me) the ride dissipated from here towards the end. Almost everyone rode their bike to go on this ride, so they broke off near the end to ride on home. Clearly, this was a ride for people who ride.

You shoulda been on the ride!

Thanks to Greg and the LACBC for organizing this educational ride. Now I know a few nicer routes.

My apologies to Eric for the delay in getting this online due to this week’s breaking news.

..………

A New York cyclist is arrested a nearly getting doored, then chased in a road rage incident by a plain clothes cop who reportedly feared for his own safety. Yeah, a small woman on a bike is a real danger to a cop driving threateningly in an unmarked car.

Maybe it’s time for Mayor Bloomberg to call NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly on the carpet and ask him what the f*** is going on with his department.

..………

Way too many CicLAvia links to include here. I’ll try to catch up with them on my next post later tonight. In the meantime, Joel Epstein says he’s longing for CicLAvia in an insightful HuffPo piece linking Sunday’s event with the fight against obesity and diabetes. And fellow HuffPo writer Aaron Paley says CicLAvia is about overthrowing the tyranny of the automobile.

.………

Writing for Flying Pigeon, Rick Risemberg says get involved, get out there on your bike, be visible and make some noise. LADOT is moving forward with bikeways around the city, including an extension of the Orange Line bike path, and wants your opinion on how to build bike lanes on Venice Blvd. LACBC reports on the Tuesday’s Altadena workshop for the new draft county bike plan; the Messenger Online looks at the Monday Topanga workshop. Street-hassel asks if Stephen Box blundered in deciding to head up Budget LA. Seventh Street will soon go on a road diet; the new bike lanes won’t be ready for this weekend’s CicLAvia, but could be there for the next. Congestion due to roadwork related to the 405 expansion offers an opportunity to promote bikes as an effective alternative. The C-Blog looks forward to Sunday’s Queen of the Classics, aka the Hell of the North. A Redondo cyclist will ride 500 miles to call attention to his friend’s rare illness. Confused by Claremont’s double standards and rider-less bike signs. This time, Long Beach’s biking expats are riding for a cause.

The Daily Pilot tells distracted drivers — and cyclists — to pay attention; evidently, it’s a world-wide problem. San Clemente revises a proposed I-5 onramp design after complaints from cyclists. Not surprisingly, Herman Lopez Gonzalez has pleaded not guilty in the Oceanside death of 18-year old David Mendez last month. Ross del Duca of Just Another Cyclist is the new head of VeloReviews. Art of the Group Ride continues its series on the anatomy of a great group ride. Book a room at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel and get use of a Dutch-style bike during your stay. Thursday was Bike to School Day in the City by the Bay.

The Lovely Bicycle says the Urbana bike I reviewed last year would make a perfect hi-vis rainbike, and discusses the problem of female saddle discomfort; maybe that’s why more women don’t ride. Levis introduces a new line of bike-friendly jeans. An introduction to bike riding for beginners, and six tips on how to help your significant other learn to ride. Tucson bike commuting stalls. An Anchorage cyclist’s GPS iPhone app captured his rides throughout the city — including the exact point where he was killed by a car. Edmond OK okays their own three-foot passing law. Evidently, St. Louis-area bikes and bikinis go together after all. Tennessee state senator and triathlete Roy Herron suffers a broken collarbone, handful of broken ribs and a slightly collapsed lung following a Sunday riding accident. Detroit cyclists rediscover a long-forgotten velodrome. A rising New York politician swears he’s pro-bike, but won’t take a stand on bike lanes. When a New Jersey cyclist is hit in a classic right hook, local police can’t figure out the driver is at fault. A writer for the Baltimore Sun says roads weren’t actually made for cars, and says those who can’t watch out for bikes and interact safely with them should seek instruction or stop driving. A drunk driver keeps going after killing father and son cyclists in North Carolina. Zeke says cycling is blooming like spring. New Orleans in suddenly on track to be a leading bike city; take it from me, if they can do it there, it should be easy here. Look ma, no hands — no really, it could be legal in Florida soon. Michelin introduces self-sealing inner tubes.

Tijuana cyclists roll on monthly Friday night Paseo de Todos rides. Now that’s what I call a mostly off-road bike race. Kate and Will gear up for the big day with healthy bike rides. An insightful UK MP calls for more reliance on bikes and less on cars. The City of London gets new public bike pumps. The Guardian asks what’s the best way to pass other traffic. Maybe bikeways wouldn’t suck so much if we had a hand in designing them. David Hembrow looks at the new innovative NACTO bikeway standards, and finds them lacking.

Finally, a Montana legislature actually stands up to defend drunk driving as a traditional way of life; maybe you’d better wear some serious protective devices if you’re planning to ride up there. And the next time you’re stuck behind a bus sucking diesel fumes, you’ll wish you had new First Defense Nasal Screenstm. Wonder if they’d keep my wife from complaining about the dog’s gaseous emissions?

No, seriously, it’s the dog. Honest.

6 comments

  1. Evan says:

    “(Ed note: Mama’s offers some of the best coffee and tamales on the Westside. And as for the politically correct part, it’s a non-profit restaurant that trains immigrants to work in the food service industry.)”

    Do you mean Westlake, or is your definition of the Westside much more expansive than mine???

    • bikinginla says:

      I suppose my definition tends to be anything west of Downtown, but you’re right — most define it as west of La Brea or even further. I’ve fixed it now — thanks for the catch.

  2. You’d think that in Montana they had never heard of a designated driver. Seriously, there are absolutely ways to be safe and get falling down drunk if you want to and still support local businesses. It’s called the designated driver. And as a plus, the designated driver gets to take pics and video of all his/her friends acting stupid drunk and post them on Facebook. Everyone wins.

    On another note, not all Montana residents agree with this guy. From what I understand, it has been a way of life in the past, or maybe not way of life, but socially acceptable. But it becoming more and more unacceptable. This argument is just proof that they are trying to make things better. Otherwise he wouldn’t be so up in arms about it. Keep fighting the good fight, Montana!

    On another note, is there an organization that is something like Cyclists Against Drunk Driving (like MADD)?

    Amanda

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