Archive for July 31, 2011

Oroville driver “humorously” admits to assaulting cyclists with a deadly weapon.

In a recent newspaper column, an Oroville driver unwittingly confesses to assault with a deadly weapon after deliberately running riders off the road.

Except from her windshield-warped perspective, it’s their own damn fault for being in her way.

And for wearing spandex, evidently.

As Kyra Gottesman relates the story, she came upon the sight of the hideous and seemingly suicidal cyclists as she rounded a blind corner, only to spot them riding in the road ahead of her. And then takes offense when they politely signal for her to pass, rather getting the hell off the road as she assumes any sane person would do.

I was towing my horse trailer uphill with absolutely no way to see around the corner for oncoming traffic when I came upon a cyclist herd (six in all) whose clothing and rear ends were equally horrifying.

Note to Ms Gottesman: As someone who grew up driving the narrow winding roads and blind corners of the Rocky Mountains, I would suggest that if you can’t see what’s in the road directly ahead of you, it’s time to slow the hell down for chrissakes.

While the affront of their appearance was distressing what was even more disturbing was their absolute lack of concern for their lives or mine. They neither pulled over nor stopped. Rather, they imperiously waved me around them.

So she proceeds to respond as she disturbingly assumes any sensible person would do. And runs them off the road.

Then blows kisses as they flip her off.

I didn’t have time to ask any of these questions in person, though I would have been curious to hear their answers. Instead I continued with the only option I had — upward and onward. This forced them to swerve to the side, stop their bikes and give their poor tired legs a rest, though most of them decided to exercise their middle fingers. I smiled, blew kisses and gave them the Princess Di wave and continued on my way.

Seriously, the audacity of those people. Why on earth would bike riders be so rude as to make crude gestures just because someone deliberately violated the vehicle code and threatened their lives and safety?

And never mind that she didn’t have time to slow down or stop, but had plenty of time to observe their reactions and wave as she passed/

Then she discovers that at least two serious bike-related injuries or fatalities occur in that area every month. But instead of placing the blame on dangerous, self-entitled drivers like herself, she blames the riders for insisting on getting in the way of people like her.

Or possibly for being on the planet in the first place.

And God forbid that any cyclist should wear attire designed for the purpose if it offends her sensitive sensibilities while she’s in the process of running them off the road.

Clearly, though, she’s right about one thing — it’s neither smart nor safe to ride the roads whenever people like that are on the road.

Frankly, her column doesn’t read so much as a meager attempt at wit as it does a confession to assault with a deadly weapon.

Because what she did, in apparent certainty of her God-given right to the road and the precept that might — or in this case, mass —  makes right, was no less a crime than what L.A.’s own bike boogeyman is currently serving five years for doing.

And he was no less sure of the rightness of his actions than Ms. Gottesman seems to be.

She’s absolutely right. People are crazy.

Just not the ones she thinks.


The LAPD is searching for a hit-and-run driver who injured a cyclist on Los Feliz Blvd on Wednesday night. According to the Daily News, the vehicle was described as a gray Nissan Infiniti G37 with a license plate number beginning 6PIC. Thanks to Steve Herbert for the tip.

And an 83-year old Riverside man is seriously injured when a driver plows into his bike after the light changed as he was legally riding through an intersection.


LADOT concludes their sharrows pilot study by concluding that sharrows are good, but should be used in conjunction with Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs; here’s their methodology.

And it’s time for a shift change at LADOT Bike Blog, as Christopher Kidd makes way for Jojo Pewsawang; Chris has been an amazing resource for L.A. cyclists and will be sorely missed. Not to put more pressure on Jojo or anything.


The bikelash begins against the 4th Street Bike Boulevard as local motorists attempt to block plans for improved street crossings by pushing a highly biased and leading poll in the guise of asking opinions. You might want to vote in the poll just to show there’s another side to the story.


In what could be great news for PCH cyclists — and anyone else who rides, drives, walks or resides along SoCal’s highway from hell — Malibu has received a $300,000 Caltrans grant to study safety and analyze potential improvements along the highway; thanks to Eric Bruins for the link. Here’s your chance to party with the police on National Night Out. Councilmember Bill Rosendahl discovers riding a bike is as easy as, well, riding a bike. L.A. urban cycling apparel maker Swrve moves into a new Glassell Park headquarters. An overview of the state of biking in Los Angeles. A look at this month’s L.A. Critical Mass. PLACE Grant recipients explain how the grants made a difference for cyclists in their communities. San Dimas plans for a bike friendly future.

A deaf driver who killed a cyclist in a La Quinta hit-and-run last December is deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. Solana Beach state assemblyman Martin Garrick  pleads no contest to DUI charges after getting stopped by CHP bike cops. Cyclegeddon hits Santa Barbara when a busy bike path shuts down. A San Francisco Chronicle columnist says bikes are the future, so deal with it; this is the same writer who previously thought anyone crossing the street when he was behind the wheel was asking for it. Evidently, you don’t have to ride fast all the time after all. Davis CA tops the list of bike-friendly small cities, though someone should tell Bicycling that anything north of the Bay Area is not in Southern California. Dave Moulton takes NorCal AAA to task for opposing California’s three-foot passing law.

Competing — and winning — in the master national track championships despite overcoming MS and a traumatic brain injury. Historical videos show legendary bike fails, such as attempting to ride a rocket powered bike. Pedal-powered velomobiles tour the U.S; now that’s what I call a strange bike. Cars kill more people than guns every year. Not surprisingly, a local municipal judge upholds the Black Hawk Co bike ban; the result may be different when it reaches a more objective court. Newly crowned Tour de France champ Cadel Evans plans to ride in next month’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Bike touring through Texas with a wrist broken in three places. Anderson Cooper rides helmetless through the streets of New York to promote his new talk show. An NYPD sting operation entices bike delivery people to buy purportedly hot bikes, while NYPD officers browbeat a cyclist after dooring him. Maryland approves the same Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign that LADOT now recommends.

Bicycling’s Joe Lindsey offers some thoughts to wrap up this year’s TdF. A writer for the Vancouver Sun asks if anyone observes the speed limit any more. Guinness cancels their Youngest category while two young cyclists set a record for traversing the Americas by bike, and neglects to tell them. Readers of the respected British Medical Journal say helmet use shouldn’t be made mandatory. Two years and seven months for killing a cyclist while driving at twice the speed limit. Up to 1,000 cyclists ride in protest of plans to raise the speed limit on a busy London bridge. Irritation at dawdling Brit drivers leads to calls for slow speed cameras to force them to speed up.

Finally, Toyota works on a new bike you can shift with your mind. And a Seattle cyclist is stopped by police for speeding at 42 mph, and let off with a warning suitable for framing; Lord knows I would.

Note to readers: I’m posting this well after midnight, so let me apologize in advance for whatever screw-ups my sleep deprived — or perhaps depraved — little mind may have inadvertently conjured.

Agoura Bicycle John’s celebration today, no BPIT this week, and Brentwood Grand Prix Saturday

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

Saturday, July 30th, the Bicycle John’s in Agoura Hills hosts their 3rd Annual Customer Appreciation & Le Tour Celebration with a 20 mile social ride, pre-ride events and registration and post-ride BBQ, auction and prizes, including manufacturer reps and leaders from the local cycling community. It takes place from 3 pm to 9 pm at 29041 Thousand Oaks Blvd in Agoura Hills, with the ride scheduled from 4 pm to 6 pm.

The Bike Plan Implementation Team (BPIT) meeting previously scheduled for Tuesday, August 2nd has been rescheduled for October; meetings will now be held on a quarterly basis.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee holds it’s bimonthly meeting on Wednesday, August 3rd — not Tuesday, as usual — at 7 pm at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

Flying Pigeon hosts their monthly Brewery Ride on Saturday, August 6th at 3 pm; followed by Spoken(n)Art Ride at 6 pm on August 13th at 6 pm, and the popular Get Sum Dim Sum Ride at 10 am on Sunday, August 21st. All rides meet at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

West L.A.’s annual Brentwood Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, August 7th on San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood; races start at 7 am and run through 4 pm.

Also on Sunday, August 7th, the LACBC hosts the monthly Sunday Funday ride; this month’s edition explores the self-proclaimed America’s Most Bike-Friendly City with the Long Beach Family Fun Ride hosted by Board Member Steve Boyd. The easy, family-friendly ride is open to LACBC members and a guest; discount memberships are available at the ride. The ride assembles at Del Valle Park, 5939 Henrilee Street in Lakewood at 9:30 am, with the ride starting at 10 am.

Sunday, August 14th from 1 to 3 pm, American Legion Auxillary Post 817 is hosting a BBQ and raffle at 13553 Reedley St, Van Nuys. Just $2.50 a plate gets you a choice of burger, hot dog, chicken or hot link, including chips and potato salad; full bar will be available for an additional price. 100% of the BBQ proceeds will benefit Ride2Recovery, a program to help injured veterans overcome the obstacles they face through bicycling.

The Encino Velodrome hosts the Encino 6 Hour Race on Saturday, August 20th at 17301 Oxnard Street, at the edge of Balboa Park in Encino. Gates open at 10 am; race day registration is at 11 am and racing starts at noon.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit night for Streetsblog LA from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm; a portion of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street. Events will include a raffle, drink specials and possibly a bike valet.

The 2011 Far West and SCNCA Elite Track Cycling Championships come to the Encino Velodrome on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday, September 11th at 17301 Oxnard Street, at the edge of Balboa Park in Encino. Gates open at 8 am; racing starts at 9 both days.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 2.5 miles into Boyle Heights.

Finally, the LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. Tickets will be available for $45 later this year.

Hit-and-run driver kills cyclist in Carlsbad; driver found hiding in bushes

It’s happened yet again.

Another hit-and-run, another dead cyclist in North San Diego County, only a few miles from where Jim Swarzman was killed in April.

This time, though, the alleged drunk driver was found before she had time to sober up, hiding in some bushes near where her car was found.

According to multiple reports, 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs of Vista was riding southbound near the intersection of El Camino Real and Cassia Street around 9:45 pm last night when he was hit by a vehicle allegedly driven by 23-year old Julianne Elyse Thompson. A witness reportedly told police that Thompson’s vehicle hit the curb and some bushes, then sped off into the nearby Villa Loma apartment complex.

When police arrived, they found Jacobs lying in the street; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

After a brief search, Thompson was found hiding in the bushes near where her vehicle, which has not been publicly identified, had been abandoned. She was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run drunk driving.

This is the 43rd confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality so far this year, and the 10th in San Diego County; one other cyclist was killed in a shooting this year. It is also the third fatal hit-and-run death of a cyclist in SDC this year, and the second in which the driver was known to be intoxicated.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

Update: Dr. Christopher Thompson loses appeal, will remain in state prison

According to cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels, L.A.’s very own bike boogie man has lost his appeal of his conviction, and will remain in prison for the foreseeable future.

Dr. Christopher Thompson was convicted of assaulting and seriously injuring two cyclists on Mandeville Canyon on July 4th, 2008, and was sentenced to five years in state prison for five felony convictions and two misdemeanors.

It shouldn’t have surprised anyone that he had appealed his conviction. And thankfully, it comes as no surprise that the judge has affirmed the original conviction, which means that the Good Doctor will serve the remaining three-and-a-half years of his sentence in the medium security California Rehabilitation Center in Norco.

Dj Wheels is going to try to get more information on the ruling, which came with extra instructions that were not published online.

But you can sleep easy tonight.

The boogie man is safely behind bars.

Update: Velonews has more information, including the basis of Thompson’s rejected appeal:

In his appeal, Thompson said the trial court erred in allowing testimony about an earlier, similar incident in which another cyclist, Patrick Early, had an encounter with Thompson on the same road. Thompson said the testimony was unreliable, dissimilar from the incident he was charged with and prejudicial to his case. Thompson also claimed he was ineffectually represented at the trial, and challenged the trial court’s decision to not grant him probation and to pay the victims’ legal fees.

The appellate court rejected all of these claims.

Velonews reports that Thompson did win one small victory, however, as he was credited for one extra day in custody prior to sentencing, reducing his prison time by 68 days, rather than the 67 he was originally credited with.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

Catching up: A well deserved award, an aside to Beverly Hills, and a lot of links

Congratulations to LADOT Bike Blog’s Chris Kidd for winning the California APA Distinguished Leadership Award — Student Planner. It couldn’t go to a more deserving person.

Or one who more deserves a job with the city; money may be tight, but we can’t afford to lose this level of talent and commitment.


One of California’s leading bike bloggers is visiting Los Angeles this coming weekend, and looking for some fun bike-related activities. But aside from Critical Mass and Bicycle John’s Customer Appreciation ride in Agoura Hills, I’ve got nothing.

Any suggestions for fun bike activities this weekend? Just leave your suggestions in the comments below, and I’ll forward them.


Note to Beverly Hills: If the city was safer and more inviting to walk and bike — and stopped fighting transit plans that might relieve your hellish traffic congestion — you might not have that high commercial vacancy rate. And that lack of parking south of Wilshire Blvd wouldn’t really matter.

Just a thought.


The International Rescue Committee works with LACBC and C.I.C.L.E. to provide bikes and helmets to refugees in L.A. Streetsblog gets L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky on the record supporting bicycling — including a hint that he might support extension of the L.A. River bike Path through Universal Studios — and picks up the story of what to do about trash cans in the bike lane. Just when I finally get the monthly BPIT meeting on my list of events, they move to quarterly meetings, among other changes; LADOT lists bikeways installed so far in year zero of the new bike plan. Downtown News names CicLAvia the best reason to leave your car at home. A Santa Monica writer says cyclists need to tell other riders to obey the law and ride responsibly; I understand the thinking, but does anyone ever say drivers need to tell other motorists to clean up their act? Hear in the City talks to LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer about the recently passed cyclist anti-harassment ordinance; speaking of which, when can we expect the Mayor’s signature?

In the wake of a recent death, the San Francisco Examiner weighs mandatory helmet use. A San Francisco designer tackles a bike thief; thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up. The Sonoma paper considers what they call the peloton of Peter Pans; maybe someone can tell me what riding a bike has to do with refusing to grow up. A California woman rides RAGBRAI on one leg after losing a leg to cancer as a child. Charges have been dropped against an alleged distracted driver who killed a popular Nevada City cyclist. A cyclist files suit after she was snagged by a hot air balloon.

Maybe it’s enough for bike riding to just be, you know, fun. Ten tips to find the right bike, and 10 great American cities for urban riding; any guesses on whether L.A. made the list? Maybe the hysteria over emasculating bike seats is just a tad overblown. Great idea, as towns across the country build Safety Towns to teach bike safe bike riding techniques to kids. A road rage incident with racial overtones ends well, after all. Three suspects have been arrested for assaulting a 71-year old cyclist from a passing car. If you were involved with the late, great Red Zinger/Coors Classic bike races, you’re invited to a reunion; too bad watching the races isn’t enough to get in or I’d be there. Chicago officially unveils its first separated bike lane with a second on the way, even if drivers don’t know what to make of it. After a DC area cyclist is killed in a hit-and-run, Maryland authorities suggest that he shouldn’t have been on the road to begin with. In a nice piece, Zeke finds balance in his life as a bike advocate. Spotting the rare bare-breasted Florida bike thief.

Your next Porsche could fit between your legs if you have a spare $5,000 to $9,000. A cyclist riding from Alaska to Argentina has his bike stolen in Canada. A Toronto columnist discovers the glories of the fixie. An Ottawa paper calls out the bad bicyclist of the day; I’m sure elsewhere on their site they focus on bad drivers, right? After being passed so closely that his bike mirror was smashed, a Canadian cyclist calls for bike training for drivers; maybe the Ottawa paper should post a photo of that driver. A British news anchor asks why cycling fatalities are up while other traffic fatalities are down. A bungling thief rides the bike he’d stolen to a police station to claim his belongings. Best shot yet of Alberto Contador punching an over-aggressive fan in the Tour de France last week; meanwhile, his appeal hearing has been postponed yet again. The infinite jest of the TdF; Dave Moulton calls it a perfect result. Aussie cyclists push for a safe passing law in the wake of Cadel Evans victory in the Tour de France. After getting hit twice, a Kiwi cyclist doubts the value of high-visibility bikewear.

Finally, a cop nails a raccoon and a cyclist with a single shot. A Wisconsin bike thief completes his own unofficial triathlon in an attempt to escape authorities. And the Onion notices our little anti-harassment ordinance; Streetsblog invites you to come up with a better caption.


Update: Another biking fatality in Moreno Valley last week; no ID for Rancho Mirage victim

Somehow, this went under the radar over the weekend.

According to KTLA, 57-year old Jose Garcia-Espinosa of Moreno Valley was killed in a collision with a motor home on Saturday, July 22nd.

Garcia-Espinosa was riding on Cactus Avenue near the intersection with Lasselle Street when he was struck from behind after Joseph Gerald Edgerson of Moreno Valley lost control of his vehicle, which went on to strike a utility pole. Edgerson was reportedly incoherent following the collision and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition; KTLA reports he may have suffered a seizure.

A story by the Press-Enterprise suggests that Garcia-Espinosa may have been struck some distance from the final crash site, noting that he was found lying on the side of the road at 10:48 am. He was pronounced dead at Riverside County Regional Medical Center at 11:11 am.

This is the 42nd confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in Riverside County.

Thanks to Dj Wheels and an anonymous source for the heads-up.


Still no public identification for the cyclist killed in Rancho Mirage on Saturday night. The 41-year old Hispanic man was riding against  traffic when he was hit.

I’m told that bike riders in some parts of Mexico and Central America are often taught to ride against traffic, and bring that habit with them when they ride the more heavily traveled roads of this country.

Sometimes with tragic results.

I can’t say that’s what happened here, though the delay in contacting his next-of-kin suggests that they may not be in this country.

Harrowing first person account of collision that critically injured Adam Rybicki, and a call for justice

Jaclyn Andrea Garcia being taken into custody.

Last April, Adam Rybicki was critically injured in a collision with an alleged underage drunk driver while riding with friends in Torrance.

The collision occurred early on Sunday morning as a car driven by Jaclyn Andrea Garcia drove head first towards the cyclists, then suddenly jerked back to strike Rybicki and another rider as they swerved to avoid her. Despite her age and the early hour, 19-year old Garcia reportedly had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

Nearly three months later, Adam remains in a rehab facility, struggling to communicate using a white board; he still has both a feeding tube and a tracheotomy tube installed. Reportedly, he’s making good progress, though he has a very long way to go.

The driver who is charged with putting him there is facing a preliminary setting hearing on Wednesday, July 27th in Department 5 of the Inglewood Courthouse, Case #YA81126; she’s charge with two counts of DUI with injury, and two counts DUI with BAC of .08 and injury.

The case has been transferred to Inglewood after the Supervising Judge in Torrance recused all the judges in that courthouse because Garcia’s mother works as a court reporter there. Cyclists who knew Rybicki and were on the ride are worried that, even in another courthouse, Garcia could receive favorable treatment because of her mother’s relationship with local judges and prosecutors.

As a result, they want to get the story out about what really happened that tragic Sunday, and have sent me, and several prominent area reporters and columnists, the following, absolutely chilling, first person account of the collision.

Along with a signed petition calling for justice for Adam.


At 7:15 AM on April 3, 2011, the group of riders known as “The Doctors’ Ride” was headed downhill on Camino de Encanto.

Minutes earlier they left the congregation point near the fountain at Malaga Cove Plaza, with ten riders headed north toward Marina Del Rey.  They use Camino De Encanto to avoid traffic on Palos Verdes Boulevard.

As the road curved slightly to the right at the bottom of the steep part, an oncoming car came into view.  The silver Kia driven by Jaclyn Andrea Garcia was already in the middle of the road and drifting into the path of oncoming bikes.

MB said to JT, “Watch the car.”

Incredibly and inexplicably, the car kept coming further into the cyclists’ lane.  MB and JT at the front veered right and hit their brakes, skidding on the pavement, but they had no place to go.  DC, behind MB, braked so hard he kicked up his back wheel, barely keeping control.  Adam, to his left, apparently saw an opening to go left around the car and headed that way.  KW and NG1 behind braked hard but stayed right.  Behind them, SH and NG2 also braked hard, skidding.  Well back, DS and DL watched the horror unfold.

At the front, MB yelped a primal scream as he braced for impact.  JT, an accomplished motorcycle rider, tried to keep control and find a way out.  At the last second, Garcia jerked her vehicle back to the proper side sparing MB his expected impact.  JT smashed his left handlebar into the left front fender and vaulted up, shearing off the driver’s side mirror and scraping his shorts on the left rear door handle.  He doesn’t recall hitting the ground but popped up with a smashed left hand and upper leg abrasions from the scrape with the mirror and door handle.

Adam was not as fortunate.  His chosen escape was abruptly cut off with no time to react. He struck the bumper and hood of the Kia just to the driver’s side of center.  His carbon fiber bike frame buckled and shattered from the impact, the only thing holding it together was the control cables.  His right femur also shattered from the impact to the hood.  He flew into the windshield just to the passenger side of center creating a hole about a foot in diameter and spraying shattered glass into the lap of the girl in the passenger seat.  Adam was tossed into the air and landed on the far side of the street, his chest and face-down head on the sidewalk, his pelvis and legs in the gutter.  His right leg stuck out at a horrible angle under his left leg; he looked dead.

MB circled back and assessed the situation.  The vehicle had stopped back in the proper lane about 10 feet beyond Adam’s body.  The engine was still running; he yelled at the driver to shut off the engine and stay in the car.  DS, an orthopedic surgeon, noted Adam had a pulse but was not conscious or breathing well; he had to be moved to clear an airway.  MB and DS moved Adam so he was laid out in the gutter face up.  He began moaning.  Neighbors emerged from houses to see what the commotion was about.  Riders franticly called 911 uncertain what the street name or block was.

Riders quickly ascertained that Adam and JT were the only riders hit, JT far better off than Adam.  Minutes seemed like hours as riders awaited help.  A neighbor produced a blanket to cover Adam against the morning chill.  DS tended to Adam imploring him to hang on.

Five girls gradually emerged from the vehicle and wandered to the curb to sit away from the cyclists.  One stated within earshot of KW that this was bullshit; she had to get to work.  KW, uncertain if this was the driver, told this girl she wasn’t going anywhere, this was a serious accident and she should calm down and stay put.  Jaclyn Garcia told the girl to come sit down with her.

After about five minutes, the first police appeared on scene.  Minutes later, paramedics showed up and took over first aid from DS.  Others were trying to contact Adam’s wife, Barbara, by calling information.  JT had someone call his wife, also.  JT insisted paramedics tend to Adam first.  Ambulance arrived on scene, the paramedics cut off Adam’s jersey, a nearly new Bike Tour of Colorado jersey he bought last June.  In the back of the jersey was his wallet, his mini pump and his phone.  They loaded Adam onto a gurney and hauled him away in the ambulance headed for Harbor UCLA Trauma Center.

The police secured the block with crime scene tape and segregated the car girls from the riders.  Everyone except Adam was interviewed over the next hour.  Garcia was field-sobriety checked and failed.  She was cuffed and stuffed into the back of a cruiser for a trip to Torrance Memorial Medical Center for Blood-alcohol content testing.  At age 19, the legal limit is zero.  When tested, hers was closer to 0.15.

Adam’s phone and other jersey contents disappeared from the trauma center.  It was later determined that someone in South Central LA was using his phone to make international calls.  Messages were sent to try to retrieve the phone; there were no responses.  After multiple surgeries in the trauma center, his condition was stabilized.

Three-and-a-half months later Adam is conscious, but has severely limited motor ability.  He was moved to a sub-acute care center where he receives 24-hour-a-day monitoring.  He has been bed-ridden for three months. He has a trach tube, a feeding tube and cannot do anything for himself.  He cannot hear or talk.  He can respond to written questions with yes and no nods of his head.  He has no memories of the crash.  He appreciates all visitors and well wishes.  We are all hoping that he can eventually recover some semblance of a normal life.

A number of the riders and friends of Adam have circulated a petition.  It has been deemed inappropriate for us to send it directly to the DA or the judiciary.  We feel that we’d like to put it out there anyway so we are sending to you, the press.  We appreciate any public airing this case can get.


A Demand for Justice in the Case of Jaclyn Andrea Garcia

Jaclyn Andrea Garcia was 19.  She was a former student athlete at Palos Verdes High, a babysitter and a Jr College Student.  She was drunk and driving in south Torrance with four other girls in her Kia mini-SUV.  Adam Rybicki was 49.  He was a fit, enthusiastic, avid bicyclist, who was very well liked by all who knew him.  He was a productive software engineer and, perhaps more importantly, a loyal husband and father.  April 3, 2011 brought them together in a horrible, violent collision.

At age 19, the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content is zero.  When tested, JAG’s was closer to 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit for adults.  She and friends had purchased alcoholic drinks (illegally) on Saturday night and spent the night drinking at JAG’s boyfriend’s house.  How or why they emerged at 7 AM Sunday and decided to pile into JAG’s car is unknown.  But by doing so, they sealed Adam’s fate.

JAG drove her car across the centerline into the path of a group of ten cyclists.  In the mad scramble to escape her vehicle, two cyclists were struck.  Adam was by far the worst casualty.  He was struck head on with a closing speed of nearly 55 mph.

Adam’s progress is slow.  He still cannot hear.  He is still on a feeding tube and a trach tube for breathing.  He cannot speak.  He cannot do anything for himself.  Nobody knows if he will ever recover those abilities we all take for granted.

Some feel that the District Attorney should tie JAG’s fate to Adam’s; as long as he’s in his ‘prison’, she should stay in the state’s prison.  That is probably not within the law and it is not going to happen.  But it would be a travesty if she walked just because of her youth and sympathy for her family.  Adam Rybicki has no ‘inside’ connections.  District Attorneys, as we have seen in the Colorado case (see, can make decisions on how to prosecute.  They have autonomy to make deals in criminal court that determine the defendant’s destiny.  They have no say in Adam Rybicki’s destiny.

We will see what happens in this criminal proceeding; it bears watching and those prosecuting and/or dealing should be and will be accountable – no under-the-table or behind-closed-doors deals should be allowed.  This is no longer a juvenile offender – no more sealed verdicts.  Justice is supposed to be blind and beyond reproach .

Drunk driving is a crime.  Offenders are to be cited and prosecuted.   Bicyclists constitute some of the most vulnerable users of the roadways.  They are entitled to use the roadways.  Accidents happen.  This was not an accident; this was a crime.  By illegally drinking and driving, Jaclyn Andrea Garcia became a criminal.  She should be properly prosecuted and should be properly penalized.  Any parent can appreciate wanting to spare a child distress and life disruption due to penalties.  But take a look at Adam Rybicki’s life and family.  They did not sign up for this and did nothing to deserve it.  We are all hoping that Adam can eventually recover some semblance of a normal life.

We, the undersigned, implore the District Attorney and Judge to consider the facts of the case and impose the maximum possible sentence for these crimes.

Thank you.

Richard Lull
Javier Murphy
Richard Shrader
Cynthia Tenhouse
Davis Jensen
David Perez
Dave LaForest
Raymond Eastwood
William Klahr
Paul and Kelley Swanno
Ed Taylor
Benjamin Konell
James K Yokotake
John Thomson
John Reidy
Judith Elliot
Gus and Gail Ohlsson
H. Marq Prince
William Height
Marcus Edwardes
Michael C Barr
Susan Kessler
Robert Cedergreen
Jeff Dykzeul
Kathy Risley
Jon Rosen
Kathy Nelson
If the authors of this petition don’t mind, they can add one more name to this list. Mine.
Ted Rogers, BikingInLA

Giving credit for L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance, the backlash begins & fighting blocked bike lanes

Catching up from last week, it seems the successful passage of L.A.’s anti-harassment ordinance is making waves, though not necessarily the way we might have hoped.

Despite a number of council and committee hearings as it glacially made its way through the development process leading up to unanimous approval by the city council, many motorists seemed to be blindsided by the new ordinance.

Which is what tends to happen when you don’t pay any attention to your own government.

One thing that seems to have been forgotten in the cycling community’s celebration over the passage of the anti-harassment ordinance is the role the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition played in seeing this law through from the very beginning.

It’s true that Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and his aide Paul Backstrom deserve the lion’s share of credit, along with Judith Reel — who had the stroke of genius to make this a civil, rather than criminal, law — and LADOT’s Michele Mowery. No one can understate the important roll attorneys Ross Hirsch and Daniel Jimenez played in vetting the wording, or the vital support of Bicycle Advisory Committee President Jay Slater and other members of the BAC in getting it passed.

And let’s not forget the work of LADOT Bike Blog’s Chris Kidd in explaining and carrying the torch for this bill.

But I remember committee meetings where the only cyclists present were myself and representatives from the LACBC.

I don’t mention this because I’m on the board of the coalition.

But because it was the hard work of Aurisha Smolarsky, Dorothy Le, Jen Klausner and Allison Mannos in fighting for this bill that convinced me to join the LACBC and become a board member in the first place. As well as Alexis Lantz, who later took over for Aurisha in fighting behind the scenes to make this law as strong as it could be and help ensure its passage.

Without their hard work, this law might not exist today. And it certainly wouldn’t be as strong as it turned out to be.

…….. looks at L.A.’s bicycle anti-harassment ordinance, while KPCC says L.A. cyclists get the toughest protections in the U.S.; personally, I might question that since this is a civil, rather than criminal, law. The C-Blog offers a well-written and thoughtful response to KABC radio in defense of the ordinance. Writing for Orange 20, Rick Risemberg says common decency now has some teeth, while a conservative writer calls it a terrible law that will lead to legal motorist shakedowns. And our neighbors to the south don’t seem too interested in following our lead.

The L.A. Times calls it a smart law; unfortunately, some of their readers don’t get it, despite intercession by Sgt. Krumer to explain what the law does and doesn’t do.

Sgt. David Krumer at 12:34 AM July 22, 2011

Hello motorist,

It appears that some folks are not exactly sure what harassment means within the context of the ordinance.  You can still yell at a cyclist who engages in bad behavior.  You can not however threaten a cyclist with physical harm or make comments like “I am going to run you over.”  You also can not engage in conduct that is likely to put a cyclist in harms way such as:

1) Revving your engine multiple times as it is an implied threat that they may get run over if they don’t move out of the way.

2) Tailgating a cyclist

3) Passing a cyclist at too high a speed or to close a distance so as to scare or intimidate them off the road.

4) Riding up at a high rate of speed and honking at a cyclist (this has caused cyclists to get scared and fall of their bikes).

Hope this sheds light on what “harassment” means.  In short it is an ordinance that prohibits threats (explicit and implied) as well as behavior likely to cause injury.

Meanwhile, one reader suggests, in what we can only hope is a failed attempt at humor, that drivers should eliminate anyone who might be able to testify against them:

edwardskizer at 3:50 PM July 23, 2011

Drivers frustrated by this law have to remember just one rule: leave no witnesses.

Yes, very funny indeed. And that Dr. Thompson thing in Mandeville Canyon was a real knee-slapper, too.

Or if you want to waste an hour of your life and churn your stomach after realizing the sort of people we have to share the streets with, read the comments to this Times story.

Then again, L.A. isn’t the only place that needs a law like this.


After years of effort from countless cyclists — myself included — Flying Pigeon finally tracks down the people who are responsible for doing something about blocked bike lanes, including all those damn trash cans.

And AAA responds to Will Campbell’s complaint about opposing California’s proposed three-foot passing law; not surprisingly, they don’t apologize or change their minds.

Which makes me think it may be time for cyclists to consider an auto club that doesn’t support a driver’s right to pass dangerously close.


Congratulations to Cadel Evans for an unexpected victory in the Tour de France, and the first ever victory for the land down under, as his countrymen rejoice but don’t get a day off. He now tops the UCI rankings, as well.

The Schleck brothers finish second and third, while Mark Cavendish takes the points prize, noting that it didn’t come easy. Andy Schleck, or possibly his brother Frank, appeared to have the race won until they cracked and Cadel crashed through to victory.

Michael from Claremont Cyclist offers some great final thoughts. The Wall Street Journal looks at the Jackie Robinson of cycling. Thomas Voeckler fought the good fight to hold the yellow jersey longer than anyone thought he could.

Unfortunately, the North American contingent didn’t exactly impress.


Will offers suggestions to improve that scary tunnel at the top of Sepulveda Blvd. A local cyclist had his bike confiscated after riding on the 405 during Carmegeddon, and asks you to buy a t-shirt to help get it back. With little luck and effort, Bicycle Priority Zones could soon spread across the county. Better Bike complains about politicians low-balling bikes at the last Westside COG meeting. The Times looks at the tweet that lead to a $7000 donation to the LACBC; in a final note to the story, the guy who sold his own car to make that donation had his bike stolen over the weekend. Working to make Beverly Hills more bike friendly; who knew they actually have bike racks? Gary Kavanagh writes about the lessons learned from the recent Carmageddon. Local Linus bikes are featured in a new fashion video. Six SoCal firefighters ride cross-country to honor 9/11 victims.

Long Beach starts a new bike safety campaign to remind cyclists to stay off the sidewalk. Complaints that cyclists don’t stop for a Newport Beach stop sign lead to the observation that hardly anyone does. Joe Linton rides the bike path along San Diego County’s San Luis Rey River. A Redding writer says he doesn’t see how a 3-foor passing law could make a lick of difference. The fight over San Francisco bike lanes moves to crosstown streets.

Levis unveils their new Commuter Jeans, complete with a U-lock loop. Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club wants more women riders on the road. After winning a new Trek Madone, Springfield Cyclist puts his old bike up for sale, and will donate the sale price — plus an additional $100 — to support victims of the devastating Joplin tornado earlier this year. A pair of blind riders take on RAGBRAI. Advice on how to deal with riding to work on a hot day. New York drivers turn a sidewalk and bike path into a DIY shortcut. The bike wars go on in Virginia Beach VA, where cyclists were recently treated to tacks on a popular riding route. The Tallahassee Democrat says cyclists have rights on the road, too.

Mexico considers investing the equivalent of $120 million in bikes and infrastructure. Do wobbly cyclists calm traffic? A UK man and woman are sentenced for severely beating a cyclist for no apparent reason. The 10 worst gyratories in London; and yes, I had to look it up myself. Fifty-four percent of English children want to ride their bikes more. A driver says he’d rather kill a cyclist and possibly himself than hit a family in a car; good response from bike writer Carlton Reid. Great bike illustrations from a Dublin artist. Town Mouse visits France and falls in love with a local bike. An Aussie cyclist is critically injured in a collision with possible U.S. Navy personnel.

Finally, while the UK is taking posties off their Pashleys, the USPS is putting bikes on their stamps. And a Florida judge ignores the law to blame the victim of a road rage assault for riding too far from the curb; let’s hope L.A. jurists are more enlightened when the first cases under the new anti-harassment ordinance come to court.

Come back later tonight when I’ll post a harrowing first-person account of the collision that left cyclist Adam Rybicki fighting for his life, and a call for justice from the riders who barely avoided serious injury along with him

Update: Salmon cyclist killed in Rancho Mirage Saturday night

According to, a cyclist was killed while riding against traffic in Rancho Mirage last night.

The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was headed east in the westbound on Highway 111 near Atrium Way when he was struck by a car traveling west at around 10:50 pm. KPSP-2 reports that he was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other details are available at this time.


Some bike riders believe it is safer to ride against traffic, since it allows them to see oncoming vehicles. However, it’s actually significantly more dangerous because motorists aren’t looking anything approaching them on the same side of the road, and it shortens time both rider and driver have to react to a dangerous situation.

It also dramatically increases the severity of the impact by combining the speeds of both bike and car, rather than reducing the speed of impact as it would if both were traveling in the same direction.

For instance, if a car was traveling at 30 mph in the same direction as a bike at 15 mph, they would collide with a force equivalent to hitting a stationary object at 15 mph. However, traveling in opposite directions means the force of impact would be equivalent to 45 mph.

And that makes a big difference. It’s said that a pedestrian hit at 30 mph has an 80% chance of survival, while one hit at 40 mph has an 80% chance of dying.

This is the 6th bicycling fatality in Riverside County this year, and the 43rd confirmed cycling traffic death in Southern California since January 1st.

Update: The rider has been identified only as a 41-year old Hispanic male. While the cyclist appears to be clearly at fault for riding on the wrong side of the street, at least one local TV station seems to be going out of its way to blame the victim, as they quote a local resident questioning why anyone would ride a bike at night:

“I’m very sorry this man was killed but the average bicycle rider doesn’t ride at 11 O’clock at night,” Wells said.

Unless, of course, the average bike rider needs to get home from work or school, has someplace they want to go or just happens to enjoy riding after dark. You know, sort of like people in cars, but with fewer wheels.

And writer Jim Lyle questions my physics, saying that force of impact in a collision isn’t as simple as adding and subtracting relative speeds

It doesn’t work that way.  Ignoring differences in mass, if two cars collide head on at 30 mph, the force of the collision is not doubled; it’s the same as driving into a wall at 30 mph for each car.

For a bicycle/car collision, the differences in the masses are so large that the force of the collision is only marginally different if you are hit from behind or head on.

Your post-Carmegeddon events, and a shameless plug for LACBC booster Santa Monica Airlines

No Carmegeddon or bikes racing jets this weekend. But there’s still a lot going on in the world of bikes.


Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

Join the newly formed West San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Coalition, Rx for Health and Rails-to-Trails for a Fun Summer Bike Ride down the Rio Hondo Trail on Saturday, July 23rd, from 3 to 5:30 pm. The ride is open to everyone, including all ages and beginners, with prizes and giveaways for participants. Meet at Lashbrook Park, 3141 Lashbrook Ave, El Monte. Helmet required.

Also on Saturday the 23rd, the Lancaster Bicycle John’s hosts the Caffe Racers Saturday Night Ride from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. Riders meet in the Bicycle John’s parking lot at Avenue K at 17th Street West, rolling at 7 pm and riding approximately 18 miles to the Barnes & Noble in Palmdale and back; ride will be a comfortable, social pace with no one left behind. Helmet and lights required.

Flying Pigeon hosts their monthly Get Sum Dim Sum Ride on Sunday, July 17th at 10 am; the ride meets at Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3714 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

Tuesday, July 26th, Santa Monica’s Cynergy Cycles offers a free lecture on Climbing Like the Pros: The Scientific Approach. The lecture takes place at 7 pm at 2300 Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica; don’t forget to bring your LACBC membership card to get a discount on bikes and supplies while you’re there.

The Bike Plan Implementation Team meets on the first Tuesday of every month to provide input and guidance on implementing the new L.A Bike Plan; the next meeting is scheduled for 2 pm Tuesday, August 2nd in Room 721 of Downtown City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee holds it’s bimonthly on Wednesday, August 3rd at 7 pm at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

West L.A.’s annual Brentwood Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, August 7th on San Vicente Blvd in Brentwood; races start at 7 am and run through 4 pm.

Tuesday, August 30th, Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse will host a benefit night for Streetsblog LA; 5% of all food and drink purchases will benefit Streetsblog; 2911 Main Street.

Mark your calendar for L.A.’s Ultimate Bike Weekend, as the 2011 L.A. edition of the Tour de Fat comes to town on Saturday, October 8th, followed by the next CicLAvia on Sunday, October 9th, offering an expanded route taking participants another 2.5 miles into Boyle Heights.

Finally, the LACBC’s award-winning City of Lights program will host their 2nd Annual City of Lights Awards/Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6 to 11 pm at CARECEN HQ, 2845 W 7th Street. Tickets will be available for $45 later this year.


In case you missed it, the best bike story of the year — aside from the passage of L.A.’s Bicyclist Anti-Harassment Ordinance — was Anthony Converse of the Santa Monica Airlines skateboarding company making good on a bet to donate $100 to the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition for every minute the Wolfpack Hustle cyclists beat a flight from Burbank to Long Beach.

Like most of us, he thought the cyclists might win a close race, costing him just a few hundred dollars. What he didn’t count on was a 70 minute margin of victory and a $7,000 tab.

Yet even though the Coalition was willing to accept far less than the full amount, Converse demonstrated real class by selling his own car to raise money to donate the full amount.

Personally, I don’t know a damn thing about skateboarding. But I know who I’d do business with if I did.

If you ride a skateboard, or have kids, friends or relatives that do, visit their site and buy a board to let Converse know that you appreciate his incredibly generous gesture.

And that there are rewards for doing the right thing.


Finally, a story too bizarre to save for another post, as a man was arrested for stealing a bike on his way out of the El Monte courthouse.

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