Felony charges in SaMo road rage after all, and I nearly run down a seemingly semi-suicidal cyclist

I was wrong.

Twice, as it turns out.

Last week, I wrote that a report that the charges against SaMo road rager Jeffrey Ray Adams had been upgraded to a felony appeared to be incorrect, based on responses from both the DA’s office and the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office.

And I had previously written that any charge against Adams was likely to be filed as a misdemeanor rather than a felony, based on the victim’s lack of serious injuries.

Wrong on both counts.

Cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels reports that as recently as last Thursday, both offices still said the case had been referred to the CA. However, when he checked on it again today, he discovered that on September 23rd, the DA had filed two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, case No. SA078790.

Why two felony counts for the one incident, I have no idea. And no word on why the DA’s office changed their minds.

As I noted last week, Adams was scheduled to appear for arraignment on September 26th; a felony bench warrant was issued when he failed to appear. The warrant was recalled when he appeared on the 28th with a new attorney at his side.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 2nd at the LAX courthouse.

My apologies to the victim, and to everyone else, for getting it wrong this time.

And thanks to the DA’s office for taking this case seriously, and to Dj Wheels for staying on top of it.

……..

Tuesday afternoon, I nearly hit a cyclist.

I was driving back from REI in Santa Monica, partly because I needed some new arm warmers and partly because our dog has had a difficult week. And like a typical Angeleno, there’s nothing she enjoys more than a ride in the car to cheer her up.

Just what I need, an auto-centric Corgi.

This particular cyclist was hugging the parking lane, riding closer to the curb between the parked cars, then coming back out into the traffic lane to go around parked vehicles.

When he moved back towards the curb in an extended space between cars, I took my opportunity to pass, moving slightly to the left just in case. Then watched him look back over his shoulder, my car clearly visible on his left. I responded by letting up a little on the gas.

And sure enough, even though we were in the middle of the block, he suddenly threw his arm out to signal a left turn and immediately cut across my path, forcing me to hit my brakes to avoid him.

Suddenly, I had a far different perspective on all those SWSS collisions — Single Witness Suicide Swerve — in which drivers swear the cyclists they hit pulled out in front of them without any warning.

Because I was that close to being one of them.

Fortunately, I recognized the warning signs and reacted in time, although my move to the left actually increased the risk of a collision by putting me closer to him as he cut across.

Although if it hadn’t been another cyclist following behind him and recognizing the warning signs, he might not have been so lucky.

Then, oddly, I came home to read a few online news stories I’d been saving from the weekend, and discovered one from a British cyclist who had a nearly identical experience.

And went back to talk to the offending rider the next day.

……..

Governor Brown has just five days to sign SB 910, the 3feet2pass bill, despite opposition from the CHP — and eloquent support from a retired CHP officer paralyzed on the job. Best biking buddies Lance and Tony urge the re-governor to sign, too.

……..

Joe Linton offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sunday’s CicLAvia, while Mayor Villaraigosa stands up for it. This year’s route will cover 10 blissfully car-free miles. Bikerwave is closing Sunday so they can be there; maybe they’ll meet with some of the candidates for city council in CD15 hosted by Bikeside.

And half of your Veggie Grill purchase tonight will go to support CicLAvia.

Speaking of Linton, he offers a remarkable review of the results of the recent ThinkBike workshops for Downtown, Pacoima and South L.A. And likes what he sees, despite complaints about the process from some quarters.

……..

Gas 2.0 says no one walks in L.A., but we do bike. KPPC’s Air Talk program talks bikes with the co-author of The Urban Cyclist’s Survival Guide. Jaclyn Andrea Garcia is scheduled to start her jail sentence on Thursday. LADOT is three-quarters of the way to its first 40 mile annual bikeway commitment, assuming you count sharrows. A beginner’s guide to surviving the streets of Los Angeles. South Pasadena plans a new citywide bike network. Santa Monica gets a new bike riding training course. Bike-friendly UCLA offers students free use of a new $1400 repair station, while free air stations are a big hit in the South Bay. Long Beach is ready for its close-up. A bike riding Downey gardener refuses to use power tools. The importance of overcoming obstacles of the mind when you ride.

Temecula police arrest an 18-year old mask-wearing cyclist who appeared to be casing parked cars; okay, but how exactly do you ride suspiciously? An OC cyclist loses control on a busy roadway and slams into an SUV; sounds like he’s lucky that’s all he lost. Corona del Mar cyclists could soon have new signs and striping at key intersections. The Voice of San Diego says it’s time to fix the city’s cycling problems; as usual, the comments offer the same battle between cyclists, bike haters and vehicular cyclists you’ll find on almost any online infrastructure story. A lightless cyclist is sideswiped by a Chico State University police officer. If you’re looking for an emotionally charged name for a new hockey team, how about Critical Mass?

Tea Party members who criticize “socialist” bikeways might be surprised to learn arch-conservatives have supported cycling for over 40 years. What can be done to cut the unacceptably high rate of cycling fatalities. Evidently, drivers don’t like other drivers, either; turns out we’re all responsible for the tensions on the street. Bob Mionske says it’s time to stop blaming the victims. A Hawaii father says urges cyclists to make an informed choice on wearing a helmet. Bikes, cars and trucks attempt to occupy the same space/time on Seattle streets. As if the endless conflict between cars and bikes isn’t bad enough, in Colorado it’s cyclists vs. sheep dogs; I’ve had a few stare downs with stray flocks myself, but can’t recall a run-in the with the dogs guarding them. Texas A&M cracks down on cyclists for their own good, while bike laws don’t protect cyclists at LSU. If you don’t have plans for next May, you might consider the Tour de Rouge, a six-day ride from Houston to New Orleans; any ride that gets you out of Houston and ends in the Big Easy can’t be bad. Chicago bans hand-held cell phones and texting by cyclists; having watched in amazement as texting cyclists blundered into dangerous situations, I seriously do not have a problem with that. Senator Chuck Schumer walks, but apparently doesn’t ride, the Prospect Park West bike lanes his wife continues to fight, even though opponents knew their case had no merit. The Wall Street Journal puts a couple of negative bike studies in perspective, and not surprisingly, the results look a lot different from what the press has been reporting with baited breath; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Streetsblog points out that bike-on-pedestrian injuries actually dropped as bicycling rates soared. Why DC needs their version of L.A.’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

Bicycling uses Geraint Thomas as an example of how to fall right, and offers eight examples of why The Cannibal may be the greatest cyclist of all time; no offense, Lance. Lululemon steps in to save the highly successful HTC-Highroad women’s team. New Calgary bike lanes oddly force riders to swerve out into the traffic lane. After nearly getting killed in an Arizona collision last year, adventurer James Cracknell cracks just 68 miles short of a tandem crossing of the British Isle; amazing that he could make it that after nearly dying last year. British cyclists prepare to go back to Blackfriars Bridge to demand safer cycling conditions. Another tragic — and predictable — London cycling death. The Dutch Cycling Embassy says cycling is for everyone, even if Dutch cyclists may not be qualified to ride in the UK. An Aussie magazine puts bike locks to the test. Tokyo police crack down on fixies (correction: Rick Risemberg points out they’re only going after brakeless fixies). Biking regains popularity in China.

Finally, cool L.A. bike jazz — and a cool L.A. bike jazz video — from Garfield Adams; I’ve started my day with this video for the past five days and it hasn’t failed to put a smile on my face yet. The music track is every bit as good without the bikes, too.

And I’m all for innovation when it comes to bike wheels, but no. Just no.

……..

One other quick note: I was hoping to highlight an exciting and heartbreaking new exhibit honoring fallen cyclists at the end of this month, but this post got a little too crowded. I’ll try to get to that in the next day or two.

3 comments

  1. Just a clarification: Tokyo is cracking down on brakeless bicycles, not fixies. Most fixies ridden on the streets worldwide have brakes–and in fact Japanese Keirin riders use clamp-on brakes on their track fixies for street training.

  2. UrbanReason says:

    Regarding your experience of nearly hitting the cyclist, this is a situation I’ve always tried to represent.

    As a daily rider and occasional weekend driver who carefully follows every rule of the road in both situations, I’ve definitely shared a similar experience or two. Despite the dismissive and defensive attitude some cyclists have about careless riders, I will never relent on calling uneducated and careless cyclists to task.

    The argument that a cyclist can’t kill anyone by riding carelessly is one of the most annoying arguments I’ve heard, and one I see on nearly every article I read about this kind of thing. Because while they can’t kill someone – they CAN put a very careful bike/pedestrian-conscious driver like yourself (who is a truly upstanding citizen and representative of the cycling community, imo) in front of a courtroom on manslaughter charges.

    It’s really a lack of education, I still believe – and not lawless – that makes up the majority of dangerous decisions I see cyclists make. I’m really glad to have you share your story and your experience regarding this.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks for the kind words; I really appreciate that.

      Personally, I think the problem is both a lack of education, as you point out, and a general disregard for traffic laws in our society. Too many drivers, pedestrians and cyclists seem to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. And usually they do, until they don’t.

      And then it’s too late to do anything about it.

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