A heartwarming story to end your week, a bunch of legal updates and week’s worth of links

Now that there’s finally a lull in this week’s rash of bad news, let’s catch up on all the news that’s been on hold this week.

………

First off, maybe you remember the story.

It was about a year and a half back, when I told the tale of a hero bus rider who jumped off his Commuter Express bus after a long day at the DWP to stop a bike thief, and rescue the prized ride of a total stranger.

It’s one of my favorite stories I’ve told on here, second only, perhaps, to a pair of female triathletes who saved two men from drowning off the Malibu coast.

And I was there last year when Good Samaritan Hospital, where the owner of the bike, Dan McLaughlin, serves as a vice president, honored him at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles.

But after that, I lost track of the story until L.A. Times writer Nita Lelyveld gave me a call a few weeks back.

What I didn’t know was that the story didn’t end that day when McLaughlin handed his bike’s rescuer a plaque in front of a group of gathered cyclists. They had become friends, bonding over bikes, and Bolivar and his wife had even taken to riding a tandem together.

It’s a beautiful story. And one that Nita tells beautifully.

It’s definitely a must read, if you haven’t already.

………

My apologies to Shane Feldon.

I had promised to write this week about a new light system currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. Unlike other bike lights, it doesn’t just attach to your handlebars, but actually is a structural part of your bike.

So it’s always there when you need it, and you never have to worry about forgetting it or having it stolen.

Unless they take your whole bike, of course.

Sadly, there’s only a few hours left to get funded, and it looks like it’s going to end up well short. But if you’ve got some money to invest — or happen to own a bike company — this looks like a great idea with a lot of potential.

………

Nineteen-year old Korean college student Jin Hyuk Byun has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of hit-and-run causing death for allegedly killing 18-year old Angel Bojorquez as he rode home from work in Rancho Santa Fe last Friday.

The judge recognized the risk Byun posed, calling him “an extreme danger to the community,” as he raised Byun’s bail from $50,000 to $1 million, according to the North County Times.

The NC Times also reports that Byun allegedly stopped after killing Bojorquez — not to render aid or call for help, but to push a broken headlight assembly back into place and strip the torn rubber from his tire before driving home on the bare rim.

Remarkably, he faces a maximum of just four years in prison for leaving another human being to die on the side of the road.

Surely there are other charges the DA can file.

Vehicular homicide might be a good start.

………

In other legal news, the Highland Community News confirms that Patrick Roraff has entered a guilty plea in the 2010 death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, as we discussed Monday; co-defendant Brett Morin is still pleading not guilty.

Dj Wheels reports that Phillip Goldburn Williams, charged with vehicular manslaughter in the July, 2010 death of cyclist Victor Apaseo-Rodriguez in Downtown L.A., has been convicted after changing his plea to no contest.

And walked away with a slightly bruised wrist.

Williams received a three years of probation, $194 in fees, 20 days of Caltrans road work, and 160 hours of community service. Oh, and a whopping 12 hours of anger management; we can only wonder what that’s about.

Meanwhile, his victim received a death sentence, carried out on the bumper of Williams’ Chevy Avalanche.

Wheels also reports that a preliminary hearing took place this week for a very pregnant Christine Dahab, charged with felony counts of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol count over .08, after injuring 13 cyclists in Culver City in June of last year.

And our anonymous South Bay source reports that Joel Alexander Murphy has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of cyclist Roger Lippman in Huntington Beach last month, as well as for violating his formal parole on drug charges.

I’m also told that both the D.A.’s office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have been trying to reach out to Lippman’s family and friends to aid in the prosecution and prepare Victim Impact Statements to present to the judge to influence sentencing.

………

In racing news, David Millar wins stage 12 of the Tour de France, seven years about coming back from a doping ban, in what’s turning into a British dominated race. Cadel Evans cracks in stage 11, while Wiggins tightens his grasp on the lead, and Thomas Voeckler won the first mountain stage of the Tour de France.

Bicycling offers an update on the eight Americans who started this year’s Tour; it ain’t pretty. Meanwhile, young riders Chris Froome and Tejay Van Garderen learn the hard way what it means to be a domestique.

Not content to go after Lance, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency bans his doctors and former trainer, while Armstrong refiles his lawsuit against USADA, and a U.S. representative calls for an investigation into the USADA for wasting time investigating Armstrong. And current former TdF champ Alberto Contador plans to return from his doping ban next month.

It’s been 45 years since British rider Tommy Simpson died in the Tour de France, the first, but sadly not only, fatality in its 109 year history.

The route for the fourth stage of August’s badly named USA Pro Cycling Challenge is in danger, as a giant sinkhole threatens to swallow the roadway.

In local racing, the Easy Reader offers a good wrap up of last weekend’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, as Ken Hanson and Shelby Reynolds take the top men’s and women’s categories, respectively.

………

A new date — and new routes — have been announced for this fall’s CicLAvia, in order to make room for the space shuttle. Here’s your chance to ask CicLAvia’s Stephen Villavaso about the changes. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa offers up a video explaining how CicLAvia is transforming our streets, while Better Bike provides a detailed look at the new areas you’ll experience.

………

Bill Cosby narrates a 1970s-era public service video about bi-cycling, as he calls it; who knew Santa Ana used to be bike friendly?

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A reader sends in this photo of an angry Santa Monica bus driver cursing him out after he asked the driver to be more careful. He notes that Big Blue Bus officials were very helpful in handling his complaint, and that simply taking a photo is often the best thing you can do when confronted with a traffic altercation.

I’ve long been a believer in pulling out a camera when confronted with angry driver.

Especially ones that may have been otherwise distracted.

………

The monthly Spoke(n) Art ride rolls tomorrow. CD13 City Council candidate Josh Post is hosting a two hour fun ride along the L.A. River bike path on July 22nd to share his vision for a bike-friendly L.A. and revitalization of the L.A. River. If you’re in the market for a new job, Bikes and Hikes LA is looking for in-shape, bilingual tour guides. LADOT will be testing new treatments Sunday for the badly worn Spring Street green bike lanes. BIKAS offers a better than passing grade for L.A.’s new bikeway efforts. Will Campbell creates another great timelapse through Griffith Park. Santa Monica moves forward with their own 13 station bike share program, which may or may not be compatible with the upcoming L.A. bike share; Better Bike asks what role, if any, the Westside Council of Governments will play on the region’s expanding bike share plans. Glendale gives up on the Honolulu Ave road diet, as auto-centric council member Dan Weaver observes that the city’s streets were designed for automobiles, not bicycles; thanks to Michael Wade for the heads-up. The route has been set for Pasadena’s inaugural Gran Fondo. A ghost bike was installed Friday for Larry Schellhase, the cyclist killed when he hit road debris in Redondo Beach last April.

Newport Beach votes on placing sharrows on the East Coast Highway; word from cdmCyclist’s Frank Peters is that they were approved. San Diego cyclists are understandably upset after Caltrans decides to remove a ghost bike for fallen rider Nick Venuto, but manage to save another for Chuck Gilbreth; they’ll also host a ride to honor fallen cyclists Theodore Jones and Angel Bojorquez on July 25th. San Diego hires Safe Moves to provide bike and pedestrian safety training to students. A local resident asks why Coronado isn’t bike friendly. Sharrows are coming to Highway 101 in Solano Beach. The Bert and Ernie approach to sharing the road. Be careful biking with your dog running alongside; or better yet, just don’t. Security video catches a Solvang burglar breaking in to a bike shop and running out with two bikes. Palo Alto moves forward with a new bike plan. Good news, as the Modesto girl seriously injured when she stepped in front of an antique car to save her bike riding brother returns home from the hospital. Cyclists are gaining political influence in the Bay Area, though not everyone is happy with it. A not guilty plea from the driver accused of critically injuring New Zealand pro cyclist Michael Torckler in a Sonoma County hit and run.

The Bike League looks at our own Dorothy Wong. States can’t wait to spend former bike funding on other projects. New pedals double as bike locks. A Portland study shows bicyclists spend more at local business. Clif Bar celebrates its 20th Anniversary by giving Public bikes to their employees. According to a Denver paper, either cruiser bikes rule, or they’re ruining cycling for the rest of us. A micro brewery in my home town converts its parking lot into secure bike parking. Survivors of the devastating Colorado fires say their lives would be better if they could just get rid of those damn bikes. Aspen CO cyclist can now expect to get a warning instead of a ticket. A North Dakota’s Supreme Court rules a cyclist can be convicted of drunk bicycling. Republican candidates in Madison WI unite to oppose a local bike path. Turns out riding a bike in Chicago is safer than riding in the suburbs. A Michigan driver rear-ended and critically injured a rider, then casually continued on to the same casino where his victim worked. Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas asks if this is the worst crash report ever. A reminder that cyclists aren’t always the good guys, while a Columbus writer says that city’s drivers are courteous, but cyclists are road-hogging jerks who should be ticketed — and describes unsafely passing a rider as proof. New York plans to slow more drivers down to a 20 mph speed limit. Boston’s Lovely Bicycle finds the middle ground in appreciating John Forester, the father of vehicular cycling. Shockingly, it turns out drivers break the law more than cyclists. Turns out that the DC-area cyclist who killed a pedestrian recently wasn’t a spandex-clad maniac after all. North Carolina cyclists ride in honor of Steve Jordan, the state director for mental health, who was killed while riding his bike on the 4th of July. Florida plans to allow bikes on some limited access highways on a trial basis.

A San Diego physician saves the life of a doored cyclist while vacationing in Vancouver. The British Medical Association says curb car use and make room for bikes and pedestrians. From anorexic model to a favorite in team pursuit at the London Olympics. A British Paralympic cyclist sees her games in doubt after she’s Jerry Browned by a passing car. German cyclist Kristina Vogel bounces back from a broken neck to compete in London. A London cyclist rhetorically asks why not just ban bikes entirely after they’re barred from bus and Olympic lanes prior to the games. A British cyclist receives the equivalent of 36 cents in court ordered compensation for his stolen bike. “Pranksters” nearly decapitate a 12-year old English boy by stringing rope across the footbridge he was riding on; yeah, real funny. Tests show cyclists using earphones at a reasonable level can still hear warning sounds from other riders, comparable to a car driver with no music playing. An Aussie cyclist calls for an end to road rage.

Finally, that’s what I call a rough ride, as a Type 1 Diabetic riding in the Tour Divide stops to check his blood sugar, encounters a bear, slides off of an embankment and nearly drowns in a river before making his way back to his bike — and on to a hospital. This is what I call a sharrow. And these are the rules that should govern every bike club:

1) Ride Bikes

2) Try not to be an ass

………

My apologies to everyone who sent me links this past week. Between all the breaking news and an inadvertent email crash, I’ve completely lost track of who sent me what. But I am grateful to each of you, and hope you’ll all keep sending me more stories as we move forward.

4 comments

  1. Mark Elliot says:

    When we talk about “education” to the police, they naturally hear “enforcement.” I was a bit alarmed (but not surprised) to hear an experienced Culver City traffic officer suggest that “zero tolerance” enforcement at stops, for example, would raise the consciousness of cyclists about obeying the law. Surely, I thought, there’s an intermediate step. I asked about written warnings and was told (as highlighted in the linked Akron article) that a system doesn’t exit for that. And probably would not come to be.

    But I think the written warning holds promise for the same reasons here as in Akron: citations (same as for motoring) are very high; California ‘court costs’ imposed can actually multiply the face value of the citation; and any lesson learned by the cyclist is certainly hard-won. Compared to diversionary programs, warnings would seem to be more cost-effective for local governments too.

    The Akron example is interesting for another reason too: the cyclist was a courier and the firm was ticketed. Aside from the legality of that, it raises a philosophical question: should commercial cyclists be held to a different standard?

    The California vehicle code imposes much more harsh penalties for commercial drivers – including mandatory loss of *commercial* driving privileges in state even for life (in cases of manslaughter). As suggested by DJ Wheels report, revocation by statute doesn’t apply to non-commercial drivers. Should commercial cyclists (including delivery riders) be held to a different standard?

  2. Mark Elliot says:

    Oops – make that Aspen not Akron.

  3. KARL says:

    I watched the video for the review of the red side light equpped bike light and at a quarter grand the existing competion incorporates a lot of features including really hastleless bracketing and quickreleasing that is hard to beat with any security bolting.

    As far though as distributing kick ass headlights- I recently passed up on making an offer on a home witha stand alone commercial building in it’s front yard that I thought given it’s small footprint could only retail items this size, in large volumes with low markups, successfully. It’s under contract now, and that makes me a bit sad.

    We should all spend time on alibaba etc. sites however looking at whats available needing only contaiiner fulls or less to be brought here and distributed at club meetings etc. IN the 80’s Iwas briefly president of a ‘mac’ users group and thought ordering a bunch of surge protectors was a great group buy- and for riders the potential savings are immense. I especially find that the $20 ‘scooter’ (battery not included) lights are better then anything less then $400 at a bike store and if your not already carrying that voltage it’s literally only I was just advised by a pawnshop techie $20 to get from amazon big (3amphour Ithink he said) laptop batteries. (so less on alibaba etc. if in bulk especially).

    In other words you can have them stolen every other month -and obviously likely keeping someone else safe soon- for a year or more before it costs more to leave them on your bike, and they do bolt on securely needing only the special head bolt to be “part of the bike frame.”

    IN bike light design glareless models that drop the pretense of needing tobe lighter or efficient in distribtion as oppose to avoiding glare primarally (most light hitting the road only- none at driver level to speak of in terms of the potential brightness that should be hitting hte road only- sufficeint to be seen going horizontal and even up but much much much more -20 watts at 100 lumens a watt or better- on the road not just ahead but below the bike and even behind to some extent as color and law allow. I also love those inventors of the laser ilumiinated 3 – 5 or howver far to theleft demarcing line- at the time they didn’t want to say how brightthelaswer was because it was illegal in America but by now (met them on a last friday night ride fothe month) they should have that worked out. Lasers can trigger horns orjust warnings for the rider and until you’ve seen the emerald glow (imagine a level line but instead of being on your wall, drywall, etc. on the road projected from under your seat i think… (using a prism I also seem to recall)))

    SO to recapfor what this inventor wants you can order many incredibly bright lights of varying design that currently are not easy to get affordably but if ordered directly in bulk from the factory are unbelievably low cost. The amount of labor in them is rather limited so nothing prevents the manufacture domestically at comparable prices if your willing to use the latest led’s and understand the sometimes nontrivial optics, cooling, and control of current more then voltage involved in ssl design.

    Especially on road bikes you can angle things extremely precisely shooting down from wheel axles perhaps to avoid glare as I mentioned. 1200 lumen plus lights are going to get prohibited if shined to glarefully at other urban drivers and did I mention the need for better daytime running lights on bikes? Where I ‘m from and sometimes visit the challenge there is cooling, one not solved by safety mechanisms I’m nonethelesss pleased to see in expensive lights (after a few minutes you ahve to prove your a human to turn them on)

    I”ve wated many years for department stores to leave hot wire desiings- and some now sell some but there feeble and expensive. If I was retailing lights right nwo I would definietly rent a luxury model out for thsoe not believing spending over $50 just on materials canbe justified. One bonus on hte removable lights is that youi’ll find yourslef bringing them into the house just to enjoy as lamps when not riding. Same goes for bulbs now in stock at Lowes- more so then Home depot,as only the former has lightweight honeycomb array technoolgy with over 1000 lumens for under $50 or so and at Radioshack hyo ucan get alitheum battery in a lighweight box with an inverter to drive them for man y many hours for even less then that (battery and bulb after tax under 100 bucks) (cheaper in los angeles on clearance hten in other radissahck districts but walmarts used to have MANY sizes of these batgtey/inverter packs and the reality is that not only electric utilities incriedlby evilly mandate up and down conversion of altenaive energies (wasting 30 percent or more) but the present marketplace has few on local retailer shelves that are dc battery to dc led ready and you can charege your phones etc. with the packaging even run your laptop a few extgra hours wiht hte one now on clearnace wihtout buying a car charger obviously (car chargers for most laptops are also obscenenely overpriced for ther elike bike rider ‘niche’ market which I WISH was because only freaks own laptops and cars but like bikes it’s not for that reason at all, it’s because ……….(substutute your own cynical guess here))

    Regarding commercial bike use- I saw a woman buy a utilty sponsored bike fromo a school district auction once, and herthingki9ng was to use it to deliver airline tickets- the truth is la messengers seem all human powered at last check, but yeah resturants have heavier or lower level payrolls. Idon’t think a separate cataogry of ticketing is necessary- but licensing messengers et c. might make sense (licensed versusuu unlicensed) IN the decade or two since then better electric bikes are available for sure. Better brakes and acceleration for sure. Red lights are programmed to accomidate the extgremely slow starts cars and trucks are capable of because ofthere bloated mass despite there tuned for power not efficiency brutal primitive explosive drives. Electric bikes being able to accelerate to 20 mph in two seconds or so suggests there is some necessity to disregarding signaling.(and htey can brake for 30mph in just a dozne or so feet as well Ibet).

    (before i forget though i want to apoligise for my memory about electronic control confusing theforo example bike in marina del ray I saw with one that had brakes, not derailers, nearly wirelessly not just cablelessly controlled- to my knowledge no bikes have forgone either for brakes in local stock even in our 1000 a squre foot canal land neighberhoods)

  4. Prinzrob says:

    Your bike club rules suggestion reminds me of the pledge the San Francisco Randonneurs recite before every ride: “I, insert your name here, promise not to do stupid stuff!” Simple and funny, but a good reminder which seems to work for the most part, as this is one of the most courteous and responsible clubs around.

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