An expanded CicLAvia goes off without a hitch; a killer driver walks with a virtual pat on the back

L.A. celebrated the fifth edition of city’s biggest two-wheeled block party on Sunday. KNBC-4 captures the day through Twitter comments and photos, as well as weatherman Fritz Coleman’s helmet cam.

Police say there were no major incidents in Sunday’s CicLAvia, but it’s odd that the estimates of how many people participated never seem to budge from 100,000, which seems to be a native expression meaning a shit load; as long as they’re making up numbers, why not pick a different — and vastly higher — one for a change? City officials seem to consider it $350,000 well spent, which works out to roughly $3.50 per under estimated person.

The new route took riders past USC to Exposition Park, as well as MacArthur Park, Boyle Heights and Chinatown. Personally, I enjoyed the new Boyle Heights and Figueroa legs, but Chinatown didn’t really work for me.

My own CicLAvia turned out to be a disappointment, as mechanical issues kept me from leaving home until afternoon; by the time I got there, I had just enough time to ride the route with no stops, finishing just as the traffic-blocking barriers were removed.

However, I did capture the ride on my own helmet cam. If I can figure out how to turn it into a Will Campbell-style timelapse video, I may put it online in a day or two.

Meanwhile, Claremont and Pomona may get a CicLAvia of their own.

………

I’m not sure if I’ve really been too busy to write this, or if the subject just turned my stomach.

The second street racing driver involved in the death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado was sentenced to a pat on the back slap on the wrist this past week, as it seems the judge did everything but thank him for reducing the excess cyclist population in San Bernardino County.

Like his co-defendant Patrick Roraff, Brett Morin was sentenced to a mere 90 days in jail — released for time served — and three years probation for recklessly killing Alvarado in what had previously been described as a street racing incident, but is now considered mere automotive horseplay. Somehow during the course of the non-trial the drivers’ speeds were reduced from an estimated 75 to 80 miles per hour to a relatively sedate 64 to 66 mph.

Yet even with the slower speeds, Alvarado is still dead.

Not that the judge seems too concerned.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin quotes him explaining the rationale behind his sentencing.

“Without question, this is a horrific event that everyone in the courtroom would take back if they could,” Judge William Jefferson Powell said.

Powell went on to say that nothing done on Wednesday would bring Alvarez back and that he did not see a reason to destroy another young life.

I sincerely hope someone reminds him of that statement the next time a defendant is on trial for shooting someone, since a stiff sentence wouldn’t bring that victim back, either.

Of course, it would be nice if the paper could get the name of the victim right. Let alone if the judge had given as much consideration to the victim as he did his killers.

Or placed as much value on the life of a cyclist as California courts do the life of a dog.

According to the Press Enterprise,

A harsher sentence, the judge decided, would compound the tragedy of Alvarado’s death… Powell explained that he was seeking to protect the public and hand down punishment for a tragic death without destroying the life of a young man who has no prior criminal record and, whom the judge said, has led an upright and productive life.

Other than taking the life of an innocent cyclist, of course.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel very protected.

The blame for this travesty of justice clearly rests with the judge, as the prosecutor claims he had nothing to do with the plea deal, which was made directly from the bench,.

Hopefully San Bernardino County cyclists will remember this case when Powell comes up for re-election.

………

Not surprisingly, accused hit-and-run driver Michael Jason Lopez pleads not guilty in the death of Newport Beach cyclist Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion. He’s facing eight years for felony hit-and-run causing death, and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, with a felony enhancement for a 1993 burglary conviction.

………

Now that L.A. has cancelled them, there’s evidence that red light cameras really do make roads safer. Flying Pigeon shop owner Josef Bray-Ali finally sees some success in his campaign for a car-free Lincoln Park. Urban bikewear manufacturer Swrve challenges two-time three-foot-law vetoing Governor Jerry Brown to a ride across Los Angeles; frankly, I doubt he cares any more than some judges I could name. What is bike advocacy, and who exactly gave you permission? An El Monte cyclist inadvertently prevents a kidnapping; thanks to Meghan Lynch for the heads-up.

A Newport Beach councilmember and the city’s police chief will talk bikes on Wednesday. Laguna Beach considers a road diet to make way for pedestrians and bikes. Four CdM cyclists, three riding styles. BikeSD is now officially an advocacy group; if you live or ride in the San Diego, you owe it to yourself to sign up. It’s been a bloody year for pedestrians and cyclists in Rancho Cucamonga. A Santa Barbara motorized bike rider suffers life-threatening injuries in a right-hook collision with a 16-year old driver. Richard Risemberg takes a ride in the SLO lane. Santa Cruz cyclists enjoy their version of a ciclovia. Fresno cyclists remember a seven-year old bike rider killed by a drunk driver last July. Just Another Cyclist takes on an anti-bike zealot who complains about bicycle zealots like you and me; nice to see his insightful writing once again.

Bicycling offers advice on buying a used road bike; my advice is be careful buying off Craigslist if you don’t want to support your local bike thief. Framebuilder Dave Moulton says Lance and Pat are harming the sport he loves. A bike riding Ogden UT writer says the city needs to do more to support cycling — including giving more tickets to riders for being stupid. After a cyclist is killed in a dooring, a Chicago Tribune columnist asks if cycling is getting more dangerous; bike advocate Steve Vance says no, but the realization of what it takes to keep us safe is. The usually rabidly anti-bike Daily News says it’s time for New York to build really separated bikeways. A judge criticizes the NYPD for stonewalling in the case of fallen cyclist Mathieu Lafevre.

It’s not about bikes vs cars, it’s about building better cities. Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr apologizes for his negative portrayal of a cyclist in an Icelandic sit com. The only thing more disheartening than having your bike stolen is finding it stripped for parts; London’s Guardian offers advice on how to avoid just that. A sharks-eye view on the safety in numbers theory. A British judge calls for banning bikes from high-speed highways. A Brit cyclist asks for greater safety and courtesy after a head-on collision with another rider on a bike path. Scott novelist and bike advocate Town Mouse writes her elected representatives to ask for more bike funding; seems congratulations are due on her election to the community council. Greg LeMond, now officially the only American Tour de France winner once again, talks bikes, ADD, Lance and doping in an Irish radio interview. Floyd “I didn’t dope, oh wait, yes I did” Landis can’t call bike racing’s governing officials bad names anymore.

Finally, an ode to putting your bike on the bus; thanks to our friends at the LACBC for the heads-up. And as usual, Britain’s Cycling Embassy offers a link roundup that puts mine to shame, if you have a few hours to kill.

I’ll be filling in as guest editor of L.A. Streetsblog through Thursday of this week, as Damien Newton takes some time off to spend with his new bouncing baby girl. So please forgive me in advance if postings are a little light this week; I’ll do my best to keep up. I just hope they gave me the right password.

3 comments

  1. […] the meantime, Los Angeles had had another CicLAvia which KNBC Storified […]

  2. John Hall says:

    The front page of today’s (10/08/2012) Los Angeles Times should be framed and posted in every legislative and transportation planning venue in our US of A.

    Centered is a large CicLAvia photo entitled “CAR-FREE IN L.A” described as “Thousands of bicyclist take advantage of carless Spring Street…” At the very right we have the headline “BROWN MOVES TO EASE PRICE OF GAS”. “He calls for early release of a cheaper variety of gasoline may boost smog a bit but will probably help reduce pump prices”.

    How many bureaucrats will see the message? I think of an art appreciation class and the instructor asked: Can you see what the artist is trying convey? Or the children’s puzzle depicting a tree with many leaves and somewhere within those leaves is a rabbit or some other figure. Can you find it?

    Here we see a message too but it’s not a challenge. It should be apparent though I’m not sure it will be seen.

  3. […] the meantime, Los Angeles had had another CicLAvia which KNBC Storified […]

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