Weekend Links: Is the LA County Sheriff’s Department trying to hide the results of the Milt Olin investigation?

So what, exactly, are they trying to hide?

It’s standard practice in public relations that when you want to hide something bad news, you release it on a Friday afternoon where it can get lost on the weekend news cycle. And when you really want to hide something, you release it on a Friday just before a three-day holiday weekend.

That’s exactly what the LA County Sheriff’s Department did today.

The department has been highly criticized for investigating their own deputy in the December death of cyclist Milt Olin, rather than turn it over to independent investigators from the CHP, which usually handles traffic fatalities for the LASD.

Now, after sitting on the news for over a week, they finally announced that the results of their foot-dragging investigation into the former Napster executive and entertainment lawyer’s death were turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation on May 15th.

Why it took over five months to conduct an investigation that probably wouldn’t have taken five days if it was an average citizen behind the wheel is anyone’s guess. Let alone why the announcement wasn’t made last week, unless they were deliberately attempting to time it for the holiday weekend.

The incredibly cryptic announcement doesn’t offer a clue as to the results of the investigation, leading many in the cycling community to suspect the department may be attempting to cover-up its own culpability in Olin’s death. And hoping we won’t notice.

Good luck with that.

I’ve heard from a number of riders since the news broke late Friday afternoon, all of whom suspect something fishy is going on. And virtually all of whom question why the LASD chose to investigate itself, knowing the results would be held in doubt unless they unexpectedly come down hard on the department itself.

And yes, I’m told the CHP was more than willing to step in to assist or take over the investigation, but were never asked.

Meanwhile, the Times cites the coroner’s report as saying Olin appeared to be wearing earphones connected to an iPhone, which would be in violation of state law permitting an earpiece to be used in one ear only.

What bearing that could possibly have in the investigation is highly questionable, unless they’re trying to make a case that Olin should have somehow been able to avoid the patrol car that drifted into the bike lane and ran him down from behind.

Even eyes in the back of his head, let alone perfect hearing, probably wouldn’t have helped in that case.

The paper also notes that the Sheriff’s Department has publicly apologized to Olin’s family. As well they should.

But what they really owe them, and us, is an open and honest investigation, rather than a five month cone of silence followed by deliberately trying to bury the press release when it was most likely to go unnoticed.

On the later, they failed miserably.

On the former, the jury is still out. If it ever gets to one.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story.

………

The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer a new animated bike safety video; Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen says it was made by people who hate bicycling.

Seriously? Seems pretty innocent to me.

………

You’ll find a free bike valet at the annual Fiesta Hermosa in Hermosa Beach, which makes biking along the beach by far the best way to get there.

I’ll try to catch up on updating the Calendar over the weekend.

………

This weekend marks the US Cycling Pro National Championships in Chattanooga TN.

Cycling scion Taylor Phinney is a favorite, but can we please stop calling him the next big thing and/or the future of American cycling and just let him prove himself on the race course, or not, as the case may be?

………

Local

Great news on the Westside, as the popular San Vicente bike lanes are being extended through Brentwood. I rode through there myself on Friday, and even unfinished, it feels a lot more comfortable than the usual Friday traffic madhouse.

A Burbank resident writes a paean to the Chandler bikeway.

More on the planned Downey Bicycle Master Plan, which plans to borrow ideas from nearby Long Beach. Good ones, I hope.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer looks at the recent Campy Gran Fondo San Diego.

CalBike lobbies the state legislature for protected bikeways and a vulnerable user law.

Merced police pitch in to buy a cerebral palsy patient a new bike after his is stolen.

This one definitely wins the prize for California’s best named bike tour. Welcome to the Tour de Manure.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer says bike style has the power to capture the imagination.

 

National

The hit-and-run epidemic spreads to Seattle, as a bike rider suffers serious injuries while the cowardly driver flees the scene.

Denver’s mayor leads cyclists on a test ride of the city’s first protected bike lane.

The popularity of Chicago’s bike-friendly mayor sinks to just 29%, evidently because voters don’t like bike lanes.

Jersey City moves some bike lanes to the left side on one-way streets.

A speeding New Orleans driver is indicted on negligent homicide and negligent injury charges for killing an Atlanta firefighter in town for an Ironman competition and injuring another rider. Apparently they’re taking this case seriously, since he was taken into custody on a total of $600,000 bond.

After a North Carolina bike rider confronts a cop to deny running a red light, the officer takes him down, breaking his arm in the process.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer insists roads are for cars and bikes don’t belong there. So there.

A UK motorcyclist riding in a bike lane knocks down a bicyclist, then blames the victim before posting video of the incident online — which clearly shows his mirror clipping the rider’s arm.

Bike Radar profiles the essential kit for bike commuting. Yes, tires are essential; the rest, maybe not as much.

A Sydney newspaper calls a study showing bike lanes carried the same amount of traffic as the lanes next to them a two-wheeled fraud.

A Thai driver walks with a one year probation and a 10,000 Bhat fine — the equivalent of just $307 — for killing two bike riding British tourists on an around the world tour. I’d like to say life is cheap there, but I’ve seen just as bad right here in the US.

 

Finally…

A North Carolina TV station says Chapel Hill police seek expensive bike thief. So how much are bike thieves going for these days? And after an Alabama truck driver idiotically posts videos online showing himself threatening cyclists, he’s arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment; needless to say, other idiots rush to his defense.

 

7 comments

  1. David Wolfberg says:

    That’s not a press release. It’s a tweet.

  2. Erik Griswold says:

    I know I am biased, but I think that the fact that the NHTSA video could have focused on the techniques rather than clothing. If you are trying to reach a non-English speaking population, focus on the basics before worrying about helmets, hi-viz and…armbands(WTF?).

    • bike2hike says:

      Really so wearing a helmet and wearing something that’s highly visible is not part of the basic, what a moronic thing to say. I started biking to work in 84 and I realize right away I needed to be seen to reduce the chance of getting hit because somebody doesn’t see you.

  3. Aron says:

    Such a shame. The situation is kind of similar in my country as well. “Omg these bikers are just holding the traffic back”
    There are quite a lot of biking roads, but without any concept they just end randomly all the time. It’s so easy to get into an accident while biking.

  4. I’m going to link this to my blog on Tuesday just to make sure this gets the maximum exposure possible.

  5. […] in CA? Weekend Links: Is the LA County Sheriff’s Department trying to hide the results of the Milt Olin i… Why go to so much trouble to bury the story if there is nothing to hide? And why did a routine […]

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