Morning Links: Swift justice in Highland Park DUI hit-and-run case, and protected bike lanes spread across US

That was fast.

Less than five months after 33-year old Jose Luna was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a Highland Park crosswalk, the man responsible has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Alexis Virto was reportedly driving at least 60 mph on North Figueroa Blvd and never braked before he slammed into Luna, severing his leg and carrying him the length of two football fields on the hood of his car as he fled the scene.

He was found bed with his girlfriend a few hours later, still drunk, with glass from the shattered windshield still in his hair.

Virto accepted a plea deal last month, entering a plea of no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in exchange for prosecutors dropping a host of other charges.

Even if he served his full sentence — which is highly unlikely — the 21-year old driver would be just 30 years old when he gets out.

But he’ll have the rest of his life to live with what he did after getting drunk and getting behind the wheel.

Meanwhile, North Figueroa remains one of the city’s deadliest streets, over a year after CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo arbitrarily killed a planned road diet while somehow citing safety as the reason to halt the safety project.

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Today’s theme seems to be protected bike lanes.

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Local

UCLA cites 13 improvements that helped the campus jump up to silver-level Bicycle Friendly University status, placing it in the top third of bike-friendly colleges nationwide; however, UC Santa Barbara ranks a notch higher with gold status. Needless to say, USC is nowhere to be found on the list.

The LACBC offers highlights from last week’s successful Firefly Ball.

Pasadena’s Open Road bike shop is a one man operation with no employees to help run the 10,000 square foot store; owner Steve Lubanski’s business model focuses on selling accessories rather than bicycles.

BikeSGV is looking for a full-time Active Transportation Data Coordinator to collect, analyze and report information on bicycling and walking in the San Gabriel Valley.

The Santa Monica Bike Center is selling some of their used bikes, including this nifty kid-friendly ride that transforms into stroller. If only it came in a Corgi-compatible model, and I had an extra grand tucked under the mattress.

El Segundo police are looking for the thief who cut a cable lock to steal an $1,800 bicycle. Anyone who thinks $1,800 is a high-end bike hasn’t priced them lately.

 

State

The Orange County Transportation Authority warns that a quarter of Orange County bicycling fatalities occur between 6 pm and 10 pm. Which means that three-quarters don’t.

Irvine-based Pedego introduces their first e-powered mountain bike. Whether it can legally be ridden off-road is highly questionable, though.

Laguna Beach cyclists will take a free tour of local backyard chicken coops with the third annual Tour de Coop.

Lake Forest considers a plan to put bike lanes on Saddleback Ranch Road after residents rose up in protest of earlier plans.

Santa Ana will host it’s second annual ciclovía this Sunday, with a belated Day of the Dead theme.

Thousand Oaks’ first ciclovía drew just 2,000 people, most of whom went home as the day grew on.

A Thousand Oaks driver didn’t bother to stop after hitting a deer, but a cyclist who witnessed it did; rider Todd Banks comforted the badly injured animal until help came, while other riders and motorists stopped to call for help and direct traffic.

A lightless Redding bike rider suffered significant head and leg injuries when he reportedly rode out in front of an 88-year old driver.

 

National

The Bike League reports those proposed anti-bike amendments to the federal transportation bill went down in flames.

A loophole in Lance’s lifetime ban means he’ll be eligible to compete in triathlons starting next year. When you look at the photo accompanying that story, just remember you can’t spell Speedo without EPO.

A writer for Health Magazine asks if the un-helmeted people who ride New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare bikes have a death wish. Actually, as of last year, no one had been killed riding a bikeshare bike anywhere in the US. But I guess they don’t have Google at the magazine.

Colorado’s governor touts the benefits of bicycling; the bike-friendly state has the lowest obesity rate in the US.

The Grand Rapids newspaper calls the removal of a bike lane in front of a church attended by a city commissioner an abuse of power, and an exercise in how not to run a city.

Feel free to write your own punch line, as a Massachusetts bike rider somehow mistook a Trump for President campaign sign for a bomb.

 

International

If you want to meet actual Cubans instead of tourists, just hop on a bike.

Vancouver unanimously rejects a proposal to license cyclists, which means even the counselor who proposed it ended up voting against it.

Calgary police shoot a hit-and-run suspect who deliberately ran down a cyclist, then circled back and drove at officers when they tried to stop him.

A Canadian researcher says mandatory helmet laws may increase bike helmet use, but they do absolutely nothing to improve safety.

Now that’s more like it. A UK cop is fined and given “management advice” for parking in a bike lane, forcing riders out into rush hour traffic.

Evidently, fleeing the scene after hitting a cyclist isn’t enough to take away a Brit cab driver’s license.

Historical photos show how Amsterdam slowly transformed itself from a car-choked city to a bicyclists’ paradise, suggesting other cities can do it, too. Like Los Angeles, for instance.

Not surprisingly, the director of the Tour de France says the Dutch bill for unpaid expenses from the first two stages of last year’s race is baseless and absurdly high.

Take a bike tour of Croatia to visit island vistas and ancient sites, including the birthplace of Marco Polo.

 

Finally…

Bombing down a trail in a state park is one thing; finding a WWII hand grenade on the trail is another. Your next high-end bike could be made of plastic.

And what’s the point of striping a new bike lane if you’re just going to plop a Yield to Bikes sign in the middle of it?

 

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