Morning Links: Life is cheap, as killer Palm Desert and Paso Roble drivers get off with gently slapped wrists

The May BikinginLA LACBC Membership drive is up to nine new members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. But we really need to pick up the pace if we’re going to reach 100 new or renewing members before the end of this month. So sign up now and let’s get this into double figures today.

Even if you’re already a member, you can renew to extend your membership to support biking in the City of Angeles, and get some great bike swag courtesy of the LACBC.

And a huge thank you to everyone who’s joined so far.

………

Once again, the universal Get Out of Jail Free Card worked its magic, as an 81-year old Palm Desert woman walked after admitting to killing a 73-year old handcyclist last year.

Judy Mae Purcell pled guilty plea to a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the January, 2015 death of Rose Peters, just as her trial was set to begin.

And as usual, she got off on probation by claiming she just didn’t see Peters before she left-crossed her, even though Peters, who was in a bike lane, was riding with the right-of-way.

Purcell received three years probation, and may lose her driver’s license; she also says it’s had a big impact on her life.

Purcell elected to speak at her sentencing, tearfully telling Lee and Peters (Peter’s daughters), “There’s nothing I can really say, I’m just so sorry.” She said the crash was “truly an accident. I just didn’t see her. I’ve lost a lot of friends over this,” Purcell told them. “I relive that minute every day of my life. Every night, you’re in my prayers.”

At least she’s been held accountable in other ways. Oceanside lawyer Richard Duquette, a cyclist himself, forwards word that Peters’ family has reached a substantial, but undisclosed, settlement in the case.

………

A 20-year old Paso Robles driver got off almost as easy, as he’s sentenced to just 75 days in jail and 50 hours of community service for killing an LA cyclist and severely injuring a second rider in a 2014 collision.

That’s despite a long history of traffic violations, and being on probation for a speeding conviction at the time of the crash.

Joseph Mondo was driving a massive GMC Yukon when his phone slipped off his lap, where it shouldn’t have been to begin with. When he looked down to retrieve it, he nearly struck a vehicle stopped to make a left turn, barely avoiding it by swerving onto the right shoulder at 60 mph.

Then, in an astounding display of carelessness and stupidity, he once again took his eyes off the road to find his phone, this time killing 62-year old Los Angeles resident Lee Hekyung Craig, as well as leaving her riding companion, 59-year old Newport Beach surgeon Lawrence Chong, with life-changing injuries.

As Chong said,

“What hurts the most is that I lost (Craig) because of the negligence on the part of someone else,” Chong said, according to the report. “All he had to do was pull over after he nearly rear-ended a car while reaching for his phone. If he had done so, my life would still be good and I would still have Lee. Instead my life is now a mess.”

Granted, Mondo seems to get it.

When he was interviewed by a probation officer following his no-contest pleas, Mondo reportedly said: “What happened has happened. If I could change places, I would. It has changed my life. Someone’s life was lost. I do not need to argue my innocence. I am guilty. I want to move on with my life. I will deal with the repercussions as they come.”

Then again, Craig will never get to move on with her life and Chong may never regain the life he had, while Mondo may have a sore wrist for a few days from the slap the judge gave it.

This is what happens when traffic crimes and prior tickets aren’t taken seriously.

………

Grand Rapids MI unveils a new $600,000 bike safety campaign, urging motorists and bicyclists to obey the law and look out for one another.

Although the TV spot does look kind of familiar.

………

Local

A 0.8-mile stretch of Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima will get a road diet, with a buffered bike lane on one side and a parking-protected lane on the other, connecting to the San Fernando Road rail-with-trail bike path on the north end. Part of the city’s Great Streets Initiative, the Complete Streets makeover is intended to reduce speeding and improve safety on one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

LA City Councilmember Joe Buscaino argues that part of the Metro R2 transportation funds should be used to repair LA’s crumbing streets since they form the foundation for all other elements of the transportation system, including bicycles. One of the city’s most bike friendly elected officials, Buscaino will be honored with the Golden Spoke Award at this year’s Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Speaking of Good Samaritan, Downtown News profiles Good Sam CEO and dedicated bike commuter Andy Leeka. And a pretty nice guy too, if I say so myself; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the link.

The LA Weekly lists Sunday’s semi-inaugural Los Angeles Bicycle Festival at Grand Park as one of their 21 things to do this week. Although it’s not on Metro’s list of Bike Month events.

Bicycling recommends the annual 30-mile Stan’s Bike Shop/Eastside Bike Club’s Tour de Tacos as one of the 27 best places to find tacos in the US. But they somehow failed to include the Trump Towers taco bowl.

Ride with Metro and Bike SGV to the Huntington Library and Gardens this afternoon.

Wolfpack Hustle’s annual Shortline Crit rolls tomorrow in Long Beach.

Also on Saturday, Finish the Ride and Velo Studio will host a free Tour de Griffith Park: An Introduction to Safe and Fun Riding.

Team LACBC will host a training ride for this year’s Climate Ride tomorrow, heading up Glendora Mountain Road before visiting The Donut Man on the return leg.

 

State

Laguna Beach mountain bikers get to ride with their heroes.

Fortunately, an Apple Valley bike rider was sitting upright and talking after being hit by a pickup Wednesday night.

As if dodging dangerous drivers isn’t bad enough, Turlock police are looking for a man who stabbed a bike rider in the chest in an apparently random and unprovoked attack.

The Menlo Park city council votes to keep El Camino Real dangerous by sending plans for bike lanes back for further study until neighboring cities agree on a common design. “Sending plans back for further studies” usually means they don’t want to piss off motorists by approving it, but don’t want to piss off bike riders by saying no, either.

Sacramento police are looking for the owners of 60 stolen bikes that were recovered when a bike thief was busted.

 

National

Bike riders may be the only ones enjoying the closure of a Seattle viaduct. Meanwhile, you know Seattle’s bikeshare program is in trouble when the people responsible for running it aren’t even members, despite a discount for city employees.

After a cyclist competing in New Mexico’s Tour of Gila broke his bike crashing into a pile of riders who collided with a dog, he traded bikes with a fan and finished the race on an ‘80s era Specialized stump jumper. No word on how the dog made out, though.

Des Moines IA police are looking for two men who attacked a 65-year old bike rider for no apparent reason.

A new report says bicycling is booming in New York City, up a whopping 320% since 1990, even though advocates say the city isn’t doing enough to protect cyclists and keep up with demand. Which just goes to show what can happen when you build an actual bicycling network rather than a few nice lanes here and there.

Count Woody Allen, who used to be funny, among those who think New York has done too much to accommodate bike riders and that bike lanes don’t belong anywhere in his upscale Upper East Side neighborhood. But he’s likely to get them whether he likes it or not.

A Pennsylvania bike rider is charged with stabbing a man who he claims stole his bike.

 

International

A new international study confirms that the health benefits of bicycling and walking far outweigh the risks from pollution. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

A British man gets seven years for the drunken hit-and-run death of a cyclist; he initially told police his car had been stolen and someone else was driving it, leading to the false arrest of an innocent man.

If you build it, they will come. This tweet really says it all about a new London bikeway in the shadow of Big Ben.

Researchers hope da Vinci’s DNA can explain his genius, which included sketching out a bicycle centuries before they were invented.

Bikes are the star of a planned Oslo office building.

An Indian man got a bizarre 10-petaled flower-shaped cataract in one eye following a helmetless collision with a car.

A Taiwan proposal would classify ebikes as scooters, requiring riders to have a helmet and a license.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a $341 40-mile ride in the rain. I don’t care what they say, it’s not a bike friendly town if kids are barred from riding bikes to school.

And luxury hotels may be fascinating, but you’re better off watching the road.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: