Morning Links: Wicksted and Scarpa face murder charges for separate bike crashes, and bike thieves in action

Sixty-one-year old Claremont resident Sandra Marie Wicksted was formally charged with one count of murder in Saturday’s death of bike rider Leslie Pray in Claremont.

Wicksted was also charged with four counts of attempted murder for trying — and failing — to run down four other riders before she killed Pray.

A source close to Wicksted said her “mental state was deteriorating” in recent years after suffering PTSD nearly a decade ago. The empty liquor bottles in her car suggest she may have been self-medicating.

She is still being held on $2 million bond, although prosecutors plan to request an increase to $6.2 million.

Meanwhile, the allegedly stoned driver who killed Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza as he rode his bike has also been charged with murder.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, 23-year old Mission Viejo resident Stephen Taylor Scarpa was under the influence of multiple controlled substances when he drove into the bike lane and onto the sidewalk, slamming into Kreza’s bike in the process.

Unless police are alleging that, like Wicksted, Scarpa deliberately targeted his victim, the murder charge suggests that Scarpa may have at least one previous DUI conviction.

People convicted of driving under the influence in California are required to sign a Watson notice stating they can be charged with murder if they kill someone as a result of an additional DUI offense.

He faces up to 15 year behind bars, and is being held on $2 million bond.

The crowdfunding account for Kreza’s family has now raised over $160,000 in three days.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for Wicksted links and photo of Leslie Pray ghost bike.

………

Granada Hills bike thieves use their SUV as a step stool to break into a complex and make off with three bicycles. And even go back to grab what looks like a tire pump.

Thanks to Joe Linton for the link to the video.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes is all too real.

Or maybe not.

An anti-bike saboteur known as the Boulie Tacker is back in action Down Under, sprinkling tacks on a popular riding route after taking an 18-month hiatus; several bicyclists have suffered serious injuries after hitting the tacks, as well as countless flat tires.

And a “horrifying” video of unknown origin has been circulating online, showing a car passenger firing fireworks at a bike rider and scoring a direct hit.

Or it would be horrifying if it was real; a hit from a rocket like that would probably result in serious, if not fatal, injuries.

………

Local

If you want to know why Los Angeles was never seriously considered for Amazon’s second HQ, consider that their guidelines called for good transit, bicycling infrastructure and affordable housing. None of which apply in the City of Angels.

 

State

Streetsblog talks with Caltrans Executive Director Laurie Berman about Complete Streets, climate change and culture change at the agency; she’s the first woman to hold the top position at California’s Department of Transportation.

The CHP is warning bicyclists and pedestrians in the Modesto area to fight an increase in traffic collisions by making sure they can be seen. They’re handing out free bike lights to help, which doesn’t do pedestrians a damn bit of good.

 

National

A Chicago letter writer the city doesn’t have to ban bikes from the popular — and crowded — Riverwalk; just build a protected bike lane on a nearby street.

Indiana’s supreme court rules that a woman who was hit by an on-duty cop while bicycling with her kids can take her case to trial.

Life is cheap in New Hampshire, where a California woman was sentenced to a whole six months behind bars for fleeing the scene after seriously injuring a bike rider. If the courts and lawmakers don’t take hit-and-run seriously, why would anyone else?

A Pennsylvania letter writer says he’d like to see “a report on accidents, damage and injuries caused by cyclists,” as well as statistics on how many riders have left the scene. Just wait until someone tells him about hit-and-run drivers.

A Savannah columnist says not all bicycling is by choice; some people are just trying to get to and from work the only way they can.

Sad news from Florida, where one of the four bike riders who were critically injured by a 91-year old driver has died; state troopers blame the victims for making an unsafe lane change.

 

International

Cycling Tips lists the world’s ten best bike shops , including the Cub House right here in San Marino.

Lime has launched a $3 million campaign to encourage their customers to use the company’s dockless bikeshare and e-scooters responsibly; a Kiwi car review website says don’t bother, calling it a waste of time.

A British city counselor says he likes the idea of bike paths in principal, as long as they don’t inconvenience those poor, suffering drivers.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is one of us, participating in a youth bike ride for peace before launching a comprehensive anti-terror military offensive in the country.

Life is cheap in New Zealand, where a road raging, hit-and-run driver walks with just six months probation after deliberately using his car to break a bike rider’s leg. On the plus side, he lost his license for 20 months, and the expenses forced him to sell his car.

The close friend of a fallen Australian bike advocate unleashes on the country’s police and politicians in an emotional video, saying they’ve done nothing to stop bicycling deaths.

 

Competitive Cycling

Geraint Thomas says he and fellow Tour de France winner Chris Froome should be co-leaders of Team Sky next year, even though Froome has four yellow jerseys to his one.

Three-time Polish world champ Ryszard Szurkowski announced he was paralyzed and unable to pay his medical bills after suffering severe spinal injuries in a multi-bike pileup while still racing at age 72.

Former rising pro cyclist Adrien Costa reveals he was trapped under a rock for six hours in the climbing fall that cost him his leg, as Zwift announces a fundraising campaign to help pay his expenses.

Former Australian pro cyclist Jonathan Cantwell has died of an undisclosed cause; he was just 36.

A British woman discusses successfully taking up BMX racing in her 50s, despite suffering from asthma.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could have anti-lock brakes. Your next mountain bike could be a Ducati — if you’re willing to move to Europe.

And your local bike shop could look like an art museum.

3 comments

  1. keith says:

    Granada bike thieves…

    Condo garage across the street from me, management told residents not to store anything in the garage after they’d had a number of bikes stolen. Just not the safest place to keep them, especially unlocked.

  2. “They’re [the CHP] handing out free bike lights to help, which doesn’t do pedestrians a damn bit of good.”

    In the video the CHP officer gave a woman a headlight for her bike. My wife and I use a small flashlight while walking after dark, and it makes us much more visible. A bike headlight could do the same thing.

    Also in the video the office gave a couple of joggers some reflective “slap bands” that can be wrapped around their wrist or ankle. They also increase visibility.

  3. Sergio says:

    Unfortunately we know that lights, reflective clothing, etc will not help with entitled, speeding, distracted, drunk or drugged drivers…

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