Archive for bikinginla

Guest Post: Bikes Have Rights™*

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Civil vs. Criminal Bike Lawsuits: How They Differ

 
By James L. Pocrass, Esq.
Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

 

Streetsblog LA reported recently on the 3-year and 8-months plea deal that was struck by Wendy Villegas, the drunk driver who struck three bicyclists, resulting in the death of one of them, Andy Garcia, on the bridge on Cesar Chavez Boulevard last Sept. 14. Villegas never even stopped. It is only because a witness followed Villegas and was able to get her license plate number that she was apprehended. When the police booked her at 7:15 a.m., it is reported that she was still intoxicated.

The post talks about the effect of the plea deal on Garcia’s family and friends. How they weren’t consulted about the deal and that their only permitted involvement was that they were allowed to read statements at the sentencing hearing about how Villegas’ actions affected their lives.

I bring this up because it is important for you to understand the differences between a criminal case and a civil case. There is a growing outcry that drivers who commit hit-and-runs should get stiffer penalties. Personally, I agree. However, when you are calling for stiffer penalties, do you mean stiffer criminal or stiffer civil penalties?

A criminal lawsuit is filed by the government (district attorney), not by the person or persons who have suffered at the hands of the accused. The district attorney is acting for the state (read as “society”) and ensuring the stability of society by punishing wrongdoers and deterring them and others from offending.

The hard truth is that you, as the victim or wronged party, are witnesses, at best, in the trial. The criminal case is about the wrongdoer being accused by the state of a criminal offense against society. Punishment for crimes against the state can be incarceration, fines, community service, or, in extreme cases, the death penalty.

In a civil suit, the lawsuit is brought by the wronged party (or parties). They are appealing to the court for relief. They are telling the court, “We have been injured because of the negligence or carelessness of the accused.”

The civil court’s response is to give the victim (the plaintiff), the chance to show how the accused (the defendant), harmed them. If the victim can prove they were harmed, then the court’s duty is “to make them whole.” This is usually accomplished by awarding the victim compensation for their injuries.

Before I discuss the issue of compensation making anyone “whole,” I want to talk about one more significant difference between criminal and civil lawsuits.

Everyone is familiar with the “O.J. trial.” O.J. Simpson was found not guilty by a jury for the murder of his wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in a criminal trial. Yet in the civil jury trial, O.J. was found guilty and was ordered to pay the Brown and Goldman families approximately $40 million.

How did that happen? There are probably numerous reasons, but the prominent reason I want you to know is the differences in “standard of proof” in criminal versus civil trials.

In a criminal trial the “standard of proof” is that the district attorney must convince the judge or every member of the jury that the accused is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In a civil trial, the “standard of proof” is that the victim must demonstrate that there is a “preponderance of evidence” that the accused is guilty. It only takes a judge or a majority of jurors to find the accused liable in a civil trial.

In the O.J. example, it is obvious that the jurors in the criminal trial had doubts of O.J.’s guilt, where in the civil trial, the lawyer’s for the families of the victims had to convince the jury that the evidence of guilt was “beyond the balance of probabilities.”

Returning to the issue of compensation of the law making anyone “whole,” everyone knows that money cannot bring back a loved one or heal the catastrophic injuries the victim and their family suffered, or give anyone back the time they have lost due to the wrongdoer’s actions.

Every client I have ever had for whom I obtained a multi-million verdict or settlement has told me that they would give back every penny to have their loved one back or the injury they suffered to never have happened.

In legal terms, “made whole” means through compensation (which is the only currency that is available to the court), to bring the injured party to the place they would have been if they had not been injured by the wrongdoer.  What “making whole” means in a legal sense varies by state laws.

In the Streetsblog post referred to earlier, the families are quoted as saying they are not interested in bringing a civil case. They have no interest in money. I understand, and they should do what is best for them. But never think that the compensation obtained for clients doesn’t matter to them. This isn’t “jackpot justice” as the public relations machines of Big Business and Big Insurance would like you to think.

The compensation allows people who have been injured at no fault of their own – or families who have lost a loved one due to the negligence or carelessness of another – to rebuild their lives. In some cases it has meant being able to adapt a home and car for a wheelchair or for retraining for another career or for paying for quality childcare. It invariably means being able to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars for current and future medical care. In some cases the compensation is put in trust for a child’s future use, for college or other advanced education.

Just as importantly, when the wrongdoer is a government entity or a corporation, it sends the only punishment either of those understands: a hit to their bottom line.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need stronger criminal penalties against hit-and-run drivers. I also believe that we need to bring these people to justice in a civil court. It is only when their insurance companies start seeing what these people cost THEM (yes, I know that’s horrible, but that’s how companies work), will the insurance companies start applying their own form of punishments.

I know, after 30 years of representing some of the most wonderful people who never deserved the injuries and losses they suffered, that the compensation mattered to the victim and it punished the wrongdoer. That’s really all the courts can offer us.

*California Vehicle Code 21200: A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle. . .

For more than 25 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at info@pocrass.com.*

*Sponsored Post

 

Morning Links: Another road raging SFV driver, and a young pro succumbs after years of chronic pain

Another day, another road rage incident.

A rider named John sends word that he was punched by an angry, impatient driver on Tuesday. This is the account he posted on Instagram, along with photos of the truck and his broken glasses.

Another cycling road rage incident. This guy in the Chevy pickup was yelling at a cyclist at a light when I rode up behind them. When the light changed the guy peeled out then went about 4 or 500 feet up and pulled over. When the 1st cyclist was about to pass him the guy through open his door to try to take him out. That cyclist swerved into traffic to avoid the door but kept riding. I stopped and told the guy that we are allowed and supposed to ride in the street, there are even sharrows on the section of Sherman Way we were on, I pointed to them. He called me a idiot and said we can’t be on the street. He shoved me. I shoved him back and he started swinging. I avoided the first few punches then he got me in the eye and smashed my glasses, as I grabbed my glasses he punched me in my chin then he took off. I waited for police and filled out a report. Hopefully they go after him. He will kill one of us one day if they don’t.

He later added this thought in response to a comment.

Someone needs to stand up for the rights of cyclist. These people are killers. These are the people that’s run over cyclist and keep driving. Last time the guy ran me over. This time I got punched in the face. But if that’s what has to happen to get this to stop then I’ll take the punches, so other people can ride safely.

……..

Very sad news.

Chase Pinkham, a former rider for the Trek-Livestrong development team, has died of an accidental overdose. According to a story from VeloNews, the 23-year old rider suffered from chronic pain and depression due to a 2008 training collision.

He recovered enough to ride for Trek, followed by the Bissel and Jamis domestic teams, and was getting off narcotic pain relievers when he suffered a broken leg in the Valley of the Sun Stage Race earlier this year. His doctors put him back on painkillers as a result; his body was found Sunday night.

The VeloNews story includes a few paragraphs everyone should read.

According to a March 9 Facebook post, Pinkham dealt with chronic pain and depression related to his 2008 crash.

“Just wanted to give you an update if you have tried to get a hold of me the last few days by cell phone. I am currently seeking treatment for some severe depression caused by years of dealing with chronic pain from my accident in 2008. I am in a safe and good place, but I do not have access to a cell phone. If you need to get a hold of me please message me here,” wrote Pinkham.

“Dealing with chronic pain, years of medication and depression is something that may make you completely alone and hopeless, even when surrounded by the people that love you. Please remember that if you are suffering currently, or ever end up suffering, that you are not alone and that people love you. There is help available and asking for it only proves that you have the strength to reach out and the desire to change the state you are in. Many suffer, but so few ask for the help that so many people are willing to give.”

Despite the depression, a family friend assures that the overdose was accidental, and Pinkham did not take his own life.

……..

Local

How Los Angeles riders won their first protected bike lane. Assuming we did, that is.

How to report items that don’t belong in the public right-of-way. And yes, bike lanes are part of the public right-of-way.

A fun drone-eye view of the recent Wilshire CicLAvia.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday Ride rolls along the LA River bike path.

CICLE hosts a Taste of Pasadena bike ride to celebrate Bike Week. Speaking of CICLE, they’re in the market for a new Managing Director to replace departing Dan Dabek, who has done an amazing job in revitalizing the organization.

 

State

A Huntington Beach author looks at the city’s recent ghost bikes.

USC’s Neon Tommy visits the Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival.

Buy a brick in the Marin Museum of Bicycling.

If you’re going to ride a bike in Vallejo while carrying a hand gun with the serial numbers removed, at least ride on the right side of the street.

 

National

Long Beach’s long missing biking expats explain why you should explore cities by bike.

Maybe there really should be a war on cars.

Obeying the law and not being a jerk aren’t always the same thing, says a Philly writer.

A Texas woman says drivers need to be aware of bike riders and stop treating them like ants.

If bike lanes are too expensive, Shreveport won’t paint them; just what price do they put on bicyclists’ lives?

Kim Kardashian rides a bike in Miami for Vogue; more proof bikes are the fashion accessory du jour.

A Florida town will use a state grant to crack down on bicyclists and pedestrians who put themselves at risk; never mind the drivers in the big, dangerous machines who pose that risk.

 

International

The BBC reports a new heavy truck design has been approved by the European Union to improve safety.

Brit bike scribe Carlton Reid tells motorists that cyclists sometimes block the road in order to save their lives, and possibly yours.

How to make your bike traceable in case of theft in just 10 seconds.

Dutch pro Robert Gesink, fifth place finisher in the 2010 Tour de France, is out for the foreseeable future with a heart arrhythmia.

In a bizarre tragedy, a bike-riding Dubai boy is killed at the same intersection that took his mother’s life three years earlier.

A cyclist from the United Arab Emirates is riding around the Persian Gulf to raise funds for special needs children.

Aussie cyclists accuse police of going soft on dangerous drivers, as an injured cyclist discovers police made up his statement while he was incapacitated.

 

Finally…

It’s one thing to ride one of London’s bike share bikes — aka Boris Bikes — on London Bridge. It’s another to ride it on the safety railing.

And when you’re drunk and carrying an axe on your bike at 3 am, it helps to know if you’re in Huntington Beach or Long Beach. Or maybe Bakersfield.

 

Morning Links: BOLO for dangerous San Fernando Valley driver and disappearing Bike Plan bikeways

An impatient Ford truck driver allegedly ran over a cyclist at Winnetka and Roscoe last Saturday morning, after honking and telling the rider to get out of his way so he could make a right. He then backed up and fled the scene.

A photo included in the report clearly shows the license number of the truck; no word on whether the rider was injured or if incident has been reported to the police.

If not, it should be.

Update: Frequent contributor Micheal Eisenberg reports seeing two apparently uninjured riders talking to a police officer at Roscoe and Winnetka as he rode by Saturday morning.

……..

LA’s city council-approved 2010 bike plan has been incorporated into the draft Mobility Plan 2035. Except, apparently, the parts that haven’t. Could this mark the return of the much maligned — and deservedly so — “Currently Infeasible” category from the original draft bike plan?

Meanwhile, City Planning is hosting a webinar Thursday evening to discuss year two of the bike plan; maybe you can ask them where the missing miles went.

……..

Local

The rebranded Gran Fondo Italia has dumped the Beverly Hills edition.

Joe Anthony captures a hyper drive nighttime ride through the streets of LA on his bike cam.

Make your plans for Thursday night, when a Treats and Beats ride will be held to celebrate the opening of a new Huntington Park bike parklet.

Monterey Park and BikeSGV host a free, family friendly community bike ride for Earth Day. Meanwhile, the very busy BikeSGV hosts an Open House Bike Social to kickoff Bike Month.

Five Azusa Pacific students are biking from Seattle to New York to raise funds for clean water.

 

State

Streetsblog updates transportation bills before the state legislature, including a proposed vulnerable user law and a rapidly sinking bike tax.

Orange County officials host a workshop on bike safety following recent bicycling deaths; that should be the response to every bike and pedestrian fatality, anywhere.

Cross champion Tim Johnson bridges the gap between racing and advocacy.

In advance of Bike to Work Day, the no sweat way to bike to work.

San Francisco commits to 24 Vision Zero projects to eliminate bike and pedestrian deaths.

A Chico State student sees the thief ride by as she’s reporting her stolen bike to the police.

 

National

A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center looks at the whack jobs people and groups behind the anti-Agenda 21 conspiracy theories and the damage they do.

Bob Mionske discusses what to do when you’re not the slowest vehicle on the road; California also allows cyclists to pass on the right.

Is the Internet threatening the iconic bike-riding Mormon missionaries?

A Seattle bike shop owner is charged with running a chop shop to fence stolen bikes. Schmuck.

Yes, says a writer from my hometown, drivers have a responsibility to keep cyclists safe.

American bicycling may have been born in Newton Mass.

Needless to say, the alleged jackass who killed a triathlete in New Orleans over the weekend blames the victims for swerving into his path; physical evidence and witness testimony suggest he plowed into them instead of changing lanes to go around — while driving with a suspended license, no less.

 

International

London will cut speed limits to 20 mph in the central city in a bid to save lives.

Anti-bike saboteurs have struck once again, strewing nails in the path of riders participating in a UK sportive. Crap like this is a crime, not at prank; a sudden flat could cause a rider to fall, leading to potentially catastrophic injuries.

A bike-centric service was held for the world’s fastest bike-riding police officer, killed in a British velodrome accident last month.

While Brit bike commuting is on the upswing, it’s dropped over a quarter in the Cotswolds.

Velonews wraps up Sunday’s unpredictable Paris-Roubaix.

After running down a bike rider while texting, an Aussie driver complains to police about the damage the rider caused to her car, and says she doesn’t believe texting while driving could cause a collision with a cyclist, even though she swears she wasn’t. Nice.

 

Finally…

Your next text could be from your bike. Telling you it’s been stolen.

And Major Taylor’s 101-year old track bike could be yours for just $20,000; why isn’t this in a museum already? Seriously, if you don’t know who Major Taylor was by now, you should.

A happy and blessed Pesach to all who observe it!

Morning Links: LA County candidate questionnaires, and insights and smiles from Cycling in the South Bay

Believe it or not, there’s yet another local election on the horizon.

And like last year’s race for LA mayor and city council, this one could have a long-lasting effect on your ability to ride safely and comfortably in the County of Angels.

As well as whether you’ll get a ticket for things like taking the lane or riding two or more abreast.

Two of LA County’s longtime supervisors are termed out, and the battle is on to replace them. District 1’s Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky in District 3 are both leaving office this year. And while they’ve both been bike supporters, this election provides an opportunity to ensure that we vote in bicycle friendly candidates to replace them.

Because whoever replaces them will play a big role in ensuring the roll-out of the new county bike plan, as well as ensuring bikes are considered in county spending and any new laws that get passed.

Like adopting a bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance on a countywide basis, for instance.

Perhaps even more important to your daily ride, at least in the short term, the county is also electing a new sheriff who will determine how laws affecting bicycling are interpreted by sheriff’s deputies patrolling the streets. And how seriously crimes affecting cyclists — from bike theft to hit-and-run — will be taken in the county and cities patrolled by the department, including West Hollywood and Malibu.

Working with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Planning and Policy Director Eric Bruins, the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee has developed a list of questions for the candidates in all three races to measure their support for cycling, and how they would address the issues facing bicyclists once they’re elected.

You can read the questionnaires for County Supervisor and LA County Sheriff by clicking on the links here.

And you can help by reaching out to the candidates for District 1, District 2, and County Sheriff and urging them to complete the questionnaires, and asking about them at any meet-the-candidate events.

Because you have a right to know where they stand on the issues that matter to you before you cast your ballot.

……….

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with the always entertaining Cycling in the South Bay.

Today’s offerings include a great remembrance of chasing down a rude roadie on a 30 pound bike. In flip flops. With a kindergartener on the back.

Along with a look at the “long term stress caused by being taken within an inch of your life, every day, multiple times a day, for the simple act of riding a bicycle on a public road,” which Seth aptly terms Post Traumatic Jackass Syndrome.

You know, I think I suffer from that one myself.

……….

Local

It’s been a busy bike weekend for LADOT and the Bureau of Street Services, with the first hint of new bike lanes installed in Highland Park and the York Blvd bridge.

Arch rivals USC and UCLA come together over bicycling, as the two school’s bike coalitions join together to host Bike Talk.

LADOT Bike Blog explains why this month’s Finish the Ride matters. And yes, it does.

Kidical Mass returns to Santa Monica April 26th.

CLR Effect looks at Sunday’s LA-Roubaix ride; the ride looks incredible, and as usual, Michael offers some amazing photos.

Downey’s Firestone Bridge is undergoing reconstruction and widening, with bike lanes to be added to connect with existing lanes on either side.

 

State

Two public meetings and a bike ride have been scheduled to consider a request to limit bike use on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Drive.

Roughly 150 San Diego cyclists turn out to remember fallen cyclist David Voigt.

A former Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan finishes a 5,200 mile cross-country bike ride at Camp Pendleton. He may not have legs anymore, but that guy’s got some serious huevos.

Pedal Love talks with the director of People Power of Santa Cruz County.

Actually, you can ride with diabetes, as these competitive cyclists prove.

 

National

Sometimes it’s okay to create congestion if it leads to a seamless network of bikeways.

A DIY lighting project can turn your bicycle into something from TRON.

Even Topeka KS is investing in bikeways, leading to more respectful drivers and fewer scofflaw riders; just imagine what Illinois can accomplish with $52 million.

After raising $61 million to fight cancer through an Ohio bike ride, a cancer survivor starts a new company to stage similar rides across the country.

Speaking of which, you can raise money to fight childhood cancer by riding from Austin to New Orleans. Best part is, at the end of a great bike ride through the bayou country, you’re in the Big Easy.

Although that’s not always a good thing, as a firefighter from Atlanta is killed and another rider critically injured in a rear-end collision while training for a New Orleans triathlon.

We’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth repeating as a 10 year old boy celebrates his birthday — and devotes his spring break — to riding his bike across South Carolina to raise funds for safe drinking water.

 

International

Egypt’s likely next president sets off a firestorm by riding a bicycle; debate seems to center on the price of his bike.

A Philippine writer calls for an end to the language of neglect and denial, and urges everyone to stop calling collisions accidents. Couldn’t agree more, and I hope the LA press is listening.

Another day, another pro rider seriously injured in a car collision while training.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me. If you’re going to ride a bike at 3 am carrying burglary tools, dope and someone else’s ID and credit cards, put a damn light on it.

And a San Diego area man deliberately runs down a bike rider and gets away with it. Then again, the rider was attempting to flee after robbing a convenience store and attacking the clerk with a hatchet.

 

Weekend Links: First Great Streets unveiled, say hello to Allo, and bikes as weapons of war

I wasn’t expecting any bike news in Mayor Garcetti’s State of the City address.

So I confess, I wasn’t paying that close attention as I worked on other things. Fortunately, Streetsblog’s Joe Linton confirmed what I thought I heard on Thursday.

And that is that six LA streets have been identified as the city’s first to be unveiled under the mayor’s Great Street’s initiative:

  • Crenshaw Blvd
  • Figueroa Street
  • Gaffey Street (San Pedro)
  • Reseda Blvd
  • Van Nuys Blvd
  • Westwood Blvd

Hats off to the mayor for selecting streets that represent a broad cross-section of the city. Only Westwood could be described as passing through an upscale neighborhood, while Crenshaw and Figueroa are every bit as iconic as Wilshire Blvd, home of last Sunday’s CicLAvia.

The goal is to make these streets accessible to everyone — including bicyclists, pedestrians and the handicapped — with green streets, plants, art and people-focused plazas.

It will be interesting to see how far Garcetti’s initiative gets in the face of Westwood’s infamous NIMBYism, and local Council Member Paul Koretz opposition to bike lanes on the street.

……….

The Kickstarter for the Allo combination speaker and handlebar cell phone mount has been fully funded, so you’ll soon be able to listen to music, use navigation, make phone calls or use any app you want while you ride. And now you can pre-order your Allo for $35 until the campaign ends on Sunday.

Personally, I’d rather keep my hands on the handlebars and my attention on the road in front of me.

But that’s just me.

……….

Local

Metro honors six-month bike commuter Nick Rosenblum as part of their monthly Why You Ride series.

How to report broken LA bike racks or other street repair problems.

USC’s Neon Tommy talks with Maria Sipin, one of the city’s leading — and one of my favorite — bike and transit advocates.

MIT Media Lab has combined LAPD records and Google Map data to create a detailed map of LA bike crashes. Not surprisingly, the worst streets are Olympic, Venice and Sunset Boulevards.

 

State

I shoehorned this one in at the last minute last night, but it deserves more attention. Historically risk — and modern times — averse Caltrans has adopted the forward-thinking NACTO Guide, which could be a real game changer for California streets and cyclists. Streetsblog explains why it matters.

Bike Newport Beach calls for more, and more visible, bike cops to improve safety. And they suggest taking your helmet off when you’re not actually on your bike.

San Diego County goes all eminent domain on property owners’ asses to build seven miles of bikeways, but regional leaders still think freeways first.

A memorial ride will be held Saturday for fallen San Diego cyclist David Voight, killed by a suspected drunk driver in a stolen car last month.

San Diego bike thieves target high-end bikes.

Stockton police are looking for a woman wearing a purple coat and head wrap, riding a purple bike, who whipped another woman in a dog dispute; no word on what her rival, or the dog, was wearing.

Ciclovia comes to Yosemite, as 17-mile Yosemite Road opens to bikes only this weekend.

 

National

A new Minneapolis study shows bike lanes don’t adversely affect vehicular traffic if you put them in the right places.

Wisconsin gets a new vulnerable user law; a similar bill is under consideration in California.

 

International

Maybe they need to bring back the mythical war on the car in Toronto. See below for just the bikes to do it with.

Brit advocacy group protests the incredibly light sentence given a youthful careless driver who took the life of a cyclist out for the maiden ride on his new bike.

The Guardian asks if shaming bike riders is a good thing when the cams are turned back on us.

A 125-year old Yorkshire cycling club discovers materials documenting members returning to bicycling after coming home from the war. In 1919.

David Hembrow says shared spaces don’t protect the vulnerable, but prioritize the powerful.

Former Amgen Tour of California and defending Vuelta winner Chris Horner suffered serious injuries when he was apparently hit by a car while training near Italy’s Lake Como.

 

Finally…

A new Japanese bike is designed to unfold into a wheelchair, allowing riders to turn into rescuers in emergency situations. Or it could come in handy the next time I attempt to ride Wilshire on a non-CicLAvia.

And Rex Reese forwards word that the peaceful, unassuming bicycle has had its place as a weapon of war in sometimes silly, sometimes frightening ways. Which could also come in handy the next time I try to ride Wilshire. Although that photo of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corp posing in Yellowstone in 1896 is seriously cool.

 

Calendar: A busy bike weekend with Festival of Books, Eli Richbourg Memorial Ride, and LA Rubaix Ride

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The last of the the City of Los Angeles neighborhood workshops to collect feedback on the Mobility Plan 2035, re:code LA and the Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles will be held on Saturday, April 12th from 10 am to 1 pm at Peck Park Community Center, 560 N. Western Ave in San Pedro. The Mobility Plan especially will impact the future of bicycling in the city. Click here for more information (pdf).

Saturday, April 12th, Helen’s Cycles sponsors the Eli Richbourg Memorial Ride to raise funds for Eli’s wife and two-year old daughter following his death from a brain aneurism last year. The ride starts at the Santa Monica Helen’s, 2501 Broadway at 8 am; suggested donation $25.

PValley Bike leads the bike ride for the Cesar Chavez Pilgrimage and Celebration on Saturday, April 12th; meet at Pomona Unified School District, 800 Garey Ave in Pomona for the 9:30 am departure.

A memorial will be held for fallen cyclist and former Pasadena city council member Sid Tyler at 2 pm Saturday, April 12th at Pasadena’s All Saints Church, 132 N Euclid Ave, with a reception to follow a Pasadena City Hall.

The monthly Spoke(n) Art ride takes place on Saturday, April 12th, offering a slow-paced tour of NELA galleries. The ride meets at the Flying Pigeon Bike Shop, 3404 North Figueroa, at 6 pm, rolling at 6:30.

It’s not exactly a bike event, but still a great event to bike to, as the annual LA Times Festival of Books unfolds on the USC campus on Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th. Maybe next year you can ride there on a bike-friendly MyFigueroa.

The San Fernando Valley Bike Club offers a twice monthly Compagni Group Ride — Italian for companion — on the second and fourth Sunday of every month; the next ride takes place on Sunday, April 13th. Click here for details and other rides; lots of other great sounding rides on the list, too.

Walk ‘n Rollers teams up with  the LACBC to present the free 2014 South LA Kids Bike Festival on Sunday, April 13th from 11 am to 2 pm at the Foshay Learning Center, 3751 S. Harvard Blvd. The fun family event will focus on developing safe riding skills; a limited supply of bikes and helmets will be available to borrow.

Also on Sunday, April 13th, the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles join with the LACBC for their monthly bike tour of the LA area. This month’s LA Rubaix Ride will offer a not-so-hellish and cobblestone-free homage to the Paris – Roubaix classic. The 35 mile, intermediate level ride meets at 8:30 am at The Trails Cafe, 2333 Fern Dell Drive, rolling at 9.

The My Figueroa project is due to return to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee on Tuesday, April 15th at 2:30 pm; 200 North Spring Street.

LA’s Ovarian Psychos present the women’s Full Pink Moon Luna Ride on Tuesday, April 15th at 7 pm. Riders meet at the Metro Blue Line Florence Station, 7225 Graham Ave; male-identifying riders need not apply.

LADOT and City Planning are hosting a webinar (pdf) to discuss the second year implantation of the LA 2010 bike plan, from 7 to 8 pm on Friday, April 17th.

The battle to preserve bicycling on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Drive continues with three meetings this month:

  • 5pm Thu April 17th meet at the Civic Center (100 Civic Center Drive, NB – same room as the committee meeting on Monday) where we’ll define scope of work and ask for help on direction. Emails can be forwarded to frank@bikeNewportBeach.org
  • 11am Sat April 19th, the day before Easter will likely be a very busy day on the Back Bay loop, so let’s go and observe. Meet at Bayside Drive North at PCH.
  • 5pm Wed April 30th meet at the Civic Center for a final review of the issues and recommendations that will appear in the sub-committee’s report to the Bicycle Master Plan Committee

The MOM Ridaz are volunteering to feed the homeless at the 3rd annual Sweet Home Sundae Bar sponsored by the Fred Jordan Missions and Rowe Cuisine on Saturday, April 19th from 10 am to 2 pm; two or possibly three feeder rides will lead to the event.

The USC Bicycle Coalition rides to Venice Beach on Saturday, April 19th. Meet at the intersection of Trousdale and Exposition, departing at 10 am and returning around 3:30 pm, 28 miles roundtrip.

The annual Taco Night sponsored by the Eastside Bike Club, Monrovia Cyclist and Stan’s Bike Shop takes place at 5 pm on Saturday, April 19th as a fund raiser for Tour de Cure. The event takes place at Stan’s Bike Shop, 800 Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 26th, when the Pomona Police Department will host a Kid’s Bike Rodeo; details to follow.

Saturday, April 26th, the City of Monterey Park host an Earth Day Bike Ride and Festival from 8 to 11 am at the Bruggemeyer Library, 318 S. Ramona Ave.

Help design what North Figueroa Blvd will look like 36 years from now with the Interactive Modeling Workshop: North Figueroa 2050 at the Bike Oven, 3706 N. Figueroa. It takes place on Saturday, April 26th at 4 pm, with light dinner and drinks at 5:30 pm.

The first bike-in theater of the year will be held on Saturday, April 26th as part of the LA2050 Listens on the LA River at Reseda Park, 18411 Victory Boulevard.

The annual Tour de OC returns on Saturday, April 26th to raise funds for abused and neglected kids; great cause. Rides of 25, 55 and 100 depart from Newport Mesa Church, 55 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa, with registration starting at 6 am on the day of the ride.

The American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure Ship to Shore ride takes place on Sunday, April 27th at the Queen Mary, 1126 Queen’s Highway in Long Beach. Rides range from eight to 100 miles, with a $200 fundraising minimum.

On February 17th of last year, Damian Kevitt was hit by a minivan while riding his bike in Griffith Park. The driver attempted to flee the scene with Kevitt trapped under the vehicle, dragging him nearly 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway and leaving him for dead; the resulting injuries cost him a leg, and nearly took his life. On Sunday, April 27th, Kevitt is planning to finish the ride to raise funds for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Also on Sunday the 27th, Brewcyclers visits the new Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim; ride meets at 7:30 am at 1072 North Armando Street in Anaheim, rolling at 8 for a 47 mile round trip ride with just 950 feet of elevation gain.

Filmmaker and frequent contributor Danny Gamboa is curating the Bike Love Art Show at the Bell Arts Factory, 432 N Ventura Ave in Ventura. The theme of the show is Bike or the Love of the Bicycle, with the opening reception to take place during the First Friday Art Walk on Friday, May 2nd at 6 pm.

The Ride 2 Recovery to benefit wounded vets returns to Southern California on Saturday, May 3rd in Thousand Oaks. The ride departs from the Lost Hills Sheriff Station, 27050 Agoura Hills Road, starting at 8 am; no cost for injured vets.

Celebrate the free Bike Fest of Long Beach on Saturday, May 3rd from 2 pm to 11 pm, with a number of events and activities for everyone, including the Wolfpack Hustle Shorline Crit and Stylish by Bike and Vintage Bike competitions hosted by Pedal Love.

One of the highlights of the LA bike calendar used to be the annual Bike Expo at the Convention Center, which sadly died to to declining interest. Now Santa Monica is picking up the mantle with the free Santa Monica Bike Expo on Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th at the Santa Monica Pier.

The theme of the LACBC’s May Sunday Funday Ride is May the Forest Be With You, offering a delayed Earth Day celebration hosted by board member Kevin Hopps. The ride meets at LACBC headquarters in Downtown LA, 634 S. Spring Street at 9:30 am on Sunday, May 4th.

Equestrians are fighting to have bikes banned from the Mairposa Bridge between Burbank and Griffith Park. The Burbank City Council will take up the matter on Tuesday, May 6th at pm, Burbank City Hall, 275 E. Olive.

The fully funded, approved and shovel ready bike lanes on North Figueroa are finally scheduled for a public hearing with council member Gil Cedillo, who has been dragging his feet for reasons know only to him. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 8th from 6 to 8 pm at Nightingale Middle School, 3311 North Figueroa Street.

Saturday, May 10th, marks the Grand Opening of the first protected bike lane in the San Gabriel Valley, on Rosemead Blvd between Las Tunas and Broadway in Temple City; ribbon cutting ceremony starts a 9 am, with a Community Festival from 10 am to 1 pm. CICLE, the Eastside Bike Club and Stan’s Bike Shop are leading a family-friendly community ride to the festival.

Sunday, May 11th marks the Cyclofemme LA Mother’s Day Bike Ride and Brunch, from 9 am to 1 pm at Grand Park, 200 North Grand Ave. Take a socially paced ride around Downtown LA to celebrate and honor women around the world, ending with brunch at the Angel City Brewery.

The Amgen Tour of California runs from Sunday, May 11th to Sunday, May 18th, starting in Sacramento. Three SoCal stages are planned, Friday May 16th, Santa Clarita to Mountain High; Saturday May 16th, Santa Clarita to Pasadena, and the final stage on Sunday the 18th in Thousand Oaks. There are also two women’s races scheduled, in Sacramento on May 11th and on the 12th in Folsom.

Bike Week 2014 is set to unfold the week of May 12th, with preview events on Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th.

  • May 10th: Get Ready and Fix Your Bike!
  • May 11th: Bicycling is for Everyone Celebration!
  • May 12th: Kick-off Bike Week LA
  • May 13th: Blessing of the Bicycles
  • May 14th: Guided Ride Day: Bike Lanes and More!
  • May 15th: Bike to Work Day
  • May 12th-18th: Bike Local Discounts

Pasadena will finish off Bike Week with a mini-ciclovia from 11 am to 1:30 pm on Saturday, May 18th with Ride, Roll and Stroll, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, RSVP here.

Mark your calendar for Glendale’s 2nd Annual Jewel City Fun & Fitness Ride on Sunday, May 18th, with rides ranging from seven to 45 miles.

The California Bicycle Coalition is hosting a Bike Advocacy Day to influence elected officials in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 21 in Sacramento.

Discover LA’s world famous street art on the Northeast Los Angeles Mural Ride on Saturday, May 24th. Meet at the Heritage Gold Line Station, 3545 Pasadena Ave at 9:30 am, rolling at 10.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, the city’s only official voice for bicyclists, meets on the first Tuesday of every even-numbered month; the next meeting takes place at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 3rd at 6501 Fountain Ave. I’ll be celebrating the Corgi’s birthday that night.

Learn the basis principles of bicycle and traffic safety with CICLE’s free Traffic Basic Safety Class on Saturday, June 7th from 11 am to 1 pm, in conjunction with the Caltech BikeLab; Caltech Y Ground Floor Meeting Room, 505 S. Wilson Ave in Pasadena.

LA’s most popular fundraising bike ride rolls on Sunday, June 22nd with the 14th edition of the LACBC’s Los Angeles River Ride. Ten rides of varying lengths, with starting points in Long Beach and Griffith Park, including two centuries, a 15-mile family ride and a free kid’s ride; discount prices available through May 27th.

Mark your calendar for the Peace Love & Family Ride for Crohn’s and Obesity in South LA on July 5th and 6th. Great cause; more details when they become available.

Bike racing returns to Downtown LA with Wolfpack Hustle: The Civic Center Crit; racing takes place from 1 to 8 pm on the streets surrounding LA City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

The year’s second CicLAvia takes place on Sunday, October 5th with a new variation on the classic Heart of LA route through Downtown LA, from Echo Park to East LA.

The first winter — or late fall, anyway — CicLAvia is also the first to roll through historic South LA on Sunday, December 7th, from the cultural center of the Southside in Leimert Park to the birthplace of West Coast Jazz on Central Avenue.

Find bike racing schedules and other cycling events at SoCal Cycling.

Help stop hit-and-runs, stop a Burbank equestrian bridge grab, and your Morning Links

Stop whatever you’re doing — like reading this, for instance — and sign this petition in support of AB 2197.

You’ll find my signature there among the 800 plus current signees.

The bill, currently before the state assembly, would require every car sold in California to leave the dealership with some form of license plates.

Currently, drivers have up to 90 days to license their cars. But some never do, as you may have noticed; if not, try counting all the unlicensed cars, trucks and SUVs you see the next time you ride.

And imagine how the police would find them if one were to hit you and take off, even if witnesses were able to give a description of the vehicle.

Without a plate number, hit-and-run drivers too often get away with it.

And too often, we pay the price.

………

I’m told Burbank equestrians are attempting a land grab by demanding that bikes be banned entirely from the Mariposa bridge over the LA River.

The bridge was originally built to provide bike riders, pedestrians and horse riders access to both sides of the river near Griffith Park. The proposal would prevent cyclists from even walking their bikes across the bridge, as most do now.

The City Council will take up the matter on Tuesday, May 6th at pm, Burbank City Hall, 275 E. Olive.

Thanks to Mike Kim for the heads-up.

……..

Local

A real estate developer proposes putting a 9-mile extension of the LA River bike path directly on the concrete riverbed through Downtown LA. Sounds good in theory, but wouldn’t that adversely affect plans to restore the river to a more natural state?

The next Spoke(n) Art Ride rolls this Saturday, while the USC Bicycle Coalition invites you to join them in biking to the beach the same day.

Mark your calendar for the first bike-in movie of the year on April 26th at Reseda Park on the LA River.

Pasadena gets a brief open streets, aka ciclovia, event of their own on Saturday, May 17th, while Glendale offers the Jewel City Fun and Fitness Ride the next day.

CICLE’s next bike Traffic Basics Class will be held at Caltech on June 7th.

A double-amputee Marine will arrive in Long Beach on Friday after a 5,200 mile cross country bike trip driven by prosthetic legs.

 

State

In a remarkable display of common sense, Redlands builds a new bike trail after a dispute over whether riders are allowed on an access road.

NACTO brings their Cities for Cycling Road Show to Oakland; maybe they’ll make it down here eventually. Meanwhile, Caltrans has finally joined the 21st Century by endorsing the NACTO guide in a surprise announcement.

A three-year old San Francisco boy is hit by a truck, even though he was riding his bike in a crosswalk with the walk signal and family members nearby.

Yo, Sacramento Bee — what’s wrong with this sentence? “Many drivers similarly are discourteous toward the rare cyclists who do obey rules of the road.”

Rare my ass.

 

National

A Muncie IN man is arrested for intentionally running down a bike rider, telling police that drivers have the right-of-way and cyclists were taking up the whole road. He also claimed he hit the rider because the cyclist somehow struck his driver’s side mirror — even though the rider was on his right.

A Boston writer explains why he rides a bike, and why you should, too.

Two Iraq veterans are biking from Boston to Seattle in memory of a fallen fellow Marine.

A New York Community Board bars on-street bike corrals to protest the imaginary war on cars.

An Alexandria VA writer says becoming friendlier to bikes shouldn’t come at the expense of pedestrians, something I’d have to agree with.

A Tennessee town anticipates up to 500 cyclists for the fourth annual Pedal for Paws event to raise money for spaying and neutering. So who wants to bring something like that to LA?

 

International

In tragic examples of what not to do, a London cyclist is killed jumping a red light, while another celebrated his 21st birthday by getting drunk — then riding into the path of an oncoming bus.

British Cycling says it’s succeeding in getting more women on the saddle.

A 25-year old rider gives up on pro cycling in protest of his 15-month doping suspension.

An Aussie paper gets its knickers in a serious twist over bike riding young women taking a selfie.

 

Finally…

Police in my hometown find a fleeing driver locked in the restroom of a nearby auto parts store after she runs away from a collision with a bike rider, leaving her car behind.

And would you ride a big wheel bike with hind legs instead of wheels?

 

Update: San Marcos bike rider killed by cement truck

According to several sources, a bicyclist was killed in a collision with a cement mixer in San Marcos in North San Diego County this morning.

The wreck occurred at the intersection of South Las Posas Road and Grand Avenue around 9:35 this morning.

Unfortunately, very little information is available at this time, including the identify — or even the sex — of the victim, or any word on how the collision occurred. A report from the San Diego Union-Tribune could not even confirm whether the victim was a pedestrian or on a bike.

A video report from San Diego’s 10 News shows a mangled bike trapped beneath the massive truck, as well as a shrouded canopy in the crosswalk, suggesting that was where the victim’s body was found. However, it’s impossible to tell from the video where the truck was stopped in relation to the crosswalk.

Cement mixers are among the most terrifying vehicles on the road, as their lumbering size limits maneuverability and ability to stop, while giving operators only a limited view of the roadway. Even a close call can be deadly if a startled rider swerves the wrong way or tumbles beneath the wheels.

As a result, it’s long been my practice to get off the road when one approaches, rather than risk yet another too close pass or apparent failure to even see me on my bike.

Whether the driver saw this victim, or he or she even could have gotten out of the way of the truck is yet to be determined.

This is the 30th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Diego County. That’s nearly twice as many as the 16 SoCal deaths recorded this time last year.

Update: According to CBS-8, the victim was a 22-year old exchange student at nearby Palomar college.

The cement truck reportedly stopped at the red light on Las Posas before making a right on the red onto Grand Ave. Witnesses say the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk on Las Posas, then rode out into the intersection as the truck was turning; he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

My deepest prayers and sympathy for the victim and his or her loved ones.

SoCal cops to bike 300 miles in memory of fallen officers next month

Sometimes, what you’re looking for shows up exactly when you’re not looking for it.

I’ve been seeing online comments from various LAPD officers training for the Police Unity Tour of Southern California Challenge Ride. And made a mental note to ask about it after CicLAvia.

Instead, as I stopped at one of the smaller hubs, I looked over to my right. And there was a booth manned by LAPD officers promoting exactly that.

Olympic Division Senior Lead Officer Eric Mollinedo explained the purpose of the bike tour, which runs nearly 300 miles from New Jersey to Washington DC, is to raise awareness and honor officers who have died in the line of duty. As well as to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial.

I can’t think of a better cause.

I’ll let Mollinedo explain in a letter he wrote seeking donations.

Dear friends and family,

On May 10, 2014, I will join nearly 1500 law enforcement officers from throughout the country who will bicycle along varying routes, each nearly 300 miles, to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC. This year, the Police Unity Tour – Southern California Chapter will have nearly 100 police officers representing the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and police departments from Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Estates, and Pasadena.

On May 10th, we will depart from Somerset, New Jersey and travel through Philadelphia, Baltimore, and ultimately into Washington DC. On May 13th, we will join over 50,000 people at the National Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil. During the ceremony, the names of every officer who died in the line of duty during 2013 will be read and his/her name officially added to the Memorial, which already contains over 19,000 fallen heroes.

The primary purpose of the Police Unity tour is to raise awareness about the police officers that have died in the line of duty. Our motto is, “We ride For Those Who Died.” The secondary purpose is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Since its inception in 1997, the Police Unity Tour has raised over $14 million to support the Memorial. It is because of your incredible level of support and financial contributions that I will be able to participate in the 2014 Police Unit Tour and ensure that the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice are not forgotten.

I am seeking your financial support in order to allow me to ride in this incredibly worthwhile event. Each rider must raise approximately $2500 in order to participate in the Tour. The first $1850 is paid to the Police Unity Tour. This money includes a $1000 donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and $850 to cover support services, ground transportation, overnight lodging, and food while we ride. Donations to the Police Unity Tour are tax deductible (Tax ID# 22-3530541). If you are not concerned about the tax deduction, you may write a check directly to me, which will be applied to the cost of airfare and other expenses that I am responsible for. Any donated monies in excess of what is used for airfare and expenses will be donated to the Police Unity Tour.

Thank you so much for your consideration in supporting the Police Unity Tour. If you have any questions… please send me an email.

Sincerely,

Eric Mollinedo
31754@lapd.lacity.org

(Note: To protect the officer’s privacy, I’ve removed any contact information other than his email address.)

You can also donate through PayPal in the name of Mollinedo, or a long list of other officers, by clicking here.

A couple of names jumped out at me from that list; South Traffic Division bike liaison Sgt. Jon Aufdemberg and Valley Traffic Division bike liaison Sgt. Steve Egan are both listed among the participants. And both are men I can personally vouch for; you can find their email addresses on the Resources page.

One other note. Mollinaedo told me he’s riding in memory of fallen LAPD officer Nicholas Lee, who was killed in a crash on Sunset Blvd in Beverly Hills last month.

Sadly, another LAPD officer lost his life yesterday, as 27-year veteran Chris Cortijo died from injuries he suffered when his motorcycle was hit by a driver allegedly high on cocaine.

In a case of tragic irony, he had arrested over 3,000 DUI suspects before becoming victim to one.

 

Great video captures the magic of CicLAvia, and your Morning Links

It’s not easy to capture the magic of CicLAvia.

But this short video from Maxwell Vann comes pretty close.

……….

Local

Richard Risemberg enjoys the afterglow of another successful CicLAvia.

Wolfpack Hustle brings back the Civic Center Crit this July.

A new Venice restaurant and bakery plans to deliver bread by bicycle to the local area.

The Ovarian Psychos go on a full moon ride this Tuesday; male-identifying riders need not apply.

Ride the 12th annual Cesar Chavez Pilgrimage with PValley Bike this Saturday.

 

State

A bill under consideration in the state legislature would allow public agencies other than police to provide bike safety classes in public schools. So anyone other than police teaching students bike safety now is breaking the law?

Teams are announced for the two days of women’s racing at this year’s Amgen Tour of California.

The overly named Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee agreed to study ways to improve safety on the city’s Back Bay Drive after the Newport Bay Conservancy suggests restricting bike use to improve safety, including making the street one-way for everyone. Needless to say, several cyclists spoke out against the proposal. Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

Maybe Santa Ana really is committed to becoming bike friendly, as the city will close two miles of Main Street on Sunday, October 12th for Orange County’s first open streets event. It’s patterned after LA’s CicLAvia, which will take place the week before.

The 24th annual Sea Otter Classic kicks off today in Monterey with a small but strong women’s field; unfortunately, I’ll have to miss this one. Just like the other 23.

 

National

Yes, traffic fatalities are falling in the US, yet we continue to fall further behind other countries.

Even the nation’s largest motoring group gets it, as a new AAA study shows that voice activated email features are more distracting than hand-held cell phones.

Seriously? A 68-year old Wisconsin cyclist says I didn’t need any damn bike lanes, so you don’t either.

Something to look forward to as Slaying the Badger prepares to premier at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival; the movie relates the epic battle between teammates Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault in the 1986 Tour de France.

After suffering four flats in three weeks, a Chattanooga cyclist calls on the city to maintain the streets, already.

A South Carolina woman faces charges for beating a bicyclist with a three-foot stick as he rode by. But rather than sidewalk rage, it turns out to be a case of long-delayed post-domestic violence.

Lance names names under oath, but doesn’t name any names we didn’t already know.

 

International

A UK rider uses his bike cam to catch scofflaw and otherwise not-so-smart cyclists.

A Belgian cycling official suggests issuing soccer-style yellow and red cards to enforce infractions in the peloton. Meanwhile, cycling boss Brian Cookson considers allowing bike cams in competition.

In yet another bizarre biking incident, an Aussie cyclist has to call the equivalent of 911 after a pickup driver cuts in front of him, and the collision tosses him into the truck’s bed. Pounding on the cab to get the driver’s attention just startled the man behind the wheel and caused him to keep going, as the rider stood in the back dialing his phone.

A Philippine cyclist calls on malls to stop discriminating against bike riders when he’s forced to park his bike outside in the rain while motorists are allowed to park inside.

The sidewalks of Tokyo may or may not be the place for cyclists.

 

Finally…

If you hit a pedestrian on an off-road trail — or anywhere else, for that matter — stop to make sure they’re okay and exchange contact and insurance information. Yes, failure to do so is hit-and-run, just like it would be if a driver hit you and took off. And yes, your liability coverage should pay for any injuries, assuming you have car insurance.

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