Archive for Bikes & the Law

Weekend Links: Cyclists help save missing woman, bike cop injured in fall, and Sac cyclists injured in car assault

Once again, bike riders are heroes.

Even if they are mentioned only in passing.

A Simi Valley woman was rescued Wednesday after her car went off the road in Latigo Canyon on Monday. She’d been missing for two days after driving to the beach for a run.

Her rescue came when a pair of unnamed cyclists heard her screams for help; something that anyone driving by would be unlikely to notice.

Motorists frequently complain about cyclists in the Malibu canyons.

But one owes them her thanks. If not her life.

………

Even bike cops are at risk on our streets.

Especially if they don’t maintain their bikes properly.

KTLA-5 reports an LAPD officer suffered an apparent head injury while riding in a residential Sherman Oaks neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

According to KNBC-4, the officer was leaving the scene of a three-hour police standoff when the brakes failed on both his and his partner’s bikes as they rode down a steep hill. He touched wheels with his partner’s bike and was thrown to the pavement.

While his injury is described as serious, the department tweeted that it does not appear to be life threatening.

And yes, he was wearing a helmet.

However, brake failures on one bike — let alone both — raises serious maintenance issues. Let’s hope the department isn’t risking the safety of its officers by ignoring basic inspections and service on their bicycles.

Let’s hope he makes a full and fast recovery; thanks to Rick Risemberg for the heads-up.

And evidently, it was a bad day for bike-riding cops, as a St. Paul MN cop was right hooked by a driver looking the wrong way.

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It gets worse.

Wednesday we linked to a story about three Sacramento-area cyclists injured by a hit-and-run driver in a stolen car, who was later arrested with the help of a police dog.

Now it turns out he may have done it on purpose.

Thirty-eight-year old Alamar Houston faces multiple felony counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and DUI, as well as a host of other charges, for allegedly driving into the cyclists on purpose in two separate incidents, a quarter mile apart.

The Sacramento Bee reports he first swerved into a single rider, then plowed into two other cyclists from behind, leaving two teenage riders seriously injured, before fleeing the scene.

He pleaded not guilty to 17 separate charges on Thursday, while suggesting he needs mental health help.

No shit.

………

KCBS-2 managed to track down a hit-and-run driver who struck a 12-year old bike rider in a collision caught on stomach-churning security video.

Even though bystanders came to help, the woman never got out of her car or asked how the boy was doing before driving off.

According to the station, she said she assumed everything was okay after seeing the victim get up. Never mind that he could have had major injuries that might not have shown up until later. Or that every driver is required to stop, render aid and exchange information after any collision, no matter how slight.

Police have given her two weeks to respond to their investigation. Which is about 13 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes too long.

But regardless of whether charges are filed, anyone who’d drive off after hitting a kid doesn’t belong behind the wheel. Ever.

Period.

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Sad news from the DC area, as a Brazilian police investigator was killed competing in a road race at the World Police and Fire Games. Reports indicate one rider blew a tire and crashed into two other cyclists; the other two victims are in critical condition.

No word on which rider had the blow-out.

………

Lots of racing news as we gear up for Saturday’s start of the Tour de France.

The Wall Street Journal says the world’s best riders are going downhill — literally — putting their lives on the line to gain a few seconds. GoPro is about to go where no camera has gone before, into the peloton where it will hang out with Big Data.

In the absence of Cadel Evans, the Aussie delegation is stepping up as key lieutenants in the Tour de France, while Teejay van Garderen leads the American delegation.

The Telegraph looks at how motor doping works, and the risk it poses to pro racing. A representative for one unnamed rider reportedly asked the maker of an e-assist bike if one could be surreptitiously incorporated into his client’s bike.

Dutch police wisely decide not to disrupt Le Tour after all.

And bicycling’s longest running soap opera continues, as Lance’s girlfriend is ordered to testify, and Floyd Landis must turn over records to the courts.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers good advice for new councilmember David Ryu.

Richard Risemberg says LA could learn from Long Beach, where bike boulevards and protected bikeways have resulted in increased sales for local business, rather than the disaster usually predicted by business owners in here in the City of Angels.

An LA bike commuter explores Copenhagen and Berlin, and finds Los Angeles does have a few advantages over its European cousins. But not many.

Police are looking for a bike thief who took a Trek Madone from Glendale Cycles out for a test ride and never came back, leaving behind someone else’s driver’s license and Visa card.

Sounds like fun. This month’s edition of the LACBC’s popular Sunday Funday Ride rolls Sunday morning for a tour of early LA history, led by board member Patrick Pascal.

The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition will host a potluck on Monday.

 

State

LADOT Bike Blog talks with Caltrans about California’s new protected bike lane standards.

San Diego sheriff’s deputies bust three high-end bike thieves in an Encinitas hotel.

Mark your calendar for the second annual Big Bear Cycling Festival later this month.

Santa Barbara opens a new Bike Center to serve transit users.

A San Francisco cyclist was the victim of a double hit-and-run; she was hit by a driver fleeing from a collision with a bus.

 

National

Streetsblog explains the hows and whys that kept protected bike lanes and intersections from being implemented for 40 years after the first one hit the streets in Davis CA, laying the blame on organized groups of vehicular cyclists.

A writer for Mobility Lab says there’s no right or wrong way to be a cyclist. Seriously, ride how, where, and in and on whatever you like. Just do it safely and legally.

Bike Portland talks with outgoing Bike League president Andy Clarke.

Bicycling looks at devices that could save your life in a riding emergency.

Zagster raises funds to take their bikeshare program nationwide.

Former Arizona congresswoman and shooting victim Gabby Giffords is one of us.

A 79-year old Las Vegas man continues to ride 12 to 15 miles every day; he’s been riding the same route since he retired 28 years ago.

A Colorado bike rider was shot in the leg with a pellet gun from a passing car.

South Dakota cyclists get a shiny new three-foot passing law, which smartly increases to six feet at speeds over 35 mph.

Indianapolis cyclists fear the city’s support for bicycling will leave office along with their outgoing bike-friendly mayor.

Local officials in Massachusetts are offended by bike lanes mandated by the state on a highway leading to a casino.

Police have made a second arrest in the road rage attack on a Pennsylvania cyclist and his girlfriend by a pair of machete-wielding teens, who also broke all of the ground floor windows in the couple’s home and were trying to crawl in when police arrived.

Philadelphia bike commuters are about to get covered bike parking at regional train stations.

A writer for the Wall Street Journal remembers a dedicated cyclist who lost his life in an collision with another bike rider while running in New York’s Central Park. His bike-riding widow calls on cyclists to accept our responsibilities and protect the rights of other people.

Not everyone likes the idea of a 76-mile bikeway through the Everglades.

 

International

An Ontario letter writer says not only should bicyclists be licensed, but it should apply to children, as well.

With the help of friends, including stunt master Danny MacAskill, off-road legend Martyn Ashton gets back on a bike for the first time since he was paralyzed from the waist down in 2013. It’s worth watching the video, if only to see the huge smile on his face.

British bike scribe Carlton Reid says northern UK cities are falling behind by catering to motorists alone.

In an important and chilling read, London’s Guardian looks at the toxic bias against bicyclists in the media, and how it’s led to potentially deadly sabotage of cyclists.

A Scottish woman gets five years for killing a cyclist while chatting on her cell phone; she allegedly deleted the record of the call in an attempted cover-up.

A new documentary looks at bi-polar former world pursuit champ Graeme Obree and his effort to break the bicycle speed record on an odd bike he designed and built himself.

It’s five years in prison for the taxi driver who killed South African Olympic mountain biker Burry Stander. Which is four years more than his blade running fellow countryman served for shooting his girlfriend.

 

Finally…

Bad karma. The same day an Ohio prosecutor crashed the bike he got from a bike riding judge, the judge wiped out on his new one; both injured their ribs and a shoulder. VH1 is looking for 150 sets of bicycling twins to set a tandem riding record this month.

And your next bike could be a three-wheeled T-Rex.

………

Enjoy your holiday weekend; the forecast promises near-perfect riding weather.

Just be careful out there and ride defensively. Drivers are likely to be focused on finding a parking space for the fireworks or near the beach rather than looking out for you.

 

Morning Links: 19-year old bike rider shot in Commerce; more naked folks on bikes; and mobile LA bike repair

Yet another LA-area bike rider has been shot and killed.

According to KTLA-5, 19-year old Bryan Hernandez was riding his bike home from work when he was killed early Tuesday morning. His body was found around 2:50 am at the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Peachtree Street in Commerce.

KNBC-4 says police initially thought he was the victim of a hit-and-run.

Just 19 years old.

What an effing waste. This crap has got to stop.

Now.

………

It seems we can’t get away from naked people on bikes this week.

A fully dressed Neon Tommy reporter talks to participants in the recent LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Meanwhile, Portland’s WNBR was thought to have drawn over 9,000 people, though not everyone approved.

And Iceland remakes a recent Brit TV spot which suggests people actually can notice someone on a bike. Even if he’s not wearing hi-viz.

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A new mobile bike repair service is coming to LA, and looking for franchise owners.

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Women’s pro cyclist Carmen Small reflects on racing with the men at Minnesota’s North Star Grand Prix.

The Tour de France will offer fans more data than ever before, including the ability to track any rider in real time. And not wanting to give the wrong impression, a German shampoo maker will drop its “Doping for hair” slogan just for the Tour.

And speaking of doping, Tour favorite and ex-Tour de France winner Alberto Contador continues to build on his legacy, despite a previous two-year ban for doping.

………

Local

Streetsblog reports DTLA now has three bike corrals, with more to come.

CiclaValley points out that North Hollywood students actually biked to school in the 1920s. Evidently, they didn’t have helicopter parents with massive SUVs to drop them off.

Vox looks back at LA’s historic elevated bike highway, as well as other early bikeways.

Long Beach is hosting a series of free bike safety classes through the LACBC.

 

State

Thanks in part to support from cyclists, the proposed hit-and-run alert bill sailed through committee in the state legislature by a unanimous vote on Tuesday.

BikeSGV sends word that the Santa Barbara Bowl offers free bike valet. And wonders why the Hollywood Bowl, home to massive nightly traffic jams, doesn’t.

Three Sacramento-area cyclists were injured, one critically, when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver; police were later able to subdue a suspect using a police dog. No offence, but I hope that dog bit the crap out of him.

 

National

Bike League president Andy Clarke is stepping down after 12 years.

A simple fix could help reduce the risk of fatal collisions with trucks; credit BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen for the link. Although an even better solution would be to just not hit anyone.

My Colorado hometown ranks first for bike-friendly businesses. However, I should note that the city only became bike friendly after I moved away.

A Louisiana woman who was abducted and murdered while riding her bike home after a night out will have a new bike loop named in her honor.

That Florida cyclist seriously injured after skidding on an alligator carcass faces a long and painful recovery; he suffered a fractured face, broken ribs and clavicle and a collapsed lung when his riding partners ran over him after he hit the pavement.

 

International

Toronto’s chief medical official says speed kills, making the case for reducing speed limits to save lives.

Hundreds of London cyclists stage a die-in in the heart of the city to raise awareness for cycling safety.

A Brit radio presenter says wearing a camera does more to improve safety than a helmet does on the streets of London.

Following Alice, of Wonderland fame, on a bike tour through Oxford.

 

Finally…

The next bike rack you put on your car could blow up, but in a good way. Your next sport could be bike football, er, soccer

And if you thought Peter Sagan did some crazy shit on a bike, just get a load of Vittorio Brumotti.

Morning Links: Statewide hit-and-run alert bill in trouble; Gil Cedillo shares the outrage at tragedy he helped cause

As we noted last week, today is the last day to voice your support for the proposed California hit-and-run alert system before Tuesday’s vote in the state senate.

The bill faces unexpected opposition from the CHP, which evidently favors letting fleeing drivers get away with it.

………

Boyonabike says the death of a bike rider in Friday’s Highland Park hit-and-run is another outrage. As was the cancellation of the road diet that might have saved him; Richard Risemberg blames city council overreach for keeping our streets dangerous.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who was single-handedly responsible for that cancellation, says he shares the outrage over this tragedy, and suggests we have to make better choices.

Let’s hope he takes his own advice.

……..

Looks like LA had a big turnout for Saturday’s World Naked Bike Ride.

LAist offers all the NSFW photos you could want, although the best photo might just be a mirror image; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, a Portland writer describes what it’s like to ride buck naked, while Breitbart doesn’t seem to get it — or the difference between #pdx and #lax, for that matter.

……..

An Aussie site looks at the big four in the upcoming Tour de France, which kicks off on Independence Day. Ours, not theirs.

Vincenzo Nibali is on a mission to defend his title, while some seem to question Chris Froome’s mental fortitude. In the absence of sprinter Marcel Kittel, it should be Mark Cavendish’s time to shine. And a parcel service offers an infographic explaining the tour’s logistics.

A team of Baltimore cyclists bike like a girl over 3,000 miles across the US while setting a team RAAM record.

Thankfully, the Danish cyclist critically injured in a collision while competing in the Race Across America is showing some improvement. Something is seriously wrong when someone can’t come to this country to compete without an American driver putting his life in jeopardy.

And UCI, cycling’s governing body, is seriously out of control as they fine an amateur racer for tweeting his objections about a lack of water and neutral support at the amateur national championships, where several cyclists succumbed to heat stroke.

Maybe someone should fine UCI for risking the safety of their riders.

……..

Local

Evidently, California’s police chiefs don’t want you to see what really happened when Gardena police fatally shot an unarmed man whose brother’s bike had been stolen.

 

State

The LA Times’ David Lazarus asks why bike riders aren’t entitled to free air at gas stations, like motorists are.

The Orange County Register explains how to report bad or hostile drivers to the DMV.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to get your stolen bike back, including reporting the theft for free with Bike Index. Which you can do right here; you can also register it before it’s stolen, which is a lot smarter.

One cyclist finds serenity riding the Columbia River Gorge outside Portland, while another loses his life there after losing control of his bike on a descent.

Apparently, Albuquerque bikes climb light poles.

Denver police say if you steal a bike, it just might be one of theirs; over 20 would-be thieves have taken their GPS-equipped bait so far. On the other hand, Georgia sheriff’s deputies go low tech by using scent dogs to track a 15-year old thief.

An Iowa City paper asks if removing traffic lanes can curb aggressive driving and promote bicycling. That would be, yes.

Hats off to a team of Houston cops riding to New York to raise awareness for leukemia and lymphoma, who stopped along the way to save the life of an Alabama driver after he’d gone off the road.

Vermont’s transportation secretary says the recent deaths of three bike riders should be a catalyst to further safety in order to meet the state’s goal of zero traffic fatalities.

Boston gets a new bike counter. Not that we’re going to get one, but where would we put it if we did?

A Connecticut teen steals a $3,000 bike because he got tired of walking. On the other hand, what kind of idiot who leaves a bike like that unlocked on the porch at two in the morning?

A Bethlehem NY boy gets a new bike as a reward for quick thinking after his is destroyed in a collision where he could have been collateral damage.

 

International

A new Canadian study says those scary reports that bike riding can cause prostate cancer are probably wrong.

A Canadian recreational cyclist offers tips on bicycling etiquette — including advice to ride in the door zone.

A new bike light projects symbols on your back — like a stop sign, turn signals or a bicycle — while you ride; it can also be programed to project your own symbols. Yes, even that one.

Good article from London’s Telegraph, asking why serious bicycling injuries are increasing while fatalities are going down — and at a rate greater than the rise in ridership.

Brit bike riders go back to the future. Or maybe forward to the past.

Someone stole a $100 bike 20 minutes after it was donated to a British charity store. They seem to define racing bike a little oddly, though.

The Times of London looks at Dublin’s plans to ban cars from the city center and convert traffic lanes to segregated bike paths. Riots would break out if anyone suggested that here.

A New Zealand paper says if the country’s planned bikeways do what they’re supposed to, everyone wins.

 

Finally…

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers; six Florida cyclists were injured, one seriously, when his bike slipped on the remains of a roadkill gator. When you’re chasing a bike-riding suspect on foot, be sure to lock your patrol car first.

And when you’re riding with a digital scale, meth and heroin on your bike, put some damn lights on it. And don’t ride on the sidewalk.

And don’t crash into pole trying to get away.

……..

It has nothing to do with bicycling. But just thought I’d share the view out our window last night.

Dusk-6-28

 

Update: Arrest made in horrifying high-speed Highland Park fatal hit-and-run

North Figueroa was supposed to be safer by now.

Had LADOT been allowed to carry out it’s plans, the street would have undergone a road diet. Not just to install bike lanes, but to calm dangerous high-speed traffic.

Now a bike rider is dead, the victim of a speeding hit-and-run driver.

According to the LA Times, two bike riders were crossing Figueroa at Marmion Way in the crosswalk at 3:02 am when one was hit by car traveling at what police estimated as 80 mph, based on witness reports.

At that speed, there is virtually no chance of survival. Especially since the victim was dragged several hundred feet underneath the car as it sped away.

Witnesses say the driver never braked, before or after hitting the victim.

The second rider wasn’t struck. No word on whether they were riding or walking in the crosswalk.

The victim has not been publicly identified; he is described only as a man in his 20s.

The car’s bumper was left lying in the road, which should make the car easy to identify if it can be found. Police are looking for a small black sedan, possibly a Nissan Altima.

There should be an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver, based on the hit-and-run reward program recently passed by the city council.

Despite overwhelming support in public meetings, plans for a road diet to improve safety on North Figueroa were halted by Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

Cedillo claimed he was canceling the plans for safety reasons, an argument this morning’s wreck has proven wrong.

Now he has to answer to the victim’s family. And the rest of us.

This is the 34th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th in LA County; it’s also the eighth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: An arrest has been made in the case.

According to KTLA-5, a witness tipped police to the location of the abandoned vehicle, which had biological matter from the victim on it.

That led them to 21-year old Alexis Virto, who was found asleep in bed with his girlfriend at 7:15 am, roughly four hours after the collision.

Virto was still drunk when he was taken into custody. He insisted that he wasn’t the driver; however, he had injuries consistent with a crash, and windshield debris clinging to his hair.

He was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder and felony drunk driving with great bodily injury.

The LA Times reports the victim is a 33-year old man, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of his family.

The Times also says there were 68 collisions that resulted in severe injuries to bicyclists on that stretch of North Figueroa between 2002 and 2012; there were also nine pedestrians killed in that time period.

Meanwhile, anti-bike Figueroa activist and Boulevard Sentinel editor Tom Topping had this to say:

Why was this person on the street at 3am? Usually only meth-head criminals looking for something to steal are riding around on bikes at that hour.

Update 2: The LA District Attorney’s office has finally identified the victim as Jose Luna, also known as Bizzy.

According to the press release, his alleged killer, Alexis Virto, has been charged with one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury, driving with a .08% blood alcohol content causing injury and hit and run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person. Not surprisingly, he entered a plea of not guilty to each count.

Virto reported drove the length of two football fields with Luna on the hood of his car.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jose “Bizzy” Luna and his family. 

Thanks to everyone who tipped me off to this story. And thanks to fig4all and Terri Moore for their help in IDing the victim.

LA bike rider attacked with machete, bad news from Hemet, plus Bicycle Coffee and pleasant private bike cops

In one of the most horrifying attacks in recent memory, a Los Angeles man may have kept his bike, but lost one of his thumbs.

And nearly his life.

According to multiple sources, a 43-year old man was walking — or possibly riding — his bicycle near the intersection of West 12th Street and South Burlington Avenue around 12:30 am Sunday, when he was attacked by four men who tried to steal his bike and wallet.

One of them hacked at him with a two-foot machete, resulting in a severe cuts to both arms, as well as a fractured skull, in addition to having his left thumb cut off; early reports suggest he was likely to lose his right hand, as well.

Despite his injuries, he somehow managed to run a few blocks to get help; at last report, he was hospitalized in critical condition. However, he was able to keep both his bike and his money.

The attackers were described only as young adult men, possibly 18 – 21 years old, who fled in a green four-door sedan. According to police, the attack did not appear to be gang related.

For some reason, the victim was initially described as an 18-year old man before police corrected the report.

Let’s hope he recovers quickly, and that police catch his attackers.

And let this be a reminder that no bike is worth your life.

………

Brace yourself for bad news.

A man was found dead on Hemet biking trail on Sunday, hours after a 33-year old mountain biker was reported missing.

The victim has not been identified yet, and here’s no confirmation yet that it’s the missing cyclist. But it doesn’t look good.

Hopefully, we’ll learn more soon.

Update: Authorities have identified the man found dead as 33-year old Hemet resident Shane Gainer, but for some reason, won’t confirm if he is the missing cyclist. No cause of death has been determined. 

………

Bicycle-Coffee-1Now let’s switch to a happier subject.

On Sunday, my wife and I made a short trip to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market at Ivar and Selma, just a few blocks from the Hollywood and Vine Metro station.

Sans bikes, since she doesn’t ride. And without the Corgi, since even well-behaved dogs aren’t allowed under LA County health rules.

The purpose of our journey was to find the elusive Bicycle Coffee Company.

Elusive, because the LA branch at Santa Monica and Western is only open Friday though Sunday. And despite our best efforts, we hadn’t been able to get there when the doors were open.

Bicycle-Coffee-3On the other hand, we knew they were at the farmer’s market every Sunday, just a short subway ride way from our apartment.

It took some searching to find their Nishiki-towed bicycle cart — yes, there’s a reason for their name — hidden back behind the other vendors near the Arclight, nee Cinerama, Theater, and just in front of Umami Burgers.

We left with a couple bags of what is reputed to be some of the area’s best coffee, each accompanied by a free cup of joe with purchase.

And the knowledge that next time, we can just order our beans and they’ll deliver by bike within a roughly 10-mile radius.

……..

On the way out, I stopped to admire a bike belonging to one of the security guards with the BID Patrol at the farmer’s market.

Rosales-1And found myself talking with retired LAPD officer and dedicated cyclist Jim Rosales, who was happy to point out the 29” wheels and disc brakes, as well as the rear rack for the panniers he usually uses but decided to leave at home that day.

We talked about his volunteer work patrolling the Santa Monica mountains, the road bike he rides in his spare time, and the fixie he’s currently building. As well as his favorite bike shops, including the Performance Bike his brother-in-law wrenches for in Pasadena.

Kanagi-bikeAll in all, a pleasant talk with another rider. And one more example of a conversation that would never have happened behind the wheel.

Then just as we were about to leave, I noticed the pink handgrips on his partner’s bike. So he called her over, and fellow BID security officer Cortney Kanagi was happy to show us her matching pink handcuffs and the pink grip on her handgun.

Proof that you can be feminine while riding a bike.

Or subduing a suspect.

Kanagi-2

Former OC lawyer gets max sentence in drug-fueled death of bike rider

Four years.

That was the sentence a judge finally issued Friday, after repeated delays, for the death of bike rider Eric Billings in Mission Viejo 27 months earlier.

Former immigration attorney Hasti Fahkrai-Bayrooti, who goes by the name of Hayley, had unexpectedly pleaded guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in March of this year.

According to the OC DA’s office, she had a near-lethal dose of Xanax and Suboxone in her system when she ran down Billings’ bike from behind on March 15, 2013, as he rode in a marked bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway.

My News LA reports that investigators found a bottle of Xanax in her car following the collision; despite being filled just two days earlier, there were already 75 pills missing.

She reportedly ignored several text messages prior to the wreck from friends who begged her to stop driving and sober up. Yet despite claims that she was screaming and “pulling her hair out” following the crash, her first call was to her pharmacist, not 911.

She had faced a possible sentence of 16 months to four years for the conviction. She was also sentenced to an additional three years, to be served concurrently, after being caught with Clonazepam, a sedative used to treat seizures and panic disorder, while she was behind bars.

In addition, Fahkrai-Bayrooti’s license to practice law has been suspended by the California Bar, and stands to be permanently revoked after her sentencing.

My News LA reports that her defense attorney — at least the third one she has had in this case — claimed she had been dependent on prescription drugs since an “early, early age,” and may have early onset dementia as a result.

She expressed remorse at the hearing while pleading for mercy, saying she is no longer in denial about the damage she has caused. Although that denial appeared to be in full force in comments she left on this site just one day after pleading guilty.

A press release from the DA’s office quotes Billing’s wife from the victim’s statements given at an earlier hearing, offering just a hint of the loss her family has suffered.

The victim’s wife said in part, “The void that is left by this tragic and senseless accident is overwhelming. The fact that it isn’t just an accident, but rather an accident committed by one under the influence, is ironic in that Eric never had a drink in his life, would not even take a Tylenol, and would barely take a pain killer after surgery.” She went on to say, “Although I have chosen not to be bitter and have forgiven this woman, I would like her to have consequences for her actions.”

Fahkrai-Bayrooti now faces a long stay in state prison because she didn’t get the help she so clearly needed before she took an innocent man’s life.

Let’s hope she finally gets it while she’s behind bars.

And is never, ever allowed to drive again.

 

Morning Links: Bike rider shot to death in LA’s Mid City; LADOT GM Seleta Reynold is new interim VP of NACTO

A bike rider was shot to death early Wednesday morning in the Mid City area of Los Angeles.

Twenty-five-year Kehende Lang was found dead from a wound to the head on the 1700 block of South Longwood Avenue after police responded to a report of gunshots around 3:30 am; his bike was lying nearby.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LAPD West Bureau Homicide Bureau at 213/382-9470.

Sadly, shootings like this are nothing new.

Most turn out to be gang related in some way, rather than because the victim was riding a bike. And few ever seem to merit more than a few paragraphs in the paper, if that.

……..

Congratulations to LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds, who’s been appointed interim vice president of NACTO.

Which means she’ll help set the standard for street and bike infrastructure designs throughout the nation.

And hopefully, bring the best of them here.

……..

The plot thickens. That 23-year old pro cyclist cut from the Astana women’s may have been fired over a failed attempt to get her to ride for Kazakhstan in the 2016 Olympics.

After winning stage one of the Aviva Women’s Tour, Brit pro Lizzie Armistead loses her line and crashes into the finish line photographers; fortunately, she wasn’t seriously injured.

Sounds like the owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team may be giving up on Tour of California winner Peter Sagan already.

Lance’s former manager says he’s not going to any more cycling events after the backlash over watching Wiggins set the hour record.

The great Eddy Merckx reminisces on his legendary cycling career as he turns 70; VeloNews offers a tribute while a German website looks back at The Cannibal in action.

A Swiss skiing champion will compete in RAAM with a defibrillator in his chest after a heart condition kept him from making it to the starting line last year.

And the schmuck man who presided over pro cycling during the worst of the doping era threatens to sue over a report that says he presided over the worst of the doping era.

……..

Local

DTLA gets its first bike corral.

Rick Risemberg says if transit officials build bike facilities right, people will actually use them.

Redondo Beach approves a new budget, including funding for bike lanes on Manhattan Beach Blvd.

 

State

The Orange County Register reports that Michiko Day was just one block from home when she was killed while riding in Laguna Woods last month; her riding partner confirms that a poor bike path design may have contributed to her death.

The Encinitas city council says a planned coastal rail bike trail shouldn’t run along the coast. Or along the rail line.

A Paso Robles street reopens after being rebuilt to add bike lanes and a sidewalk.

Victims’ relatives call it insensitive as Kern County tells bike riders to see and be seen so they won’t be roadkill. Once again putting all the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than the people in the big, dangerous machines.

 

National

People for Bikes will host a webinar next month on how to crowdfund a bike project.

A new handlebar-mounted device scans the road for potholes before they can take you down. Should be a big seller here in LA.

The guitarist for rock band Pierce the Veil will be out of commission for awhile after getting badly banged up mountain biking.

A Portland paper questions if the city can really eliminate traffic deaths by 2025 with a proposed Vision Zero plan. Vision Zero is about the journey, not the destination; even if traffic deaths can’t be eliminated, everyone benefits from the effort to try.

A Denver CEO loans his bike share bike to a passing cop to bring a fleeing suspect to justice. But did he still have to pay for the rental?

Caught on video: A Texas truck passenger faces a misdemeanor charge after hurling at a bike rider. A pipe, that is.

New York’s mayor signs a bill requiring side guards on all city trucks and garbage trucks to keep cyclists and pedestrians from getting trapped underneath. Every truck, everywhere, should be required to do the same.

Cars have been banned from much of New York’s Prospect and Central Parks. Now we need to do the same for Griffith Park.

Why rent New York’s Citi Bikes when you can steal them?

 

International

How to cheat at Strava.

Caught on video: A cyclist rides from Oregon to Patagonia to be in more control of his own life.

Toronto streets are getting increasingly more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians; hopefully more separated bike lanes will help.

A London expat builds a 500 pound — currency, not weight — bespoke bamboo bike.

After receiving the heart of a fallen cyclist, a British transplant patient decides to honor him by keeping the heart cycling with a 342-mile bike tour.

A Dutch suburb shows bikes and cars can peacefully coexist, as long as you banish cars from the city core.

A new Swedish study says most injuries in car bike collisions come from hitting the pavement, so the solution is better crash avoidance and separating bikes from traffic.

Colnago may be recalling your Ferrari.

An anonymous group of guerilla bicyclists give Sydney, Australia bike lanes a failing grade.

 

Finally…

It’s not really the World Naked Bike Ride when you’re the only naked guy on a bike. Don’t get caught asking an undercover cop for a ride after selling him a hot bike. Or making your getaway by bike after burning down your own home to destroy a basement demonic portal or the aliens lurking in the walls.

And when you’re carrying crystal meth on your motorized bike, try not to crash into a James Franco film set.

 

Why Attorneys Tell You To Never Admit Guilt

 

Bikes Have Rights™*

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

Pocrass Photo 6-15

 

Immediately after any type of motor vehicle “accident” (bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycle, car), most people have two reactions: 1.) to blame the other person or 2.) to say “I’m sorry; it was my fault.” As a personal injury lawyer, I counsel people to NEVER admit guilt after a crash of any type. Whether you are or are not liable, I guarantee such a statement will come back to bite you in ways you never expected.

The most important reason for not admitting guilt, which is, in legal terms, admitting liability, is because you probably don’t really know the cause of the collision.

Example: We recently had a client who was in a Santa Monica bicycle collision. He came up to a four-way stop and rolled slowly through it, getting halfway through intersection. Meanwhile, an 80-something-year-old woman drove up to the intersection, stopped, and went, hitting our client in the intersection.

During the deposition, the woman insisted that she never saw anyone or anything in the intersection. (I admit, I laughed inside at the insurance company lawyer’s expression.) The insurance company settled for a five-figure settlement.

This was an unusual situation, but the point is, you really don’t know exactly what the complete cause of your bike collision is, and, therefore, who is liable. Yes, you might be partially liable if you do not follow the rules of the road, but there may be extenuating circumstances that contributed to the collision. These could be:

  • Road Design: the road or signage was not designed well, maintained, in disrepair, or missing.
  • Product Liability: your bike or the other vehicle could have defective parts or been repaired, maintained, or manufactured incorrectly.
  • Other Driver: also might not be following the rules of the road.

If any of these conditions exist, your case — even if you are partially liable for the collision — could allow me as your bike lawyer to argue for comparative liability.

California recognizes comparative liability, which states that each party might hold some responsibility for the collision. If your case were to go to trial, the judge or jury decides IF each party is liable for the collision and, if so, what percentage of liability each party is responsible for.

Consider this hypothetical situation: You are riding your bike at night. You have no lights on your bike. As you ride past a parked car, the driver opens his door and you are “doored.” You suffer serious personal injuries and your bike is trashed. The case goes to a jury trial.

The jury decides that because you were riding at night without lights — clearly against the law — you are partially liable for the collision. They may determine that you are 10% responsible and the driver is 90% liable. In that situation, if they awarded you a $100,000 verdict, you would receive $90,000 from the driver’s insurance company rather than the full $100,000.

Once you have admitted guilt at the scene (or in follow up conversations with the other driver’s insurance company), it becomes more difficult for your attorney to argue comparative negligence. It also means that it is more likely that the insurance company will either refuse to settle or low-ball its offer.

Trials are always more expensive in cost and in time than settlements, so if a fair settlement is possible, that is the more desirable route. (Of course you wouldn’t say THAT to an insurance company either because if it thinks you’re not prepared to go to trial you’re back to them either refusing to settle or low-balling their offer. It’s all a chess game with serious consequences for you.)

I have a friend who is a criminal attorney. He once told me the most difficult part of his job is trying to undo what his clients have told the police. As a civil attorney, I understand. It is very difficult to “unring a bell.” So, please, don’t admit liability or guilt. Let us sort that out later.

 

Jim Pocrass TrimmedFor more than 30 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, or visit www.pocrass.com.

 

 

Weekend Links: Another OC sentencing delay, Hyperion at rush hour, and Dr. Thompson makes a comeback

Continuing this week’s theme, the sentencing of another killer OC driver has been delayed.

According to My News LA, Junior Rigoberto Lopez was scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty in the hit-and-run death of Daniella Palacios in Anaheim last November.

Palacios had copped a plea after a promise from the judge that he would be sentenced to no more three years in prison; under California law, he faced a max of just four years for leaving the bike riding mother of eight to die in the street, anyway.

Yet another example of people continuing to die because our state doesn’t take traffic crime seriously.

Then again, even if we gave every deadly driver the punishment they deserve, we wouldn’t have any place to put them.

Our anonymous OC reporter was in the courtroom hoping for a conclusion to this sad case. Instead, she writes,

First off, Lopez has the same type of extremely savvy criminal defense team as Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti. They only very recently received the probation department’s report & its 13-page addendum, and haven’t bothered to read them yet. Hell, I’ve read them! They’ve been available since Wednesday of last week! At any rate, the judge is unwilling to give any cause for appeal, so naturally he’ll allow the defense time to review. Sentencing is set for next month.

Second, I fucked up by taking way less Kleenex than I needed, going in with no idea I’d be hearing an 11-year-old’s victim impact statement. (Oh, and there were eight statements altogether.)

The My News LA story above has more details on the impact statements.

Maybe the judge could make those three years seem a lot longer by making Lopez read those statements again every day he’s behind bars.

……..

CiclaValley looks forward to bike share in DTLA, and offers up video evidence of just how crowded the Hyperion Bridge is during the morning rush hour.

Yeah, I can see why the city council so wisely determined that keeping an extra lane for cars was more important than providing safe access for people on foot.

……..

Long-time bike racer Steve Tilford says Dr. Christopher Thompson, who went to prison for brake checking two bike riders in Mandeville Canyon, doesn’t belong in jail.

He feels a better punishment would be sentencing the good doctor to community service in an under-served community, like LA’s low-income Chesterfield Square. Although he’s not the first one to suggest that; I’ve though the same thing myself more than once.

He’s a little off on his timeline, though.

The incident happened seven years ago; Thompson was found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison the following year. He’s already served his time and been out of prison for over a year; in fact, he should be off parole by now.

And one more problem with Tilford’s suggestion.

Doctor Thompson isn’t one anymore.

He lost his license to practice medicine following his conviction in this case. So he couldn’t have served as a physician anywhere, no matter how desperately needed.

……..

Nice profile of injured painter and pro cyclist Taylor Phinney, along with his parents, former pro and Olympians Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter. From Lululemon, of all places.

Wait. There’s never been a black women’s pro cyclist? New York music teacher Ayesha McGowan hopes to be the first.

And top ranked women’s cyclocross racer Sanne Cant can’t following a solo fall after she was cut off by a tractor while training.

……..

With all the bad news about college fraternities these days, it’s nice to see members of my old frat riding from Long Beach to DC to raise awareness for disabled people.

……..

My apologies for the late notice, but you may still have time to catch the Women’s History Ride, departing from Grand Park in DTLA at 10 am sharp. As the ride leader put it,

There are so many more amazing bike-riding chicks than I thought: lawyers, librarians, doctors, and the original Midnight Ridazz. I’m panicking about forgetting any of these amazing ladies!

Redondo Beach opens their Harbor Gateway bikeway at 10 am today.

The LACBC’s Tamika Butler will be one of the featured speakers in the new Coffee For Climate Art & Speaking Series at the Highland Café on York Blvd tonight.

Long Beach hosts the Beach Babe Bicycling Classic this Sunday.

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a Taco Night Ride next Saturday, the 18th of June.

CyclingSavvyFlyerIrvineJun2015The Orange County Bicycle Coalition is offering a Cycling Savvy course on June 19th and 20th, emphasizing legal cycling in traffic, bike handling skills, and concluding with riding in traffic on a tour of Irvine. You can register here.

Santa Monica is hosting a 4th of July themed Kidical Mass on the 27th.

Better keep the kids away from DTLA and Echo Park though, as the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride rolls on the 27th, as well. Just don’t get too excited.

BikeSGV hosts the Beautiful Uptown Whittier Ride the next day, June 28th.

The Beverly Hills city council will discuss bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd on the 30th. Or more likely, the permanent lack thereof.

……..

Local

LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds says public and private partnerships are the key to eliminating traffic deaths and developing a realistic transportation package, and everyone must be invited to the table.

KPCC provides a good look at the debate over providing sidewalks on both sides of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, noting that the public was engaged — and ignored. They also report on LA’s bizarre policy of only fixing streets that don’t really need it; way too many bike riders are taken down by hidden bumps and holes in roads that should have been fixed years ago.

Evidently, Long Beach has caught ciclovía fever, as plans are already in the works for another Beach Streets Open Streets event.

Evidently, local cities do a crappy job of explaining the benefits of a road diet, as Temple City residents are the latest to freak out about a proposal to remove a traffic lane and add bike lanes.

 

State

BikeSD says human lives should not be the cost of doing business.

The new captain of San Francisco’s Park Station vows a crackdown on scofflaw cyclists, apparently believing people on two wheels are a greater risk to the public than scofflaws on four.

A San Francisco cyclist is the victim of a double road rage assault, in cartoon form.

Sausalito continues its efforts to discourage bicycling tourists, instituting a $2 to $3 charge to park a bike in the city — after removing all the bike racks from downtown. Evidently, they’d prefer that all those tourists clog the streets with cars, not bikes. Or just spend their money somewhere else, which is what I’ll be doing.

Seriously? A former San Diego bike rider says you don’t have a right to put his family at risk by riding a bike on the winding roads of California’s Reno-adjacent Nevada County. Or he could, you know, just slow down and drive safely.

An anonymous Good Samaritan replaces a Chico ghost bike after it was stolen on Wednesday.

 

National

Vision Zero is becoming a public health issue, as cities across the county commit to eliminating traffic deaths. Of course, goals are meaningless without action, as certain LA councilmembers have made abundantly clear.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske says despite what bike haters insist, it’s the motorists who are getting a free ride, not bicyclists. Nice to see Bob back with VeloNews where his column originally started.

Writing for Strong Towns, a traffic engineer says members of his profession show a conscious indifference to pedestrians and cyclists, which he aptly calls the very definition of gross negligence.

A Portland bike rider who suffered a broken back in a collision with a pickup files a $21 million suit against the city, alleging a too-narrow bike lane contributed to the death of one rider and injuries to nine others.

Looks like Wisconsin won’t slap a tax on bicycles after all.

Kentucky proposes toughening the penalties for drunk driving, making a fourth lifetime conviction worth five years in prison; previously, prior convictions were forgotten, if not forgiven, after five years.

Caught on video: Pennsylvania cyclists argue with a cop who hit a cyclist while attempting, and failing, to pass a small group of riders; oddly, a woman feels the need to jump in and defend the scofflaw cop against the big bad bike riders.

New York residents lash out against proposed “deadly” bike share stations, even though there hasn’t been a single fatality in roughly 18 million rides.

Once again, the NYPD does its best to discourage people from riding their bikes.

The New York press blames the bike rider when a woman is seriously injured after apparently stepping in front of a cyclist riding in a bike lane. On the other hand, the jerk should have stopped, just like any driver would be required to under similar circumstances.

Good idea from Delaware, as proposed legislation would encourage transit-friendly, walkable and bikeable economic development.

North Carolina’s legislature goes the wrong way, voting to increase pollution while making it harder to conduct road diets and install bike lanes.

 

International

Cycling Weekly lists the top 10 road bike innovations. Although you’d think paved roads would be pretty high on that list, too.

A new Calgary bike lane is exceeding expectations.

A new British study shows women cyclists are twice as likely to be subject to harassment and dangerous driving than their male counterparts. Yet another answer to the eternal question of why more women don’t ride.

Fast Company offers yet another look at how Copenhagen became a cycling paradise, noting bikes usually win when the city calculates all the social costs involved with investing in roads or bike lanes. Maybe LA should give that a try some time.

Refugees ride through Macedonia on their way to a better life in the European Union. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Five lessons from the world’s biggest bicycling conference Down Under, including global cities are about people, not transport. Something LA clearly still needs to learn.

It takes a real jerk to steal the bike a 91-year old Aussie man has ridden for the last 68 years.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use a bike as a getaway vehicle, don’t lose half the loot as you ride away. Caught on video: In case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to ride a BMX bike through an abandoned NFL stadium.

And He Who Must Not Be Named plans a possibly unwelcome return to France, as the celluloid Lance makes his way to the silver screen.

 

Breaking news: no sentencing in Eric Billings case today; driver found with narcotic drug behind bars

So much for that.

Word broke yesterday that the driver convicted in the death of cyclist Eric Billings in Mission Viejo two years ago was found with a prescription narcotic in her jail cell.

According to the Orange County DA’s office, former OC lawyer Hasti Fahkrai-Bayrooti was found in possession of Clonazepam, a sedative used to treat seizures and panic disorder, on May 13th as she was being held awaiting sentencing.

Something that was supposed to happen today.

However, a source reports from the courtroom that her sentencing has been delayed yet again, much to the distress of the victim’s family.

Apparently, her extremely savvy criminal defense team doesn’t work weekends. Robert Weinberg told Judge Jones that Hasti’s psychiatric evaluation only reached his office last Friday afternoon, and he hasn’t had time to review it. SINCE FRIDAY. In his defense (cough), it’s an extremely lengthy report.

The judge is unwilling to allow for any technicality that would give Hasti any possibility of appeal whatsoever, so he granted the motion to allow the delay. The defense will naturally try to incorporate any pertinent information from the psych eval into his sentencing brief. (Note: The Deputy DA managed to create a very persuasive 25-page brief on the People’s behalf just fine, without any report from the probation department.)

One of Eric Billings’ daughters who’d been unable to speak at the first attempt at sentencing was allowed to speak this morning. She vented, and clearly the judge agrees that she is absolutely right that victims have a right to a fair and speedy trial.

In the hallway prior to the hearing, she was demanding to know who Hasti’s “pharmacist” is, because she wants him investigated, and his license revoked. (When the first witness to approach Hasti after the collision asked if there was anybody she could call, she mumbled something about her pharmacist, and tried to place a call on her cell. Also, her blood drawn more than four hours after the collision indicated Alprazolam [Ed. note: the generic form of Xanax] in an amount that is usually fatal.)

At one point, Hasti attempted, in her meek voice, to speak to the judge, but her lawyer instantly spun around in alarm and shushed her.

The next attempt at sentencing will be June 19th. The DA had a prelim set for that same morning, but rescheduled it because the Billings family has suffered enough during this delay.

Oh yeah, and naturally Hasti pleaded not guilty to the new charge. And she’s not retaining her extremely savvy criminal defense team this time; instead, she has a public defender.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti had entered an unexpected guilty plea last March to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for running Billings down from behind as he rode his beach cruiser in the bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway two years earlier. Billings, described by friends as a loving father and devout Mormon, died at the scene.

She faces up to four years in prison once she’s finally sentenced

In addition to all the other breaking news in this case, the California State Bar suspended the immigration attorney’s license to practice law earlier this week. Chances are that suspension will become permanent following her sentencing, especially in light of the additional drug charge.

Let’s hope the Billings family gets the justice they deserve. And that Fakhrai-Bayrooti gets the help she so desperately seems to need while she’s behind bars.

And that she’s never allowed behind the wheel again.

 

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