Archive for Bikes & the Law

LA County DA rules Gardena police were justified to shoot and kill the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim

Finally, we know what really happened.

Or not.

In July of 2013, two men were shot by Gardena police responding to the theft of a bicycle.

Except they didn’t kill a dangerous bike thief and wound his partner in crime.

The man they mistakenly killed was the brother of the man whose bike was stolen. He was just trying to tell the officers that the men they had stopped weren’t vicious thieves, but were actually helping to look for the missing bike.

Unfortunately, the three officers didn’t seem to understand Ricardo Diaz Zeferino’s Spanish, even though customers at a nearby restaurant could clearly make out what he was saying. And he didn’t seem to understand the cops commands to stop.

Now the DA’s office has ruled that they acted within the law in shooting the unarmed man eight times — including twice in the back.

The same with what they say was the unintentional shooting of his similarly innocent friend, who was also shot in the back.

The DA’s decision was based on dash cam video, which apparently captured the whole thing. It reportedly showed Diaz Zeferino reaching into his pockets to toss unidentified items to the ground, then taking off his baseball cap, despite orders to stop. The officers opened fire when he started to raise his hands again.

The cops couldn’t see his right hand, according to the Deputy DA who reviewed the video, and believed he was going to reach for a weapon.

A weapon that didn’t exist.

Not that that inconvenient fact seems to matter to anyone.

Not surprisingly, the attorneys for the victims reached a different conclusion, arguing that the video showed the police gave confusing orders, and that Diaz Zeferino’s right hand was empty and in front of his body when they opened fire. And that the other victim, Acevedo Mendez, was shot despite keeping his hands over his head the whole time.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know which version is true, since the Gardena Police Department has refused to make the video public.

Although they did allow the cops to view the video before making their statements so they could get their stories straight.

On the other hand, whatever the video showed, it was enough to convince the city of Gardena to settle a civil rights lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million. Not that any amount of money will do Diaz Zeferino a lot of good.

According to the DA’s report, the toxicology report showed he had meth and alcohol in his system. Which is no more relevant to the case than whether he was wearing a bike helmet.

The three officers who opened fire are still on active patrol duty nearly two years after the shooting; the department’s internal review over the shooting was on hold until the civil case was resolved, which happened earlier this week.

The outcome of that review is something else we’ll never know about; any disciplinary action will be confidential under California law.

This is the second time this year the DA has refused to prosecute cops who killed someone in a bike-related case. And the second time that disciplinary action, if any, will be a deep, dark secret known only to the officers involved.

So if your bike is ever stolen in Gardena, maybe you’re better off just letting it go. Those cops could still be out there, ready to shoot at the drop of a hat.

Literally.

And whatever happens, don’t count on the LA County DA’s office to do a damn thing about it.

 

Morning Links: Hit-and-run driver gets limp slap on wrist, bike riders under attack, and Ride of Silence rolls tonight

Four times virtually nothing is still virtually nothing.

After a hit-and-run victim pled for a stiffer sentence for the man who ran her down, got out of his car to apologize, then got back and fled the scene — leaving her lying helpless in the street with a broken hip — the judge increased his sentence from 10 days of community service to a whopping 40 days, along with two years probation.

And not one day in jail.

Even though a hit-and-run resulting in serious injury is supposed to be prosecuted as a felony, with up to one year in jail.

Instead, Spencer Lofranco was allowed to plead down to a misdemeanor, and walk out of court without even a sore wrist.

He was ordered to pay $161,000 in restitution. But as we’ve seen from other cases, it’s unlikely his victim will ever see more than a fraction of that, if anything.

Just one more example of the courts and prosecutors failing to take traffic crime seriously.

And why drivers continue to leave their victims on the side of the road, making LA the country’s hit-and-run capital.

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There’s a tragic common theme to today’s news.

Word of a Colorado cyclist fatally shot while riding near my hometown — and on a roadway I’ve ridden more than once — has made waves around the world. In an unusual move, the FBI is joining in the investigation, suggesting that this may be more than a random shooting.

A Savannah teenager was shot and wounded while riding his bike on April 1st; the shooter who targeted him early Tuesday was more successful.

A Tampa bicyclist suffered non-life threatening injuries in a drive-by shooting.

A Salinas man was shot and killed by unknown assailants while riding his bike Saturday night.

And right here in Los Angeles, a woman was shot in the arm while riding in South LA early Tuesday morning; she was able to make it back home before being taken to a hospital, where she’s in stable condition.

Meanwhile, a man riding to work on an Anchorage bike path was attacked by three teenagers who hit him in the face with a tree branch, resulting in skull fractures, a broken nose and orbital socket, and cuts to his face; a 15-year old boy was arrested in the case.

The only significant difference from the other attacks was the choice of weapon.

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The Ride of Silence rolls to honor the victims of bicycling collisions tonight, with rides at the Rose Bowl and four in Orange County.

Visit the website for more locations throughout California.

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KCET looks at the city council’s attempt to rush through approval of Option 1 for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, which would preserve all traffic lanes while putting a sidewalk on just one side.

Both candidates in Tuesday’s CD4 election prefer the third option, which would remove a traffic lane to allow sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides. (Breaking news — it looks like David Ryu won with 53% of the vote; less than 21,000 Angelenos even bothered to cast a ballot.)

Streetsblog’s national edition correctly notes LA’s Great Streets will be nothing more than talk if Mayor Garcetti won’t stand up for good design.

So far the city has successfully managed to avoid any of the tough choices necessary for the safe, livable city we’ve been promised.

……..

CalPoly students call for greater bike and pedestrian safety, as school administrators hide behind semantics.

An administration spokesperson says the idea that school streets are not safe is a “pretty vague statement,” and that Kellogg Drive on campus is up to code for all city and state standards.

Which is a long way from being safe.

Boyonabike notes that instead of improving safety and promoting alternative means of transportation, the college is spending $41 million on a new parking garage.

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Alberto Contador says he’s getting better every day following a dislocated shoulder; bad news for his competition in the Giro since he’s already in the leader’s jersey.

In a gesture of sportsmanship, Simon Clarke gave fellow Aussie Richie Porte a front wheel after Porte flatted, despite being on competing teams. However, accepting the wheel cost Porte a two minute penalty, knocking him out of contention. Or maybe it was just a brilliant tactical move by Clarke.

The Giro d’Italia is once again considering a US start; VeloNews offers an in-depth analysis of how US racing can reshape pro cycling.

Amgen is expected to remain the title sponsor of the Tour of California for the long haul. And Sunday’s final stage of the Amgen Tour of California apparently took some Highland Park residents by surprise.

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Local

A writer for the Daily Bruin says it’s time for UCLA officials to demand bike lanes on Westwood Blvd so students and faculty can get to campus safely. And politely points out the hypocrisy — my word —of Councilmember Paul Koretz opposing bike lanes while calling for the need to confront climate change.

Turns out the new portion of the Expo Line bike path is on track to open along with the rail line next year.

LADOT issues a new and improved 2015 Bikeways Guide. Or three.

The Downtown News calls on the LAPD to go after bike chop shops and the ringleaders behind them to stop the rash of bike thefts in DLTA. The DA also has to start taking the crime seriously, finding a way to prosecute thieves instead of bargaining the charges away.

A mountain biker had to be airlifted from the Angeles National Forest after suffering critical injuries when he fell 50 feet off a trail.

The Times looks at the steady growth of bicycling in Long Beach, where 40 miles of off-road bike paths, and bikeways on 10% of the city streets, has lead to a 30% increase in bicycling since 2008.

Volunteers are still needed for Wolfpack Hustle’s Short Line Crit in Long Beach on the 30th.

 

State

Pedal Love is giving away two bikes to women with stories to tell.

A Hesperia couple is riding across the country with their four Yorkies to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug use. Somehow, I don’t get the connection.

San Bernardino County opens the final leg of a 21-mile bike and walking path from Claremont to Rialto on the 28th.

A Santa Barbara writer says to improve safety, cyclists need better infrastructure, more helmets and less booze.

Eureka could kick bikes off the sidewalk next week.

 

National

In something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, the Federal government issues guidelines for separated bike lanes.

Drivers are more distracted than ever; one in 10 admits to video chatting behind the wheel. Although in most cases, drivers don’t want to hit us any more than we want to get hit by them.

Spokane is offering a new bike registry.

A Seattle woman recognizes a stolen bike listed on Bike Index, and returns it to the owner during her costume birthday bike parade. You can register your bike with Bike Index — or report a stolen bike — for free right here, no matter where you live.

A new Minnesota study suggests the US census undercounts bike use.

Chicago cyclists get a new curb protected bike lane.

In yet another example of keeping dangerous drivers on the road until they kill someone, the upstate New York woman charged with the texting hit-and-run that critically injured a teen bike rider has faced two previous DUI charges, as well as four charges of driving without a license and seven other infractions.

No bias here, as a PA website says an 8-year old boy crashed into the side of an ambulance; never mind that it’s just possible the ambulance might have cut him off.

 

International

Mashable lists the world’s seven best bike routes, including one in our relative back yard.

Calgary will send a group of Bicycle Ambassadors to offices and events to explain the city’s new cycle track network. Note the key word, network.

Who was that that masked man? A heroic London bike rider jumps into a river to save the life of another rider who had fallen in, then rides away without giving his name.

London’s Royal Parks continues to stand in the way of the city’s planned cycle superhighways.

UK police single out cyclists for riding irresponsibly, ignoring the lawbreakers in the big, dangerous machines. And it’s not the bike riders who are stringing fishing line across bike paths at head level to garrote unsuspecting people.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a Brit bicyclist’s bike just minutes after he was hit by a car.

Virgin’s e-bike riding Richard Branson calls on cities to close down entire streets to all vehicles but bicycles.

Luxembourg climbs to 13th in the ranking of bike friendly European nations; not surprisingly, Denmark and The Netherlands come out on top.

 

Finally…

Somehow, I don’t think a campaign that says, in effect, “Come to the darkside, wear a bike helmet” is an effective safety message. Police Down Under won’t respond to a hit-and-run involving a cyclist if no one bothers to call them.

And in the UK, ducks get their own lanes, which the Royal Parks service doesn’t seem to object to.

 

Weekend Links: Sentencing delayed in emotional drugged driving case, rider reportedly robbed on Ballona Creek

Before we start, here’s one video you want to watch. Trust me on this.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

………

Just gotten word that the sentencing of Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti in the drugged driving death of cyclist Eric Billings has been delayed due to a technicality.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti unexpectedly pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated last March, and was scheduled to be sentenced to up to four years in prison today. The judge delayed sentencing until June 10th to allow the defense time to review the probation report.

However, he revoked bail and remanded her into custody to be evaluated prior to sentencing.

According to the OC DA’s office, Fakhrai-Bayrooti had 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 in Mission Viejo.

According to My News LA, Billing’s daughter, who was six month’s pregnant when he was killed, gave birth to a son who will never know his grandfather. And one her brothers is getting married Saturday without a father to stand by his side.

Mark Billings said he too had struggled with addiction, but it was his brother’s unconditional love that helped him overcome his own drug problems.

Eric Billings “was the kind of guy who carried extra shirts and sweaters in his car to give to someone out in the cold,” Mark Billings said.

I’m told the judge wept openly in the courtroom listening to the impact statements from family members. And the court reporter recorded it all with mascara running down her face.

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Once again, there’s bad news from Ballona Creek.

A rider writing on Reddit reports that he saw another cyclist being robbed by four men on the bike path near the National/Jefferson exit Tuesday evening.

This has been an ongoing, if infrequent, problem over the years; in fact, crime alerts on the pathway date back to at least 1990.

It’s not that the bike path is particularly dangerous. However, just like any other place in the city where you’re out of public view, you have to be alert to the circumstances around you.

If you don’t feel comfortable, wait for other riders to catch up, or go back to the previous exit and ride around the problem area.

Just don’t hold your breath for the police to respond. There’s been an ongoing debate over which police agencies have jurisdiction where on the path.

And riders have complained that 911 operators can’t seem to find it on a map to send anyone, anyway.

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CiclaValley offers a preview of the next week’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts on Sunday. The Sacramento Bee explains seven things you’ll want to know about the Tour of California; eight actually, since an update mentions that Marcel Kittel has pulled out.

American Tyler Farrar is one of the riders to watch. And tour officials are working to keep the routes safe for the riders, unlike several recent racing calamities that left riders badly injured.

Meanwhile, the women in these photos finally get four days in the AToC, which started Friday. Second-year UnitedHealthcare pro Katy Hall dreams of charging up Mt. Baldy just like the men, while Alison Tetrick looks forward to joining a deep field charging through the snow.

While this year’s women’s tour is a big step forward, it’s long past time to let women racers compete on equal terms. And put them on TV, for chrissake.

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A sign on LA garbage trucks urges homeowners not to turn bike lanes into garbage lanes.

I’m told the LAPD has gotten several complaints about people blocking bike lanes with their garbage cans. And yes, that is illegal.

A new Toronto app allows riders to report cars blocking bike lanes. Maybe we need an LA version that lets us report trash cans, too.

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Local

South La Brea is making a comeback. And a local bike shop is helping lead the way.

USC’s Story Space interviews the LACBC’s Eric Bruins and Michael McDonald of Bike the Vote LA; thanks to Streetsblog LA for the link.

The Westwood Village Farmers’ Market is giving away a “sleek” new commuter bike from Helen’s Cycles to celebrate the new bike corral on Broxton Ave. Which would be the perfect place to park your bike to attend the Westwood Village Farmers’ Market. I’m just saying.

Santa Clarita hosts the free nine-mile family friendly Hit the Trail bike ride on Saturday.

Former Olympic cyclist Tony Cruz will lead Saturday’s Tour of Long Beach, with rides from 30 to 100 miles, benefitting pediatric cancer research.

Speaking of Long Beach, bike ridership is up 21% in the downtown area from 2013, suggesting that the city’s emphasis on building bike lanes is working.

Women are invited to tell their story explaining why you need a new bike, and possibly win one from Pedal Love and Made in Long Beach.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer remembers Bay Area bicycling legend Jobst Brandt, who passed away at age 80 after a long illness.

San Bernardino deputies recover a Loma Linda boy’s $1,500 stolen bike after his father discovered it for sale on Craigslist.

Bakersfield police release surveillance video of burglars who knocked off a local bike shop last month.

Great idea for a bike ride, as the San Jose Public Library host the Gira de Libro, visiting five of the city’s 23 libraries. Rumor has it that LA has public libraries, as well, though few residents have actually been inside one.

After the local Marin paper refused to even consider the possibility a bike rider might not have been at fault in a collision with an 80-year old woman, it turns out the rider did what he could to avoid hitting her. An estimated 15 to 17 mph sounds way too fast for a narrow bridge shared with pedestrians, though; we need to slow down when passing people on foot, just like drivers should slow down when passing bikes.

A Sacramento bike rider was killed in a collision with a train. By far the easiest type of wreck to avoid, since trains have to travel on tracks and have warning lights, bells and/or crossing gates to tell you they’re coming.

A Mariposa cyclist suffered major injuries when he was left crossed by a motorist; according to the comments, the victim is the principle double bass player for the local orchestra. Let’s hope makes a fast and full recovery.

 

National

Performance Bicycle is named a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Business. Then again, if a bike shop isn’t bike friendly, something is seriously wrong.

America’s biggest bike share operator has now gone into the manufacturing business.

As we’ve said before, people don’t ride on the sidewalk if they feel safe on the streets, as shown by a new protected bike lane in Honolulu that’s cut sidewalk riding by 65%.

Salt Lake will build the nation’s first protected intersection, designed to keep bike riders and pedestrians safe.

A texting teenage Chicago driver could get off the hook for hitting a cyclist because the police never read the driver her rights.

Turns out Chicago’s favorite sport of the late 1800’s wasn’t hockey or baseball. So when, if ever, is that long-rumored Major Taylor movie coming out, anyway?

Once again, a bike rider is collateral damage in a wreck between two drivers, this time in Milwaukee; the victim was an ice cream vendor on a three-wheeled bike.

Kids, don’t try this at home. An off-duty New Hampshire cop was killed riding his bike down a flight of stairs — inside a house.

 

International

The pope attends a singletrack bike fest. Oh, not that pope.

A new study from the University of Duh says bike commuters really do lose weight, as long as they ride 30 minutes each way.

Expect serious bike lust at this weekend’s Spin London bike show.

A UK court is told a cyclist killed in an unsafe pass by his own father’s truck would have survived if he had only been wearing a helmet. Which is impossible to say with any certainty, despite the investigator’s apparent certainty.

Sweden’s Princess Estelle looks like any other adorable three-year old bike rider with her pink helmet and training wheels.

A new German safety campaign encourages cyclists to wear helmets, just like Darth Vader. Do they seriously think equating a bike helmet with crossing over to the Dark Side will actually work?

As bicycling grows in Egypt, it’s even becoming safer for women to ride alone.

Bangkok cyclists call for stiffer penalties for drunk drivers in the wake of two collisions in which drivers plowed into group rides, killing four people; police promise to step up safety measures.

 

Finally…

How many times do we have to say it? If you’re riding your bike with an outstanding felony warrant, stay off the damn sidewalk in Santa Monica, already. Now you too, can have a truly tasteless bike taillight dangling from your seat, just like the big boys in their trucks; the sad thing is, it was actually funded.

And Bremerton WA police have apparently developed a new technique to stop fleeing drivers by throwing out a bike strip; no word on whether they use roadies, fixies or mountain bikes.

 

Weekend Links: Bike the Vote endorses Ramsay, bike protest at Malibu City Hall, and rough week for LA cyclists

Too much news, good and bad, for one weekend.

So let’s dive right in.

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Bike the Vote LA has officially come out in favor of Carolyn Ramsay in the May 19th election for LA’s Council District 4, which they describe as crucial for LA cyclists.

And as someone who lives in the district, so do I. Bike-friendly improvements can’t come soon enough to an area where there are far too few safe and comfortable options for cyclists.

Riders are invited to join Bike the Vote LA to canvass for Ramsay on Saturday.

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LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 goes before the Planning Commission on May 29th at the Van Nuys City Hall. The plan incorporates the 2010 bike plan, which has been gutted in some areas by a handful of city councilmembers, despite being unanimously approved the council in 2011.

Evidently, unanimous votes don’t mean what they used to. Maybe they had their fingers crossed.

You might want to consider showing up to tell the Planning Commission how you feel about that.

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If you ride PCH or the Malibu Hills, you owe it to yourself to protest the illegal mistreatment of cyclists by the motorists on the highway, as well as by members of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

Join Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson at Malibu City Hall at 9 am on Saturday, May 9th, or meet him at Will Rogers State Park to ride into the city as a group. And hopefully not get any tickets for not riding in the non-existent bike lane along the way.

This has been an ongoing problem in the area, as bike riders work with the department to ensure fair enforcement, only to see new officers transferred in who don’t understand the basics of bike law, so the process starts all over again.

And it’s time it stopped.

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It’s been a rough week for LA cyclists.

According to a Facebook account, two bike riders training for the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride were mugged and robbed at gunpoint by three men on the LA River bike path Wednesday night.

One of the riders was eventually able to get away, but the other lost his bike and cell phone to the thieves.

Unfortunately, the account doesn’t say where it happened on the bike path. So be alert out there, especially at night. Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up.

Then there’s this case, where a cyclist definitely didn’t get a three-foot passing margin.

In another Facebook account, a rider describes being passed by a vehicle so closely that the trailer it was pulling actually brushed his foot, scraping the side of his shoe — despite the fact that he was riding at the speed limit in a no passing zone.

Needless to say, the driver refused to take any responsibility, instead blaming his victim for being on the road. Or maybe the planet. Thanks to Mike Kim for the link.

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A Santa Ana cyclist is in critical condition after he was right hooked by a large truck when he came off a sidewalk into the street, and was caught under the rear wheels of the truck. He was dragged about 200 feet before the truck came to a stop.

As usual, the driver was not cited.

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Let’s catch up with the upcoming bike events.

Don’t forget Ride On! Bike Day at Amoeba Records from noon to 4 pm this Sunday, benefitting the LACBC.

All ages are welcome to the family friendly second annual Walk ‘N Roll Festival in Culver City this Sunday.

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a breakfast ride on Sunday to kick off Bike Month.

Santa Clarita will host their free Hit the Trail community bike ride on Saturday, May 9th.

The LA edition of the worldwide CycloFemme Global Women’s Cycling Day movement rolls on Sunday, May 10th, starting at the Spoke Bicycle Café on the LA River bike path.

Tour LA’s iconic street art with the Eastside Mural Ride on Saturday, May 16th.

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Local

CiclaValley goes climbing.

Councilmember Jose’ Huizar calls for re-evaluating streets in Downtown LA to make them safer for bike riders and pedestrians.

A new bike from LA-based Pure Fix pays tribute to the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, and former NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace. But could it support an extra large rider like Biggie?

Santa Monica businesses can join in the city’s 2015 Commuter Challenge: Bike Month to see which company can achieve the highest CO2 savings by having their employees bike to work through May. Which just happens to be National Bike Month, as well as the start of the National Bike Challenge.

Manhattan Beach residents raise a whopping 543% of their Indiegogo goal to market an affordable e-bike beach cruiser.

The long planned two-way bikeway connecting Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach should be rideable by Memorial Day.

Advice on bicycling in LA County from a student at Biola University.

 

State

Schedule your life around the TV viewing schedule for the Amgen Tour of California for the next few weeks. Needless to say, the women’s races won’t be televised — except for a one-hour 11 pm highlight show. So much for network support for women’s racing.

Unbelievable. San Diego police are looking for a road raging truck driver who hit bike rider in the head with a hammer during an argument. I repeat, he hit a bike rider in the head with a hammer. Proof that bike helmets really do help.

The San Diego Bike Coalition kicked off Bike Month a day early. Apparently, they were too excited to wait another day.

A Modesto driver gets six years for a hit-and-run that seriously injured a cyclist while she was high on meth; somehow, she was still allowed on the road despite two previous DUIs.

Sacramento considers putting more of their streets on a diet.

I’ve said it before: It takes a major schmuck to mug a small boy and steal his bike, this time in Calaveras County.

A proposed Merced bike path is the regional finalist in a $100,000 contest sponsored by Bell Helmets.

San Francisco buses get triple bike racks, something we’ve been promised down here now that the law has been changed to allow them.

A Marin equestrian says safely sharing every trail with bikes, hikers and horses is an illusion. Maybe so, but bike riders and hikers hardly ever poop on the trail.

 

National

Bicycling lists 10 mistakes for beginner bike riders to avoid.

A new bipartisan Safe Streets bill in Congress would give planners two years to adopt Complete Streets policies for all federally funded transportation projects.

Denver bike messengers adapt to a declining market, while a London bike courier spills his secrets.

Mountain biking ex-president Bush does his best Elvis impersonation while leading wounded vets across his Texas ranch on the first leg of a 100 mile ride.

A Milwaukee writer discusses how to transport your dogs by bike.

A Vermont website worries that Complete Streets safety improvements will make things worse for cyclists in the wake of recent bicycling collisions. Even though none of them had anything to do with Complete Streets.

Bono still can’t play guitar five months after his bicycling spill in New York’s Central Park; it could take him another 13 months to learn if he’ll regain feeling in his hand.

Baltimore’s hit-and-run bishop gets defrocked four months after the alcohol-fueled death of a cyclist.

Wal-Mart isn’t responsible for the injuries suffered when a Mississippi boy took one of their bicycle-shaped objects for the spin through the store.

A Florida rider discusses when to pack it in and call the SAG wagon.

 

International

Advice on how to ride around the world from a Scottish rider who set a record doing it; a fellow world traveler writes about his plans to cross Australia by bike.

Here’s something LA riders can relate to, as a hard-won Toronto bike lane is blocked by a film shoot.

Canadian teens ride from Auschwitz to a Netherlands Nazi transit camp to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation Holland.

A UK rider is nearly garroted by an extended dog leash while riding on a bike path.

Caught on video: This is why you need good brakes, as a Brit bike rider barely avoids becoming bus fodder.

Also caught on video: The owner of a Dutch cat litter company converts his bakfiets into a kitty carriage for a 300-mile journey from Amsterdam to London.

VeloNews asks if the Vuelta has lost its mojo.

German police thwart an alleged plot to bomb a Frankfurt bike race; the race was cancelled in the wake of the arrests.

Touring China by bike may be the best way to find clean air and quiet in the booming country; meanwhile, a 28-year old Pomona College student is honored for teaching Chinese people how to take control of their own lives by building bamboo bikes.

 

Finally…

If you’re trying to sell a stolen bike, try to make sure your coffee-drinking potential customers aren’t off-duty cops. An Indian cyclist credits his survival in a hit-and-run in part to his knee and elbow pads, while a badly injured Brit rider thanks his badly mangled helmet.

Your next bike could be made of carbon fiber, ash and mahogany, though that wooden saddle looks a tad harsh. And you may never have to look up while you ride again; although personally, I’d be more impressed if it showed what’s behind me, instead. Thanks to Ed Ryder for the tip.

………

One last note. I’ve been told about a possible bicycling fatality in Granada Hills on Wednesday, but haven’t been able to get confirmation; both the CHP and the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division say they aren’t aware of anything. 

Let’s hope this one’s just a false alarm.

Morning Links: Turning private tragedy into help for others, and a 3-decade old AG opinion on sidewalk riding

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Donny McCluskey in better days.

Okay, so this one made me cry.

You see, one reason I write about fallen cyclists is the hope that somehow, some good will come out of such senseless loss. Whether in the form of improved safety measures at the site of the collision, or in some other way.

Patti McCluskey Andre made sure that happened.

It was just over three years ago that her brother, Donny McCluskey, stood waiting with his bike, for a Palm Springs red light to change. He was in the right place, exactly where he was supposed to be, obeying the law so many motorists seem to think we break with abandon.

Yet in the intersection in front of him, a drunk driver was hit by a motorist running that same red light. One of the vehicles went ballistic, spinning out of control and crashing into him; with his feet planted on the ground, there was nothing he could do to avoid the impact.

In seconds, he became collateral damage to the dangers on our streets, a victim of actions beyond his control.

The remorseful driver who ran the red light was ultimately convicted and placed on three years probation and community service. This at the request of the victim’s family, who saw no benefit in putting him behind bars.

In most cases, that would have been the end of it.

They would have walked away, mourning the loss of someone so dear to them, and trying to find some way to put it all behind them.

But Patti wanted Donny’s life to mean something.

So she started a fund in his name, which this month awarded its first two scholarships.

Here’s what she had to say:

Yesterday I had the honor of awarding the first 2 in memory of Donny McCluskey scholarships. Both recipients, Lisa Ponsford and Wendi Swanson are family nurse practitioners graduating in May with their DNPs. As FNPS working in our communities — they have the power to promote change at every level. Lisa works in the ER and Wendi in college health plus both are educators at WesternU. Both recipients are physically active and dedicated to changing population health with lifestyle interventions.

Both recipients were honored and touched to be chosen for this scholarship. All I can say is that I am honored to know them and wish they had known Donny, he would have been honored to have his name associated with these two!

Just how big a heart does it take to turn your own private tragedy into something so positive? Let alone something that will not only benefit those who receive them, but everyone whose lives they touch?

Patti has thanked me more than once for the work I do here. But I am in awe of her, and what she’s done to not only channel her own grief, but make our world a better place.

She’s currently raising funds for an additional scholarship for a graduate or doctoral student of Health Science at the same university. And promises to match every donation dollar for dollar.

I can’t think of a better cause.

……..

In light of yesterday’s guest post about riding on crosswalks, I was forwarded this 1993 opinion from then California Attorney General Dan Lundgren, concluding that the rules of the road do indeed apply to bicyclists on the sidewalk, and that sidewalk cyclists can be required to ride with traffic.

We note that certain rules of the road concern the use of the roadway in particular rather than the highway in general (e.g., § 2165 [except in specified circumstances, a vehicle upon the highway is to be driven upon the right half of the roadway]). Although a sidewalk is a separate part of the highway from the roadway, we believe that, given the factors discussed above, the intent of the Legislature was for the operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk to be similar to vehicular travel wherever practicable. Therefore, to the extent that a vehicle must be driven on the right half of the roadway, a bicyclist riding on an adjacent sidewalk must travel in the same direction as the vehicular traffic. This interpretation of section 21200 provides pedestrians with some assurance as to the direction of bicycle riders on sidewalks at all times. Such statutory construction is consistent with the well-established principle that “[t]he courts must give statutes a reasonable construction which conforms to the apparent purpose and intention of the lawmakers.” (Clean Air Constituency v. California Air Resources Bd. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 801, 813.)

Of course, an opinion of the AG does not have the force law.

It’s up to the courts to interpret and rule on the meaning of laws guiding the use of bicycles on the sidewalk, as well as the crosswalks. And laws can be amended, and interpretations change, over three decades.

I don’t know of any California city where sidewalk riders are routinely expected to ride in the direction of traffic. However, many police departments — including the LAPD — believe bikes become vehicles once they enter the street, and so must travel in the direction of traffic when they enter a crosswalk, yesterday’s post not withstanding.

But it’s interesting to see such a different interpretation of the law from thirty years ago.

……..

Somehow I missed this column from an auto-centric writer in my otherwise bike friendly home state, insisting that bike riders are law breaking junior partners who deserve only a small share of the road. And of course, the usual complaints about a “subset” of arrogant, self-righteous, self-centered and condescending riders.

A cyclist responds by shouting tongue-in-cheek taunts at other riders when he’s behind the wheel.

……..

An article in a Boston College environmental law review makes the case for how strict liability could even the scales on our roads, improve safety and encourage more environmentally friendly forms of commuting.

Like bicycling, for instance.

Strict liability is based on the assumption that motorists, as the operators of the more dangerous vehicles, have a greater responsibility for avoiding collisions, and so are presumed to be at fault in a collision unless it can be shown otherwise.

Adopting it here is probably the biggest step we could take to reduce reckless behavior behind the wheel and stop the carnage on our streets.

……..

Local

Thieves made off with nine bikes in DTLA in a one week period this month; eight of the purloined bicycles had their locks cut.

Turns out there’s already bike share in Century City, while nearby Westwood’s new bike corral is being put to good use.

Fear of a more user-friendly future on our streets rears its ugly head, as the president of the Miracle Mile Residential Associations waves a red flag and LADOT’s senior planner appears to backpedal on the city’s draft mobility plan.

The first bike lane in the ‘Bu finally opens, but it’s just a tad shorter than earlier reports. Instead of seven miles long, it’s two miles, along with an improved seven-mile bike route.

Glendale police held a fundraiser for next week’s 300-mile Police Unity Tour to honor fallen officers.

 

State

Irvine police make their second bust in two days of thieves stealing copper wire from the lights along a bike path next to the 405 Freeway. But at least the crooks were on bikes, right?

No bias here, as the Press-Enterprise says a bike rider was badly hurt when he ran into a car; never mind that he was actually right-hooked. Note to the P-E: The victim was cut off, not passing on the right; thanks to sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the link.

No bias here, either. A Hollister newspaper reports a bike-riding child hit a car and fell over, but fails to mention if the car was even moving at the time. And in more Hollister news, if you’re a known gang member carrying a concealed weapon, ride to the right, damn it.

San Francisco police arrest the unlicensed hit-and-run driver who plowed into three bicyclists earlier this month; she’s scheduled to appear in court today.

In an exercise in sheer stupidity, a San Francisco man is arrested for stabbing another man to death in a dispute over a bicycle.

Police in Menlo Park are looking for a bike rider who whacked a driver in the head with his bike lock after throwing something at his car. Seriously, no matter how much you think someone might deserve it, don’t resort to violence. Ever. Period.

 

National

Bikes hardly ever catch on fire. Unless maybe you’re on a Pedego e-bike; the company just recalled their batteries due to a fire hazard.

A new study says bike shares are more successful when the stations are close together. Are you listening, Metro?

A website lists the three best American cities to tour by bike. No, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

Here’s that full report on bike helmets from Consumer Reports.

A Portland website asks if bike locks of the future could end 120 years of thieving bastards. Their words, not mine, but I like the way they think.

An Oregon judge gives a repeat drunk driver yet another second chance, despite already spending time in prison for killing a cyclist in 2004. The driver, not the judge. This is how we keep drunks on the road until they kill someone. Or in this case, kill again.

Yuma AZ changes the city ordinance to require cyclists to ride with traffic, after two-thirds of bicycling collision victims in the town were riding salmon. Which makes you wonder what the hell the law was there before.

Mad City cyclists will get a new $3 million bike and ped bridge this September.

A off-duty Cleveland cop is punched in the arm by an 81-year old man for riding his bike on a multi-use bike path.

Residents of a New York neighborhood complain about scofflaw salmon cyclists, unlike all those law abiding drivers on Gotham streets. Evidently, New York moms don’t teach their kids to look both ways before crossing the street, either.

LA may be the mecca for food trucks, but Pittsburgh is about to get the Porkrind Bike, delivering 15-flavors of free-range chicharróns.

A three-time DUI loser is sentenced to over 10 years behind bars for the death of a Virginia bike rider, after a BAC two-and-a-half times the legal limit — then has eight years suspended. See above about why we can’t get drunks off the roads before they kill. Or kill again.

 

International

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, a sociologist explains that Europeans are more likely to be injured riding a bike, though we Americans are more likely to wear a helmet. And says he doesn’t, even though he thinks he probably should.

Quebec’s Transport Minister is leaning against a mandatory helmet law, saying it would be hard to enforce.

An amateur Brit bike racer spends the equivalent of nearly $40,000 competing in a single year. Many amateur racers would like to just have that much money, let alone spend it on racing.

That’s one way to get the streets fixed, as a UK graffiti artist draws attention to potholes by drawing a penis around them. Thanks to Topher Mathers for heads-up.

The Wall Street Journal offers five things to know about riding in Amsterdam.

At least we only have to worry about LA drivers, as a South African cyclist was apparently killed by a giraffe.

 

Finally…

Slowtwitch offers advice on group riding for triathletes attempting to infiltrate the peloton. Advice on how to tell another rider his ass is showing through his spandex shorts.

And an off-duty Houston cop with crappy aim shot at a man stealing a bike from his porch twelve times — yes, 12 — because he “thought” the thief was armed. Apparently without hitting anyone, though police briefly followed a trail of dried paint or tomato juice.

Seriously, you can’t make this crap up.

 

Bikes Have Rights™*

How Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

 
Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Jim Pocrass, Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

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

Have you ever been asked a question in which the answer seems so obvious that it seems like a trick question? This happened to me recently. A reporter asked me if it were true that, as he was told by a police officer, that you could be ticketed for riding your bike the wrong way in a crosswalk.

The question flabbergasted me. Since when are crosswalks one-directional? Pedestrians walk in crosswalks in both directions. That’s why there are buttons and/or signals on both sides of the street.

Requiring cyclists to only travel with the flow of traffic would lead to absurd results. You would have to cross two streets to go across the street.

The legislature passed Vehicle Code 21650: A bicycle operated on a roadway or a shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.

Subsection(g) states: This section does not prohibit the operation of bicycles on any shoulder of a highway, on any sidewalk, on any bicycle path within a highway, or along any crosswalk or bicycle path crossing, where the operation is not otherwise prohibited by this code or local ordinance.

The legislative comments to VC 21650.1 say: That had the Legislature wished to include the term “sidewalk” or “crosswalk” it would have done so.

All of this naturally leads me to opine that for the bicyclist to be in violation of VC 21650.1 (riding the wrong way in traffic), the cyclist would have to be riding in the opposite direction of traffic AND be either a.) on the shoulder of a highway or b.) on a roadway. (Again, assuming there is no local ordinance against riding in a crosswalk.)

Shortly thereafter, I received an email from a woman asking for my help. She was hit by a car while riding her bike across the street in a marked crosswalk. The police claimed the accident was her fault.

The law says it is legal for you to go from the sidewalk – against traffic – and ride into the crosswalk to the other sidewalk.

However, if there is a local ordinance that prohibits riding on the sidewalk, which many cities do, especially in commercial areas, AND the local ordinance specifically states that you may not ride through a crosswalk, then riding in the crosswalk and/or the sidewalk would be illegal. If the local ordinance does not state that you cannot ride on the sidewalk or in the crosswalk, then it is legal.

Vehicle Code 275 defines a crosswalk and does not limit it to pedestrians. Subsection(b) expands crosswalks to include: Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrians crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.

Legally riding on the sidewalk – slowly – and looking before entering a crosswalk for other vehicles, especially those making a right or left turn, and looking for pedestrians, should be legal (again, assuming there is no local ordinance restricting you from riding through a crosswalk).

There is even case law that specifically addresses the issue of riding a bicycle on a sidewalk against traffic. In Spriesterbach v. Holland (Case B-240348) the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Four, ruled on April 9, 2013 that: . . .because VC 21650.1 requires a bicycle to travel in the same direction as vehicular traffic only when ridden on “a roadway” or the “shoulder of a highway,” it does not by its plain language require bicycles to travel with the flow of traffic when ridden on the sidewalk.

The court continued: Pursuant to Section 21200, (a) persons riding a bicycle. . .upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division. . .except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application. . .because 21650.1 governs the direction bicycle travel on a roadway or shoulder. . .it does not by its plain language require bicycles to travel with the flow of traffic when ridden on a “Sidewalk.”

Riding fast through a crosswalk and not stopping to look is very dangerous. A cyclist that rides into a crosswalk at 10+ mph does not give the driver of a vehicle that is turning left or right time to see the cyclist.

I suspect that is why the City of Los Angeles passed L.A. Muni Code 56.15(1): No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle . . .on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This ordinance gives the police a lot of leeway to determine what is “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

I believe that these topics are good areas for discussion, but legally, I would (and will) argue that, if no local ordinance disallows it, then it is legal to ride in a crosswalk in either direction if it is done safely.

By the way, the answer to the question in the title of this post is that the chicken crossed the road on a bicycle in a crosswalk after stopping and ascertaining that it was safe to ride slowly across the road. But you knew that.

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

Weekend Links: Super-secret discipline for Milt Olin deputy; SD’s Fiesta Island wreck caused by invisible boyfriend

We’ve got a lot to catch up on today.

So feel free to take a break and go out for a ride. This could take awhile.

……..

The LA County sheriff’s deputy who killed former Napster exec Milt Olin has been officially disciplined by the department. But since it’s considered a personnel matter, we’ll most likely never know what that discipline is.

And there will be no discipline for the department, which reportedly encouraged its officers to use their onboard computers while driving, despite an official policy against it.

……..

A psychiatrist says the alleged meth-using wrong way driver who plowed into 10 cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, leaving one paralyzed, “has bipolar disorder with chronic or long-standing mania and psychotic features, but also depressive features.”

Oh. Well, okay then.

She reportedly blames the crash on an invisible boyfriend who somehow popped up, apparently inside her car, before disappearing.

And she had a bag of meth in her vagina when she was arrested.

Allegedly.

Update: Despite the testimony of the psychiatrist, Theresa Owens was found competent to stand trial on Friday. 

……..

Three bikes take a 100 year journey to Bike Week LA, coming next month.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

……..

Update: I’ve been reminded that the OCTA Bike Festival will be held this Sunday from 9 am to 1 p in Huntington Beach.

Although how I can be reminded of something I didn’t know about to begin with is beyond me.

……..

Local

Note to CMs Gil Cedillo, Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz: A Virginia study confirms what we’ve been trying to tell you. More bikes on the streets will actually increase traffic congestion unless we have bike lanes to ride in. But hey, go ahead, keep blocking those planned bike lanes on North Figueroa, Lankershim and Westwood until traffic improves.

If you’re looking for a new job, CicLAvia is hiring a new head honcho; meanwhile, the Times talks with outgoing exec and founder Aaron Paley. Although I wish he could remember the role the LACBC played in assisting the birth of CicLAvia; one of the first votes I cast as a board member involved approving a cooperative agreement to help get the first event off the ground.

Caught on video: Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks a Malibu’s new bike lane on PCH, a first for the formerly bike-unfriendly city. Speaking of the LACBC, the coalitions’s Eric Bruins deserves much of the credit for the coastal city’s change in attitude.

 

State

California Streetsblog interviews Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who insists Governor Brown will sign a Yellow Alert hit-and-run notice this time around; he vetoed a similar bill last year.

Caltrans effectively unblocks protected bike lanes; the state transportation agency will hold a summit on the newly legalized Class IV bikeways next month.

Is someone targeting bike riders in OC? After a Santa Ana bike rider is shot in a possible gang-related driveby, he continued riding to a nearby residence for help; another man riding a bike was shot in the same city just a day later.

Huntington Beach police are looking for a man and woman who tried to steal a purse from a bike rider’s basket, then ripped it out of her hands when she fought back. Thanks to Louis for the tip.

The cities of Highlands and Redlands in San Bernardino County are working together to build a proposed bike lane connecting the two; a separated lane is one possibility.

Sad news from Palo Alto, as the 61-year old woman hit by a cyclist while crossing the street has died. The rider was descending around a blind curve at about 25 mph when he crashed into her; he has not been charged. The victim, Kathryn Green, was a noted philanthropist with local ties to the LA area; she was born in Santa Monica and grew up in the Palisades. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Streetsblog SF picks up the story of the Belmont bike rider blamed by auto-centric police for talking on a cell phone and riding sans-helmet — both legal — when he was left crossed by a car; the 90-year old motorist who illegally violated his right of way wasn’t held responsible in any way.

The Uber driver who allegedly ran down a San Francisco bike rider in a road rage dispute has surrendered his drivers license.

San Francisco’s director of transportation and public health director team up to explain the city’s Vision Zero policy. It would be nice if we could see something like that here; most Angelenos have no idea what Vision Zero is, let alone that the city has adopted it.

NorCal’s Arcata posts a YouTube video explaining the new bicycle boulevard running through the center of town. So why can’t we have nice things like that? See Cedillo, et al, above.

 

National

Phoenix cyclists agree with the city’s low ranking for bike-friendliness.

Organizers unveil the route for this year’s Tour of Utah, which includes a whopping two whole days of women’s racing. Which is better than none, I suppose.

A Houston bike rider has become the latest cyclist to be killed in a collision with a police car; the victim reportedly ran the red light.

Ever wondered what happened to the guy who inspired Breaking Away by almost single-handedly winning the 1962 Little 500?

An Ohio driver gets probation for the hit-and-run crash that left a bike rider seriously injured, and tampering with evidence to hide the crime afterwards. Evidently, life is cheap there. And the law seems pretty meaningless, too.

To celebrate the launch of Philadelphia’s bike share program, Uber brought bike riders a new helmet for just $10. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip.

Bike riders in South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island say harassment is common, after the arrest of a driver for yelling at a woman to get on a bike path, then getting out of his car and grabbing her arm to scream some more.

Caught on video: A Georgia truck driver gets out of his vehicle and pushes a bike rider over after the rider flipped him off for passing too closely; the driver claims he was in fear for his life after the rider kicked at his massive, multi-ton steel truck. Sure, let’s go with that.

Unbelievable. The 2013 police shooting of a Florida bike rider was caught on dash cam video; he was left paralyzed from the waist down — even though his only weapon was a cell phone.

The Justice Department will review the Tampa Bay police department’s ticketing of African American bike riders, who received 79% of the city’s tickets for bicycle violations even though they make up just 26% of city residents. The paper that broke the story asks if police will now stop the biased enforcement while the review is underway. Thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

 

International

They never learn. A young British driver becomes the latest to lose her job after tweeting about hitting a bicyclist without stopping.

A Brit woman may have suffered permanent scars resulting from a collision with a grinning hit-and-run cyclist.

A formerly morbidly obese man from the UK loses 210 pounds in a single year after taking up bicycling; he’s now planning to run a half-marathon — and have 14 pounds of excess skin removed.

Now that’s what I call fleeing the scene. An Irish driver gets six-and-a-half years for causing the death of a cyclist. He first fled to the UK, then Australia; he was arrested after being recognized in an ill-advised return to the UK.

Join the Army, and you too can experience the German equivalent of a ciclovía.

Kazakhstan-based pro cycling team Astana somehow manages to keep its top-tier racing status, despite a number of team members busted for doping.

Unbelievable. An Aussie man jailed for killing a cyclist in a 2011 hit-and-run killed another man in a second hit-and-run the same month, and hid his body under some bark and leaves.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A llama joins the peloton. In Canada, no less, where the animals aren’t exactly native.

If you’re going to climb into a driver’s vehicle and drive off after coming to blows in a road rage dispute — with the owner still clinging to the outside of his car — try to make a clean getaway without crashing into a parked car. But if you want to experience just one angry, honking driver on your ride to work, make sure you have a police escort.

And Bo Jackson says nobody’s perfect. Not even his buddy Lance.

 

BOLO Alert: Bike rider seriously injured in East LA hit-and-run

This one is hard to take.

Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for the driver of a white Toyota pickup who plowed into an East LA bike rider, then simply drove off without so much as slowing down.

KTLA-5 reports the wreck, which occurred at 9:15 am Monday, was caught on a security camera; fair warning, the video is stomach churning, to say the least.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding east on the north sidewalk of Olympic Blvd when he attempted to cross Arizona Ave in the crosswalk. The driver of the pickup, which was headed south on Arizona, went through the red light, violently knocking the rider off his bike before turning right and speeding down Olympic.

The victim was transported to County USC Medical Center with major head trauma.

The CHP, which investigates major traffic collisions in unincorporated areas of the county, is looking for a white, mid-‘80s Toyota pickup with an extended cab, metal rack and black side graphics.

Anyone with information is urged to call 323-980-4600 or the Traffic Management Center (TMC) at 323-259-2010.

Let’s find this heartless jerk.

Update: Guilty plea in case of fallen OC cyclist Joseph Robinson

A source calling from the courthouse in Orange County has just reported that the driver who killed 21-year old Jax Bicycle Center employee Joseph Robinson has pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and drug charges, and will face significant jail time.

Sommer Niclole Gonzales, just 18 at the time of the collision, was sentenced to spend the next 11 years of her life behind bars after she admitted responsibility and waived her right to appeal.

Robinson was taking the long way to work on a sunny February morning last year when he was run down from behind while riding in the bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road.

He was hit with enough force to knock him and his bike completely off the roadway; his body was only discovered because an off-duty fire captain spotted a car with a shattered windshield speeding in the opposite direction, then saw a single shoe lying on the side of the roadway.

Gonzales was arrested in a parking lot a short time later as a friend helped her transfer her belongings into another car, in an apparent attempt to cover up her responsibility for the crime. She was found in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the time of her arrest.

No word on why her friend wasn’t charged for assisting in the attempted coverup.

The victim’s family was reportedly in tears following the sentencing.

According to the source, the judge’s final words to her were “What a tragedy. Just because you wanted to do meth.”

Update: I corrected the above quote from the judge, which was off slightly due to a bad phone connection.

Gonzales will get credit for 888 days served, reducing her sentence by nearly two-and-a-half years; she’ll also serve three years parole upon her release.

Update 2: According to a press release from the Orange County DA’s office, Gonzales was found guilty of:

  • Felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Felony hit and run with death
  • Misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Along with a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter

Robinson’s family offered emotional impact statements, including this video from his mother showing him riding in happier days.

Then there’s this moving quote from his sister.

“My heart literally hurts when I think about my brother, I can’t think about him without crying. My drive to work takes me right past the accident site where his ghost bike is still hanging. Every morning and night as I pass that spot, I tell Joey aloud that I love him and cry.”

If you’ve ever wondered what harm driving under the influence can cause, that pretty much sums it up.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the press release.

Update 3: My News LA adds more details, including quotes from Robinson’s family members and his girlfriend. 

The story also quotes Gonzales’ attorney explaining that she had first tried marijuana at age 12, and quickly moved on to meth, which she had been her drug of choice ever since.

According to the attorney, she knew she had hit something, and stopped to see what it was, but continued on when she didn’t see Robinson or his bike. 

Morning Links: LAPD cop charged in beating of bike rider, Biking While Black in FL, and Facebook bike drama

An LAPD officer has been charged with assault in the October beating of a South LA bike rider.

Twenty-two-year old Clinton Alford, Jr. fled from officers when they tried to stop him because he allegedly matched the description of a robbery suspect.

According to Alford, he ran when someone grabbed the back of his bike because the officers failed to identify themselves, and he only became aware of who they were when he was being held down and handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

After all, why would anyone look back to see who was chasing him as he fled for his life?

It was while he was face down trying to surrender that LAPD officer Richard Garcia allegedly kicked him in the head, repeatedly, in an attack that was captured on a nearby security camera. Police say they have no intention of releasing the video, despite the demands of Alford’s lawyer for it to be made public.

According to KTLA-5, he was kicked so hard he lost a filling from his teeth; other officers at the scene called the attack horrific, describing it as like someone kicking a field goal, with Alford’s head as the ball.

Garcia has entered a not guilty plea. He faces up to three years in jail if he’s convicted.

The LA Times reports three other officers and a sergeant have been relieved of duty and assigned to their homes while the investigation continues.

All charges against Alford, for possession and resisting arrest, have been dropped.

………

Shameful.

Fifty years after Selma, people are still ticketed for Bicycling While Black, as eight out of ten of the 2,504 bike tickets written in Tampa FL in the last three years — more than Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined — went to African American residents.

Seriously, it’s long past time this country put this kind of crap behind us. No one should face fear for riding a bike, especially not from police.

………

KCBS-2 offers a good report on Sunday’s Finish the Ride; for a change, someone in the media actually seems to get it.

Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers an update on the current status of hit-and-run, saying we’ve made progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

………

Major Facebook drama, as an apparent cyclist fires back after Burbank racer Troy Templin posted a photo of a BMW that he says nearly ran him over because, as he claims the driver said, “you were in my way.”

Someone identifying himself as Peter Richardson professed to tell his version of what really happened, claiming Templin “committed multiple acts of violence” simply because the woman honked to let him know she was there, and he had to be run off by a security guard when he wouldn’t let her exit the car. He even includes stills from a security camera to support his claims.

However, the view in the photos is so distant it could show anyone, and it’s impossible to tell from them what may or may not be happening.

And as a commenter to Richardson’s post points out, the photos on his Facebook page were lifted from other websites, raising questions as to whether he actually exists, or if the persona was created simply to go after Templin in retaliation for the photo.

It is curious that his timeline only goes back to April 15th, two weeks after the original photo was posted online.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

………

Local

The Times belatedly catches up with the news that the proposed California helmet law has been converted to a study of helmet use by the CHP and the state Office of Traffic Safety; BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein offers his take on it.

The Daily News lists bicycling as one of the top five eco-friendly ways to get around in LA, while Slate asks if LA can sell the myth of a green, sustainable city.

Alhambra police bust a thief who tried to escape with one of their own bikes on Sunday; the apparently remorseful man wrote of letter of apology from his jail cell.

 

State

A 24-year old San Jose woman is under arrest for slamming into a Miltipas bike rider who was standing on the sidewalk, then crashing into a mini-golf course before fleeing in another car.

An elderly Palo Alto woman was seriously injured in a collision with a cyclist; the rider was coming around a blind curve at speed when he ran into the woman as she crossed the street.

A San Francisco cyclist was seriously injured when he was deliberately rammed by an Uber driver following a violent road rage dispute in which he reportedly pounded on the driver’s car and pushed its mirror in. Seriously, I’m as hot tempered as anyone, but resorting to violence only makes things worse.

Marin County’s new bicycling museum will open this June; maybe they’ll include one of those rental bikes that Sausalito councilmember wants to get rid of.

 

National

A new study shows drivers are more likely to ignore crosswalks at speeds over 30 mph. I wonder what a similar study would have to say about bike lanes and sharrows.

An Anchorage cyclist says ride defensively, because your life may depend on it; good advice anywhere.

If cops in my hometown are reluctant to ticket cyclists because they feel bad about writing tickets that can reach $170 including fees, imagine how the riders feel about getting them.

Minnesota researchers determine that bike lane density — the measure of bike lanes within a given area — matters more than connectivity when it comes to encouraging ridership.

A Knoxville TN bicyclist suffers multiple non-life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by an SUV, but the only thing a local TV station seems to care about is his lack of a helmet.

Mashable looks at a decade of ghost bikes, while New Yorkers conduct the 10th Annual Ghost Bike Memorial Ride, visiting some of the 150 memorials to people who have lost their lives riding in the city.

Just like countless bicyclists everywhere, Shreveport bike riders says motorists need to be more aware of cyclists and the laws governing bikes. Especially the requirement to ride in the street where sidewalk riding is illegal — and the right to do so everywhere else.

 

International

Vancouver’s Van City Buzz gets it right, saying the media’s focus on shiny new safety gadgets is no substitute for proven safety measures like traffic calming and an effective bicycle infrastructure network.

Guardian readers relate their heart-stopping near-misses on the road; unfortunately, that’s something we can all relate to. Meanwhile, hundreds of people turn out for a vigil demanding a stop to killing cyclists; even so, Britain’s Labour Party may be backpedalling in its support for bicycling.

A soccer player is killed when a train smashes into on of those pedal-powered multi-passenger beer bikes in The Netherlands.

Turkey’s president rides through Istanbul to kick off the country’s 51st Presidential Tour of Turkey; he promised to make the city more bike friendly, while saying they “couldn’t manage to make people love the bicycle.”

A road raging Aussie driver hits a woman participating in a charity ride, then drives off with the mangled bike still trapped under her car.

Taking ciclovía to the next level, as one neighborhood in a Korean city bans cars from the streets for a full month.

 

Finally…

Now you can wear matching outfits when you ride with your dog. A word of advice: don’t try to use a mountain bike as a getaway vehicle if you can’t manage to ride it.

And a Portland BMX rider could be facing an expensive bill after riding over a parked $350,000 Lamborghini; the owner says he’s getting estimates to repair damage to the windshield.

Unless it’s all a publicity stunt, of course.

 

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