Archive for Hit-and-Run

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

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

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

If not, it should be.

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

American bicycling may have been born in Newton Mass.

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

Velonews wraps up Sunday’s unpredictable Paris-Roubaix.

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

 

Finally…

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

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

A happy and blessed Pesach to all who observe it!

Update — bike rider killed in Huntington Beach hit-and-run

Another Orange County bicyclist has been killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

KABC-7 reports that a 34-year old woman, whose has not been released, was struck by a white van around 8:25 last night near the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Utica Ave.

The driver fled the scene without stopping. Meanwhile, the victim was taken to UCI Medical Center, where she died.

The Orange County Register reports she was in a crosswalk on Utica when she was struck; a satellite photo shows four well-marked crosswalks at the intersection. They also report that the van was last seen fleeing north on Beach Blvd.

No further details are available at this time. Anyone with information is urged to call police Huntington Beach police accident investigators Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Robert Barr at 714-536-5666

Read more: http://ktla.com/2014/04/07/driver-sought-after-cyclist-killed-in-huntington-beach-hit-and-run/#ixzz2yFUMPpW8

This is the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County since the first of the year, three of which have been hit-and-runs.

She is also the second bike rider killed in a Huntington Beach hit-and-run in the last two months, and the fifth rider to die in a hit-and run in the city since 2010.

Looks like there’s a serious problem there.

Update: Still no ID on the victim; however, KTLA-5 reports that she was a resident of Huntington Beach.

The Register has removed the paywall from their article, which says the driver appears to have been headed north on Beach, while the victim was riding east on Utica. Police are now looking for a white sedan with probable front-end damage; earlier reports suggested the vehicle was a white van.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 34-year old Genevieve Ann Hall of Huntington Beach. Meanwhile, the suspect vehicle has been identified as a 2006 to 2013 Chevy Impala with damage to the front bumper. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update 3: Friends and family members struggle to deal with Hall’s death. And a fundraiser will be held at Mama’s On 39 in Huntington Beach on Wednesday night to help pay her funeral expenses.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Genevieve Ann Hall and her loved ones.

Morning Links: Not guilty pleas in OC meth hit-and-run, BFF KINDness, and fundraiser for OC’s Matt Liechty

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so let’s not waste any time.

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Not surprisingly, 18-year old Sommer Gonzalez pled not guilty to all counts in the death of cyclist Joe Robinson on Orange County’s Santiago Canyon almost exactly two months earlier.

As the chart below shows, she entered a plea of not guilty to four felony and two misdemeanor violations of the criminal code, and denied two felony violations of the state vehicle code.

I’m told she’s been remanded into custody pending trial. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 21st.

Sommer-Gonzalez-Charges-2

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling and an anonymous source for the tip.

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A relative of fallen cyclist Matt Liechty sends word that a fundraiser will be held in his honor this Saturday. The event will take place at Perry’s Pizza, 2108 W. Oceanfront Blvd in Newport Beach, with donations accepted from 11 am to midnight.

Liechty was the victim of yet another February Orange County hit-and-run, as the former OC Sheriff and Probation Department employee was run down in a Huntington Beach bike lane by an alleged drunk driver who fled the scene, leaving one of his wheels behind.

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SAMSUNGSnack bar maker KIND has come up with a clever promotion for this weekend’s Bicycle Film Festival.

Due to a delivery issue and a busy schedule, I’m a little behind in sharing this, but you still have one more day — today — to share a little kindness with a friend.

#kindawesome
Spread kindness in Los Angeles. Send a flower and KIND bars to a friend via bike messenger. www.KINDsnacks.com/kinddeliveries 
 
#bffworld 
Bring your friends to the Bicycle Film Festival coming to LA – April 4-5th! www.bicyclefilmfestival.com/city/los-angeles/
 
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BICYCLE FILM FESTIVAL:
Location: Aratani/Japan America Theatre (downtown)
Dates/Times: Friday, April 4th 7:30pm + 9:30pm; Saturday, April 5th 7pm + 9pm

The four unique screenings of narrative and cinematic films kick off with the premiere of HALF THE ROAD, BY Kathryn Bertine a highly anticipated feature about the highlights and challenges of women’s cycling, setting the tone for the following three programs of fun and poignant shorts illuminating the joys and perseverance riding inspires across cultures, ages and landscapes.

We also just added after parties for both nights, which will take place at Angel City Brewery just a few blocks away. (216 S. Alameda)

SAMSUNG

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A Santa Monica high school student has developed a handlebar mounted cell phone holder and speaker to give you access to all your aps, as well as music and hands-free calling. As of Wednesday, it was roughly $10,000 short of its Kickstarter goal with 10 days to go.

Personally, one of the many reasons I ride a bike is to get away from all the electronic demands on my attention, and experience the real world for awhile. And as far as I’m concerned, there are enough distracted motorists on the roads without adding distracted cyclists to the mix.

But you can learn more here.

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Local

KPCC says it’s never too late to learn how to ride a bike, thanks to CICLE’s adult Learn to Ride classes.

A guest writer for the Times Opinion page thanks LA drivers for safely sharing the road; your experience may vary.

Flying Pigeon asks for a little network elegance when it comes to LA bikeways, but despairs of the power council members have to stop it.

LAist reminds us that CicLAvia isn’t the only bike event this weekend, and that there’s more to life than bicycling. Meanwhile, LA Magazine offers advice on what to eat and see on Wilshire this Sunday.

 

State

Oceanside is about to open the next segment of a planned 44-mile bike trail from Oceanside to San Diego.

Less-than-bike-friendly CSU Sacramento considers on-campus bike lanes and enforcement of bike-free zones to improve campus safety.

A San Jose writer asks if racing culture has sucked all the fun out of riding a bike. That’s the great thing about bike riding, though; you can race or ride for recreation, exercise or transportation. Or all of the above, whatever works for you. And whether or not you pay any attention to other kinds of riders is entirely up to you.

An 18-year old Pleasanton man faces 2nd degree murder and felony reckless driving charges after losing control of his speeding car last June, and slamming into a couple bicycling in the opposite direction, killing the wife. He had previously invited his Twitter followers to join him on a “death ride;” meanwhile, his father faces a possible third strike for weapons and controlled substances that were found when conducted a search related to his son’s case.

 

National

In a truly bizarre case, a Missouri woman has pled guilty to hit-and-run in the death of a bike rider last year. She was reportedly fleeing from her ex-boyfriend at the time, who was chasing her in a stolen car while flashing a gun; he faces a second-degree murder charge for causing the death.

 

International

An English magistrate questions whether a law banning cyclists from riding drunk was intended to apply to bike riders; Parliament may have to make the final determination.

A UK man plans to ride the courses of the five European Spring Classics on a homemade Penny Farthing.

And in the last of today’s string of killer teenage drivers, an 18-year old British woman is accused of going crazy following a dispute at a party, then tracking down and killing her victim with her car as he rode his bike.

Evidently, the same three foot law that’s in use throughout the US becomes hopelessly impractical when converted to Australia’s metric system.

 

Finally…

It’s okay to carry a shovel on your bike, but don’t use it to threaten police and laundromat customers.

And if you’re riding drunk in Pennsylvania, put a damn light on your bike and don’t yell at passing patrol cars; bike lawyer Bob Mionske notes that his 15 day sentence is more than most drivers face for killing someone.

 

Your fool-free Morning Links, including a well-done bike film, and a book deservedly thrown by OC prosecutors

 

Yes, this post is dated April 1st, despite my best efforts to get it online earlier.

But no, you won’t find any April fools here.

Except possibly a writer/rider who keeps hoping the motoring public will somehow get it, and transform our roadways into the safe and welcoming streets they can and should be. That cyclists will assert their right to ride the streets in a safe and courteous manner.

And that both will form, if not a genuine friendship, as least a grudging détente that will allow us all to arrive at our various destinations in peace. And in one piece.

It could happen.

Right?

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Orange County prosecutors are prepared to throw the book at a young driver facing 15 years and nine months in state prison. As well as one year and six months in county jail.

And frankly, she couldn’t deserve it more.

Allegedly, of course.

That’s what 18-year old Tustin resident Sommer Gonzalez could potentially serve once she’s arraigned on Tuesday in the hit-and-run death of 21-year old cyclist Joe Robinson this past February.

Robinson, who worked at Jax Bicycle Center in Irvine, was riding in the bike lane on southbound Santiago Canyon in Orange when he was plowed down from behind by Gonzalez’ car. Gonzalez fled the scene, but was arrested an hour later based on the description of her car given by an off-duty fire battalion chief, who also found Robinson’s body.

According to Rancho Santa Margarita Patch, she will face a long list of charges.

  • One felony count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury
  • Hit and run with death
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • One misdemeanor count of use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • One misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury
  • Sentencing enhancement for fleeing the scene of a crime

The real tragedy here is that two lives were destroyed that morning. A well-loved young man needlessly lost his life.

And a young woman willfully threw hers away.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling and John McBrearty for the heads-up.

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Great short film with a wicked twist if you have a little less than 10 minutes to kill. Thanks to John Murphy aka murphstahoe for the link.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton asks why Metro is looking at raising fares while giving away free parking. Damn good question if you ask me.

HuffPo talks with CicLAvia co-founder Aaron Paley.

The LA Weekly casts a questioning eye on the state’s proposed vulnerable user law; don’t bother reading the comments unless you’ve got a strong stomach.

Three perspectives on turning the Riverside bridge into an elevated park.

A walker is injured after looking over her shoulder but still turning into the path of a cyclist, leading a community leader says more must be done to prevent future collisions on the Elysian Valley section of the LA River bike path.

A cop in Watts pulls over a cyclist for a traffic violation, and ends up shooting a pit bull after its owner — not the bike rider — sics him on the officer. Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the heads-up.

 

State

Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Biking and Walking will speak about Building a Bike Friendly City in Santa Ana next Monday. Thanks to Frank Peters for the tip.

Brewcyclers will be riding to a new brewery in Anaheim at the end of this month.

Turns out San Diego’s new police chief is one of us.

 

National

A pair of BMX-borne bastards knock an  85-year old Las Vegas woman down and steal her belongings; there’s a special place in hell for people like that.

A Missouri woman faces up to seven years after pleading guilty to the high-speed hit-and-run death of a cyclist.

A New York artist offers an illustrated guide to the city’s stereotypical bicyclists.

Bike traffic just keeps growing on DC’s protected bike lanes.

 

International

A Brit band plans a full album of bike-inspired songs.

Once again, a British bike rider is seriously injured after someone strings a rope across the pathway he was riding on.

London buses will get new bike and pedestrian sensors to help avoid collisions.

A promo for a UK bicycling festival is pulled after people call it sexist. And yes, it is. Or was.

Ten things that put British residents off riding; I suspect those same reasons would hold true just about anywhere.

An Irish teenager says he was so drunk and stoned he had no idea what he was doing when he assaulted a cyclist, beat her viciously and stole her groceries. Maybe someone can save room for him in Hades next to those BMX bandits.

 

Finally…

An Aussie reporter offers five tips to avoid helmet hair — including just not riding.

And a photo from JoJointhe310 shows that there are exceptions to every rule.

Bike Parking Sign

 

Breaking news: Wendy Villegas accepts plea in September hit-and-run death of cyclist Andy Garcia

Ghost bike being installed for Andy Garcia; photo from Ghost Bike Luis "Andy" Garcia Facebook page

Ghost bike being installed for Andy Garcia; photo from Ghost Bike Luis “Andy” Garcia Facebook page

News is just coming in that Wendy Villegas has been convicted in the hit-and-run death of cyclist Luis “Andy” Garcia.

According to Danny Gamboa, Villegas changed her plea to no contest for the September 14th collision that took the life of Garcia, and left two other riders seriously injured.

Gamboa reports she accepted a plea bargain of three years and eight months in prison for felony hit-and-run and DUI. That represents a gift from the DA’s office, as she had been facing a minimum of five to seven years for vehicular manslaughter, DUI and felony hit-and-run, with a maximum of 10 to 15 years.

In other words, she was sentenced to just 20% of what she could have faced.

Garcia was riding with Ule Melgar, Mario Lopez and two other riders on the LA River Bridge on Cesar Chavez Avenue near Mission Road at 2:45 am on Saturday, September 14th, when they were hit from behind with no warning by Villegas’ car.

She proceeded to drive home, dragging Garcia’s bike several hundred feet beneath her car according to LA Streetsblog. She was reportedly still drunk when she was taken into custody several hours later.

Meanwhile, her victims remained where they’d fallen. Lopez had been tossed into the air, breaking his back and leg; Melgar was nearly knocked over the guardrail and into the LA River below.

Garcia was left lying in the roadway, where he was run over by a second vehicle. Whether he could have survived the initial impact had Villegas stopped as the law requires will never be known.

Many reports suggested that the 21-year old Villegas never seemed to grasp the seriousness of her actions, as exemplified by this courtroom incident reported by Sahra Sulaiman in the Streetsblog story above.

So, when she and her lawyer complained that wearing an ankle bracelet that would monitor both alcohol intake and movement would be inconvenient to a young, working student as well as a challenge for her to pair it properly with the variety of shoes she wears, Lopez couldn’t take it any more.

“I thought to myself at that moment, ‘Well, what about Andy?’” he wrote. “‘[Andy] was a full time student in college. He had responsibilities. But yet, he can’t and will never be able to fulfill them…And she is worried about her fashion sense! What about the inconvenience she brought upon his family and friends?’”

He finally yelled out, “But she killed someone!”

Maybe a few years in state prison will succeed in driving that home.

Update: KTLA-5 reports that Villegas is scheduled for sentencing on April 22nd. Not surprisingly, the story notes that many of the cyclists in the courtroom were unhappy with the minimal sentence, and the Garcia’s mother was repulsed by Villegas lack of remorse. 

Another LA bike rider run down and left to die in the street; fifth SoCal cycling death in last five days

Make that five.

On the day the LA Times columnist Steve Lopez examined the LA-area ghost bike movement, a heartless coward created the need for yet another in Downtown LA — the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California in just the last five days.

According to KABC-7 and a number of other sources, the victim was struck by an unknown vehicle on Alameda Street at the offramp to the westbound 10 Freeway around 2 am this morning. Police responding to a call found him dead in the number two lane of the offramp with no vehicle in site.

The victim is described only as a man in his early 30s; no description of the vehicle or the driver who killed him is currently available.

Anyone with information was urged to contact the CHP at 213/744-2331.

The location of the victim’s body on the offramp seems odd, since a car exiting the freeway would be more likely to knock his body off the ramp, rather than onto it. That suggests the rider was either hit by a car driving on Alameda, rather than exiting the freeway, or was somehow riding on the offramp itself.

The location itself also seems problematic, since the westbound off-ramp from the 10 empties onto 14th Street well before it connects with Alameda.

The Times places the location near Alameda, rather than on it, and identifies the victim as in his 40s.

In my personal opinion, there is no lower form of scum than someone who would run away like a coward after a traffic collision instead of stopping — as the law requires — and call for the help that might have saved the victim’s life if it had come in time.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in LA County already this year. It’s also the 2nd in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year, and the year’s first fatal hit-and-run involving a bike rider, compared to 10 in 2013.

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

Another bike victim In San Bernardino; cyclist seriously injured in Chula Vista; and charges in October OC hit-and-run

Let’s hope bad news just comes in twos this time.

Less than 24 hours after news broke that a bike rider had lost his life at the hands of a drunk driver in Huntington Beach Wednesday night, news is coming in that another rider died earlier that evening, this time in San Bernardino.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the 43-year old cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding west on the 1200 block of West Kendall Drive around 6:40 pm when she swerved across the roadway. While riding against traffic in the number 1 (left) lane of the roadway, she was apparently hit head-on by an eastbound Mustang driven by a 20-year old woman.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on why she suddenly started riding against traffic. But let this serve as a reminder to never ride salmon — let alone in the middle of the roadway — and always be aware of other traffic on the roadway before making any sudden moves.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and all her loved ones.

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More bad news comes from San Diego County, where a bike rider suffered life threatening injuries in a collision with a truck in Chula Vista.

According to San Diego’s 10News, the victim was apparently crossing the offramp to the southbound I-805 at Bonita Road when he was hit by a truck exiting the freeway around 10 pm Wednesday.

Google’s satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane leading up to the offramp.

Police say the driver stayed at the scene and did not appear to be under the influence.

The station reports initial evidence suggests the rider was at fault. However, traffic exiting the freeway is required to yield to through traffic; unless the victim was riding against traffic or failed to observe a traffic signal, it’s hard to imagine how he could have been at fault.

If police are saying he did go through a red light, the question is whether there are any independent witnesses other than the truck driver to attest to that, and if the signalization provided enough time to get across the intersection.

Either way, it sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order once again.

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Jeffrey Fylling forwards word that Orange County prosecutors have filed charges against the truck driver who killed 19-year old cyclist Manuel Morales Rodriguez last October.

Forty-eight year old Filemon Reynaga was to be arraigned on Friday on one count of felony hit-and-run causing death and a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

Reynaga is accused of hitting Rodriguez as he pulled his semi truck out of an Anaheim driveway, then dragging the victim and his bike under his truck for up to 150 feet before fleeing the scene without stopping. Rodriguez was then hit by a second vehicle, which remained at the scene, and died as a result of inures suffered in the two collisions.

If convicted, Reynaga faces up to five years in state prison. He’s currently free on a ridiculously low $50,000 bail.

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Finally, while we’re on the subject, I received this email from a rider troubled by all the recent bicycling deaths in Orange County, following the death of Matthew Liechty on Edwards Street in Huntington Beach on Wednesday. (Note: I added the links.)

But take fair warning. It’s a difficult read. And the last line hits like a punch in the gut.

Edwards became an alternate commute route for me after Roger Lippmann’s slaughter… until I realized that swinging over to PCH took me right past Becki Lee James’ house, which creeps me out. And now I’m disinclined take Goldenwest (whose “vicious hills” had become “gentle rollers” pretty quick after I abandoned the flat PCH commute) because I’ll picture the crunched-up Camry in the Ralph’s parking lot.

Have I ever passed this Matt Liechty on my commute? Was he the guy with the really, really bright headlamp? Were the distant sirens I heard last night responding to this incident?

What. the. holy. serious. fuck. Can’t I have a single fucking street on my commute where somebody hasn’t been slaughtered? Is that too much to ask?

And that piece you linked to recently about ghosts… I see those ghosts everywhere, sometimes in visual incarnations. New flowers on Lippmann’s memorial, a year and a half later? I hit the brakes and looked out at the sunshine sparkling on the water and wanted to apologize to him at the top of my lungs because he got a death sentence and his killer only got six years. Every time I pass 9th Street in Sunset Beach, every time, I still see the sea breeze blowing the ashes left behind by the flares set down for the investigation of Kenneth Prevatte’s death: gray ashes, grey asphalt, gray clouds. At 43rd & Wadsworth, where nobody from Perry’s office which announced it could be bothered to show up for a joke of a so-called press conference, I nearly caused a pile-up on RWNN last summer when I recognized the intersection as we entered it and idiotically froze, because I was seeing the ghost that no one else on that ride saw.

I see these ghosts because if I forget then I’ve left a rider behind and I can’t leave a rider behind.

Update: Another drunken OC driver, another fatal hit-and-run; arraignment Friday in death of Pasadena cyclist

It’s happened again.

An Orange County man gets behind the wheel after drinking, and flees the scene after running down a bicyclist riding in a Huntington Beach bike lane.

According to KTLA-5, the victim was riding south in the bike lane near Edwards Street and Ellis Avenue just before 11 pm last night when he was hit from behind by a 2012 Toyota Camry.

The rider, identified only as a 37-year old Huntington Beach resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver fled the scene — leaving behind one of his front tires — and was found by police about a mile away, with damage consistent with a collision. And presumably, only three tires.

Police arrested 29-year-old Antonio Magdaleno Jr. of Oxnard suspicion of driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run leading to death.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Accident Investigator Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Accident Investigator Robert Barr at 714-536-5666.

This is the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County; in both cases, the victim was hit from behind by an alleged drunk driver while riding in a bike lane.

It’s also the 6th cycling death in Huntington Beach since 2011 — half of which were hit-and-runs, and involved drivers under the influence.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew Liechty and his family.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

Update: The Orange County Register has identified the victim as 37-year old Matthew Liechty of Huntington Beach. And yes, the photo with the story clearly shows the driver fled the scene on only three wheels.

Meanwhile, a source tells me HBPD Investigator Huynh averages over 100 DUI arrests each year, and had 445 in 2008.

Evidently, there are a lot of drunks on the road in Huntington Beach. We all owe a round of thanks to Investigator Huynh for taking some of the off.

Thanks to the OC Register for making this story public.

Update 2: The Witch on a Bicycle points out that the speed limit on that Edwards Street is 45 mph; given that most California drivers exceed the post limit by at least 10 mph, any collision with a cyclist or pedestrian is almost guaranteed to be lethal.

The Register has updated their story to report that Liechty was a former employee of the Orange County Probation Department, and briefly worked in a non-sworn position with the OC Sheriff’s Department before leaving last year.

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On an all too similar note, I’ve received word that the driver who killed Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill last June is — finally — being arraigned tomorrow.

O’Neill was riding with a companion near Caltech when he was hit from behind as he rode in the lane on Del Mar Blvd; he was struck with enough force to throw him across the road and into a parked car before striking the curb.

The woman he was riding with still struggles with the devastating effects of watching her friend fly through the air to his death. I’m respecting her privacy by withholding her name; however, here is her email urging bike riders to attend the arraignment.

Dear Friends and Family,

As some of you may know, the arraignment for the Pasadena motorist who struck and killed Phillip O’Neill on Del Mar Blvd. on June 15, 2013 is this coming Friday.

Phillip’s family and I would very much appreciate a show of support at the arraignment. We all feel that it’s important to send a message to the city that taking the life of a vulnerable road user is a very serious offense and should be treated as such. I have included details of the arraignment below.

Date: February 21, 2014

Time: Arrival 8:30am. Note that this case is one of six which will be heard this morning. We do not know the order in which the cases will be heard, however the prosecutor believes the case will be heard before noon.

Place: Pasadena Superior Court, 300 E. Walnut, Pasadena 91101

In the event that the case goes to trial there may be additional opportunities to show your support. I will share those if it does. To find out more about how Pasadena CBO’s and residents have come together in response to Phillip’s death, and others like it, go to the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition website at http://www.pas-csc.org/.

In a follow-up email, she describes the man whose life was ended by a careless driver that day.

Phillip was an amazing person – young but incredibly accomplished, with a master’s degree in renewable energies, he was a master gardener at one of the best botanical gardens in the nation, amateur chef; these are just a few in an impressive list.

I know it’s a lot to ask to sacrifice your morning, especially on such short notice. But if you’re in the Pasadena area on Friday, they could really use your support.

And it couldn’t hurt to send a message to the court that we’re watching this case.

Meanwhile, it serves as a reminder that Pasadena still has a long way to go to make the roads safe for everyone.

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

It’s getting scary out there — dogs attack Pasadena bike rider; driver flees police with bike dangling from car

A Pasadena cyclist walking his bike barely avoided serious injury when he was attacked by three apparently road raging dogs.

He was smart enough to place his bike between himself and the raging pit bulls, then jumped onto the hood of a car for protection. Police shot all three dogs, killing one; the rider suffered minor bite punctures.

If they shot humans for attacking cyclists, there might not be many drivers left.

……….

Horrifying video footage shows a car fleeing police in Laguna Beach with a bicycle dangling from its side, leading to speculation that it was a hit-and-run.

Fortunately, no victim has yet appeared. Other reports suggest the bike may have started out on a rack on the car before it was knocked off in the pursuit.

Thanks to Steve Messer and sonofabike for the heads-up.

……….

KTLA-5 offers a look at Ghost Bikes. Maybe if more people understand what they are, we might not need so many of them.

Thanks to Lois Horwitz for the link.

……….

Charges in the case of Donald Johnson, the Calimesa driver arrested for the hit-and-run death of Philip Richards earlier this month, have been upgraded to gross vehicular manslaughter and fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter; bond has been increased to $1 million.

In addition, his wife, Kerri Johnson, has been arrested on a charge of accessory after the fact for aiding in the coverup.

……….

Bikes lanes are now a near certainty on the Glendale-Hyperion bridge, after serious blowback from pissed off advocates; now the fight is to get sidewalks on both sides. Bicycle Fixation’s Rick Risemberg gets it; whatever you wear to ride — or play social games — is okay. On the other hand, the LAPD clearly doesn’t. The next Metro Bicycle Roundtable is scheduled for Tuesday, February 11th. Former DA and current mayoral dad Gil Garcetti talks Paris: Women & Bicycles. Yes, you really can live car-free in Los Angeles. Pedicabs could be coming to Hollywood and San Pedro; a previous trial in Westwood failed, just like every other business seems to do there sooner or later. UCLA Bicycle Academy rightfully demands better safety and access; but is anyone listening? The LACBC’s Operation Firefly distributes bike lights in Long Beach. Hawthorne approves $11 million renovation of Hawthorne Blvd, including bike lanes; thanks to Margaret for the tip.

Independent review says Caltrans is out of date, operating out of a culture of fear and acting too much like the highway department it is and not the mobility department it should be; I could have told them that. Newport Beach’s proposed bike plan can now be viewed online. San Diego’s planned bike share program has been delayed until Spring; it should still beat LA’s by a few years, at least. San Francisco woman does everything wrong, but still gets her stolen bike back — $260 later. San Francisco’s cycle tracks are paving the way for safer cycling throughout the state. Caltrans approves $2.7 million for a Monterey bike lane. Mountain View man is busted with a truck full of hot bikes. A Redding man is seriously injured in a possible BUI solo crash.

New bi-partisan bill in Congress would bring equity to bike and pedestrian funding, as well as boosting funding for bike and pedestrian projects in low income communities. It takes a real schmuck to steal a bike from someone suffering from Parkinson’s. The law is stacked against bike riders in Alaska; there are reasons Alaskans ride year round, though. Wounded warriors mountain bike to recovery in Las Vegas. Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, as a German reporter attempts to cover CES by bike. The hit-and-run victim killed near my hometown turns out to be a gifted elected motor scientist who could breath fire; no, really. The good get better, as Denver bridges gaps for cyclists and pedestrians. Fort Bliss Afghan vet rides his way back from battlefield injuries. Infamous bike lane hater and tweeter Anthony Weiner now rides them; bike lanes, not tweets. NYPD targets drivers and jaywalkers in a traffic safety crackdown; evidently, cyclists are still fair game. Freezing temperatures don’t stop DC cyclists. Baltimore police ignore evidence and the law to illegally blame a bicyclists. A Chattanooga cyclist takes the local paper to task in the wake of a teenage assault on a bike rider.

The Vancouver bike rider assaulted by a road raging driver tells his side of the story. The death of a British cyclist has turned into a murder investigation. London finally bans large trucks without pedestrian and cyclist safety features; vehicles that kill by design should never be allowed on the road, anywhere. Forty-two-year old Chris Horner, the oldest Grand Tour winner, gets a ride for 2014. Spanish cyclist riding through Pakistan denies reports six policemen were killed protecting him. Family of Japanese woman killed in collision with cyclist awarded equivalent of nearly half-a-million dollars. Sydney’s bi-directional bikeways take the wrong path.

Finally, outgoing County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky profiles LACBC board member, bike advocate and alternative transportation fan Greg Laemmle; they couldn’t feature a nicer or more deserving guy.

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