Archive for Law Enforcement

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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

(Late) Morning Links: LASD changes deputy distracted driving policy, CicLAvia is coming, and we’re #9

Why does someone usually have to die before common sense comes into play?

Even — or perhaps especially — when it comes to law enforcement agencies.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department has belatedly come to the obvious conclusion that their officers are no better at distracted driving than the rest of us, over a year after a cyclist was killed by a sheriff’s deputy using his onboard computer.

The Daily News reports that the department has issued a new policy that curbs, but does not eliminate, the use of department-issued computers while driving.

Officers are now expected to use their radios as the primary means of communication, with computers to be used only in emergency situations while operating a vehicle, or when a response can be given with a single touch of a button.

Of course, looking down at the screen for even the few seconds required to push a button still takes the driver’s eyes off the road long enough to kill someone.

Unfortunately, it comes too late to save the life of Milt Olin, who was rear-ended by a sheriff’s deputy who drifted into the bike lane while the entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive was riding on Mulholland Highway 16 months ago.

Let alone hold the driver accountable for his death.

And the new policy apparently does nothing to prohibit the use of handheld cell phones by officers, which is somehow allowed by an absurd loophole in state law that seems to assume police officers have superhuman multitasking powers that the rest of us mere mortals lack.

And yes, the sheriff’s deputy who took Olin’s life had also been texting with his wife in the moments leading up to the collision. But not, investigators concluded, at the precise time he struck Olin.

A standard which would seem to let most texting drivers off the hook.

The story notes the department is investigating further restricting the use of onboard computers by their deputies, including locking the devices when the car is moving or providing a heads-up display like the one used by CHP officers.

I’m still not sure if cops have the multitasking skills and lightening reflexes required to navigate busy traffic while reading messages that pop up on their windshield.

But anything would be an improvement.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg and BikinginLA sponsor Michel Rubinstein, who offers his own take on the policy change, for the heads-up.

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Ready for CicLAvia yet?

LADOT is planning a one-day pop-up cycletrack on Chandler Blvd to give you a chance to offer your opinion on what riding in LA could — and should — be.

And CiclaValley finds support for the event even from car-related businesses along the route.

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California is now ranked as the nation’s 9th most bike-friendly state, up from 19th. Which raises the question of whether this state has gotten that much better, or if other states just suck more.

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More fallout from last week’s LA elections.

The Times says LA cyclists get at least some of the credit for CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar’s landslide victory in last week’s primary election.

Meanwhile, the CD4 race is likely to be between a city hall insider and an outsider to be determined; no word on the role biking the vote is likely to play in determining the outcome.

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Local

The LA Times is the latest paper to check in on SB 192, the state’s proposed mandatory helmet law; the story by Laura J. Nelson is one of the few to offer a considered look at the subject.

The LACBC is offering a Women’s Basic Bicycling Skills Workshop on Saturday.

A high school student questions whether bike riders are being considered in the rush to autonomous vehicles.

Celebrity chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsay rides through the ‘Bu.

An El Monte bike rider suffered a head injury when he was hit by a minivan Sunday night. Police say the victim ran the red light; as always, the question is whether anyone other than the driver who hit him actually saw it. And the one time when it might be relevant, the story fails to mention if he was wearing a helmet.

Long Beach plans to improve safety for bike riders and pedestrians by replacing a dangerous intersection with a park.

Bike couriers finally come to the area’s most bike-friendly city, and Longbeachize looks at the last LACBC Operation Firefly bike light giveaway of the year.

 

State

No news is good news? Only one California report from outside the LA area popped up in yesterday’s news feeds.

A Sausalito councilmember wants to limit the number bikes, especially rental bikes, that swarm the small city every summer. But evidently all those cars that jam the roadways are just fine with him.

 

National

Bike Route 66 is now fully mapped out and ready to ride.

An 81-year old Phoenix man is fighting for his life after being run down by a hit-and-run bicyclist; apparently hit-and-run isn’t a crime in Arizona if you don’t have a motor. Either way, if you hit another human being, just stop already.

A Billings, Montana couple win the Adventure Cycling Association’s Trail Angel Award for their kindness to riders passing through the city.

A Wisconsin driver gets a year in jail for killing a cyclist in his sleep. Yes, you read that right.

A proposed 76-mile Naples to Miami bike trail faces opposition, but no one seems to object to the already existing highway next to it.

 

International

A Chilean designer offers a line of book racks that double as a place to park your bike inside your home.

The mayor of Saskatoon chokes on the $225,000 price tag for a protected bike lane, apparently having no idea what the same amount of automotive infrastructure would cost. Or that you don’t build bikeways for the people who ride now, but for those who will use it once it’s finished.

London’s congestion charge not only reduced the number of vehicles in the city, it also cut crashes by 40% and made the city safer for cyclists; meanwhile, bicycling could be the secret weapon for London’s suburbs.

Cambridge, England residents complain that the city’s antisocial cyclists don’t read signs.

A Welsh cyclist is about to complete a round-the-world tour to raise money for cancer research; he did half the ride solo after his companion was injured — in LA, naturally.

Brussels cyclists film themselves crashing into the city’s street furniture to demonstrate the need for better bikeways. And no, that doesn’t mean sofas in the roadway.

An Australian paper says if the country is going to achieve its Vision Zero goals, emphasis has to shift from blaming dangerous drivers to designing roads that reduce risk as much as possible.

Aussie bike groups call for government-backed safety awareness campaigns following the dooring death of a cyclist.

 

Finally…

There once was a bike share in Limerick. A South African tourist explores the City of Angels, yet somehow places the Pacific Ocean on the east of the city, which probably won’t happen until climate change worsens or the Big One hits, whichever comes first.

And a series of Canadian traffic safety ads place the blame for distracted driving right where it belongs.

Crotches-Kill-Man

Morning Links: Bike helmets alone don’t prevent injuries, scofflaw cops in bike lanes, and upcoming bike events

Someone please forward this to state Senator Carol Liu, author of SB 192 that would mandate helmet use by all bicycle riders.

A new medical study concludes that bike helmets alone can’t prevent serious bicycling injuries, and the solution may lie in separating cyclists from motor vehicles.

Because just trying to tame traffic and get motorists to drive safely would never work.

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Great piece on risk communcation from Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, who says yes, bicycling may be dangerous, but no more than driving. And so is walking, bathing and shopping.

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CiclaValley discovers scofflaw cops parking in downtown bike lanes, forcing riders to protect and swerve.

He said it, not me.

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Lots of great bike events coming up.

The South Bay Bicycle Coalition is hosting their first fundraising event this Saturday, with the South Bay Bike Night and Bike City Awards, honoring Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Lawndale for their efforts to become safer and friendlier for bike riders. The proceeds will be used will be used to pay for the SBBC’s bike helmets for kids program,  bike education classes for elementary school students and adults, and advocacy for safe biking practices, infrastructure and enforcement.

More on this weekend’s bike and hike-a-thon to raise funds to provide orphans throughout Africa with bikes; the charity was founded by a La Canada high school student.

Don’t forget this Sunday’s Pastrami Ride, which sounds like the tastiest LACBC Sunday Funday ride yet.

Mark your calendar for March 14th, when the LACBC will host a two-hour women-only bike safety workshop.

San Diego’s St. Paddy’s Palomar Punishment, billed as the city’s most fun cycling event, rolls on March 7th to benefit the San Diego Humane Society, with rides from 10 to 97 miles.

Looking further ahead, Good Samaritan Hospital’s annual non-sectarian Blessing of the Bicycles will be held on Tuesday, May 12th as part of Bike Week/Month. Because a little divine intervention couldn’t hurt.

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Local

Streetsblog reports the highlights from Monday’s Live Ride Share Conference to discuss shared mobility, including bike share.

Richard Risemberg says nobody bikes in LA. Except for all the people who do.

LA Magazine is waiting impatiently for the MyFigueroa project, noting the much-needed changes can’t come soon enough.

Good news for PCH riders, as the highway is expected to reopen this week after a nine-mile section was closed down to repair storm damage.

KCBS-2 reports on last Sunday’s Milt Olin ride.

Long Beach officials hosted the LACBC’s Operation Firefly bike light giveaway Tuesday night.

 

State

For once, bike lanes win out over parking, as the Vista city council votes to remove parking spaces on Civic Center Drive to make room for bikes. Motorists are undoubtedly getting out the torches and pitchforks as we speak.

Carlsbad police are looking for witnesses to a Valentines Day hit-and-run that left a bike rider injured.

Bad news from Oakland, as a 60-year old bike rider is killed in a collision with a pickup truck.

Oakland bike riders get secure bike parking at the new Bike Station; parking your bike will be free during the day and just $5 overnight.

San Francisco considers closing down streets in popular entertainment districts on weekends, something that should be seriously explored here.

 

National

The Friendship Circle’s Great Bike Giveaway will provide bicycles for hundreds of special needs kids.

Denver considers a two-way protected bike lane on one of the city’s busiest streets.

Evidently ignorance is bliss, as Wyoming legislators vote not to collect data on bicycle safety or explore building a statewide bikeway.

Iowa considers changing the law to require a rear-facing light on bikes after dark, rather than allowing reflectors; that’s also under consideration here in California.

An Indiana cycling instructor calls for ticketing irresponsible bike riders, while acknowledging that cyclists are much less likely to cause harm than motorists.

A Cincinnati letter writer says let’s develop a network of bike paths for recreational riders, but keep those crazy transportation cyclists off the damn roads, already.

A Baltimore bicyclist clearly explains the vigilance cyclists have to maintain, and what it’s like to share the road with motorists.

 

International

Bike Radar offers up five reasons mountain bikers should try skinny tired bikes.

London authorities list the city’s most dangerous intersections for cyclists, as the city sets aside the equivalent of $140 million to re-envision bicycling in the suburbs.

Judging by these letter writers, bicycling in Ireland isn’t any better than it is here.

Good problem to have, as Amsterdam plans an underwater bike parking garage because they’re running out of spaces for bikes.

Unbelievable. A New Zealand cyclist may have died because a truck company placed advertising on the passenger side window of their vehicles.

Thai cyclists demand changes in the country’s laws to protect people on bikes.

 

Finally…

Okay, so it’s got three wheels, but you could hit 100 mph with this pedal powered electric-assist car. Speaking of assists, if your bike doesn’t fly, just add a few fans.

And this is so not the way to promote a bike race to women. Or anyone, for that matter.

 

Weekend Links: Burbank Sunday Funday ride; Spokane police bend over backward to blame bike riding victim

Somehow, I left the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Sunday Funday ride off Friday’s list of coming bike events.

If you hurry, you may still be able to make it to the North Hollywood Red Line station in time for today’s ride exploring the hidden bowls of Burbank.

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This is why police need better training in investigating bike collisions.

Spokane police bend over backwards to blame the victim when a 15-year old bike rider was killed in an apparent crash with a speeding patrol car.

Citing physical evidence, investigators concluded that the car never actually made contact with the victim. Instead, they say he went over the handlebars while — get this — attempting a wheelie a split second before the patrol car passed inches away.

Never mind that it’s far more likely that the victim fell while trying to avoid a collision with a police car racing to respond to an emergency.

Or that he was unlikely to go over the handlebars unless he was doing a wheelie on the wrong damn wheel.

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Local

The east part of Venice Blvd is finally getting some, but not all, of the bike lanes promised in the 2010 bike lane.

Flying Pigeon interviews participants in the LACBC’s recent Operation Firefly bike light giveaway on North Figueroa.

Ciclavalley attends the first community meeting for the March CicLAvia.

The Times offers a nice remembrance of 106-year old Long Beach bike rider Octavio Orduño, who passed away earlier this month.

 

State

A Laguna Beach resident says it’s a great place to live, as long as you don’t want to walk or ride a bike.

The long delayed bike share is officially open in San Diego.

Now that’s something worth contributing to. San Diego’s Major Taylor Cycling Club is raising funds to get a blind tandem-riding cyclist back on his bike.

San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies allegedly shocked a Victorville bike rider with a Taser at least 25 times, then hog-tied face down in the back of a patrol car before he died in the 100 degree heat.

An alleged Santa Cruz hit-and-run driver turns himself in over a month after the collision that took the life of a bike rider — but only after police had identified him as a suspect. He reportedly tried to disguise his damaged truck to avoid detection.

Five cyclists are injured, one seriously, when a Mendocino County driver plows into them from behind with no warning; a photo of the aftermath shows the bikes strewn in a ditch. The 18-year old driver was later arrested on suspicion of DUI.

 

National

Eight ways last year was the year of bike fashion.

Sound familiar? Anchorage, Alaska has installed less than 1% of the bikeways promised in their 2010 bike plan.

Evidently, life is cheap in my hometown, as a 73-year old driver gets probation for fleeing the scene after right-hooking a cyclist.

Kidical Mass gains popularity in Gotham.

 

International

It’s nice that London cyclists get to see what it’s like to drive a truck. But it would be even better for the drivers to try riding a bike surrounded by big ass trucks with impatient drivers.

A Kiwi driver may learn the hard way not to post video of his own road-raging anti-bike tirade on Facebook.

Bikes come to Japanese actions figures.

 

Finally…

A bill in the Wyoming legislature would require cyclists to wear 200 square inches of reflective hi-viz; evidently, dark colored cars are still okay, though. A Manhattan bike map plots routes by degree of stress as measured by mindreading bike helmets.

And there is nothing quite so humiliating to Chinese workers as when their boss bikes to work.

 

Morning Links: LASD to bar deputy distracted driving before they kill again; successful South LA CicLAvia

About damn time.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department finally proposes cutting back on onboard computer use by their deputies, which would be illegal for anyone other than emergency workers. And for damn good reason.

Unfortunately, it comes too late for Milt Olin, killed by a deputy who was using his to text with another officer when he drifted into the bike lane Olin was riding in one year ago.

Not too surprisingly, the department’s union agues for the need for deputies to keep using their computers while they drive, rather than rely on the radios police officers have used with relative safety for decades.

Evidently, Olin’s death doesn’t mean any more to them than it did the DA’s office.

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South LA merchants wonder if CicLAvia would ruin business for the day; experience shows that businesses that reach out to participants thrive, while those who don’t, don’t.

An anonymous donor contributes $400,000 for future events.

Unfortunately, the Times gets it wrong; CicLAvia is not a bike festival, as they suggest, but an open streets event that welcomes anyone without a motor. On the other hand, KABC-7 gets it right, and has the video to prove it.

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Local

Glendale will hold a workshop on Thursday to discuss where to put a bridge connecting Griffith Park and the LA River bike path with the east side of the river.

A bike rider is critically injured in a fall while riding with a group of cyclists on a mountain road above Altadena; he was airlifted to Pasadena for treatment.

CICLE’s next adult bicycling class is scheduled for Sunday, January 18th; that might make the perfect holiday gift for the bike-curious person on your list.

 

State

Two San Francisco cops are convicted of stealing $30,000 from a drug dealer. But it’s okay, one of them planned to use his share to buy a bike.

A San Francisco writer says the new three-foot passing law hasn’t really changed anything.

 

National

Honolulu gets its first cycle track, while residents worry what effect it will have on pedestrians. Maybe they should read this report from People for Bikes.

A Seattle red light camera catches a car and a bike running the light, but only the driver gets a ticket.

The mother of a Boise girl killed while riding her bike in a crosswalk files suit against the local police department for blaming the victim, rather than the operator of the big dangerous machine.

Nice. A new Colorado bike path runs along a reconstructed highway, allowing cyclists to ride 18 miles car-free from Boulder to the Denver area.

A sleepy Iowa town gets rediscovered thanks to a shiny new bridge and bike trail.

A female ex-con New Hampshire bike rider is under arrest for stabbing two women in a road rage incident.

Vermont proposes a statewide bike plan; long past time Caltrans did more than consider it.

Bono wasn’t dressed as a Hassidic Jew when he had his New York bike accident after all; turns out band mate The Edge was just pulling our collective leg.

 

International

Lance says he and his teammates had to cheat if they wanted to compete with other doping teams. Problem is, given the pervasiveness of cheating during the doping era, he’s probably right. And we all believe it’s over, right?

Irish cyclists talk about the problems they face on the road. Sounds like nothing is really different over there than it is here.

The mayor of Paris proposes spending the equivalent of $122 million on bike lanes. And making the city center nearly car-free.

A round-the-world cyclist says Australia is the world’s worst place for bike riders. I’m sure we could nominate a few spots that might compete.

 

Finally…

A Florida man flees by bike after stuffing his pants with stolen meat; I really don’t want to go to his house for dinner. See what it looks like to ride a World Cup cyclocross from a first-person perspective.

And in case you’ve forgotten, this is what it feels like to ride a bike for the first time.

 

Morning Links: OC hit-and-run driver gets a slap on the wrist; Detroit’s Shinola opens a new store in Silverlake

Our Orange County source reports on the semi-successful conclusion of the case against the hit-and-run driver who critically injured a bike riding Santa Ana girl.

Arif Abdul Sattar accepted a plea deal yesterday. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with two days’ credit for time served, plus the usual fines & restitution. If he qualifies for home confinement, he can serve his time under house arrest instead. If not, he has the option of County or a city (a “pay-to-stay”) jail, though because of a change in his employment circumstances, he may not be able to afford city. His driver’s license was also suspended for a full year.

His lawyer had hoped to be able to get a no contest plea deal, because a nolo contendere cannot be used against him in the civil suit. The judge denied this request.

Terrifyingly, the judge cited some “mitigating circumstances” in allowing for the possibility of house arrest. One was the fact that he had called a lawyer right away after the incident. This is not a “mitigating circumstance.” This is Sattar’s tacit acknowledgement of his awareness that he had committed a crime. He probably didn’t even know which crime, because although he certainly deduced from the sudden opacity of his windshield that a collision of some sort had occurred, he was a little confused about the requirement to remain at the scene. For all we know, he was distracted and couldn’t remember what color his signal was at the time of the collision, and this factored into his choice to flee. The information that he proceeded thorough a green light comes from his young victim’s admission that she ran the red. Also, it was four days before he was interviewed by the police.

Another mitigating circumstance is Mr. Sattar’s “lack of priors.” Immediately after mentioning this, the judge then STATED HIS PRIOR, another vehicular crime which demonstrated the same selfish lack of consideration for others on the roadway, and was probably committed with the same vehicle.

I also only found out at the plea hearing that the family has had zero interest in assisting the prosecution. They’ve filed a civil suit (I have to check, but it may be just to cover medical bills, with no request for compensation for pain & suffering, etc). If I were a mama, I wouldn’t want my kid to have to face the evil fuck who snapped her bone like a twig and then left her for dead. Especially on a school day, y’know.

Nice to see yet another judge take hit-and-run seriously, especially even when it leaves a critically injured little girl bleeding in the street.

And yes, that is sarcasm.

……..

A suspected drunk driver is under arrest after clipping a Fullerton cyclist with his wing mirror, in a clear violation of the three-foot passing law. Although he doesn’t appear to have been charged with that yet.

The victim suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive. And as turns out it’s not the driver’s first DUI.

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Local

Somehow this one slipped under the radar, as Detroit-based Shinola opened their first West Coast store in Silverlake.

CICLE leads a leisurely holiday themed ride through Northeast LA on Saturday the 13th in conjunction with LADOT, LACBC and others whose names aren’t initials.

Santa Monica Spoke looks at the South LA CicLAvia, just two Sundays away.

 

State

A new petition calls on California to change the new three-foot passing law to allow drivers to safely cross the yellow line. Governor Brown has already vetoed a similar provision, so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Bike Newport Beach is hosting a pre-Thanksgiving ride on Wednesday.

Boston’s Isolate Cyclist takes a critical look at those questionable San Diego stats blaming cyclists for most collisions. Meanwhile, a mind-reading San Diego-area letter writer knows why bike riders do those things we do.

Forty Riverside kids get free bikes, along with a talk by Olympic cyclist Amber Neben.

A cyclist takes you on a 70-mile ride around Santa Barbara — and describes how to control the lane in a dangerous situation.

 

National

People for Bikes offers an ode to the beater bike.

That nine-year old boy who said he was called by God to bike across the country has finished his journey, raising over $25,000 to fight cancer. No word on whether God gave him an attaboy at the finish line.

A good bike network is key for a successful bike share system. So much for LA’s planned system.

Forty-three year old pro cyclist Chris Horner will continue to ride, coming home to an unnamed American team for 2015.

My brother competed in the famed Iditarod sled dog race four times; this guy’s done it nine times, by bike. And without the help of dogs.

The Today Show discovers Cranksgiving.

Durham NC sets a policy allowing ghost bikes to stay indefinitely, unless someone complains.

 

International

Montreal’s threatened bike share system gets a reprieve for the next five years.

Turns out Sherlock Holmes is one of us. The modern, British heartthrob one.

The UK has nearly 10 million bike riders, one-fifth of whom ride every week.

The Australian National Museum is hosting an exhibition on bicycling Down Under.

 

Finally…

Scotts Valley police must employ brilliant interrogation techniques, as a man confesses to attempting to steal bikes after being caught red-handed inside a bike shop in the middle of the night after prying the door open. Another crack burglar is busted after falling through the roof of a Rohnert Park bike shop.

And evidently, action cams are nothing new. Wish that Rohnert Park idiot had been wearing one when he fell through the bike shop roof.

 

Morning Links: San Diego cyclists get blamed for collisions, and accused Eagleson killer enters not guilty plea

Evidently, it’s our fault.

Mostly, anyway.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, an analysis of San Diego bike crashes since 2011 shows cyclists at fault in nearly 60% of collisions.

Of course, those stats are based on police collision reports. And as the story notes, the results are subject to question.

Their accuracy depends largely on the individual officer’s knowledge and interpretation of bike law, ability to properly investigate bike collisions — especially when the injured cyclist is often unable to give his or her side of the story — and a lack of bias.

The simple fact is that few California police officers receive adequate, let alone in-depth, training in the rights and responsibilities of bike riders, as evidenced by the frequency with which riders are ticketed for things that aren’t actually illegal, such as riding in the traffic lane or two or more abreast.

And none are trained in the unique forensics of bicycle collisions, which differ dramatically from typical automobile crashes.

As for bias, with the exception of bike cops and officers who ride on their own time, most cops see the world from the same windshield perspective as other motorists.

All of which means that stats like this may provide support those who want to write bike riders off as law-breaking scofflaws.

But until we demand better bike training for traffic investigators — and police officers in general — they will have little basis in reality.

………

Local

Not even zoo animals are safe from LA’s hit-and-run drivers, as a big horn sheep is killed after escaping its enclosure, and the jerk behind the wheel just keeps on driving.

Velonews reports on the first day of the CXLA Weekend at the Greek, with victories by Katerina Nash and James Driscoll in the elite races. Cycling Across LA offers video of the race.

A ride will be held on December 7th to honor fallen cyclist Milt Olin, roughly three months after the DA dishonored him by refusing to file charges in the case.

BikeSGV delivers their monthly newsletter filled with upcoming events in the San Gabriel Valley

 

State

Neil Storm Stephany entered a not guilty plea Friday in the alleged intoxicated hit-and-run death of cyclist Shaun Eagleson in Newport Beach last month. Stephany faces a well-deserved murder charge based on a prior DUI conviction.

Short-sighted San Clemente votes not to include bike lanes in a coming reconstruction of Calle Frontera, apparently not realizing that giving people an alternative to driving could reduce traffic.

‘Tis the season: A Pismo Beach man donates 57 bikes to the local sheriff’s department to give away for Christmas.

 

National

Great news from Tucson, as former Rep. Gabby Giffords gets back on her bike three years after the near-fatal shooting.

A road raging Seattle driver faces just three to nine months in jail following her conviction for second-degree assault for intentionally running down a cyclist in a horrific attack.

An allegedly very drunk Chicago bike share rider is critically injured after being hit by two cars.

Turns out that Wolverine-playing song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman is one of us, as he goes for a cold weather ride on the streets of New York.

A father and daughter finish their 4,200 mile trip from Washington to Key West to benefit wounded vets.

 

International

E-bikes are on a roll in Europe, but just starting to catch on in the US.

Bikes will be banned from a bucolic garden bridge over the Thames because they would allegedly spoil the peaceful walking atmosphere. And as we all know, it’s impossible to ride a bike peacefully.

Caught on video: A London cyclist captures a first-hand perspective of what it’s like to be hit by an unseen cab; the footage is evidence in a civil case.

Down Under girls just want to have fun on fixies. That is, if they’re not collecting a menagerie of bikes.

A newborn Aussie baby is safe, thanks to the cyclists who discovered him hidden in a storm drain where he had been abandoned up to five days earlier.

 

Finally…

Turns out rocket powered cyclists are nothing new. British cyclists have a better knowledge of road safety than motorists do; not surprising, since people on bikes are a lot more vulnerable on the roads those who can rely seat belts, air bags and crumple zones.

And a Boston man confronts the thief who’s stealing his bike, and wins.

 

Weekend Links: LAPD officers accused of beating South LA bike rider, SDSU police blame the victims in bike wrecks

An LAPD officer is accused of beating and kicking a bike rider in South LA.

According to the LA Times, 22-year old Clinton Alford was riding on the sidewalk on Avalon Blvd near 55th Street — something that’s perfectly legal in Los Angeles — on October 16th when a police car pulled up behind him and he was ordered to stop.

However, Alford kept riding, since he says the person failed to identify himself as a cop. After a brief pursuit, he voluntarily laid down on the street and put his hands behind his back, making no attempt to resist as officers restrained him.

That is, until another very large officer arrived on the scene. And immediately stomped Alford as the other officers held him down.

The officer then dropped to the ground and delivered a series of strikes with his elbows to the back of Alford’s head and upper body, sources said. Alford’s head can be seen on the video hitting the pavement from the force of the strikes, two sources recounted. Afterward, the officer leaned his knee into the small of Alford’s back and, for a prolonged period, rocked or bounced with his body weight on Alford’s back, the sources said. At one point, the officer put his other knee on Alford’s neck, a source said.

It gets worse.

The paper describes the officer kicking Alford’s head like a football, before several officers carried his limp body into a patrol car.

Alford was booked for drug possession and resisting arrest, and released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty — likely to be tossed for a lack of probable cause in making the initial stop.

Meanwhile, the officers involved have been relieved of duty — with pay — pending an internal investigation.

……..

Oh please.

The campus police at San Diego State University say bike collisions are up in the area surrounding campus — and that it’s usually the cyclist’s fault. Oh, and those scofflaw cyclists cause psychological trauma to the poor drivers by getting blood on their bumpers.

No victim blaming there.

……..

Local

The LAFD is now the first fire department in the nation to post response times online; and yes, this matters, since your life could depend on how fast help arrives if you’re injured in a fall or collision.

LADOT is testing traffic signals that give pedestrians a head start before cars are allowed to cross the street; hopefully, they’ll try giving bikes the same four-second safety margin.

Calla Weimer — who made a detailed argument here for bike lanes on Westwood Blvd, which Councilmember Paul Koretz blithely ignored to placate wealthy homeowners — calls for more bike lanes and bike racks instead of increased parking at Metro stations (second letter).

Figueroa For All says Koretz’ fellow councilmember Gil Cedillo is putting politics over people by diverting two hundred grand from housing funds to pay for a new traffic signal at a dangerous intersection — when the same amount could pay for the entire already-funded road diet he killed for the same street.

Santa Monica will host a Halloween-themes Kidical Mass ride today, while the Santa Monica Spoke hosts next Sunday’s edition of the LACBC’s Sunday Funday ride.

Wounded vets will ride in Redondo Beach on Sunday, November 9th, the weekend before Veteran’s Day.

A local couple create what the Long Beach Post calls the ultimate guide to urban cycling.

 

State

Ford works with California-based Pedego to market an e-bike beach cruiser under their own moniker.

Calbike’s coming 241-mile bike tour will avoid parts of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach due to the dangerous conditions on the cities’ streets.

San Diego considers a one-mile bike path through congested Mission Valley.

The San Luis Obispo sheriff’s department is asking for donations of unwanted children’s bikes to be repaired and given to kids this Christmas.

San Francisco thinks cargo bikes have a role to play in improving disaster response.

 

National

USA Cycling has three job openings at their Colorado Springs CO headquarters.

VeloNews talks to a recovering Taylor Phinney.

Seattle’s mandatory helmet law could hinder the city’s new bike share program.

In another case of cops gone wild, Idaho police detain five BMX riders for the crime of being in a skate park 12 minutes after closing time — then illegally tell them they don’t have any legal rights when one tries to record the confrontation.

A road raging Kansas driver intentionally veers into a cyclist, knocking him into a ditch, then turns around and rams him again before fleeing the scene. All in front of a sheriff’s deputy and two witnesses who saw the whole thing.

A Minneapolis cyclist says a new protected bike lane could make things more dangerous for bike riders, and says there’s little research on the subject — ignoring studies that show protected bike lanes reduce injuries up to 90%.

 

International

An 85-year old Vancouver man regains his mobility with an e-bike.

A UK cyclist is threatened with a knife after a man demands to “borrow” his bike, then refuses to give it back.

A road raging Brit driver is convicted of intentionally running into a cyclist.

Three men are convicted for stealing over 500 bikes from British railway stations.

Graeme Obree and son plan to go after the pedal-powered land speed record once again next year.

A Vienna, Austria industrial design student has invented a self-filling bike water bottle that literally sucks moisture from the air.

 

Finally…

Lance can’t even ride in a non-competitive Gran Fondo run by his fellow ex-doper friend. A London website takes the city’s bike bashing Baroness to task for her vigilante violence. And over 91% of UK residents insist that cyclists aren’t a menace on the roads.

 

Morning Links: CHP motorcycle cop demonstrates his ignorance of the law; meet LADOT’s Seleta Reynolds

One of the primary tenets of the American justice system is that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

That is, you’re responsible for obeying it even if you don’t know something is illegal; it’s your responsibility to know the law.

But what if the one who doesn’t know the law is the person charged with enforcing it?

That’s what appears to have happened over the weekend, as cyclist Topher Mathers was forced off the road by a CHP motorcycle cop while riding downhill on Angeles Crest Highway.

Over the weekend I was cited for CVC 21202 as I was descending Angeles Crest Hwy by a CHP motorcycle officer. Before the officer pulled me over, he told me to get onto the shoulder to allow the cars behind me to pass. To note I was coming out of a series of turns and had yet been able to take my eyes off the road ahead of me to check for traffic behind me. Furthermore, the officer’s command was problematic because there is no real shoulder along the crest, just gravel, debris from car and motorcycle accidents and either the side of the San Gabriel Mountains or a cliff. The manner in which the officer engaged me not only startled me but it in fact endangered me. He did not use his siren or lights, he just pulled up alongside of me (well within in 3ft) and began giving commands. He informed me that my “delaying traffic time was over” and in the process forced me to process the situation and defend my actions all while actively descending a mountain. I informed him “I do not need to ride the shoulder.” Once he decided to pull me over he began forcing me onto the shoulder. He became angered, as he was not satisfied by my bicycle’s slowing speed, apparently not accounting for fact that I’m on a bicycle, not a motorcycle and that I am slowing down onto gravel. He initially indicated that he was going to cite me for impeding traffic but I guess he realized it was too hard to prove (less than 5 cars and they had all passed on by then) and ended up citing me for CVC 21202.

I attempted to question the officer once we came to a full stop but by this time I had my phone out and was filming, he became non-responsive.

I don’t even know where to start.

CVC 21202 does in fact require cyclists to ride as far to the right has practicable. However, nothing in California law requires cyclists to ride on the shoulder or to the right of the right limit line; the traffic lane is to the left of the line, and anything to the right is not legally considered part of the roadway.

In addition, if the officer had read a little further, he would have noticed a long list of exceptions under which CVC 21202 does not apply — including any traffic lane too narrow to safely share with a bike and a motor vehicle, which would include virtually every inch of Angeles Crest.

So much for that ticket.

And as Mather suggests, the standard for impeding traffic is a minimum of five vehicles stuck behind a slower vehicle and unable to pass. Again, if there are less than five cars behind, or if the cars can pass — even one at a time — the law does not apply.

Not to mention that common sense should come into play when a rider is busy negotiating a tricky descent.

More troubling than the officer’s ignorance of the law, however, was his use of a motor vehicle as a weapon to force Mather’s bike off the roadway — ignoring the fact that pushing the rider into gravel at speed could result in a potentially deadly fall, whether off the hillside or back into the path of the trailing traffic.

In fact, any use of a motor vehicle — any motor vehicle — to stop a cyclist should be considered deadly force, and its use banned by every department unless the officer’s life, or that of someone else, is in imminent danger. Which was hardly the case here.

Finally, there’s the officer’s ignorance of the physics of bicycling, as he somehow expected a bike rider going downhill at speed to instantly pull over and stop on a dime. Let alone conduct a conversation with a motorcycle rider violating the state’s new three-foot law.

All of which brings up a problem we’ve discussed many times before.

Virtually no law enforcement agency anywhere in the country trains its officers in bike law, and in how bikes operate.

The LAPD is one of the few that offers any training at all. And that only in the form of a interactive video session that all street level officers were required to view, and few remember.

To the best of my knowledge, the CHP doesn’t offer any bike training at all, either in the academy or after officers are on the streets.

And that has to change.

Now.

……..

Local

Help welcome new LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds to LA with a reception Tuesday, Sept 23rd in DTLA.

A while back we discussed a new bike valet program at the Westfield Century City shopping center, which has now been expanded to include changing rooms, lockers and, yes, showers. Although, as Better Bike’s Mark Elliot points out, they could promote it a lot better (scroll down… keep going… all the way).

Bikes secured with cable locks are disappearing from bike racks at CSUN.

The Burbank bikelash has begun, as a letter writer says bikes have made that city’s streets unsafe for the motor vehicles that have made them unsafe for everyone else. Thanks to Adeel Mansoor for the heads-up.

South Bay cities meet to talk bike corrals on Thursday.

 

State

New signage and sharrows are being installed on San Diego’s Fiesta Island in the wake of the alleged drunken wrong-way driver who injured several cyclists.

The family of Alejandro Rendon, the unarmed bike rider killed by Indio police officers because he looked suspicious, have settled their lawsuit against the department for an undisclosed — but hopefully very large — amount.

A cyclist riding from Vancouver to the Mexican border to promote Blackburn Designs was injured in a Santa Cruz collision.

 

National

New wind tunnel tests confirm shaving your legs can shave up to 7% off your racing times.

Here’s a good idea. A new Crash Sensor can send an emergency test message, including your location, if you’re injured in a crash.

Four US mayors explain why better bike networks matter.

Cyclists call on Wyoming legislators for new protections after four bike riders have lost their lives in the state this year.

Interesting appeals court ruling from Illinois says cities can be held responsible when snowplows block bike lanes and sidewalks, forcing cyclists and pedestrians into the street. Not a problem we often have here, though some parallels could apply.

The New York Post says visit Colorado for a beer and biking biathlon.

Seth Rogen lashes out against Citi Bike on his Twitter account.

New York’s Vision Zero plan gets $25 million in federal funding; to the best of my knowledge, no one in LA’s city government has even uttered the phrase yet.

 

International

A separated bike lane in a Vancouver suburb has to be removed after motorists rip out the bollards.

A Brit bike thief trades up, leaving his old bike in place of the new one he took.

Seriously? Australia’s Daily Telegraph calls plans for a protected bike lane on a Sydney street part of the mayor’s jihad on motorists.

Caught on video: An Aussie cyclist defends the magpies that attacked him 14 times in 45 seconds while he rides.

A Kiwi transport researcher says only smaller roads and more congestion will free us from traffic.

 

Finally…

Unbelievable. A Louisiana jury acquits a driver in the death of a cyclist — even though he fled the scene, failed to render aid to the victim, was driving without a license or valid plates, and still had a BAC over the legal limit five hours after the collision.

And shockingly, a Salinas woman had yet another crash over the weekend while driving under the influence and on a suspended license. She had 12 prior collisions, including killing a pedestrian — and was found at fault for 11 of them — yet was still allowed to own a car, let alone drive it.

 

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