Archive for Legal Cases

Morning Links: More on misguided Olin decision; protected bikeways and hit-and-run bills pass legislature

More on the DA’s refusal to prosecute the sheriff’s deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin, as cyclists urge the DA to change her mind.

Meanwhile, the local Calabasas paper picks up the story, while Digital Music News offers an angry response. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton rails against the decision. And the story goes international, courtesy of London’s Daily Mail; thanks to Kevin Hopps for the tip.

LA Daily News writer Brenda Gazzar writes that the Sheriff’s Department will open an internal affairs investigation into Deputy Andrew Wood now that the investigation is complete; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. Be sure follow her if you’re on Twitter for the latest updates and best reporting on this case.

For those who want to do more than sit and seethe, a protest ride and vigil will held next Wednesday, sponsored by the LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA.

milt_olin_FLYR

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Despite difficult to understand opposition from CABO, the protected bikeways bill sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition passed the legislature Thursday and awaits the governor’s signature. The bill will allow protected bikeways, which are currently considered experimental under California law, as long as they adhere to NACTO guidelines.

Meanwhile, two hit-and-run bills sponsored by Glendale Assembly Member Mike Gatto passed, as well; AB 47 will create a Yellow Alert system to notify the public about significant hit-and-runs, while AB 1532 would automatically suspend the license of any driver convicted of hit-and-run. Thanks to Finish the Ride for the heads-up.

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LA Weekly rides along to the Emmys with Mad Men writer/producer Tom Smuts and company.

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Alejandro Valverde captures stage six of the Vuelta. Disappointing that one of the world’s great bike classics is getting so little coverage, especially when it promises to be one of the best in years.

And even though Lizzie Armistead has already wrapped up the Women’s World Cup, there’s still a lot at stake in the final race.

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Local

Two miles of new bike path open along the LA River in the West Valley.

Flying Pigeon questions whether North Figueroa drivers really want faster speeds or better traffic flow.

Fig4All explains how one misguided councilmember can derail a much needed safety improvement project on North Figueroa. And what can be done about it.

Bicyclists in the City of Angeles will ride in solidary with the Afghan women’s cycling team “and all women who ride bikes in the face of adversity” this Saturday.

LA cyclists ride to remember three fallen Belizean riders.

Who knew? The Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills was once home to some of the region’s finest bike trails.

Santa Monica police bust a bait bike thief.

A jogger is critically injured running in the bike lane on PCH in west Malibu when he’s hit by a car, which doesn’t bode well for cyclists using the lane intended for them. Correction: It turns out that’s not a bike lane, after all. 

 

State

San Diego’s new Bicycle Advisory Committee promises to make the city better for biking

Santa Barbara gets $8.6 million for bike projects, while Goleta gets $3.654 million and Santa Ana gets a relatively paltry $3 million.

Sadly, a Roseville rider is killed by her own SUV when it rolls over her while she’s trying to remove her bike from the back.

 

National

Momentum Magazine lists the next great bicycling cities, while Bicycling is about to offer an updated list of the nation’s top 10 bike cities. Do I really need to mention that LA didn’t make either list?

A 91-year old Oregon WWII and Vietnam Vet plans to keep riding despite being hit by a car.

No distracted driving law means the penalty for hitting a Texas cyclist is no worse than getting a speeding ticket.

Despite the LSU paper’s apparent ethical dilemma, bike theft is just wrong. Period.

A 75-year old former Manhattan bike commuter reminds his fellow Virginia riders they’re not above the law.

Milt Olin isn’t the only cyclist to lose his life to a sheriff’s deputy, as a 15-year old Florida boy is run down for no apparent reason by a patrol car driven by a Lee County deputy.

 

International

Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich puts his NHL career on hold to recover from serious injuries suffered in a frightening bike collision last month.

The UK government is urged to protect funding for bikes and pedestrians.

Half of Brit drivers break the law; I suspect the percentage would be a lot higher here.

Turns out London cyclists aren’t a danger to guide dogs after all.

A Brit minibus driver gets five years for killing a cyclist while looking a photos on his cell phone.

India’s Health Minister wants a nationwide network of protected bike lanes.

Clearly, it was a loss felt worldwide, as Aussie cyclists ride to remember Robin Williams.

 

Finally…

When you’re leaving an Ohio drug house with crack on your bike, put a damn bell on it if that’s what the law requires; the bike, not the crack. Now that your GoPro bike cam can give you a dog’s eye view of the world, expect to see a lot of butt close-ups.

And evidently, a pair of Laguna Beach cyclists are selling something to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Unless the local paper meant pedal, instead of peddle, of course.

 

Update: DA refuses to file charges in Milt Olin case

The investigation is finally complete.

As predicted as soon as the LA County Sheriff’s Department inexplicably insisted on investigating itself in the death of cyclist and former Napster Exec Milt Olin, no charges will be filed against the deputy who killed him.

And as long predicated by myself and others, the immediate cause of the collision was the deputy’s use of the patrol car’s onboard computer while traveling on a winding road at 48 mph.

It was clear that the Sheriff’s Department was attempting to downplay their investigation — if not coverup the results — when they announced late on the Friday before Memorial Day that it had been turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation over a week before.

Then, nothing.

Not a word from the District Attorney for over three months, until news broke late this afternoon that the deputy responsible, Andrew Wood, would not face charges.

DA refusal letter (pdf)

Surprisingly, it actually appears the Sheriff’s Department recommended a charge of vehicular manslaughter; not surprisingly, the DA declined to file, saying they did not feel they could prove the deputy was negligent, which would be required for a conviction.

As we have discussed before, the case hinged on CVC 23123.5, which prohibits using electronic communication devices while driving — but exempts police officers and other emergency service workers in the performance of their duties.

According to the DA, that exemption applied in this case, as Wood was typing a response to a query from another officer when he drifted into the bike lane and rear-ended Olin’s bike without ever braking.

As often happens in such cases, Wood initially claimed Olin swerved in front of him in the traffic lane, and he only went into the bike lane in an attempt to avoid him. That is, until physical evidence and witness testimony proved him wrong, at which point his story changed to say he never saw Olin prior to the collision.

Yet somehow, the mere fact that Wood was driving at nearly 50 mph — in a bike lane — with no idea what was on the road directly in front of him is not sufficient evidence of negligence as far as the DA’s office is concerned.

Simply put, there are only two options.

Either the deputy was at fault for driving distracted — even though he could legally use the computer, he is still required to drive in a safe and legal manner.

Or the Sheriff’s Department itself is negligent for a policy allowing its officers to use the onboard computer in a manner that places everyone else at risk, as they will undoubtedly be found responsible for in the civil suit filed by members of the Olin family.

Either way, thanks to the complicity of the DA’s office, no one will ever be held accountable for the death of an innocent man, whose only crime was going for a bike ride on a sunny afternoon.

And a dangerous, if not deadly, policy will never be changed.

Thanks to Brenda Gazzar for breaking the story. 

Update: The afore mentioned Brenda Gazzar offers a detailed look at the case and the DA’s decision not to file charges in the LA Daily News, including this:

Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said he was disappointed to see a clearly distracted law enforcement officer escape charges on what he called a technicality.

“Just because the law allows someone to do something while driving doesn’t mean they are allowed to do something unsafely while driving,” Bruins said. “Hitting someone from behind is very clear evidence that whatever was going on in that car was not safe and should have been considered negligent.”

It’s definitely worth a read to get the full story.

Meanwhile, LAist quotes several angry tweets from very pissed-off cyclists. Including yours truly.

 

 

Morning Links: New e-book from bike writer Rick Risemberg, conviction in Phillip Richards hit-and-run case

Our-Own-Day-HereWe have a lot to catch up on after this weekend’s breaking news, starting with a new e-book from one of LA’s leading bike writers.

If you’ve been following this site for awhile, you’ll know that we link to pieces written by my friend Richard Risemberg of Bicycle Fixation on almost a daily basis, whether on his own site, or as a guest writer for Flying Pigeon and Orange 20 Bikes.

Now he’s collected some of his best essays for the new volume, Our Own Day Here.

While many of the chapters focus on bicycling, the tome goes beyond bikes to examine “how the way we travel, live, and shop shape our lives and our souls, and reveals the richness of experience he finds in city living.”

Among the subjects covered in these sometimes poetic, sometime humorous essays are cars, transit and bicycling, economics and politics, development, as well as the sense of place and the places that make it happen.

As he notes, some of the pieces have appeared on various websites, as well as in the pages of local and national publications, while others have never seen print or pixels before.

I haven’t had a chance to read it myself yet, though I hope to offer at least a partial review soon.

But knowing Rick, and the insightful quality of his writing, I’d highly recommend giving it a read. Especially at the low download price of just $4.99 — with a 10% discount through Smashwords with the code BU84L through the end of August.

It’s also available through Apple’s iTunes Store, and for Kindle through Amazon.

So what are you waiting for, already?

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The driver charged with killing popular Beaumont cyclist Phillip Richards has been found guilty on charges stemming from the fatal hit-and-run.

Jurors convicted William Donald Johnson of both gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence and hit-and-run causing injury, with enhancements for leaving the scene of a collision and causing great bodily injury.

However, the jurors split on an additional murder charge; the Riverside County DA is unsure if he will be retried on that charge. He will be sentenced October 3rd; no word yet on how much time he faces.

Johnson’s wife Kari had previously pled guilty to aiding in Johnson’s escape in the hit-and-run, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation.

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Tragically, the bike rider most seriously injured in that wrong-way collision on San Diego’s Fiesta Island that sent eight cyclists to the hospital is paralyzed from the chest down as a result.

Meanwhile, the driver responsible pled not guilty to felony DUI with injury and possession of a controlled substance after meth was found hidden in a very private place.

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That other notable cyclist from my hometown sets out today to win his second USA Pro Challenge, while Jens Voigt says this will be his last pro tour after 33 years.

Caught on video: A nasty crash in the Eneco Tour takes out Italian cyclist Eugenio Alafaci, as well as the cameraman filming it.

And former world champ Mario Cipollini is hospitalized after a car turns in front of him on a training ride.

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Local

CityMetric looks at a tale of two bike lanes on North and South Figueroa.

A virtually unrecognizable Kesha goes for a bike ride on Venice Beach.

LAist offers photos from the opening of the Levi’s Commuter pop-up in DTLA.

Now you, too, can slug your java from an Every Lane is a Bike Lane mug.

Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next will host a forum for SaMo city council candidates next month.

The San Gabriel City Council holds a special session on Tuesday (pdf) to discuss the city’s proposed bike plan.

 

State

A Desert Hot Springs man is under arrest after police found him riding with bolt cutters on a stolen bike. And it wasn’t even the one he was seen stealing on surveillance video.

Sad news, as the San Francisco bike rider seriously injured in a collision with a fleeing car thief last month was taken off life support on Saturday.

After his custom-made bike is stolen, Redding residents pitch in to help a developmentally disabled man build a new one.

 

National

Our slow cycling, casually dressed president goes for a family bike ride on Martha’s Vineyard.

An OpEd writer for the New York Times reminisces on her life on two wheels, while a writer for Crain’s New York, who lost his own son in a bicycling collision seven years ago, explains the city’s new Vision Zero policy.

The New York Post applauds the NYPD’s crackdown on cyclists who “terrorize pedestrians and endanger life and limb,” and calls on the city to make it permanent. On the other hand, they seem to be fine with the lawbreaking drivers who kill a hell of a lot more people than cyclists ever could.

Caught on video: Continuing today’s New York theme, an NYPD officer is caught leaning in to deliberately block a bike lane, evidently just for the hell of it.

Finally leaving Gotham, a Maryland cyclist pens a powerful open letter to the hit-and-run driver who cracked his ribs and ran his bike over.

 

International

CNN lists the world’s best cycling cities; only one US city is on the list. And no, it ain’t LA.

A Montreal office building cuts a cyclist’s lock and impounds her bike, even though it was parked on public property; if they have such a problem with parked bikes, maybe they should put in a decent bike rack.

Britain’s Top Gear host calls for separated bike lanes and greater tolerance on the roads.

Turns out cyclists are human beings, too. Who could have imagined?

At least they’re showing an even hand, as Aussie police target scofflaw cyclists and the law-breaking drivers who pose the greatest risk to them and others.

 

Finally…

Breckenridge CO hosts a replica of the Eiffel Tower made entirely of bike parts. And Ford learns the hard way that using a convicted bike doper probably isn’t the best way to market their cars.

 

Morning Links: Possible Olin cover-up, USC students launch Nutlock, and the other cyclist from my hometown

The LA Times updates the lack of action in the Milt Olin case, killed by an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy while riding on Mulholland Highway last December.

The story offers one bit of new information, reporting that an initial examination of the driver’s cell phone showed no activity at the time of the crash, while phone records later showed he had texted six times in the minutes leading up to it.

Which suggests that the texts may have been erased from the phone in an attempt to cover it up — or that someone may have ignored evidence on the phone pointing to his guilt.

Meanwhile, Salon is the first national news source to pick up the story, noting that texting while driving is illegal in California. But they fail to note the exemption for on-duty emergency workers, which could explain why the DA’s office can’t seem to find anything to charge him with.

This one was forwarded from multiple sources, so thanks to everyone who sent it for the heads-up; thanks to Hwy 39 for the Salon link.

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USC students unveil an innovative new wheel lock to help prevent wheel theft and eliminate the need to lock them in addition to the frame. Security is enhanced by plans to create multiple key designs to prevent thieves from simply buying a set to unlock the wheels.

After just two days, their Kickstarter campaign has already raised over $10,000 towards the $15,000 goal. A pledge of just $25 dollars will get you a pair of Nutlocks of your very own.

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The other famous cyclist from my hometown, Teejay van Garderen, will defend his USA Pro Challenge title later this month. Former next big thing pro cyclist Joe Dombrowski has vascular surgery to try and get his leg strength back.

And Peter Sagan may not be headed to Tinkoff-Saxo after all. Update: Yes, he is.

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Local

The LACBC invites you to attend Hot August Bikes at Hollywood’s Amoeba Records on Sunday, the 17th.

London Bridge may not be falling down, but the Riverside Figueroa Bridge is. Or being dismantled, anyway.

No irony here, as Beverly Hills promotes heart health while fighting bike lanes and discouraging bike riding in the city.

Santa Monica gets $4.4 million to improves streets and implement their Bike Action Plan.

Proposed Glendale Green Streets could include bike lanes. And a smart OpEd in the Glendale News-Press patiently explains why motorists are a bigger danger than cyclists.

 

State

Measuring traffic flow by automotive throughput — aka Level of Service — is now officially a thing of the past in California.

BikeSD makes a public call for the resignation of the chair of the city’s Uptown Planners group.

A 73-year old San Diego cyclist suffers major head trauma in a head-on collision with another rider.

Mobile bike repair service comes to San Diego.

BART hopes new signs will keep bike riders from breaking the rules.

 

National

The problem with Share the Road campaigns.

If you want to get cyclists off the sidewalk, build bike lanes.

Wearing headphones when you ride may not be smart, but it’s safer than driving with the windows rolled up.

East Texas cyclists start a safety campaign reminding drivers that bike riders are people, too.

A reminder that a new bike path isn’t any good if it’s not maintained, like this one in New Jersey.

A former American Gladiator allegedly flattens a pedestrian while riding in New York’s Central Park.

To protect and serve (pizza). Baltimore bike cops go above and beyond by delivering pizza to a seriously injured cyclist after she’s released from the hospital; link via Bicycling magazine.

The Baltimore airport opens a 12.5 mile bike path, complete with bike share to entertain waiting passengers and employees.

Kill a bike rider in Florida, and lose your license for a whopping six months.

 

International

A Vancouver motorist drives down a protected bike lane, then right crosses a cyclist after leaving it.

Evidently, a unanimous vote of Toronto’s city council doesn’t mean any more than it does here, as they voted for a separated bike lane that never gets built. Sort of like bike lanes on Lankershim, Westwood and North Figueroa.

A London grocery truck gets outfitted with 360-degree cameras in an effort to protect bike riders.

Caught on video: A London bike rider captures a first-person view of a cut-off collision; fortunately, he survived the brutal impact.

Lovely Bicycle meditates on a ghost bike for a 16-year old Irish rider.

A new Chinese bike helmet promises to be a combination turn signal and mood ring for your head.

 

Finally…

After a six-year old Portland girl posts a sign shaming the thieves that stole her dad’s bikes, the publicity helps get them back. After repeatedly giving a Texas man with Asperger’s Syndrome a ride to work, local police pitch in to buy him a bicycle; now that’s class.

And Austrian police tell a naked bike rider to put her damn clothes on, already.

 

Daughter of LAPD Sgt. accepts plea in death of Gardena cyclist Jesse Dotson

Despite her best efforts, the killer of a Gardena bike rider was unable to avoid justice after all.

Although her semi-successfult attempt to flee the scene may have spared her from a more severe penalty.

Twenty-three-year old Vanessa Marie Yanez was reportedly driving home when she collided with 60-year old postal worker Jesse Dotson as he was riding into work on Gardena’s El Segundo Blvd in June of last year. Yanez fled the scene, leaving Dotson bleeding in the street; he died in a local hospital a few days later.

The daughter of a veteran LAPD sergeant, Yanez reported the car stolen to the Huntington Park police the next day. However, an alert HPPD officer put two-and-two together after seeing news reports of the collision, and contacted Gardena police to report Yanez as a suspect.

Her car was found, complete with shattered windshield, still at the home she shared with her father, less than a mile from the scene of the collision. KNBC-4 later reported she told police she had been drinking before the wreck; if true, fleeing the scene would have given her time to sober up before her arrest.

She was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, perjury, filing a false police report and felony hit-and-run.

Gardena police initially said her father, Sgt. Arturo Yanez, could face charges if it was shown that he had knowledge of his daughter’s actions or was involved in the attempted cover-up. No such charges were ever filed, though, even though it’s hard to understand how such an experienced officer would be unaware of what was happening under his own roof.

There were also reports that he could face an internal investigation with the LAPD; however, such investigations are considered personnel matters, and the results are unlikely to ever be made public.

Today, the LA District Attorney’s office announced (pdf) that Vanessa Yanez had changed her plea to no contest on three counts — a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident, felony perjury, and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. She is expected to be sentenced to two years in state prison on September 25th.

The sentence seems light under the circumstances, suggesting she accepted a plea deal in exchange for a lighter sentence, as usually happens in traffic cases.

However, light sentences do little to stem the epidemic of hit-and-runs. And her sentence would have undoubtedly been much stiffer if it could have been shown that she was under the influence when she hit Dotson.

Which is just one more reason why the penalty for hit-and-run should be stiffened to match the penalties for drunk driving and remove the incentive for intoxicated drivers to flee the scene.

Correction: This story initially said Yanez had pled guilty; it has been amended to reflect her actual plea of no contest.

 

Morning Links: Judge rules police can’t search your bike without permission, and Timbuk2 opens on Abbot Kinney

In an important affirmation of cyclists’ rights, an Orange County judge rules police don’t have a right to turn your bike over without permission or probable cause.

Homeless rights advocate Igmar Rodas was charged with violating Santa Ana’s bike licensing requirement after he was stopped for riding on the sidewalk, which is banned in the city. Police then turned his bike over to look for a license sticker; when they didn’t find it, they ticketed Rodas for sidewalk riding and not having a valid bike license.

However, the judge ruled that the act of overturning the bike constituted an illegal search, which is banned by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

The case serves as a reminder that police may legally ask for identification when they stop you for a moving violation while you’re on your bike.

But unless they have probable cause to suspect you’re breaking the law — such as seeing you attempt to hide a weapon or drugs, for instance — they can’t search you, your bike or your possessions without your permission, any more than they can search your car if you get stopped for speeding.

Nor can they take any action against you for refusing permission for a search, which is your right under the law.

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Timbuk2 signHad a great visit with the friendly and knowledgeable folks at the new Timbuk2 store on Abbot Kinney in Venice Thursday afternoon.

I’ll have a more detailed report later.

But if you’re in the area, stop in and say hi and check out the full line of Timbuk2 messenger bags, backpacks and suit cases — even a smartly designed women’s pannier that converts to a shoulder bag.

Not to mention what promises to be LA’s first bike share program, with free loaner bikes available on a first-come, first-serve basis starting this September. Yes, free.

And mark your calendar for their official Grand Opening ceremony August 16th and 17th.

They’re going to be a great addition to the LA bike scene.

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Local

Streetsblog and LA Walks want your help to win funding for a Vision Zero plan for the City of Angels. They’ve got my vote.

Levi’s Commuter pop-up store opens in DTLA next week.

Culver City Walk & Rollers hosts a Family Ride this Sunday.

A proposed pipeline could result in the final link in San Gabriel Valley’s Emerald Necklace bikeway system.

Carson receives a $1.26 million grant for a new bike/pedestrian path.

 

State

A planning and development website offers a technical look at what comes next when California moves away from using Level of Service to measure traffic flow.

A pair of letter writers call for action to improve safety for Laguna Beach bike riders.

A cyclist is moderately injured in an Anaheim collision.

The Big Bear Cycling Festival runs through this Sunday.

A collision survivor says Sacramento is pretty coldhearted when it comes to justice for homeless cyclists hit by cars.

 

National

The Bike League offers advice on how to create a safe and inclusive learning environment from LA bike advocate and Licensed Cycling Instructor Maria Sipin.

A writer for the Daily Beast offers an open apology to Greg LeMond for pushing the Armstrong lie.

New $1,295 aerial drone promises to follow your rides with an airborne GoPro camera.

A Texas town proposes turning a smuggling path into a bike trail.

Shockingly, a Florida driver is fined just $200 for killing a cyclist — despite 29 traffic violations.

 

International

A Brit cyclist says he was almost run down by a texting truck driver; unfortunately, the video of the incident has been removed.

UK driver posts video of bad bike behavior online after a rider damages his car while weaving through traffic.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon rides a bike to promote urban cycling.

 

Finally…

For reasons known only to him, stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill jumps Playmates at the Playboy Mansion. And a St. Louis writer says, wisely, if a cyclist does something you don’t like, don’t honk or yell; just stay calm, because the streets belong to all of us.

 

Morning Links: Two months later, still no word from DA on Olin Case; Amoeba plans Hot August Bikes celebration

Sometimes, no news is no news.

More than two months after the Sheriff’s Department turned their investigation of their own officer who fatally ran down cyclist Milt Olin over to the District Attorney’s office, the DA has announced absolutely nothing.

According to the Daily News, there is still no word, official or otherwise, on whether the officer will face charges. Or even when or if a decision will be made.

Even though the DA’s own website promises a decision on filing within 60 days on any case, barring unusual circumstances.

I guess a texting on-duty cop running down a rider in a bike lane, then being investigated by his own department, rather than an independent agency such as the Highway Patrol — which normally investigates traffic fatalities in the county’s jurisdiction — could qualify as somewhat unusual.

Although the near-total news blackout on the results of the six-month investigation, followed by a total lack of comment from the DA’s office after more than two months, might make someone wonder just what the hell is or isn’t going on.

This case has stunk from day one.

And eight months later, the stench isn’t getting any better.

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Sounds like fun. Amoeba Records, along with a long list of co-sponsors, will celebrate Hollywood bike culture with Hot August Bikes in their parking lot behind store on Sunday, August 17th. The event, which runs from noon to 5 pm, will benefit the LACBC.

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Forgive the late notice.

The Bikeway’s Subcommittee of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee — the city’s only official voice for bicyclists — will meet from 1 – 3 pm today at LADOT Headquarters, 100 Main Street.

BACBikewaysAgendaJuly302014

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Local

Been awhile since we’ve heard from bike lawyer Daniel F. Jimenez, better known here by his nom de bike Dj Wheels. He writes that cyclists are turning to tech products to improve safety.

Planning is underway for next month’s third annual Clitoral Mass ride; as the name suggests, men need not apply. Meanwhile, Culver City will get its own CicLAvia next July.

The Westside’s favorite bike race, the annual Brentwood Grand Prix, rolls this Sunday; always a great time offering exciting men’s and women’s racing.

Metro honors CICLE’s new executive director, Vanessa Gray.

Seriously? A Glendale museum director insists that cyclists — except for his law-abiding friends, of course — are crazed lawbreakers who speed downhill at 40 mph in spandex and without brakes, unlike all those rational, law-abiding motorists out there. Proving you can be really smart, and still say some really stupid things.

And a Palos Verdes letter writer (second letter) complains about bicyclists getting their own private space, plus being allowed to use every lane on the public roadways, unlike all those law-abiding motorists who would never dream of driving in a bike lane. Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up.

 

State

A San Francisco cyclist suffers life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by the driver of a stolen minivan fleeing from police; six other people were less seriously injured.

After a young New York woman is killed while riding in Chico, her parents vow to live out her bucket list.

A Stockton man sics his dog on a bike rider for the unconscionable crime of using a hose without permission.

 

National

The Bike League looks at how better laws can promote bicycling, and invites you to order their new Smart Cycling Quick Guide.

Despite what the NY Times says, Bicycling insists there’s no proof carbon fiber is making bikes more dangerous. And the magazine’s Test Director can barely control his anger at the Times piece.

I’ve been ignoring multiple stories lately about a competition to design the urban bike of the future; Bike Snob explains in his own inimitable way why that was the right choice.

A Chicago study shows only buffered bike lanes keep riders outside the door zone.

An upstate New York woman was high on crack when she hit a cyclist not once, but twice before fleeing the scene — and despite her 23rd license suspension. You’d thing after the first dozen or so, someone would permanently revoke her license and forbid her from owning a car.

A proposed change in DC law would end contributory negligence in car vs bike collisions.

When Ft. Lauderdale police lead Critical Mass riders uphill at a dangerously slow pace — 3 mph, for chrissake — a ride leader asks them to speed up so people won’t fall. And is nearly forced into a collision by a cop, then arrested for his trouble.

 

International

A local Yorkshire official who called cyclists lawless menaces who speed through the village at a remarkable 50 mph is convicted of drunk driving at nearly twice the legal limit. But we’re the dangerous ones, right?

Now that’s class. When the Malawi bike team competing in the Commonwealth Games brought a pair of bikes to a Glasgow bike shop for repairs, the staff decided they deserved better. And loaned them two high-end bikes for the competition.

British rider Emma Pooley announces she’ll retire after the Commonwealth Games.

After pedestrians call an Irish bike rider an idiot for riding on a footpath, he proves them right by attacking them with a key and screwdriver.

 

Finally…

A Houston burglar uses a doggy door to steal a bike, then leaves it behind when he can’t ride it. And Long Beach police respond when a six-year old tries to use a toy gun to jack another boy’s bike.

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

 

Morning Links: DUI drivers get well-deserved extended sentences, and a careful Menifee cyclist mourned

Good news as a couple of outrageous high-profile legal cases come to a conclusion.

A Chula Vista car thief is sentenced to 14 years, 8 months in prison for the death of bike rider David Voigt. Michael Reyes, who was already on probation for car theft and meth possession, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty earlier this year to gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, auto theft, possession of methamphetamine and other charges.

Reyes was behind the wheel of a car he had just stolen after a day of drinking when he crossed onto the wrong side of the road and hit Voigt head-on, killing the husband and father before crashing into a tree and power pole.

And a Colorado woman gets a well-deserved 10 years for killing a cross-country cyclist after falling asleep while driving with cocaine and anti-depressants in her system — while on her way to a court hearing on a previous DUI arrest.

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Menifee remembers fallen cyclist Matt Carp for his caring and passion for riding, while a friend describes him as the safest bike rider he’s ever ridden with.

Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not enough.

Compounding the heartbreak, Carp’s oldest son took his own life following his father’s death, in a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

……..

As expected, Vincenzo Nibali rode to victory on the Champs Elysees after dominating the Tour de France from the first stage to the last. He says he couldn’t have won without improved drug testing to level the playing field.

Improvements in bike technology are increasing the risk of serious injuries in the peloton. And the legendary Jens Voight calls it a TdF career after 340 stages.

The Wall Street Journal looks at Sunday’s big race in Paris; no, the other one. As expected, Marianne Vos took the inaugural women’s La Course race, as British favorite Lizzie Armistead crashed out near the end. The NY Times notes Vos won a race she worked to get started.

Meanwhile, Brit rider Emma Pooley observes that women’s cycling is an underdeveloped asset.

……..

Local

Mayor Garcetti promises urban acupuncture to transform the city’s future Great Streets; I know exactly where I’d like to stick the first needle or two.

Better Bike’s Mark Elliot offers an insightful response to the recent Times editorial criticizing Councilmember Gill Cedillo’s ill-advised veto of the planned North Figueroa road diet. Two other letter writers, not so much. As often happens, a pair of self-proclaimed bike riders insist no one will ever ride to work or to go shopping simply because they can’t imagine themselves doing it, ignoring the fact that countless others cyclists do it every day.

A sarcastic Burbank letterset decries planned bike lanes on Verdugo, saying it doesn’t matter how many motorists or homeowners are inconvenienced if it placates bike riders. Sounds about right to me.

A Pasadena rider suffers serious head injuries when he’s hit by a car while walking his bike across Los Robles Ave; fortunately, he’s expected to survive. This is why I always prefer to ride rather than walk my bike across an intersection; on foot, you’re a sitting duck.

 

State

A Santa Ana cyclist vows to fight after he’s ticketed for not registering his bike and riding on the sidewalk; several SoCal cities — including LA — cancelled their bicycle registration requirements after police used them to target bike riders.

Newport Beach asks cyclists to comment on the city’s proposed bike plan.

A Riverside cyclist is rescued after intentionally riding his bike off a paved pathway on Mt. Rubidoux.

An Oxnard cop becomes a Facebook hero after he buys a little girl a new princess bike to replace the one she had stolen.

The family of a fallen San Luis Obispo cyclist files suit against the driver who took his life.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offers advice on how to avoid dooring and what to do if it happens anyway.

 

National

People for Bikes asks why don’t more African-Americans ride them?

How to teach anyone to ride a bike in five easy steps.

Remarkably, an Oregon rider is back on his bike after three surgeries for benign brain tumors.

An Indiana man keeps riding at age 83.

A North Carolina rider says every cyclist lives with “the fear.”

 

International

Canada is missing the boat — or rather, the bike — on cycling tourism.

A Vancouver pedestrian suffers a broken back when she’s hit by a speeding cyclist and knocked off a seawall. Seriously, show some extra caution around people on foot; some pedestrians may be clueless, but they’re the only ones more vulnerable than we are out there.

The Guardian follows a single New York Citi Bike around the city for a day; here’s what happened when they tried the same experiment in London.

Yet another young driver tweets about running down bike riders, yet another employer pays the price for her stupidity.

An American cyclist who spent the last two decades circling the globe to promote world peace is killed by a drunk driver near Moscow.

Tokyo looks to London for bicycling inspiration.

 

Finally…

An Indian army officer sets a new record for riding a bike 103 kilometers — 64 miles — with a bottle of water balanced on his head; not surprisingly, there was no old record. And an Illinois bike rider is pleasantly surprised when a cop tickets the tailgating driver behind him. Thanks to my aspiring filmmaker nephew Adam Sputh for the heads-up; if there are any admissions officers for the USC film school reading this, save him a place in the class of 2019.

 

 

Morning Links: Reckless driving laws apply to bike riders, too; LA Times comes down hard on Gil Cedillo

No, your bike isn’t a vehicle under California law.

But that may not matter as far as traffic regulations are concerned.

In a case involving an LA cyclist, a Los Angeles appeals court has ruled that the statute prohibiting reckless driving applies to bike riders, as well.

Even though the state defines bicycles as devices, rather than vehicles. And even though the most reckless rider poses far less risk to those around him or her than a reckless driver.

Jorge Velasquez, Jr was over twice the legal limit when he left a Dodger game in April of last year, riding brakeless on the hilly streets. He swerved to avoid a car, and slammed into a jogger while on the wrong side of the road, leaving her in a coma for 10 days with serious facial injuries.

Rather than charging him with biking under the influence, which carries just a $250 fine and no points against the rider’s drivers license, prosecutors charged Velasquez with reckless driving, with a penalty of up to three years in jail.

His public defender argued, reasonably, that the reckless driving statute was specifically written to apply to operators of motor vehicles who act in a manner likely to injure or kill others.

But the court ruled that CVC 21200, which gives cyclists with all the rights and responsibilities of drivers, meant that all traffic laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists — unless the law is specifically written to exclude bicyclists, such as the statue setting separate penalties for riding under the influence.

In some ways, the ruling works to our benefit by reconfirming our right to the road.

If the court had ruled that the reckless driving statute didn’t apply to bikes, it could be argued that other laws that work in our favor don’t either, such as the right to ride on any road where cars are allowed — with the exception of some limited access highways — or to use any lane when appropriate, just as drivers do.

On the other hand, not everyone agrees with the ruling.

Cyclist and Century City attorney Stanley E. Goldich, a frequent contributor to this site, thinks the court missed the mark.

My two cents on the opinion.  I read the prior 1980 Clingenpeel opinion in addition to the ruling of the CA Court of Appeal in the Jorge Velasquez (pdf) matter.  The central question seems to be whether the additional reference to Division 17 in the 1982 amendment to Section 21200 is sufficient to satisfy due process requirements by making clear “to persons of ordinary or common intelligence” that cyclists can be charged with reckless driving of a vehicle under Vehicle Code section 23103 notwithstanding that a bicycle is not a vehicle under the Vehicle Code.

I think in order for cyclists to be subject to prosecution and criminal penalties for reckless driving of a vehicle there needs to be an explicit reference to reckless driving of a vehicle in Section 21200 as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment with the language “driving under the influence of intoxicating liquors or drugs, or the combined influence thereof.”  I don’t think it is sufficiently clear that cyclists are subject to criminal prosecution for reckless driving of a vehicle by the vague reference to Division 17, particularly in light of the last phrase in section 21200 “except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.”  I read this last phrase to mean that cyclists are not subject to punishments for driving of a vehicle because a bicycle in not a “vehicle.”  Certainly, without an explicit reference to reckless driving as was done for drunk driving in the 1982 amendment, there is ambiguity whether the general reference to Division 17 is intended to make cyclists liable for reckless driving of a vehicle.  This general reference does not give fair warning required for criminal statutes. In addition, there are not less severe penalties for bicyclists as was done for driving while intoxicated that takes into account that bicyclists do not pose the same dangers as motorists.

Certainly the actions of Jorge Velasquez in riding a fixed gear bike without a handbrake in traffic after the Dodger game with a blood alcohol level of 2.18 was extremely reckless. However, while he can certainly be prosecuted for biking while intoxicated (and should be subject to civil liability to the pedestrian he hit for his reckless conduct) I don’t think the criminal statute for reckless driving of a vehicle is applicable and criminally charging Velasquez or other cyclists for this violates due process of law. It is also curious that this issue has not arisen in the 32 years after Section 21200 was amended.   I wonder if there have been previous instances where cyclists in CA have been prosecuted for reckless driving of a vehicle. I certainly would welcome having the legislature address this and provide for prosecution of cyclists for reckless bike riding in conjunction with determining an appropriate penalty or penalties as was done with biking while intoxicated.

Unless the California Supreme Court agrees to take up the case, the ruling will now be law throughout the state.

……..

Red Kite Prayer offers an open letter to now ex-Santa Paula reserve officer Laura Weintraub, saying no, you are not forgiven.

And hat’s off to Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who responds to my post about the whole imbroglio being a teachable moment. And reaches out to a surprisingly receptive Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean; he’ll be meeting with McLean, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, on Friday to help build a better relationship between the department and bicyclists.

I hate to sound like part of a mutual admiration society, but if you’re not reading Seth’s blog, you should be.

……..

The LA Times Opinion page comes down hard on CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo and his single-handed attempt to derail the already approved road diet and bike lanes on North Figueroa.

Unless some demonstrable miscalculation was made in the bike plan, or unless there’s a real safety issue, individual City Council members should not be tinkering with the plan, which was designed carefully with the whole city in mind. Currently, Los Angeles has 337.62 miles of dedicated bike lanes. Cedillo is looking at alternatives to the Figueroa corridor, but the city planners chose these designated routes for specific reasons; nearby streets, they say, won’t work. The idea is to create a seamless network of bike lanes that allow cyclists to travel continuously from one point to another.

It’s a good read, and well worth a few moments of your time. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

Meanwhile, KFI’s John and Ken demonstrate how little they know about the subject in this segment from Monday’s show, beginning at roughly the 11-minute mark.

Personally, I didn’t have the stomach for it, tuning out shortly after they disregard studies proving road diets improve safety simply because they choose not to believe them. Life is too short for that kind of indignorant anti-bike drivel; maybe you can tolerate it better than I could. Link courtesy of Erik Griswold.

……..

After giving up his dream of winning a grand tour, Australia’s Michael Rogers wins Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France. France’s Thomas Voeckler stops mid-race to berate a heckler. And BMC’s Peter Stetina is ready to step up and deliver Tejay van Garderen to a place on the podium; but only if TvG can manage to keep the rubber side down.

……..

Local

London’s Guardian looks at Nona Varnado and LA Bike Trains.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton says new LADOT chief Seleta Reynold’s outside perspective could help overcome LA’s self-defeatist attitude.

Downtown LA could get a new 84-station bike share system and a bike hub at Union Station, courtesy of Metro.

Better Bike looks at three newly approved types of bike facilities and wonders if any will ever come to the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills. Don’t hold your breath.

A Santa Monica bike theft is caught on video; this is why you never secure your bike to a parking meter with a cable lock.

Construction begins on an improved bike route on PCH in west Malibu.

Pedestrian and cycling safety will be a major focus of new Glendale councilmember Paula Devine.

Walk Bike Burbank forms in response to the city’s decision to shelve a planned bike and pedestrian path.

 

State

KCBS-2 looks at last weekend’s Orange County memorial ride to remember fallen cyclists.

A Laguna Beach group proposes a two-way bike path as path of a plan to beautify downtown.

Sonoma County’s bike commuter of the year isn’t who or what you’d expect.

 

National

A new national bike website is for women only.

Even Arizona is driving less and bicycling more.

Lafayette CO police apologize for ticketing a cyclist for riding in a crosswalk, which isn’t against the law in the state.

Even Philadelphia police can be victims of bike theft; the clueless thief abandoned the bike after attempting to sell the clearly marked police bike to someone around the corner.

Not surprisingly, people who live near bike lanes exercise more than people who don’t — although the results may not be immediate.

 

International

Seven innovative ways cities are transforming themselves to improve bicycling.

The Telegraph offers advice on how to avoid common bicycling injuries.

A Kiwi writer calls cars the logical and inevitable solution to cycling injuries and dung-covered streets, and says it’s madness to expect bikes to share roads with cars. Oh, well okay, then.

 

Finally…

When the satirical Bike Lobby twitter account claims credit for two white flags that mysteriously appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge overnight, the media takes them just a little too seriously. And an easily offended Seattle driver assaults a cyclist to defend the honor of another driver. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

 

Morning Links: Olin lawsuit filed; deputy was texting on private phone in apparent violation of LASD policy

As expected, the family of fallen cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin filed a lawsuit against the LA County Sheriff’s department.

But in yet another twist in the case, it turns out the deputy behind the wheel sent over 100 text messages in the hours preceding the collision, including six in the last four minutes prior to fatally rear-ending Olin in the bike lane.

As KTLA-5 points out in the link above, state law exempts emergency personnel operating an authorized emergency vehicle in the course their duties from the law prohibiting texting or handheld cell phones while driving.

However, The Acorn reports the deputy had been using his own personal cell phone to text an undisclosed number in Camarillo. And according to KTLA, sheriff’s department policy prohibits the use of cell phones in a county-owned vehicle “absent extenuating circumstances.”

KNBC-4 says the department has still not made the mobile digital computer records public that would show whether the deputy was using his onboard computer at the time of the collision.

Meanwhile, Olin’s family has started a new foundation honoring his memory and dedicated to eliminating cycling-related fatalities and serious injuries.

……..

Galloping Tony Gallopin takes stage 11 of the Tour de France, just days after spending one day in the yellow jersey. Major gut check, as Andrew Talansky suffers his worst day yet in this year’s Tour after yet another crash, but courageously holds on to finish the stage and beat the cut-off time.

And what the Tour de France looks like from the bike’s point of view.

……..

Local

Downtown News talks with new LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds.

Flying Pigeon says thanks for nothing to Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who ignored safety studies to kill the long-planned North Figueroa road diet.

Despite what LAist says, CicLAvia is not a bike festival, it’s a people festival; the route is open to anyone who wants to enjoy the streets without a motor, and with or without a bike.

The LA Register looks at Santa Monica’s month-long crackdown on scofflaw bike riders.

Empact LB leads a bike tour of Long Beach farms and community gardens this Sunday.

The conflict between cars and bikes escalated as a U-Haul truck tries to single-handedly take out a Redondo Beach triathlon shop; thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

 

State

BikeSD examines how failed regional transportation plans erode public trust.

Bike riders get more room on a Chico roadway following the death of a cyclist last year.

This is why DUI and hit-and-run drivers need to have their vehicles impounded; too many continue to drive even after their licenses are revoked.

A coalition of unrepentant motorists, NIMBY’s and conservatives qualifies a ballot measure to maintain automotive hegemony and undo San Francisco’s progress in promoting alternative transportation. They’d probably start by killing this bikeway along the Embarcadero.

 

National

Five ways to carry pets by bike.

The former mayor of Wisconsin’s Mad City says it’s time to cool the bike rage. And questions whether the amount of irresponsible riding outweighs all the irresponsible driving.

Road raging Illinois driver beats up a bike rider who flipped him off. My rule of thumb: Never flip off the driver behind you.

Sympathy for the much maligned Chicago sidewalk cyclist.

After a Georgia bike rider is the victim of a hit-and-run, he spots the car the next day — with part of his pedal still stuck in the grill.

Florida gets tough on hit-and-run with a new law imposing a minimum four years in prison for fleeing the scene of a deadly collision.

 

International

UK police ram a BMX rider after he’s seen waving a gun.

Victim-blaming Brit seems to confuse the risks faced by bike riders with the dangers they don’t pose to others.

New Zealand researchers determine the best way to encourage bicycling is to build protected bike lanes on arterials, and traffic calming measures on quieter side streets.

 

Finally…

The Onion get the TdF scoop of the day, reporting an unexpected delay occurred when the peloton paused to throw rocks at some bugs. And Boyonabike says bicycles could help meet UN sustainability goals, which should come as no surprise to Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists.

 

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