Archive for Legal Cases

Finally, the Foxen Canyon tragedy is complete, as a mother sits behind bars and a cyclist slowly slipped away

Maybe you remember.

It was a little over two-and-a-half years ago when a Los Olivos mother crossed the center line on Foxen Canyon Road near the city, and plowed her SUV into a group of cyclists while under the influence of prescription medication.

With her eight-month old daughter in the car.

Two of the eight cyclists, who were participating in a riding camp, were injured. One woman suffered arm and leg fractures; the other, 57-year old Gary Lynn Holmes, suffered serious brain injuries, and was still unresponsive when 32-year old Alicia Gilbert was charged in the collision three months later.

He never recovered.

Santa Barbara County prosecutors were clearly as incensed as local cyclists were, charging her with driving under the influence of a drug and causing bodily injury, failing to provide accurate information at the scene of an accident, child endangerment, false personification of another and driving with a suspended license.

Gilbert eventually accepted a plea bargain, pleading no contest to a single felony count of driving under the influence causing injury; she was sentenced to four years and four months in state prison.

Unlike most revolving door sentences that allow guilty parties to serve just a fraction of their time, sentencing guidelines require her to serve 85% of her sentence before she’s eligible for parole.

That works out to just over three years and eight months, making her up for parole in July, 2016; the state inmate locator confirms that she is still behind bars.

Her daughter, eight months old at the time of the collision, will be nearly five before she even has a chance to get out. And return to a daughter who will barely know her.

Meanwhile, Holmes, a former champion triathlete, remained unresponsive, and was returned to his Memphis-area hometown where he could be near family.

Sadly, Orange County Bicycle Coalition board member Barbara Danzi writes that he passed away earlier this month; a funeral notice confirms he died on October 15th.

She writes,

I knew Gary when I attended the same Tri camp in 2011. He was a great guy, full of stories of his 20+ Ironman races. He seemed to enjoy the training for the camaraderie as he would wait by the side of the road to cheer people on and take photos and video. His tri club members said that he would ride with anyone, anytime, anywhere, any speed.

As she points out, he was not from here.

But his life effectively ended as one of us, on a lonely, winding road outside of a picturesque California town, at the hands of a woman who couldn’t manage to stay out of her car when she was too stoned to drive.

There is simply no excuse, ever.

And the price paid by family and loved ones, of both the victim and his killer, is just too damn high.

My thanks to Barbara Danzi for the news, and my deepest prayers and sympathy for Gary Holmes and all his family and loved ones.

Weekend Links: A massive list o’links and a whopping videopalooza

It’s a veritable link and video-palooza today on BikinginLA.

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Caught on video: This is what anti-bike harassment looks like, in all it’s brutal ugliness.

Here in LA, this video would be all the evidence needed to file — and win — a suit against the driver under the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

Instead, the Kentucky cyclist, Cherokee Schill, was charged and convicted for the crime of riding a bike in the traffic lane. And the police look the other way when she’s threatened and harassed by angry motorists.

Which is a polite way of saying they don’t give a damn because they don’t think she belongs there to begin with.

Fortunately, she’s less than $200 away from the $10,000 needed to appeal her illegal conviction.

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Caught on video: Before Governor Brown signed the current three-foot passing law, he vetoed a much better version that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass cyclists when it was safe to do so, fearing endless carnage and lawsuits.

Even though the state is largely immune from being sued. But still.

Evidently, it’s not that big a deal, as this video from the Austin TX police department shows.

Any chance we could get Brown to watch this?

No, I didn’t think so.

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Caught on video: An irate woman berates a Chicago cyclist for riding on the sidewalk, nearly getting herself arrested in the process. And being unclear on the concept, tells him to ride in the street before wishing he gets hit by a car, which is probably why he was on the sidewalk to begin with.

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Caught on video: I missed this one earlier this year, as three cyclists experience a viscous goathead attack on the San Gabriel River trail. Thanks to David Wolfberg for the link.

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And one more while we’re at it.

Caught on video: Wolfpack Hustle offers video of the recent Huntington Park Gran Prix.

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Good advice, as a writer suggests three things all cyclists should do.

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Great idea. UCLA is hosting Bike (Re)cycling Day on Sunday the 19th; the university’s police and transportation departments will give out free abandoned bikes and parts to UCLA students, staff and faculty members.

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If you hurry, you may still be able to make one last training ride today before next Saturday’s first ever El Gran Fondo de Angeles Crest. And my apologies for not getting this notice up sooner.

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Local

Okay, so it’s not bike related. But in an apparent case of induced demand, travel times on the 405 freeway have increased a full minute following the $1 billion —that’s billion with a b — project to add an HOV lane through the Sepulveda pass.

Good news for Valley cyclists, as the second phase of the San Fernando Road bike path opens.

Turns out there will be three workshops to discuss the Las Virgenes Malibu Regional Bike Master Plan, in Malibu on the 21st, Westlake Village on the 22nd and Calabasas on the 23rd of this month.

The Pasadena Star-News calls out one of the San Gabriel Valley’s most bike unfriendly cities while endorsing Eric Sunada for Alhambra city council. Thanks to Wesley Reutimann for the tip.

Haven’t checked in with Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson for awhile; here he puts the great helmet debate in perspective.

 

State

Evidently, the DMV has reworked their website and made everything harder to find, including bike laws.

Around 4,000 people took part in last Sunday’s first ever Santa Ana ciclovia.

A San Diego writer says the new three-foot law will increase tensions with drivers, but gets it right in calling for more protected bike lanes. Another writer on the same site calls cyclists “scourges of the road,” while decrying that bikes aren’t required to stay three feet from drivers; seriously, I could spend all day just pointing out the fallacies in this piece of bikelash drivel.

Palm Springs gets its first bike corral.

Caltrans did the right thing for a change, building a pedestrian bridge and off-road bike path connecting Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties as part of a six-mile carpool lane project; I’m told it has dramatically improved safety for riders along the coast highway. Thanks to Alan for the heads-up.

Too typical. Santa Cruz creates up a sandwich sign to warn drivers to give cyclists three feet. Then puts it in the bike lane.

Yet another teenage driver faces charges in the hit-and-run death of a bike rider, this time in Milpitas.

A Monterrey couple ride 2,300 miles to attend their 50th reunion in Kansas.

San Francisco cyclists are the victims of violent assaults to steal the bikes they’re riding.

 

National

A blogger offers a great list of some truly badass biking women, including Elly Blue and our own Nona Varnado.

In the latest attempt to thin the herd by enabling more distracted drivers, a new app promises to let drivers use all their apps behind the wheel.

Despite that, it looks like the Feds are finally taking bike safety seriously, as the Department of Transportation releases new guidelines to make the streets safer for you and me. Maybe they could ban the use of onboard computer systems by drivers next.

A bike-friendly Portland convenience store finds sales exceed expectations, as 34% of customers arrive some way other than driving.

Unclear on the concept. An Ohio driver complains about cyclists riding in the traffic lane, then insists bike riders need to act like motorists.

Yet another caught on video, but one that can’t be embedded: A cyclist accuses a Penn university cop of using excessive force in a confrontation partially caught on camera.

After a New York driver runs down a cyclist from behind — and is found at fault by her own insurance company — she sues the victim for damaging her car. No, really.

Bike Snob introduces you to suddenly bike-friendly New York.

 

International

Here’s what’s wrong with London’s pie-in-the-sky proposals that would remove bike riders from the street.

“Old men in limos” are working behind the scenes to derail London’s plan for separated bike lanes.

The Daily Mail freaks out when Kerri Russell rides a bike sans helmet and talking on a cell phone.

A former British soldier recalls liberating a Dutch town in World War II by bicycle 70 years ago.

Sad to see Andy Schleck retire from pro racing at 29, after a career that started with such promise.

Okay, so maybe bicycling isn’t really the fastest form of transportation in Perth. Then again, the results might be a little different coming from a less biased source, no?

 

Finally…

Probably not a good idea to ask your Twitter followers to shoot another bike journalist, even if you’re not serious. Or especially if you are. If you profess to be a psychic, don’t channel a recently fallen rider, all the details of which could probably be found by picking up the local paper.

And one more benefit of bicycling — you probably won’t have a secret police file from scanning your license plates.

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Thanks to John Hall for his generous donation to help support this site.  

Weekend Links: Blinded by the light, get out of jail free; your final updates on Sunday’s Heart of LA CicLAvia

Once again, blinded by the sun absolves a motorist of any responsibility to drive safely.

Authorities have ruled that the 74-year old driver who killed San Diego bike tourist and cycling instructor Kerry Kunsman won’t face charges in the death after concluding he was momentarily blinded by the sun when rounding a corner.

Which just happened to be the corner where Kunsman was riding.

Bizarrely, he was ticketed for careless driving on the assumption that his familiarity with the roadway and its popularity with cyclists meant he should have been more careful.

He was also ticketed for driving on a suspended license. There is something seriously wrong when a driver can kill someone without any real consequences despite having no legal right to be behind the wheel.

The story also notes that Kunsman was riding near the shoulder when he was hit.

Unfortunately, while most experts would recommend riding further into the traffic lane to increase visibility, there’s no way of knowing if driver would have seen him either way under the circumstances.

Thanks to Serge Issakov for the link.

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The LA Times celebrates CicLAvia by looking at the state of bicycling in Los Angeles. This is the 10th CicLAvia since the first one rolled on 10-10-10; and only the second one I will miss.

Streetsblog offers advice on how to gentrify 1st Street for a day, as well as 25 things to see along the CicLAvia route. They also provide tips on how to keep your cool in the oppressive heat; here’s my advice.

And drink lots of water.

The LA Post-Examiner takes a quick look at highlights of the route. And as always, the Militant Angeleno checks in with the definitive epic guide, and promises they’re all legit after punking us with his April Fools guide for the last one.

Meanwhile, the Daily News says Downtown traffic will be a living hell for motorists this weekend. But bike riders and pedestrians will rule the roads on Sunday.

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Local

KPCC interviews former New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan about what LA can learn from New York; first lesson is have a great DOT leader. Which it sounds like we finally have.

The candidates for next year’s CD4 council race talk traffic and bicycling.

A new stretch of bike path is unveiled in Pacoima.

A Monday meeting will discuss the bike-friendly replacement for the Sixth Street Viaduct.

A Glendale letter writer correctly points out that bike riders pay more than our fair share for the roads, despite what the anti-bike crowd insists.

 

State

An Indio father and daughter finish their ride from the desert city to New York.

Caught on video: A Santa Rosa City Councilman is caught swearing at a bus driver after a scary close pass; thanks to murphstahoe for the heads-up.

Sacramento will soon get bicycling paramedics.

Folsom unveils a new ped and bike bridge as part of the perfectly named Johnny Cash Trail; from which one could reasonably expect to hear a train a’ coming round the bend.

A 19-year old Milpitas driver is under arrest for leaving her bike riding victim to die in the street.

 

National

A conservative website says bicycling fatalities and falls far exceed deaths from mass shootings, thus missing the point entirely.

A Denver rider urges motorists to drive carefully around cyclists.

That Missouri mayor who intentionally ran a cyclist off the road faces a well deserved charge for felony assault.

Providence RI will convert a freeway causeway into a car-free bridge.

As for that NYPD bike crackdown to improve safety for cyclists, data says not so much. Meanwhile, injuries to pedestrians caused by collisions with cyclists are going down, despite the increase in ridership.

A county official in New York state was drunk when he hit a cyclist and fled the scene; fortunately, the victim was not seriously injured.

 

International

Thirty-one things you always wanted to know about bicycling but were afraid to ask.

Caught on video: A teenage UK cyclist gets nine weeks for walking his bike through a train tunnel at rush hour.

A Brit driver seems to think 10 years for killing two cyclists while driving drunk at over twice the legal limit is a tad harsh; I’m sure most bike riders would agree he got off easy.

Major road raging jerk frightens a six-year old French girl off her bike, then attacks her father — as well as the police who show up to break it up.

A Kiwi truck driver is a two-time loser after taking the life of a second bike rider in less than 10 years.

 

Finally…

Now that’s just too scary, as a Santa Cruz driver in clown makeup intentionally runs down a cyclist in an apparent case of mistaken identity. Here’s proof that a bike doesn’t always make the best getaway car.

And comic book hero Dr. Manhattan steals a bike from an Orlando Wal-Mart; okay, maybe not the real Dr. Manhattan.

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Best wishes for a good Yom Kippur and an easy fast.

My advice is to wear spectator shoes today; why just atone when you can two-tone?

Morning Links: Victim and suspect identified in Oceanside hit-and-run, charges filed in PV road rampage

Note: I have to take my laptop into Apple on Monday for a repair it shouldn’t need after just 16 months, but apparently does. So this may be my last update for a few days until I can get it back; I’ll be out of email contact for the most part, as well.

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Philip White ghost bike; photo courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation.

Philip White ghost bike; photo courtesy of Ghost Bike Foundation.

Police finally identified the victim in last week’s Oceanside hit-and-run, a day after he was named here by family members.

According to San Diego 6, 28-year old Oceanside resident Philip White was found lying dead in the roadway on the morning of September 21st; evidence at the scene suggested he had been hit by a green Kia Soul.

Police quickly found the vehicle, and have identified the owner as 22-year old Christopher Noah of San Diego. Yet a full week later, Noah has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.

The delay may be due to difficulty proving Noah was behind the wheel at the time of the collision.

Let’s hope that when an arrest is finally made, the charges will reflect the seriousness of the crime. Had the driver stopped and rendered aid, as the law requires, it’s possible that White’s life may have been saved; instead, the person who ran him down made a conscious decision to let his victim die in the street rather than face the consequences of his actions.

If that doesn’t warrant a murder charge, I don’t know what does.

Meanwhile, a fund has been established to help the family pay for funeral and other related expenses arising from White’s unexpected death. They’re only asking for $5000; any money beyond what’s needed will be donated to charity organizations such as MADD and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

Then there’s this comment contained in an email from a member of White’s family, which is definitely worth sharing.

The cycling community has shown an overwhelming amount of support and sorrow for someone they probably did not know and it has given real comfort to our family.

Let’s never forget that what we do and say can touch the people who need it most, when they need it most.

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A drunk driver who went on a violent road raging rampage through Palos Verdes last year has finally been charged in the case.

According to the Daily Breeze, 66-year old William Thomas Kelly faces charges of “assault with a deadly weapon using a vehicle, making terrorist threats, driving under the influence, vandalism and hit-and-run.”

Let’s hope it hurt like hell when the DA threw the book at him.

Kelly started by crashing his Audi into a woman’s car. Then backing up and hitting her again.

He went on to deliberately assault a cyclist, attempt to run over a pedestrian, sideswipe a car, hit another one, ram several cars in a parking lot, and rear end a car before sideswiping another one, then intentionally backing into it.

But wait, he wasn’t done.

Kelly drove on to intentionally sideswipe and back into yet another car before ramming into three locked fences and, finally, passing out behind the wheel of his disabled car.

Other than that, though, he was a perfect driver.

The Daily Breeze quotes the bike rider in describing what happened after he yelled at Kelly for clipping him in a too-close pass and running him off the road.

The bicyclist, Doug Castile, said that afternoon that the driver backed up behind him and pushed him and his bike into the bushes at the side of the road.

“At that point, my feet are clipped in the pedals on my bike,” he said. “I unclipped my feet and jumped off the bike into the plants and he’s running over my bicycle back and forth.”

Castile said the driver then noticed him reach into his pocket to get his phone.

“He says, ‘What are you reaching for, a gun?’ It just was so odd to hear that statement. I took my hand out of my pocket. I thought this guy is capable of anything,” Castile said.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

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No justice for fallen Newport Beach cyclist Debra Deem, as the DA drops all charges against the 85-year old driver who killed her, following a mistrial earlier this month.

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Local

LA’s Bureau of Street Services recommends removing roadside memorials — including ghost bikes — from city property after just 30 days; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

Eastsiders worry that Sunday’s CicLAvia will bring hipsters and gentrification to Boyle Heights.

Two South LA men sharing a single bike are injured when a driver runs a red light; the victims were hospitalized with broken limbs, internal injuries and head trauma. Naturally, the driver was not arrested at the scene.

Nice. Seven years ago, a 34-year old former Army sergeant was confined to a wheelchair, riddled with pain and addicted to opiates; on Sunday, he planned to ride 90 miles in the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo, thanks to a new medical device.

Actor and 30 Seconds to Mars lead singer Jared Leto rides a bike in Studio City.

BikeSGV picks up the Bike the Vote mantle, with a questionnaire completed by Alhambra city council candidate Eric Sunada.

 

State

This Sunday a section of Santa Ana will go car-free, the same day CicLAvia extends into Boyle Heights for the first time.

An OC trail rider gets a helicopter rescue after he’s injured while riding on Whiting Ranch.

A San Diego collision between a police car, a bicyclist and another vehicle sends five people to the hospital; a later report says the police car spun onto the sidewalk and hit eight Brazilian tourists on rented bikes.

The next time someone says bike riders have to obey the law too, ask them who the “too” refers to. Because most drivers don’t, either.

A San Francisco writer says the new three-foot law means drivers will have to break the law to do the right thing, and that protected bike lanes are the way to go. Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed an earlier version of the three-foot passing law that would have allowed drivers to briefly cross the center line to pass a cyclist safely.

 

National

New Mexico is investing $1 million in improving rail crossings to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

Police are searching for a road raging Nyack NY cyclist who went off on a car passenger for no apparent reason. Of course, drivers are entirely innocent in such cases and couldn’t possibly have done anything to set a rider off, right?

Good advice on what to do if you’re hit by a car in New York; the same holds true here in LA or anywhere else.

After a New York state senator proudly yells at cyclists to “Find an f-ing bike lane and get in it,” a Brooklyn cyclist invites her to get on a bike and see what it’s like for the victims of her abuse.

 

International

Kind hearted Winnipeg residents return a customized bike stolen from a nine-year old with cerebral palsy after they unknowingly buy it for parts.

A UK writer says cyclists make easy targets for anti-bike politicians, but it’s only a minority that don’t play by the rules.

An Iranian cyclist gets a free pass out of military service after his surprise win in the Asian Games.

An Australian state invests $300,000 in an education campaign to improve bike safety; then again, spending the same amount on improving infrastructure could probably do more good.

 

Finally…

Well, duh. An Abu Dhabi writer says cycling outside, instead of in a gym, relieves boredom; only people who cycle in a gym think it even begins to approach the real thing. Proof that not all jerks are behind the wheel: A Brit bike rider punches a 70-year old man who reprimanded him for weaving through a crowd.

And now you can follow your every move with your own personal drone. Even if using private drones is currently illegal.

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Thanks to George Wolfberg and Glen Schmuetz for their generous contributions to support this site.

Two year sentence in Dotson case, Brown yields his veto pen in support of hit-and-run, dooring caught on video

Just a quick update today, since I’m having some major computer problems. Assuming I get things straightened out, I should be back Saturday night with some Weekend Links. If not, you may not hear from me for awhile until I can get my laptop fixed.

Keep your fingers crossed. 

Update: The jury is still out. Reinstalling the OS may have solved the problem. Or not.

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First up, in case you missed it, the driver who killed postal worker Jesse Dotson as he rode his bike to work in Gardena last year has been officially sentenced to two years in prison.

Twenty-four year old Vanessa Yanez, the daughter of a veteran LAPD sergeant, was behind the wheel when she struck Dotson’s bike and fled the scene, leaving him lying on the street; he died in a hospital three days later.

After running Dotson down, Yanez drove to a nightclub to meet a friend before reporting her car stolen the next day in an attempt to cover-up the crime.

The sentence was a given, having been worked out in a plea deal last month.

It’s not enough. The meagre sentence reflects the lack of seriousness with which our society takes traffic crimes, even when they kill.

And even when drivers try to cover up their crimes.

She should have faced a murder charge on the assumption that Dotson might have been saved if he’d gotten emergency care sooner.

But given the lax hit-and-run laws and weak penalties currently on the books, it’s probably the best we could have hoped for.

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Speaking of lax hit-and-run laws, there is one person who doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem.

And unfortunately for all of us, he’s the governor of our state.

Three-term Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 2337 on Thursday; the bill would have ensured that a hit-and-run driver would lose his or her license for two years if they injured someone.

The only governor in the US to veto a three-foot passing two times, before finally signing it last year, Brown wrote in his veto message (pdf) that penalties for hit-and-run are already stiff enough.

Evidently, he’s the only person in the state who still has no idea hit-and-run has reached epidemic proportions. If the penalties really were strict enough, most drivers would stop at the scene and render aid to their victims, as the law requires.

And quite frankly, a two year suspension for leaving another human being bleeding in the streets isn’t nearly strong enough. Anyone who lacks the basic human decency to obey the most basic requirement of the law has shown that they are undeserving of the privilege — not the right — to drive.

Our governor clearly doesn’t get that.

Instead of a mere two-year suspension, a hit-and-run driver should face lifetime revocation of their license.

Instead, Brown is fighting to keep the most dangerous and callous drivers on the streets.

Thanks, Jerry. No, really, we owe you one.

Meanwhile, Calbike is calling for everyone to contact the governor to demand that he sign AB 1532, which would increase the fines for hit-and-run — though not the prison sentences — to match those for drunk driving, in order to reduce the incentive for drivers who have ben drinking to flee the scene.

And it would ensure that hit-and-run drivers would lose their licenses for a minimum of six months — regardless of whether anyone was injured.

Given that Brown has already expressed his opinion that penalties for the crime are high enough, it’s very questionable whether he’ll sign this one.

If not, the blood of every future hit-and-run victim will be on his hands.

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One of the best jobs in bike advocacy just became available.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking for a new Executive Director to replace Jen Klausner, who is stepping down after nearly a decade of successfully leading the organization.

Under her stewardship, the LACBC has grown to become a leading voice for Southern California bicyclists, and one of the most influential bike advocacy groups in the US.

The organization has had an exceptional track record in recent years, from nurturing CicLAvia in its earliest stages to developing award-winning programs like City of Lights. They were a driving force behind the initial Give Me 3 efforts that recently became California’s new three-foot passing law, and the key backer of the cyclist anti-harassment ordinance that is being copied across the nation.

In just a few short years, they’ve helped turn one of the nation’s most car-centric cities into a certified bike-friendly community. And they were one of the first organizations to reach out to underserved ethnic and economic communities, and to push for cycling infrastructure in less affluent areas — not because that’s where their members are, but simply because it was the right thing to do.

Now they’re looking for a superstar capable of leading the LACBC to the next level and building it into one of the nation’s pre-eminent bicycle advocacy organizations.

Maybe it’s you. Or someone you know, anyway.

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Recently we mentioned that the Santa Monica Bike Center had been named the area’s only Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists.

But dig a little deeper into the list of honored businesses (pdf), and you’ll find Santa Monica marketing communications agency Phelps.

The agency was honored by the Bike League for amenities including on-site showers, secure bike parking and financial incentives for bike commuters.

It’s also home to WesHigh, whose YouTube videos from his 15-mile commute from Silver Lake to Santa Monica have often been featured here.

In celebration of the honor, the agency created this infographic encouraging their employees to ride.

And maybe even you.

Phelps-Bike-InfoGraphic

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Might as well buy a used bike off Craigslist. After all, it’s probably your bike, anyway.

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Finally, I was forwarded this security cam footage showing a dooring that occurred in Burbank recently.

The shocking thing is just how quickly it happens, and how little time the rider has to react.

Fortunately, I’m told the rider was okay; his bike, maybe not so much.

And just to be clear, drivers are required to ensure that it’s safe to open their car door without interfering with the operation of other road users (CVC 22517).

So unless you’re doing something stupid, like riding the wrong way or without lights after dark, the driver is almost always at fault.

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Don’t miss this weekend’s most exciting bike action — the Lucha Libre-themed HP Gran Prix from 5 to 9 pm tonight in Huntington Beach.

HPimage004

 

Morning Links: Charges filed in death of randonnuer Matthew O’Neill; pro cyclist honored for abandoning race

Turns out a powerful family isn’t enough to prevent a killer driver from facing charges after all.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the 16-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, who has not been publicly named because he’s a juvenile, will face charges in the death of popular randonnuer Matthew O’Neill.

He’s being charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, as well as non-compliance with driving terms and restrictions for driving without a licensed driver over 25 in the vehicle, and driving a commercial vehicle without a license.

However, since he’s being charged as a juvenile, he can only be held until he’s 28, no matter what his sentence may be. Assuming he’s convicted, of course.

O’Neill was reportedly lit up like a Christmas tree and well positioned in the lane when he was hit by Maldonado’s truck and/or the horse trailer it was pulling.

A local TV station reports O’Neill was only 10 months from earning a second PhD in Disabilities and Risk Management when he was killed.

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Nice.

UnitedHealthcare pro rider Lucas Euser will be honored by the US Olympic Committee for abandoning the US pro road championship to care for fellow racer Taylor Phinney after he was seriously injured in a fall.

Euser and Phinney were leading the race at the time, and he could have possibly gone on to win if he had continued.

Now that’s class.

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HPimage003

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Local

A WeHo website asks what is it about stop signs West Hollywood drivers don’t understand; actually, make just about anywhere in Southern California, where stop is merely a suggestion.

A San Pedro letter writer says she’s never seen a bicyclist on the new bike lanes in the area; maybe she should look a little harder.

A 47-year old Torrance cyclist is in critical condition after she’s hit by a left-turning car on Crenshaw Blvd.

 

State

San Diego’s BikeSD pushes an LA-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance for our neighbor to the south.

The Desert Sun calls for greater protection for cyclists, including more bike paths and physical barriers separating riders from motor vehicles.

Santa Barbara cyclists get a new bike corral.

Redwood City police are looking for a suspect who punched a man to steal his bike.

 

National

The Bike League presents their latest list of bike friendly businesses, including several in California (pdf); the Santa Monica Bike Center is the only local Platinum recipient.

Bicycling suggests 16 great rides to see fall foliage — including near-treeless Las Vegas. And the magazine reviews bike cams starting at $230.

Buffered bike lanes may come back to Boise just months after they were unceremoniously ripped out.

A Wyoming writer says cyclists have to brave ignorance and impatience. And too often have to stop and change their shorts after an encounter with a driver.

A Michigan driver who killed a cyclist over the summer was killed in a hit-and-run while walking on Wednesday; police aren’t ruling out retribution for the earlier death.

Update: I originally included a story about a bike collision in New York; however, as Bran Nilsen pointed out in a comment, on closer reading, it was about a motorcycle collision. While those are no less tragic than bicycle collisions, that’s not what this site is about, so I have removed the link.

 

International

A new study says poor infrastructure and speeding traffic are the biggest reasons transportation cyclists break the rules. And in other news, ice is cold.

A German man is banned from Yellowstone for crashing a drone into a lake while filming a charity bike ride.

CNN says Taiwan’s Giant Bicycles makes the world’s most aero bikes by baking them like bread.

 

Finally…

Business Insider offers 15 rules for riding a bike in New York; the first one is bring deodorant. And the Boston Globe says there’s nothing new about the conflict over our roads; riders have been fighting for space since the 1880s.

Don’t forget yesterday’s very late morning links in case you missed them. And come back later for news about our new sponsor, Saturday’s Huntington Park Gran Prix.

 

Breaking News: No justice for OC cyclist Kenneth Prevatte; civil suit filed in Debra Deem case

Once again, there’s no justice for a fallen rider.

Late Tuesday, I received an email from the sister of Kenneth Prevatte, killed in a rear-end collision while riding in a Sunset Beach bike lane on PCH in Huntington Beach over two years ago. She informed me that Becki Lee James, the driver charged in the death of the popular Long Beach cyclist, was acquitted in a trial this week.

She reports James had been charged with vehicular manslaughter; she had originally been arrested on suspicion of felony DUI causing great bodily injury & gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

No word yet on why the alcohol charges had been dropped or why she was acquitted in what seemed like a clear cut case; hopefully we’ll have more information soon.

But at least the Orange County District Attorney should be congratulated for filing charges in a case with no guarantee of victory — unlike the LA DA.

And hopefully, Prevatte’s family will get the justice they deserve in civil court.

In an aside to the case, one of the potential jurors dismissed from the jury pool in the James trial was the brother of teenage cyclist Sean Severson, killed while biking to school in Fountain Valley.

Pity that those who would make the best jurors in cases like this are the ones who are automatically excluded.

……..

Speaking of civil court, I received a press release from Torrance-based law firm AgnewBrusavich, the firm behind the CalBikeLAw.com website, announcing they had filed a civil suit in the death of cyclist Debra Deem.

Deem, the wife of former Olympian cyclist and Cycle Werks bike shops owner Paul Deem, was riding in the bike lane on PCH in Newport Beach when she was right hooked by a driver turning onto Newport Coast Drive.

The suit alleges that the State of California and the City of Newport Beach were both negligent in the design and maintenance of what has been described as a very confusing intersection by cyclists who ride there. Unlike other intersections in the area, the bike lane reportedly disappears prior to the highway-style interchange, leaving riders with no clear pathway to the other side, and no guide for drivers on where bikes are likely to be positioned.

According to the release, Paul Deem filed the suit, at least in part, in hopes that it will bring much needed safety improvements to this section of PCH.

Meanwhile, I’m told that the case against the driver, 84-year old Robert James Anderson, ended in a mistrial on Friday; no word yet on why or if the case will be refiled.

 

Morning Links: An open letter to the LA DA’s office; Streetsblog talks with LADOT head Seleta Reynolds

The fight for justice goes on.

Following up on DA Jackie Lacey’s non-response to the LACBC’s demand for justice in the Milt Olin case, cyclist Al Williams shares an email he sent to the DA’s office. And cites a similar case from Santa Clara County where the DA actually did give a damn.

Milt Olin was cycling in a designated, marked bike lane on a clear, sunny afternoon.

While it may be legal for a sheriff’s deputy to use his computer while driving, it is not legal for him to be inattentive while driving, which he most clearly was; and it is not legal for his car to enter a designated bike lane, as his car clearly did.

It is inconceivable to conclude that Andrew Wood was other than inattentive when he struck and killed Milt Olin on 8 Dec 2013.  Please correct this decision.  Please correct the finding of your office.  It is imperative that a message be sent that inattentiveness resulting in death will not be tolerated.

James Council, the Santa Clara County deputy sheriff who “fell asleep” while driving on duty, crossed the road, and killed Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson on March 9, 2008 was charged with vehicular manslaughter by the Santa Clara Count District Attorney, plead guilty and was convicted.  (http://abc7news.com/archive/6884991/)  The punishment was distressingly minor, but at least he was charged and convicted.  You should follow this precedent.  Failure to charge Deputy Wood is an outrage.

You can contact the DA’s office to express your own outrage any of the following ways, courtesy of the LACBC.

1. E-Mail :webmail@da.lacounty.gov, bcc: info@la-bike.org

2. Snail mail to:
District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000

Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

New Vuelta winner Alberto Contador rules out a trip to the world championships; Chris Froome finished second in the race.

Caught on video: A rider in the Tour of Britain loses it on a sharp curve and takes out several spectators.

Jeremy Powers and Katie effing Compton — no really, that’s her Twitter handle — capture the Boulder Cup cyclocross race.

……..

Local

The upstart LA Register says fat bikes are big business.

Two former USC students want to cover the world with free bicycles; profits come from ads on the bikes.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with new LADOT boss Seleta Reynolds; she may just be the world-class transportation leader LA has been begging for. And deserves.

 

State

The Orange County Register takes an in-depth look at the state’s new three-foot law, which goes into effect on Tuesday.

Seriously? A reader poll in the San Diego Union Tribune’s story on the three-foot law says bikes are bigger road hogs than cars. I kid you not.

Incensed motorists accuse San Jose’s Mr. Roadshow of being biased towards bicyclists; bike riders get their say the next day. Personally, I’ve always found the column fair and balanced in dealing with road issues. Then again, I’m one of the one’s he’s accused of favoring.

Hundreds of Marin County cyclists ride to remember fellow rider Robin Williams.

If you’re riding with a fake gun and police try to stop you for a traffic violation, don’t try to flee into an acquaintance’s home — especially if she has meth and hash inside. Oops.

 

National

Miss America contestants highlight their footwear; Miss Oregon gives a whole different meaning to bike shoes.

New York bicycling injuries drop despite an increase in ridership.

A Maryland writer is shocked by the irrational hatred directed towards cyclists by online commenters, saying riders just want to safely return to their loved ones.

A Virginia writer says the first step in solving traffic problems is treating bike riders and pedestrians as respected users of the public right-of-way.

 

International

An 18-year old UK cyclist is back to riding after technically dying four times — whatever that means — following a trackside heart attack.

After a frequently photographed bike is stolen from the Scottish barn it leaned against for at least four decades, a local photographer contributes a suitably rusty replacement.

Another look at Australia’s first hydrogen-powered bicycle.

 

Finally…

Biking to work can improve your romantic relationships — and your sex life. But you already knew that, right? An actual human cyclist pulls off a video game quality stunt; even I’m impressed.

And it seems like the entire world is in an uproar over the Columbia women’s cycling team’s highly unfortunate new uniforms; some with tongue apparently planted deep in cheek.

 

Weekend Links: LA DA responds in Olin case, but says nothing; KY rider convicted for riding in the street

It didn’t take long for LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey to respond to the LACBC’s demand for justice in the Milt Olin case.

Only problem is, she didn’t have anything new to say.

In the letter (pdf), she repeats the insistence in the original refusal notice (pdf) that Deputy Wood was legally allowed to use his onboard computer when he ran Olin down last December. And that there is simply not enough evidence to get a conviction in the case.

Never mind that Wood was clearly driving distracted — which is a crime even if the driver is participating in an otherwise legal activity — as well as illegally driving in the bike lane, and admitted that he never saw the cyclist directly in front of his car. And witnesses said he never even touched his brakes before plowing into Olin’s bike.

Even I could get a conviction with evidence like that.

And never mind that prosecuting attorney’s frequently file challenging cases because they feel the victim deserves justice.

Which raises the question of what’s really going on here. And whether the DA is deliberately trying to quash the case, for reasons known only to her.

Though we can speculate.

The bottom line is, if Lacey is unwilling to prosecute in a case like this, no cyclist can expect to get justice in Los Angeles County.

Especially not if there’s a cop involved.

And that’s the real tragedy.

Here’s how to contact the DA’s office to express your outrage, courtesy of the LACBC. And if you’re not outraged, you should be.

1. E-Mail: webmail@da.lacounty.gov, bcc: info@la-bike.org

2. Snail mail to:

District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

In a bizarre miscarriage of justice, a Kentucky bike rider is convicted of careless driving for repeatedly riding in the traffic lane instead of on the shoulder on a busy multi-lane highway.

Even though the shoulder is not legally part of the roadway, and cyclists are entitled to ride in the traffic lane in every state in the Union. Yes, even in the Blue Grass State.

You can contribute to her legal fight here. And yes, she plans to appeal.

……..

Lots of writers are weighing in on bikes this weekend.

Starting close to home, a Burbank letter writer clearly gets it, saying bikes don’t impede traffic, they reduce congestion. Meanwhile, a columnist for the Daily News clearly doesn’t, insisting the new three-foot law will only make our streets narrower and that bikes could never, ever be even a small part of the solution for LA’s traffic problems.

A Riverside letter writer doesn’t get it, either, basically insisting that bike riders are all scofflaw jerks who deserve what they get.

An Arizona writer says yes, cyclists have rights, but also have responsibilities. And a Wyoming letterist takes the local paper to task for a perceived bias against bike riders.

……..

Alberto Contador extends his lead over Chris Froome to wrap up the Vuelta.

Officials insist the doping era in professional cycling is officially over; evidently, no one bothered to tell Italian rider Matteo Rabottini.

And in non-pro cycling, a 70-year old New England cyclist took home three golds from the US masters road championships.

……..

Local

An architect and urban planner says it’s time to speed up the scope and pace of urban change in the City of Angels — including replacing Copenhagen as the bike capital of the world.

The LACBC offers members a free Basic Bicycling Skills class on Saturday the 20th.

Also on the 20th, Helen’s Cycles hosts a monthly no-drop Women’s Only Group Ride. The same day, Helen’s holds a free training ride for the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo Italia.

Glendale residents discuss where to locate a bike, ped and possibly equestrian bridge over the LA River.

Gritty Wilmington has the most extensive bike network in the city — and maybe the state — with 21.6 miles of connected bike lanes.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist is seriously injured after allegedly running a red light.

The Riverside Police Department asks for the public’s help in solving the hit-and-run death of bike rider D’Andre Sutherland last month.

Riverside entrepreneur Michael Cachat parlays his love of bicycling into a $28 million business.

A Jurupa Valley bike rider suffers major injuries in a Thursday afternoon collision.

A fake Palo Alto cop pulls over and chastises a teenage cyclist while waving a gun.

A helmet-wearing Sacramento comedian suffers a concussion in a collision.

 

National

City Lab explains what a road diet is and why even the US Department of Transportation recommends them; evidently, they know something CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo doesn’t. Or doesn’t want to, maybe.

The next step in accommodating bikes is building low-stress bike networks.

New cardboard panniers fold out on the spot to carry your belongings.

In Tucson, even streetcar drivers are disciplined for driving too close to a bike rider.

Was Boise’s failed buffered bike lane project designed to do so?

A Milwaukee website says protected bike lanes are the silver bullet of bike safety.

New York plans bike corrals in front of four Prospect Heights bars, even if not everyone gets it.

Caught on video: A New York rider captures a dooring and its aftermath on helmet cam.

Baton Rouge gets bike wayfinding signage right.

 

International

Sad news from the UK, as the girlfriend of a British mountain biker is killed when another rider loses control as she stood next to the course to see her boyfriend compete.

British Cycling plans to get more women riding in Wales and Scotland, the latter of which may derail their plans by untying the United Kingdom.

An Aussie advocacy group calls trucks wheels of mass destruction.

An Australian state DOT rejects “radical” bike rule changes, including an Idaho stop law and legalizing sidewalk riding. No, radical would be arming cyclists to defend themselves against threatening drivers.

 

Finally…

Seriously? A Cincinnati letter writer calls for red and orange safety warning triangles on bikes. Seattle moves to invalidate marijuana tickets written by a bike cop who actually flipped a coin to decide who to write up.

And after a Biloxi man steals a police bike, cops chase him down on foot — because he stole their bike.

 

Morning Links: No contest plea in Phillip O’Neill case, the Times gets it on 3-foot law, AnyKicks squeaks by

Maybe there’s justice after all.

Monday morning the driver responsible for the violent death of Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill accepted a plea deal that will put him behind bars, at least for awhile.

O’Neill was riding with a companion on a designated Class 3 bike route on Del Mar Blvd when he was hit from behind with enough force to throw him into a parked car on the opposite side of the street.

According to the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition, which was formed in response to O’Neill’s death, Jose Gonzales pled no contest to a charge of vehicular manslaughter. He will be sentenced at that end of the month to terms including:

  • 90 days jail
  • 45 days Cal Trans service work
  • 3 years probation
  • Participation in HAM (Hospital and Morgue) program — a “scared straight” program for DUI offenders
  • $13,000 restitution

Although there is no true “justice” in a case like this, PasCSC would like to thank prosecuting attorney Joon Kim for his efforts to hold the operator of the motor vehicle responsible for this thoroughly preventable collision, especially in light of the failure to do so in other recent fatal collisions involving pedestrians and/or cyclists. Operating a motor vehicle while distracted or under the influence of alcohol  or other drugs is never an accident. And it too often comes at too great a cost to innocent bystanders.

Clearly, it’s not enough.

The life of an innocent victim should be worth more than a mere three months in jail. But given the limitations in current laws, and considering how seldom drivers face any jail time at all — let alone prosecution — this is one we can all be grateful for.

In fact, O’Neill’s family, and the woman who was riding with him — who has asked not to be identified — have asked cyclists to write Pasadena Deputy City Prosecutor Joon Kim to thank him for his dogged persistence in prosecuting this case. As she put it,

He did not waver on sentencing, and felt strongly that taking a life through reckless driving be punished.

You can write Kim at:

Joon Kim
100 North Garfield Avenue, suite N 210
Pasadena, CA 91101

……..

We mentioned this one the other day, even though there were no bikes involved. Prosecutors announced that the North Dakota woman who killed an 89-year old North Dakota grandmother while scrolling through Facebook while driving at 85 mph will face a well-deserved charge of negligent homicide.

No word on how much time she could face.

……..

Now there’s something you don’t see every day, as two pro cyclists are kicked out of the Vuelta for coming to blows while on their bikes. Road.cc profiles the final week of the race, while Contador takes control.

Just weeks after suffering major brain and facial injuries when he rear-ended a support vehicle during Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge, rookie pro cyclist Ian Crane is recovering and hopes to get back to racing.

……..

Now that was close.

BikinginLA sponsor AnyKicks made their $30,000 goal for funding on Kickstarter with just $66 to spare. Thanks to everyone here who helped push them over the top.

……..

Local

Streetsblog posts a short video by Nathan Lucero documenting last week’s ride and vigil calling for justice for fallen cyclist Milt Olin.

They get it. A Times editorial calls the new three-foot passing law, which takes effect next week, a smart first step in rational road-sharing, and part of a long, slow process in building a bike-friendly society.

Evidently, when you’re on meth, it’s hard to remember you don’t have to say yes when police ask to check your backpack.

Long Beach needs volunteers for this year’s bike count.

 

State

Next City looks at AB 1193, recently passed by the state legislature to legalize protected bike lanes in California, which are technically banned under current regulations.

Who’s the real victim? The driver who injured a woman when he plowed into the Zombie Walk during San Diego’s Comic-Con has sued the San Diego Police Department for creating a “confusing and misleading situation for motorists.” Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

San Diego’s next CicloSDias rolls through the Hillcrest neighborhood in November.

Wish I could be there. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition rides in honor of fellow cyclist Robin Williams.

 

National

Someone forward this to anti-bike lane LA Councilmember Gil Cedillo. Results from New York show road diets can actually improve traffic flow and reduce delays, while confirming that protected bike lanes improve safety for everyone.

Seattle’s new protected bike lane on Second Ave proves a hit with cyclists, even as it confuses motorists. Unfortunately, it came a week too late for cyclist Sher Kung, one of the attorneys who successfully fought the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Tragic news from Chicago, as local actress Molly Glynn died in a freak accident when a tree fell on her while she was riding during a storm; she had a recurring role in the TV show Chicago Fire. Note to the Chicago Tribune: Whether Glynn was wearing a helmet might have mattered if she was hit by a falling branch; a falling tree, not so much.

Streetsblog Chicago questions whether the Second City really deserves to be ranked as America’s second best bike city.

In a truly bizarre case, Muncie IN authorities try to inform a woman her brother was killed when his bike was hit by a car — only to discover she had evidently been undiscovered after dying late last week.

Even after a New York cyclist tracked down the hit-and-run driver that left her lying injured in the street, the NYPD can’t be bothered to talk to the suspect.

Evidently, you have to be crazy to ride in bike-unfriendly Alabama.

 

International

At least the deputy in the Milt Olin case didn’t back over his victim after hitting him, unlike police in Ontario, Canada.

An 84-year old British man overcame two broken hips to set a new hour record for the 80 to 84 age group. Of course, it’s easier to set the record when no one that age has ever attempted it, but still.

The UK woman who called for assertive action to halt a pair of organized rides backed off when no one else came to her support.

A Brit driver loses her license for a whopping six months for fatally dooring a cyclist. No fine. No jail time. No justice.

A Kiwi cyclist is viciously attacked by two road raging motorcyclists after one knocks him down.

 

Finally…

Former Sopranos star Edie Falco is a four time loser to bike theft, after her treasured ebike is stolen in New York. An Omaha cyclist rides into a puddle, and finds himself neck deep in a sink hole. And evidently, a bike makes a good getaway vehicle when robbing an Aussie brothel.

 

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