Archive for Legal Cases

Morning Links: Ventura DA gives form letter response, deadline to support candidates opposing Koretz and Cedillo

Evidently, the Ventura County District Attorney can’t be bothered to respond individually to complaints about how they do their job.

Or in this case, don’t do it.

Last week, we featured a heartbreaking guest post from Hailey Cushman, daughter of Jesse Cushman, who was one of the two people killed by an allegedly distracted driver in Moorpark last fall.

Several people were inspired to write the DA’s office to complain that the driver, Rachel Hill, was only charged with misdemeanors in their deaths, rather than the felony counts the CHP recommended. And isn’t expected to spend a single day behind bars.

On Tuesday, I heard from three separate people who received the exact same response from the DA’s office, identical in every word, space and comma.

And not only that, one that they couldn’t even be bothered to respond to personally; each was signed simply “Webmaster.”

RE: Ventura County District Attorney Contact: Refile People vs. Rachel Hill as a felony

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:03:47 +0000

DA Criminal <DA.Criminal@ventura.org>

Dear Ms. xxxxx

Thank you for contacting the District Attorney’s Office. While we appreciate your concerns regarding this case, we are required to make difficult decisions, which include filing only those criminal charges that we have legally sufficient, admissible evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in court. The case was reviewed and filed by a veteran prosecutor in our Criminal Division. Please understand that the decision to file this case was not made lightly. The District Attorney’s Office conducted a thorough review of the investigation done by the California Highway Patrol and our conclusion is reflected in our filing decision.

Webmaster

Ventura County District Attorney

Nice to see they take complaints — let alone the lives of traffic victims — so seriously over there.

Maybe the good people of Ventura County should ask themselves if this is really what they want from their DA.

………

It’s time to put your money where your vote is.

Recently we reported that CD5’s Paul Koretz, who has taken it upon himself to singlehandedly set bicycling on the Westside back 20 years, will be facing a challenger in next year’s election.

Which means his opponent, Jesse Creed, already has my support before I even meet the guy.

However, the end of this month marks an important fundraising deadline for candidates for LA City Council.

So if you’re as pissed-off as I am about Koretz siding with wealthy homeowners at the expense of everyone else — let alone claiming to be an environmentalist while blocking bike lanes that would enable people to leave their cars at home — dig as deep as you can to make a contribution to his campaign.

And while you’re at it, send another one to Josef Bray-Ali; the owner of NELA’s Flying Pigeon LA bike shop is taking on Gil Cedillo in CD1, thanks in part to Cedillo’s ongoing efforts to keep North Figueroa dangerous.

Send your check to:

Bray-Ali for City Council 2017, 3346 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90065. Be sure to include your name, address and employer, which is required in order for his campaign to legally accept the contribution.

………

Speaking of Koretz, the motions to remove Westwood Blvd and Central Avenue from the Mobility Plan come back before the Planning Commission at 8:30 am tomorrow, on the 10th floor of City Hall in Downtown LA.

It’s not looking good at this point. So we need everyone to attend if you can, or if not, reach out to the commission to demand a safer, and more rideable Los Angeles.

Maybe if we show overwhelming support for keeping them in the plan, the commission — and more importantly, the city council, which will consider it next — may actually listen.

………

If your plans for today included a ride along the upper reaches of the LA River Bike Path, you may want to reconsider.

The path will be closed from 8 am to 3 pm today between Glendale and Fletcher Blvds for major cleanup work following the removal of the flood control barriers.

………

Caught on video: A Philadelphia bike rider is run off the road and threatened by a driver who fled the scene, then can’t get the police to give a damn.

Thanks to Thread Riot for the heads-up.

………

The New Yorker offers photos from 75-years of bike racing. Which is not the same as cycling, despite the headline.

Six African riders are on track to compete in this year’s Tour de France, including Eritrea’s Daniel Teklehaimanot, who became the first black African to compete in the Tour last year.

A British amateur rider conquers the Tour de France’s famed Col du Tourmalet in just three and a half hours; even more impressive considering he’s just eight-years old.

If you want to hear Lance talk about cycling, skip his new podcast.

………

Local

The LA Times endorses plans for a half-cent transportation sales tax, while calling bicycling and walking “a vital part of the transportation infrastructure that has been too often overlooked.” Meanwhile, Metro’s CEO calls it an opportunity to be bold, while a pair of Inglewood and West Hollywood leaders say speed up completion of the north-south train lines.

Kill four people who were walking in a Redondo Beach crosswalk, admit to taking pain killers before getting behind the wheel, and get off with time served.

Damien Newton discusses Metro’s open streets program, as well as Sunday’s 19-mile 626 Golden Streets.

While everyone else is offering advice on how to ride in the heat, contrarian CiclaValley tells you what not to do while cycling in it.

 

State

Caltrans’ survey for their first-ever draft bicycling and walking plan will close at the end of this month.

San Diego unanimously approves plans for nine miles of protected bike lanes in the downtown area, along with five miles of wider sidewalks.

Three San Diego area mayors call for approval of that county’s proposed $18 billion sales tax measure to fund transportation projects, including bicycle and pedestrians projects.

Monterey considers installing its own bikeshare system.

A new line of smart bikes from the Bay Area will come complete with built-in lights, turn signals, brake lights and an electronic shifting system, along with an open OS that will allow developers to add additional features.

The executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition hopes to have more time to ride his bike once he steps down at the end of this month.

 

National

People for Bikes considers how Kickstarter is kick-starting innovation in the bike industry.

Kryptonite increases the amount of optional anti-theft protection coverage they offer with their locks, while streamlining the registration process.

The Denver CO 2011 bike plan calls for investing $119 million to build an additional 270 miles of bike lanes; four years later, it had only spent $2.8 million to stripe 68 miles of new lanes. Sounds like another city I could name.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. Austin TX makes safety improvements to an intersection just weeks after a 14-year old boy was killed riding his bike.

Houston adopts an ambitious new bike plan calling roughly 800 miles of new bike lanes within the next ten years.

The annual Remember the Removal ride will finish on Thursday, as members of the Cherokee Nation and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians retrace the infamous Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma.

A Memphis woman is behind bars after threatening to shoot a bunch of kids in a dispute over a stolen bicycle. Seriously, no bike is worth dying for. And it’s sure as hell not worth killing anyone over, especially not a kid.

Cincinnati’s Red Bike network has expanded seamlessly into Northern Kentucky to form the country’s first multi-state bikeshare system.

Minneapolis makes plans to unseat Portland as America’s bicycling capitol.

Seriously? A Massachusetts driver is expected to be released on a whopping $1,000 bail after being charged with possession of heroin and cocaine, driving with an open container, driving to endanger and driving under the influence when he knocked a woman off her bike. Nice to see the court system taking DUI seriously. And yes, that is sarcasm, in case you weren’t sure.

More proof cyclists are tough. A New York man rode his bike home after getting shot in the stomach.

 

International

Caught on video 2: An Ottawa, Ontario bike rider’s rear-facing cam captures the driver who smashed into him from behind; fortunately, he walked away from the crash.

A bystander jumped into a London river to save the life of a 68-year old bike rider who had fallen in.

A British paper offers advice on how to ride in the rain. Which is not a problem we’re likely to have anytime soon.

A stoned driver in the UK gets seven years in prison — and a 10-year ban on driving — for killing a bicyclist after using heroin and prescription medication.

An Irish soccer fan rides nearly 375 miles to the Euro championships to raise money for cancer charities, only to get mugged on arrival in Paris; fortunately, women working at the Gare du Nord train station chased off the men who tried to steal his bike.

An Aussie cyclist says riding 2,600 miles across the continent in just 32 days can change your life, especially if you almost die twice, get bitten by a snake and caught in a cyclone.

A Singapore women’s non-profit group rode through Cambodia to raise awareness and funds for a hotel and restaurant training school trying to stop human trafficking.

Caught on video 3: A Chinese sidewalk cyclist barely avoids being run down by an out-of-control driver who smashed into a clothing shop.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use your bike as a getaway vehicle, maybe you should only steal one box of frozen chicken at a time. It’s not a bike helmet, it’s a speaker with a hockey puck on top.

And when is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it’s a contraflow traffic lane, of course. Thanks to kdbhiker for the video.

Guest Post: The cost of traffic violence — the daughter of a distracted driving victim speaks out

Last year, an alleged distracted driver plowed into a cyclist in Moorpark, then swerved into motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction, killing them both.

Recently, the daughter of one of those victims asked for the opportunity to tell her story. 

This is what she has to say.

……..

Hailey Cushman’s Story

My name is Hailey Cushman and I am Jesse Cushman’s only biological child. My dad was killed on September 12th, 2015 on his way home from work from BMW Motorcycles located in Ventura. He was hit head-on on his motorcycle in Moorpark, CA by Rachel Hill, who was later found to have been texting and driving. Hill first hit bicyclist Maciek Malish then over-corrected and swerved to hit my father. Both men were killed on impact but Hill only walked away with scratches. In fact, Hill was caught taking pictures of her injuries and posting them on her Facebook the next day as if the accident was humorous to her. This tragic event happened just 9 days before my 21st birthday (in which I had plans that were immediately cancelled and never rescheduled). Dad was going to be 44 years young in October 2015. He was born in Simi Valley, CA but lived most of his life in Reno, NV, which is where I live. Within a couple days of the accident I was down in Fillmore, CA, where dad currently lived with my grandmother, Jorja, and my stepmother, Julia. Julia and dad married in 2002. When dad moved to Southern California he was brought closer to his biological father, Joe Freas, who lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. Joe and dad were in the process of trying to rekindle their relationship after years of separation.

As a child I was lucky to have never experienced a close death in the family but that aspect has also made losing my father at this age extremely difficult for me. My dad had an exciting, fulfilling and fun life. My dad was Batman! My dad and Julia were heavily involved with cosplay and all things comics. Dad had several Batman suits that were so legit that he was in several professional photo shoots. That year dad and Julia won free tickets to the San Diego Comic Con, which they had been trying to attend for years. Dad and I enjoyed doing a lot together when I would come visit in the summer time; we would go boogie boarding in Malibu, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain several times a month (it was our favorite together), race quads (he raced professionally but he also taught me how to ride and I was too racing at just 5 years old). As a family, we would frequently play video games and board games as they owned a plethora of Monopoly games and superhero video games. We would even get the whole family involved with Rockband and have somebody on each instrument. Another big part of my dad and Julia’s life was motorcycles. They were a part of the local STAR riding chapters where they would do toy drives, poker runs and many other fun rides with the group. My grandma would always worry about dad on his motorcycle because she knew the risks but both dad and Julia were very cautious riders. I guess this proves that no matter how cautious you are in life you can never fully protect yourself from others.

Since I lost my dad my life has changed forever. I’ve had to see more psychiatrists lately for stress, anxiety and depression in order to keep my job and continue my college education (which I am close to finishing). I am so young and I have so much of my life ahead of me but my father will not be able to be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, be there at the birth of his grandchildren, see me graduate college or buy my first house. The Cushman and Malish family’s lives have forever been changed and will always hurt when we think about this tragic incident. We try to put our minds at ease by thinking about how Rachel Hill will have to live with what she has caused these two families for the rest of her life as well, but unfortunately, we are unable to rely upon the justice system to make her accountable. We have recently been told by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office that Hill may not even receive any jail time but only community service. The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is certainly corrupt. The CHP took 8 months to complete the police report to ensure they had all the information and evidence to create a strong case. The CHP’s recommendation was that Hill should be charged with a felony of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Within 2 weeks of the Ventura County District Attorney receiving the case they decide that Hill only be charged with a misdemeanor!

Now, I am a smart and educated person. I have been going to school for 16 years (total) and this is not what I was taught in how our justice system operates! When you kill another person due to reckless driving you go to jail! End of story! Rachel Hill is only getting a slap on the wrist for killing TWO innocent people. I spoke with the assistant District Attorney who informed me that they did not have enough evidence to prove gross negligence, even though they had all of Rachel’s text message conversations showing she was texting while driving leading up to the accident. Hill has been able to spend the last 9 months with her family through the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were especially hard times for both the Cushman and Malish families. Now that Father’s Day is less than one week away my heart aches just thinking about that empty feeling I will have now not being able to celebrate it with my dad. No amount of money or punishment on Rachel Hill’s behalf will ever bring my father or Maciek Malish back but it would at least be nice to have a piece of mind knowing that Rachel Hill’s life would be forever affected with jail time, a felony and two counts of manslaughter on her record for the rest of her life the same way that our family will forever be devastated about this loss and injustice. Not a single person I have spoken to agrees with the District Attorney’s decision of a misdemeanor (besides the Hill family). We need to bring attention to this obvious injustice and corruption of our justice system by bringing publicity to this case for both the Cushman and the Malish family in hopes to one day begin to heal from this tragic loss.

From left to right: dad, Julia, grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating mine and Julia's graduation, grandmas birthday and dad and Julia's anniversary.

From left to right: Dad, Julia, Grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating my and Julia’s graduation, grandma’s birthday and Dad and Julia’s anniversary.

Dad and Julia's wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad and Julia’s wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

R.I.P. Jesse Cushman. I love you!

……..

Reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities will be impossible as long as prosecutors refuse to take even the most egregious cases like this seriously. 

If you’re as angry as I am about this case, contact Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten, and politely — but firmly — demand that the case be re-filed as a felony.

Hailey, and all the families and loved ones of both victims, deserve better.

As do we all.

Morning Links: Justice at last for OC’s Michael Bastien, and the bike world strips for the World Naked Bike Ride

It’s taken two years, but there’s finally been justice for Michael Bastien.

And with far more jail time than initial reports would have suggested.

This comes from our anonymous Orange County correspondent —

On a sunny Labor Day afternoon, Michael Bastien and his son Matt were riding their bikes down Bolsa Chica when they were hit from behind by a drunk driver. Michael was killed; his son survived.

On Friday, June 3rd, Michael John Perez accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for felony vehicular manslaughter. He’ll be out in half that, of course. His ass is currently in County awaiting transfer to Wasco.

Michael Bastien’s brother is still calling the collision that resulted in his brother’s death a “DUI accident,” which is pretty damn big-hearted of him, because I consider “repeat drunk driving” and “vehicular manslaughter” to be crimes, not accidents, and I am incredibly disturbed at the idea that the collision (whose aftermath I passed on my daily commute) was in any way unavoidable and free of blame.

Once again, the Orange County DA’s office has gotten a conviction in a traffic case resulting in serious jail time. While other local district attorneys don’t even care enough to try.

………

Hundreds of people turned out for the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride Sunday; a surprising number chose to bare all on a cloudy morning. (Both links NSFW).

Riders also turned out in force for the Toronto and London editions.

………

Michigan lawmakers respond to the Kalamazoo bike crash tragedy by introducing a bill that would impose up to 15 years in jail for causing serious injury or death with a motor vehicle.

Nice gesture from Lance Armstrong, who will join members of the victims’ cycling club to finish the ride they started before the crash.

Meanwhile, the judge ordered the killer held without bond on Friday.

………

Former German world champ Rudi Altig has died of cancer at age 79; Altig once spent 18 days in the leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France.

Peter Sagan set a new record by winning his 12th stage of the Tour of Switzerland.

The New York Times looks at efforts to hold bike racing motor doping at bay.

An Aussie website talks with veteran cycling announcer Phil Ligget.

………

Local

A 10-year old girl was the victim of a drive-by shooting in Boyle Heights, as someone fired multiple shots at a bike rider in an apparent gang attack, and hitting her in the head instead; at last report she was in critical condition.

Good looks at LA’s Great Streets Initiative, saying the city is reinventing itself one street at a time.

A writer for the LA Times goes for an illuminating LA Noir Ride with the Los Angeles Explorers Club.

Richard Risemberg says don’t be a blockhead, put some sunscreen on any uncovered skin when you ride. You won’t get any argument from me; I’ve already had cancers carved out of my nose and calf as a result of riding unprotected in my youth.

Around 300 people turned out for the Rod Bennett Memorial Bike Ride in Santa Clarita on Saturday; Bennett was killed in a hit-and-run while riding on Placerita Canyon last month.

 

State

A Santa Barbara newspaper says the new sharrows being installed in the city may be useless. Sort of like most sharrows, in other words.

A new mural remembers a Salinas man who was killed in a hit-and-run two years ago; his killer was never found.

Sad news from Campbell, as a bike rider was killed in a collision Sunday afternoon.

 

National

The Federal Bureau of Land Management has created a map of the nation’s 20 top mountain bike destinations, only one of which is in California.

NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Josh Wise and Landon Cassill are each one of us, as they take a 71-mile bike ride with their crew members through Michigan’s Irish Hills.

In another case of bighearted cops, when DC police officers were unable to fix a 12-year old boy’s bicycle, they pitched in to buy him a new one.

 

International

Bicycling under the influence may not be illegal in Canada, but it’s not recommended. But it is illegal in Californiawith a fine up to $250, but no points against your driver’s license.

A bike commuter writing in the Guardian says too many drivers forget we’re all human; motorists will survive being delayed a few seconds by a bike rider, but the rider may not survive their anger. Case in point: A bicyclist in the UK suffered a serious eye injury when someone threw an egg at him from a passing car.

A Scottish rider visits Copenhagen, and says cycling utopia really does exist.

In a new study from the University of Duh, British researchers discover that kids who bike as children are more likely to ride as teenagers.

An eight-year old Kenyon boy breaks down in tears when he’s given a new mountain bike for finishing at the head of his elementary school class.

 

Finally…

Having a bike stolen sucks — especially if you haven’t even gotten it out of the box yet. If you’re not happy with a bike shop’s prices, don’t run off with their tip jar.

And forget bike Nazis; we’re now a “cycling Talibanforcing unwanted changes on poor, oppressed drivers.

………

Come back later this morning, when we’ll have a heartbreaking guest post from the daughter of one of the victims in the Moorpark distracted driving crash that left two people dead; the Ventura County DA has inexplicably filed the charges as misdemeanors, against the wishes of the CHP and any form of common decency.

………

Thanks to an anonymous donor for her generous donation to support this site.

 

Morning Links: Bike lane blocking LA CM cuts WeHo ribbon; MI takes fatal crash seriously, Ventura DA doesn’t

No hypocrisy here.

Twitter user fig4all attended the ribbon cutting for the new Fairfax Blvd bike lanes in West Hollywood on Thursday. And was surprised to see LA’s 5th District Councilmember Paul Koretz participating, since the bike lanes connect to existing lanes in his district.

Particularly since Koretz has single-handedly blocked badly needed bike lanes on Westwood Blvd at the behest of wealthy homeowners, while leading the fight to have them removed from the Mobility Plan.

Fairfax Ribbon Cutting

Is it just me, to does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

Is it just me, or does Paul Koretz looks a little pissed off?

On the other hand, let’s give credit to the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition for working to get the new Fairfax bike lanes on the street, regardless of who shows up to cut the ribbon.

………

Kalamazoo bike riders say Tuesday’s tragedy is a wake-up call for cyclists to always be aware of their surroundings on the road, while others decry the news coverage focused on telling cyclists how to protect themselves from two ton ballistic missiles, rather than telling drivers not to kill innocent people on bicycles.

Over 700 members of the local community came together to pray for the victims.

Prosecutors have shown they’re taking the case seriously, filing five second degree murder charges against the driver, along with four counts of reckless driving. However, police have still not given a reason for the crash.

The mother of driver Charles E. Pickett, Jr. insists her son is not a murderer and would never crash into anyone on purpose, although his Facebook page doesn’t exactly instill confidence. Thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious for the Facebook link.

Meanwhile, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson says another Ride of Silence isn’t going to change anything; we need to stop being silent, start filing police reports and demand changes from our local leaders if crap like this is ever going to stop.

………

Contrast the Kalamazoo case with last year’s Moorpark massacre, in which a distracted driver plowed into a cyclist, then overcorrected to hit a motorcycle rider head-on, killing both men.

Yet somehow, the Ventura County DA’s office inexplicably filed misdemeanor manslaughter charges, rather than the felony charges recommended by the CHP. Guaranteeing that the driver, 26-year old Rachel Hill of Ventura, will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist, at best.

And eliminating whatever leverage the DA may have had to negotiate a guilty plea requiring any real jail time before the case even starts.

Needless to say, the widows of Maciek Malish and Jesse Cushman are outraged.

As any rational person would be.

KABC-7 reports Hill’s lawyer denies she was using her phone at the time of the collision; they admit she had used it a few minutes prior to the crash, but swear she’d stopped before the wreck occurred. Which fails to explain why she couldn’t manage to see the first victim or avoid either one.

So maybe she crashed into them just for the hell of it.

The charges in the Kalamazoo case shows what happens when authorities take traffic crime seriously. And this case shows what happens when they don’t.

Hopefully, the justifiable outrage to the misdemeanor counts will convince Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten to re-file the case as a felony.

If not, maybe Ventura County voters should consider whether he belongs in the job.

Come back next week when we’ll have a guest post from the daughter of one of the victims.

………

If you wonder why LA drivers speed with abandon, it’s because police can’t legally use speed guns on 75% of LA streets, thanks to the city’s failure to conduct speed surveys in compliance with California’s murderous 85th percentile law, which requires that speed limits be set to the rate 85% of drivers speed travel.

Yet conducting the surveys means limits will most likely have to be raised in order to be enforced.

Putting speeding drivers in charge of setting speed limits is like leaving armed robbers in charge of bank security. Contact your state legislators and demand a change.

………

The CyclingTips website asks if professional cycling’s WorldTour is really so desperate for sponsors that it needs a team owned by a Bahraini prince with a dossier thick with human rights abuses and torture allegations; activists threaten to block next year’s Tour de France if the team participates.

Turns out a British extreme cyclist didn’t go missing on the unsupported cross-country Trans-Am Bike Race after all; he was just the victim of dehydration and a broken GPS.

………

Local

Twitter user captainandstoker offers a bike cam view of the new curb-protected bike lane on Los Angeles Street. Meanwhile, groundbreaking is finally scheduled to take place on the long-promised MyFigueroa project this summer.

Richard Risemberg calls for volunteers to help out with Flying Pigeon owner Joseph Bray-Ali’s run for city council against anti-bike incumbent Gil Cedillo.

The Eastsider talks with Bicycle Kitchen founder Jimmy Lizama.

LA Eater examines a quartet of area coffee shops where cycling and caffeine collide.

Forget hi-viz. If you really want to be seen, join the LA edition of the World Naked Bike Ride tomorrow, at a location to be announced later today.

Don’t get that confused with Sunday’s non-clothing-optional LA River Ride, though, with routes ranging from a 15-mile family ride to a century ride around Long Beach and back.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with Bike SGV Programs Director David Diaz about this weekend’s Viva SGV open streets event.

 

State

The annual AIDS/Lifecycle Ride will pass through Ventura and Malibu before ending at LA’s Fairfax High School on Saturday.

A 13-year old eighth grader becomes the youngest person to graduate from Moorpark College; like the genius he is, he enjoys riding a bike when he’s not studying.

A Vacaville man has been selected as the Solano County Bike Commuter of the Year.

NorCal AAA is using ebikes to rescue drivers in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area.

 

National

Elly Blue is back to suggest that the best bike trips start on a train.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. After a bike rider was killed in a collision, Tucson considers how to improve the intersection so it won’t happen again.

You don’t have to see to ride a bike, as a group of Missouri tandem riders volunteer their time and bikes to take blind people bicycling on local trails.

 

International

The Winnipeg Free Press calls the city’s proposed bike helmet law well-intentioned but misguided.

Caught on video: A British cyclist records a number of too-close passes, including one so close you can almost taste the hay bales on a passing truck.

A South African writer complains about “arrogant” cyclists who insist on using the sidewalk — albeit legally — to get around dangerous road construction work. If you’re going to ride on the sidewalk, show some courtesy to other people using it.

A Kiwi website looks at the bike-mounted device developed by the Chattanooga police department to accurately measure a three-foot passing distance. Something the LAPD needs to get its hands on so they can start enforcing the passing law here, even if they can’t use speed guns.

An Aussie writer says your safety on the streets depends on wearing fluorescent hi-viz during the day and reflectorized clothing at night. Because expecting drivers to actually pay attention to what’s on the road ahead of them is just too much to ask.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to use a blowtorch to cut a bike lock on a public beach in broad daylight, leave the controlled substances and drug paraphernalia at home. No, cyclists aren’t safer riding against traffic, and militant bike riders hardly ever interfere with traffic on purpose.

And this is what happens when you try to ride a bike through a presidential motorcade.

 

Morning Links: Charges filed in Santa Clarita hit-and-run; candidates for LA County 4th District Supervisor talk

Charges have been filed in the death of cyclist Rod Bennett in Santa Clarita last week.

According to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, Lucas James Guidroz has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death for fleeing the scene after running down Bennett from behind.

It will be interesting to see what evidence prosecutors to support the DUI charge, since Guidroz waited two days to turn himself in — and then only after his car was discovered — giving him plenty of time to sober up first.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clarita Gazette offers a nice profile of the popular music and math teacher who lost his life at age 53. And unlike the Signal, they get his name right.

………

KPCC’s Air Talk program hosts a debate among the candidates for the 4th District LA County Supervisor to replace termed out Don Knabe, who’s held the seat for 26 years.

Bike the Vote LA rates US Rep. Janice Hahn as the top choice for the position.

………

The family of fallen Panorama City bicyclist Peter Loretta is looking for the kindhearted stranger who comforted the homeless man as he lay dying after being struck by a car last month.

They’d like to thank him for his kindness. As should we all.

………

Another Russian cyclist has tested positive for doping based on four-year old samples from the London Olympics. Meanwhile, Cycling Weekly asks the experts if doping can ever be eradicated from cycling. As long as there are benefits to cheating, people will find a way to do it. 

US pro cyclist Tejay van Garderen pulls his name from consideration from the Rio Olympics out of concern for the Zika virus with a pregnant wife at home.

VeloNews offers a nice profile of American cyclist Evan Huffman, who’s back racing for a domestic Continental team after two less than satisfying years on the WorldTour with Astana.

Two cyclists were bound by Taylor Phinney’s violent crash in the 2014 Nationals; one made it back to the top, the other hit bottom.

Cycling Tips looks at how unknown rider Greg Daniels surprised the favorites to win the US national road championship.

………

Local

It could take until next month to fully reopen the LA River bike path. The Corps of Engineers should have most of the flood control barriers removed by the middle of this month, then LADOT could take up to another two weeks to ensure the path is safe to ride. And even then, some barriers could stay up until next year.

UCLA’s Daily Bruin endorses candidates — and in some cases, withholds endorsement — for the Westwood Neighborhood Council. Including one candidate who believes bike lanes on Westwood Blvd should have been studied before being rejected. He’s got my vote already.

The Eastsider takes a look at the co-ed Los Angeles Bike Polo team.

Portland’s Elly Blue, Joe Biel and Joshua Ploeg return to Santa Monica for a vegan bike-focused night sponsored by Santa Monica Spoke.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson reacts to having complaints of fallen cyclists and riders harassed by drivers ignored by the Traffic Safety Committee in Palos Verdes Estates.

Long Beach police bust a thief who tried to use a shovel to break the lock on a bike near the beachfront bike path.

Bike-friendly Long Beach Councilmember Suja Lowenthal prepares to step down after 10 years on the council. Meanwhile, the city ups their bike-friendly ante with 14 new recharge stations providing a fix-it stand and water fountain for cyclists.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at three bike-related bills in the California legislature; one that would explicitly authorize riding side-by-side — which is now tacitly allowed, since it’s not addressed in state law — appears to be in trouble.

Nearly 1,800 students in next year’s Stanford freshman class will get a new bike helmet, courtesy of a bike-riding Stanford parent and his wife.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider was killed in a collision trying to make a right turn out of a driveway.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on where to position yourself on the road. Yet somehow recommends riding “a bit more into the lane,” rather than assertively taking the center of the lane as recommended by CyclingSavvy and the League of American Bicyclists.

Streetsblog says one chart shows why helmets aren’t the answer to bike safety.

Colorado’s governor vetoes an auto-centric bill that would have banned red light and speed cameras in the state, putting bike riders and pedestrians, as well as drivers, at risk.

A Boulder CO woman says a cyclist just came out of nowhere to pound her car and punch her in the face. The fact that she thought he came out of nowhere probably explains why he was so mad. But violence is never the answer.

Over 100 Texas kids get new bikes for having perfect school attendance over the past year.

Sixty-seven University of Texas students will spend their summer bicycling 4,687 miles from Austin TX to Anchorage AK.

 

International

A London track cyclist died after suffering a heart attack when three separate ambulances failed to respond because the velodrome wasn’t in their outdated satnav systems.

London cyclists call on the city’s new mayor to live up to his promises to improve bike safety.

Now that’s more like it. Great Britain considers on-the-spot fines up to £5,000 — the equivalent of $7,200 — for passing bicyclists too closely. Which compares rather favorably to the measly $35 fine for violating California’s three-foot passing law.

The European Parliament issues a report on the state of bicycling on the continent.

Uber has started a new service for Dutch bike riders, which provides bike rack-equipped cars for an additional charge.

Caught on video: An Aussie truck driver repeatedly attempts to run a cyclist off the road, then exchanges curses with him at the next red light. If a driver tries to run me over, the last thing I’m going to do is wait next to him at a traffic light.

A Thai drunk driver gets four years and a $59,000 fine for killing three bike riders and injuring four others when she plowed into a cycling club last year.

 

Finally…

Get your hot bike back with Bunz. The traditional battle over bike lanes versus parking goes on — but this time, the other side is armed.

And if you’re going to assault an elderly driver for tailgating your bike, it’s probably best to get rid of the meth and syringes in your backpack before the police show up.

Or better yet, just don’t.

Morning Links: 15 to life for Oxnard DUI driver, reward for bike-toting dog killer, and bikeshare comes to DTLA July 7

Great news, as we’re now up to 24 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who’ve signed up in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Which means we need just two more people to sign up or renew your membership today to make it 26 new members by May 26th.

We may not make the goal of 100 members by the end of this month. But I consider it a personal favor for everyone who signs up before I step down as an LACBC board member next month.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have joined as part of this drive.

………

Sometimes, even a possible life sentence barely seems like enough.

The Ventura County Star reports an Oxnard man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life in state prison for the drunken hit-and-run death of a 43-year old bike rider in 2014.

Thirty-one year old Policarpio Bartolon Diaz may have been driving as fast as 62 mph when he plowed into Marco Flores as he rode with a friend in a marked bike lane. Diaz never even braked as he fled the scene with Flores’ bike still trapped under his car.

Garcia’s friend, Robert Patterson, said he was riding his bike alongside Garcia and also came close to being struck….

“I know for a fact he wasn’t remorseful because when he hit my friend, his brake lights never came on … he just shook him off the car,” Patterson said. “If you hit a human being, you think he would stop. To see him being tossed off the car was the hardest thing I’ve had to live through to this day.”

Diaz had a BAC of .22, nearly three times the legal limit, when he was arrested just a mile away. It was his third arrest for DUI, and would have been his second conviction if the DA hadn’t bargained the DUI charge away in exchange for a guilty plea to second degree murder.

………

PETA is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the subhuman schmuck who beat a dog to death in Boyle Heights two weeks ago.

The man chased down the dog after it jumped out of the car and tried to run away, then repeatedly punched and slammed it onto the sidewalk. As if any animal wouldn’t try to get away from someone capable of doing that.

According to KCBS-2 —

The suspect is described as a white male with balding gray hair, 50 to 60 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 280 pounds.

The suspect was driving a 1996 to 2000 silver or gray Dodge Caravan with an off-color rear bumper. At the time of the incident, the van had two bicycles on a rear bike rack.

Judging by the photo, at least one of those bikes has been stripped, appearing to be missing both wheels.

………

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson calls out the Palos Verdes Estate Police Department for a lackadaisical approach to investigating the death of cyclist John Bacon.

By Davidson’s account, cyclists have done virtually all the work in tracking down the man who may be responsible, as well as uncovering numerous riders who were harassed by a truck driver matching the same description.

Let’s hope the department cares enough to figure out what really happened. And bring any charges that are warranted.

………

Bikeshare comes to DTLA on July 7th.

The system — officially named Metro Bike — will offer 1,000 bikes at 65 docking stations throughout the Downtown area, available for rent 24/7.

According to the announcement from LA Metro

Register today for a bike share pass and receive a Limited Edition Metro Bike Share Kit featuring stickers, a Bikes on Metro guide and more. The first 1,000 people to sign up will also receive exclusive Metro Bike Share pins!

You can get a Metro Bike Share pass by the month or by the trip, similar to transit. If you ride a lot, a $20 Monthly pass might be for you, but if you just ride occasionally you should consider our $40 Flex pass. Remember through August 1st the system will be open for bike share pass holders only, so register for your Metro Bike Share pass today!

Members will be able to rent a bike for $1.75 per half hour — or free for the first half hour for monthly pass holders — while non-members can rent for $3.50 for each 30 minutes using a TAP card.

Only registered members will be able to rent a bike for the first month.

Meanwhile, the LA Weekly takes a sneak peak, finding the bikes smooth, sturdy and safe, if somewhat heavy, and “perfect for bar-hopping, grocery shopping or seeing the sights of DTLA.”

Although we have to come up with a much better nickname for the system than the unimaginative Metro Bike.

And on a related subject, you can now use your TAP card to rent one of the much better named Breeze Bikes in Santa Monica.

………

A new Streetfilm celebrates Santa Monica’s savvy multimodalism.

………

Last week we linked to a Facebook post from Arizona’s Brendan Lyons, in which he described meeting — and forgiving — the distracted driver who nearly killed him as he rode with his fiancé two years ago.

Now a local TV station picks up the story, describing a touching act of forgiveness for the horrifying wreck that ended Lyons’ firefighting career. And clearly driving home the dangers of using any electronic device behind the wheel, and taking your eyes off the road for even a moment.

………

LA’s Phil Gaimon tells what it’s like to race in his home state in the Amgen Tour of California.

Bicycling explains the fine art of bike racing in the rain. Extra style points for belting out “Singing in the Rain” from the back of the peloton.

And what it’s like to be a soigneur for a professional racing team.

………

Local

LAist suggests the eight best places to ride a bike in LA. Not to be confused with their ten best bike rides in LA.

Dodger’s bench coach Bob Geren is one of us, as he rides his bike to work at Dodger Stadium. Thanks to the Militant Angeleno for the link.

CiclaValley mournfully helps place another ghost bike in the San Fernando Valley.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newtown talks with Nancy Bond of Move Monrovia.

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with CLR Effect; Michael Wagner forwards news that the great I Can Bike program will be held at the Fairgrounds in Pomona at the end of next month to help people with disabilities gain greater independence by learning how to ride a bicycle.

The annual Fiesta Hermosa starts tomorrow in Hermosa Beach, complete with bike valet.

 

State

Following up on our recent piece about a bike rider blown off his bike by jet wash while riding past LAX, Cyclelicious tells a similar tale while growing up on a US military base in Japan.

Like business people in every other city, San Diego business owners worry about the loss of parking spots in the Uptown area after planned bike lanes are installed. As if people on bikes don’t spend money and potential customers don’t like calmer streets. Most likely, by this time next year, they’ll wonder what they were worried about.

A La Jolla paper goes for a bike ride through the city with the Executive Director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, and finds it needs a lot of improvement to meet San Diego’s Climate Action Plan.

Santa Ana police shoot a stabbing and carjacking suspect after she led them on a slow speed bicycle chase.

Just one more day to get tickets before the start of the Great Western Bicycle Rally in Paso Robles.

Chewbacca Mom is one of us, as she rides a bike with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.

Let’s call this the Sacramento section today:

Sad news from Tulare County, as a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run on his way to work Tuesday. The CHP somehow felt the need to point out the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet, as if that would have protected him from an erratic, high-speed driver in large pickup.

 

National

HuffPo offers ten great American bike rides. None of which are in LA. Or California, for that matter.

Good Samaritans pitch in to rescue an Alaskan girl after she’s impaled by her bike handlebar in a remote village. Something that seems to happen far too often, suggesting a serious design flaw that needs to be corrected.

The mayor of Reno NV is pushing for green bike lanes in the right locations.

Life is cheap in Utah, where walking away from the drunken death of a cyclist only merits a single year behind bars.

Forty-eight states later, a Topeka man is back home from a cross country bike ride he took because he feared he’d regret it later if he didn’t. Which is about as good a reason as any.

A suspect has been arrested in the apparently random beating death of a 65-year old Des Moines IA bike rider earlier this month.

A new paper from the University of Illinois at Chicago establishes a metric allowing planners to rank the value of bicycling and walking projects.

BMX champ Dave Mirra was suffering from C.T.E. when he shot himself to death in Greenville NC in February; that’s the same disease resulting from repeated head trauma that has afflicted numerous football players.

 

International

Rio’s mayor says the elevated bike path that collapsed, killing three people, will be rebuilt and open again this year. Note to Rio Times Online: Ciclovía means bike path. So a headline referring to the ciclovía bike path is redundantly repetitive.

A bicycle advocate says it’s time to finish Canada’s Transnational Trail.

Bike your way through two Italian cities.

 

Finally…

Nothing like buying a bike lock and coming out to discover you don’t have anything to lock. Running a pro cycling team can be torture; no, literally.

And this is what happens when your carbon wheel fails.

………

My apologies for yesterday’s unexcused absence. It seems my body still feels the need to remind me that I’m not as healthy as I like to think I am, sometime suddenly, unexpectedly and with surprising force.

 

Morning Links: Life is cheap in Ventura County, Kuehl’s cartoon bike goes Expo, and happy Bike to Work Day

We’re still at 17 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Let’s get this up to one per day by getting just two more people to sign up now or renew your membership today to make it 19 on the 19th. It’s worth the low cost of membership just for the great LACBC gear you’ll get. Never mind helping to make this a more bikeable, livable and equitable city and county.

………

They should be ashamed.

The Ventura County DA’s office gave an unwarranted gift to a killer driver on Tuesday, by charging a Camarillo woman with two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter in the distracted driving death of two people in Moorpark last year.

Even though the CHP had recommended felony charges.

Twenty-six-year old Rachel Hill was allegedly distracted by a “portable electronic device” when she slammed into 53-year old cyclist Maciek Malish at 55 mph, then overcorrected after killing him and smashed head-on into 43-year old motorcyclist Jesse Cushman as he rode in the opposite direction.

Thanks to the inexplicable generosity of the DA’s office — which evidently doesn’t take either traffic crime or human life seriously — Hill faces a maximum of one year in county jail for each count, rather than the six years in state prison per count the CHP and common sense suggests is warranted.

Now two men are dead and two families shattered, while a deadly driver is guaranteed of receiving nothing more than a gentle slap on the wrist.

It’s heartbreaking to realize the lives of those on two wheels are worth so little in Ventura County — even when one is an Emmy winning sound editor.

Let’s hope voters in the county remember this when the next election rolls around.

………

LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has a little fun riding the new Expo Line with an animated bike, surfboard and service dog.


………

Happy Bike to Work Day.

If you’re reading this early enough, you’ll find pit stops all over the LA area.

If not, don’t fret; both the Santa Monica Spoke and the LACBC are hosting handlebar happy hours for your ride home.

KPCC observes Bike to Work Day while noting that local bike commuting rates are still too low; Pasadena leads LA area cities with a 2.2% share.

………

Italian cyclist Diego Ulissi came out on top in a three-way sprint in Wednesday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, as Bob Jungels keeps the leader’s pink jersey. Former leader Tom Dumoulin dropped out due to a sore butt.

The fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California ends with a sprint finish at Laguna Seca; thousands turned out for the start at Morro Bay. Peter Sagan captured his record 15th stage victory in the race, while Julian Alaphilippe leads American Peter Stetina by 22 seconds in the general classification.

………

Local

LA’s Fox-11 concludes it is in fact possible to go carfree in SoCal.

HuffPo’s Joel Epstein complains about LA’s trashy streets.

The president of the Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association says the possible removal of Westwood Blvd from the bike plan is a victory for residents, insisting Gayley Ave is better suited for a bike lane. Because God forbid we should get in the way of their precious Mercedes, Range Rovers and Teslas.

Glassell Park will consider improvements to Verdugo Road, including a road diet and possible bike lanes.

LA Magazine says the Biking Black Hole’s new bikeshare system is encouraging people to ride bikes “on streets that are hostile, if not downright dangerous, to two wheels.” Sort of like Westwood/Holmby Hills residents.

 

State

The 2016 Tour de OC rolls this Saturday to help send foster kids to camp for a mentorship program.

San Diego traffic delays have doubled over the last three years, as too few people opt for transit or riding to work. Yet the city’s mayor says separated bike lanes work, and getting 22% of commuters on bikes is doable.

Bike friendly Redlands is looking for state funding to install a new bike lane connecting with the Santa Ana River Trail.

Fresno is looking to improve the health of its residents by making it safer to ride and bike in the largely Latino and African American south part of town.

A San Francisco cyclist was critically injured when he was run over by a cab driver while riding in a crosswalk.

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district is about to get its first bike lane.

The Sacramento Bee wades into the great helmet debate with a surprisingly even-handed report.

 

National

A police website discusses the new GPS-enabled bait bikes to bust bike thieves.

NPR joins in on a Portland house move by bicycle.

A Spokane bike shop is helping the homeless and underemployed get back on their feet and out on the road.

Caught on video: An Arizona bike rider catches a foul-mouthed road raging driver on his bike cam screaming at him to get on the sidewalk because he was using the left turn lane.

A year later, there are no leads in the apparently random shooting of a bike rider from a passing car near my hometown.

Someone has apparently set out to deliberately injure or kill Colorado mountain bikers by planting three-inch nails embedded in concrete on a new singletrack trail; it’s the second such incident in the area in the past year. Whoever did this should face an attempted murder charge when they’re caught, at the bare minimum.

A North Dakota letter writer applauds attempts to say no to those damn liberal bike lanes.

A bike-riding Massachusetts minister asks motorists to watch out for bicyclists, and not judge the majority of well-mannered riders by the actions of a few idiots. His words, not mine. But still.

Once again, New Yorkers rise up against bike lanes, this time in Brooklyn. Somehow, they seem to think older and handicapped people fair better dealing with speeding cars than bicycles.

An 11-year old bike rider never even left his driveway, yet he’s in the hospital now because a driver couldn’t be bothered to pull over before reaching into the backseat to get something. Too bad it’s not against the law to be an effing jackass.

 

International

A UK shire re-enacts the 97-year old unsolved murder of a young woman as she rode her bike from her uncle’s house.

Nothing like taking a beating from a road-raging 77-year old Brit driver.

A Scottish adventure cyclist has circled the world twice — once setting a world record — and ridden from Alaska to Argentina and the full length of Africa, all before his 34th birthday.

Despite the panicking headline, only eleven Belfast cyclists have been cited for biking under the influence in the past five years.

It’s urban drivers who benefit most from cycling, though that’s not always obvious to motorists, according to a Dublin letter writer.

Barcelona considers building superblocks to reclaim 60% of the city’s streets from cars.

An Aussie pro cyclist says she’s encouraged to see more riders Down Under, yet utterly afraid because of their lack of skills and bad behavior.

An Australian politician says all new road and rail projects in the country should include walking and cycle tracks. Actually, that should be the policy everywhere.

 

Finally…

Think of it as fly paper for bicyclists. Maybe you don’t want to wear that yellow jersey after all.

And it’s pedals, dammit, not peddles.

Seriously.

 

Morning Links: Another killer driver gets a sore wrist, and the Flying Scotsman compares himself to Pluto

A special thank you to the ten new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who’ve signed up as part of the May BikinginLA LACBC Membership drive. That means we just have 90 to go to reach our goal of 100 new members before I step down from the LACBC board next month.

So take a moment to sign up now to add your voice to one of the nation’s leading bicycle advocacy organizations. And tell all your bike riding friends, family, coworkers to join up, too.

………

Add one more driver getting off with a tiny slap on the wrist for fatally running down a bike rider.

After discussing two similar cases yesterday, one more was added to the list after 25-year old Luis Aranda Llamas was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence for the death of Matthew Carp as he rode in a Menifee bike lane.

Llamas received just three years probation, along with 90 days work release for the 2014 collision.

Prosecutors somehow concluded there was no gross negligence that would have warranted a felony charge, even though Llamas was speeding when ran Carp down from behind, and barely missed Carp’s riding companion.

Evidently, killing someone while driving in a bike lane at a speed well above the posted limit is just one of those things.

………

Patrick Lynch forwards news of a horrifying crash that nearly took the life of a Chicago man as he was riding home with his two sons earlier this week.

An SUV driver struck Scott Jacobson after making a U-turn, dragging him hundreds of feet before witnesses and firemen from a nearby fire station managed to stop the driver.

Yet even though the driver was clearly trying to flee the scene, not to mention driving with a revoked license and no insurance, he was not charged with hit-and-run. And isn’t facing a single felony count.

As Lynch puts it,

While Matt Willens from the Streetsblog article is right when he says “In general, society — including legislators, judges, and jurors — is quick to identify with a driver who injures a cyclist, rather than with the injured cyclist. People feel bad about punishing someone they can relate to.”

I don’t think a jury will have a hard time convicting an uninsured, unlicensed motorist who dragged a man 300 feet trying to flee. Let’s hope I’m not wrong.

A gofundme account in Jacobson’s name has raised over $27,500 out of the $50,000 goal in a single day.

………

Multiple record holder Graeme Obree, aka the Flying Scotsman, feels ignored by the racing world these days, saying his relationship to cycling is like Pluto’s relationship to Earth.

And they’re off on the Giro, with Dutch favorite Tom Dumoulin taking the early lead, while Aussie cyclist Adam Hansen is attempting to finish his 14th Grand Tour in a row, dating back to 2011.

………

Local

Caught on video: A friend of CiclaValley is nearly taken out by a speeding driver who used a bike lane to pass a car on the right while he was riding in it.

If you hurry, you may still be able to make the LACBC’s free bike commuter workshop this morning. Meanwhile, they profile Pitzer College cyclist Cade Maldonado, who grew up in the Pico Union neighborhood.

Car crashes are up in Long Beach, as low gas prices encourage more driving — along with more distracted driving.

The third annual Long Beach Bike Festival takes place today, with bicycle themed events throughout the Downtown area.

 

State

Laguna Beach police will hold a bike rodeo and road safety expo on the 15th.

Community leaders are calling for the reopening of a bike crossing between the US and Mexico that was closed after 9/11.

Over 200 mountain bikers kicked off bike month with a 44-mile dirt trail ride across San Diego County to raise funds for the San Diego Mountain Biking Association.

A 91-year old Santa Barbara man turned himself in for the hit-and-run that injured a 14-year old boy riding his bike. Seriously, anyone who doesn’t know you have to stick around after a crash shouldn’t be driving.

Great story from Sports Illustrated about a Salinas teenager who competes for his high school mountain bike team on one leg, after losing his right leg to cancer in junior high.

A San Francisco cyclist remembers the terrifying assault he somehow survived a year ago when a road raging driver repeatedly attempted to run him down. The driver confessed to his actions, bizarrely thinking the police would agree he did the right thing; he was eventually convicted of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon.

Prince was one of us; so apparently is the Marin rehab specialist who was supposed to save him from his addiction to painkillers.

 

National

The Feds make it easier to narrow wide traffic lanes and put protected bike lanes on street projects funded with government money.

Bicycling says it’s never too late to learn how to ride a bike, while a business website says folding bicycles are taking over the commuting world.

An Arizona newspaper congratulates the Department of Transportation for reconsidering plans to remove roadside memorials, such as ghost bikes.

An Iowa driver faces 25 years for killing a cyclist while under the influence — and with a suspended license after a previous DUI conviction; the victim’s parents justifiably decry the “catch-and-release” system that puts dangerous drivers back on the streets.

Chicago Magazine offers a nervous cyclist’s guide to riding more.

It takes a real schmuck to steal a customized tricycle from a special needs kid; hats off to Rockland MA police for getting it back.

A New York man wonders if he did anything wrong when he doored a scofflaw cyclist; the short answer is yes.

New York residential buildings are getting bike friendly, with bike parking, storage and repair rooms and high-end loaner bikes; one building is even giving away $450 bikes to the first 25 buyers. Although with prices starting at over half a million, I’d expect a Cervelo, at least.

A New Orleans man gets 25 years for fatally shooting a man who was stealing his bicycle.

 

International

KCRW’s Madeline Brand talks with the author of The Coyote’s Bicycle, about a Mexican man who used bicycles to smuggle immigrants across the border to avoid detection by sophisticated American ground sensors.

Outgoing London Mayor Boris Johnson leaves a legacy of a bicycling city, even if one rider calls him a prick on his last day in office. Meanwhile, newly elected mayor Sadiq Khan promises to make the city a byword for cycling around the world — which only makes sense since his sister-in-law is former New York DOT maven Janette Sadik-Khan.

A British man got 200 hours of community service for running down his bike-riding FedEx coworker just minutes after they both got off work.

There once was a bike-riding, body armored, shotgun toting man from Limerick, who rode through the streets shooting people at random, and got five and a half years for his crimes. No, it doesn’t rhyme, has no meter and it’s not funny, either.

An Irish cycling group warns young riders not to take caffeine supplements after two teenage cyclists fall ill.

Norway will spend nearly $1 billion in bicycling infrastructure as it aims for zero growth in car use by 2030.

Indian studies show bicycling really is better for you than walking.

A pair of South African women blame a cyclist for causing their car to skid across a freeway and summersault into a ditch in their attempt to avoid them. But if they were really driving slowly enough for a bike rider to pass them, as they claim, how is it they were going fast enough to have a crash like that?

 

Finally…

How could anyone oppose a freaking sidewalk? When Woody hates on bike lanes, New Yorkers fall out of love with Woody.

And I may not be able to read Chinese, but I know a beautiful and utterly amazing kite when I see one. Link courtesy of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious.

Morning Links: Life is cheap, as killer Palm Desert and Paso Roble drivers get off with gently slapped wrists

The May BikinginLA LACBC Membership drive is up to nine new members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. But we really need to pick up the pace if we’re going to reach 100 new or renewing members before the end of this month. So sign up now and let’s get this into double figures today.

Even if you’re already a member, you can renew to extend your membership to support biking in the City of Angeles, and get some great bike swag courtesy of the LACBC.

And a huge thank you to everyone who’s joined so far.

………

Once again, the universal Get Out of Jail Free Card worked its magic, as an 81-year old Palm Desert woman walked after admitting to killing a 73-year old handcyclist last year.

Judy Mae Purcell pled guilty plea to a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the January, 2015 death of Rose Peters, just as her trial was set to begin.

And as usual, she got off on probation by claiming she just didn’t see Peters before she left-crossed her, even though Peters, who was in a bike lane, was riding with the right-of-way.

Purcell received three years probation, and may lose her driver’s license; she also says it’s had a big impact on her life.

Purcell elected to speak at her sentencing, tearfully telling Lee and Peters (Peter’s daughters), “There’s nothing I can really say, I’m just so sorry.” She said the crash was “truly an accident. I just didn’t see her. I’ve lost a lot of friends over this,” Purcell told them. “I relive that minute every day of my life. Every night, you’re in my prayers.”

At least she’s been held accountable in other ways. Oceanside lawyer Richard Duquette, a cyclist himself, forwards word that Peters’ family has reached a substantial, but undisclosed, settlement in the case.

………

A 20-year old Paso Robles driver got off almost as easy, as he’s sentenced to just 75 days in jail and 50 hours of community service for killing an LA cyclist and severely injuring a second rider in a 2014 collision.

That’s despite a long history of traffic violations, and being on probation for a speeding conviction at the time of the crash.

Joseph Mondo was driving a massive GMC Yukon when his phone slipped off his lap, where it shouldn’t have been to begin with. When he looked down to retrieve it, he nearly struck a vehicle stopped to make a left turn, barely avoiding it by swerving onto the right shoulder at 60 mph.

Then, in an astounding display of carelessness and stupidity, he once again took his eyes off the road to find his phone, this time killing 62-year old Los Angeles resident Lee Hekyung Craig, as well as leaving her riding companion, 59-year old Newport Beach surgeon Lawrence Chong, with life-changing injuries.

As Chong said,

“What hurts the most is that I lost (Craig) because of the negligence on the part of someone else,” Chong said, according to the report. “All he had to do was pull over after he nearly rear-ended a car while reaching for his phone. If he had done so, my life would still be good and I would still have Lee. Instead my life is now a mess.”

Granted, Mondo seems to get it.

When he was interviewed by a probation officer following his no-contest pleas, Mondo reportedly said: “What happened has happened. If I could change places, I would. It has changed my life. Someone’s life was lost. I do not need to argue my innocence. I am guilty. I want to move on with my life. I will deal with the repercussions as they come.”

Then again, Craig will never get to move on with her life and Chong may never regain the life he had, while Mondo may have a sore wrist for a few days from the slap the judge gave it.

This is what happens when traffic crimes and prior tickets aren’t taken seriously.

………

Grand Rapids MI unveils a new $600,000 bike safety campaign, urging motorists and bicyclists to obey the law and look out for one another.

Although the TV spot does look kind of familiar.

………

Local

A 0.8-mile stretch of Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima will get a road diet, with a buffered bike lane on one side and a parking-protected lane on the other, connecting to the San Fernando Road rail-with-trail bike path on the north end. Part of the city’s Great Streets Initiative, the Complete Streets makeover is intended to reduce speeding and improve safety on one of the city’s most dangerous streets.

LA City Councilmember Joe Buscaino argues that part of the Metro R2 transportation funds should be used to repair LA’s crumbing streets since they form the foundation for all other elements of the transportation system, including bicycles. One of the city’s most bike friendly elected officials, Buscaino will be honored with the Golden Spoke Award at this year’s Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Speaking of Good Samaritan, Downtown News profiles Good Sam CEO and dedicated bike commuter Andy Leeka. And a pretty nice guy too, if I say so myself; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the link.

The LA Weekly lists Sunday’s semi-inaugural Los Angeles Bicycle Festival at Grand Park as one of their 21 things to do this week. Although it’s not on Metro’s list of Bike Month events.

Bicycling recommends the annual 30-mile Stan’s Bike Shop/Eastside Bike Club’s Tour de Tacos as one of the 27 best places to find tacos in the US. But they somehow failed to include the Trump Towers taco bowl.

Ride with Metro and Bike SGV to the Huntington Library and Gardens this afternoon.

Wolfpack Hustle’s annual Shortline Crit rolls tomorrow in Long Beach.

Also on Saturday, Finish the Ride and Velo Studio will host a free Tour de Griffith Park: An Introduction to Safe and Fun Riding.

Team LACBC will host a training ride for this year’s Climate Ride tomorrow, heading up Glendora Mountain Road before visiting The Donut Man on the return leg.

 

State

Laguna Beach mountain bikers get to ride with their heroes.

Fortunately, an Apple Valley bike rider was sitting upright and talking after being hit by a pickup Wednesday night.

As if dodging dangerous drivers isn’t bad enough, Turlock police are looking for a man who stabbed a bike rider in the chest in an apparently random and unprovoked attack.

The Menlo Park city council votes to keep El Camino Real dangerous by sending plans for bike lanes back for further study until neighboring cities agree on a common design. “Sending plans back for further studies” usually means they don’t want to piss off motorists by approving it, but don’t want to piss off bike riders by saying no, either.

Sacramento police are looking for the owners of 60 stolen bikes that were recovered when a bike thief was busted.

 

National

Bike riders may be the only ones enjoying the closure of a Seattle viaduct. Meanwhile, you know Seattle’s bikeshare program is in trouble when the people responsible for running it aren’t even members, despite a discount for city employees.

After a cyclist competing in New Mexico’s Tour of Gila broke his bike crashing into a pile of riders who collided with a dog, he traded bikes with a fan and finished the race on an ‘80s era Specialized stump jumper. No word on how the dog made out, though.

Des Moines IA police are looking for two men who attacked a 65-year old bike rider for no apparent reason.

A new report says bicycling is booming in New York City, up a whopping 320% since 1990, even though advocates say the city isn’t doing enough to protect cyclists and keep up with demand. Which just goes to show what can happen when you build an actual bicycling network rather than a few nice lanes here and there.

Count Woody Allen, who used to be funny, among those who think New York has done too much to accommodate bike riders and that bike lanes don’t belong anywhere in his upscale Upper East Side neighborhood. But he’s likely to get them whether he likes it or not.

A Pennsylvania bike rider is charged with stabbing a man who he claims stole his bike.

 

International

A new international study confirms that the health benefits of bicycling and walking far outweigh the risks from pollution. Thanks to Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

A British man gets seven years for the drunken hit-and-run death of a cyclist; he initially told police his car had been stolen and someone else was driving it, leading to the false arrest of an innocent man.

If you build it, they will come. This tweet really says it all about a new London bikeway in the shadow of Big Ben.

Researchers hope da Vinci’s DNA can explain his genius, which included sketching out a bicycle centuries before they were invented.

Bikes are the star of a planned Oslo office building.

An Indian man got a bizarre 10-petaled flower-shaped cataract in one eye following a helmetless collision with a car.

A Taiwan proposal would classify ebikes as scooters, requiring riders to have a helmet and a license.

 

Finally…

Nothing like a $341 40-mile ride in the rain. I don’t care what they say, it’s not a bike friendly town if kids are barred from riding bikes to school.

And luxury hotels may be fascinating, but you’re better off watching the road.

 

Morning Links: LA County pays $1.3 million in death of bike rider, and SD sailor faces hit-and-run charges

We’re now up to six new members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition after day three of the BikinginLA LACBC Membership drive, with just 94 more to go to reach our goal by the end of this month.

So tell your friends, family and fellow riders to sign up now to give bike riders a greater voice in our local communities, and help make LA County a better place to ride a bike for all of us.

And get some great bike swag, too.

………

LA County approves a $1.3 million settlement in the death of Alfonso Cerda, who was run down on his bike by overzealous sheriff’s deputies who mistakenly thought he might have a gun.

As Cerda’s son put it, “If he was on his bike he had a flashlight, his wallet, and that’s it — and his happiness.”

Note: The original story from KNBC-4 said the settlement was for $1.7 million, but later revised it to show the amount as $1.3 million. I have revised this piece to reflect that. Thanks to Opus the Poet for the correction.

………

A Camp Pendleton sailor will face trial on felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges in the 2014 death of bike rider Philip White.

………

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske says most cops are motorists and many see the world from a windshield perspective, which is why they often get the law wrong and blame the bicycling victims.

In a similar vein, New York bike advocates justifiably demand the NYPD stop automatically blaming the person on two wheels.

………

Local

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman rides along with last Sunday’s third annual Unity Ride from Little Tokyo to Watts.

The publisher of the Jewish Journal says ebikes could be the best way to beat LA traffic.

The West Hollywood city council says no go to WeHoGo as the name for the city’s coming bikeshare system.

Alex de Cordoba shares photographic proof that people really are riding bikes in LA. Although someone appears to left their child locked to a Trader Joe’s bike rack.

Seriously, how stupidly car addicted do you have to be to drive away from a Van Nuys probation hearing about your double DUI license suspension?

 

State

The OC Register offers truncated results from Sunday’s Dana Point Gran Prix.

An Oceanside teenager was injured when he crashed into a truck while riding down a steep hill on a bike he’d just gotten hours earlier.

CiclaValley shares details of a recent ride through San Luis Obispo.

 

National

It’s National Bike to School Day. Bicycling Magazine offers advice on how to get your kid’s bike ready for the ride.

Portland’s Oregonian offers a beginner’s guide on how to ride to work. Thanks to Pedal Love for the link.

There’s something seriously wrong when a Seattle bike rider isn’t even safe on the sidewalk from man driving while high. Or maybe low, since he says he was on a depressant.

An Iowa driver faces up to 25 years in prison for running down a cyclist while driving at three times the legal alcohol limit.

Ohio AAA now offers road service for bike riders. So when will SoCal AAA get around to realizing that a lot of their customers ride bikes, too?

Is a possible $500 fine enough to stop Connecticut drivers from carelessly crashing into bicyclists and pedestrians? I didn’t think so.

What are New York bike lanes for? Evidently not bicycles.

A DC writer describes the life-changing magic of riding your bike to work. It’s worth the click just for the amazing illustration that accompanies the story.

A New Orleans man faces life in prison for shooting two teenage brothers after they allegedly pushed him off his bicycle; he called a friend to deliver the murder weapon he used in the shooting.

 

International

The Guardian gives tips on how to fix a flat, even if you don’t have tire levers. Or a spare tube. Or a patch kit.

An Amsterdam man invented bikeshare in the 1960s, even though it took decades to catch on, and his own city never embraced it.

Apparently not having injured enough cyclists, the disk brake trial may return to the pro peloton next month.

Add daydreaming to the list of motorists’ Get Out of Jail Free cards, as an Aussie driver walks after killing a cyclist because she just wasn’t paying attention.

China appears to have a love-hate relationship with ebikes.

 

Finally…

Nothing like coming wheelie close to a moving bus. If you can’t jack a bike, might as well steal a car instead.

And seriously, don’t head-butt the cop if you get stopped for reckless riding.

 

%d bloggers like this: