Archive for Legal Cases

Morning Links: Cyclists ride for justice; LACBC ED Jen Klausner resigns, Los Angeles is nation’s 28th Best Bike City

As it turned out, I missed Wednesday night’s ride and vigil calling for justice for Milt Olin when complications from my diabetes once again knocked me on my ass.

Fortunately, a lot of riders didn’t.

According to Streetsblog, roughly 75 riders made the 30 mile journey from Calabasas, where Milt Olin was run down by an admittedly distracted sheriff’s deputy last December, to the District Attorney’s office in Downtown LA to demand justice for Olin after the DA refused to file charges. That number swelled to an estimated 125 as other voices joined in.

I’ll leave reporting of the event to those who were actually there. The Los Angeles Register and the LA Daily News both offer in-depth reports on the ride and vigil, and the events leading up to it, while KABC-7 has video from the scene. And Gary Kavanagh captures the event with his usual great camera work.

Meanwhile, you can read the full three-page letter from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition urging the DA to reconsider the decision not to file charges.

But perhaps more than anything else, this simple tweet from the Milt Olin Foundation says it best.

Olin-Tweet

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Speaking of the LACBC, they have big news.

Jennifer Klausner, executive director of the LACBC, announced her resignation from the coalition, effective at the end of the year.

Over the past seven years, Jen has overseen the growth of the coalition from a single employee — herself — to 12, as well as the birth of a lucky 13 local chapters throughout the county. And helped make the LACBC Southern California’s dominant voice for cyclists; the boom in local bike-friendliness occurred, not just on her watch, but in large part thanks to her leadership.

I am heartbroken to see her go.

In the five years I’ve been involved with the coalition, Jen has always been a vital part of it, adding her warmth, insight and humor to whatever issues confronted the organization, and leading the group through all the many ups and down. Such an important part, in fact, that I can’t imagine the LACBC without her.

And yet, she leaves it positioned for even greater growth and success in the years to come.

The coalition will undoubtedly find a new Executive Director, one with the leadership skills to build it into one of the nation’s leading bicycle advocacy organizations, as it should be for a city this size, and with a ridership as vast and varied as we enjoy.

But we will never find another Jen.

You can read her full resignation letter here.

Full disclosure: I am a board member of the LACBC; however, I have been inactive for most of this year as I’ve dealt with health issues that have kept me largely incapacitated; I hope to return to my duties on the board before Jen leaves, and help with the transition to a new director.

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Caught on video: This one’s way too close for comfort, as a cyclist narrowly avoids getting sideswiped by a cattle trailer in what could be an intentional assault — note the puff of black smoke as the driver cuts the rider off, in a practice known as rolling coal.

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Bicycling shocks everyone by naming New York the nation’s Best Bike City with Chicago second; Portland is demoted to number four while my hometown clocks in at number nine.

A bigger surprise is the city found at number 28 — yes, not only did Los Angeles actually make the list, we came in just five notches below Long Beach and five above Thousand Oaks. Surprisingly, bike friendly Santa Monica didn’t make the cut.

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Phillip Young, President of the San Diego Wheelmen, sends a reminder that cyclist Juan Carlos Viñolo and his family needs our help.

Viñolo suffered a severe spinal cord injury when he was hit, along with several other riders, by a drunken wrong way driver on San Diego’s Fiesta Island. In an act of bravery, he pushed another rider aside and took the full impact of the collision himself, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

The Juan Carlos Fund has raised over $172,000 for medical expenses and to support his family, but much more is needed. Your generosity could make all the difference.

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Lots of events and opportunities to learn how to ride, or ride better, coming up.

CICLE is offering an adult bicycling for beginners class in Eagle Rock this Sunday.

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition hosts a teen bike safety workshop on Saturday, the 27th.

CORBA — not the elusive albino cobra — is providing an Introduction to Mountain Biking Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park this Saturday.

Marina del Rey Middle School hosts a Kids Bike Festival this Sunday.

The LACBC host their monthly Sunday Funday ride in Carson on Sunday.

Join CicLAvia for an afternoon of open houses and events exploring the newly pedestrian friendly Broadway in DTLA this Saturday, followed by a screening of Mulholland Drive at the spectacular Million Dollar Theater.

Bike riders are invited to attend a party celebrating the launch of Eddi, a new mobile marketplace app that promises to change the way we buy and sell things. The free event takes place in Pasadena this Saturday, from 7 to 10 pm.

You’re invited to celebrate the start of cyclocross season with the Pedal Cross Mulholland Gravel Grinder Ride at Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas this Sunday.

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Local

Flying Pigeon looks at the ins-and-outs of riding bikes with kids.

Streetsblog and LA Walks want your vote to win a grant to organize a Vision Zero plan for LA.

Writing for Streetsblog, Roger Rudick says police need to innovate, not prevaricate. And stop parking in the damn bike lane, already.

Seven suspects have now been arrested in a string of assaults on Santa Clarita bike paths; two have already been sent to juvenile camps.

 

State

CABO confusingly clarifies their opposition to AB 1193, the badly needed new law approving protected bike lanes currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature.

Fullerton finally looks at bike safety improvements following the needless death of rider Raphael Correa.

Once again, a killer driver gets off with no charges, this time for the Newport Beach death of cyclist Paul Lin.

The Orange County Register says this is the best time of the year. I couldn’t agree more; now that the tourists are gone, we can have the often overcrowded beachfront bike paths to ourselves.

San Diego plows under a rogue mountain bike park in Balboa Park.

Bike share bites the dust in La Jolla.

Tips for hassle-free riding in San Francisco.

Battle lines are drawn over proposed bike lanes in San Rafael; as usual, fears of lost parking lead the way.

 

National

VeloNews remembers a 2003 interview with fellow cyclist Robin Williams.

Colorado cyclists — and riders everywhere — are finding comfortable alternatives to spandex.

It’s all the way down in the last sentence. But the Denver Broncos will be hosting a 500-space bike valet at their games this year.

Bike friendly Colorado continues to be the thinnest state in the Union; bike unfriendly West Virginia and Mississippi, not so much. Not surprisingly, people are healthier where more walk or bike to work.

DC proposes effectively banning bikes from streets with streetcar tracks.

In a truly heartbreaking story, a cyclist is fatally stabbed by a homeless man in Florida as he neared the finish of a cross-country ride to propose to his girlfriend.

 

International

How Cuban cyclists fix their bikes when there are no parts available in the country.

London’s mayor calls for segregated cycleways through the city.

Bike riding is now the key for British employees to get ahead at work.

Giovanni Pinarello, founder of the iconic brand, died at age 92 after a good, long life.

Pro cycling’s toughest rider, the recently retired Jens Voigt, will attempt to set a new hour record later this month.

 

Finally…

Britain’s angriest driver fined £500 for swearing at a cyclist 25 times in 35 seconds. Cycling in the South Bay learns what it feels like when the bike shoe is on the other foot.

And no bikes involved, fortunately, as a driver is arrested for a Santa Ana hit-and-run — by the same cop as he was for another hit-and-run at the same intersection 19 years earlier.

 

All hands on deck: Ride and vigil tonight for justice in Milt Olin case; is the DA’s office involved in a cover-up?

Let’s be honest.

When a prosecutor really wants to file charges in a traffic case, they’ll tear the vehicle code apart until they find something that sticks.

So when the DA’s office examines a case and concludes there’s nothing there, it’s more often an indication that they don’t want to prosecute, for whatever reason.

Like when it’s a cop who ran down a cyclist, for instance.

When the LA County DA’s office announced last week they weren’t filing charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, they concluded (pdf) that he had not violated the state prohibition against texting while driving because police officers in the course of their duty are exempted from the law. Never mind that he’d also been texting — illegally — with his wife as recently as one minute prior to the wreck.

And yet, I’ve repeatedly been told by officers from a number of different police agencies that it’s not just the act of texting behind the wheel that’s against the law, but simply being distracted while driving. For whatever reason.

From putting on makeup or eating, to simply changing the stations on the radio. And yes, some people still listen to the radio when they drive.

Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is distracted driving. Or as cited by the LA Times, “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

By that standard, Deputy Wood was clearly distracted when he ran down Olin’s bike from behind.

In fact, by his own admission, he never even saw Olin or knew he was driving in the bike lane when he hit him at somewhere around 48 mph, which was his last recorded speed prior to the impact.

He could just as well have been charged with making an illegal lane change. Or driving in a bike lane.

Or even the catch-all violation when police can’t come up with anything else to charge a driver — or too often, a bike rider — with, violating CVC 22350, the state’s basic speed law.

After all, no speed is safe when you have no idea where you’re driving or what’s in the road directly in front of you.

And any or all of which could be used to support the sheriff’s investigator’s recommended charge of vehicular manslaughter.

So the question becomes one of why they’re not willing to file charges. Any charges.

It could, as many have speculated, be a case of looking out for their own; the District Attorney relies on police officers to build their cases, and may be reluctant to prosecute an officer as a result.

Or it could simply be that the death of a cyclist — even one as prominent as entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive Milt Olin — just isn’t worth their time.

Or it could be a cover-up.

By prosecuting Wood, the deputy could be forced to testify in his defense that, even though using the onboard computer while driving is officially against sheriff’s department policy, the unofficial policy encourages officers to do just the opposite.

Which would make higher-ups in the department complicit in Olin’s death. And could have led them to pressure the DA not to file.

Maybe there’s a more innocent explanation for the failure to charge the driver with something.

Anything.

But the official explanation doesn’t hold water.

And the fact that they’ve left themselves open to this kind of speculation shows just how wrong that decision was.

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If this case pisses you off as much as it does me, you’ll have your chance to demand justice for Milt Olin, and all of us, tonight.

The LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA are hosting a ride and vigil for Milt Olin to call on the DA to revisit the case and press charges.

This is an all-hands-on-deck demand for justice.

If there’s any way you can be there for all or part of it, you owe it to yourself to attend. Because the more people who participate, and the more varied the riders who attend, the better our message will penetrate the insulated offices of the District Attorney.

I’m going to do my best to attend the vigil, at least. If you don’t see me there, it means my health has knocked me on my ass once again.

From the LACBC website:

When: Wednesday, September 3

Schedule:

  • 4:00 p.m. Meet at crash site (around 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302)
  • 4:15 p.m. Moment of silence
  • 4:30 p.m. Start ride
  • 6:30 p.m. Leave from the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027). Other riders can meet up here.
  • 7:30-8:00 p.m. Arrive at District Attorney’s office (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
  • 8:00 p.m. Candlelight vigil

The public is invited to join us at the beginning, ride with us, join us for the vigil, or meet us at any point along the way (exact route to be determined).

Route: https://goo.gl/maps/Y4xFh

The route follows major streets through the San Fernando Valley and Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. Riders will be expected to stay alert and follow all traffic laws. The ride is scheduled to arrive in Downtown just after sunset, therefore lights are required by law.

The route is 30 miles. Riders should come prepared with water and snacks to stay fueled.

Shorter options:

  • Start at the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027) for an approximately 10-mile ride into Downtown. Please arrive no later than 6:15 and be ready to ride by 6:30 p.m.
  • Start in Calabasas, ride 17 miles to the Universal City Red Line station (located at Lankershim Blvd and Campo de Cahuenga), and take the Red Line to Civic Center, where the D.A.’s office is located (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012). Riders who lag behind the main group will be asked to take this option.
  • Join us for the vigil. People are welcome to skip the ride and meet us at the D.A.’s office. The ride is expected to arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.
  • Meet us along the way. We will do our best to live-tweet our location with the hashtag #rideformilt. Follow us @lacbc.

Getting to the ride:

  • The start is on a suburban section of Mulholland Highway with little to no on-street parking (approximate address: 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302). We recommend taking the Metro Orange Line or Orange Line Bike Path to De Soto or Canoga and riding from there. Free park-and-rides are available along the Orange Line.
  • Check out the Facebook event and feel free to post feeder rides there.

Getting from the ride:

  • The best option is always riding (with lights!) or taking transit.
  • If you parked at a Metro Orange Line park-and-ride, take the Red Line from Civic Center to North Hollywood. Then either transfer to the Orange Line (limit 3 bikes per bus) or ride along the Orange Line Bike Path to your car.

Questions? Post them in the Facebook event or call the office at 213-629-2142 and we’ll do our best to respond before the ride.

 

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

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

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

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

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

milt_olin_FLYR

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

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

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

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

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

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Local

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

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

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

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

LA cyclists ride to remember three fallen Belizean riders.

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

Santa Monica police bust a bait bike thief.

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

Update: DA refuses to file charges in Milt Olin case

The investigation is finally complete.

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

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

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

Then, nothing.

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

DA refusal letter (pdf)

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

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

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

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

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

Simply put, there are only two options.

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Brenda Gazzar for breaking the story. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are you waiting for, already?

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

………

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

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

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

………

Local

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

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

……..

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

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

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

Mobile bike repair service comes to San Diego.

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

 

National

The problem with Share the Road campaigns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

I’ll have a more detailed report later.

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

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

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

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

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

A cyclist is moderately injured in an Anaheim collision.

The Big Bear Cycling Festival runs through this Sunday.

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

 

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

Sometimes, no news is no news.

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

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

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

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

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

This case has stunk from day one.

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

……..

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

……..

Forgive the late notice.

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

BACBikewaysAgendaJuly302014

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

 

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not enough.

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

……..

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

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

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

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

……..

Local

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

An Indiana man keeps riding at age 83.

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

Tokyo looks to London for bicycling inspiration.

 

Finally…

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

 

 

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