Archive for Legal Cases

Breaking news: no sentencing in Eric Billings case today; driver found with narcotic drug behind bars

So much for that.

Word broke yesterday that the driver convicted in the death of cyclist Eric Billings in Mission Viejo two years ago was found with a prescription narcotic in her jail cell.

According to the Orange County DA’s office, former OC lawyer Hasti Fahkrai-Bayrooti was found in possession of Clonazepam, a sedative used to treat seizures and panic disorder, on May 13th as she was being held awaiting sentencing.

Something that was supposed to happen today.

However, a source reports from the courtroom that her sentencing has been delayed yet again, much to the distress of the victim’s family.

Apparently, her extremely savvy criminal defense team doesn’t work weekends. Robert Weinberg told Judge Jones that Hasti’s psychiatric evaluation only reached his office last Friday afternoon, and he hasn’t had time to review it. SINCE FRIDAY. In his defense (cough), it’s an extremely lengthy report.

The judge is unwilling to allow for any technicality that would give Hasti any possibility of appeal whatsoever, so he granted the motion to allow the delay. The defense will naturally try to incorporate any pertinent information from the psych eval into his sentencing brief. (Note: The Deputy DA managed to create a very persuasive 25-page brief on the People’s behalf just fine, without any report from the probation department.)

One of Eric Billings’ daughters who’d been unable to speak at the first attempt at sentencing was allowed to speak this morning. She vented, and clearly the judge agrees that she is absolutely right that victims have a right to a fair and speedy trial.

In the hallway prior to the hearing, she was demanding to know who Hasti’s “pharmacist” is, because she wants him investigated, and his license revoked. (When the first witness to approach Hasti after the collision asked if there was anybody she could call, she mumbled something about her pharmacist, and tried to place a call on her cell. Also, her blood drawn more than four hours after the collision indicated Alprazolam [Ed. note: the generic form of Xanax] in an amount that is usually fatal.)

At one point, Hasti attempted, in her meek voice, to speak to the judge, but her lawyer instantly spun around in alarm and shushed her.

The next attempt at sentencing will be June 19th. The DA had a prelim set for that same morning, but rescheduled it because the Billings family has suffered enough during this delay.

Oh yeah, and naturally Hasti pleaded not guilty to the new charge. And she’s not retaining her extremely savvy criminal defense team this time; instead, she has a public defender.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti had entered an unexpected guilty plea last March to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for running Billings down from behind as he rode his beach cruiser in the bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway two years earlier. Billings, described by friends as a loving father and devout Mormon, died at the scene.

She faces up to four years in prison once she’s finally sentenced

In addition to all the other breaking news in this case, the California State Bar suspended the immigration attorney’s license to practice law earlier this week. Chances are that suspension will become permanent following her sentencing, especially in light of the additional drug charge.

Let’s hope the Billings family gets the justice they deserve. And that Fakhrai-Bayrooti gets the help she so desperately seems to need while she’s behind bars.

And that she’s never allowed behind the wheel again.

 

Weekend Links: 3 years for vehicular assault, LA’s Mobility Plan passes PlanComm, and CicLAvia Pasadena

Three years hardly seems long enough.

But it will have to do.

According to the Daily Breeze, William Thomas Kelly reached a plea deal that will keep him behind bars for the next three years for his drunken road rage rampage through the Palos Verdes area, in which he deliberately used his car to assault a cyclist and smash into parked cars.

Kelly reportedly hit one car, then backed up to hit it again and drove on to sideswipe a parked car. He then hit the pedal of a bicyclist; when the rider yelled at him, he backed up and used his car to knock the rider and his bike into the bushes, then drove back and forth over his bike. He was later found passed out with a BAC of at least 0.11 after crashing into a gated fence.

Hopefully, the plea will include a condition that he never drive again.

……..

The LA Planning Commission voted Wednesday to approve the city’s mobility plan, including a slightly scaled back version of the 2010 bike plan and a commitment to Vision Zero.

Streetsblog reports the planned Westwood Blvd bike lane survived an attack by a representative of Councilmember Paul Koretz, while Commissioner Richard Katz questioned whether bike facilities belong on the street at all.

Katz said he supported expanding the bicycle network, but “we will never be Boulder or Davis.”

Not with thinking like that, anyway.

……..

CicLAvia offers a list of activities along Sunday’s Pasadena route, while KNBC-4, KCET and the Pasadena Star-News looks forward to it. Note to Star-News: Unless the director of Walden School is selling something as he rides to work, the word you want is pedals, not peddles.

Feeder rides — and a walk — are available from throughout the area. The Militant Angeleno provides his must-read guide to the Rose City route; seriously, never go to any CicLAvia without reading the Militant’s detailed and insightful guides first. Time Out gives their thoughts on Sunday’s event, while CiclaValley provides a handful of tips and a handy checklist of everything you need to bring.

And yes, bikes are optional; this should be the most walkable CicLAvia yet.

In honor of CicLAvia, KPCC will broadcast a one-hour show all about bikes at 10 am today and again on Sunday; you can listen live online.

And the San Gabriel Tribune says every weekend should be like CicLAvia in every downtown in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas. Or maybe just everywhere.

I’m not going to be able to make this one, so let us all know how it goes.

……..

I’m hearing nothing but good things about the new green separated bike lanes in Redondo Beach, which includes some of the area’s first bicycle traffic signals.

But the smartest thing they did was put sharrows on the roadway next to it for riders who want to go faster or avoid the bikeway crowds on busy weekends.

Both Ted Faber and Jim Lyle sent photos.

Photo by Ted Faber

Photo by Ted Faber; note the sharrows on the street to the right

Photo by Jim Lyle; note the sharrows on the street to the right

Photo by Jim Lyle

photo by Jim Lyle

photo by Jim Lyle

……..

LGBT site Frontiers Media looks at the bike scene in the City of Angeles, with brief overview of bicycling in the city.

They go on to list five places every LA bike enthusiast should know, along with seven gadgets and gizmos for geared-up Angelenos. Although I wouldn’t call a $3,750 Cervelo a gadget. And I sure as hell wouldn’t call it a mountain bike.

……..

The latest bike racing rumors involve mini-motors in the pro pelaton, as Ryder Hesjedal takes offense at having his bike checked to make sure he’s not motor doping.

Former Giro champ Damiano Cunego is out of this years race with a broken collarbone, while Contador continues to hold the leader’s jersey. And no, he didn’t have a motor in his bike, either, but he did command some respect on Thursday.

Meanwhile, former pro and ’97 TdF winner Jan Ulrich faces up to three years in prison for a DUI collision that injured two people.

Closer to home, next year’s US pro cycling championship will move from Chattanooga to Winston-Salem NC.

……..

New bicycle maker Brilliant will ship you a steel frame bike for $300, as long as you’re willing to assemble it yourself. And don’t expect your LBS to fix it for you if you screw it up.

Then again, it might be easier to just print your next ti bike, or at least the handlebars.

Or maybe you’d prefer a steam powered bike.

……..

Local

Streetsblog gives us part two of their interview with retiring UCLA parking maven Donald Shoup.

The LACBC interviews super bike volunteer Wayne “Ridetime” Howard, while Bicycling profiles Coolass Mike Bowers and his efforts to put 1,000 bikes in the hands of foster kids.

Malibu city council committees approve the 850-page PCH Safety Study, which calls for 130 safety improvements along the dangerous coast highway, including bike lanes where they don’t conflict with street parking. God forbid a parking space should be sacrificed in the name of safety.

The LA Weekly profiles an Oakland-based theater company that’s traveling across the country by bike; they’ll perform at the Santa Monica Pier on the 1st, before moving on the San Diego and eventually making their way to New York.

A new proposal to replace the much-hated plans to complete the 710 Freeway includes light rail and a multi-lane boulevard complete with busways and a separated bike path.

The first phase of Santa Monica’s MANGo neighborhood greenway officially opens today.

Long Beach is officially opening the new pedestrian walkway on the beach today, which promises to improve safety on the beachfront bike path by separating bikes from people on foot. Something Santa Monica desperately needs to do.

Your last chance to weigh in on the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge could come this Wednesday before the Public Works Committee; the full city council often doesn’t allow public comments before taking a vote, especially if someone is likely to disagree with their pre-determined decisions.

 

State

A Tustin man is under arrest for breaking the window of a bike shop and stealing an adult-sized tricycle; he was in the process of stealing another bike a mile away when caught.

San Diego held their rain-delayed Bike to Work Day Friday.

San Diego’s North County is sprouting new sharrows; the story reports that sharrows on the Coast Highway in Solano Beach dropped average speeds by 10 mph without increasing congestion. Nice that they’re using us for rolling speed bumps, though.

A Marine vet who lost his legs in Afghanistan will set off from San Diego Monday for a 65-day ride across the US on a hand-cranked ‘bent.

A legal opinion concludes that the planned 50-mile multi-use path through the Coachella Valley qualifies for tax funds as a roadway because electric golf carts will be allowed to use it.

A gang member is under arrest for stabbing a bike riding Redlands art student in the face.

San Francisco’s bike share system is expanding from 700 to 7,000 bikes throughout the Bay Area.

As if the internet isn’t killing enough of their business, now Bay Area bike messengers are being targeted by bike thieves.

The new Marin bicycling museum opens to the public on Saturday, June 6th, with nearly 200 years of bike history, including the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame; a local group celebrates by calling for a crackdown on Marin off-road riders.

Modesto is working to convert itself to model bike-friendly city for everyone on two wheels.

 

National

A new infographic from People for Bikes shows many of the assumptions about women and bicycling are wrong, while Bicycling suggests 10 ways bike shops can be more welcoming to women. But the biggest barrier to greater diversity on bikes may be access to safer infrastructure.

Four cities are racing to build the first working protected intersection in the US. And no, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

Portland parents launch a national PAC to force apologists for traffic violence out of office. About damn time.

A local motorcycle club plans to throw volleyballs at speeding Spokane sheriff’s deputies to protest the death of a 15-year old bicycle rider, after investigators conclude their patrol car didn’t hit the teen’s bike. Note to Spokane County Sheriff’s Department: It’s not unusual for bike riders to go over the handlebars in a panic stop without anyone actually hitting them; that doesn’t mean the driver who forced the panic stop isn’t responsible.

Proof bike riders aren’t always the good guys. Colorado state police are looking for a bicyclist who caused a motorcycle rider to wipeout near my hometown; a witness reports the rider veered in front of the motorbike and slowed down, causing the victim to lose control and be thrown from his bike, then just turned around and rode away without stopping to help. Jerk.

To no one’s surprise, the fatal shooting of a Colorado cyclist has officially been linked to the random shooting of a driver on the nearby I-25.

Albuquerque becomes the latest city to get bike share before LA; officials hope the program will help revitalize the downtown area.

A Texas bike rider discovers a casket, presumably with the body still inside, along a bike path after the recent floods.

Michigan traffic engineers take road diet to the extreme, proposing a street with a single lane shared by drivers traveling in both directions, and bike lanes on either side; drivers are supposed to safely merge into the bike lanes when they meet a car coming in the opposite direction. Anyone want to guess how that will work in real life?

Nice story from Ohio, as a 5th Grader saved the rewards he got in school for good behavior to buy his younger brother a bike — even though he didn’t have one himself. When teachers and administrators found out, they took up a collection to buy him one, too.

A Notre Dame dean and physics professor has ridden across the country every summer for the last five years to raise funds for rare disorders.

While the rest of New York’s media was focused on a bike riding neurological researcher killed by a hit-and-run driver who was fleeing the police, the Post saved its front page for a scofflaw cyclist out for a ride with his son.

Virginia’s Bicycle Bandit faces up to 100 years in prison for robbing a series of banks before pedaling — not peddling — to make his getaway.

A Baton Rouge driver turns himself in five days after he fatally stuck a bike rider. Which presumably would have given him plenty of time to sober up.

 

International

Bike Score ranks the least bike friendly cities in Canada.

A new Canadian study show wide traffic lanes make for more dangerous streets.

Five years after Vancouver merchants fought separated bike lanes, they’d now fight if anyone tried to remove them, according to the leader of a local business association.

A cyclist from the UK will attempt to break the seven day record by riding over 1,800 miles in a single week.

Yes, the UK’s new 20 mph speed limits can reduce injury collisions, but only if drivers actually observe them; a study shows the lower limit reduced speeds by just 1 mph in one city.

The acting leader of the British Labour party calls for a ban on large trucks during peak traffic hours to protect bike riders. Meanwhile, rear- and side-facing cameras on those same trucks could save the lives of cyclists and pedestrians, if they’d actually use them.

Somewhere between 50 to 100 bystanders teamed together to lift a double decker bus — yes, a bus — off a critically injured Brit unicycle rider.

Scottish lawyers warn about the danger to cyclists crossing Edinburgh’s tram tracks; one firm alone claims to represent nearly 100 such cases.

An Irish Paralympic cyclist is raising funds for a new leg in hopes of making the podium in Rio next year.

A New Zealand cyclist is attempting to circumnavigate the country in just three months, riding over 6,000 miles to raise funds for an ambulance company.

Sydney, Australia officials go the wrong way, making the city more dangerous for cyclists by reneging on a promise to replace a bike lane scheduled for removal.

A Bangkok bike commuter says he’s tired of weak support for bicycling, as well as suggestions that bike riders belong on an off-road recreational path instead of commuting.

 

Finally…

Actor Matthew Modine got his start with a bike left behind when someone smashed his grownup lemonade stand. The battle between cars and bikes has been going on a long time; the first recorded collision between two vehicles was between a bike and a car back in 1896.

And be sure to look up every now and then when you ride.

……..

One last note.

Recently, I mentioned a moving piece from Zócalo Public Square in which Aurelio Jose Berrera wrote of getting up early a few days a week to ride out in search of homeless people huddled in the doorways and alleys of our city, his bike loaded down with donated food to hand out to those in need.

His story reminded me of a saint whose heart was similarly filled with compassion for a homeless stranger.

So I was surprised to open my laptop the other day, and discover an email from Berrera thanking me. According to his message, what I wrote, along with a handful of other stories about his efforts, helped inspire Petaluma-based Yuba Bicycles to donate a Mundo cargo bike to make his volunteer work a little easier.

According to a Yuba press release he attached, 

“Jose is an honorable, kind and humble man whose generous spirit and desire to help others is an example for all of us,” says Benjamin Sarrazin, founder and owner of Yuba Bicycles. “Yuba is proud to help Jose by providing a cargo bike that will hopefully enable him to more easily carry out his mission. He is truly a hero.”

I couldn’t agree more.

But there’s more than one hero here.

Yuba deserves a round of thanks for caring enough to give a bike to help those so many of us don’t even seem to see. As does everyone who contributes to help Berrera help them.

I’m not sure how big a role I really played in helping him get the new bike.

But his email made my week.

 

LA County DA rules Gardena police were justified to shoot and kill the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim

Finally, we know what really happened.

Or not.

In July of 2013, two men were shot by Gardena police responding to the theft of a bicycle.

Except they didn’t kill a dangerous bike thief and wound his partner in crime.

The man they mistakenly killed was the brother of the man whose bike was stolen. He was just trying to tell the officers that the men they had stopped weren’t vicious thieves, but were actually helping to look for the missing bike.

Unfortunately, the three officers didn’t seem to understand Ricardo Diaz Zeferino’s Spanish, even though customers at a nearby restaurant could clearly make out what he was saying. And he didn’t seem to understand the cops commands to stop.

Now the DA’s office has ruled that they acted within the law in shooting the unarmed man eight times — including twice in the back.

The same with what they say was the unintentional shooting of his similarly innocent friend, who was also shot in the back.

The DA’s decision was based on dash cam video, which apparently captured the whole thing. It reportedly showed Diaz Zeferino reaching into his pockets to toss unidentified items to the ground, then taking off his baseball cap, despite orders to stop. The officers opened fire when he started to raise his hands again.

The cops couldn’t see his right hand, according to the Deputy DA who reviewed the video, and believed he was going to reach for a weapon.

A weapon that didn’t exist.

Not that that inconvenient fact seems to matter to anyone.

Not surprisingly, the attorneys for the victims reached a different conclusion, arguing that the video showed the police gave confusing orders, and that Diaz Zeferino’s right hand was empty and in front of his body when they opened fire. And that the other victim, Acevedo Mendez, was shot despite keeping his hands over his head the whole time.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know which version is true, since the Gardena Police Department has refused to make the video public.

Although they did allow the cops to view the video before making their statements so they could get their stories straight.

On the other hand, whatever the video showed, it was enough to convince the city of Gardena to settle a civil rights lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million. Not that any amount of money will do Diaz Zeferino a lot of good.

According to the DA’s report, the toxicology report showed he had meth and alcohol in his system. Which is no more relevant to the case than whether he was wearing a bike helmet.

The three officers who opened fire are still on active patrol duty nearly two years after the shooting; the department’s internal review over the shooting was on hold until the civil case was resolved, which happened earlier this week.

The outcome of that review is something else we’ll never know about; any disciplinary action will be confidential under California law.

This is the second time this year the DA has refused to prosecute cops who killed someone in a bike-related case. And the second time that disciplinary action, if any, will be a deep, dark secret known only to the officers involved.

So if your bike is ever stolen in Gardena, maybe you’re better off just letting it go. Those cops could still be out there, ready to shoot at the drop of a hat.

Literally.

And whatever happens, don’t count on the LA County DA’s office to do a damn thing about it.

 

Morning Links: Hit-and-run driver gets limp slap on wrist, bike riders under attack, and Ride of Silence rolls tonight

Four times virtually nothing is still virtually nothing.

After a hit-and-run victim pled for a stiffer sentence for the man who ran her down, got out of his car to apologize, then got back and fled the scene — leaving her lying helpless in the street with a broken hip — the judge increased his sentence from 10 days of community service to a whopping 40 days, along with two years probation.

And not one day in jail.

Even though a hit-and-run resulting in serious injury is supposed to be prosecuted as a felony, with up to one year in jail.

Instead, Spencer Lofranco was allowed to plead down to a misdemeanor, and walk out of court without even a sore wrist.

He was ordered to pay $161,000 in restitution. But as we’ve seen from other cases, it’s unlikely his victim will ever see more than a fraction of that, if anything.

Just one more example of the courts and prosecutors failing to take traffic crime seriously.

And why drivers continue to leave their victims on the side of the road, making LA the country’s hit-and-run capital.

……..

There’s a tragic common theme to today’s news.

Word of a Colorado cyclist fatally shot while riding near my hometown — and on a roadway I’ve ridden more than once — has made waves around the world. In an unusual move, the FBI is joining in the investigation, suggesting that this may be more than a random shooting.

A Savannah teenager was shot and wounded while riding his bike on April 1st; the shooter who targeted him early Tuesday was more successful.

A Tampa bicyclist suffered non-life threatening injuries in a drive-by shooting.

A Salinas man was shot and killed by unknown assailants while riding his bike Saturday night.

And right here in Los Angeles, a woman was shot in the arm while riding in South LA early Tuesday morning; she was able to make it back home before being taken to a hospital, where she’s in stable condition.

Meanwhile, a man riding to work on an Anchorage bike path was attacked by three teenagers who hit him in the face with a tree branch, resulting in skull fractures, a broken nose and orbital socket, and cuts to his face; a 15-year old boy was arrested in the case.

The only significant difference from the other attacks was the choice of weapon.

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The Ride of Silence rolls to honor the victims of bicycling collisions tonight, with rides at the Rose Bowl and four in Orange County.

Visit the website for more locations throughout California.

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KCET looks at the city council’s attempt to rush through approval of Option 1 for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, which would preserve all traffic lanes while putting a sidewalk on just one side.

Both candidates in Tuesday’s CD4 election prefer the third option, which would remove a traffic lane to allow sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides. (Breaking news — it looks like David Ryu won with 53% of the vote; less than 21,000 Angelenos even bothered to cast a ballot.)

Streetsblog’s national edition correctly notes LA’s Great Streets will be nothing more than talk if Mayor Garcetti won’t stand up for good design.

So far the city has successfully managed to avoid any of the tough choices necessary for the safe, livable city we’ve been promised.

……..

CalPoly students call for greater bike and pedestrian safety, as school administrators hide behind semantics.

An administration spokesperson says the idea that school streets are not safe is a “pretty vague statement,” and that Kellogg Drive on campus is up to code for all city and state standards.

Which is a long way from being safe.

Boyonabike notes that instead of improving safety and promoting alternative means of transportation, the college is spending $41 million on a new parking garage.

……..

Alberto Contador says he’s getting better every day following a dislocated shoulder; bad news for his competition in the Giro since he’s already in the leader’s jersey.

In a gesture of sportsmanship, Simon Clarke gave fellow Aussie Richie Porte a front wheel after Porte flatted, despite being on competing teams. However, accepting the wheel cost Porte a two minute penalty, knocking him out of contention. Or maybe it was just a brilliant tactical move by Clarke.

The Giro d’Italia is once again considering a US start; VeloNews offers an in-depth analysis of how US racing can reshape pro cycling.

Amgen is expected to remain the title sponsor of the Tour of California for the long haul. And Sunday’s final stage of the Amgen Tour of California apparently took some Highland Park residents by surprise.

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Local

A writer for the Daily Bruin says it’s time for UCLA officials to demand bike lanes on Westwood Blvd so students and faculty can get to campus safely. And politely points out the hypocrisy — my word —of Councilmember Paul Koretz opposing bike lanes while calling for the need to confront climate change.

Turns out the new portion of the Expo Line bike path is on track to open along with the rail line next year.

LADOT issues a new and improved 2015 Bikeways Guide. Or three.

The Downtown News calls on the LAPD to go after bike chop shops and the ringleaders behind them to stop the rash of bike thefts in DLTA. The DA also has to start taking the crime seriously, finding a way to prosecute thieves instead of bargaining the charges away.

A mountain biker had to be airlifted from the Angeles National Forest after suffering critical injuries when he fell 50 feet off a trail.

The Times looks at the steady growth of bicycling in Long Beach, where 40 miles of off-road bike paths, and bikeways on 10% of the city streets, has lead to a 30% increase in bicycling since 2008.

Volunteers are still needed for Wolfpack Hustle’s Short Line Crit in Long Beach on the 30th.

 

State

Pedal Love is giving away two bikes to women with stories to tell.

A Hesperia couple is riding across the country with their four Yorkies to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug use. Somehow, I don’t get the connection.

San Bernardino County opens the final leg of a 21-mile bike and walking path from Claremont to Rialto on the 28th.

A Santa Barbara writer says to improve safety, cyclists need better infrastructure, more helmets and less booze.

Eureka could kick bikes off the sidewalk next week.

 

National

In something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, the Federal government issues guidelines for separated bike lanes.

Drivers are more distracted than ever; one in 10 admits to video chatting behind the wheel. Although in most cases, drivers don’t want to hit us any more than we want to get hit by them.

Spokane is offering a new bike registry.

A Seattle woman recognizes a stolen bike listed on Bike Index, and returns it to the owner during her costume birthday bike parade. You can register your bike with Bike Index — or report a stolen bike — for free right here, no matter where you live.

A new Minnesota study suggests the US census undercounts bike use.

Chicago cyclists get a new curb protected bike lane.

In yet another example of keeping dangerous drivers on the road until they kill someone, the upstate New York woman charged with the texting hit-and-run that critically injured a teen bike rider has faced two previous DUI charges, as well as four charges of driving without a license and seven other infractions.

No bias here, as a PA website says an 8-year old boy crashed into the side of an ambulance; never mind that it’s just possible the ambulance might have cut him off.

 

International

Mashable lists the world’s seven best bike routes, including one in our relative back yard.

Calgary will send a group of Bicycle Ambassadors to offices and events to explain the city’s new cycle track network. Note the key word, network.

Who was that that masked man? A heroic London bike rider jumps into a river to save the life of another rider who had fallen in, then rides away without giving his name.

London’s Royal Parks continues to stand in the way of the city’s planned cycle superhighways.

UK police single out cyclists for riding irresponsibly, ignoring the lawbreakers in the big, dangerous machines. And it’s not the bike riders who are stringing fishing line across bike paths at head level to garrote unsuspecting people.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a Brit bicyclist’s bike just minutes after he was hit by a car.

Virgin’s e-bike riding Richard Branson calls on cities to close down entire streets to all vehicles but bicycles.

Luxembourg climbs to 13th in the ranking of bike friendly European nations; not surprisingly, Denmark and The Netherlands come out on top.

 

Finally…

Somehow, I don’t think a campaign that says, in effect, “Come to the darkside, wear a bike helmet” is an effective safety message. Police Down Under won’t respond to a hit-and-run involving a cyclist if no one bothers to call them.

And in the UK, ducks get their own lanes, which the Royal Parks service doesn’t seem to object to.

 

Weekend Links: Sentencing delayed in emotional drugged driving case, rider reportedly robbed on Ballona Creek

Before we start, here’s one video you want to watch. Trust me on this.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

………

Just gotten word that the sentencing of Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti in the drugged driving death of cyclist Eric Billings has been delayed due to a technicality.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti unexpectedly pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated last March, and was scheduled to be sentenced to up to four years in prison today. The judge delayed sentencing until June 10th to allow the defense time to review the probation report.

However, he revoked bail and remanded her into custody to be evaluated prior to sentencing.

According to the OC DA’s office, Fakhrai-Bayrooti had Xanax and Suboxone in her system when she ran down Billings’ bike from behind on March 15, 2013, as he rode in a marked bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission Viejo.

According to My News LA, Billing’s daughter, who was six month’s pregnant when he was killed, gave birth to a son who will never know his grandfather. And one her brothers is getting married Saturday without a father to stand by his side.

Mark Billings said he too had struggled with addiction, but it was his brother’s unconditional love that helped him overcome his own drug problems.

Eric Billings “was the kind of guy who carried extra shirts and sweaters in his car to give to someone out in the cold,” Mark Billings said.

I’m told the judge wept openly in the courtroom listening to the impact statements from family members. And the court reporter recorded it all with mascara running down her face.

………

Once again, there’s bad news from Ballona Creek.

A rider writing on Reddit reports that he saw another cyclist being robbed by four men on the bike path near the National/Jefferson exit Tuesday evening.

This has been an ongoing, if infrequent, problem over the years; in fact, crime alerts on the pathway date back to at least 1990.

It’s not that the bike path is particularly dangerous. However, just like any other place in the city where you’re out of public view, you have to be alert to the circumstances around you.

If you don’t feel comfortable, wait for other riders to catch up, or go back to the previous exit and ride around the problem area.

Just don’t hold your breath for the police to respond. There’s been an ongoing debate over which police agencies have jurisdiction where on the path.

And riders have complained that 911 operators can’t seem to find it on a map to send anyone, anyway.

………

CiclaValley offers a preview of the next week’s Amgen Tour of California, which starts on Sunday. The Sacramento Bee explains seven things you’ll want to know about the Tour of California; eight actually, since an update mentions that Marcel Kittel has pulled out.

American Tyler Farrar is one of the riders to watch. And tour officials are working to keep the routes safe for the riders, unlike several recent racing calamities that left riders badly injured.

Meanwhile, the women in these photos finally get four days in the AToC, which started Friday. Second-year UnitedHealthcare pro Katy Hall dreams of charging up Mt. Baldy just like the men, while Alison Tetrick looks forward to joining a deep field charging through the snow.

While this year’s women’s tour is a big step forward, it’s long past time to let women racers compete on equal terms. And put them on TV, for chrissake.

………

A sign on LA garbage trucks urges homeowners not to turn bike lanes into garbage lanes.

I’m told the LAPD has gotten several complaints about people blocking bike lanes with their garbage cans. And yes, that is illegal.

A new Toronto app allows riders to report cars blocking bike lanes. Maybe we need an LA version that lets us report trash cans, too.

………

Local

South La Brea is making a comeback. And a local bike shop is helping lead the way.

USC’s Story Space interviews the LACBC’s Eric Bruins and Michael McDonald of Bike the Vote LA; thanks to Streetsblog LA for the link.

The Westwood Village Farmers’ Market is giving away a “sleek” new commuter bike from Helen’s Cycles to celebrate the new bike corral on Broxton Ave. Which would be the perfect place to park your bike to attend the Westwood Village Farmers’ Market. I’m just saying.

Santa Clarita hosts the free nine-mile family friendly Hit the Trail bike ride on Saturday.

Former Olympic cyclist Tony Cruz will lead Saturday’s Tour of Long Beach, with rides from 30 to 100 miles, benefitting pediatric cancer research.

Speaking of Long Beach, bike ridership is up 21% in the downtown area from 2013, suggesting that the city’s emphasis on building bike lanes is working.

Women are invited to tell their story explaining why you need a new bike, and possibly win one from Pedal Love and Made in Long Beach.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer remembers Bay Area bicycling legend Jobst Brandt, who passed away at age 80 after a long illness.

San Bernardino deputies recover a Loma Linda boy’s $1,500 stolen bike after his father discovered it for sale on Craigslist.

Bakersfield police release surveillance video of burglars who knocked off a local bike shop last month.

Great idea for a bike ride, as the San Jose Public Library host the Gira de Libro, visiting five of the city’s 23 libraries. Rumor has it that LA has public libraries, as well, though few residents have actually been inside one.

After the local Marin paper refused to even consider the possibility a bike rider might not have been at fault in a collision with an 80-year old woman, it turns out the rider did what he could to avoid hitting her. An estimated 15 to 17 mph sounds way too fast for a narrow bridge shared with pedestrians, though; we need to slow down when passing people on foot, just like drivers should slow down when passing bikes.

A Sacramento bike rider was killed in a collision with a train. By far the easiest type of wreck to avoid, since trains have to travel on tracks and have warning lights, bells and/or crossing gates to tell you they’re coming.

A Mariposa cyclist suffered major injuries when he was left crossed by a motorist; according to the comments, the victim is the principle double bass player for the local orchestra. Let’s hope makes a fast and full recovery.

 

National

Performance Bicycle is named a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Business. Then again, if a bike shop isn’t bike friendly, something is seriously wrong.

America’s biggest bike share operator has now gone into the manufacturing business.

As we’ve said before, people don’t ride on the sidewalk if they feel safe on the streets, as shown by a new protected bike lane in Honolulu that’s cut sidewalk riding by 65%.

Salt Lake will build the nation’s first protected intersection, designed to keep bike riders and pedestrians safe.

A texting teenage Chicago driver could get off the hook for hitting a cyclist because the police never read the driver her rights.

Turns out Chicago’s favorite sport of the late 1800’s wasn’t hockey or baseball. So when, if ever, is that long-rumored Major Taylor movie coming out, anyway?

Once again, a bike rider is collateral damage in a wreck between two drivers, this time in Milwaukee; the victim was an ice cream vendor on a three-wheeled bike.

Kids, don’t try this at home. An off-duty New Hampshire cop was killed riding his bike down a flight of stairs — inside a house.

 

International

The pope attends a singletrack bike fest. Oh, not that pope.

A new study from the University of Duh says bike commuters really do lose weight, as long as they ride 30 minutes each way.

Expect serious bike lust at this weekend’s Spin London bike show.

A UK court is told a cyclist killed in an unsafe pass by his own father’s truck would have survived if he had only been wearing a helmet. Which is impossible to say with any certainty, despite the investigator’s apparent certainty.

Sweden’s Princess Estelle looks like any other adorable three-year old bike rider with her pink helmet and training wheels.

A new German safety campaign encourages cyclists to wear helmets, just like Darth Vader. Do they seriously think equating a bike helmet with crossing over to the Dark Side will actually work?

As bicycling grows in Egypt, it’s even becoming safer for women to ride alone.

Bangkok cyclists call for stiffer penalties for drunk drivers in the wake of two collisions in which drivers plowed into group rides, killing four people; police promise to step up safety measures.

 

Finally…

How many times do we have to say it? If you’re riding your bike with an outstanding felony warrant, stay off the damn sidewalk in Santa Monica, already. Now you too, can have a truly tasteless bike taillight dangling from your seat, just like the big boys in their trucks; the sad thing is, it was actually funded.

And Bremerton WA police have apparently developed a new technique to stop fleeing drivers by throwing out a bike strip; no word on whether they use roadies, fixies or mountain bikes.

 

Weekend Links: Super-secret discipline for Milt Olin deputy; SD’s Fiesta Island wreck caused by invisible boyfriend

We’ve got a lot to catch up on today.

So feel free to take a break and go out for a ride. This could take awhile.

……..

The LA County sheriff’s deputy who killed former Napster exec Milt Olin has been officially disciplined by the department. But since it’s considered a personnel matter, we’ll most likely never know what that discipline is.

And there will be no discipline for the department, which reportedly encouraged its officers to use their onboard computers while driving, despite an official policy against it.

……..

A psychiatrist says the alleged meth-using wrong way driver who plowed into 10 cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island, leaving one paralyzed, “has bipolar disorder with chronic or long-standing mania and psychotic features, but also depressive features.”

Oh. Well, okay then.

She reportedly blames the crash on an invisible boyfriend who somehow popped up, apparently inside her car, before disappearing.

And she had a bag of meth in her vagina when she was arrested.

Allegedly.

Update: Despite the testimony of the psychiatrist, Theresa Owens was found competent to stand trial on Friday. 

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Three bikes take a 100 year journey to Bike Week LA, coming next month.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

……..

Update: I’ve been reminded that the OCTA Bike Festival will be held this Sunday from 9 am to 1 p in Huntington Beach.

Although how I can be reminded of something I didn’t know about to begin with is beyond me.

……..

Local

Note to CMs Gil Cedillo, Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz: A Virginia study confirms what we’ve been trying to tell you. More bikes on the streets will actually increase traffic congestion unless we have bike lanes to ride in. But hey, go ahead, keep blocking those planned bike lanes on North Figueroa, Lankershim and Westwood until traffic improves.

If you’re looking for a new job, CicLAvia is hiring a new head honcho; meanwhile, the Times talks with outgoing exec and founder Aaron Paley. Although I wish he could remember the role the LACBC played in assisting the birth of CicLAvia; one of the first votes I cast as a board member involved approving a cooperative agreement to help get the first event off the ground.

Caught on video: Streetsblog’s Joe Linton looks a Malibu’s new bike lane on PCH, a first for the formerly bike-unfriendly city. Speaking of the LACBC, the coalitions’s Eric Bruins deserves much of the credit for the coastal city’s change in attitude.

 

State

California Streetsblog interviews Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who insists Governor Brown will sign a Yellow Alert hit-and-run notice this time around; he vetoed a similar bill last year.

Caltrans effectively unblocks protected bike lanes; the state transportation agency will hold a summit on the newly legalized Class IV bikeways next month.

Is someone targeting bike riders in OC? After a Santa Ana bike rider is shot in a possible gang-related driveby, he continued riding to a nearby residence for help; another man riding a bike was shot in the same city just a day later.

Huntington Beach police are looking for a man and woman who tried to steal a purse from a bike rider’s basket, then ripped it out of her hands when she fought back. Thanks to Louis for the tip.

The cities of Highlands and Redlands in San Bernardino County are working together to build a proposed bike lane connecting the two; a separated lane is one possibility.

Sad news from Palo Alto, as the 61-year old woman hit by a cyclist while crossing the street has died. The rider was descending around a blind curve at about 25 mph when he crashed into her; he has not been charged. The victim, Kathryn Green, was a noted philanthropist with local ties to the LA area; she was born in Santa Monica and grew up in the Palisades. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Streetsblog SF picks up the story of the Belmont bike rider blamed by auto-centric police for talking on a cell phone and riding sans-helmet — both legal — when he was left crossed by a car; the 90-year old motorist who illegally violated his right of way wasn’t held responsible in any way.

The Uber driver who allegedly ran down a San Francisco bike rider in a road rage dispute has surrendered his drivers license.

San Francisco’s director of transportation and public health director team up to explain the city’s Vision Zero policy. It would be nice if we could see something like that here; most Angelenos have no idea what Vision Zero is, let alone that the city has adopted it.

NorCal’s Arcata posts a YouTube video explaining the new bicycle boulevard running through the center of town. So why can’t we have nice things like that? See Cedillo, et al, above.

 

National

Phoenix cyclists agree with the city’s low ranking for bike-friendliness.

Organizers unveil the route for this year’s Tour of Utah, which includes a whopping two whole days of women’s racing. Which is better than none, I suppose.

A Houston bike rider has become the latest cyclist to be killed in a collision with a police car; the victim reportedly ran the red light.

Ever wondered what happened to the guy who inspired Breaking Away by almost single-handedly winning the 1962 Little 500?

An Ohio driver gets probation for the hit-and-run crash that left a bike rider seriously injured, and tampering with evidence to hide the crime afterwards. Evidently, life is cheap there. And the law seems pretty meaningless, too.

To celebrate the launch of Philadelphia’s bike share program, Uber brought bike riders a new helmet for just $10. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the tip.

Bike riders in South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island say harassment is common, after the arrest of a driver for yelling at a woman to get on a bike path, then getting out of his car and grabbing her arm to scream some more.

Caught on video: A Georgia truck driver gets out of his vehicle and pushes a bike rider over after the rider flipped him off for passing too closely; the driver claims he was in fear for his life after the rider kicked at his massive, multi-ton steel truck. Sure, let’s go with that.

Unbelievable. The 2013 police shooting of a Florida bike rider was caught on dash cam video; he was left paralyzed from the waist down — even though his only weapon was a cell phone.

The Justice Department will review the Tampa Bay police department’s ticketing of African American bike riders, who received 79% of the city’s tickets for bicycle violations even though they make up just 26% of city residents. The paper that broke the story asks if police will now stop the biased enforcement while the review is underway. Thanks to BikinginLA sponsor Michael Rubinstein for the heads-up.

 

International

They never learn. A young British driver becomes the latest to lose her job after tweeting about hitting a bicyclist without stopping.

A Brit woman may have suffered permanent scars resulting from a collision with a grinning hit-and-run cyclist.

A formerly morbidly obese man from the UK loses 210 pounds in a single year after taking up bicycling; he’s now planning to run a half-marathon — and have 14 pounds of excess skin removed.

Now that’s what I call fleeing the scene. An Irish driver gets six-and-a-half years for causing the death of a cyclist. He first fled to the UK, then Australia; he was arrested after being recognized in an ill-advised return to the UK.

Join the Army, and you too can experience the German equivalent of a ciclovía.

Kazakhstan-based pro cycling team Astana somehow manages to keep its top-tier racing status, despite a number of team members busted for doping.

Unbelievable. An Aussie man jailed for killing a cyclist in a 2011 hit-and-run killed another man in a second hit-and-run the same month, and hid his body under some bark and leaves.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A llama joins the peloton. In Canada, no less, where the animals aren’t exactly native.

If you’re going to climb into a driver’s vehicle and drive off after coming to blows in a road rage dispute — with the owner still clinging to the outside of his car — try to make a clean getaway without crashing into a parked car. But if you want to experience just one angry, honking driver on your ride to work, make sure you have a police escort.

And Bo Jackson says nobody’s perfect. Not even his buddy Lance.

 

Update: Guilty plea in case of fallen OC cyclist Joseph Robinson

A source calling from the courthouse in Orange County has just reported that the driver who killed 21-year old Jax Bicycle Center employee Joseph Robinson has pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and drug charges, and will face significant jail time.

Sommer Niclole Gonzales, just 18 at the time of the collision, was sentenced to spend the next 11 years of her life behind bars after she admitted responsibility and waived her right to appeal.

Robinson was taking the long way to work on a sunny February morning last year when he was run down from behind while riding in the bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road.

He was hit with enough force to knock him and his bike completely off the roadway; his body was only discovered because an off-duty fire captain spotted a car with a shattered windshield speeding in the opposite direction, then saw a single shoe lying on the side of the roadway.

Gonzales was arrested in a parking lot a short time later as a friend helped her transfer her belongings into another car, in an apparent attempt to cover up her responsibility for the crime. She was found in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the time of her arrest.

No word on why her friend wasn’t charged for assisting in the attempted coverup.

The victim’s family was reportedly in tears following the sentencing.

According to the source, the judge’s final words to her were “What a tragedy. Just because you wanted to do meth.”

Update: I corrected the above quote from the judge, which was off slightly due to a bad phone connection.

Gonzales will get credit for 888 days served, reducing her sentence by nearly two-and-a-half years; she’ll also serve three years parole upon her release.

Update 2: According to a press release from the Orange County DA’s office, Gonzales was found guilty of:

  • Felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Felony hit and run with death
  • Misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Along with a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter

Robinson’s family offered emotional impact statements, including this video from his mother showing him riding in happier days.

Then there’s this moving quote from his sister.

“My heart literally hurts when I think about my brother, I can’t think about him without crying. My drive to work takes me right past the accident site where his ghost bike is still hanging. Every morning and night as I pass that spot, I tell Joey aloud that I love him and cry.”

If you’ve ever wondered what harm driving under the influence can cause, that pretty much sums it up.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the press release.

Update 3: My News LA adds more details, including quotes from Robinson’s family members and his girlfriend. 

The story also quotes Gonzales’ attorney explaining that she had first tried marijuana at age 12, and quickly moved on to meth, which she had been her drug of choice ever since.

According to the attorney, she knew she had hit something, and stopped to see what it was, but continued on when she didn’t see Robinson or his bike. 

Weekend Links: Guilty in plea hit-and-run death of Anaheim mother, San Clemente rider 6th in Paris-Roubaix

A Buena Park man pleaded guilty to fleeing the scene after killing a bike-riding mother of eight in Anaheim last November.

That was after Junior Rigoberto Lopez received a promise from the judge that his sentence will not exceed three years. Because, evidently, leaving a mother to die in the street isn’t really that big a deal in the OC.

………

Hats off to San Clemente resident Daniel Willett for his sixth-place finish in last weekend’s juniors’ Paris-Roubaix classic; he finished just 33 seconds off the winner’s time.

………

My formerly sled-dog racing and now fat-tire riding brother sends word from the Great White North that biking and running the famed Iditarod Trail is no picnic, either. Especially this year.

………

Local

Your new and improved Crenshaw Blvd could have protected bike lanes for a stretch before bikes are shunted off onto alternate streets, apparently to make more room for cars.

KCET looks at the Rio Hondo Confluence, one of the few places in the LA area where you have your choice of bike paths; a long promised park and bike rest stop is still in the works.

Over 50 SaMo businesses sign up to bike, carpool, walk or take transit in an alternative transportation challenge.

 

State

A former Intel exec broke his hip and dislocated his shoulder in a solo fall while descending at 32 mph east of San Diego; he and his teammates were just 700 miles into a planned 5,000 mile ride for heart disease and stroke awareness.

NIMBY-ism rears its ugly head in Rancho Mirage, as residents rise up against a planned 50-mile bike and pedestrian path because it might be bad for landscaping, and could make it harder for vehicles to turn on or off the highway. Seriously, where is a tiny violin when you need one?

A search for a solution to slippery olives falling on a Davis bike path turns into a successful olive oil business.

A Salinas truck driver walks away without charges in a fatal bike collision despite right-hooking the victim, because the rider was high on meth and riding brakeless. Neither of which had anything to do with the driver’s illegal turn, of course.

Santa Clara County officials reject a proposal for an LA-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance because they’re worried about foul-mouthed bike riders harassing motorists in their multi-ton, hermetically sealed vehicles.

 

National

Fifty-one percent of all Americans never ride a bike; on the other hand, only three percent of Midwesterners don’t know how to ride one.

GQ says the new trend in travel is to ditch the rental car and have a bike-cation.

So much for 41-year old two-time Olympic champ Kristin Armstrong’s comeback, as she’s bounced from the US team for the Pan Am Championships just days after she was named to the roster.

Caught on video: A Portland school bus driver gets a summons from the cops after buzzing a bike rider, then slamming the bus door on the rider’s hand when he confronts him.

Seattle police seize 60 bicycles after busting a bike chop shop, while Washington cyclists no longer have to wait forever for a dead red light to change.

Both the newly reborn Chicago Streetsblog and a local columnist explain what’s really going on with a proposal to permanently remove the city’s first protected bike lane. But with radically different perspectives.

Not only was the driver in a fatal Vermont cycling collision arrested for being under the influence, his drunken passenger was, too; the driver was also charged with driving with a suspended license — for the fifth time.

Caught on video: A Buffalo NY cop double parked in a bike lane, apparently because he was having a pizza emergency. Meanwhile, a Massachusetts state trooper tells a cyclist his department really doesn’t care about enforcing the bike lanes on a Boston bridge.

A 16-year old South Carolina driver has been charged with attempted murder for trying to run members of a local bike club off the road not once, not twice, but on seven separate occasions, because he blamed them for the collision that killed two of his friends; police say the cyclists weren’t responsible for the earlier wreck. You’ve got to be a pretty crappy driver if you can hit a bunch of bike riders in seven tries.

 

International

Saskatchewan drivers need more training about bicycling. Just like drivers everywhere else.

Montreal’s mayor is spotted riding one of the city’s bike share bikes.

The Times of London sets the standard for how newspapers can bike the vote, while one of the city’s top architects says the construction industry has to stop killing cyclists.

The truck driver who killed South African Olympic mountain biker Burry Stander has been found guilty of culpable homicide and running a stop sign.

After a nine-year old Philippine boy’s bike is commandeered by a police commando fleeing rebels, the regional governor gets him a new one.

 

Finally…

A San Francisco man volunteers himself to referee a popular cycling route, complete with yellow flags; no word on whether his call can be overturned upon further review. An amateur cyclist plans to ride the entire Tour de France route on a 1970’s kid’s chopper bike; no wait, maybe he’s a pro.

And here’s a great series of videos produced by high school students to raise awareness of distracted driving. And don’t feel any obligation to vote for the one titled The Distraction Game, even though it was produced by my nephew and his partners.

No, seriously. It’s okay.

………

I’ll see you all bright and early Sunday morning at Finish the Right to help end the epidemic of hit-and-run once and for all.

Right?

If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time to save $10 with discount code FTR10.

Morning Links: Driver arraigned in death of Matt Liechty; ribbon cutting planned for bike-friendly PCH in the ‘Bu

Our anonymous Orange County correspondent was in the courtroom when the driver accused of killing cyclist Matt Liechty briefly appeared before a judge for his arraignment last Friday.

Antonio Magdaleno was present in court. He was wearing a suit with a pale blue shirt & blue tie, and accompanied by three worried people who I assume are his family. His unease made him come across as younger, and I think he was holding his breath in between his almost inaudible answers the judge’s few questions.

Members of Liechty’s family were there as well. Sitting a few rows behind, one snapped a cell phone picture of the defendant. The bailiff (this particular one is very competent and absolutely humorless) actually missed it, but a few minutes later he marched over to sternly inform the guy to turn the phone off or leave the court room.

Magdaleno and his entourage left the courtroom to confer in the hallway, followed a few seconds behind by Matt’s family; the Liechtys’ chain-reaction rear-end pile-up indicated that they noticed this instantly, and they retreated.

From what his lawyer said, it sounds like Magdaleno has been working really hard at sobriety, so they’re going to use this as an indicator that he doesn’t deserve the maximum penalty.

Twenty-nine-year old Antonio Magdaleno is accused of running down Liechty from behind as he rode in a Huntington Beach bike lane, then fleeing the scene on just three wheels after losing one in the collision.

He faces felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, fleeing the scene of a collision and hit-and-run with permanent and seriously injury.

So that maximum penalty, if applied, could add up to a very long time behind bars.

………

All that work on PCH is about to pay off, as Malibu hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the Pacific Coast Highway Bike Route Improvements Project and the first bike lane in the ‘Bu at 10 am on Wednesday, April 29th at PCH and Morning View Drive.

………

If you were planning to attend the hit-and-run press conference at City Hall today, it will now be held after the council votes to approve a standing reward program for hit-and-runs.

Which they will, since LA’s conflict-free city council seldom, if ever, votes down anything once it’s been approved by committee.

However, hit-and-run victims are still urged to attend to press their case before the council, and appear afterwards with Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who deserves a lot of credit for his efforts to end the hit-and-run epidemic.

………

Local

CiclaValley offers up his origin story, and explains why he supports Finish the Ride, which rolls through the streets of Hollywood this Sunday. And thanks for the shout out.

Santa Monica’s California Incline closes on Monday, and will reopen next year in a new and improved version. With bike lanes.

It’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson, who says instead of a study of bike helmet use, the state should study whether helmets could help prevent head injuries for everyone. And yes, he means everyone.

 

State

Formerly auto-centric Caltrans takes a page from British bike scribe Carlton Reid’s book, and admits that roads weren’t built for cars.

Cyclelicious looks at a superfluous proposal in the state legislature that would require bike riders to pull over on two-lane roads when there are five or more cars following and unable to pass, which we are already required to do, just like anyone else.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition is hosting its first CyclingSavvy course on the 24th and 25th of April.

San Diego cyclists complain about a triangle curb that juts into a new separated bike lane, with no warning other than a little freshly applied paint.

Ojai wants to become friendlier to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Actually, most cyclists have never even heard of chamois cream, despite what a writer for the Sacramento State newspaper insists.

A Davis coffee roaster pedals a stationary bike to turn his roasting drum, then delivers the coffee by bike.

 

National

How the bike movement can achieve real equality on the streets. For everyone.

Two-time Olympic time trial champ Kristin Armstrong decides to un-retire for the 2015 Pan Am Continental Road Championships, and possibly the 2016 Olympics.

A cycling instructor in my hometown says cyclists everywhere run stops, but it’s not always dangerous. And maybe the law should be changed.

Houston bicyclists want drivers to know the city’s new protected bike lanes aren’t just green parking spaces.

Minneapolis consider raising the 10 mph speed limit for bikes in the city’s parks, calling the current limit exceedingly slow for modern bikes.

An Ohio writer discovers it is possible to bike to work in normal clothes.

 

International

Pro cyclists will be allowed to try out disc brakes for two months at the end of the summer; cycling scion Taylor Phinney’s long road back from a devastating racing injury may finally be complete just in time to try them out.

There’s something seriously wrong when Brit bike riders have to pair up to avoid being attacked.

A new bike from the UK comes complete with roll bar and adult-sized child seat to protect you from a collision with a semi. Yeah, right.

Famed British racing mark McLaren is just the latest supercar maker to make a super-high end super road bike.

Nice. Nearly 20 cyclists rode 55 miles from Auschwitz to Krakow last year to raise funds to send 30 elderly Jews, most survivors of the Holocaust, on a trip to Israel.

A former West Australian transport minister says cyclists are useless, and need to be taught the rules of the road to avoid being killed.

 

Finally…

In a potentially brilliant move to avoid a DUI, a New Jersey driver flees the scene after running down a cyclist and heads straight to a bar. Turns out that Simon Cowell had his bike stolen; no, not that Simon Cowell.

And which is faster in LA traffic, a pro cyclist on a high-end racing bike or a stunt driver in a Ferrari?

Do you really need to ask?

 

Morning Links: Hearing for OC hit-and-run driver, what a bike lane is for, and celeb chefs ride to end child hunger

Sometimes justice takes awhile.

It’s been over a year since Matthew Liechty was run down by an allegedly drunk driver while riding in a Huntington Beach bike lane. The driver was arrested after fleeing the scene on just three wheels, leaving his victim to die where he lay.

Now Antonio Magdaleno Jr. is finally due to be arraigned this Friday on felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, fleeing the scene of a collision and hit-and-run with permanent and seriously injury.

Yeah, I’d call death permanent and serious.

The hearing is scheduled for 8:30 am in W12 DUI court at the Westminster courthouse, 8141 13th Street.

If you can make it, it would be good to have a few cyclists in the courtroom to show support for Matt’s family and let the court know we care about the outcome of this case.

I don’t know how much time Magdaleno faces, but it’s a lot less than what he sentenced his victim to.

Thanks to Michael Liechty for the heads-up.

……..

Apparently, the topic du jour is what, exactly, a bike lane is for.

It’s not for pedestrians, as a Chicago writer apologizes for her fellow bipedalists. Nor is it a parking spot, as a Houston writer goes to great lengths to point out.

On the other hand, California bike lanes could soon be for electric skateboard riders; the Weekly enjoys a moment of schadenfreude as they note cyclists could learn how motorists feel when they’re crowded out by bikes.

As if.

And a Santa Monica letter writer says they’re for sidewalk cyclists, which is banned in the city.

……..

Now you can have that $500 full-face bike helmet that actually meets DOT standards for motorcycle helmets that you’ve always wanted; no word on whether SB 192 has been amended to require them for all bike riders.

……..

Thanks to my friends at CLIF Bar for sending me a care package of their new Organic Trail Mix Bars.

The bars are all certified USDA organic, gluten free, and 200 calories or less. And they have a low glycemic index, which means you won’t get that sugar rush followed by a crash.

They come in seven flavors — Coconut Almond Peanut, Cranberry Almond, Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry, and Wild Blueberry Almond — four of which I’ve tried so far, and all of them good.

There should have been seven bars in this photo, but I ate one. And it was good.

There should have been seven bars in this photo, but I ate one. And it was good.

……..

Speaking of food, a group of chef’s will be riding for a great cause this summer.

Last year, celebrity chefs Jason Roberts and Allan Ng rode from New York to Washington DC with a small group to raise money for the No Kid Hungry campaign, to ensure that every child has access to healthy food where they live, learn and play.

This year, they’ve organized a group of 50 professional chefs for Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry to ride 300 miles in three days. One group will ride from New York to DC the weekend of June 7th through 9th, while a second will go from Santa Barbara to San Diego June 14th through 16th.

You can follow their progress on their website and contribute to the cause by clicking here; so far they’ve raised enough for over 336,000 meals.

Not bad, but we can do a lot better.

Maybe a Napa Valley Gran Fondo/progressive feast where you can ride along with well-known chefs, winemakers and former pro cyclists will inspire you to dig deeper.

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Local

This Thursday, you can Ride South Southeast LA: Bell Gardens with the LACBC and East Yard Communities.

Montbello hosts a Bike Fest Walk and Roll this Saturday, while Flying Pigeon holds their popular monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride that night.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to be a fabulous member of the Tour de Phat People on Saturday the 18th.

Wolfpack Hustle’s Short Line Crit is back on May 30th as part of the annual Long Beach Bike Fest, and the first event in the Unified Title Series.

 

State

Streetsblog now covers all of California, including a report that says a draft Caltrans transportation plan calls for less driving in the state and no more highway expansion.

In San Diego, cyclists sometimes have to ride half an hour just to go 644 feet. But at least the city has finally linked a pair of bikeways formerly separated by a block-long gap.

An accused hit-and-run driver is arrested three months after he allegedly killed a Bakersfield bike rider.

Two San Francisco thieves are busted following a strong arm bike theft from a cyclist riding on the sidewalk.

A Santa Rosa Cycling Club member uses RideWithGPS data to track down the owner of a lost Garmin.

A Lodi paper offers a useful glossary of bike race terms for those new to the sport; I always thought Gruppetto was the guy who made Pinocchio.

 

National

A driver’s cone of vision narrows significantly with just a simple jump from 20 to 30 mph. Of course, it takes a pretty crappy driver to keep his or her eyes narrowly focused straight ahead, instead of scanning the full roadway like good drivers are trained to do.

We can dream, can’t we? Wired calls on US cities to follow the example of Paris in spending $160 million to boost bicycling.

Turns out mountain bikers have bigger muscles and better bones than roadies.

Portland develops a plan to give abandoned bikes to community organizations.

Albuquerque breaks ground on a 50-mile bike path circling the city.

Someone apparently stole an Oklahoma ghost bike.

A Muncie bike rider is under arrest for operating a mobile meth lab in his backpack.

And in Florida news…

Palm Beach zoo employees are biking to work to cut their carbon footprint and show what individual people can do to protect wildlife habitats.

It takes a serious schmuck to hit a little girl with his SUV while she rides to her school, get out and apologize, then drive off leaving her crying in the street.

A paper calls for protecting cyclists in a two-page editorial, but offers only one-and-a-half sentences calling for motorists to drive safely.

Police arrest a man for punching out a bicyclist because he — the puncher, not the punchee — heard someone was looking for him. And apparently, because he didn’t like the rider’s age.

 

International

Caught on video: Some motorists actually like people on bikes, as a London car passenger leans out to high five a passing rider.

A UK bike thief is convicted of making monthly trips from London to Cambridge to steal bikes; victims included the local police.

Evidently UK drug dealers ride tandems; as the judge said, “It’s not exactly Miami Vice.”

An Aussie writer bikes the boulevards of Vienna in sturdy knickers.

A double tragedy, as a Russian truck driver hangs himself three days after killing a 72-year old cyclist who was riding across the country to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

A Kiwi bike rider was arrested when he got too aggressive with police who responded when he was knocked off his bike.

 

Finally…

Portland authorities are on the lookout for a hit-and-run cyclist who left a dying duck in his wake. Somehow, a Wisconsin cyclist goes flying over a car when a peddler is cut off by a motorist who failed to yield. Or maybe they mean pedaler, rather than an itinerant salesperson.

And a word to the wise: You might want to dump your dope and clear up those nagging outstanding warrants before you report a bike jacking to the police.

 

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