Archive for Legal Cases

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.

……..

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.

 

Weekend Links: Parking protected biking finally comes to LA; gunman guilty in shooting of San Diego bicyclist

LA takes a big step forward, as Northridge gets the city’s first parking protected bike lane.

The new Reseda Blvd bike lane uses the parking lane, and the cars in them, to form a protective barrier between bikes and motor vehicle traffic on the busy street. Even if some drivers don’t seem to get the idea.

The sidewalk got a makeover, too.

……..

The man accused of shooting and killing a developmentally disabled San Diego bike rider just for the hell of it has pled guilty to first degree murder.

Twenty-two-year old Humberto Emanuel Galvez leaned out of a car window and shot Jordan Hickey with a shotgun as Hickey was just blocks from his home as he rode home from visiting his girlfriend four years ago.

Galvez will be sentenced to life without parole for the shooting; by pleading guilty, he took a possible death sentence off the table.

His partner in the crime, 24-year old Juan Ignacio Gomez, also faces life without parole after being convicted last week.

……..

Local

Routing bike riders onto alternate back streets that don’t form a complete grid isn’t the right answer, a lesson CiclaValley says ostensibly bike-friendly CD4 candidate Carolyn Ramsay needs to learn.

Flying Pigeon explains why the upcoming school board election should matter to you, whether or not you have kids.

KPCC correctly notes that LA’s incomplete bike network makes it impossible to cross the city using designated bikeways. Although they could have found a more current map.

Good ideas are contagious. The success of CicLAvia prompts Glendale to consider their own ciclovía on Brand Blvd this September.

 

State

A 13-year old bike rider suffers non-life threatening injuries when he’s apparently right hooked by the driver of a car.

Build it, and they will come in droves. Buffered bike lanes in San Diego result in a 347% increase in ridership since 2012.

Former baseball great Curt Schilling joins with other San Diego residents to help replace the 18 custom bikes stolen from wounded vets; so far, they’ve raised $25,000 to replace bikes valued at $45,000.

San Diego cyclists will gather on April 19th for the second annual 35.5-mile memorial ride to honor long-time cyclist and bike advocate Gordy Shields. We’re still waiting for LA to do something, anything, to memorialize our own Alex Baum after his passing.

Plans for a 48-mile bike path through the Coachella Valley could be jeopardized as Rancho Mirage threatens to pull its support.

San Francisco’s bike share program could expand from the current 700 bikes to 7,000 bikes in cities throughout the Bay Area.

A San Francisco bike theft victim gets his $7,000 ebike back when the built-in GPS pinpoints its location.

Police are looking for a hit-and-run driver who plowed into three SF cyclists, seriously injuring one, as she fled after rear-ending a car and before hitting another one.

 

National

I want one. Or maybe two. Trek’s Bontrager line introduces a new tail light designed for daytime use, said to be brighter than a car taillight and visible for over a mile away.

A Harvard study says police are still using outdated collision report forms, missing out on vital data that could help prevent bike collisions; Los Angeles cyclists have been asking the LAPD to improve their forms for years.

Despite complaints, a Portland road diet slows drivers an average of just one minute per trip.

Nice story. A 12-year old boy in my hometown who was born without arms will soon be able to ride a bike for the first time, thanks to the efforts of his new friend.

A Milwaukee writer says it’s not riding a bike that’s hazardous to your health.

A Minnesota public library is introducing The Book Bike, a bicycle-towed trailer designed to bring books to local kids.

Even the Motor City is getting its first parking-protected bike lane.

Some people just don’t get it. A Syracuse paper says parking is more important than bike lanes, even though getting more people on bikes could reduce the need for it.

A New Yorker who helped paint the city’s first ghost bike says he’ll keep building them until they aren’t needed anymore.

The Baltimore bishop accused in the drunken hit-and-run death of a bike rider has pled not guilty; she faces trial on June 4th. So much for confession being good for the soul.

New Orleans cyclists turn to social media to track down suspected bike thieves.

No bias here, as a Florida rider died after being doored, yet the local press blames him for running into it. Note to Tampa Bay Times: If someone dies of his injuries, they were life threatening, even if they didn’t appear that way at first.

 

International

Montreal cyclists say the city has a long way to go to improve safety; a new bike path could have only been designed by someone who doesn’t ride.

A two-year old Brit boy is the proud owner of perhaps the world’s only penny farthing balance bike.

Paris plans to double the size of its bike lane network to over 860 miles in the next five years, including protected bike lanes on the Champs Elysees and other major avenues. Seriously, if they can do it there…

VeloNews looks at Easter Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

At least Mercedes AMG didn’t build yet another high-end racing bike, like so many other car makers dabbling in bicycling. They built a mountain bike instead.

Bystanders join together to lift a car off a Chinese cyclist when she’s pinned underneath following a collision. For some reason, though, they illustrated the story with a photo from CicLAvia, and a caption about LA’s planned bike share program.

 

Finally…

Someone stole the new sign asking people to stop pooping on an Illinois bike path; to be honest, given the opportunity, I might have taken it myself. When you’re wanted on two outstanding warrants and carrying nine packets of heroin on your bike, put a damn bell on your bike if that’s what the law requires.

And yes, biking under the influence is illegal in California, as a San Raphael rider blows twice the legal limit after blowing a stop sign.

……..

Please accept my best wishes for a happy Passover, a happy Easter, or just a damn fine weekend, whatever you may observe.

 

Morning Links: Justice for San Diego thrill kill victim, Griffith Park feeder ride, and CD4’s Ryu finally responds

Sometimes there’s justice after all.

Even if it takes awhile.

When a bike rider gets shot, it’s almost always gang involved in some way. The 2011 death of San Diego cyclist Jordan Hickey was the exception.

The developmentally disabled man was just minutes from his home while riding back after visiting his girlfriend when he was gunned down for no reason.

Or more precisely, just for the hell of it.

Two men were allegedly driving around just looking for someone to kill when they spotted Hickey on his bike, and one leaned out of the car window to fire the fatal blast from a shotgun.

On Wednesday, the driver, Juan Ignacio Gomez, was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder; he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Humberto Emanuel Galvez, the accused shooter, faces a possible death sentence when he goes on trial in May.

Which is exactly what he’s accused of sentencing Hickey to, without a trial.

………

A feeder rider to tonight’s Griffith Park Advisory Board meeting will roll out from Sweet Salt in Toluca Lake to protest plans to open Mt. Hollywood Drive to cars to placate Beechwood Canyon homeowners, who are tired of being overrun by tourists looking for the Hollywood Sign.

………

While I wasn’t looking, CD4 city council candidate David Ryu finally responded to the LACBC’s candidate survey; turns out like most bike riders, his remains in the garage most of the time. Carolyn Ramsay, his opponent to replace Tom LaBonge in the May 19th runoff, submitted her response back in February.

………

Local

LADOT offers up a Pico Blvd bike love story with a happy ending.

Hollywood’s Amoeba Records is holding a charity auction hosted by comedian Kurt Braunohler on April 4th; proceeds will benefit the kids ride and activities at the LACBC’s River Ride in June.

Expect rolling closures on PCH in western Malibu for the next two days as work continues on the highway’s Bike Route Improvements project.

A Burbank writer looks back on Sunday’s Valley CicLAvia and asks what effect a similar event would have on the city.

Ride for a great cause, as the Bear Claw Classic rolls this Saturday in Westlake Village to raise funds for Ride 2 Recovery.

 

State

Clear registration stickers from California’s Anti-Theft Dots could help recover your bike if it’s stolen.

Once again, the CHP rules harm, but no foul, as a driver escapes responsibility for taking his eyes off the road and seriously injuring a cyclist when his vehicle drifted to the right. Evidently, drivers are no longer required to pay attention and maintain control of their cars and trucks in California.

Sad news from Sacramento, as a bike rider becomes the latest victim of a fatal hit-and-run.

A San Jose writer provides a first-person account of simple solo fall with a not so simple result — multiple broken bones, collapsed lung and nearly a half million dollars in medical bills.

San Francisco supervisors want more bike education classes in their districts.

 

National

AAA Distracted DrivingDashcam video in a new PSA shows texting teen drivers swerving off the road; as the BAC’s David Wolfberg asks, how much of teens’ distracted driving behaviors did they learn from watching their parents?

Denver prosecutors throw the book at a driver who nearly killed a bike cop while having a seizure; he faces up to 32 years in jail for crashing into the officer after hiding his medical condition when applying for driver’s license.

A Houston website says it’s open season on bike riders in the Texas city following a horrific hit-and-run that left a cyclist critically injured.

Good news from North Dakota, as bike collisions are down 50% in Rapid City.

A 70-year old man who collapsed on the street can credit his life to the quick actions of a couple of Chicago bike cops.

Whether a protected bike lane on a busy Boston street is a good thing or a bad thing depends on who’s telling the tale. Meanwhile, a Boston city councilor bemoans the loss of revenue from the 73 parking spaces that will be removed to make room for the cycle track, evidently valuing money over the lives of people on bikes.

Baltimore plans to add up to 100 miles of bike lanes over the next 15 years; the question, as always, is whether the plan will be funded.

A Florida driver faces up to 30 years in prison for the death of a bike rider; he was reportedly doing at least 102 mph at the time of the impact.

 

International

The UK’s Cycling Weekly reminds us all why we got on a bike to begin with; however, they forgot to mention the most important reason. It’s fun.

Formerly anti-bike Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson rides off on one after being fired by the BBC for punching a producer; he faces possible criminal charges, as well.

Caught on video: A first person view from the hero cyclist who chased down three British bike thieves.

Dubai develops a specialized six-wheel ambulance — including bike rack on the front — to rescue cyclists injured while riding in the desert.

An Indian official sets out on a “bicycle march” to end injustice, lawlessness and corruption in the country. Although he disappointed his mother, who wanted him to get married first.

A Bangkok writer calls for his countrymen to stop using the term accident to refer to crashes, saying most, if not all, are preventable. You’re preaching to the choir, dude.

 

Finally…

After riding 5,000 from Los Angeles to Miami, then up to Charleston, a cyclist gets a ticket for unlawful passing — just one hundred yards from his final destination. That silly looking German adult balance bike is now a real thing, for no apparent reason.

And how many times has this happened to you?

Breaking news: OC lawyer guilty in 2013 DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings

Word is just coming in that an Orange County attorney has been convicted in the DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings two years ago.

According to a press release from the OC District Attorney’s office, Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated on Tuesday.

The DA reports the 41-year old Rancho Santa Margarita woman had prescription drugs — including 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.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti was apparently unable to plead down to a lessor charge; she was convicted on the same count she was originally charged with, which is unusual in cases that don’t go to trial.

According to the press release, she is currently out on $100,000 bond, and faces up to four years in state prison when she is sentenced on May 8th.

She also faces possible removal from the state bar following her conviction; she has been an active member of the bar since 2005.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein, and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the head-up. (And apologies for misspelling Rubinstein’s name at first.)

 

Morning Links: LA finally gets tough on hit-and-run, Calimesa driver convicted in fatal DUI hit-and-run

Now that’s more like it.

After years of rampant, unsolved hit-and-runs that have made this the City of Fallen Angels, Los Angeles is finally getting tough on fleeing drivers.

Streetsblog reports LA will establish its own Amber Alert-style emergency notification system after Governor Brown vetoed a similar statewide system last year. Alerts will be sent out on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to warn the public to be on the lookout for drivers responsible for serious hit-and-runs.

In addition, the city is establishing a standing reward for information leading to the conviction of runaway drivers, ranging from $1,000 for a collision resulting in property damage with no injuries, up to $50,000 for fatal collisions.

It won’t remove the incentive to flee.

But maybe if more drivers are convicted of the crime, others may think twice about flooring it following a wreck.

……..

William Donald Johnson has been convicted in the allegedly booze and drug-fueled hit-and-run death of cyclist Phillip Richards in Calimesa at the end of 2013. He reportedly fled the scene after crossing the center line to hit Richards head-on.

Johnson faces up to 15 well-deserved years in prison.

……..

Local

The next Bicycle Roundtable is scheduled for 6:30 pm this Thursday at Metro headquarters. The agenda includes updates on bike share, bike platform symbols and complete streets policy; the latter earned them national recognition for last year’s efforts.

A USC student was hit by a car while she was riding in a marked intersection near campus, while those darn cops refuse to play fair, hiding behind cars and trees to catch law-breaking Trojans.

Ciclavalley examines the Forest Lawn Death Trap as part of a series on the worst bike lanes in Los Angeles. Which sadly seems to be a much longer list than the best ones.

South Pasadena’s Monterey Road may be up for a road diet.

 

State

San Diego finally hit the on switch for its long-delayed bike share system.

A salmon cyclist suffers two broken wrists in Brea collision when she’s hit by a car pulling out of a parking lot; drivers seldom look for anyone coming against traffic.

Participation will be off at this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs due to a lack of available hotel rooms, while riders taking part in the tour may have to wait for the presidential motorcade to pass.

A Texas man and his dog bike from Main to Monterey the long way.

 

National

An Anchorage man averaged a speedy six mph on a 225 mile fat bike race along the frozen Iditarod trail.

Someone is removing ghost bikes from the streets of Houston. But at least the city is getting green lanes downtown.

Only 18 bicyclists have been injured using Chicago’s bike share system since it was introduced 2-1/2 years and 3.2 million rides ago. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s successful bike share is expanding into neighboring Kentucky.

The seemingly endless battle of bikeways versus parking rears its ugly head once again, this time from St. Paul business owners. Because only motorists could conceivably spend money, not bike riders. Right?

Wisconsin’s conservative governor takes aim at funding for bike and pedestrian projects.

Stickers saying “I parked in a bike lane” are called too passive aggressive for New Yorkers, who are more likely to simply bash a windshield with a U-lock according to one Gotham cyclist.

How to ride a Mississippi roundabout.

A road raging West Palm Beach driver intentionally crashes into a bike rider, then gets out and punches him, apparently just for being in his way.

An Orlando writer discovers biking to work is more fun than driving, though a DC writer might disagree after giving up biking to work following a solo crash he can’t remember.

 

International

A look at the history of bicycling superhighways, both real and vaporware, starting with the elevated bikeway that eventually became LA’s first freeway. Meanwhile, City Lab criticizes all those farfetched plans to remove bikes from the streets, because it’s not the bikes that are the problem.

Safety fears keep British kids from bicycling.

London cyclists stage another massive die-in to call for safety.

Talk about distracted driving. A Scottish driver is photographed using headphones, a mobile phone and a laptop computer while he drove, all at the same time.

Greg LeMond handicaps this year’s Tour de France, saying Froome is the favorite but don’t Quintana count out. And says cycling needed Lance to crash and burn.

A cold-hearted Aussie woman actually bragged to family and friends about fleeing the scene after hitting a bike rider, leaving him to die of hypothermia in a ditch.

Caught on video: riding on top of a car may be taking sharing an Australian road just a tad too far.

 

Finally…

You might have to wait awhile to print your own bike, at least if you actually want to ride it.

And Walmart’s newest bicycle shaped objects are assembled in the US from foreign-made parts, while Scottish kilts come from Long Beach, courtesy of a cyclist who evidently wanted to air things out after a hard ride.

 

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver charged in death of PCH cyclist; fund set to help injured bike rider

It looks like LA’s District Attorney could learn something from her counterpart in Orange County when it comes to traffic crime.

The OC DA announced Thursday that 20-year old Dylan Thomas Randluby of Emerald Bay has been charged with felony hit-and-run with injury and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of 55-year old cyclist John Colvin.

Colvin was riding in the bike lane on North Coast Highway last June when he was run down from behind by Randluby’s car. Randluby allegedly kept driving despite a shattered windshield; he was followed by a pair of witnesses and arrested after stopping a mile later.

In too many other cases, hit-and-run has been essentially forgiven when drivers stopped nearby, returned to the scene later or turned themselves in even days later. It’s nice to see Orange County prosecutors treat it like the serious crime it is, even if the charges could be a little stiffer.

Randluby has apparently been released on $50,000 bond; KTLA-5 reports that no one by that name was in custody as of Thursday.

Thanks to Amy Senk and Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

………

A Giveforward account has been established to help raise $30,000 for a bike rider who was severely injured when she was hit from behind at an estimated 50 mph while riding in a bike lane.

And an LA rider wants your help thanking the firefighters who came to his aid when he was injured on Angeles Crest.

………

Local

KNBC-4 says LA has a crack problem — potholes and surface cracks in the streets that can seriously injure cyclists. And quotes BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass, as well as frequent contributor Patrick Pascal.

The LACBC shares an interview with new Executive Director Tamika Butler.

Santa Monica officials propose naming their coming bike share program “Breeze;” the city is also hosting a Valentine’s Day Kidical Mass family ride.

 

State

Rather than improve safety on the Coast Highway, Laguna Beach installs sharrows and signage to steer riders away from it.

Does a bike co-op by any other name smell as sweet? Santa Barbara City College opens a DIY bike shop.

A Danville court case could determine whether the safety of cyclists should be considered in the environmental review process for new developments. Maybe we should be classified as an endangered species.

One of the victims in that recent Mendocino County collision where an 18-year old driver mowed down five riders in rapid succession recounts her story in horrifying detail; she remembers seeing the driver sneer at her through the windshield before she fell under the car and was dragged 400 feet.

 

National

If you wondered who would ever buy that $20,000 S-Works McLaren Tarmac, the answer is cyclist and former baseball great and alleged doper Barry Bonds.

Charges have been dropped against a 74-year old Arizona woman who kept going after hitting a bike rider, blew through a red light and t-boned a truck, killing the driver — while on Ambien, no less — because she was found incompetent to stand trial. And to drive, evidently.

After a 14-year old Kentucky boy with Cerebral Palsy has his bike stolen, a stranger reaches out to buy him a new one.

Deadspin drops in, unwelcomed, on the nation’s second-oldest alley cat race in Minneapolis; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

A Maryland county finds drivers are at fault in 58% of collisions involving bike riders.

The Baltimore paper looks at why some drivers flee after a collision; maybe because they’re at fault 58% of the time.

A Florida county becomes the first in the state to criminalize harassment of bicyclists, pedestrians and people in wheelchairs.

 

International

Get your video fix from Road.cc with this roundup of the year’s best bike videos, including a texting driver shouting at a rider to get in the bike lane and a massive pile-up in the Tour Down Under.

The head of London’s licensed taxi drivers association says maybe he went a tad too far in comparing bicyclists to terrorists. If we were really like ISIS he would have been beheaded for that remark.

In yet another pie-in-the-sky — or maybe pie-in-the-ground, in this case — plan, a London design firm proposes converting abandoned subway tunnels into underground bikeways.

Kind-hearted Londoners raise £6,000 to send the body of a bike rider killed in the city back home to Greece.

British authorities have finally dropped charges against a bike rider who was fined £50 after he swerved out of a bike lane to go around a phone booth. Yet no one seems to ask why was there a phone booth in the bike lane to begin with.

A Brit bike rider is called the most hated man on two wheels after using his helmet cam to help police convict 70 scofflaw drivers.

A Czech group has sent 200 bikes to Cameroon to help protect African elephants. And no, they aren’t so the elephants can ride them to safety whenever poachers show up.

In one of the most over-the-top editorials in recent memory, a “hard-hitting” writer for the Sydney, Australia Telegraph accuses the Lord Mayor of desecrating the city with gridlock-inducing bike paths.

 

Finally…

Plans for a Halifax, Nova Scotia bike lane are put on hold when a hot dog vendor complains it will put him out of business; evidently, bike riders don’t eat hot dogs in the Great White North. A British bike lock goes high fashion.

And if mountain biking isn’t challenging enough, maybe it’s time to try it with one wheel. Or perhaps racing through shopping malls.

 

A rider fallen, family and friends shattered, and a young woman on the verge of hard time

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year.

Yes, all traffic deaths are tragic.

But some seem more troubling than others, haunting the edges of memory until something — an anniversary, a ghost bike, a news story — brings it back full force. And you’re struck once again by the incredible waste of it all.

A life taken for no reason.

Other than a driver’s carelessness and — alleged — criminal behavior.

A 21-year old bike shop worker taking the long way to work early on a Sunday morning, run down from behind by an 18-year old girl accused of having meth in her system from the night before.

It was exactly one year ago today that Joseph Robinson was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road in Orange while on his way to Jax Bicycles in Irvine. Sommer Gonzales was charged with the crime after being arrested in a parking lot not far away on Santa Margarita Parkway, reportedly while hiding evidence in a friend’s car.

It was thanks to an off-duty firefighter that Robinson was discovered off the side of the road, on the verge of death. And that a police officer had the information he needed to spot Gonzales’ car and make an arrest.

OC Battalion Chief Mark Stone was on his way to work when he spotted the badly damaged car traveling in the opposite direction, and began looking for what — or who — the car had struck. The only visible sign of the crash was a tumbleweed smashed against a guardrail, and a single bike shoe resting on the road.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who’s been haunted by Robinson’s needless death.

A memorial ride was held in Irvine this morning; hundreds of riders were expected to participate, escorted to the site of his ghost bike by Irvine police and CHP officers.

Meanwhile, Gonzales faces felony charges for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury, hit-and-run causing death and possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, she’s charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, with sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury and fleeing the scene of a crime, according to the MyNewsLA website.

The site reports she could spend over 15 years in state prison if convicted on the felony charges, with an additional six months in county for the misdemeanor count.

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent was in the courtroom recently for the preliminary hearing for Sommer Gonzales.

………

The preliminary held Wednesday, January 21st, was lengthy and at one point during some protracted questioning by the defense, the judge interrupted to remind him that the purpose of the prelim is to present only the most germane facts.

And the facts appear to be these:

Sommer Nicole Gonzales had been hanging out at a private residence in Anaheim on Saturday night. About 3 am on the morning in question, she allegedly smoked meth. A couple hours later, she began her drive to visit a 24-year-old gentleman friend in South County, taking a route familiar to her. Her undamaged vehicle is seen on the video surveillance of a Villa Park 76 Station shortly before she reached Santiago Canyon Road. At 6:47 am she texted a reply to the persistent gentleman friend, saying she was going through Santiago Canyon.

At approximately 6:55 am, she left a frantic message on another friend’s mom’s voicemail, stating that she had “hit something” and needed help. (The mom, for the record, disapproves of her son’s acquaintanceship with Gonzales, and immediately deleted the message.)

Although video surveillance from the gated entrance of the nearby Loma Ridge Emergency Operations Center didn’t capture the impact that flung Joey’s body 200 feet through the air, it shows that Gonzales stopped and exited her damaged vehicle. She did not walk back towards the site of the collision. Instead, twenty-five seconds later, she got back in the driver’s seat and continued driving southbound on Santiago.

OCFA Battilion Chief Marc Stone, commuting northbound, noticed the smashed hood and shattered windshield of Gonzales’ car as it passed him by the south entrance of Irvine Lake. The magnitude of the damage to her windshield initially, very briefly, made him think the car had struck a deer, but his intuition instantly put him on alert. Three miles up the road, he spotted crunched-up tumbleweeds and a lone bike shoe nearby. The same surveillance video shows his truck slow and flip a U-turn. Off camera, he found Joey’s body and dialed 911. Just up the hill, the dispatchers at the Loma Ridge Facility, which houses the county’s emergency communications bureau, relayed the description of the damaged maroon Toyota to law enforcement.

A sharp-eyed Sheriff’s deputy located the suspect’s vehicle, along with the suspect and her 24-year-old gentleman friend, in a parking lot. She had burn marks on her lips and paraphernalia in her purse. She had all sorts of nystagmus and was uncooperative with officers who attempted to administer a field sobriety test. After very few questions, she was taken into custody.

The judge listened to both sides impassively, examining all the exhibits and asking pertinent questions. Throughout the hearing, he was observant, neutral and unreadable, even during the defense’s closing arguments that dropped jaws in the audience.

The defense, possibly sensing the hopelessness of requesting a dismissal of charges, contended that Gonzales’ behavior that night did not meet the definition of gross negligence. The judge disagreed, and stated several reasons to support his opinion: She was high. She was texting. She was on a road familiar to her as one popular with cyclists. She, for whatever reason, maneuvered her vehicle straight into a marked, eight-foot wide bike lane. She failed to investigate the cause of the damage to her vehicle. Fifteen miles away from the scene, she parked her car head-in so that the damage would not be so visible to passers-by. She called pretty much everybody except 911. She made conflicting statements to law enforcement. Her “credibility,” concluded the judge, “is a question for the jury to decide.”

And, despite his calmly expressed finding that the evidence in the case clearly merits a more thorough examination by trial, there was no mistaking his own incredulity at the defense’s claims. I’m fairly sure everyone else in the courtroom (with the exception of Gonzales and her lawyer) wanted to yell “YESSS!” and add a fist pump for good measure.

………

She goes on to offer her personal take on the case:

Gonzales is an idiot for not taking whatever lenient plea deal she was offered, because it’s off the table now. Let alone for not learning anything about how to manage her addiction during three (count ’em, three) stints in rehab as a minor.

And it’s disgusting that her gentleman friend hasn’t been charged as an accessory after the fact. He was helping her remove her possessions from her damaged vehicle when the two were discovered. He’s also the brilliant mind who suggested that she reposition her vehicle so that the damage would be less noticeable, and “accidentally” deleted the texts he sent and received that morning (it took a subpoena to his carrier, but the DA has them all).

Meanwhile, Orange County traffic engineers still think 55 mph is an acceptable speed on a downhill stretch with a blind vertical curve. And the tower visible off in the distance from where Joey was killed, the one that looks like a steeple?

It belongs to the county’s 911 dispatch center.

………

Two lives were destroyed that morning; two families shattered and countless friends shaken.

Sommer Gonzales may have a chance to rebuild hers once she finally gets out of prison — assuming she’s convicted, of course.

Joseph Robinson will never get that chance.

 

 

Morning Links: The wages of road rage sin, bike thieves get busy (and get caught), and how car wrecks happen

Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas observes that we don’t need to call LA’s bike boogeyman Doctor Christopher Thompson anymore.

In the good ex-doctor’s case, the wages of sin were several years in prison, loss of his medical license and a substantial civil settlement. Just in case you were wondering if road rage was worth it.

………

Bike thieves are in the news this week, as Santa Monica police catch one in the act, and two men are arrested for poaching a Palm Springs bait bike. Less luck in San Diego, where several bikes have been stolen since the first on the year.

………

The CHP lists the 11 most common causes of collisions — 10 of which can be avoided simply by changing driver behavior.

And few, if any, of which probably will be.

………

You’ve got just a few more days left to win this one-of-a-kind, belt-driven titanium bike.

………

Local

Flying Pigeon notes that nothing happened on North Fig until the rabble rose up and demanded action.

LA’s Multicultural Communities for Mobility show how community organizing can help improve health through bicycling.

Ciclavalley offers thoughts on the Valley CicLAvia.

A stretch of Venice Blvd west of Western has been freshly repaved and should soon get the bike lanes called for in the 2010 bike plan.

The LACBC shares photos from Wednesday’s Operation Firefly in DTLA, and announces dates for future light giveaways.

Bikerowave hosts their monthly open house today.

Metro plans to select a vendor for the coming bike share network in LA and Pasadena.

 

State

An Anaheim cyclist was injured in a collision Thursday morning; the driver fled the scene but came back an hour later. And no, that should not excuse the hit-and-run; drivers are required to stop and render aid, as well as exchange insurance information, in the event of a collision.

San Clemente approves plans to upgrade their beachfront bike path.

East Bakersfield gets 20 miles of new sharrows. While I have walked the streets of Bakersfield, I have yet to bike them, sharrowed or otherwise.

Paso Robles’ Great Western Bicycle Rally begins this coming Monday.

An apparently invisible Santa Maria cyclist suffers major injuries when he’s hit by an unlicensed driver.

Palo Alto approves plans for two new bike boulevards, the first of 20 planned safety improvements.

The San Francisco Examiner says enforcement of the state’s new three-foot passing law is off to a slow start. Actually, nine citations in the first four months is pretty good; cyclists in other states often complain that police haven’t issued any.

 

National

Former Charlotte mayor and current US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx challenges America’s mayors to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

How to print your own carbon mountain bike.

Honolulu businesses say a new protected bike lane is harming sales, despite numerous studies that say they’re good for business.

Add South Dakota to the list of states considering a three-foot passing law.

The most interesting car at the Detroit Auto Show isn’t one.

A banjo playing musician bikes 1,400 miles along the Mississippi River for a gig in New Orleans.

Grist looks at Louisville KY’s new underground bike park. We can’t do that here because it would disturb the Lizard People.

After a Georgia cyclist is hit by a car while trying to cross a street, he gets a ticket for riding in the street — which is legal in every state in the US.

Miami cyclists demand safety improvements after yet another rider loses his life on the city’s deadly Rickenbacker Causeway; the allegedly drunken hit-and-run driver returned 20 minutes later, reportedly crying hysterically.

A 72-year old Florida woman shoots three times at a man riding his bike home from work in an attempt to scare him, for reasons apparently known only to her.

 

International

Ouch. Calgary cyclists say don’t compare their bike-friendly city to bicycle-challenged Houston.

London’s Evening Standard looks at the latest tech devices that promise to transform your ride. Or you could just, you know, go out and ride your bike.

A Brit cyclist has his $2,500 mountain bike stolen while lying on the street after being struck by an SUV.

We’ve all thought about it, right? A British cyclist argues with a motorist, then gets off his bike and snaps off the driver’s key in the ignition before riding away; police are looking for the suspect.

A 21-year old cyclist rides over 4,300 miles across Egypt in four months.

Great. Now even using a bike bell to alert pedestrians to your presence is considered rude by some Aussies. Personally, I find polite voice warnings work better, anyway, with rude ones when called for.

 

Finally…

Repeat after me: if you’re carrying crystal meth on your bike, don’t ride salmon. More proof bicycling is becoming mainstream, as even Spongebob is doing it.

And Elly Blue asked Twitter users what difficulties they went through when they first learned to ride a bike, then Storified the responses; my own comment wraps it up.

 

Morning Links: CicLAvia sued over Wilshire hit-and-run; LaBonge keeps Glendale-Hyperion Bridge dangerous

Maybe you remember.

It was during the June, 2013 Wilshire CicLAvia when a bike rider was hit by a hit-and-run driver during the ostensibly car-free event.

Now CicLAvia has been sued by the rider, who suffered three broken vertebrae when an impatient motorist drove through the barricades blocking a cross street and sped across the boulevard, striking him in the process.

No arrest was ever made, making it impossible to sue the person actually responsible for the injuries. So instead, the victim’s lawyer is going after the nearest deep pockets, which is what lawyers are paid to do. Although how deep CicLAvia’s pockets are remains to be seen.

Presumably, the non-profit organization has insurance to cover cases like this, so it’s unlikely that it will affect future events. Although increased costs for insurance coverage and security are likely to make them more expensive to stage.

And don’t expect to hear CicLAvia respond to the suit. They’ve undoubtedly been advised by their attorneys not to comment publicly on the case.

……..

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from erstwhile bike blogger Will Campbell, now an animal cop with the spcaLA.

Will explains that the local spcaLA is not associated with the national ASPCA, and any donations made in response to the ubiquitous ad with the sad-eyed dogs and cats won’t benefit homeless or abused animals here in the City of Angels.

He invites you to guess how many coins are in a jar he plans to donate to the society; the winner can have the donation made in their name. Or you can donate directly through the society’s website.

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with bikes.

But it’s a damn good cause.

……..

‘Tis the season.

A Turlock, CA group puts together 50 bikes to donate to the Salvation Army for underprivileged kids. A mountain bike group donates dozens of bikes to kids at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Grand Rapids MI volunteers give away 1,500 free bikes. Three-hundred Miami kids from needy families get new bikes, thanks in part to Walmart.

……..

Local

Outgoing 4th District councilmember Tom LaBonge’s insistence that no traffic lanes be removed from the soon-to-be redesigned Glendale-Hyperion Bridge force dangerous compromises to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The best solution may be to wait a few months until someone else sits in his seat.

The Eastside Bike Club hosts a ride on Sunday, January 4th to protest CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s misguided comments to the council that bike riders represent the 1%; let’s show him that real Angelenos — and voters — of all types ride bikes. Thanks to Jaime Kate for the tip.

Better Bike discusses how Beverly Hills fails to take California’s three-foot passing law or cyclist safety into account in a planned redesign of Santa Monica Blvd; you’re invited to discuss a new complete streets proposal for the boulevard at 7 pm tonight in the Beverly Hills Public Library. And maybe the topic of how political accountability takes a holiday in the Biking Black Hole will come up, as well.

A 26-year old Pomona bike rider was killed in a drive-by shooting. Bad enough we have to dodge cars; no one should ever fall victim to bullets.

 

State

An Irvine woman walks out of jail just hours after being sentenced to nearly a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop. If the courts won’t take a vehicular assault on a cop seriously, what hope is there for the rest of us?

A San Diego bike rider makes a remarkable recovery from an Ocean Beach hit-and-run that nearly took her life just two months ago.

A Bakersfield bike rider is killed in an early morning hit-and-run on Saturday.

Palo Alto proposes striking designs for a planned bike/pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

 

National

Close associates of ex-six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by ex-one-time Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, agreeing to pay the Feds $541,000.

Tucson bike ambassadors give away bike bells, arguing that the bells sound nicer than saying “on your left.” And every time one rings, an angel gets his wings.

The National Parks Service proposes allowing bikes to use a six-mile pathway in Bryce Canyon. However, a recent NPS rule change could mean cyclists could be banned from nearby roads if the bikeway is approved.

As if the state’s highways weren’t risky enough for cyclists, South Dakota expands the use of rumble strips to make them more dangerous.

Massachusetts’ state parks department approves a half-million dollar study on how to better accommodate bikes, recognizing that bicycling is a growing form of both transportation and recreation.

Pittsburgh installs a new stop box for cyclists, but fails to tell motorists what it’s for.

A North Carolina judge rules a motorist gave a cyclist enough passing distance — even though the car’s mirror knocked the rider off her bike. I’d hate to see what he thinks is too close.

It takes a real jerk to steal bikes from Florida foster kids.

 

International

Volvo announces a new safety system to provide proximity alerts between drivers and cyclists; of course, it only works if both are using the same system.

Aussie pro Simon Gerrans is out of commission for the next few months after breaking his collarbone while training.

Now that’s a big heart. A Kiwi cyclist forgives the motorist who ran him off the road and assaulted him before running over his bike.

Caught on video: A Chinese bike rider miraculously walks away after getting run over by a semi in a right hook; warning, though, you may find the video hard to take. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

Aussie police conduct a drunk driving crackdown over the weekend, but the most wasted person they caught was riding a bike. Lance insists he would never cheat, at least not at golf; didn’t he used to say the same thing about bike racing?

And bad enough that bike riders have to dodge dangerous drivers; not even ghost bikes are safe. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent this one to me, but thank you, anyway.

 

%d bloggers like this: