Former OC lawyer gets max sentence in drug-fueled death of bike rider

Four years.

That was the sentence a judge finally issued Friday, after repeated delays, for the death of bike rider Eric Billings in Mission Viejo 27 months earlier.

Former immigration attorney Hasti Fahkrai-Bayrooti, who goes by the name of Hayley, had unexpectedly pleaded guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in March of this year.

According to the OC DA’s office, she had a near-lethal dose of 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.

My News LA reports that investigators found a bottle of Xanax in her car following the collision; despite being filled just two days earlier, there were already 75 pills missing.

She reportedly ignored several text messages prior to the wreck from friends who begged her to stop driving and sober up. Yet despite claims that she was screaming and “pulling her hair out” following the crash, her first call was to her pharmacist, not 911.

She had faced a possible sentence of 16 months to four years for the conviction. She was also sentenced to an additional three years, to be served concurrently, after being caught with Clonazepam, a sedative used to treat seizures and panic disorder, while she was behind bars.

In addition, Fahkrai-Bayrooti’s license to practice law has been suspended by the California Bar, and stands to be permanently revoked after her sentencing.

My News LA reports that her defense attorney — at least the third one she has had in this case — claimed she had been dependent on prescription drugs since an “early, early age,” and may have early onset dementia as a result.

She expressed remorse at the hearing while pleading for mercy, saying she is no longer in denial about the damage she has caused. Although that denial appeared to be in full force in comments she left on this site just one day after pleading guilty.

A press release from the DA’s office quotes Billing’s wife from the victim’s statements given at an earlier hearing, offering just a hint of the loss her family has suffered.

The victim’s wife said in part, “The void that is left by this tragic and senseless accident is overwhelming. The fact that it isn’t just an accident, but rather an accident committed by one under the influence, is ironic in that Eric never had a drink in his life, would not even take a Tylenol, and would barely take a pain killer after surgery.” She went on to say, “Although I have chosen not to be bitter and have forgiven this woman, I would like her to have consequences for her actions.”

Fahkrai-Bayrooti now faces a long stay in state prison because she didn’t get the help she so clearly needed before she took an innocent man’s life.

Let’s hope she finally gets it while she’s behind bars.

And is never, ever allowed to drive again.

 

Weekend Links: Bikeshare finally coming to LA, and fighting among ourselves won’t make bicycling to grow

It looks like bikeshare is finally coming to Los Angeles.

According to Streetsblog, Metro’s Planning and Programming Committee approved a contract for the first phase of the program, starting with 1,000 bikes in Downtown Los Angeles before hopefully spreading to other parts of the city.

Metro selected Bicycle Transit Systems, operator of Philadelphia’s Indego system. And they pinkie swear the system will be interoperable with the bikeshares in Santa Monica and Long Beach.

The LADOT Bike Blog says Metro’s goal is to allow rentals using a TAP card, so it becomes an extension of the transit system. And calls bikeshare an ideal fit for LA.

Which is true, as long as we have the infrastructure network in place to keep riders safe. And that currently exists only in DTLA.

Then again, this isn’t the first time it’s been promised.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica has announced their proposed rate structure, ranging from $6 for a one-hour rental to $25 a month for one hour per day of riding. Annual passes start at $119, or $79 for SaMo residents; Santa Monica College students get a discount at just $47 a year.

Looks like I may have to go back to college.

………

Mobility Lab says if we want people to like bicyclists, we all need to slow down, lose our helmets and spandex and buy cruiser bikes.

Screw that.

Despite what some have to say, we won’t win any battles if we turn on ourselves, and say one way to ride a bike is right and every other way is wrong.

We should expect everyone to ride courteously and safely.

Beyond that, there is nothing inherently wrong with riding fast for sport, just as there is nothing wrong with a moderately paced ride to work or a leisurely cruise along the beach.

And there is nothing wrong with dressing for the kind of riding you do, whether that means Lycra, jeans, shorts or a dress.

Our strength comes from working together to support all forms of bicycling, by every kind of rider. Demonizing one form of riding and dividing bicycling into various camps is the best way to ensure we conquer ourselves.

……..

Long Beach-based bike advocate extraordinaire Charlie Gandy goes car free after his trusty Jeep dies.

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The National Brotherhood of Cyclists is attempting to band bike advocacy groups together to bring equity to the front of the movement.

Speaking of which, there will be a Ghost Bike Ride for Justice in South LA Saturday evening.

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The US amateur and junior cycling championships will come to Truckee and North Lake Tahoe next week.

VeloNews talks with Ian Crane, the pro rider who nearly died after a gut-wrenching crash through the window of a race vehicle during last year’s USA Pro Challenge.

Pro cyclist John Degenkolb says dopers are still thriving, and bike racing will never be 100% clean.

Or any other sport, for that matter.

………

Local

Los Angeles residents continue to drive less.

LA’s Topanga Creek Bicycles is honored as the small business of the year for California’s 27th Senate District.

A Santa Monica traffic safety group says an analysis of traffic collisions over a 10-year period shows bikes aren’t to blame for road injuries, cars are.

A Manhattan Beach man plans to ride 3,800 miles from one Manhattan Beach to another,

 

State

San Diego cyclists may be down but not out after a kick in the pants by the local Association of Governments.

An Indio cop says he fatally shot a bike rider who hadn’t threatened him because he was mourning the death of a fellow officer. Oh, well okay, then.

Wealthy Rancho Mirage once again votes to block a planned 50-mile bike path around the Coachella Valley.

A hit-and-run cyclist flees the scene after crashing into an 81-year old woman in a San Francisco intersection. Jerk.

A Sacramento columnist calls for a ban on sidewalk riding after she and her husband are nearly hit by the sort of rider who probably wouldn’t obey it anyway. Meanwhile, a DC sidewalk rider asks why all the hate?

Davis is installing solar powered bike lockers to encourage cyclists to leave their bikes at the station.

 

National

ESPN discovers women’s bike polo. And yes, it is a badass sport.

Seven people suffering from Parkinson’s are riding 464 miles across the Rockies as part of a 30-member Davis Phinney Foundation team.

A Montana fixie-riding bike commuter experiences firsthand what it’s like to be hit by a stop sign-running driver.

A new Texas mom on her first outing after giving birth saves the life of a bike rider after noticing him slumped on the side of the road with a massive heart attack.

A local website asks how bike-friendly Louisville KY really is after the city gets bumped up to Silver status.

Evidently, aggressive cyclists are the biggest problem in the Twin Cities, as a writer offers up six ways to tell you’re a bike jerk. And London, too.

The family of a bike rider who was killed in a New Jersey amateur race settles a lawsuit against the organizers for $7.1 million; the victim collided with a race referee while riding at 30 mph.

Cute story from Philadelphia, as a young kid on a bike joins a couple of bike cops out on parole, then gets a tour of a fire station.

A bike rider once again beats a driver and a bus rider in a race to see who can commute faster in Savannah GA.

An LSU fan site says a football player should be banished from the program for beating a man and punching his girlfriend. But evidently, stealing a bike was okay.

 

International

McDonald’s introduces to-go packaging specially designed for use on bikes overseas. So what are we, chopped liver?

A Canadian boy suffering from a brain tumor gets a new bike after his was stolen.

Calgary’s new bike network comes in under budget after engineers scrap plans for bike signal lights; even so, ridership is already 25% above projections.

Caught on video: Sniggering Brit hooligans film themselves pushing a cyclist off his bike from a passing car. Hopefully authorities will show them just how stupid they were to post it online — let alone do it.

A London cyclist suffers a broken leg when he’s mugged for his bike.

An English TV presenter says bike riding is London is too dangerous, and cars should be banned from the city center. Getting rid of the blind spot on large trucks could help, too.

A Brit rider making a comeback in racing after 16 years off the bike offers advice on how to stay married and ride your bike, too.

A 19-year old British bike rider is two-thirds of the way through his attempt to become the youngest person to ride around the world.

A Dublin bike rider is searching for the Good Samaritan who drove her in search of a bike shop after she double flatted in a fall.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A bike-riding London mayor tells an angry cabbie to “fuck off and die.” The London Press freaks out over a texting cyclist riding with no hands in relative safely.

And London’s Telegraph offers a tongue-in-cheek test to see just how much of a cycling psycho you really are.

Apparently, if I’m not a bike messenger, I should be.

 

Newport Beach bike rider dies after fall, apparently due to natural causes

Another cyclist has died on the streets of Southern California.

For once, though, no one seems to be at fault.

According to Corona del Mar Today, a 61-year old Costa Mesa man apparently fell off his bike while riding in Newport Beach; sadly, he passed away after being taken to Hoag Hospital.

The Orange County Register reports that police responded to word of a collision on Jamboree Road north of San Joaquin Hills Road at 10:32 am Thursday.

When they arrived, they found the victim in the roadway with no sign of a collision. He appeared to have suffered some sort of medical emergency and stuck his head while falling; no word on whether he was wearing a helmet.

It’s not clear whether his death was due to the head injury or some other cause. An autopsy will be performed later this week.

This is the 31st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County. That compares to 47 in SoCal this time last year, and ten in the county.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

 

Morning Links: Bike rider shot to death in LA’s Mid City; LADOT GM Seleta Reynold is new interim VP of NACTO

A bike rider was shot to death early Wednesday morning in the Mid City area of Los Angeles.

Twenty-five-year Kehende Lang was found dead from a wound to the head on the 1700 block of South Longwood Avenue after police responded to a report of gunshots around 3:30 am; his bike was lying nearby.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LAPD West Bureau Homicide Bureau at 213/382-9470.

Sadly, shootings like this are nothing new.

Most turn out to be gang related in some way, rather than because the victim was riding a bike. And few ever seem to merit more than a few paragraphs in the paper, if that.

……..

Congratulations to LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds, who’s been appointed interim vice president of NACTO.

Which means she’ll help set the standard for street and bike infrastructure designs throughout the nation.

And hopefully, bring the best of them here.

……..

The plot thickens. That 23-year old pro cyclist cut from the Astana women’s may have been fired over a failed attempt to get her to ride for Kazakhstan in the 2016 Olympics.

After winning stage one of the Aviva Women’s Tour, Brit pro Lizzie Armistead loses her line and crashes into the finish line photographers; fortunately, she wasn’t seriously injured.

Sounds like the owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team may be giving up on Tour of California winner Peter Sagan already.

Lance’s former manager says he’s not going to any more cycling events after the backlash over watching Wiggins set the hour record.

The great Eddy Merckx reminisces on his legendary cycling career as he turns 70; VeloNews offers a tribute while a German website looks back at The Cannibal in action.

A Swiss skiing champion will compete in RAAM with a defibrillator in his chest after a heart condition kept him from making it to the starting line last year.

And the schmuck man who presided over pro cycling during the worst of the doping era threatens to sue over a report that says he presided over the worst of the doping era.

……..

Local

DTLA gets its first bike corral.

Rick Risemberg says if transit officials build bike facilities right, people will actually use them.

Redondo Beach approves a new budget, including funding for bike lanes on Manhattan Beach Blvd.

 

State

The Orange County Register reports that Michiko Day was just one block from home when she was killed while riding in Laguna Woods last month; her riding partner confirms that a poor bike path design may have contributed to her death.

The Encinitas city council says a planned coastal rail bike trail shouldn’t run along the coast. Or along the rail line.

A Paso Robles street reopens after being rebuilt to add bike lanes and a sidewalk.

Victims’ relatives call it insensitive as Kern County tells bike riders to see and be seen so they won’t be roadkill. Once again putting all the responsibility for safety on cyclists, rather than the people in the big, dangerous machines.

 

National

People for Bikes will host a webinar next month on how to crowdfund a bike project.

A new handlebar-mounted device scans the road for potholes before they can take you down. Should be a big seller here in LA.

The guitarist for rock band Pierce the Veil will be out of commission for awhile after getting badly banged up mountain biking.

A Portland paper questions if the city can really eliminate traffic deaths by 2025 with a proposed Vision Zero plan. Vision Zero is about the journey, not the destination; even if traffic deaths can’t be eliminated, everyone benefits from the effort to try.

A Denver CEO loans his bike share bike to a passing cop to bring a fleeing suspect to justice. But did he still have to pay for the rental?

Caught on video: A Texas truck passenger faces a misdemeanor charge after hurling at a bike rider. A pipe, that is.

New York’s mayor signs a bill requiring side guards on all city trucks and garbage trucks to keep cyclists and pedestrians from getting trapped underneath. Every truck, everywhere, should be required to do the same.

Cars have been banned from much of New York’s Prospect and Central Parks. Now we need to do the same for Griffith Park.

Why rent New York’s Citi Bikes when you can steal them?

 

International

How to cheat at Strava.

Caught on video: A cyclist rides from Oregon to Patagonia to be in more control of his own life.

Toronto streets are getting increasingly more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians; hopefully more separated bike lanes will help.

A London expat builds a 500 pound — currency, not weight — bespoke bamboo bike.

After receiving the heart of a fallen cyclist, a British transplant patient decides to honor him by keeping the heart cycling with a 342-mile bike tour.

A Dutch suburb shows bikes and cars can peacefully coexist, as long as you banish cars from the city core.

A new Swedish study says most injuries in car bike collisions come from hitting the pavement, so the solution is better crash avoidance and separating bikes from traffic.

Colnago may be recalling your Ferrari.

An anonymous group of guerilla bicyclists give Sydney, Australia bike lanes a failing grade.

 

Finally…

It’s not really the World Naked Bike Ride when you’re the only naked guy on a bike. Don’t get caught asking an undercover cop for a ride after selling him a hot bike. Or making your getaway by bike after burning down your own home to destroy a basement demonic portal or the aliens lurking in the walls.

And when you’re carrying crystal meth on your motorized bike, try not to crash into a James Franco film set.

 

Guest Post: Testing to Destruction

It’s one of the most popular posts ever on this site. And I didn’t even write it. 

A review of ultra-bright bike taillights by Mark Goodley continues to draw readers on a daily basis, over two years after it was written.

The survivor of a near fatal collision, Mark has made it his mission in life to keep others from suffering the same fate. And has put his background as a product design engineer and a licensed pro racing mechanic to use to study how bike collisions happen, and how to prevent them.

……..

Common to physicists and engineers is the requirement to test a product and/or design to total destruction. First we test in computer simulations (via FEA, CFD, or Multi-physics) software, Second; by intentionally pushing well beyond the design limits in real world tests, to produce catastrophic failures.

This is how we learn and improve our designs, and develop an understanding between our theoretical software modeling, and it’s correlation to the physical entity/item/product.

How and why this process is highly relevant to understanding and preventing cycling fatalities follows below.

After countless examinations of police reports, interviews, and scouring though all available data, I started a couple plus years ago with a very simple theory.

IF you ride your bike on roads and streets, with (minimum standard/charged) Ultra Bright Lights, you won’t get hit or killed (from behind at least) by a vehicle. (The bio-psycho-physio-logical “whys and how’s” this works is found in separate articles.)

The theory has seemingly held for over 500,000 bicycle-car related accidents, injuries and deaths in the US over a ten year period. Until this past week, I haven’t been able to find a single verified instance (data collection is ongoing) where a cyclist was hit from behind, while flashing Ultra Bright lights. Half a Million Cycling Injuries and Fatalities (without lights) to 0 (ZERO, with lights). 500,000: 000000.

Even if these numbers could be off by one or two accidents, the long term trend is evident, striking, and alarming.

That statistic changed this past week. Two men were killed (reported by bikinginla.com) in unrelated “hit from behind” accidents in the Los Angeles area while likely/evidently riding with lights. Begging the question; what made these two different from all the others? What broke down? Is the theory disproved?

So let’s look at the preliminary facts in each of these two fatalities that “broke” the theory.

  1. Each man was riding his bike shortly before, and long after midnight, between roughly 12:00AM and 3:00 AM.
  2. Each man was riding on high speed streets (one on a freeway off-ramp, the other in twisting and turning Fairfax) streets with car sidewalk parking), both without bike lanes.
  3. Each man was Hispanic and over 45 years old.
  4. Each man may have had (only) one bicycle light on the rear when they were hit.
  5. One man was very possibly killed by a drunk/drugged driver.

This is what we’ll call/term Testing a Theory to Destruction.”

Look at what was necessary to “Break the Theory.” Do you see anything even remotely resembling your riding? NO, of course not. How many of us actually get on our bikes after midnight to take a ride?

You had to have a large number of beyond “Perfect Storm” scenarios in each case to kill these two men. An old pilot axiom is: It’s not the 1st or 2nd mistake that kills you, but the 5th or 6th will.

IF anything, these two (very sad) fatalities PROVE the point. To get hit or injured by a car while riding with Ultra Bright lights, a lot of things have to go wrong, all at the same time.

In Summary; what have we learned?

  1. Don’t ride late at night at all, especially after midnight when even the best of drivers are going to be tired, never mind when drunk-drugged up drivers are going to congregate… after the bars close.
  2. Don’t ride on very dangerous roads that are going to be a problem, even under the best of circumstances.   I personally have known the Fairfax area for many decades… and would never ride a bike on it; at least not willingly. IF you HAVE absolutely no option but to ride these streets, take extra precautions. Ride at safe(r) times, with EXTRA Ultra Bright Lights, Don’t ride in black/dark colors, and Still ride at least 5 feet away from parked cars (to prevent getting doored, which is equally life threatening).
  3. Take up the WHOLE lane if you MUST, until it is Safe to move back over to the right. There are some areas I still will only ride the sidewalk.
  4. Be attentive at all times; DON’T BE TOO PROUD to PULL OVER and STOP your bike and WAIT for traffic to pass before crossing dangerous, high speed areas. ESPECIALLY FREEWAY/Highway ON-OFF RAMPS.
  5. Ride with multiple rear lights, (3) three is preferable to “paint” a clear 3D picture in space for a(ny) driver’s mind to immediately identify your location, bearing, and speed. The best lights can be clearly seen and easily recognized from over 1/2 a mile away!!! (in broad DAYlight).   Distance is Time, Time is Early Warning, Early Warning is allowing a driver time to plan (rather than milliseconds to react) and hence accident avoidance, and That is Life.
  6. 500,000:000002 are still pretty good odds… Especially when Your life is on the line. Play the numbers.
  7. STAY ALIVE! ride ULTRA BRIGHT… DAY and night…

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Stay tuned. We’ll have another post from Mark next week.

 

 

Why Attorneys Tell You To Never Admit Guilt

 

Bikes Have Rights™*

By James L. Pocrass, Esq.Pocrass & De Los Reyes LLP

Pocrass Photo 6-15

 

Immediately after any type of motor vehicle “accident” (bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycle, car), most people have two reactions: 1.) to blame the other person or 2.) to say “I’m sorry; it was my fault.” As a personal injury lawyer, I counsel people to NEVER admit guilt after a crash of any type. Whether you are or are not liable, I guarantee such a statement will come back to bite you in ways you never expected.

The most important reason for not admitting guilt, which is, in legal terms, admitting liability, is because you probably don’t really know the cause of the collision.

Example: We recently had a client who was in a Santa Monica bicycle collision. He came up to a four-way stop and rolled slowly through it, getting halfway through intersection. Meanwhile, an 80-something-year-old woman drove up to the intersection, stopped, and went, hitting our client in the intersection.

During the deposition, the woman insisted that she never saw anyone or anything in the intersection. (I admit, I laughed inside at the insurance company lawyer’s expression.) The insurance company settled for a five-figure settlement.

This was an unusual situation, but the point is, you really don’t know exactly what the complete cause of your bike collision is, and, therefore, who is liable. Yes, you might be partially liable if you do not follow the rules of the road, but there may be extenuating circumstances that contributed to the collision. These could be:

  • Road Design: the road or signage was not designed well, maintained, in disrepair, or missing.
  • Product Liability: your bike or the other vehicle could have defective parts or been repaired, maintained, or manufactured incorrectly.
  • Other Driver: also might not be following the rules of the road.

If any of these conditions exist, your case — even if you are partially liable for the collision — could allow me as your bike lawyer to argue for comparative liability.

California recognizes comparative liability, which states that each party might hold some responsibility for the collision. If your case were to go to trial, the judge or jury decides IF each party is liable for the collision and, if so, what percentage of liability each party is responsible for.

Consider this hypothetical situation: You are riding your bike at night. You have no lights on your bike. As you ride past a parked car, the driver opens his door and you are “doored.” You suffer serious personal injuries and your bike is trashed. The case goes to a jury trial.

The jury decides that because you were riding at night without lights — clearly against the law — you are partially liable for the collision. They may determine that you are 10% responsible and the driver is 90% liable. In that situation, if they awarded you a $100,000 verdict, you would receive $90,000 from the driver’s insurance company rather than the full $100,000.

Once you have admitted guilt at the scene (or in follow up conversations with the other driver’s insurance company), it becomes more difficult for your attorney to argue comparative negligence. It also means that it is more likely that the insurance company will either refuse to settle or low-ball its offer.

Trials are always more expensive in cost and in time than settlements, so if a fair settlement is possible, that is the more desirable route. (Of course you wouldn’t say THAT to an insurance company either because if it thinks you’re not prepared to go to trial you’re back to them either refusing to settle or low-balling their offer. It’s all a chess game with serious consequences for you.)

I have a friend who is a criminal attorney. He once told me the most difficult part of his job is trying to undo what his clients have told the police. As a civil attorney, I understand. It is very difficult to “unring a bell.” So, please, don’t admit liability or guilt. Let us sort that out later.

 

Jim Pocrass TrimmedFor more than 30 years, Jim Pocrass has represented people who were seriously injured, or families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death, due to the carelessness or negligence of another. Jim is repeatedly named to Best Lawyers of America and to Southern California Super Lawyers for the outstanding results he consistently achieves for his clients. Having represented hundreds of cyclists during his career, and Jim’s own interest in cycling, have resulted in him becoming a bicycle advocate. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact Jim Pocrass at 310.550.9050 or at info@pocrass.com, or visit www.pocrass.com.

 

 

Morning Links: Hermosa backs safety improvements; San Diego details deaths in the county, including on bikes

A reader sends word that Hermosa Beach is backing up its commitment to bike safety.

Literally.

A married couple were exploring the new bikeways on Harbor and Herondo linking Redondo Beach and Hermosa when they came upon some odd markings on the street next to a new bike lane.

Photo by Allison Sheridan

Photo by Allison Sheridan

A quick look online confirmed they are reverse-angled parking spots, designed to improve bike safety by increasing visibility for drivers as they pull out of the spots (scroll down to pages 26-29). Although I neglected to ask just which street they were on.

I’m told these could be the first reverse-angle parking in the South Bay. And one of the few anywhere in the LA area.

So hats off to Hermosa for reversing the usual risky angled parking to help keep riders safer.

Update: A comment from Margaret says the street is Herondo; this is what it used to look like. And Vince points out that the south half the street is actually in Redondo Beach, so they should get credit, as well.

Thanks to Margaret for the heads-up and the correction.

……..

Philip Young of the San Diego Wheelmen forwards a series of annual reports from the San Diego Medical Examiner examining the causes of deaths in the county for the years 2011 through 2013; he notes the 2014 report hasn’t been released yet.

According to Young, the reports show nine bicyclists were killed in San Diego County in 2011, ten in 2012 and seven in 2013.

Although my records indicate a higher bicycling fatality rate for each year — twelve in 2011, eleven in 2012 and eight in 2013.

I haven’t had a chance to dig through the reports to figure out the reason for the discrepancy yet. However, they may classify bicycling fatalities more conservatively than my records; I include anyone who was riding or walking a bike at the time of their death, including solo falls and bike-related medical conditions, as well as traffic collisions.

Update: Ed Ryder sends word that SWITRS shows 15 bicycling fatalities in 2011, which makes more sense.

I track fatalities primarily through news reports, as well as other sources, so my records may undercount the actual totals if the death of a cyclist never makes the news; that often happens if the victim dies several days or weeks after a collision.

The real question is, why does the Medical Examiner’s report undercount bicycling fatalities for that year by over 50 percent?

……..

The Women’s Tour of Britain is helping to bridge the equality gap in pro cycling, while a writer for Britain’s Guardian says it’s time for cycling to lose the podium girls.

Let alone bikini girls at women’s races.

Twenty-three-year old Astana women’s pro Anna Solovey has been canned by the team for “unprofessional behavior;” she was previously banned for two years for doping before she was even in her 20s.

And you’d think someone who once sponsored a major bike race would get that 72 years old isn’t too old to race, let alone ride. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

……..

Local

A Metro survey shows 37% of LA voters think separated bike paths are very important, while only 10% say they’re not important at all.

Pasadena gets that intersections are dangerous places for bike riders; the city is painting a new bike lane that remains green all the way through the intersection of Marengo and Orange Grove.

CiclaValley tells you why to get excited about the upcoming LA River Ride, set to roll on the 28th. And if you’re not too worn out from the River Ride, join CICLE, the Bike Oven and Metro for the Spintacular Fireworks Neighborhood Ride later that day.

 

State

Dozens of Santa Ana homes will be demolished to widen a dangerous Santa Ana street, including wider medians and sidewalks. And yes, bike lanes. I guess performing a road diet and keeping the houses would be out of the question in auto-centric OC.

Oceanside police will team up to compete in RAAM; the team competition starts on Saturday.

A San Diego County supervisor may have committed an ethics violation in nixing a bike lane that could have affected the value of a restaurant he’s a partner in. Although as a new study shows, he may have shot himself in the foot.

Coachella Valley bike riders are urged to donate old bikes, locks and helmets to benefit the local Boys and Girls Clubs.

 

National

A writer for People for Bikes says you don’t have to give up your car to live mostly car-free. I’ve put less than three hundred miles a year on mine for the last five years.

Someone is groping and harassing women riding on Phoenix bike paths; one woman was punched in the face by a homeless man.

Boulder CO moves forward with right sizing three major streets to make room for wider bike lanes.

A Chicago runner and firefighter makes a commitment not to use his cell phone when he drives.

Don’t believe everything your GPS tells you. A Minnesota girl learned that the hard way after her smartphone guided her and her bike onto a freeway.

Evidently, it takes concrete barriers to keep New York drivers from parking in bike lanes, green or otherwise. Maybe we could use some here to keep cops out.

Bike commuting in the DC area jumped 450 percent in just three years, while auto commuting has remained steady; now another area county plans to ramp up their bike network.

 

International

Twelve reasons why you should take a foldie when you explore Cuba. Which is sort of legal for Americans these days. Visiting Cuba, that is.

A group of 17 friends will team together to finish the epic ride a UK man had planned before he was killed in a collision earlier this year.

A British woman can ride a bike for the first time after being fitted with the world’s most lifelike bionic hand.

An Irish mom says yes, cyclists face dangers on the roads, but pedestrians run a risk from us, as well.

Tim Robbins casually rides a bike in Milan. Just don’t ask him about The Shawshank Redemption.

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan is riding his new bicycle on his Bulgarian set as he recovers from knee surgery.

Reckless Japanese bike riders can now be required to take safety lessons, and can face steep financial liability for injuring others.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: Eating behind the wheel is one thing; eating cereal out of a bowl is another. Eight years old may be just a tad too young for a naked Brit bike ride, by about a decade or so.

And when your name is Outlaw, it’s probably not a good idea to steal a bike, unlocked or otherwise.

Or anything else, for that matter.

 

Update: Bike rider run over and killed in Stanton hit-and-run after falling in the street

More bad news, in what has been a very bad few days.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s department, as well as various news reports, a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run after falling in Stanton early today.

In a press release sent out earlier this morning, the department reports deputies discovered a man lying in the street at 4:43 this morning after receiving reports of a traffic collision involving a bicyclist.

The victim was dead when officers arrived.

He had apparently been riding in an alley next to Beach Blvd between Cerritos Ave and Main Street when he fell off his bike for some reason, and was run over by an SUV headed south on Beach.

The driver reportedly slowed for a few minutes, then sped off down Beach, and was last seen approaching Katella Ave. The vehicle was described only as a dark colored SUV; no description of the driver.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Traffic Bureau at 714/647-7000 or 949/425-1860.

This is the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County. That compares with nine in the county this time last year.

It’s also the seventh SoCal bicycling death this month, and the fifth in just the last six days.

Update: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 40-year old Jorge Covarrubias. 

Update 2: A witness who saw the wreck says he ran up to help after seeing Covarrubias fall off his bike, and got within a few feet before the SUV ran over him. He leaves behind a girlfriend and two children. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jorge Covarrubias and his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson of the Johnson Attorneys Group and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the heads-up, and thanks to Bill Sellin for the first update.

Morning Links: Businesses benefit by trading parking for bike lanes, and new upscale spinning studio in DTLA

A new study from UC San Diego shows what we already knew.

The seemingly endless and nearly universal argument over parking versus bike lanes is no more valid than the mythical war on cars.

According to San Diego’s KPBS, after looking at cities all over the globe, researchers concluded that designing cities for active transportation — in other words, bicycling and walking — resulted in increased retail activity.

Or to put it another way, greater sales. And presumably, profits.

In fact, one study found that people who bike or walk to shop spend up to $200 a month more in a given store than people who drive. And there’s no research that shows removing street parking negatively impacts business, despite the fears of nearly every business owner, everywhere.

Someone should tell that to Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz.

And the benefits go beyond just retail sales. As the article says,

The report says there is increased business revenue and economic development in cities designed for physical activity. The researchers said prioritizing the needs of bike riders and walkers over drivers can have broad reaching and positive impact on communities, including healthier citizens and a cleaner environment.

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I’m a firm believer in doing all my cycling outside.

However, for those who prefer to ride indoors, for whatever reason, the new BESPOKE Cycling Studio is now open at FIGat7th in DTLA.

As they describe it,

BESPOKE Cycling Studio offers clients the new carbon blue technology bikes for better performance and for an authentic outdoor ride feel and virtually zero maintenance.  This coupled with lightweight performance handlebars with ErgoLoop, aero bars, and 12 degree incline enable multiple user positions and increased comfort levels.

In addition to offering a unique fitness experience for spinning enthusiasts guests at BESPOKE also have access to complimentary shoe rentals, L¹Occitane natural beauty shower amenities, an alkaline water station, and conveniences such as digital lockers, towels, and fresh fruit. Clients can also opt-in to their tailored fit services including preset cycling shoes, weights and bikes that help them sculpt and tone all in an uplifting fast-paced class.

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Local

KTLA-5 is giving away two American Flyer Wave bicycle-shaped objects bikes every day this week.

 

State

The Race Across America (RAAM) kicks off with solo riders departing from Oceanside today, followed by teams on Saturday.

Google wants to turn Silicon Valley into the American Copenhagen with a low-stress cycling network, although plans for Mountain View may be in jeopardy after the city rejected a proposal to expand its office space.

 

National

The Wall Street Journal profiles a tandem riding Colorado couple, and offers advice on how to get one of your very own. A tandem, that is, not a couple from Colorado.

The Missoula MT marathon is accused of discriminating against disabled athletes who wanted to compete using handcycles.

Hays KS police explain what bike lanes mean, and say cyclists must wear proper attire. I assume that means coat and tie for the men?

Grand Rapids MI is the latest city to get bike share before LA; even tiny ski resort Jackson Hole WY is trying it out before we do.

The World (not really) Naked Bike Ride makes its way to Gotham.

New York plans a bike safety blitz because a pedestrian stepped in front of a bicyclist riding in a bike lane, who didn’t stop after hitting her. After all, it would just be silly to conduct a pedestrian safety blitz.

Just weeks after Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg riding in France, the US Secretary of Commerce is out of action after hitting gravel on her bike while training for a triathlon.

North Carolina cyclists are urging the state Senate to oppose a provision that would require the state Board of Transportation to approve any road diets.

Thirty New Orleans police officers receive 16 hours of bike and pedestrian safety training to get a better feel for the obstacles both face on the roads.

Political will is needed to make South Florida cyclists safer. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

 

International

Toronto riders call for a citywide grid of protected bike lanes following three cycling deaths in the last two weeks.

West London sees a more than 10% increase in bicycling injuries in the last four years — and a nearly 20% increase in injuries to middle-aged men. However, that could be a result of increased ridership. Or out-of-shape blokes thinking they’re better riders than they really are.

A British Parliament member slams government plans to cut funding for bicycling.

This is why throwing tacks on the road isn’t just a prank. A rider in a Welsh Velothon suffers a nasty gash requiring surgery after suffering a blowout.

Keep your credit card handy. Irish riders who blow reds will soon face on-the-spot fines of 50 euros, the equivalent of $56.

The first woman to ride across Africa now plans to pedal across Antarctica via the South Pole.

A Canadian cyclist riding in Singapore is fined $2,500 — the equivalent of $1,855 US — for allegedly brake-checking an angry driver, then throwing his bike onto the hood of the car after the driver bumps his wheel.

 

Finally…

In a case of what the hell were they thinking, the organizer of a Belgium women’s pro race apologizes for rewarding the winners with bikini-clad podium girls. Whatever you do, don’t throw your pink Barbie bike at a group of cops five floors below.

And an academic researcher says the key to getting away with doping is don’t get caught. But apologize if you do.

 

Morning Links: Bike lane riding in the Biking Black Hole; Caltrans looks at active trans; hero cop saves a cyclist

Update: Today is Mobility Monday. Call or email your councilmember to today to urge passage of the LA Mobility Plan — without removing streets like Westwood and North Figueroa from the plan.

Click here for more details and contact information.

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Local

Richard Risemberg rides Beverly Hills’ virtually useless bike lane and sharrow combo on Crescent Drive that doesn’t go anywhere most bike riders want to go. Unless you want to look over overly ornate over-sized housing for the over-privileged.

A tragic photo from the LA Sheriff’s Department captured cyclists riding past a fatal auto collision on PCH over the weekend.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson says Lance is basically hosed in his upcoming lawsuit. But hints that there may be more serious cheating going on that has nothing to do with bikes.

Been awhile since we checked in with CLR Effect; Michael wonders what a rider was thinking in attempting to make a dangerous left turn off the sidewalk and nearly getting flattened in the process.

 

State

Caltrans finally begins reporting on active transportation.

Cyclelicious rants — aptly, I might add — about bike riders who complain without getting involved.

Fresno police blame the victim of a fatal collision for drifting into the slow lane, even though the driver who hit him fled the scene. So basically, they don’t have statements from anyone involved, but somehow conclude it’s the victim’s fault.

 

National

Five priests and seminarians complete a 1,400 mile, 11 state bike tour to promote vocations in the priesthood.

A Boulder CO business leader questions plans to right size — or road diet — some of the city’s primary streets.

Cyclists from Lance’s hometown are concerned about a proposal from a Texas congressman to keep gas taxes from being used for anything that doesn’t directly benefit motor vehicles. Here’s a hint: try not to elect people like that in the first place. 

A Tulsa cop saves the life of a cyclist who collapsed during a criterium.

St. Paul MN business owners are worried about losing parking spots so bike lanes can be put in. Even though the city promised to replace them around the corner.

A Boston website says bike polo is the coolest, weirdest sport you’ve never heard of. Except you have, right?

A Staten Island writer says if cyclists want respect, we have to earn it. Never mind that scofflaw drivers break the law, too. And yes, the NYPD tickets bike riders on a regular basis, deserved and otherwise.

A bizarre quirk in NYPD policy means most drivers can’t be charged under the city’s new Right of Way law designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians, because they only send out detectives authorized to do it if the victim is likely to die.

David Letterman says he’s going to leave bicycling to younger men because he doesn’t want to be found in a ditch somewhere. Uh, Dave, women actually ride too these days. And most don’t end up in ditches.

 

International

The BBC looks at how Rapha became Rapha.

A new Brit study says bike riders suffer a frightening near-miss on the roads an average of every week. Sounds like we have a lot in common.

Yet another British bike rider has been injured by thugs who strung wire at neck height across a bike trail. Meanwhile, a Welsh bike ride is marred by tacks sprinkled in the roadway; one rider was injured after flatting at 35 mph.

Caught on video: Cyclists come the rescue of a London bike share rider who was pulled off his bike in a dispute with bystanders blocking his way.

A buzzard attacks a Northern Irish bike rider; no, not the carrion-eating scavengers we know and love.

Emirati women are encouraged to take up bicycling during Ramadan to stay in shape. But not during fasting hours.

A letter writer says mountain biking has become one of the most prominent sports in Swaziland.

Aussie police are trying to figure out what happened to a cyclist who was found unconscious, battered and broken on the side of the road; GPS data suggests he was cut off by a car.

Good idea. A car designer has developed a new bike light that illuminates the road on either side, as well as in front, of the bicycle; it’s still over $20,000 short of the $62,598 goal. That odd goal comes from converting $80,000 Australian dollars to US currency.

 

Finally…

There’s no need for your kids to learn how to balance on a bike when the bike will do it for them. Your next riding jacket could have built-in turn signals, lights and an anti-collision warning system.

And when a gang makes fun of your hi-viz cycling attire, just keep riding. Seriously.

 

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