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

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

Or in this case, don’t do it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

DA Criminal <DA.Criminal@ventura.org>

Dear Ms. xxxxx

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

Webmaster

Ventura County District Attorney

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

Send your check to:

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

………

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

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

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

………

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

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

………

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

Thanks to Thread Riot for the heads-up.

………

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

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

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

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

………

Local

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

Monterey considers installing its own bikeshare system.

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

Morning Links: An onslaught of future bikes, WeHo to pay for biking to work, and Burbank trike thief gets four years

Am I the only one tired of reading about all the various Bikes of the Future?

Most of which only seem to complicate a device which is already brilliant in it’s simplicity and functionality.

No offense to designers of concept bikes, but they seem to spend a lot of time trying to reinvent the wheel.

Sometimes literally.

………

Nineteen-year old South African cyclist Keagan Girdlestone is showing improvement after suffering severe neck and throat injuries when he crashed into a team car while racing in Italy earlier this month; his team has been “blown away” by the support he’s received.

A writer for the Guardian remembers Dutch cyclist Mien Van Bree, who overcame hardships to become the women’s world champion in 1938.

………

Local

West Hollywood considers paying the city’s senior managers $90 a month to walk, bike or take transit to work.

A career criminal gets four years for stealing a 13-year-old disabled boy’s $5,300 tricycle from a Burbank apartment complex; he later dumped it on the side of the road when the media coverage made the bike too hot. Not that the sentence isn’t deserved, but drivers rarely get that much time for killing someone, if any: case in point.

 

State

The Examiner examines OC’s fundraising Boob and Coast to Canyon Rides.

CiclaValley takes a family bike trip to SLO.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition finally named a new executive director after a seven month search, which began when the previous director abruptly stepped down after just eight months on the job.

This is why you let police deal with bike thieves. After a Manteca father confronted a man who appeared to be riding his daughter’s stolen bike, the man shot up his car.

 

National

How is bicycling good for your brain? Let us count the ways

Bicycling offers advice for that post-ride itchy ass. And the magazine discusses how losing weight can improve your performance on a bike. Of course, improving your performance can also help you lose weight.

City Lab offers advice on how to bike to work without looking like a sweaty mess. Which was pretty much impossible the past few days.

Colorado authorities charge a prison inmate with the murder of mountain biking pioneer Michael Rust; the body of the Colorado Mountain Bike Hall of Fame member was discovered earlier this year after he disappeared in 2009.

An Idaho business writer confesses to not knowing the rules governing bike riders.

Rockford IL is hosting a 12-hour bike tour on city streets. Sort of like an extended ciclovía, but with all the cars still on the streets. Thanks to Ashley for the heads-up.

Minnesota takes the Idaho stop law a step further by installing new radar sensors that detect when a bike rider is approaching, and trigger a green light so the rider doesn’t have to stop.

Massachusetts state transportation officials will remake Boston’s Commonwealth Ave as a Complete Street, complete with 6.5 feet wide buffered and parking protected cycle tracks in each direction.

A DC group meets four times a year to cheer on every bicyclist who rides by in a bike lane.

 

International

The latest Mercedes-Benz commercial trucks will come with active brake assist, as well as new safety technology to warn if cyclists or pedestrians are present when turning. Which hopefully will reduce the risk of deadly right hooks.

Winnipeg cyclists complain that a 10-foot wide two-way protected bike lane isn’t wide enough for the projected jump in bicycling it would create.

Try to run down a British bike rider, then get out of your car to punch him in the face, and you can just keep on driving. Meanwhile, a new Brit bike passive safety device promises to detect threats, record offenders and call for help if you crash. But apparently doesn’t stop drivers from punching you in the face, or take their licenses away if they do.

Researchers in the Netherlands conclude EPO has no effect on performance. Does this mean Lance can come back now?

Now that’s more like it. Australia’s New South Wales budgets an additional $80 million for bicycling infrastructure, on top of $39 million that was previously announced.

 

Finally…

It’s okay if you don’t stop when you run over a rat while riding. Your next conference table could be a $13,000 tricycle.

And if you’re going to get caught on a security camera stealing a bicycle, at least put your underwear on the right end.

 

Morning Links: Alhambra police stop bike rider and search his belongings, for the $5 crime of riding in a crosswalk

It’s like playing Whack-A-Mole.

Once we deal with cops misapplying the law in one area, it pops up in another.

Longtime bike advocate Stephen Box, now Director of Government & Community Affairs for the Transit Coalition, witnessed Alhambra police stopping a bike rider on Saturday in what he calls “overkill for an infraction… that carries a maximum penalty of $5.”

This is how Box describes what he saw.

I watched the entire process, from Officer Alvarez chirping the cyclist and pulling him over to Officer Vega joining the stop to the officers searching the cyclist and his backpack and his bike. When it was over, the cyclist left and I asked the Officers what happened and found the explanation implausible. A westbound motorist (Officer Alvarez) in a stopped car can’t almost hit a northbound cyclist riding in the crosswalk.

Box stopped to talk with the two officers, then called their watch commander. But rather than getting a clear explanation of the officers’ actions, he discovered none of the three seemed to be clear on the Alhambra Municipal Code that laid the basis for the officer’s actions. So he looked it up himself.

Apparently it’s illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalks of Alhambra. (Alhambra Municipal Code 10.04.020) I looked it up and I have three comments:

  1. I’m not a fan of sidewalk cycling, I think it’s dangerous for the cyclist but I understand it
  2. I’m not a fan of local traffic laws that aren’t posted. In this case the public can hardly be expected to know of un-posted restrictions when law enforcement is also unclear on the specifics of the code
  3. If Alvarez pulled the cyclist over for riding in the crosswalk, wouldn’t the appropriate action have been information on safe cycling instead of the three-way search?

His research also led to a couple of discrepancies in the city’s municipal code.

While researching Alhambra’s unposted sidewalk cycling ban, I found two instances where the City of Alhambra appears to be in violation of the State of California’s Uniformity Code which states “no local authority shall enact or enforce any ordinance on the matters covered by this code unless expressly authorized herein.”

  1. Alhambra’s Bike Licensing Law (10.04.040)is a violation of CVC 21. The City of Alhambra does not have the authority to require bike licenses from non-resident cyclists.
  2. Alhambra’s “Five feet from the Curb” law (10.04.030)is a violation of CVC 21. The City of Alhambra does not have the authority to establish a specific distance from the right-side curb for cyclists. Further, the courts have held (Mauchle v. Panama-Pacific Int’l Expo. Co., 37 Cal. App. 715, 719 (1918)) that “The provisions of the law are elastic. They do not attempt to lay down a definite and rigid rule as to the distance which the slowly moving vehicle must keep from the curb.”

As you may have noticed, Stephen Box know his way around state and local traffic laws and enforcement, particularly as it pertains to bicycling.

He co-founded a number of bike advocacy groups, including the now-dormant Bikeside LA, the city’s first — and so far, only — bicycling nonprofit group registered with the IRS as 501(c)(4) to engage in political activity.

He also led the 2009 march on the LA city council that marked the unofficial start of the modern bike advocacy movement in Los Angeles. Setting in motion the events that would eventually lead to adoption of the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights (informally, and sadly forgotten), the Cyclists’ Anti-Harassment Ordinance, and the 2010 LA Bike Plan that’s now under attack in city hall as part of the Mobility Plan 2035.

And he was one of the original founders of the LAPD’s bike liaison program, helping to develop the department’s bicycle training module that was required viewing for every street-level officer.

Box followed-up his repeated, and apparently unsuccessful, phone conversations with the watch commander with an email to the Chief of Police for the Alhambra Police Department, asking for a review of the events he witnessed and the municipal code discrepancies he uncovered.

So, here is the formal request conclusion to this email:

  1. I request a review of the Fremont/Mission traffic stop of a male cyclist that took place on Sunday, June 18, 2016 at approximately 5pm by Officer Alvarez who was then backed up by Officer Vega. Specifically, was the search warranted (reading paperwork in the cyclist’s backpack can hardly be construed as a search for weapons due to safety concerns) for a minor traffic infraction or did it exceed the standard?
  2. I request a review of the Watch Commander’s instructions that I come to the station to file a complaint and that I come to the station to request a record (the field incident report taken by the officers at the traffic stop).
  3. I request a review of the two Alhambra City Municipal Codes (10.04.040 and 10.04.030) that are a direct violation of the State of California’s Uniformity Code.

There is little question from what he describes that the officers’ search exceeded what is legally allowed under the circumstances; the courts have repeatedly ruled that a simple traffic stop does not provide probable cause for an invasive search, whether you’re in a car, on foot or on a bike.

Even if they were legitimately searching the backpack for weapons, let’s not forget that the officers had the rider under their control, and presumably unable to access that backpack, whether for a weapon or anything else. If he could, they need some serious retraining.

And let’s not forget that you have the legal right to refuse an officer’s request to search your belongings.

Box concluded by thanking the chief for all he does to make the streets of Alhambra safe for everyone, “including motorists and pedestrians and transit passengers and cyclists.”

Which is a sentiment I share, having worked with police departments on various bicycling issues over the years, I truly appreciate the job they do to keep us all safe on the streets and in our homes.

But sometimes, as we’ve seen, they get it wrong.

And sometimes, local governments overstep their bounds.

………

On the other hand, the Alhambra police deserve a round of thanks for recovering an apparently stolen or misplaced silver Condor bicycle. If it looks familiar, contact the department at 626/308-4875.

And either way, let that be a reminder to always register your bike, whether here through Bike Index, or with some other organization.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

………

Twenty-two-year old Columbian Miguel Angel Lopez won the nine-day Tour of Switzerland; American’s Tejay van Garderen and Andrew Talansky finished fifth and eighth, respectively.

World champ Lizzie Armistead finished second in the final stage to win the women’s Aviva Tour.

British cyclist Simon Yates gets a four month ban for doping, but swears it was just an honest mistake.

British cycling great Chris Hoy trades two wheels for four, finishing 17th in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

………

Local

Richard Risemberg offers advice on how to ride in today’s 100-plus degree weather.

Former American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is one of us. Or at least he was, since his bike just got stolen from a Burbank recording studio.

Santa Monica’s long, dark California Incline hell may soon be over. And with bike lanes.

 

State

A bike-commuting Tustin math teacher has a shot at making the US mountain biking team for the Rio Olympics.

Over 300 people rode to the new Pedego headquarters in Fountain Valley in an attempt to set a world record for the longest ebike parade.

Two dozen San Diego bicyclists ride to Tijuana to preserve a downtown mural.

The only form of human scum lower than the person who stole a disabled 10-year old San Diego girl’s handcycle is the jerk who took her wheelchair. And probably the same person.

A 64-year old Pt. Loma bicyclist was seriously injured when he was left-crossed by the driver of an SUV.

The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the monthly East Bay Bike Party.

Nice move from the East Bay park police, as they donate nearly three dozen unclaimed bicycles to an Oakland nonprofit to replace several dozen that were stolen.

A seven-year old Shasta Lake boy is a double bike-theft victim, as someone stole the bike he was given to replace his stolen bike.

 

National

Bike Radar says e-MTBs could ruin it for the rest of us.

A Portland writer says the rapid spread of bikeshare systems allow travelers to see more of a city at a lower cost.

Maybe it moved while we weren’t looking. Shinola’s bikes and watches may be Built in Detroit, but apparently are not made in America.

Thanks to a local Kiwanis club, an Ohio boy is able to ride a bike for the first time since he was severely injured in a car crash.

A Philadelphia cop completes a 3,000-mile journey from Venice to Atlantic City to raise funds after a fellow officer was shot and killed; so far, he’s brought in over three times his original $5,000 goal.

 

International

A Winnipeg thief hacked a cyclist with a hatchet to steal his bicycle; the thief was arrested with the bike 20 minutes later.

A UK court tells a bicyclist he should have a “completely clear conscience” after a fatal collision with an elderly pedestrian; the rider tried to hug her as they both fell to the pavement in an unsuccessful attempt to protect her from injury.

Former Boomtown Rats singer and sidewalk cyclist Bob Geldof doesn’t have anything good to say about London’s popular bicycle superhighways.

Grief is worldwide, as a Belfast bike club rides in honor of ‪Kalamazoo.

A Danish moped rider learned the hard way not to snatch a purse from a 75-year old woman on a bike, who chased him down – and into a car — to get it back.

Caught on video: A Malta cyclist was flipped off and nearly run into a rock wall for the crime of riding a bike on a narrow street.

A woman is suing an Aussie state after colliding with a cyclist after she unexpectedly found herself riding in the middle of a bike race.

 

Finally…

Every few years, someone invents a bike you pedal with your hands as well as your feet; why should this year be any different? It’s okay to bite your tongue when someone nearly doors you.

And bicyclists find a lot of things while riding their bikes. Fortunately, a badly decomposed body is hardly ever one of them.

 

Weekend Links: One near miss caught on video, and one that didn’t; cops already parking on LA Street bike lane

I didn’t plan on writing a new post this morning. But there’s just too much bike news we need to share today.

And who needs sleep anyway?

………

Now that’s a close call.

Weshigh shares video of a driver who dangerously buzzed him on Venice Blvd after he signaled to move into the traffic lane. And apparently didn’t care.

………

Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas forwards dashcam video of a cyclist nailed in a left cross. He reports the driver had a stop sign, while the rider faced an uncontrolled intersection with the right-of-way.

Fortunately, the rider is relatively okay, suffering a broken ankle in the crash. And he’s got a good lawyer.

………

Streetsblog celebrates the opening of the new protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street, while KNBC-4 talks with BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen about the new bicycle traffic lights.

LADOT explains how the new protected lane works, including the new two-stage left turn bike boxes.

But so much for the hope that the protected lanes would keep cops from parking in it.

………

The Hollywood Reporter stages a three-way Starbucks to Starbucks race from DTLA to Santa Monica by car, train and ebike.

Needless to say, the Expo train to the coast finished last, but surprisingly, the car beat the ebike rider by four minutes.

………

The leader of the group of nine Kalamazoo cyclists run down by an out-of-control driver last week turns the other cheek, saying she has no ill will towards the man who killed five of her friends while wounding herself and three others.

………

Local

Los Angeles Magazine says a proposed new NoHo development includes an elevated cycle track through the property.

Richard Risemberg says road diets don’t impede emergency vehicles, but the lack of them does.

KPCC looks at LADOT’s hiring of sound artist Alan Nakagawa to work on Vision Zero.

Burbank approves stop signs, and possibly bike lanes, on Edison Blvd despite the reservations of one councilmember over whether bike lanes would improve safety. Maybe he could look at some of the many studies showing just that next time.

County supervisors Shiela Kuehl and Hilda Solis call for more parks in LA County.

 

State

San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies are looking for a Montclair man who allegedly stabbed another man several times in a dispute over a bicycle. It’s an effing bicycle, for chrissake. It’s not worth trying to kill someone over.

Here’s your chance to go on a 50 mile bike ride with Kawasaki motorcycle racers at the famed Laguna Seca raceway.

Any East Bay bike riders who haven’t licensed their bikes are probably breaking the law.

Nice piece from bike scribe Peter Flax — the ebike rider in the above mention race from DTLA to the coast — about the peace that comes from riding a century in wine country.

 

National

Surly may have some problems, but the popular bike maker isn’t going under.

The NFL’s Ryan brothers are two of us, as the Buffalo Bills coaches are spotted riding a tandem bike — which the writer aptly describes as “the Corgis of the transportation world – ­adorable, and hard not to love.”

Instead of fixing a dangerous intersection, Denver authorities say bikes shouldn’t even be there — despite a sign saying just the opposite.

Two cyclists participating in Colorado’s Ride the Rockies pause along the nation’s highest continuous paved road in Rocky Mountain National Park to spread their father’s ashes; their dad had participated in the ride 18 times himself.

This is the cost of traffic violence, as a San Antonio mother mourns the loss of her 15-year old son in a bicycling collision. Thanks to Steve Katz for the heads-up.

Now that’s more like it. An Iowa drunk driver gets 34 years in prison — yes, 34 — for the death of a cyclist; he was already barred from driving for a previous DUI conviction, and had another eight misdemeanor drug and traffic convictions in just 16 months before the fatal crash. With good behavior, he could see his kids again in another 17 and a half years.

What the hell is wrong with Michigan drivers these days? A hit-and-run driver faces 15 years for running down a bike rider on a charity ride after allegedly snorting coke, huffing and inhaling nitrous oxide.

A Michigan sheriff says he only stopped a bike rider and cussed him out because he was worried the “road-raging” rider may have been clipped by a driver who flipped him off. Sure, let’s go with that.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An Ohio cyclist is still winning bike races at 92 years old.

A Rhode Island man “borrowed” a bike to get home, but was so drunk he couldn’t remember where he left it.

Caught on video: Apparently, a New York bike lane is just a way for drivers to get around traffic.

Caught on video 2: A motorist, a bike rider and an unidentified woman come to blows in a three-way brawl on a New York street for undisclosed reasons.

A road-raging Maryland cyclist smacked a driver in the face with his U-lock; of course, judging by the article, the driver did absolutely nothing to provoke it. Seriously, no matter what a driver does, never resort to violence. If this rider is found, he could face a charge of aggravated battery, with a potential jail time measured in years, not months.

NPR looks at how Atlanta’s architecture can make the city friendlier to bike riders.

A group of African American cyclists embarked on a three-day ride from New Orleans’ Congo Square to AfricaTown in Mobile, Alabama.

 

International

Mexican researchers develop phosphorescent cement that could allow bikeways to glow in the dark to improve safety.

A Vancouver bicyclist calls for cyclists to show more courtesy to others on the streets. And says the same goes for drivers.

New suicide barriers dangerously narrow a bikeway on an Edmonton bridge.

A Toronto website lists the many condescending anti-bike statements from the city’s councilors, such as we’re dangerous psychos who cause anxiety among those poor, innocent drivers. Well, okay then.

A new British bike taillight flashes brighter when you ride through hazardous situations, crowdsources road data, sends an alert if someone tries to steal your bike and texts your next of kin if you wipeout.

A UK paper lists ten lesser known benefits of bicycling. All of which are pretty well-known to anyone who rides.

No, Dublin, a ghost bike is a memorial, not an abandoned bicycle.

Probably not the best idea to hitch a ride by grabbing ahold of a speeding English tram.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying dope and a loaded handgun on your bike, put a damn light on it. No, seriously, put a damn light on your bike if you’re planning to use it as your getaway vehicle after burglarizing some homes.

And we only have to worry about dodging tourists on the bike path, not a bear darting into your path.

Morning Links: LA finally gets bike traffic lights, Garcetti say no to Veep, and it’s a bike safety weekend

For once, LA bike riders are being treated like we actually belong on the streets.

On Thursday, the city officially unveiled the new protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street, complete with LA’s first bicycle traffic signals.

Although the LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero can’t resist getting a little anti-bike dig in.

As he suggests, the bike-shaped signals are designed to tell riders when to stop. As well as when they can proceed, independent of the traffic signals for motor vehicles.

Sort of like walk signals tell pedestrians when they can cross the street, whether or not the traffic signal is green.

They could definitely use some on the bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd through Westwood and Century City, where bicyclists are expected to stop at red lights on T-intersections even when there’s no cross street.

And many don’t.

………

After yesterday’s surprising news that Eric Garcetti is on Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential short list, the first-term LA mayor says not so fast.

Then again, that’s exactly what he’s expected to say, unless and until he actually gets the nod.

………

Evidently, it’s a bike safety weekend.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will step up enforcement of traffic violations that can lead to collisions between motor vehicles and bicyclists or pedestrians today. So obey the letter of the law, because you don’t want to be the one who goes home with a ticket.

And the Santa Monica Police Department will conduct yet another of their bike and pedestrian safety crackdowns on Saturday.

So we should all feel safer on Sunday, right?

………

VeloNews says if America’s Tejay van Garderen doesn’t win the Tour de Suisse, he’ll be carrying water bottles for Richie Porte at the Tour de France next month.

………

Local

Metro board committees unanimously support the proposed Measure R sales tax extension, which could mean significantly more funding for bike and pedestrians projects.

The LA Times calls for making the pilot program to install interlock devices on the cars of convicted drunk drivers permanent and expanding it statewide. What we really need to do is impound the vehicles of DUI drivers while their licenses are suspended to keep them from getting behind the wheel. And let’s not forget that interlock devices do nothing to stop drugged driving.

CiclaValley says riding to the top of Mt. Baldy is a must.

Members of my college fraternity will depart from Long Beach this morning on one of three cross-country routes to raise over half a million dollars for disabled people nationwide.

 

State

Santa Barbara approves moving a contentious bike lane to a back street in order to preserve precious parking through a commercial zone. Because no one would never dream of riding a bike to go to a restaurant or retail store.

Sacramento increases fines for riding a bike on the sidewalk from $5 to $250, despite a lack of safe alternatives in many areas.

Changes to the bike path on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge will add $6.5 million to the project, which has already seen $24 million in cost overruns.

 

National

Nice move from Polar, as all the proceeds from their new Rainbow Pride water bottle will go to support victims and families of the Pulse shooting rampage in Orlando.

The Huffington Post says cyclists shouldn’t have to risk their lives just to use the road.

A Seattle cyclist gets her stolen bike back, thanks to registering it with Bike Index. Which you can do for free at the top of this page.

After two years of denials, new evidence shows a Spokane sheriff’s deputy really did crash into a teenage bike rider as they both maneuvered to avoid the collision, after an outside investigator found the imprint of the victim’s hat embedded on the bumper of the patrol car. Which raises the question of why police investigators couldn’t find it themselves with a two year head start.

Sad news, as the woman who helped start my hometown on the path to becoming one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities has passed away from Alzheimer’s at age 76.

Hats off to Kansas and Missouri, where authorities no longer consider crashes accidents.

A “hesitant” Chicago bike rider sees the world from a windshield perspective, as she calls for testing and licensing cyclists to improve safety, while complaining about road diets and bike lanes designed to do just that.

Cleveland drivers are confused by new bike lanes on two of the city’s busiest streets, but a bicyclist says they’re not so bad.

Nashville plans a left side bike lane along a center median to eliminate the risk of doorings and right hooks.

Both Streetsblog and Gothamist say the NYPD needs to stop targeting cyclists and start focusing on the people in the big dangerous machines.

Why wait? Residents of a DC suburb are protesting bike lanes that haven’t even been proposed yet.

 

International

Cycling Weekly offers advice on how to overcome setbacks, from losing a race to getting hit by a car.

Toronto drivers who kill or injure pedestrians or bicyclists too often avoid charges. In other words, just like drivers virtually everywhere.

Britain’s Jo Cox was one of us; the British Labour Parliament member was assassinated Thursday, by a supporter of an American neo-Nazi group.

A London bike rider became the latest victim of anti-bike sabotage when a group of teenagers strung a rope at neck level across a Hyde Park pathway.

A British writer learns that a 30 kilometer ride through Provence — 18.6 miles — isn’t that far, and can be enjoyable.

A couple from the UK celebrated their 60th anniversary, after they met when he stopped to help fix her bike.

 

Finally…

No motor scooter for you; get around campus the old fashioned way — on a bicycle. Don’t leave a suspicious package in your Metro bike locker.

And seriously, don’t punch a cop who tries to stop you for riding in the middle of the road. But feel free to correct him if you were just riding in the middle of a non-sharable lane.

No, seriously, they love that stuff.

 

Morning Links: Garcetti on Veep list, LA’s people-friendly transformation has begun, and Lance visits Kalamazoo

Bernie Sanders isn’t being considered as Hillary Clinton’s running mate.

But our own LA Mayor Eric Garcetti reportedly is.

At least, that’s what I’m told the story says, since the Wall Street Journal won’t let me read the damn thing, despite numerous attempts to log in.

It’s far too soon to worry about what our current mayor becoming a heartbeat from the presidency might mean.

But let’s not forget that LA’s Great Streets program and commitment to Complete Streets originates from the mayor’s office. And popular LADOT director Seleta Reynolds serves at the pleasure of whoever occupies that office.

Chances are, Garcetti won’t get the nod. California’s Democratic stronghold is probably already in Clinton’s pocket, so the choice will more likely go to someone from a swing state.

So he may have to settle, for now, anyway, for the honor of simply being considered for the nation’s second highest office.

But if he did get it, it could mean some big changes in the City of Angels.

And not necessarily for the better.

………

Speaking of changes made under Garcetti’s leadership, PBS looks at five spaces that urban designers have transformed into pedestrian paradises.

Not surprisingly, the first three are in New York, where former DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan worked to shift the city’s focus from cars back to people.

But the next one is right here in DTLA, where Broadway has gotten a makeover to be more inviting to people on bikes and foot. Although I’d call it a work in progress, rather than paradise found just yet.

Now just imagine if Hollywood and Highland was transformed into a pedestrian plaza like New York’s Times Square, taming one of the city’s most dangerous streets overnight. And sending commercial sales and property values skyrocketing, while giving tourists the Hollywood experience they expect, but seldom find.

Maybe Garcetti can make it happen before he moves to DC.

………

The four people injured in last week’s Kalamazoo crash continue to recover from their injuries. One of the riders has already been discharged from the hospital, saying it still seems surreal.

Lance Armstrong — yes, that Lance — visits Kalamazoo to finish the ride the nine victims didn’t get to, and explains in his own words the emotional impact of talking to the victims and their families, while riding past five ghost bikes on the side of the road.

………

The US qualified fewer spots for the men’s Rio Olympics cycling competition than Iran and Morocco.

South African U-23 rider Keagan Girdlestone is off the ventilator and out of a medically induced coma, yet remains in critical condition after a collision with a team car while racing in Italy 10 days ago.

An Aspen CO bike racer and skier makes a remarkable comeback from a brain aneurism that typically kills 70% of sufferers within 24 hours, winning a hill climb while competing with a small clip securing a blood vessel in his brain.

A New York cycling champ describes what it’s like to come out of the closet as a gay cyclist.

………

Local

LA city prosecutor Andrew Said looks at how California’s outdated speed laws guarantee our streets remain dangerous.

A Santa Clarita resident complains that the city’s McBean Parkway has been converted to a high-speed superhighway, and calls for a road diet, lower speed and better sidewalks to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

Milestone Rides goes bike camping and rattlesnake dodging in Henninger Flats, in the Angeles National Forest above La Cañada.

 

State

Newport Beach will consider safety improvements near schools, including crossing guards and buffered bike lanes, following the death of eight-year old Brock McCann as he rode home from school last month. It shouldn’t take the death of a child to prompt improvements to protect children on their way to and from school.

The CHP says a Bakersfield bus kept going after hitting a bike rider; the bus company says oh no we didn’t.

A Fresno driver has been arrested in the February hit-and-run that nearly killed a local surgeon as he rode his bicycle; the 23-year old driver has reportedly confessed.

 

National

USA Today lists ten open streets events around the country, starting with our own CicLAvia.

Gizmodo rates the best bike rack, basket and panniers for bike commuters.

A Colorado letter writer says demonizing cyclists doesn’t help anyone.

A cyclist is taking part in Colorado’s 400-mile Ride the Rockies bike tour for the fifth time. But just the first time since losing his vision in both eyes.

Next time you visit the original Coors plant in Golden CO, you can check out a bike from the town’s Bike Library for free for the first two hours. Meanwhile, a 25-bike Castle Rock CO bikeshare system will be free all summer thanks to a local hospital.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Kansas paper offers a heartbreaking look at California native Steven James Lewis, a bike tourist who had traveled throughout the world before losing his life, along with one of the rescue dogs he was towing behind his bike.

In a case reminiscent of our own Dr. Christopher Thompson, an Illinois driver is on trial for brake-checking a group of cyclists and forcing one into a ditch; the driver claims he had to brake to avoid another vehicle after passing the riders. Sure, let’s go with that.

Authorities credit a 12-year old Michigan boy’s helmet with saving his life when he was hit by a van and landed on his head.

Charleston SC councilmembers will have to decide if the safety of bike riders is worth just 48 seconds, as a temporary road diet and bike lanes over a bridge angered drivers by delaying them less than a minute at rush hour. I think we all know what certain LA councilmembers would say under the same circumstances.

 

International

Most female Strava users say there are no barriers to women’s bicycling. Of course, they are the ones already doing it, not the ones afraid try or unsure if they can make it work.

Rio will reopen the bike path that collapsed in February killing two people; plans are to open the path in time for the Olympics.

If vehicular cycling had never caught on in the 70s, would every North American city look like bike-friendly Montreal?

A British bike rider was the victim of a random attack by a large group of youths, apparently just for the hell of it since nothing was stolen.

A Kiwi truck driver slammed into a parked car. And naturally, blamed a bike rider.

Sydney, Australia police believe the person seen sabotaging a bike path in his boxers may be a local resident; as many as 800 flats have been caused by tacks over the past two years.

Forget protected bike lanes; Kyoto has a two-third mile arcade for bike riders.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to ride a bike to OC’s famed Trestles surf break, do it upright with a board under your arm like any self-respecting surfer. A writer asks what bike would Ramsey Bolton ride, although he seems more like the massive SUV type to me.

And no matter how pissed off you are after a driver cuts you off, don’t slash his tire with a knife.

And if you do, make sure he’s not a cop first.

 

Morning Links: Last stand for Westwood and Central Ave bike lanes, and Elly Blue comes to town

Mark your calendar.

The LA Planning Commission is scheduled to take up plans to remove the much-needed Westwood Blvd and Central Ave bike lanes from the Mobility Plan a week from Thursday.

Both at the whim of local councilmembers, without any studies or statistics to back up the decisions.

Even though that means shunting riders away from businesses that could benefit from their support, while keeping dangerous city streets riskier for everyone.

And even though the best way to guarantee the failure of any bikeway is to put it where bike riders don’t want to go.

Bicyclists have been fighting to keep these streets in the bike plan, with little or no support from city officials, elected or otherwise, other than the Planning Commission and its staff. This is likely to be our last stand, as the city council will either vote to accept or override the Commission’s decision, probably without any public discussion.

After all, why listen to us when they’ve already made up their minds?

The meeting is scheduled to start around 8:30am in the John Ferraro Council Chamber, Room 340, City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

If you can’t attend in person, written comments can be submitted to the City Planning Commission, Room 532, City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 or emailed to James Williams, james.k.williams@lacity.org.

Thanks to Danila for the heads-up.

………

Popular Portland bike writer and advocate Elly Blue is very busy these days.

First up, she’ll make a stop at the Wheelhouse in DTLA on Thursday to discuss her new book Bikenomics, sponsored by Metro.

That will be followed by a visit with the Santa Monica Spoke this Friday for Dinner & Bikes + Cupcakes, along with producer/director Joe Biel and vegan chef Joshua Ploeg.

And finally, she offers advice in Bicycling on how not to get your bike stolen.

………

That explains it.

Last week we linked to security video of a bike rider being run down by a hit-and-run driver, as an automotive website speculated that it appeared to be on purpose.

It was.

It turns out the driver was the man’s girlfriend, who had just found out he’s HIV-positive.

She now faces charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of a collision.

………

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay visits Kalamazoo, and writes movingly about the crash that left five riders dead last week, and another four injured; the driver faces five counts of second degree murder.

The ghost bikes for the five victims are turning into beautiful flower sculptures as mourning community members cover them with love notes and mementos.

A Taiko drum group performed at the funeral of one of the victims, who was a member of the group.

………

Vavel previews the five stage women’s Tour of Britain.

Cycling News reminds us of some of the pioneers of women’s cycling, from a 16-year old world record holder in the 1890s to the first female vice president of UCI. And it turns out women can compete on equal terms with men — and did at the Giro d’Italia over 90 years ago.

Men’s Journal offers a brief history of the Race Across America, aka RAAM, which kicked off in Oceanside this morning.

A British whistleblower says doping is endemic in cycling.

Look for still more doping scandals, as a judge has ordered blood bags linked to Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes as part of the ten-year old Operation Puerto turned over to anti-doping authorities.

………

Local

Great news, as CiclaValley reports the LA River bike path has finally been reopened through Elysian Valley after being closed most of the winter and spring for flood control efforts that went unneeded when El Niño fizzled.

The LA Weekly visits The Cannibal, the new bike and meat centric restaurant in Culver City, where bicyclists get their second beer free. Am I the only one who never heard of a free second anything referred to as a kit, though? Or did the Weekly confuse it with what riders have to wear to get one?

 

State

A Medicare Advance program allows Seal Beach seniors to borrow a Pedego ebike every Tuesday for a free spin along the beach. Speaking of Pedego, they’re trying to set a world record for the most ebike riders in a parade when they move to a new headquarters in Fountain Valley.

San Diego’s Uptown District once again demonstrates they prefer parking to business from bike riders.

Oxnard police give new bicycles to two elementary school students with perfect attendance.

Merced authorities double down on the violent arrest of a bike rider that was caught on cell phone video, by charging the man with resisting arrest. They may be prosecuting in hopes that a plea deal will derail the inevitable civil suit.

Sad news from Modesto, as a bike rider has died after being hit by a train yesterday.

Specialized partners with Stanford researchers in hopes of demonstrating that bicycling provides a natural remedy for ADHD.

Mark Zuckerberg is one of us, as the Facebook CEO breaks his arm training for a triathlon in Menlo Park.

 

National

A 13-year old Utah girl rides a bike for the first time after being blinded in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.

A Wisconsin professor studies bike and pedestrian crashes in hopes of creating safer streets and reducing traffic fatalities to zero.

An Indiana city proposes requiring new buildings to have at least two covered bike parking spaces, and showers for the people who use them.

The NYPD cop who pulled a gun on a bike messenger and taunted him after cutting a group of cyclists off in a bike lane is a decorated 23-year veteran of the department; the rider, who was arrested on criminal mischief, weapons and menacing charges — despite being the apparent victim — considers it a case of Biking While Black and plans to file a civil suit.

Philadelphia cyclists call on the city to finally get started on a network of fully funded protected bike lanes.

Contrary to the bizarre claims of a pro-car Pennsylvania writer, speed cameras — which are not currently legal in California — reduce injury crashes up to 25 percent, while red light cameras cut injury crashes anywhere from 21 to 51 percent, according to stats from the NHTSA.

An Atlanta paper gives advice on how to ride safely with your dog in tow. Or better yet, just take it out for a hike after you get back.

 

International

CNN talks with Tim Bridgeman, the British cyclist who is continuing the round-the-world bike tour he started with his wife before she was killed in a collision while riding through Bolivia.

London’s new bicycle superhighways have brought a surge in ridership, boosting rates an average of 60%. Meanwhile, the city opened the first of seven planned Quietways running on pathways and quieter backstreets.

A British fashion site lists seven mistakes you don’t want to make if you’re a total newbie on a bike. Even though countless people do at least some of them, like riding in heels or using a bike basket, every day.

A Dubai-based travel consultant explains how to bike while fasting for Ramadan.

 

Finally…

If you’re carrying a meth pipe and just broke into an elementary school, maybe you should ride in the bike lane — and on the right side of the street. If you’re going to steal a mountain bike from a local bike shop, take the shop sticker off it, and hide the meth.

And if you’re planning to empty your handgun into a fellow cyclist before riding away, probably best not to do it in broad daylight while wearing hi-viz.

 

Morning Links: Why you’ll keep hitting potholes, and your bike-riding paleo ass is responsible for global warming

KPCC’s Sharon McNary nearly takes a tumble off her bike while examining LA’s street rating system, concluding that the city’s worst streets are expected to remain hazardous for bike riders and other human beings for some time to come.

Especially if cost savings from a new asphalt plant are put back into the general fund, instead of used for fixing streets as common sense would seem to dictate.

………

In what may be one of the most ridiculous academic studies in human history, a Harvard researcher concludes that a bike rider on a paleo diet could be more harmful to the environment than say, a vegan in a Prius.

Because as we all know, no one who drives a fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicle would ever dream of eating meat. Never mind someone on a bicycle actually eating a healthy, environmentally sensitive diet.

But for the relative handful of you out there on your bikes who insist on eating bacon and pork rinds with a side of steak at every single meal, you — j’accuse! — are responsible for destroying our planet.

Not, say, all those people stuck on the 405 in their environmentally sensitive vehicles.

………

Why carry a multi-tool in your bike bag when you can wear one on your belt? Assuming your favorite bike dress or spandex kit has belt loops, of course.

………

After years of helping hide doping by Lance Armstrong and others, officials with cycling’s governing body are now accused of covering up evidence of motor doping at last year’s Tour de France. And the cheat beat goes on. And on.

The route is announced for this year’s 704-mile Tour of Utah in August, with over ten miles of vertical climbing.

………

Local

CiclaValley takes a tour of the new protected bike lanes on Los Angeles Street in DTLA.

LA Weekly’s top rated coffee roaster began as a bicycle-based business.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton takes part in the LACBC’s annual Los Angeles River Ride with his son, not in tow, but riding on his own.

Streetsblog’s Doug Lewis reports on Sunday’s sparsely attended Viva SGV open event in El Monte and South El Monte. As noted last week, there were just too many other competing events going on this past weekend; it’s important to find an open date in the calendar when scheduling such things.

 

State

Five members of Ventura’s Channel Island Bicycle Club will ride across the country to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

A Santa Cruz area dog park has been named in honor of a hit-and-run victim. Josh Laven had been on a cross-country bike tour when his body was found hidden in bushes on the side of the road, his dog still by his side; his killer was never found.

A 19-year old Campbell man has been arrested for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter in the death of a bike rider on Sunday.

A San Francisco bike rider was seriously injured when she fell after she was startled by a turning car while riding salmon.

 

National

Bicycling offers six easy steps to start bike touring.

A Reno writer makes his first awkward attempt at bike-skiing in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

A Chicago writer says she commutes to work by bike because she can.

Hundreds of bicyclists rode in honor of the five Kalamazoo MI cyclists killed in a collision last week, while the state’s governor showed up for a memorial service.

Ohio could become the 38th state to pass a minimum three-foot passing law.

A Massachusetts letter writer says it’s just as important to wear a bike helmet when riding on a bike trail as it is on the street. Actually, that’s what they’re designed for; bike helmets are made to protect against low speed falls, not high speed crashes.

When a road-raging off-duty cop pulls a gun on a NYC bike messenger, naturally, it’s the guy on the bike who goes to jail. Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

The rate of bike riding surges in DC in response to cuts in the city’s Metro system for required maintenance.

A Florida bike rider is mauled by a police dog and ends up doing three months in jail for what began as a simple traffic stop for riding without a light.

 

International

A Napa writer visits Cuba for the first time, exploring rural back roads by bicycle after giving up on Havana’s potholed streets.

A Canadian man gets back on his bike to fight the disease that’s slowly taking his wife’s life.

Vancouver cyclists struggle with a bike theft rate two to four times higher than any other major city in Canada.

Reducing London speed limits to 20 mph in places has resulted in an estimated 24% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries.

A new study finds bicycling is not a preferred commuting option in India’s Bengaluru, better known in this country as Bangalore; nearly all respondents rode as a child, but most consider it uncool as adults.

Now that’s more like it. An Aussie state makes it a crime with up to two years in jail to throw something at a bike rider. Or a motor vehicle, for that matter.

No auto-centrism here. A Sydney cyclist and corporate CEO says don’t bike commute and stay the hell off your bike at rush hour, because it’s inconsiderate to motorists to hold up traffic. No really, that’s what he says.

 

Finally…

Um, no. Just… no. If you’re going to ride your bike to case cars to break into, make sure the cops aren’t watching.

And who says you can’t catch air on bikeshare? Any video that starts with a Corgi in the surf can’t be all bad.

 

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

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

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

This is what she has to say.

……..

Hailey Cushman’s Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

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

……..

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

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

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

As do we all.

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

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

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

This comes from our anonymous Orange County correspondent —

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

………

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

An Aussie website talks with veteran cycling announcer Phil Ligget.

………

Local

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

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

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

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

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

 

State

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

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

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

 

National

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

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

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

 

International

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally…

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

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

………

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

………

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

 

%d bloggers like this: