Tag Archive for Alex Romero

A cold-hearted killer driver — and her father — goes to jail, yet justice seems hollow

Today it became final.

A little over 10 months after 17-year old high school student Alex Romero was run down in a high speed hit-and-run — and long after many of us had given up on seeing justice in this case — Dominique Rush was sentenced to prison for leaving him to die in the street.

Fortunately, the police never gave up — despite the efforts of her father to hide evidence linking Dominique to the crime. He was also sentenced to jail Tuesday for having the car repaired, then sent to a junkyard to keep it hidden from police.

Frankly, I don’t know which disturbs me more.

A young woman snuffing out the life of a popular and promising young man, then fleeing like a cold-blooded coward. Or a father who goes out of his way to help his daughter avoid responsibility.

And don’t even try to pretend that any parent would do the same thing. My father would have marched me into the nearest police station for a lot less than that.

As reported here by cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels, Dominique and her father accepted a plea deal in January that will put her behind bars for two years and eight months for vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene, while father Steven Rush will serve just 10 days in jail as an accessory after the fact.

According to Wheels, Dominique was given credit for time served and good behavior, slicing over 300 days off her sentence. The L.A. Daily News notes her time will be served in county jail as part of the state’s prison realignment program.

In addition to 10 days in jail, Steven was sentenced to three years in jail and 30 days of community service. Hopefully, he’ll do his service somewhere he can see the results of drivers like his daughter, so the magnitude of his actions may actually sink in.

Wheels, who was in the courtroom Tuesday, reports that it was very painful and emotional to listen to the testimony from family members, who showed 20 minutes of family photos. He says Dominique wept openly during the slideshow, while her father showed little emotion.

KCBS-2 reports that Dominique offered a tearful apology.

“I’ll never be able to forgive myself,” said Rush. “And I’m sorry for all the pain that I caused his family.”

Bizarrely, KCBS also reports that, despite their actions, Stephen insisted that there was no attempt to coverup the crime.

Her father also apologized. “IT was never our intention to hide, or stay away from anything,” he said.

Nice to know they weren’t trying to hide anything in the four months police were searching for the driver and the car they had junked after having it repaired.

According to KCBS, Romero’s mother considers the sentences punishment fair for the crimes committed.

I don’t.

Less than three years seems like a very generous sentence for taking the life of another human being, then fleeing the scene and trying to destroy the evidence. But that just goes to show how lenient our traffic laws are, especially when it comes to hit-and-run.

And just 10 days for the attempted coverup is an inexplicable gift for which her father should be eternally grateful.

Alex received the death penalty for their actions.

And his family suffered a loss in their hearts and lives that can never be filled.

Thanks to the LAPD and all the officers involved in this investigation, as well as the prosecutors who helped get justice for the Romero family. The Rushes are behind bars tonight because the police refused to give up on this case.


A group of cyclists lead by leading L.A. bike advocate Roadblock met with the L.A. Police Commission Tuesday morning to request that hit-and-run collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians be taken more seriously by police.

And yes, I was one of them, along with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition staff member Bobby Gadda, to represent the LACBC. As well more than a dozen others who took time out of their day to fight for greater safety on our streets.

The Commissioners and Chief Beck were very receptive, and have asked for specific examples of cases where people feel the police weren’t responsive enough or didn’t take their case seriously.

If you were the victim of a hit-and-run and weren’t satisfied with the police response, let me know and I’ll forward your story to the right people in the department. You can find my email address on the About BikingInLA page.

Update: Bicycle Fixation’s Richard Risemberg forwards news of yet another violent hit-and-run, in which a 91-year old woman was critically injured in Lincoln Heights, and left lying  in the street by the heartless coward behind the wheel.

Evidently, the was operating two vehicles at once, as the Times reports police are looking for a white Toyota or beige Honda Accord with a cracked windshield and front bumper damage. The driver is described as a Latina between between 53 and 58 years old, weighing around 170 pounds.

This has got to stop.

Breaking news — Dominique and Stephen Rush accept a plea deal in hit-and-run death of Alex Romero

Big news on the legal front.

According to courtroom reports from cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels, Dominique Rush, the driver charged with the hit-and-run death of 17-year old cyclist Alex Romero, will spend the next few years behind bars.

Wheels, who was in the courtroom for today’s preliminary hearing, reports the 23-year old Rush entered a plea of No Contest to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run.

Her father, Steven Rush, also entered a plea of No Contest to being an accessory after the fact for his efforts in helping his daughter cover-up her crime.

Romero was riding north along De Soto Avenue with a friend on the night of April 20th when he was struck by a speeding car near the intersection with Valerio Street. The driver, later identified as Rush, reportedly tried to pass another vehicle on the right, striking Romero’s bike from behind and killing him instantly before speeding off without stopping or slowing down.

That began a months-long investigation in which the police soon identified Rush as the suspect, but were unable to find the 2003 Toyota Corolla she’d been driving at the time.

According to the police, that difficulty was due, at least in part, to her father’s efforts. As KNBC-4 reported at the time of the arrest,

“The father went way beyond taking care of his child,” said Capt. Ivan Minsal of LAPD Valley Traffic Division. “He concealed the information. He concealed the car that his daughter, the driver, was driving.”

Now they’ll both have to pay for their crimes.

Wheels reports that Dominique will be sentenced to two years and eight months in prison on March 6th, while her father will receive 10 days in jail, along with 30 days on a Caltrans road crew.

I hope he works on a roadway where he’ll have to watch a lot of cyclists go by.

And yes, that sentence is a relative slap on the wrist for running down another human being and leaving him to die in the street where he fell. Maybe someday someone can explain to me how anyone could do that to another person.

Anyone with a heart, anyway.

But it may be the best prosecutors could do under the circumstances.

The fact is, this is one case the police didn’t give up on. Maybe it was pressure from the cycling community. Or maybe it was dedication to their jobs, and a commitment to keep going until they had the guilty party behind bars.

The LAPD investigators in charge of this case kept at it long after they could have given up and pushed it off the back burner. And long after many of us had given up on this case.

That they didn’t says a lot about them.

And the gratitude we all owe them on Alex’ behalf.

Wheels reports that his aunt Matilda addressed the court, saying Alex was a precious gift from God, and asking Dominique to repent. He says Dominique cried during the aunt’s comments, while Steven was tearful but composed.

I’m sure they’ll shed more tears in the days and years to come.

But it won’t begin to compare with the tears that have already been shed by Romero’s family and friends.


A couple other notes from Dj Wheels.

He reports that Jeffrey Ray Adams, the road raging driver charged with intentionally cutting off a cyclist in Santa Monica — then ranting about it as the camera rolled — had a preliminary hearing last Friday. The court found there was enough evidence to take the case before a jury; he’ll have a felony arraignment in a couple of weeks.

And a restitution hearing was held Tuesday in the case of Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, the underage driver charged with nearly killing cyclist Adam Rybicki last April when she collided with a group of Sunday morning riders while still drunk from the night before.

She may have gotten off with a slap on the wrist at her sentencing. But the judge lowered the boom in assigning restitution, ordering Garcia to pay $16,162,239.24.

Yes, that’s 16 million, one-hundred-sixty-two-thousand, two-hundred-thirty-nine dollars. And twenty-four cents change.

On top of that, she was ordered to pay 10% annual interest until the amount is paid in full.

Although I suspect they might be willing to write off that last 24 cents.

Which means that unless she’s phenomenally successful, Garcia will likely be working for the Rybickis for the remainder of her life. And that is a heavy price to pay for a night of youthful stupidity.

Yet it doesn’t begin to make up for what Garcia has put Adam Rybicki and his family through.

Speaking of Adam, Jim Lyle sends word that he continues to make slow, steady progress in recovery from his injuries. And that he’s back on a bike — even if it is a stationary bike in rehab.

That’s a lot more than most of us would have expected — or even dared to hope — just nine months ago. He’s clearly one tough, determined guy, with a support circle that refuses to give up.

I hope you’ll join me in offering my best wishes and prayers for Adam and his family for a full recovery. 

Breaking news: Dominique Rush — and father — arrested in hit-and-run death of Alex Romero

Funny how things work sometimes.

For the past few months, I’ve known the identity of the woman accused of killing 17-year old cyclist Alex Romero last April, thanks to a comment that was left on here.

And the last couple of weeks, I’ve known that an arrest was imminent, and that a family member was likely to be arrested for helping her coverup the crime.

But when the news finally broke, I was couple hours from home in the middle of bike ride. Which means I got scooped by just about every news source in Los Angeles.

That’s okay, though. Because the good news is that the LAPD investigators never gave up, even when it looked like they might never get the evidence they needed to make an arrest, let alone get a conviction.

So when I got a call from LAPD Sgt. Krumer to let me know that 23-year old Dominique Rush had finally been arrested in Oxnard for the high speed hit-and-run collision that took Romero’s life, I was happy that Alex and his family would finally see justice for his needless death.

And a little heartbroken when he added that the family member accused of helping to cover up the crime was her own father, 44-year old Steven Rush.

After all, what kind of man learns that his child has just taken the life of another human being, then — allegedly — goes out of his way to help her hide the evidence and avoid responsibility for her actions?

According to KNBC-4,

“The father went way beyond taking care of his child,” said Capt. Ivan Minsal of LAPD Valley Traffic Division. “He concealed the information. He concealed the car that his daughter, the driver, was driving.”

Maybe my own father was the exception.

But I’d like to think that most fathers would have marched their child into the police station to take responsibility for the crime. Maybe after calling a lawyer first.

I know mine would have, as much as it would have broken his heart.

Dominique was booked on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run, with a $100,000 bond; Steven was held on a $20,000 bond. No word on whether they are still in custody.

Honestly, I don’t know which act I find more appalling. The crime, or the coverup.

I’m only glad that both may now be held accountable.

And I thank the LAPD for making sure they didn’t get away with it.

Charges in Carlsbad and Fountain Valley cycling deaths; bold plans for WeHo, new bike plan in SaMo

Lots of things are happening on the SoCal legal front.

To start with, Julianne Thompson of Carlsbad has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of 64-year old cyclist Arthur Jacobs; she was found hiding in some nearby bushes shortly afterwards with a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit. Thompson faces up to 15 years on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and drunk driving.

According to the stories, she’s remorseful. Yet the victim is still dead.

So how does that balance out?


Sources tell me that Adam Carl Garrett, the 19-year old driver accused of killing cyclist Hung Do in a Fountain Valley hit-and-run then calling police pretending to be a witness, has been charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run without gross negligence and hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury.

As one reader put it,

I don’t understand the “without gross negligence” part, but I’d have to say that, yes, death is “permanent and serious.”

As members of the LAPD have repeatedly pointed out, charges are based on what the DA or City Attorney’s offices think they can prove, rather than what police believe really happened. Without witnesses, and with the additional time for any possible intoxicants to pass out of the driver’s system allowed by the hit-and-run, it would be very difficult to make stronger charges stick.


I’m also informed that the family of Amine Britel, the Newport Beach triathlete killed while riding in a bike lane last February, has filed a lawsuit against the driver. Danae Miller was reportedly texting and driving under the influence when she hit Britel’s bike from behind; with her driving record, I’d recommend settling quickly.


Word from the LAPD indicates that charges will soon be filed — if they haven’t already — in the hit-and-run death of Alex Romero, the 17-year old cyclist killed by a speeding car while riding with a friend on De Soto Ave. last April. And charges may not be limited to the driver; they could include others who allegedly attempted to help her cover up the crime.


Renew your membership or make a donation to the LACBC now and AdventureCorp will match it up to a total of $10,000 in honor of fallen endurance cyclist Jim Swarzman.


Get a first look at the newly unveiled draft of the Santa Monica Bike Action Plan when the Santa Monica Spoke hosts a meeting with Santa Monica Deputy Director Lucy Dyke tonight from 6 pm to 8:30 in the Colorado Community Room, 502 Colorado Blvd.

Meanwhile, West Hollywood’s Bicycle Task Force proposes a bold plan to make the city more bike friendly, including removing parking spaces to extend bike lanes along busy Santa Monica Blvd and a road diet on Fountain Ave. to create a protected bike lane along the curb. Not to mention aligning other proposed bike lanes on Fairfax and Vista/Gardner with bike lanes included in the new L.A. bike plan.

We can only hope bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills is paying attention, and plans to do something about that gaping black hole marring biking on the Westside. And needlessly risking the lives and safety of everyone who lives and rides there.


The L.A. County Sheriffs Department is looking for a stabbing suspect who killed a man along the L.A. River Bike Path in South Gate; if you rode the trail the last Friday in June, maybe you saw something.

And according to KNBC-4, L.A. police are looking for a hit-and-run suspect who struck three pedestrians and a parked car in a space of two blocks in Downtown L.A. Sunday morning. But maybe someone else can point out the logical disconnect in this sentence, since KNBC clearly doesn’t get it:

An investigation is underway as to whether or not these accidents were intentional, police said.


It’s time to rethink North Figueroa. Streetsblog looks at the less-than-promising Woodley Ave. bike lanes. LADOT wants your help to survey L.A. bike racks. Metro moves forward on bike share. Full bike parking at the Grove. Those of us born with an competitive gene have to be reminded from time to time not to underestimate anyone; I have to fight the urge to ride down anyone on the road ahead of me. Funny how often the Times photo of the day features bikes. Will gives new meaning to L.A. River Ride by actually riding in the river to connect the gaps in the trail. The South Bay section of the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Path is about to get a much needed facelift; hopefully the county will get to the cracked and crumbling Marina section before it completely falls apart. Ashley Tisdale rides with her dog in Toluca Lake. An update from Amarillo on the L.A. firefighters riding across the country to honor victims of 9/11.

More information on Cody Wessel, the 19-year old Wildomar cyclist who was killed in nearby Lake Elsinore on Friday. Bike thefts are up in Newport Beach, where police search for Ashton Kutcher and Colonel Sanders. A blind cyclist rides a tandem 240 miles from Santa Barbara to San Diego. A Santa Barbara writer says we could solve a lot of problems with those three little words: share the road. An SB teen is riding across county to raise money and awareness for a program allowing the homeless to live safely in their cars. The Bay Area is facing a pedicab war; yes, Microsoft Word, pedicab is a word so get over it. I missed the unique importance of these new microwave red light sensors in Pleasanton the first time around; thanks to Road.cc for the clarification. Palo Alto attempts to calm traffic and build boulevards. A bike path that doesn’t connect to anything may be a waste of money, but some idiots still don’t get it — it’s the cyclists who are subsidizing the roadways, not the other way around. African American cyclists get blessed in Oakland in an attempt to get more on the road.

New Tron-style wheel rim lights could keep you safer at night. How to not be invisible when you ride. Cycling is good for you, even if you’ve been a couch potato. A graphic illustration of why bikes are good for rural economies. This is why you don’t buy cheap carbon frames off eBay. How is it that Sitka AK is bike-friendly and L.A. isn’t? Misdemeanor charges for killing a Colorado cyclist. It wasn’t easy coming up with that crappy name for the upcoming USA Pro Tour Cycling Challenge; after a top 10 finish in the TdF, Colorado’s Tom Danielson could be one of the favorites. A thief who stole seven bikes from Idaho’s World Relief returns three with an apology. Newly minted Montanan Dancer a la Mode sends word of a DUI fatality that’s gripping the local community. Oklahoma authorities have arrested a suspect in the 2009 hit-and-run death of an 8-year old girl; there’s not a pit in hell deep enough. A Chicago cyclist is killed on her way home from Lollapalooza after falling underneath a dump truck. Massachusetts authorities can now ticket cyclists, but can’t force them to pay.

Turns out bike share saves lives; I wonder if the results would be the same here in L.A. with our lack of cycling infrastructure. How to be an ambassador for cycling. Southern California isn’t the only place where cycling fatalities are on the way up. Pro cycling’s most successful team is folding at the end of this season, while star rider Mark Cavendish may jump to Team Sky; thanks to George Wolfberg for the head’s up. Cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney will compete in this year’s Vuelta a Espana, after winning his first stage since turning pro. Israel revokes their mandatory helmet law for adults. Three years in prison for a rickshaw jockey who chewed off a cyclist’s ear in a road rage incident.

Finally, the unofficial highlights of the Tour de France. And a cyclist rescues a crawfish from the mean streets of Salinas.

If you missed Sunday's Brentwood Grand Prix, you missed some great racing. Don't make the same mistake next year.

Valencia sentenced, BOLO for killer car, arrest in Angeles Crest road rage and 3 feet 2 pass passes

Lots of news to catch up on while I take a break from work.


First up, Marco Antonio Valencia has finally been sentenced in the drunken and high hit-and-run death of Joseph Novotny over two years ago. Valencia had an estimated BAC of .23— nearly three times the legal limit — as well as methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of the 11 am collision.

The now 22-year old driver will spend the next 26 years to life in state prison.

Unlike some other notable cases, there’s no satisfaction or sense of victory in this case. At least, not for me.

Just an overwhelming sense of sadness that two lives ended that day — Novotny and the man who killed him — because we as a society couldn’t manage to keep a repeat, underage drunk driver off the roads.

And fear of how many more Valencia’s there are out there just waiting to happen.


Next up, there’s BOLO alert in the hit-and-run death of Alex Romero on the Valley’s Canoga Park Blvd last April.

Authorities have identified the car used to flee the scene after killing Romero in a high-speed collision, and traced it first to Palmdale, then San Pedro before losing track of it. As a result, you’re urged to be on the lookout for the following vehicle —






Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Valley Traffic Detective Krajchir, at (818) 644-8034. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting the word “TIPLA” and the message to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. Tipsters may also go to www.lacrimestoppers.org, click on “Submit a Tip” and follow the prompts.


An arrest has been made in the case discussed here recently in which a driver was accused of threatening cyclists on Angeles Crest Highway.

According to the Arcadia Patch, Earl Clyde Cox of La Crescenta threatened two separate groups of cyclists along the highway in a road rage incident.

Frighteningly, he reportedly told deputies that the riders weren’t being considerate, so he appointed himself as a driveway vigilante fashion and set out to teach them some manners.

I have a feeling he’s going to learn some the hard way himself.


There’s good news from Sacramento for a change, as the proposed three-foot passing law passed the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee.

According to the California Bicycle Coalition, the measure passed on an 8 to 5 vote after an hour of impassioned testimony, including support from Bakersfield Senator Michael Rubio, who spoke as a private citizen and cyclist.

Not surprisingly, the AAA — both NorCal and SoCal editions — came out strongly against the bill, suggesting that it be made optional for drivers. So basically, they think their members should have the right to buzz you if the mood strikes.

Meanwhile, a lobbyist for the Teamsters insisted on their members’ right to continue killing cyclists by passing too closely.

Now the bill moves on to the full Assembly, which means it’s time to flood your own representative with letters of support for SB 910.

Let’s end with this quote from CBC Executive Director Dave Snyder —

“…Yesterday’s hearing offered a sobering reminder of how far California still has to go to ensure that everyone who uses the roads can do so safely. It’s disturbing to see AAA and the Teamsters try to defeat a measure that would give drivers – those with the greatest potential to harm others on the road – clear guidance on how to share the road more safely. Drivers who ride bicycles or know someone who does should be deeply concerned about how they’re being represented before lawmakers in Sacramento.”

On second thought, let’s end on this from Cyclelicious, as he urges you to support another bill, SB 582, that could begin to level the playing field for those who prefer to commute via something other than four wheels.

Like a bicycle, for instance.


There’s been a non-development in Dr. Christopher Thompson’s appeal of his conviction in the Mandeville Canyon Brake Check, in which the Good Doctor tested his stopping power by slamming on the brakes in front of two riders, seriously injuring both.

According to cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels, the oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday have been cancelled after Thompson’s attorney declined to argue his case.

Evidently, that’s not unusual. And since the appellant chose not to appear, the attorney for the People of California chose not to appear, as well. After all, there’s no point in responding when there’s no one to respond to.

So what’s next?

Brace yourself. According to Wheels,

In the normal course, the case will be “submitted” tomorrow (Wednesday), without oral argument, and the court will have 90 days from that date to file its opinion.  If the conviction is affirmed, appellant will have the opportunity to seek rehearing, if he can identify a very specific error in facts in the Court of Appeal.  He can also, and universally will, file a petition for review in the California Supreme Court, identifying specific issues under specific conditions that would justify a  grant of review in the Cal. Supreme court.  He may also collaterally attack the conviction in the California courts by means of a writ of habeas corpus.  For those federal claims that have been exhausted in state court, he may then file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the federal district court, which could lead to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court.

In other words, we’ve got a long damn row to hoe before the case involving this particular repellant appellant is finally settled.


Jury selection is scheduled for Wednesday in the case of Gordon Catlett Wray, the driver accused of killing local scientist and cyclist Doug Caldwell and injuring fellow rider Scott Evans; opening arguments will follow either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, depending on what time jury selection concludes. The trial will take place at the San Fernando Courthouse, 900 Third Street in the city of San Fernando, case #0SR05313. Cyclists are urged to attend to show their support for the victims.

Update: I’ve just been informed that the charge against Wray is misdemeanor vehicular homicide; as always, that could be reduced if there’s a settlement.

Thanks to John Stesney for the reminder.


Outrage from cyclists has had an effect in Mississippi, as a local DA has agreed to reopen the investigation into the hit-and-run driver who ran over a cyclist, got out of her car to look at her, then got back in and ran over her again. The victim was victimized yet again when authorities concluded that her actions weren’t prohibited under Mississippi and there was nothing they could charge her with.

Hopefully, a more thorough scouring of state laws will turn up something this time.

Personally, I vote for attempted murder. Or at the very least, a couple counts of assault with a deadly weapon.


Finally, thanks to George Wolfberg, and Tim Rutt of Altadenablog, for forwarding the New York Times report on noseless saddles designed to help put a little less pressure on the groins of male riders, and help them get a little more wood out of the saddle.

Not that you have a problem with that, of course.

71-year old Canoga Park man killed by hit-and-run driver

In yet another fatal hit-and-run, a 71-year old Canoga Park man died of injuries he received while riding in a crosswalk around 12:15 pm Saturday.

According to the Daily News, Eduardo Perez was hit by a small black 4-door SUV in a right hook collision while riding his bike at the intersection of Sherman Way and Canoga Avenue. The vehicle was traveling east on Sherman Way when it hit Perez while turning onto Canoga; the driver fled without stopping.

Perez died Monday in a local hospital.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Danny Martinez at 818-644-8032 or Detective I. Krajchir at 818-644-8034; or cal Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

This is the 7th fatal hit-and-run in Southern California this year, and the 10th bike-related death in L.A. County since the first of the year.

In related news, police have identified a suspect in last month’s hit-and-run death of 17-year old Alex Romero, killed on De Soto Avenue when he was run down by a speeding driver attempting to pass a large vehicle on the right.

The LAPD is being tight-lipped about the details while they attempt to make an arrest.

Hollywood blocked bikeways may be common, but not legal; moving story on fallen cyclist Alex Romero

It something we’ve all gotten used to living here in the greater metaphorical Hollywood.

And something we shouldn’t have to.

If you’ve ridden much around this city, chances are, you’ve found your way blocked by a movie crew, TV set or a commercial photo shoot at some point, forcing you to wait until the scene or shoot is over.

Or maybe you’ve run into my pet peeve — movie crews parked along the side of the road, with orange safety cones placed in the middle of the bike lane to protect their precious trucks from passing cyclists, forcing you out into traffic with little or no warning.

And often as not, with no legal basis.

Take the photo shoot Todd Munson encountered on his way home last week on the Ballona Creek Bike Path.

They were set up near the eastern end. When I rolled up they had a scrim set up that was a good 10 feet high and as wide as the path. Because of it, I had to come to a full stop and announce my presence before they even noticed I was there. Based on how “fashionable” they all were I’m guessing they came from the nearby Smashbox Studio.

When I realized how much I was “hassling” them by having to move their equipment to make some room, I asked if they had a permit for the shoot. Everyone just sort looked at each other and mumbled incomplete sentences. The guy who was apparently in charge was the one covering his face in the first photo. The amazing thing to me was that nobody including him was at all apologetic. The best they could do was “Hey man, we didn’t think anyone would be here.” And a couple of them even tried getting tough.

The other funny part was that girl in the red shirt in photo number 3 asked that I not take anyone’s picture.

Good times.

Problem is, unless they did have a permit, what they were doing was completely illegal. Section 21211 of the California Vehicle Code reads:

21211.   (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.

But it doesn’t stop there. It goes on to prohibit parking or placing anything on the bike path that would block it, as well.

(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.

Of course, there are additional subsections specifying a handful exceptions, none of which apply in the situation Munson encountered. Or to the overwhelming majority of cases you might encounter that would delay your ride more than a few moments.

Then there’s the matter of blocked bike lanes.

As we’ve discussed before, bike lanes are considered traffic lanes by the LAPD, just like the larger lanes to their left. And just as it’s illegal to block any other traffic lane, it’s against the law to block a bike lane — whether with trash cans, orange cones or double parked vehicles.

The question is whether L.A.’s favorite industry enjoys a special exemption when it comes to their trucks.

The afore mentioned Mr. Munson, who seems to be having a rash of bad luck with this sort of thing lately, reached out to myself and Tony Arranaga, who works in the office of 11th District Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, after a recent encounter with bike lanes blocked by a movie crew on San Vicente Blvd in the Brentwood area.

Tony was kind enough to connect us with Geoffrey Smith, Director of Community Relations with FilmLA Inc, the agency responsible for overseeing the massive amount of filming that takes place in this city on a daily basis.

Once again, I’ll let Todd explain the situation:

The specific incident I encountered occurred in Brentwood along San Vicente last Thursday morning (3/24). A film production had vehicles parked on both sides of San Vicente near the golf course and had laid out large cones along the respective bike lanes.

The cones were placed on the outer edge of the bike line cutting down its width to the point that it was no longer safe to use. Any cyclist who chose to stay in the bike lane was faced with a lose-lose situation as they were forced to ride dangerously close to parked vehicles. Should a door swing open or a crew member walk out from between the vehicles, the tightly spaced cones to the immediate left eliminated any chance for a safe escape.

The only option for a cyclist wishing to avoid this mess would be to exit the bike lane and ride in traffic. This option was equally undesirable and dangerous as motorists tend to treat San Vicente as a mini freeway- especially during the morning rush hour.

Attached is quick diagram I made with the help of Google Street View illustrating the dangerousness of the situation.

To reiterate what Ted stated, those cones served no functional purpose other than creating a life-threatening situation for cyclists. Should the status quo be allowed to remain, it’s not a matter of if but when a deadly accident will occur.

That drew the following response from Smith, who answered promptly the next morning:

1)      No, the company should not have put cones in the bike path. It seems that the Transportation Captain was perhaps a little overzealous in trying to let everyone know that there was a trailer parked on the street. Why he felt that the general public would fail to see a trailer 8’ wide by 7’ high will undoubtedly remain a mystery.

2)      Yes, a company can close a bike path BUT, it requires submitting a traffic plan to DOT, showing what alternate route(s) are being created, via cones, barricades, signage, so that bicyclists are not forced into traffic. DOT has to approve of the closure before it will be allowed.

3)      As an FYI, FilmL.A. is 24/7. If you should run into this situation again, PLEASE call us 213/977.8600 ASAP. Let us check and see a) if there is a permit and b) if they have a closure of the bike path.

4)      I am also annoyed if they were parking on both side of San Vicente. Parking on the north side is not allowed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m putting that phone number in my speed dial.


Dj Wheels, who has been very busy keeping up with local bike-related criminal cases lately, shares the news that 19-year olds Patrick Roraff and Brett Morin will face trial for the death of rising pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado in Highland one year ago.

Roraff and Morin were allegedly street racing at around 70 mph when Roraff lost control and hit Alvarado, who died on the side of the road, far from his family and friends in Mexico.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the two will be arraigned on May 12th on a single count each of vehicular manslaughter.


Chances are, you’ve never heard of the San Fernando Valley Sun. But maybe you should.

Once again, they’ve written movingly about the death of yet another teenage Valley cyclist murdered by a hit-and-run driver.

Just six months ago, it was Danny Marin*; this time, it’s Alex Romero, run down by a speeding driver on De Soto Avenue in Canoga Park last week.

Consider the heart-rending pathos in the first paragraph alone:

Tomorrow, April 29, Maria De La Paz “Pacita” Romero will have to find the strength to bury her teenaged son. “Empty. I feel empty,” Maria said as she attempts to describe the loss of her son, German Alex Romero, a 17-year-old promising soccer player whose life was tragically cut short last week when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Canoga Park.

Remarkably, Romero’s family doesn’t bear any animosity towards the still unidentified driver; his mother saying “God bless him” of the man who killed her son.

The family would also like Romero’s death to serve a positive purpose. Their desire is for new bicycle markings to be placed on the street where he was killed, as well as additional lighting, a traffic light and cameras.

“We would like Alex’s sacrifice to be worth something,” Fuentes said. “He came to this earth for 17 years to give light to everybody, motorists and bicyclists, so that we may be more careful to make ourselves aware of everybody who’s on the road.”

Seriously, stop whatever you’re doing, and take just a few minutes to read a very well-written story about the massive hole a heartless driver has left in what appears to be a remarkable, and remarkably forgiving, family.

But don’t be surprised if you find a few tears in your eyes before you’re done.

*Unfortunately, the original Sun story is no longer available online.


Finally, the LACBC reports that the peak hour restrictions limiting bikes on Metro trains have been lifted, effective immediately. While the bike ban has been widely ignored in recent months, the action of the Metro Board means you can now take your bike on any Metro train, any time, to any destination.

As train cars come in for servicing, they will have seats removed to create additional standing and storage room to provide more space for bikes, as well as other large objects such as strollers and shopping bags.

More on fallen cyclist Alex Romero, a good guy wins & thanks for supporting Safe Routes to Schools

KABC-7 offers more information on the hit-and-run death of Alex Romero.

Evidently, the driver who hit him had tried to pass a van on the right side when it collided with Romero’s bike at a high rate of speed. Local residents say De Soto is a de facto racetrack from Sherman Way to Saticoy Street, referring to it as a deathtrap. Evidently, they’re right, as witnesses reported the killer car was travelling at highway speeds — reports online vary from 66 to 100 mph.

In a report that oddly wasn’t posted online, KNBC-4 reports that the driver may have been being followed or chased by another car.

Police are looking for a gray or silver — the latest report called it a metallic gray — Toyota Corolla or Camry with moderate to significant damage to the front passenger side. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Krajchir at (818) 644-8034 or email 26481@lapd.lacity.org. Or call LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7; anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

The Claremont Cyclist said it very well

How long will we continue to allow the irresponsible, anti-social driving practices of certain individuals, who care not for the lives of any other road users, to be given free reign, to leave trails of death and destruction and shattered lives, across our roads and highways?

Rest in Peace Mr. Romero, and my condolences to family and friends.


Congratulations to LADOT’s Chris Kidd, named Student of the Year by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Planning Association. The award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person. Just more proof that this is one employee the city can’t afford to lose when his internship with LADOT is up next month.

Just a hint.


As of 10 am Friday, the Safe Routes to School 2012 Southern California Regional Platform had been endorsed by 77 people — two more and three weeks earlier than the original goal of 75 set for May 15th.

I recognize a lot of the names on that list as regular readers of this site, so please accept my personal thanks to everyone who signed after reading about it here. And to anyone who hasn’t signed up yet, there’s still time.


File under the heading of they just don’t get it. After a Brooklyn board votes against bike lanes on the Bay Ridge Parkway, a writer for the Brooklyn Eagle insists that those opposed to the proposal aren’t primitive antediluvians who reject anything not propelled by an internal combustion engine.

Biking here is great, especially along the Shore Road Narrows Promenade. Spectacular! I have two bikes, but find it impossible to ride safely along local avenues because they were not constructed to accommodate designated bike lanes in the first place!

Is it just me, or do the problems inherent in that statement just sort of leap out at you?


Joel Epstein says tear down the fence blocking access to a park at Santa Monica and Bundy, and add a Metro TAP card kiosk and bike parking. Josef Bray-Ali says they start cyclists early at USC; now if school would just show the same support to more adult riders. Take a CicLAvia survey and you could win a $200 gift certificate from Flying Pigeon Bike Shop — which is enough to get you a Flying Pigeon of your very own. Metro’s rush hour bike ban is one step closer to repeal, and L.A. City Planning wins an award for the newly approved L.A. bike plan. Four L.A. firefighters will ride across the country on a 45-day journey to honor those who lost their lives on 9-11. Streetsblog is auctioning a signed Give Me 3 poster online. Jack Black goes bike shopping at I. Martin. Glendale’s city council officially adopts the city’s new Safe and Healthy Streets Plan on a unanimous vote.

Joe Linton give a positive review to Long Beach’s new separated bike lanes, officially opening on Saturday; if you want to understand the meaning of bikelash, read the driver comments on the Linton story. The Long Beach City Council moves to honor Mark Bixby by naming the bike paths he worked so hard to get on the new replacement for the Desmond Gerald Bridge after him. Police escort a cyclist off the 405 Freeway in Orange County after he’d ridden four miles on the highway; a CHP officer struggles with another highway rider in Chico. Cruise the Conejo Valley on April 30th. New York and Long Beach aren’t the only cities with bike lane controversies, as Visalia votes to keep bike lanes on a pair of streets, despite complaints. The Big Sur stage of the Amgen Tour of California is threatened by slides undermining Highway 1 along the coast. A decision has been postponed on a proposed 5 – 10 mph speed limit on the Golden Gate Bridge. Here’s your chance to Race Behind Bars at Folsom Prison if you’re sure they’ll let you back out.

Just in time for Earth Day, Trek plans to start recycling carbon fiber. Mia Birk writes that stop signs don’t work for bikes. A nice thought, every month is bike month. A new business in my home town plans to combine a bar, coffee shop and bike shop; totally works for me. What if the car had been invented before the bicycle? A Yuma paper offers an example of press bias, as a cyclist riding on a separated bike path gets right hooked, then blamed. A Memphis mother says connected bike lanes are the right kind of change. NTDOT offers a simple five-point pledge for better bike behavior; NY Streetsblog says combined with the upcoming “Don’t Be A Jerk” campaign, it sends the wrong message. The value of a human life is just $250 in Florida, as long as that human rides a bike.

A new poll says one in ten would give up bicycling if helmet use is made mandatory. A UK women’s race is disrupted by a hit-and-run driver and a tack-strewing saboteur. The head of the UK’s AA — equivalent to our AAA, not Alcoholics Anonymous — defends the organizations recent helmet and hi-vis vest giveaway following a Twitterstorm of protest from cyclists. Town Mouse takes a lovely scary ride home under a placebo moon, without encountering any creatures of the night. A cyclist complains about biking’s cult of fear. An interview with the Brazilian driver who plowed through the Critical Mass ride that injured at least 17 people; not surprisingly, he says it really wasn’t his fault.

Finally, Copenhagen’s Sperm Bike makes special deliveries to fertility clinics. And the cutest sharrow T-shirt model you’ll ever see.

A busy weekend means I’m not sure if I’ll be able to update the events this week, so just in case, please accept my wishes for a happy Passover, a joyous Easter or just a lovely spring weekend, whichever is appropriate.

Dear God, not again — 17 year old cyclist murdered by hit-and-run driver

Just a week after Encino cyclist Jim Swarzman was laid to rest, another cyclist has been killed by a hit-and-run driver, this time on the streets of Canoga Park.

In a case that brings to mind year’s tragic death of teenage rider Danny Marin, a 17-year high school senior identified as Alex Romero was struck and killed near the intersection of De Soto Ave and Valerio Street around 9 pm last night.

According to multiple reports, the Chatsworth High student was riding north with another 17-year old rider when Romero was struck from behind by a gray Toyota Corolla traveling at a high rate of speed, killing him instantly. The driver of the hatchback then fled the scene without stopping.

The two cyclists were reportedly riding side-by-side in the far right lane of De Soto when the collision occurred; reading between the lines, Romero evidently had the inside position while the other rider, who was uninjured, was positioned closer to the curb. KABC-7 reports that there were multiple witnesses to the wreck.

L.A. Weekly indicates that he was a star soccer player at El Camino High School, suggesting that he may have recently transferred since he’s identified as student at Chatsworth.

Police are looking for a gray — or possibly silver — Corolla with moderate to severe damage to the right front end. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Krajchir at (818) 644-8034 or email 26481@lapd.lacity.org. Anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Dear God, not again — 17 year old cyclist murdered by hit-and-run driver

Just a week after Encino cyclist Jim Swarzman was laid to rest, another cyclist has been killed by a hit-and-run driver, this time on the streets of Canoga Park.

In a case that brings to mind year’s tragic death of teenage rider Danny Marin, a 17-year high school senior identified as Alex Romero was struck and killed near the intersection of De Soto Ave and Valerio Street around 9 pm last night.

According to multiple reports, the Chatsworth High student was riding north with another 17-year old rider when Romero was struck from behind by a gray Toyota Corolla traveling at a high rate of speed, killing him instantly. The driver of the hatchback then fled the scene without stopping.

The two cyclists were reportedly riding side-by-side in the far right lane of De Soto when the collision occurred; reading between the lines, Romero evidently had the inside position while the other rider, who was uninjured, was positioned closer to the curb. KABC-7 reports that there were multiple witnesses to the wreck.

L.A. Weekly indicates that he was a star soccer player at El Camino High School, suggesting that he may have recently transferred since he’s identified as student at Chatsworth.

Police are looking for a gray — or possibly silver — Corolla with moderate to severe damage to the right front end. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Krajchir at (818) 644-8034 or email 26481@lapd.lacity.org. Anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

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