Tag Archive for Andrew Williams

Morning Links: Killer road rage driver cops plea for up to 12 years, and the war on bikes goes on. And on…

Maybe they’ll get it right this time.

In a case that horrified LA’s cycling community, a Los Angeles man could spend the next 12 years behind bars for the 2015 road rage murder of a man on a bike following an argument near USC.

According to KTLA-5, 33-year old Andrew Williams pled no contest on Friday to felony voluntary manslaughter and felony hit-and-run driving resulting in death for intentionally running down 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas.

The District Attorney’s office finally explained what happened in a case where very few details were released at the time.

On Oct. 15, 2015, Williams was driving his SUV in the 3900 block of South Vermont Avenue when he came across Ruben Wharton Vanegas, 35, who was on a bicycle, the prosecutor said.

The two men got into an argument over the cyclist being on the road and after exchanging words, Vanegas hit the defendant’s side view mirror and rode in front of the vehicle, according to court testimony. Williams then ran over the victim and dragged him for about 50 feet, the prosecutor added. Vanegas died at the scene.

Sentencing will take place on the 20th of this month.

Too many killer drivers get off with little or no significant jail time in LA County. Let’s hope that changes in a case where the driver clearly murdered his victim.


The war cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

A Northern Irish bike rider was lucky to walk away after someone sabotaged a Belfast bikeshare bike by loosening the lug holding the front wheel in place.

A nine-year old Aussie boy was nearly decapitated when someone strung a rope across a pathway at neck level.

Horrifying story from Australia, where a driver deliberately mowed down a man on his bike, and shouted at him to get out of the road before driving away and critically injuring a pedestrian in a second crash. He later told police saying he only intended to knock the man off his bike, not hurt him, while claiming the pedestrian he hit was the devil.


Thanks to Tim Rutt for forwarding this really cool collection of antique bicycle headbadges.


The seven-stage Critérium du Dauphiné opened Sunday, serving largely as a tune-up for next month’s Tour de France; Napa’s Andrew Talansky will lead the Cannondale-Drapac team, while Alberto Contador has a new bike for the race.

The Vail CO paper talks with cyclocross legend Katie Compton, in town to give mountain biking a try.



LA’s Vision Zero is focusing on high rate of crashes in South LA. Nice to see city officials have finally ventured into the undiscovered country south of the 10 Freeway.

Los Angeles has opened the latest segment of the LA River Greenway Trail in Studio City, forming a four-mile trail along the river.

KPCC previews yesterday’s River Ride benefitting the LACBC; the Daily News says over 2,000 riders participated.

Bicycling profiles Silver Lake new and used bicycle emporium Coco’s Variety, which started as a variety shop before bicycles sales and studio rentals took over.

A writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says teach students about bike regulations before they get a ticket, not after.

LA Bike Dad rides with the kids to a free art class at the Barnsdall Art Park — and his four-year old rides the two mile distance on his own bike.

Pasadena could see another 400 bikes on the streets when Metro Bike comes to town on Bastille Day.

A 13-year old South Carolina boy set off from Santa Monica Saturday on a 3,000 mile bike trip across the US; before he even set off, he’d raised $300,000 in donations for clean water and hopes to raise half a million by the time he gets back home. At his age, I was happy just to ride to band practice.



Orange County will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation tomorrow. You know the drill; ride to the letter of the law so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Coronado adds bicycle maintenance stations along the city’s Bayshore Bikeway.

Caught on video: A security camera captures a man burglarizing an El Cajon bike shop after shooting out a window.

Bixby, the dog who’s spent the last several years riding across country to promote pet adoption, will be staying in San Luis Obispo for the next few weeks after having emergency surgery.

A trans woman in San Francisco used a settlement she received after getting hit by a car while riding her bike to go from homeless to starting two successful businesses, including a bike shop.

Around 2,200 AIDS/LifeCycle riders left San Francisco yesterday for a 545-mile along the coast to Los Angeles; the riders have already raised $15.1 million for the fight against HIV.



A Las Vegas bike shop owner is riding across the state to campaign for the Republican nomination for governor of Nevada. More proof that traveling on two wheels does not automatically make you a liberal.

As bike sales slump, Boulder CO bike shop employees are being trained not to be jerks.

A Wisconsin man shares what he’s learned after vowing to run or bike through all 72 of the state’s counties.

Chicago Streetsblog sets out on a Black Power Ride through the city’s South Side.

The Akron, Ohio paper remembers a hospital administrator who endured stares riding his bike to work in the 1950s and 60s.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 84-year old upstate New York man still rides 30 or more miles three times a week.

A curmudgeonly New York columnist follows-up on his video rant insisting bike riders suck by taking offense that anyone would take offense at what he now says was a tongue-in-cheek comment. Because really, who doesn’t bust up laughing when someone says you suck?

Caught on video: A group of North Carolina cyclists can thank a bad driver for making the right choice, pulling onto the grass next to the left shoulder after getting caught in a bad pass, rather than pulling back into the soft and squishy people on bikes as so many other drivers have done. A local TV station asks why so many drivers lose their minds around cyclists. Good question.

The Charlotte Observer talks with NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt Jr about his newfound love of bicycling. Even if he does refuse to wear spandex on the track.



Mexico City is the latest major city to have a bike mayor.

A Canadian man ties a pool noodle to the back of his bike to show the legal one-meter safe passing distance — the equivalent of a three-foot passing law — and gets hit anyway.

Toronto finally installs barriers separating a bikeway from a major roadway after a five-year old boy was killed after falling in front of traffic. Yes, this is the way Vision Zero is supposed to work, but why do authorities always seem to wait until it’s too late to fix problems they already know about?

English police told a former cycling champ to go away when he tried to report a dangerous near-miss by a driver.

The Telegraph says middle aged men are trading in their roadie Lycra for mountain bike baggies.

A bike-born British acting troupe has traveled over 6,000 miles performing Shakespeare across the UK.

A Philadelphia writer goes walking amid the bikes of Copenhagen.

A new report finds drivers are at fault in most crashes with bike riders in Adelaide, Australia.



If you build it, they won’t come if the bike lane is only 27 inches wide. If you’re going to ride home drunk, put a damn light on your bike and try to hold your line.

And you no longer have to struggle to carry your bicycles on your private helicopter.


Morning Links: 77-year old victim of bike hit-and-run dies, arrest made in Expo Park road rage murder case

Sadly, the 77-year old Echo Park man injured in a collision with a bicyclist has died.

The Eastsider reports Levon Avetisyan was crossing Glendale Blvd on his way to Echo Park Lake on October 15th, when he was hit by a rider described only as a white man in his 40s. He was hospitalized in grave condition with severe head trauma, and passed away on Sunday.

While police have described this case as a hit-and-run, the rider initially did the right thing by remaining at the scene until paramedics arrived. However, he left before police arrived, without leaving his name or contact information.

It’s possible the rider may not have realized he needed to stay, just like he would in any other injury collision.

If you know this person, tell him to contact a lawyer, then come forward by calling LAPD Central Traffic Division detectives at 213-833-3713.


In case you missed it earlier, an arrest has finally been made in the alleged road rage death of a bike rider next to Expo Park last month.

Or more precisely, the arrest of the suspect has finally been announced.

Thirty-five year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas was killed after he reportedly got into an argument with the driver of an SUV on October 15th. A witness reported that the driver pushed him off his bike, then threatened to run over him, before doing exactly that.

Word broke today that police had actually arrested 32-year old Andrew Williams just four days after the fatal argument; he was held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of murder and felony hit-and-run yesterday, but the hearing was put off until November 20th. He faces 25 years to life if convicted on all charges.

Why there was no public announcement of the arrest until now is unclear.


The breaking news overshadowed Wednesday’s guest post from LA BAC member Jonathan Weiss discussing when it’s legal to ride two or more abreast, and why.

It’s a must read for anyone who rides with friends or in a group. Not to mention law enforcement officers at every level, since the law is often misinterpreted and cyclists too often ticketed for something that is legal under California law.


The College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona is hosting a reception to honor famed alternative transportation advocate Gil Penalosa in DTLA on Tuesday the 17th.

This free after-hours reception/mixer is a great opportunity to meet Guillermo “Gil” Penalosa, the founder and chairman of 8-80 Cities, previously served as the commissioner of parks, sport and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, leading a team that designed and built more than 200 parks and opened 50-plus miles of car-free city roads for biking, walking, running and skating. His team is responsible for initiating the “new Ciclovia” — a program internationally recognized and emulated — which sees 1 million people walk, run, skate and bicycle along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday.

The event will be held at Diego Cardoso Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.  More details and tickets are available here.



LADOT is taking applications for more People Street projects, ranging from parklets to bike corrals.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman says there needs to be a larger discussion of the issues affecting mobility in lower-income communities than just how they fit into a bike-specific box.

CiclaValley gets psyched up for Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer hill climb competition.

BikeSGV calls for bike riders to turn out at a community open house next Tuesday in support of a proposed bike park at the site of the former Puente Hills landfill.



The 26th annual conference of the Bicycle Tour Network kicked off in San Diego on Wednesday, though some attendees had their flights delayed or diverted due to an active shooter near the airport.

Bicyclists present the results of a Lodi bike summit on how to make the city a cycling destination. Maybe John Fogerty wouldn’t mind being stuck in Lodi again then.

The victim of Tuesday’s Palo Alto bicycling collision was the 52-year old chief operating officer of a San Jose instrument company.

SFist complains that San Francisco police are once again blaming the victim in a fatal bike collision, while refusing to release video that could shed light on the crash; police say the victim should have been riding in a non-existent bike lane.

More bad news from the Sacramento area, as a bike rider was killed in a collision on Wednesday.



Writing for Bicycling Retailer, Rick Vosper looks at the culture of fear that inevitably blames the bike rider, and makes bicycling look more dangerous than it is.

Bike Snob Eben Weiss makes the case for replacing the word accident with the more accurate crash, saying the former is just a cop-out.

Interesting piece from Next City that says business-as-usual fails to engage low-income bike riders.

Former Ford CEO Bill Ford sees a world moving away from the personal car.

Bicycling wants to see photos of your bike-riding dog.

The Honolulu city council considers a proposal requiring any future bike lanes to be approved by the full council, following complaints over the city’s first protected bike lane.

Dallas advocates say the city needs more bike lanes to thrive; it currently has just 41.5 miles of bike lanes, compared to nearly 12,000 miles of lanes for motorized traffic.

Bicycling rates skyrocket after Detroit installs 150 miles of new bike lanes. Soon they’ll object to bike lanes by saying LA is no Detroit.

Actress Keri Russell is one of us, as she and boyfriend/costar Matthew Rhys ride through Brooklyn on his and hers Linus bikes.

A Miami man goes on trial for killing two cyclists while fleeing from the police following a botched car burglary.



Caught on video: Urban mountain bikers take a downhill run through the former stronghold of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

In a first in North America, Calgary unveiled an entire network of protected bike lanes at once following five years of effort and community engagement; ridership is up 300% on one key corridor.

Ottawa city counselors compromise on a proposal to limit ghost bikes and other roadside memorials, approving a six-month limit rather than the three months recommended by city staff. Although they sort of make up for it with plans for a protected bike lane that takes advantage of barriers protecting the US Embassy.

Cycling Weekly offers up eleven bike maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them. I’m sometimes guilty of number seven, but only until noticing my brakes don’t work the first time I try to stop.

A writer for the UK’s Telegraph says cyclists other than himself are stupid and thoughtless, and giving us all a bad name. Yes, we should all obey the law and ride safely; many, if not most, of us do. But enough with the “I’m okay, you suck” BS.

City Lab looks at the success of the UK’s 20’s Plenty movement; nearly 25% of the country’s population now lives in communities where the speed limit has been lowered to 20 mph.

An Irish cyclist was wearing a helmet and had lights front, back and on his backpack, and a jury still absolves the truck driver who killed him, while calling for reflective wear for cyclists. Evidently, it’s not enough to light yourself up like a Christmas tree anymore.

The Netherlands presents the Tour de France with a bill for over $150,000 after allegedly getting stiffed for hosting the start of this year’s race.

A far reaching Turkish regulation is designed to encourage bicycling rather than public transport, ensuring that bikeways go onto streets with a topography suitable for riding, and connect with public transport.



Forget foam, soon you can protect your skull with helmet made of custom-fit mushrooms. But don’t despair, there may be other uses for your current helmet.

And why sleep outside when you can go bike touring with your very own 100-pound bike-pulled camper?

Other than having to pull 100 pounds plus all your gear, that is.


Update: Arrest made in Expo Park road rage attack; driver charged with murder, hit-and-run

Evidently, it was a secret.

In a surprise announcement, My News LA reports a suspect in last month’s fatal road rage assault near Exposition Park is under arrest — and has been since four days after the October 15th incident.

Thirty-two-year old Andrew Williams was scheduled to be arraigned today on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run in the death of 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified.

That confirms an earlier witness report that Williams had been arguing with Vanegas, and had threatened to run him over before doing exactly that.

Williams has apparently been in jail the past 16 days in lieu of $1 million bond. He faces 25 to life upon conviction, according to the site.

Update: Williams arraignment has been delayed until November 20th.

Update: Road raging driver intentionally kills bike rider in Exposition Park hit-and-run

KABC-7 is reporting that a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run near LA’s Exposition Park Thursday morning.

The collision occurred around 9 am near South Vermont Ave and West 39th Place, which places it just west of the Coliseum.

No information is available on the victim or how it happened at this time.

The suspect vehicle is a silver or white full-size SUV with a male driver, last seen making a left turn onto 39th. The vehicle may have a broken driver’s side mirror.

That suggests the collision took place on northbound Vermont at or before 39th. A satellite view shows a four-lane street on Vermont with a median and center turn lane, while 39th is an undivided two-lane street.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD.

This is the 58th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County; it’s also the ninth in the City of LA.

Three of of those deaths in LA, and seven in the county, have been hit-and-runs.

Update: KTLA-5 identifies the victim as a 35-year old man, and places the location across the street from 3833 S. Vermont Ave, next to a bus stop

The report also says the driver was last seen fleeing north on Vermont, rather than turning onto 39th, as the initial report indicated.

Update 2: It gets worse. According to KABC-7, the driver intentionally ran down the victim following an argument over who had the right of way. 

A witness to the crash reports the victim had attempted to cross Vermont against the light while the driver had the right-of-way, leading to an argument between the two. 

The driver, who must have gotten out of his SUV, pushed the rider over before threatening to run over him.

Then he apparently got back in his car, and did exactly that.

That makes this murder, rather than just hit-and-and. As if that isn’t bad enough.

Update 3: The City of Los Angeles offers a standing $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run. 

Update 4: KNBC-4 reports the victim’s bicycle is missing; however, the story is not online yet.

Update 5: I’m told a ghost bike will be placed at the scene at 6:30 pm tonight (Thursday).

Update 6: A report on KTLA-5 indicates that both the victim and the driver were headed north on Vermont before the altercation. They also report that vehicle may be a domestic SUV, and that the driver sped off with the bike still stuck underneath, which explains why it wasn’t found at the scene.

Update 7: Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD’s South Traffic Division at 323/421-2577.

Update 8: According to My News LA, an arrest was made in this case four days after the incident, but apparently no public announcement was made. 

Thirty-one-year old Andrew Williams has been held on $1 million bond in the death of Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified. 

Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run on Wednesday, November 4th; he faces 25 to life upon conviction. 

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

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