Tag Archive for assault with a deadly weapon

Morning Links: Caltrans meeting Tues, driver chases cyclist onto bike path, and plants close LA River bike path

Bobby Peppey sends news of a couple bike-related developments from Caltrans.

First up is a short survey — available in English and Spanish — regarding the state transportation department’s shift from a strictly motor vehicle-focused agency to planning for an “integrated multi-modal transportation network (including walking, biking, transit and driving) that meets the needs of all users.”

Next, he reminds us that Caltrans will host a public meeting and webinar tomorrow afternoon to discuss the latest developments on SoCal projects and gather public input.

He notes that the last meeting was filled with government bureaucrats who showed little sympathy for bicyclists and other vulnerable road users; in fact, he says he was the only person in the room who wasn’t paid to be there.

As he puts it,

I brought up the intransigence of Los Angeles City Councilmember’s towards building a safe, comfortable system of bicycle infrastructure in our City at the last meeting and hope to not be the only one doing so at the October 25 the meeting.

Let’s hope he’s not.

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Speaking of Caltrans, Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious forwards news that bikes will be barred from Camp Pendleton for the coming week, although riders will still be allowed on the 5 Freeway.

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-1-42-12-am

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A rider connecting with the Rio Hondo trail in Rosemead was literally chased onto the trail by a road raging pickup driver, who was only stopped by the bollards at the entrance to the path.

All, apparently, because the cyclist had the audacity to make a left turn into the crosswalk leading to the path by legally using the left turn lane, which did not delay the driver behind him by a fraction of a second.

The rider, identified only as Askeee, notes that he aggravated the situation by flipping off the driver after he honked at him, asking “since when is that an acceptable reason for vehicular assault?”

To which the answer would be, at least since police blamed me for the road raging driver who plowed into my rear wheel after I flipped her off when she angrily honked at me like that.

(Lesson #1: Never flip off the driver behind you.)

Even though that would never be considered an excuse for any other form of assault with a deadly weapon. No one would think it’s okay if someone pulled out a gun and shot the other person after being given the bird, yet the simple fact of being behind the wheel seems to make it okay.

Let’s hope he filed a police report. And that the police take it seriously this time.

Thanks to Frank Lehnerz for the heads-up.

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At least now we know why the LA River bike path will be closed until the Ides of March; the Army Corps of Engineers will be using it as a staging area to remove non-native vegetation from the river channel.

Which does not explain why no notice was given, or why no one seems to give a damn about the needs of bike riders who use it.

At least the Corps promises LADOT has installed a detour path and signage. Which, based on what they offered last year, will likely be just as confusing, circuitous and impractical as ever.

CiclaValley urges everyone to turnout for a public workshop with the Army Corps on November 7th to express your outrage and demand a better solution, as well as emailing them and Congressman Adam Schiff; the LACBC offers some key talking points.

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Damian Kevitt, hit-and-run survivor and founder of both Finish the Ride and SAFE — Streets Are For Everyone — sends word that SAFE Support is up for one of this year’s LA2050 Challenge Grants.

You can cast your vote to support the project here.

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Local

Jesse Creed’s upstart campaign to oust anti-bike lane incumbent city councilmember Paul Koretz in LA’s 5th District has gained the support of some big names in Hollywood.

A Metro committee approves funding for expansion of the DTLA Metro Bike bikeshare into Pasadena, Venice and the port cities of San Pedro and Wilmington. Although the Venice and port city expansions are most likely an attempt to stave off expansion of the Santa Monica and Long Beach bikeshare systems into those areas.

Richard Risemberg writes about the impending departure of Michelle Mowery from LADOT to work on the LA River bike path. Maybe she could start by convincing the Army Corps of Engineers to keep it open a little more often.

The Pasadena city council will receive a report on the city’s bike safety efforts up to this point, along with plans for the future at tonight’s meeting. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the link.

Megan Lynch also forwards news that a cyclist was air rescued after crashing on Glendora Mountain Road; no word on the condition of the rider.

A new master plan including roughly 100 miles of multi-use trails in the Castaic area will go before the LA County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday; the plan also includes three proposed bike skills park amenities. Whatever the hell that means.

Cycling in the South Bay posts the honorees from last weekend’s Fourth Annual South Bay Cycling Awards, and offers a truly devastating first-hand report from the survivor of a life-changing cycling collision.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that killing a Long Beach bike rider with a screwdriver is still murder, even if you kill the wrong person by mistake.

 

State

Kids, don’t try this at home. An off-duty federal agent tried to stop thieves from taking his bicycle by jumping into the back of their pickup, and went on an unwanted seven mile ride through San Diego; both suspects were captured as  they fled after crashing the truck.

A Redlands couple is nearing the end of a 10,000 mile tandem journey around the US.

Over 1,000 cyclists participate in Sunday’s Santa Barbara 100 cycling event to raise Cottage Children’s Medical Center Family Assistance Fund.

San Luis Obispo adopts a Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities within 14 years.

Modesto police pitch in to buy a new bike for a junior high student after they were impressed by his detailed crime report.

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge Bike Trail finally opened Sunday, allowing bicyclists to ride from Emeryville to Yerba Buena Island. And back.

 

National

A pair of Minnesota cities are declaring their DIY bikeshare systems a success; the systems make refurbished bicycles available to anyone for free, no ID necessary; surprisingly, 85% of the bikes were returned last year.

New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss is one of us.

Gotham entrepreneurs are doing their best to cash in on the popularity of New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare.

The driver of a stolen car was arrested after deliberately trying to run down a Philadelphia bike cop; fortunately, the officer was uninjured, though his bike appears to have seen better days.

Bighearted Alabama cops dig into their own wallets to buy a bike for a teenager after his was stolen.

Now that’s more like it. A Florida driver got ten years for a drunken hit-and-run that killed a bike rider.

 

International

A Vancouver bike shop worker was sentenced to 18 years for shooting his boss two years ago following a dispute over a rental agreement.

Bicyclists are under attack by anti-bike terrorists around the world, as someone has tossed tacks on the roadway leading to London’s Regent Park twice in the last week; the site is the planned route for one of the city’s cycle superhighways.

A British woman missed her own mother’s funeral after a truck driver forced her bike off the road and into a ditch, leaving her too injured to attend.

A member of Britain’s Parliament says not enough is being done to protect bicyclists from injury and intimidation. No shit.

A former Catholic church in Belgium is now a shrine to the Cannibal.

How about taking your next bike vacation in Tanzania?

An Aussie cyclist has been fined the equivalent of $115 for passing a stopped car on the left — which would be our right; it violated the law because the car was signaling for a left turn.

New Zealand opens a beautiful new sculptural underpass for cyclists in Christchurch.

Sad news for manga lovers, as popular manga artist Hiroyuki Shoji was found dead next to his bicycle in Japan last week.

 

Finally…

Your next bike may not need you to keep it stable. From wrestling champ to BMX podium, before the age of eight.

And the best seat for a bike race is directly above the course. Especially when you’re a black bear.

 

Morning Links: LA chosen Vision Zero Focus City, another Glendale cyclist threatened, and a special bike offer

Los Angeles has been selected as one of ten Focus Cities to lead the effort to eliminate traffic fatalities.

According to the Vision Zero Network,

Cities across the nation face similar challenges in ensuring safe mobility for all. The new Vision Zero Focus Cities program creates a collaborative network of early-adopter Vision Zero cities to build a common vision, and to develop and share winning strategies toward eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

Recognizing the importance of a stepped-up, multi-departmental, collaborative approach to advance Vision Zero, participants in the Focus Cities program will include representatives of each city’s Mayor’s Office, Transportation Department, Police Department, and Public Health Department. In addition, a concurrent track for collaboration will bring together Vision Zero community advocates from each of the Focus Cities.

Let’s hope this means a real commitment to Vision Zero here in Los Angeles, rather than allowing councilmembers to put riders at risk by arbitrarily carving streets out of the Mobility plan.

If Vision Zero is to work, it has to be the policy for all of LA, in every neighborhood and on every street.

Period.

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Just days after video surfaced showing cyclists assaulted by a driver on a Glendale street, a Glendale teenager was cited for apparently threatening a bicyclist with a 10-inch knife from a passing van, after his mother had followed the rider honking her horn at him.

Why that didn’t merit the arrest of both the boy and his mother is beyond me.

Glendale police clearly need to do something to tame their streets before someone gets hurt. Or worse.

Meanwhile, LAist says the video shows that neither of the two Glendale cyclists who were assaulted by that brake-checking driver were remotely close to hitting the car. And they urge everyone to drive safely.

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Maybe you’ve noticed.

The past few months, my curiosity has been piqued by a new bicycle from Fortified Bicycle, which promises to be virtually theft proof and indestructible, and built to survive the rough roads of an urban environment.

I’ve even linked to their Kickstarter a few times, both here and on my Twitter account.

Evidently, they noticed, because they contacted me yesterday with a special offer for the readers of BikinginLA.

I’ll let them explain.

Fortified 1THE ULTIMATE URBAN BIKE

Invincible is a sleek, bulletproof urban bike that is literally guaranteed against theft. Plus, Fortified Bicycle (the creators behind this project) have offered a special deal.

What makes Invincible a truly compelling urban bike? For one, every single component was selected for standing up to a rough urban environment. Parts that are commonly vulnerable to theft—lights, wheels, seat, handlebars—are secured with bolts that feature a proprietary drive geometry that opportunistic bike thieves will not be able to operate. But the biggest innovation here is their new cycle registration and theft protection service, Fortified Protect. Not only will Fortified send you a new bike if yours is stolen, they’ll also try and hunt down your stolen bike on third party seller marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist. That’s just cray.

The folks from Fortified are cutting Everyday Messenger backers a special deal. If you pre-order Invincible on their current Kickstarter project, they’ll add a free Invincible Rear Bike Rack ($45 value) to your rewards.

How to redeem this offer:

  1. Back Invincible on Kickstarter. Choose a reward level of at least $399 or more.
  2. Send a direct message on Kickstarter to Fortified Bicycle (the Invincible creators). Include the code “BIKINGINLALOVE” in that message. They’ll take care of things from there.

Fortified 2

Sounds like a good offer to me. But hurry if you’re interested, because there’s just six days to go before their Kickstarter ends.

And no, just to be clear, I don’t have any relationship with the makers of this bike, financial or otherwise.

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Women, here’s your chance to try out for a pro cycling team. Without ever having to get on a bike.

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Local

The LA Times says the plan to relieve traffic congestion in Griffith Park is a good idea, but doesn’t go far enough; the paper calls for improved transit and protected bike lanes leading to the park.

KCET talks with Flying Pigeon owner, Bike Oven founder and all-around good guy Josef Bray-Ali.

Dallas Mavericks teammates JaVale McGee and J.A. Barea are one, make that two of us, as they take a tandem ride along the beachfront bike path near the Santa Monica pier.

LA’s own Phil Gaimon says barring small Pro Continental cycling teams from WorldTour races might reduce injuries, but it would unfairly limit opportunities for riders.

 

State

Police have a person of interest in custody, but not yet charged, in the murder of bike rider Sidney Siemensma on an Irvine bike path earlier this month; they say this was not a random attack.

Newport Beach says not so fast about that legal settlement we mentioned yesterday requiring them to work towards fixing a deadly intersection on PCH.

A senior planner for Alta Planning + Design describes their efforts in orchestrating a pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign. Clearly, they still have some work to do.

Local bike shop owners and their supporters will ride to protest San Diego’s DecoBike bikeshare program, arguing that it’s hurting their bottom line.

Apparently, bicyclists are being banned from a Santa Rosa pathway because of a typo; Portland bike riders have a similar problem, but for a different reason.

St. Helena proposes removing on-street parking in favor of a bike lane, while the owner of a local retirement community says that’s a bad idea, preferring parked cars to moving bikes.

Platinum-level bike friendly city Davis is aiming to be the first American city to reach Diamond status. After that, the next level would be Unobtainium.

Evidently, if you want to steal a bike, feel free to do it in front of UC Davis students, but don’t try to make your getaway in front of the sheriff.

 

National

Fifty percent of teens admit crossing a street while distracted. And the other half probably lied about it.

A Portland workshop is helping women overcome their fear of bicycling by teaching them how to fall. Which follows this sage advice from a few decades back.

A 77-year old Dallas truck driver is charged with driving under the influence after hitting a nine-year old child riding his bike around a mobile home park; fortunately, the boy is now in stable condition.

A bike riding Missouri bank robber gets nearly five years after stealing $14,000 to support his heroin addiction. He was caught trying to walk away after ditching the bike; if he’d kept riding, he might still be a free man, albeit with a monkey on his back.

A bill in the Tennessee legislature to encourage teaching students the right way to wear a bike helmet somehow became a bill to ban school districts from collecting teachers dues; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

A fascinating set of graphs paint a picture of usage for New York’s Citi Bike bikeshare system. Including the deeper the snow depth, the less bikes are rented.

Speaking of which, a New York bike messenger discusses what he learned riding during the recent blizzard.

Once again authorities choose safety for motorists over safety for cyclists on a popular riding route by installing rumble strips, this time in Florida.

 

International

A Montreal memorial uses white shoes as the equivalent of a ghost bike for a fallen pedestrian.

Mother Jones says the jury is still out on that British study saying wearing a bike helmet makes you take more chances.

Scot authorities vow to get tough on illegal dumping, aka fly tipping, after a dog is maimed by a rusting bike left along a busy pathway. The more I do this, the more I learn English, as in the in the county, as opposed to what passes for it here.

Self-governing British dependency Isle of Man proposes legislation protecting cyclists, including a safe passing law and some form of presumed liability.

A Scottish newspaper looks at the man they credit with inventing the bicycle. Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Spanish cyclist Alberto Gallego gets suspended for steroid use, just three days after joining his new team.

A Kiwi mountain biker plans to compete in a seven day, 310 mile race, a year after a reaction to a bee sting left him legally blind.

 

Finally…

Yes, the correct place to put a sign promoting a meeting to discuss cycle tracks is directly in the bike lane. Probably not the best idea to get loaded and throw a kid’s bike through the rear window of a cop car. Although yelling “boom” is a nice touch.

And most of us would have a hard enough time keeping our bike upright while working a Rubic’s cube, let alone solving 111 of them in two hours.

 

Morning Links: Palmdale man killed defending his bike; LA cyclist rides to hospital after being stabbed by driver

This is why you don’t try to save your bike from robbers.

The Daily News reports that a bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, was shot and killed outside a Palmdale restaurant Tuesday night. KNBC-4 identifies the location as in front of Sky Burgers.

The 41-year old victim reportedly tried to stop four men from stealing his bike outside the restaurant on the 1800 block of E. Palmdale Blvd around 9:40 pm. He was assaulted by all four, described by witnesses as gang bangers, before one pulled out a gun and shot him multiple times.

Seriously, if you see someone trying to steal your bike, don’t attempt to stop them. Let them take it, and call the police; it’s their job to deal with it.

No matter how much your bike cost, your life is worth more.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. Let’s hope the police catch these assholes.

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Seriously, WTF is wrong with some people?

LAist reports that a man was stabbed in the neck after he asked an SUV driver to turn off his lights — evidently because it was disturbing his meal in the parking lot of a Mid-City Carl’s Jr.

The driver is seen on security video getting out of his vehicle and approaching the man, who tried to back off before attempting to defend himself. The driver then pulled out a knife and stabbed him, after which he calmly got back in his car and drove off with a woman passenger, who evidently did nothing to stop the assault despite briefly getting out of the car.

The victim got on his bike and rode to a nearby hospital for treatment; the website says he was okay, despite his wounds.

Police are looking for a suspect. Then again, if the driver had just used his car instead of a knife, he probably could have driven home without a ticket.

If anyone ever tries to tell you bike riders aren’t tough, show them this.

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Once again, Long Beach is giving you a brief window to experience your own mini-ciclovia, as the city opens up the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race course to cyclists, skaters, runners and walkers from 11:30 am to 1 pm next Tuesday.

It would have been nice if they’d mentioned the date on their website, though.

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Proposed legislation would require any car sold or leased in California to have a temporary license plate before it’s driven off the lot — just like many, if not most other states require — which would allow it to be identified in the case of hit and run or other crimes.

You can sign a petition to support the bill here; as it says, there is no reasonable reason for opposition.

Thanks to Ann Frederick for the heads-up.

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Local

Good news for sidewalk riders, or anyone who walks anywhere, as LA agrees to spend $1.3 billion over the next 30 years to fix the city’s broken sidewalks.

KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks with lame duck councilmember Tom LaBonge and Rec & Parks Superintendent Joe Salaices about the test project to allow cars on Griffith Park’s Mt. Hollywood Drive. Mantle also talks LA traffic with the Source’s Steve Hyman and new LACBC ED Tamika Butler.

UCLA Transportation says bike lanes are needed on Westwood Blvd to encourage students and faculty to bike to campus; the school’s many bicycling improvements that have helped make it a Bike Friendly University aren’t worth much if people can’t get there safely.

DTLA’s Chinatown installs an unusual, but apparently effective, bike corral.

Torrance cyclists will get new bike lanes on Palos Verdes Blvd following the street’s $2.1 million makeover.

CICLE is hosting an adult learn to bike class on April 12th.

 

State

The allegedly stoned wrong-way driver who plowed down a group of cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island will face a competency hearing on Wednesday.

Santa Maria police are bringing back their old bikes to support a new crop of bike cops.

A Visalia motorized bike rider is in critical condition after being hit from behind by an SUV.

Riding the other route to SoCal from the Bay Area.

A San Francisco website maps out where cyclists are most likely to be hit by a distracted driver.

Marin County supervisors tell bike path riders to slow down, you move too fast; whether they sang it in two-part harmony is unclear.

 

National

Memphis decides to rip out a two-way separated bike path that took over one side of a four lane street, but promises some sort of complete street will return following a future repaving.

WaPo shows the ineffectiveness of most bike networks by mapping out what they look like without streets for a handful of major cities; I shudder to think what LA’s would look like.

 

International

VeloNews discusses the bike path to parity in women’s cycling.

A Brit jerk posts video of a car passenger pushing a cyclist off his bike that the jerks at Facebook declined to take it down, at least initially.

London in funneling money into bicycling infrastructure, while other UK cities lag behind for a lack of funding.

Three Ghana girls create a successful bamboo bike business.

Unbelievable. An Aussie driver is fined a whopping $1,000 for running down a cyclist from behind — even though the victim was tricked out with a hi-viz vest, plus two flags and several lights.

Calling the case an absurdity, a Kiwi judge refuses to disqualify a French tourist from driving for recklessly running down a pedestrian while riding his bike on the sidewalk.

 

Finally…

Even Bay Area fifth graders know most cyclists stop for stop signs, though many motorists might argue otherwise. Bike Radar lists products they wish were April Fool’s pranks.

And Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers a pointed April Fools discussion of the bike projects LADOT will ignore this year.

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No, really, the late post isn’t my fault this time. I had it ready to upload, but lost my internet connection when the electrician turned off the power to fix a balky outlet. Honest.

 

OC Sheriff threatens to victimize an Orange County cyclist a second time; road raging driver allowed to walk

Prepare to get mad.

Or maybe livid is a better word.

Just a day after a widely circulated open letter called on the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to charge a truck driver who used his vehicle as a weapon to threaten a cyclist, the department recommended that charges be filed.

Against the victim.

According to the LA Times, Bryan Larsen was riding his bike on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point on May 31st when he captured video of a truck driver attempting to run him off the road before the passenger — who turned out to be the driver’s wife — hits him with a thrown Gatorade bottle; they then try to smoke him out as they took off.

Maybe she thought he looked thirsty.

Larsen was originally told that no charges could be filed because sheriff’s deputies did not actually witness the assault themselves.

Which is not true, of course.

Police are required to witness an event in order to file a traffic violation or misdemeanor charge; however, there’s no such requirement for felony charges. And using a large truck to intimidate a vulnerable road user should certainly qualify.

I’ve also been told by members of other departments that video footage can be used as evidence, as well as eye witness testimony. At the time, Larsen was riding with another cyclist who could verify everything seen on the video.

After the video went viral and was picked up by local news stations, the sheriff’s department reconsidered and conducted an investigation. Though based on the results, not much of one.

Even though the driver reportedly used his massive truck as a weapon to threaten the rider and attempt to force him off the road, they declined to charge him with anything. At all.

Instead, the Orange County Register reports they recommended that the OC District Attorney file an assault and battery charge against the driver’s wife.

And that charges be filed against the victim for apparently inciting the attack through his use of obscene language directed at the couple.

Charges are also being recommended against the bicyclist, he said, who is suspected of using “offensive words in public, likely to provoke a violent reaction.” Officials suspect the cyclist made “rude, disparaging comments” before the incident was recorded on his cellphone, (Lt. Jeff) Hallock said.

This, despite the fact the US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that offensive language and gestures are protected as free speech under the 1st Amendment. And even though Hallock makes it clear investigators are only assuming that Larson said something so offensive as to justify a violent attack with a deadly weapon.

As if anything could.

Would they still feel the driver was justified if he had pulled out a gun and started shooting at the cyclist? Legally, there’s no difference; only the choice of weapon used.

And never mind what actually precipitated the event. Unless Larsen suffers from a rare form of Tourette’s Syndrome or mental illness that forced him to swear without any provocation, he was clearly responding to something the driver had done before the camera started recording.

What, we may never know, since the threat of criminal charges will now force him to remain silent. Which is probably the real intent.

Legally, there’s no valid case against him. So the question becomes, why is the OCSD trying so hard to intimidate the victim of a violent crime — while letting the primary perpetrator off scott-free?

And what does it say to every other bike rider south of the Orange Curtain when even video evidence isn’t good enough to get the authorities to give a damn about our safety — let alone threaten us for reporting it?

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and her department are sending a clear message to everyone who travels by two wheels that we remain second-class citizens in her jurisdiction.

And if something bad happens on her watch, just keep your mouth shut about it.

Or else.

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

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By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

Ignoring road rage in Santa Rosa, San Diego cyclists targeted, and LAPD accused of beating bike rider

Talk about the charges not fitting the crime.

A Santa Rosa driver identified as 22-year old Matthew Dewayne Hamilton is under arrest on a felony hit-and-run charge for what police describe as an accidental collision stemming from a roadway dispute.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Hamilton barely missed hitting a cyclist, who responded by yelling at him. So Hamilton backed up to continue the argument, colliding with the rider in the process.

Right.

It evidently wasn’t assault with a deadly weapon from their windshield perspective, even though the rider, who has not been publicly identified, suffered several broken bones, as well as internal injuries. And even though they themselves describe it as a road rage incident, police insist the driver just wanted to chat, if angrily.

Of course.

Then, realizing his error after plowing into the rider with enough force to cause significant injuries, Hamilton stomped on the gas and fled the scene, abandoning his car nearby. He was arrested while walking through the area.

You know, just another hit-and-run. Not a violent criminal fleeing the scene of his rage-fueled attack.

It’s all in how you look at it, evidently.

Then again, according to the police report, it was the car that was in control of Hamilton at the time of the collision, rather than the other way around.

Thanks to @murphstahoe for the heads-up.

………

San Diego cyclists are being targeted by jerks with a pellet gun.

The city’s 10News says police are investigating confirmed attacks in the La Jolla and Mount Soledad areas, as well as possible attacks in the Fiesta Island and Torrey Pines areas.

One woman suffered serious road rash when a pellet penetrated her shoulder and knocked her off her bike.

Police are looking for three men in a black sedan on possible felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

At least San Diego police get the charges right. Although I might argue for a domestic terrorism count.

………

San Diego police are also looking for tips in last year’s shooting death of 19-year old bike rider Joseph Hutchins in the City Heights neighborhood. Hutchins was killed the day after his 19th birthday.

A successful tip could earn a reward of up to $1000.

Yeah, that’ll motivate someone.

………

A Los Angeles man claims police beat the crap out of him for riding without lights.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, Brian Cisneros was riding to work at the Ralphs market in Marina del Rey last Friday when he was stopped by two LAPD officers at the intersection of Ida and Redwood Avenues.

According to Cisneros, the officers exited their car with guns drawn and attacked him in a brutal assault that included choking, stomping and throwing him onto the hood of their car, despite his lack of resistance.

Then left him there with a ticket for not having lights while riding after dark.

Clearly, something violent happened.

Cisneros, who says he thought he was going to die, was treated for a dislocated shoulder and a fractured elbow, among other injuries. And looks like someone who took a serious beating in the photos that accompany the report.

But something tells me there’s more to the story.

………

Manhattan Beach Patch offers the most detailed report yet on Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell, the bike rider violently assaulted in an apparent attempt to steal his bike on the Ballona Creek bike path on July 19th.

The attack took place around 6 pm, one of the busiest periods on the pathway, as bike commuters use it as a virtual bike freeway connecting Culver City with the coast.

Fournell suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs, requiring a five-day stay in the hospital, after one of the assailants threw a bike at his front wheel, then struggled with him for possession of his Litespeed bike.

And Patch finally gives us a location for the attack, saying he was assaulted by three juveniles on the bikeway between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

As others have pointed out, the east end of the bike path is far less used than the western sections. Anytime you ride in a secluded area, out of view of the public or other riders, you need to be alert to your surroundings and any possible risks.

Although three kids with a bicycle on a bike path wouldn’t necessarily look threatening or out of place.

………

The LACBC reports the bike plan currently under development by the City of Carson has been watered down in the face of pushback from a pair of large local businesses.

The city’s Watson Land Company has argued that putting bike lanes next to the traffic lanes used by heavy trucks would increase the danger to bike riders.

Maybe someone should tell them that their self-proclaimed commitment to sustainability and philanthropy should extend to our streets.

Never mind that anyone wanting to ride through the city under current conditions already has to share those traffic lanes with those same trucks. And that the studies I’ve seen say bike lanes improve safety for everyone on the road.

Speaking for myself, I’d much rather ride beside a massive truck than in the lane in front of one.

No, far better to maintain the conditions that have already resulted in the death of a bike rider earlier this summer.

At least I can understand, if not accept, where they’re coming from in their desire to maintain the heavy truck hegemony over Carson’s streets.

Far harder to understand is the opposition from the StubHub (nee Home Depot) Center, home to the region’s leading velodrome. You’d think that an athletic center that features indoor bicycling events — including the upcoming USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships — would appreciate the desire of outdoor bicyclists to get there without getting killed.

But evidently, it’s inconceivable to them that bike racing fans, or their other patrons, might actually want to ride a bike there. Or maybe they just want to ensure that people continue drive to maintain that parking revenue.

The LACBC asks you to take action to preserve the Carson bike plan.

Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington.

If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:

jdear@carson.ca.us
myfrancisone@yahoo.comail
lholmes@carson.ca.us
mgipson@carson.ca.us
arobles@carson.ca.us

I’d suggest taking it a step further.

And let the StubHub Center know it’s not acceptable for a bicycling venue to needlessly risk the lives of their bike riding patrons.

………

Finally, Apple has evidently decided that American drivers aren’t distracted enough, and wants to incorporate iPhone functions — including texting and email — into car dashboards by the end of this year.

Which means you may be able to thank Steve Job’s successors for the distracted driver who runs you off the road next year.

If you’re still capable of thanking anyone.

Update: Monrovia cyclist survives violent road rage assault; Ontario rider critically injured in hit-and-run

This has not been a good weekend for Southern California cyclists.

In addition to Saturday night’s collision that took the life of a Chatsworth bike rider, a rider was critically injured in deliberate motor vehicle assault in Monrovia, while a young Ontario bicyclist clings to life following an apparent hit-and-run.

……..

The Pasadena Star-News reports that 19-year old Anthony Pina of Glendora could be facing charges including DUI, hit-and-run, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon for a deliberate assault on at least one bike rider, as well as a motorist who tried to help.

The near-murderous rampage began a little before 6 am Saturday when a car matching the description of Pina’s 1987 Buick Regal collided with a 43-year old bike rider from El Monte, who has not been publicly identified, at the intersection of Mountain and Shrode Avenues just outside of Monrovia.

That collision may not have been intentional, according to police. But the decision to flee the scene, leaving the rider injured on the street, was.

About five to ten minutes later, Pina apparently aimed his car at a 63-year old bike rider at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Royal Oaks Drive in a failed assault; again, the rider has not been publicly identified.

The bicyclist was not so lucky the second time.

Pina encountered the same cyclist a few blocks later at Huntington Drive and Mountain Avenue, where he reportedly carved donuts by repeatedly circling the bike before intentionally crashing into it. The rider was critically injured, but reportedly has stabilized following emergency surgery.

The paper reports there is no known connection between Pina and his victim.

Other than the fact he tried to kill him, that is.

As Pina once again fled the scene, he was followed onto the 210 Freeway by two men in a Mini Cooper who had witnessed the attack. When he discovered he was being followed, he pulled over to the side of the road, then deliberately crashed into the Mini Cooper before hitting the center divider and flipping his car.

Pina ran off on foot before being apprehended by an Azusa police officer minutes later. Remarkably, he was being held on just $50,000 bail pending a court appearance.

But let’s be clear about one thing. This is not a traffic case. Nor is it just another hit-and-run.

As the potential charges reflect, this was an attempt to murder another human being, followed by an attack on two others in a attempt to get away with the crime. The fact that he failed to kill his victim should not reduce the charges or the ultimate penalty in any way.

And neither should the fact he used a motor vehicle instead of a gun.

Thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

Update: The Star-News reports that Monrovia police have concluded Pina did not know either rider, and the collisions with both were intentional; the CHP — which is running a concurrent investigation — may not be so sure. 

According to the MPD, Pina lay in wait for the second victim to pass after missing him the first time. 

The good news is, the second victim, who was the more severely injured of the two riders, is reportedly doing well and speaking with police. 

Update 2: According to the Star-News, Pina faces multiple charges. And deservedly so.

Anthony Pina, 19, was charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of drunken driving causing injury and two counts of hit-and-run causing injury, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He was ordered to return to Pasadena Superior Court July 31 for a preliminary hearing setting. 

His bail was also increased, from a paltry $50,000 to a more appropriate $320,000.

……..

At least in the Pina case, we know what happened.

We can’t say the same for a teenage cyclist who suffered life-threatening injuries in Ontario Sunday morning.

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the rider was found lying in the street at Riverside Drive east of Walker Ave around 12:36 am. There was no other vehicle present; however, police believe a motorist hit the rider while traveling east on Riverside before fleeing the scene.

The paper notes that the victim was not wearing a helmet, but does not indicate whether he suffered head injuries or if one would have been of any use in this case. A bike helmet offers no protection to any other part of the body, and is not designed to protect against high-speed collisions.

But let’s give the writer credit for not using the term “accident” anywhere in the story.

Police are looking for a dark colored car with front-end damage.

They believe the collision occurred sometime between 11:30 pm and 12:30 am. Which means the victim could have bled in the street for more than a hour before help arrived.

Let’s all hope he recovers from his injuries.

If he doesn’t, the driver should face a murder charge for denying him the prompt medical care that is the right of every traffic victim, and often means the difference between life and death.

Yet the driver who ran down this rider couldn’t be bothered to place a simple call for help before fleeing the scene like the coward he or she is. Let alone actually stop and render aid as the law requires.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Ontario Police Department at (909) 986-67811 or Detective Steve Hurst at (909) 395-2902.

Update: The victim, Horacio Pineda, died of his injuries Sunday night.

I hope you’ll join me in offering prayer, good thoughts, or whatever you are comfortable with for both of these victims for a full and fast recovery from their injuries. And for justice in both of these cases.

Breaking news: Cyclist attacked in Beverly Hills road rage assault; rider not seriously injured

More bad news from the Biking Black Hole.

News is just breaking that a bike rider was deliberately attacked with a motor vehicle after the rider hit the driver in a road rage dispute.

According to the Beverly Hills Police, the incident occurred nearly three weeks ago, around 6 pm on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Evidently, they don’t feel an urgent need to keep the public informed of violent crime on their streets. Let alone for the prompt release of information that might lead to the arrest of a dangerous suspect.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly punched the driver of a white, possibly 2008 model year BMW 328i in the face. The motorist threatened to kill the rider, and followed him into an alley in the 9000 block of Wilshire Blvd, between Wetherly and Almont Drives; a Google satellite view shows alleys on both sides of the street behind the buildings facing Wilshire.

The driver then intentionally rammed the cyclist with his car, pinning him against a metal trash bin. Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured; the fact that the trash bin was on rollers may have lessened the force of the impact.

The assault was captured on security footage; the attacker can clearly be seen reversing course in the alley and striking the victim, who clings to the mirror of the car as it backs away. Once he’s thrown off, he walks back to collect his bike.

There’s no word from the police on what caused the dispute.

Yes, the rider broke the law in striking the driver, regardless of what led up to it. It’s possible that he could face criminal or civil charges for assaulting the driver unless it can be shown that he hit him in self-defense; however, that requires that the action is necessary to halt a current or imminent physical attack.

The far more serious crime, though, is the motorist using his vehicle in a deliberate attempt to injure or kill the rider after the initial incident had concluded. It should be no different under the law than someone who gets into a fight in a bar, then goes out to the parking lot and shoots the person he’d argued with.

This is a clear case of assault with a deadly weapon. Any claim the driver may have had to self-defense ended the moment the cyclist initially rode away.

The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern or White male in his mid-30s, with dark hair and eyes, and a thin build; the Beverly Hills Courier has a somewhat sketchy sketch of the suspect. The car suffered possible minor front-end damage, although it may have been repaired by now.

Hopefully, the BHPD can overcome the delay in releasing this information and bring a violent criminal to justice.

And take this for fair warning.

As tempting as it may be sometimes to get even with the jackass that just ran you off the road, it’s never a good idea. There are some crazyass, and potentially very violent, people out there.

And it doesn’t take much to set them off.

Bike law change #11: Investigate and prosecute any reported incidence of vehicular assault as a criminal violation

Awhile back, following the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake test, a woman wrote to describe her experience as bicycle commuter along a major east-west thoroughfare in the San Fernando Valley.

Like many streets in this city, there was no shoulder or bike lane, so she was forced to ride in the traffic lane, as impatient drivers honked or raced closely past her. One in particular, apparently angry at being stuck behind her at a red light, revved his engine and lurched forward, actually making contact and lifting her rear wheel off the ground in what she could only interpret as a not-so-subtle threat.

Actually, it was a crime. Or if it wasn’t, it certainly should have been. Because while most of us see a car as simply a means of getting from here to there, in the wrong hands, it can be a deadly weapon.  And there is no real difference between threatening a cyclist with a car or with a gun, since both are capable of inflicting serious injury or death.

Sections 240 – 248 of the California Penal Code define assault as “…an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another;” battery is defined as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Meanwhile, section 245 sets a penalty of up to 4 years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon other than a gun.

Like a car, for instance.

Of course, there are other ways a car can be used as a deadly weapon, from intentionally causing an accident by striking the cyclist or forcing the cyclist to strike the car, as the good doctor has been charged with doing, to intentionally striking a rider with an open car door, or forcing the rider off the road or into another vehicle.

Any one of these can cause serious injury or death. Even simply throwing something at a rider from a moving vehicle — as has happened to many, if not most of us, at one time or another — can cause a rider to lose control of his bike, with potentially deadly consequences.

But just try to report something like that to the police; in most cases, they’ll say that since they didn’t see it, there’s nothing they can do. Or if they do bother to respond, usually because of an injury to the rider, they’ll investigate the incident as a traffic accident, rather than the criminal activity it is.

Yet they would never tell the victim of an armed robbery that there’s no point in investigating, since they didn’t actually see the crime take place; nor would they investigate a mugging as a simple accident. Even a report of someone brandishing a gun in a threatening manner is enough to provoke a massive police response.

But commit the same crime with a car, and you’re virtually guaranteed of getting away with it.

So let’s demand the protection we deserve. Let’s contact our legislators, and insist that they amend sections 240 – 248 to clearly specify that anyone who uses a motor vehicle to threaten, intimidate, attack or injure a cyclist or pedestrian can, and should, be charged with assault and/or battery with a deadly weapon, and subject to a prison term and seizure of the vehicle, as well as permanent loss of driving privileges.

And insist that any report of a motor vehicle being used in such a manner be investigated by the police to the fullest extent possible as a criminal matter, rather than a traffic infraction.

Because your life, and mine, may depend on it.

 

 

An elderly woman was hit and killed by a teenage cyclist on his way to band practice yesterday. Vision Zero attempts to end the body count; isn’t it time Los Angeles got on board? Green LA Girl plans on attending the LACBC’s Bicycle Road Skills Class (and early wishes for a happy birthday); meanwhile, C.I.C.L.E. is offering an Intro to City Riding for eight lucky riders, which takes place the same day as the inaugural Tour de Ballona, none of which I’ll be attending unless these damn allergies improve. Evidently, L.A. now has its own version of N.Y.’s popular Bike Snob. And finally, this is just one reason why those allergies are killing me today.

 

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