Tag Archive for biking under the influence

Morning Links: Cyclist injured in apparent non-hit-and-run, and LA bicyclists appear to be fair game

It looked like a hit-and-run.

But for a change, there doesn’t seem to be anyone else involved.

Police spent Tuesday night searching for a driver who fled the scene after a passerby found a man lying critically injured in a Van Nuys crosswalk, still wrapped around his BMX bike. After further investigation, however, they concluded that he fell and hit his head while riding under the influence.

Of course, as always, the question is why he fell; whether he was simply too drunk to stay upright or if there was some other factor that caused him to lose control of his bike.

Regardless, let’s hope he makes a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.


The Times reports on the bike-riding Long Beach man who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies after one deputy accidently shot his partner in the leg during a scuffle.

The recently released video shows Noel Aguilar struggling with the officers, who had apparently disarmed him before opening fire, despite Aguilar’s insistence that he didn’t shoot anyone.

And once again, the DA’s office declined to press charges against police officers, despite the video evidence. Just like the case of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino in 2013.

Or the Milt Olin case, for that matter, where a deputy plowed into Olin’s bike from behind as her was distracted by the car’s onboard computer just after texting with his wife.

Which raises the question of whether the DA refuses to prosecute cops. Or just doesn’t give a damn about people on bikes.


Apparently, I’m the mixed metaphor minion-master Obi-Wan Kenobi of LA bicycling.


‘Tis the season.

Donations now total over $16,000 for the bike-riding Colorado busboy who turned in $3,000 in cash a customer had left behind; make that $22,000. Evidently, honesty really does pay.

Texas police collect over 100 bicycles to distribute to children.

An Oklahoma police officer repaired a girl’s damaged therapy tricycle after it was stolen and thrown over a fence; her parents couldn’t afford the $5000 it would take to replace the bike for their daughter, who suffers up to 60 epileptic seizures a day.

Pennsylvania police give a new adaptive bicycle to a six-year old special needs boy.

An anonymous donor gave the equivalent of $150 to replace a British girl’s bike for Christmas after hers was stolen.

Around 150 Brits dressed up like Santa for a bike ride to raise funds for a children’s hospice.

After a paralyzed Welsh stunt biker tried to sell his bike to raise money for his rehabilitation, over £50,000 — roughly $74,000 — in donations poured in from fans.

And a Santa Rosa cyclist uses Strava to wish you a Merry Christmas.



CiclaValley is justifiably angry about the death of pedestrian on Riverside Drive, where the city installed new bike lanes while simultaneously making the street more dangerous. Kind of like Vision Zero in reverse.

Richard Risemberg says Burbank made the right decision in requiring riders to walk their bikes across a dirt-covered bridge used by equestrians; although he notes that if horses could be trained to charge into battle for the past 7,000 years, they should be able to tolerate someone on a bicycle.

Reseda Blvd receives a nomination from Streetsblog for the nation’s Best Urban Street Transformation of 2015. While it’s a huge step for auto-centric LA, it doesn’t begin to compare with the best work elsewhere. Or where we need to be, for that matter.

LA Weekly ranks the city’s new Mobility Plan number one on its list of why this was a banner year for new ways to get around in LA. Although they screw up the timeline; the plan has already been approved by the city council, first with, then without amendments, with more under consideration.

The jerk who stole a bicycle out of the hands of a boy who had just won it in a Halloween raffle makes LAist’s list of Southern California’s biggest jerks for 2015.

A Santa Monica man was severely beaten by a bystander after dropping the bike he was walking onto his own dog, accidently or otherwise.

Long Beach’s Danny Gamboa writes about the ghost bike movement for Bicycling Magazine. Danny is one of the heroes of the local bike movement, even if he prefers to give the recognition to others.



As of the 1st, it will be legal to ride your e-bike on California bike paths.

After the father of two Santa Ana teens were hit by a car while riding his bike, they responded by forming the Bike It! Santa Ana campaign, which was recently awarded a $2.7 million grant for three projects, including two protected bikeways. Makes you wonder why adults have so much trouble getting things done.

A Santa Barbara man invents a new dog carrier for his bike — bicycle or motorcycle — which allows your dog to ride safely tethered inside. Now I know what to get the Corgi for Christmas.

A proposal to cut back on street sweeping in Davis would mean more flat tires for bike riders.



As she nears retirement, the founder of Trips for Kids reflects on the group she founded 27 years ago; the national organization works to get kids out on mountain bikes.

After a five-year old Idaho boy was seriously injured in a collision while riding his bike, the state agrees to put more bicycling questions on their driving test.

A Los Angeles man keeps fighting for a bikeway in Grand Teton National Park, where his 13-year old daughter was killed by a distracted driver 16 years ago. Somehow, a roadway doesn’t harm the environment, but putting a protected bike lane on or next to it would.

The Department of DIY strikes in Rhode Island, as city officials move to quickly rip out a BMX track secretly built in the woods.

Baltimore residents can’t seem to figure out the city’s new parking protected bike lane.

Fort Lauderdale becomes the latest US city to embrace Vision Zero, and the first in Florida.

A Florida cyclist films the hit-and-run driver who ran him down from behind, without slowing, while he was riding on sharrows. The video is hard to watch, leading right up to the point of impact. And if you’ve ever wondered why I’m no fan of sharrows, this is a damn good reason.



A Canadian website says investing in bicycle infrastructure is one of the smartest investments a city can make. Meanwhile, Toronto is leading the way with a year-round network of protected bikeways.

Brit rider Mark Cavendish wants to cap his riding career with a medal in track cycling at the Rio Olympics.

In an usual case, a 13-year old British boy is charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist by intentionally riding his bicycle into the path of a car; the driver stopped in time to avoid him, but the victim hit the car.

Now that’s more like it. A Swedish university suggests paying people to ride bikes in the most congested part of Stockholm by using congestion charges from motorists.

A writer looks at the recent Tour of Rwanda, where police beatings and the country’s recovery from genocide overshadow the action in the peloton.

An Aussie writer says the government must stop its war on cyclists, and stop actively discouraging people from riding.



If you want to spot the trendy new neighborhoods, just follow the fixies. Don’t bust out a car window, even if the jerk driver honks and nearly hits you for riding in the traffic lane.

And if you’re going to burglarize a shed and steal a mountain bike, it’s probably best if you don’t leave your mobile phone behind.


It’s the last day of the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Thanks to David Wolfberg, Christian Hesch, Calla Weimer and Carmen Tellez for their generous support, along with everyone who has so generously contributed this past month.

Seriously, thank you.

Who could turn down a face like that?

The Corgi thanks you for your support. And she’s glad it’s the last day of the Holiday Fund Drive so she can attempt to reclaim her dignity.

Update: Bike rider killed after swerving across traffic on Oceanside highway

An Oceanside bike rider is dead following an inexplicable swerve onto the wrong side of a roadway late Tuesday evening.

According to multiple sources, the 54-year old victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding his bike on the westbound side of State Route 76 near Frazee Road when he veered onto the wrong side of the road around 8:50 pm; another source places the collision east of the Towne Center mall, some distance from Frazee.

One driver reportedly swerved onto the shoulder to avoid the rider, but a second driver didn’t have time to react and hit the victim’s bike, apparently at high speed given the 55 mph speed limit. He was pinned under the SUV as several people rushed to help.

satellite view shows that SR-76 is a divided highway, though there’s no barrier separating the two sides east of Frazee Rd.

Police report alcohol was suspected to be a factor, implying that the bike rider may have been drinking.

However, drunk or not, it’s hard to understand how someone would unintentionally swerve such a great distance, from the right shoulder across two lanes of traffic and a wide median, and onto the other side of the road. Which suggests he may have been trying to turn around or cross the roadway for some reason.

This is the 22nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in San Diego County. That compares with 43 in SoCal last year, and four in the county this time last year.

Update: The Union-Tribune reports the victim is a local homeless man; he reportedly smelled of alcohol. The driver who hit him had also been drinking, but passed a breath test.

Update 2: the victim has been identified as Mark Jacoby; the San Diego Medical Examiner’s office describes him as a 54-year old transient.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mark Jacoby and his loved ones.


Update: BMX rider killed riding against traffic in Twentynine Palms Thursday night

A salmon cyclist was killed in Twentynine Palms last night.

According to the Hi Desert Star, a 32-year old man, whose identity has been withheld pending notification of next of kin, was riding against traffic on the north shoulder of Valley Vista Road west of Sherman Hoyt Road at 8:31 pm, when he reportedly attempted to cross the road. Note: The coroner’s office lists the victim’s age as 31.

He was struck by a westbound car driven by 31-year old Ann Marie Platzke of Twentynine Palms. The story inexplicably says he was struck from behind, which would be impossible given that they were traveling towards one another.

Other sources suggest the collision was head-on, which makes more sense. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:03 pm.

Investigators found an open container of alcohol near the victim, implying that he may have been riding under the influence, which is illegal under California law.

Drunk or not, the victim should have been able to see a car approaching directly in front of him on such a flat, straight road. Why he might have attempted to cross the road at that point will remain a tragic mystery.

This is the 25th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in San Bernardino County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 31-year old Micky James Mroz of Lucerne Valley. 

My prayers and sympathy for Micky James Mroz and his loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

L.A. cyclists busted in BUI, anti-bike backlash spreads

Everyone knows it’s against the law to drink and drive.

Well, you do, right?

But here in California, it’s also illegal to bike under the influence.

A group of cyclists in Baldwin Hills learned that the hard way last night, when CHP officers were called to the scene after one struck the center divider while riding the wrong way on La Cienega Blvd. According to the Times, five of the fifteen riders were arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

While the Times suggests that riders are subject to the same 0.08 BAC that drivers are, no specific alcohol level is included in the statute, so riders could conceivably be charged at an even lower level than drivers. And while the fine is a relatively affordable $250, a conviction could affect your drivers license even though you weren’t operating a motor vehicle at the time.

Although personally, if someone is going to be on the road after imbibing, I’d much rather see ‘em on a bike than behind the wheel.

And as an aside to the Times, may I politely enquire what the hell helmet use has to do with a) riding while drunk, or b) whether the riders were able to be seen after dark?

Riding sans skid lid may or may not reflect bad judgment, depending on your perspective.

But it has absolutely nothing to do with this story.


Having evidently solved all the illegal and dangerous behavior by motorists, who have far more potential to kill or injure others, police in Australia and New York City have turned their attention to scofflaw cyclists.

Don’t get me wrong.

I don’t have any problem with ticketing cyclists who break the law, any more than I do anyone else on the streets. My problem comes when cyclists are singled out for enforcement, rather than enforcing the law equally against all illegal behavior.

And if there is going to be any bias in enforcement, shouldn’t it be directed at the operators of the vehicles responsible for over 30,000 deaths each year?

Scofflaw cyclists may annoy the hell out of other people. And they may give the cycling community a black eye, and encourage the anti-bike backlash the flares up with frequent regularity throughout the country.

But to the best of my knowledge, even the worst cyclists still pose a greater risk to themselves than to anyone else.

That doesn’t stop the anti-bike comments online or in the media, though. Not to mention the ill advised knee-jerk reaction to register and license bikes, or a bill that would prohibit reckless cycling in Virginia — a law that just begs for abuse as it leaves it up to individual officers, who are often ill-informed as to bike law, rights and safety, to determine just what is reckless.

Like riding in the traffic lane, maybe.

Then there’s the attempt by an Oregon legislator to ban carrying a child on a bike or in a bike trailer — this even though 630 people were killed in the entire U.S. while riding bikes in 2009, compared to over 10 times as many motor vehicle passengers.

Maybe it would make more sense to ban carrying a child in a car or SUV.


The LACBC’s new Bike Wrangler program will collect and recondition unwanted bikes, which will be distributed in low-income, high-obesity areas; Good examines the Bike Coalition’s efforts to reach out to the city’s invisible cyclists. The new L.A. River Bike Path extension is nice, but it could use a little direction; Lisa Newton points out that the historic De Anza Trail runs along its path. LADOT unveils some interesting ideas in their Call for Projects application. Todd Munson relates the ugly side of sharing the road, as well as the good. Gary gets harassed by an armored car driver and does something about it. Jessica Alba takes her daughter bike shopping in Santa Monica; it’s hard to read, but that looks like that could be a Helen’s tag. A court date is scheduled for the deaf hit-and-run driver accused of killing cyclist Patrick Szymanski in La Quinta last month.

An apparently highly-flawed study suggests that cell phone users may actually be safer drivers; problem is, it focused on a time when most people aren’t driving. A Coronado bike thief gets a well-deserved year in jail. The mayor of Del Mar calls on drivers and cyclists to sharrow the road during a bridge retrofit. A San Louis Obispo cyclist is in critical condition after inexplicably turning in front of a big rig truck. San Fran times stop lights to keep cyclists moving. A San Francisco Chronicle writer revisits his old paper route on video. Santa Cruz rejects a second claim for injuries at a single intersection, with a third cyclist’s claim waiting in the wings. A lifelong bike commuter tells her story.

While we’ve finally got more typical L.A winter weather, let’s not forget our brothers and sisters still struggling to ride in the south and east. Evidently, among the other promises Obama has kept are the ones he made about bike and pedestrian projects. The next long distance cycling route will aim to recreate the original Route 66; link courtesy of Lloyd Lemons. EcoCycle provides underground bike parking. The solution to placing bike paths in high-water areas could be floating bikeways. Bike-friendly Boulder CO gets a B-Cycle bike share program. A proposed bill would ban bike bans in Colorado cities. Bike lawyer Steve Magas reports on three upcoming criminal trials for drivers charged with killing cyclists. New York’s uber-popular Magnolia Bakery turns a bike lane into a parking lot; thanks to @BicycleFixation for the link.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s through biking ability. Strategies to avoid a bike infrastructure backlash. Don’t fight a losing battle for bike safety, sell it in terms of protecting children. London’s new bike superhighways result in a 70% increase in bike traffic. Irish courts award £10,000 to a child frightened when a bike fell in front of her in a Dublin toyshop. Lance leads the effort to fight back against Aussie flooding. Separated bikeways and handicap bike parking in Shanghai. A new bike share program kicks off in Haikou.

Finally, a cyclist survives an attack by unleashed killer dachsunds. And no matter how hardcore you think you are, you’re not a real cyclist until you pedal yourself to the hospital to give birth.

Now that takes balls. Or not.

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