Tag Archive for Chris Bolivar

A heartwarming story to end your week, a bunch of legal updates and week’s worth of links

Now that there’s finally a lull in this week’s rash of bad news, let’s catch up on all the news that’s been on hold this week.

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First off, maybe you remember the story.

It was about a year and a half back, when I told the tale of a hero bus rider who jumped off his Commuter Express bus after a long day at the DWP to stop a bike thief, and rescue the prized ride of a total stranger.

It’s one of my favorite stories I’ve told on here, second only, perhaps, to a pair of female triathletes who saved two men from drowning off the Malibu coast.

And I was there last year when Good Samaritan Hospital, where the owner of the bike, Dan McLaughlin, serves as a vice president, honored him at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles.

But after that, I lost track of the story until L.A. Times writer Nita Lelyveld gave me a call a few weeks back.

What I didn’t know was that the story didn’t end that day when McLaughlin handed his bike’s rescuer a plaque in front of a group of gathered cyclists. They had become friends, bonding over bikes, and Bolivar and his wife had even taken to riding a tandem together.

It’s a beautiful story. And one that Nita tells beautifully.

It’s definitely a must read, if you haven’t already.

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My apologies to Shane Feldon.

I had promised to write this week about a new light system currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. Unlike other bike lights, it doesn’t just attach to your handlebars, but actually is a structural part of your bike.

So it’s always there when you need it, and you never have to worry about forgetting it or having it stolen.

Unless they take your whole bike, of course.

Sadly, there’s only a few hours left to get funded, and it looks like it’s going to end up well short. But if you’ve got some money to invest — or happen to own a bike company — this looks like a great idea with a lot of potential.

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Nineteen-year old Korean college student Jin Hyuk Byun has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of hit-and-run causing death for allegedly killing 18-year old Angel Bojorquez as he rode home from work in Rancho Santa Fe last Friday.

The judge recognized the risk Byun posed, calling him “an extreme danger to the community,” as he raised Byun’s bail from $50,000 to $1 million, according to the North County Times.

The NC Times also reports that Byun allegedly stopped after killing Bojorquez — not to render aid or call for help, but to push a broken headlight assembly back into place and strip the torn rubber from his tire before driving home on the bare rim.

Remarkably, he faces a maximum of just four years in prison for leaving another human being to die on the side of the road.

Surely there are other charges the DA can file.

Vehicular homicide might be a good start.

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In other legal news, the Highland Community News confirms that Patrick Roraff has entered a guilty plea in the 2010 death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, as we discussed Monday; co-defendant Brett Morin is still pleading not guilty.

Dj Wheels reports that Phillip Goldburn Williams, charged with vehicular manslaughter in the July, 2010 death of cyclist Victor Apaseo-Rodriguez in Downtown L.A., has been convicted after changing his plea to no contest.

And walked away with a slightly bruised wrist.

Williams received a three years of probation, $194 in fees, 20 days of Caltrans road work, and 160 hours of community service. Oh, and a whopping 12 hours of anger management; we can only wonder what that’s about.

Meanwhile, his victim received a death sentence, carried out on the bumper of Williams’ Chevy Avalanche.

Wheels also reports that a preliminary hearing took place this week for a very pregnant Christine Dahab, charged with felony counts of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol count over .08, after injuring 13 cyclists in Culver City in June of last year.

And our anonymous South Bay source reports that Joel Alexander Murphy has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of cyclist Roger Lippman in Huntington Beach last month, as well as for violating his formal parole on drug charges.

I’m also told that both the D.A.’s office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have been trying to reach out to Lippman’s family and friends to aid in the prosecution and prepare Victim Impact Statements to present to the judge to influence sentencing.

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In racing news, David Millar wins stage 12 of the Tour de France, seven years about coming back from a doping ban, in what’s turning into a British dominated race. Cadel Evans cracks in stage 11, while Wiggins tightens his grasp on the lead, and Thomas Voeckler won the first mountain stage of the Tour de France.

Bicycling offers an update on the eight Americans who started this year’s Tour; it ain’t pretty. Meanwhile, young riders Chris Froome and Tejay Van Garderen learn the hard way what it means to be a domestique.

Not content to go after Lance, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency bans his doctors and former trainer, while Armstrong refiles his lawsuit against USADA, and a U.S. representative calls for an investigation into the USADA for wasting time investigating Armstrong. And current former TdF champ Alberto Contador plans to return from his doping ban next month.

It’s been 45 years since British rider Tommy Simpson died in the Tour de France, the first, but sadly not only, fatality in its 109 year history.

The route for the fourth stage of August’s badly named USA Pro Cycling Challenge is in danger, as a giant sinkhole threatens to swallow the roadway.

In local racing, the Easy Reader offers a good wrap up of last weekend’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, as Ken Hanson and Shelby Reynolds take the top men’s and women’s categories, respectively.

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A new date — and new routes — have been announced for this fall’s CicLAvia, in order to make room for the space shuttle. Here’s your chance to ask CicLAvia’s Stephen Villavaso about the changes. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa offers up a video explaining how CicLAvia is transforming our streets, while Better Bike provides a detailed look at the new areas you’ll experience.

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Bill Cosby narrates a 1970s-era public service video about bi-cycling, as he calls it; who knew Santa Ana used to be bike friendly?

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A reader sends in this photo of an angry Santa Monica bus driver cursing him out after he asked the driver to be more careful. He notes that Big Blue Bus officials were very helpful in handling his complaint, and that simply taking a photo is often the best thing you can do when confronted with a traffic altercation.

I’ve long been a believer in pulling out a camera when confronted with angry driver.

Especially ones that may have been otherwise distracted.

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The monthly Spoke(n) Art ride rolls tomorrow. CD13 City Council candidate Josh Post is hosting a two hour fun ride along the L.A. River bike path on July 22nd to share his vision for a bike-friendly L.A. and revitalization of the L.A. River. If you’re in the market for a new job, Bikes and Hikes LA is looking for in-shape, bilingual tour guides. LADOT will be testing new treatments Sunday for the badly worn Spring Street green bike lanes. BIKAS offers a better than passing grade for L.A.’s new bikeway efforts. Will Campbell creates another great timelapse through Griffith Park. Santa Monica moves forward with their own 13 station bike share program, which may or may not be compatible with the upcoming L.A. bike share; Better Bike asks what role, if any, the Westside Council of Governments will play on the region’s expanding bike share plans. Glendale gives up on the Honolulu Ave road diet, as auto-centric council member Dan Weaver observes that the city’s streets were designed for automobiles, not bicycles; thanks to Michael Wade for the heads-up. The route has been set for Pasadena’s inaugural Gran Fondo. A ghost bike was installed Friday for Larry Schellhase, the cyclist killed when he hit road debris in Redondo Beach last April.

Newport Beach votes on placing sharrows on the East Coast Highway; word from cdmCyclist’s Frank Peters is that they were approved. San Diego cyclists are understandably upset after Caltrans decides to remove a ghost bike for fallen rider Nick Venuto, but manage to save another for Chuck Gilbreth; they’ll also host a ride to honor fallen cyclists Theodore Jones and Angel Bojorquez on July 25th. San Diego hires Safe Moves to provide bike and pedestrian safety training to students. A local resident asks why Coronado isn’t bike friendly. Sharrows are coming to Highway 101 in Solano Beach. The Bert and Ernie approach to sharing the road. Be careful biking with your dog running alongside; or better yet, just don’t. Security video catches a Solvang burglar breaking in to a bike shop and running out with two bikes. Palo Alto moves forward with a new bike plan. Good news, as the Modesto girl seriously injured when she stepped in front of an antique car to save her bike riding brother returns home from the hospital. Cyclists are gaining political influence in the Bay Area, though not everyone is happy with it. A not guilty plea from the driver accused of critically injuring New Zealand pro cyclist Michael Torckler in a Sonoma County hit and run.

The Bike League looks at our own Dorothy Wong. States can’t wait to spend former bike funding on other projects. New pedals double as bike locks. A Portland study shows bicyclists spend more at local business. Clif Bar celebrates its 20th Anniversary by giving Public bikes to their employees. According to a Denver paper, either cruiser bikes rule, or they’re ruining cycling for the rest of us. A micro brewery in my home town converts its parking lot into secure bike parking. Survivors of the devastating Colorado fires say their lives would be better if they could just get rid of those damn bikes. Aspen CO cyclist can now expect to get a warning instead of a ticket. A North Dakota’s Supreme Court rules a cyclist can be convicted of drunk bicycling. Republican candidates in Madison WI unite to oppose a local bike path. Turns out riding a bike in Chicago is safer than riding in the suburbs. A Michigan driver rear-ended and critically injured a rider, then casually continued on to the same casino where his victim worked. Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas asks if this is the worst crash report ever. A reminder that cyclists aren’t always the good guys, while a Columbus writer says that city’s drivers are courteous, but cyclists are road-hogging jerks who should be ticketed — and describes unsafely passing a rider as proof. New York plans to slow more drivers down to a 20 mph speed limit. Boston’s Lovely Bicycle finds the middle ground in appreciating John Forester, the father of vehicular cycling. Shockingly, it turns out drivers break the law more than cyclists. Turns out that the DC-area cyclist who killed a pedestrian recently wasn’t a spandex-clad maniac after all. North Carolina cyclists ride in honor of Steve Jordan, the state director for mental health, who was killed while riding his bike on the 4th of July. Florida plans to allow bikes on some limited access highways on a trial basis.

A San Diego physician saves the life of a doored cyclist while vacationing in Vancouver. The British Medical Association says curb car use and make room for bikes and pedestrians. From anorexic model to a favorite in team pursuit at the London Olympics. A British Paralympic cyclist sees her games in doubt after she’s Jerry Browned by a passing car. German cyclist Kristina Vogel bounces back from a broken neck to compete in London. A London cyclist rhetorically asks why not just ban bikes entirely after they’re barred from bus and Olympic lanes prior to the games. A British cyclist receives the equivalent of 36 cents in court ordered compensation for his stolen bike. “Pranksters” nearly decapitate a 12-year old English boy by stringing rope across the footbridge he was riding on; yeah, real funny. Tests show cyclists using earphones at a reasonable level can still hear warning sounds from other riders, comparable to a car driver with no music playing. An Aussie cyclist calls for an end to road rage.

Finally, that’s what I call a rough ride, as a Type 1 Diabetic riding in the Tour Divide stops to check his blood sugar, encounters a bear, slides off of an embankment and nearly drowns in a river before making his way back to his bike — and on to a hospital. This is what I call a sharrow. And these are the rules that should govern every bike club:

1) Ride Bikes

2) Try not to be an ass

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My apologies to everyone who sent me links this past week. Between all the breaking news and an inadvertent email crash, I’ve completely lost track of who sent me what. But I am grateful to each of you, and hope you’ll all keep sending me more stories as we move forward.

A random mediation on blessed bikes, Bike Week and the Ride of Silence

Some random thoughts as I catch up from the first few wet days of L.A. Bike Week.

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Bishop Jon Bruno, who clearly dressed for the occasion, though I suspect he didn't ride in that.

Despite my firm belief that the human body is incapable of sustaining life prior to 7 am, I found myself rising just after 6 yesterday to for the one hour ride downtown for the Blessing of the Bicycles.

It only took a few minutes of walking the corgi, who was none too pleased to be awakened at that hour — let alone dragged out into the rain — to decide that driving would be a much better option.

So I strapped my bike onto the back of my 17-year old car, which finally chugged past the 105,000 mile mark on the way, and made the drive to Good Samaritan Hospital.

Despite the rain, I  saw a surprising number of cyclists there, with more arriving throughout the hour-long event. Most of whom had the bedraggled look of someone who had braved the elements to get there.

The Buddhist representative warned children to stop doing dangerous tricks on their bikes, or he'd tell the Kung Fu Panda.

I’ll let the CicLAvia blog tell the story, as they were clearly taking much better notes than I was, focused as I was on sucking down some hot coffee and scarfing from the wide array of pastries and fresh fruit.

If the spread they put out for cyclists is any indication of the quality of care patients receive at Good Sam, I may need to switch my medical allegiance from the Jews to the Episcopalians.

Being of a very ecumenical bent, I don’t think God really cares which team you choose, as long as you choose one.

Our newly bike-friendly and apparently fragile mayor arrived with his foot in a cast — not, as might be guessed, the result of another cycling accident, but from wandering through a strange hotel room after dark.

(Insert joke here.)

DWP Employee Chris Bolivar is honored for his heroics in stopping a bike theft by bike owner and Good Sam VP Dan McLaughlin.

For me, though, the highlight was seeing DWP employee Chris Bolivar honored for his heroics in rushing off a Metro bus to stop a thief from stealing a new Trek Madone belonging to Good Sam VP Dan McLaughlin. And then watching him ride off with his wife on a newly-purchased red and white Schwinn tandem.

After listening to an array of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish prayers for our safety — nice work on the shofar, Rabbi — I took my place in a long line of cyclists to be blessed by Episcopal Bishop Jon Bruno, walking my bike since the other half of my cleats were still in my car along with the shoes they’re attached to.

Frankly, I’ll take all the help I can get to safely navigate these city streets.

Evidently, I’m not the only one, as Will Campbell’s blessed ass made the front page of the Times’ Late Extra section.

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Councilmember Bill Rosendahl invites all to participate in Bike Week. KCRW’s Shortcuts blog reports on a soggy start to the week. Metro offers an interactive map to help you plan your route for Bike to Work Day. The afore mentioned Mr. Campbell looks forward to Thursday’s Bike from Work Happy Hour, which also takes place at Pourtal Wine Bar, among other bike-friendly taverns.

Ten deals and freebies for Bike Week. Bike-friendly UCLA observes Bike to Campus Week. More commuters are getting there by bike. Sensible gear for biking to work, and how to dress — or pack — for it.

Even, courtesy of Tucson Velo, if you’re a drag queen.

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Long Beach wraps up Bike Week with the Grand Opening of a new Performance Bicycle shop on Friday, their 100th nationwide. To celebrate, the first 100 people in line will have chance to win one of seven new bikes valued at a total of over $7,000. The store is located at Long Beach Town Center, 7611 East Carson Blvd in Long Beach; distribution of keys for the contest will take place at 8 am, with the doors opening at 9.

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Tonight marks the world-wide observance of the Ride of Silence, a slow paced memorial ride to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads, raise awareness of cycling and ask that we all share the road safely.

And once again, it won’t be officially observed here in Los Angeles.

There will be ROS rides in other parts of Southern California, though, including Fullerton, Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, San Diego, Temecula, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, if you live in those areas or can make the trip.

It will also be observed at the L.A. Velodrome tonight, as cyclists will ride 40 silent laps in honor of fallen riders. And we do have a long and tragically growing list of local riders to honor, including James Laing, Jim Swarzman, Danny Marin and Alex Romero, just to name a few.

I tried, and failed, to get an L.A. ride started this year, mostly because I’ve never organized a ride and had no idea what the hell I was doing.

However, I’m committed to getting one off the ground next year, and will start earlier to organize it and get the cooperation of local authorities and advocacy groups.

If anyone wants to help, just let me know.

And thanks to Kieron at the Velodrome for stepping up to make sure local riders won’t be forgotten this year.

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A fascinating look at the rich and powerful former New York DOT commissioner who may or may not be behind the backlash against the city’s successful and popular Prospect Park West bike lanes — despite being married to a leading, and presumably pro-cycling, Senator Chuck Schumer.

HuffPo’s Joel Epstein also offers his typically insightful thoughts on the subject.

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After Sunday’s hard charge up Mt. Etna, Contador still holds the leader’s jersey in the Giro; Bike Snob says he looks pretty in pink. In the wake of Wouter Wayland’s death in Stage 3 of the Giro, organizers have added extra safety measures for a difficult descent on Saturday’s Stage 14.

Colorado bike prodigy Taylor Phinney rides his first AToC. Team Sky’s Greg Henderson takes the overall lead after winning Stage 3 of the AToC; Phinney is currently the top American at 8th. Bicycling profiles the top young Americans in the race.

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LACBC gets a shiny new website, and unveils their latest video with Austin Nichols looking forward to the upcoming River Ride on June 5th. The Coalition also reminds cyclists that comments on the proposed L.A. County bike plan are due by June 3rd, and says it could be a lot better.

And don’t forget you can get a discount for River Ride through BikingInLA, and enter a contest to win a free River Ride.

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LADOT Bike Blog recaps the recent BAC Planning Subcommittee meeting, including implementation of the Bike Plan, extending the crappy, door zone Westwood Blvd bike lanes south to the planned Expo Line station, and bike lane projects around the planned Universal Studios expansion.

The last of which will happen over my dead body unless they allow the L.A. River Bike Path to extend through their property.

The expansion, that is. Not the bike lanes.

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Writing for Streetsblog, Mark Elliot of Better Bike Beverly Hills updates the status of the Westside’s black hole for cyclists; the LACBC’s Marissa Christiansen reports on the South Bay Bicycle Coalition and the area’s new Bike Master Plan. A UCLA student invites you to log your commute times by bike and car to prove bikes are faster for shorter trips. Richard Risemberg calls for a separated cycle track on Washington Blvd to close the gap in the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through the Marina area. CicLAvia shares a photo from Sunday’s South L.A. ride; word is that July’s scheduled CicLAvia will be cancelled, but October’s will go forward with an expanded route into Boyle Heights. Eco-Village looks at the new bike lanes on Expo and MLK. Learn the art of track racing at the L.A. Velodrome. L.A. Creek Freak objects to “improvements” to the North Spring Street Bridge that would just allow more cars to go faster. Long Beachers are invited to participate in a bike safety study. Long Beach’s biking expats get an unplanned delay in starting their latest cross county adventure. A bike cam catches a car speeding through the Santa Cruz Mountains, only to come upon the same car upside down on the side of the road moments later.

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood calls on cyclists to join the 2 Mile Challenge to replace short cars trips with bikes and raise funds for three worthy organizations. The League of American Bicyclists lists events throughout May’s Bike Month, and partners with AAA to promote bike safety. Examining the myth that gas taxes pay for the roads motorists drive. Amazon discovers bike commuters. Momentum magazine jumps into the great helmet debate, while yet another study shows mandating helmet use is counterproductive; however, Brit James Cracknell credits his with saving his life. Sharrows make their way to small town Oregon. Bike Portland takes the local paper to task for biased reporting. A Tempe cyclist finds his bike on Craigslist the day after it’s stolen, A Denver cyclist is killed by a hit-and-run driver just weeks before participating in the 412-mile Ride the Rockies. Minneapolis cyclists could soon find bike supply vending machines along popular bike trails. Zeke puts his recent first aid training to use, determining that a tourniquet is probably not necessary for minor road rash.

Why even experienced cyclists sometimes ride on the sidewalk; Carlton Reid looks at the legalities of UK sidewalk riding, as well as confusion between cycle tracks and sidewalks. London cyclists win an important victory to keep bike lanes on a bridge with heavy bike commuter use. An around-the-world adventurer starts a campaign to give Scot children more space to ride to school. Even in rural Scotland, cyclists get honked at by drivers who could easily pass. British design and Chinese manufacturing — as if any western country makes much of anything these days — combine to build a cheap, colorful single-speed bike. For the second time in three years, someone has tried to sabotage the Etape Caledonia. Debuting at Cannes, a gritty, bike-centric modern fairy tale from Belgium; thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

Finally, Pittsburgh police take different sides on citing a cyclist for Biking Under the Influence.

A hero rides the bus — DWP employee Chris Bolivar stops a thief and saves a $2500 bike

Dan McLaughlin at the Tour de Palm Springs with his boss Andy Leeka; Dan is on the left

When Dan McLaughlin rode his bike into work on Wednesday, he never thought it would be stolen before he could get back home.

And he never thought a total stranger would run to his rescue, retrieving the bike almost before he knew it was gone.

According to Dan, he tries to ride his bike into work at least once a week. But the two-hour, 25-mile ride each way to his job at Good Samaritan Hospital is too much to sandwich around a full day at the office, so he usually takes the Commuter Express bus back to his home in Palos Verdes.

Wednesday night, he placed his $2500 Trek Madone in the rack at the front of the bus, and settled in to check his email in the back of the bus.

He barely noticed when the bus pulled over at a Downtown bus stop — it was somewhere on Flower, might have been at Washington Blvd, maybe Pico or Venice. What got his attention was the angry honking of the driver; soon everyone was standing, and someone yelled out “Your bike!”

He looked up to see his handlebars moving out of view through the windshield; by the time he got to the front of the bus, the bike was gone. He could see a young man struggling to hop on and ride it off, possibly because of the clip-in pedals.

As he stepped off the bus, though, he saw someone holding his bike. In the excitement, he ran towards him, only to realize that the man was walking back with it.

The other passengers were more than happy to fill him in.

When the bus stopped, the young man got off and immediately started to remove Dan’s bike from the rack. The driver, Pat Kesvy, started honking to stop him, but the thief kept going.

Thanks to DWP employee Chris Bolivar, this bike made it back home Wednesday

That’s when Chris Bolivar flew off the bus in pursuit of the thief. Bolivar, on his way home from his job with the Customer Service Department at DWP, quickly caught up to the struggling thief, scaring him into tossing the bike aside as he ran off down the street.

Bolivar picked it up and walked back, still shaking from the adrenalin rush.

Dan thanked his rescuer, and placed the bike back onto the rack. As they entered the bus, the passengers broke out in a spontaneous round of applause, applauding again when Bolivar got off at his stop.

And despite all odds, Dan McLaughlin made it home with his bike; as he puts it, it would have broken a roadie’s heart to lose a bike like that.

Meanwhile, one of the other passengers sent out an email telling the story, describing Bolivar as a gentleman who typically gives up his seat when the bus is crowded.

I’m told that email made it’s way to Chris Bolivar’s boss at DWP. And when he arrived at work Thursday morning, his co-workers stood up and applauded, as well.

McLaughlin is planning to take him to lunch next week to show his gratitude.

Maybe we should all thank him, in whatever way we can. After all, it could have been your bike. Or mine. And a total stranger cared enough to keep it safe.

It’s not every day you find a real hero riding the bus.

Update: A couple people have contacted me to point out that Chris Bolivar will honored at this year’s Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday, May 17th.

And am I the only one who sees a wonderful symmetry in a good Samaritan being honored by Good Samaritan?

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