Tag Archive for collateral damage

Update: Chula Vista bike rider killed by drunk driver in stolen car

A drunk driver. A stolen car. A dead cyclist.

A San Diego area bike rider has lost his life at the hands of a criminal apparently too drunk to control the car he stole.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, 29-year old Michael Reyes was traveling westbound on Chula Vista’s East J Street at Dennis Avenue around 4:15 pm Monday when he somehow crossed into oncoming traffic. He hit cyclist head-on before crossing over the sidewalk and crashing into a utility pole.

Reyes allegedly admitted to the police that he had been drinking, and that the silver Nissan Maxima  he was driving had been stolen earlier that afternoon. Inside the car, police found property that appeared to come from other car burglaries.

The 44-year old bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center where he died.

There was nothing the victim could have done to avoid the collision. He does not appear to have done anything to contribute in any way to his own death, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, sharing the same planet with a drunk on a crime spree.

If there is any justice, his killer won’t be back behind the wheel of any car, stolen or otherwise, for a very long time.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego County. This is also the fourth cyclist killed in Chula Vista since 2012.

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

Update: The victim has been identified as 44-year old Chula Vista resident David Voight. According to San Diego’s 10News, Voight was a regular bike commuter, and was just eight blocks from his home when he was killed. 

A close call in DTLA, a biking Hollywood producer gets left off the bus, and get your kicks on Route 66 next Sunday

It could have been so much worse.

Friday night, a high speed chase ended with a dramatic crash at Olympic Blvd and Los Angeles Street in Downtown LA, followed by police fatally shooting the driver for reasons that have yet to be explained.

And all just steps away from a group of bike riders who were nearly collateral damage in the crash, and had a front row seat for everything that followed.

Take a look at the link below — for some reason, I can’t embed the video — and watch carefully just above the geyser where the other car takes out the fire hydrant. (Hint — click on the full screen option for a better view.) You’ll see three bike riders who can count their lucky stars as both cars spun out on either side of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbDwKspYgiU

Looks like some of the angels this city is named for were looking out for them. Ether that, or they need to buy some lottery tickets for Tuesday’s drawing, because they had to be some of the luckiest people on two wheels.

Thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the heads-up, who says a friend of his was one of those lucky riders.

………

You might be surprised who rides a bike. Or takes it on the bus.

When they can, that is.

It’s been a long-time problem that bike riders can be left stranded on the streets when the two bike racks on the front of Metro buses are full — including a woman who was forced to ride home alone at 4 am on New Years morning a few years back when she wasn’t allowed to take her bike on the bus.

TV producer Michael Binkow gets it.

Despite achieving a level of success that allows many of his peers to travel by limo or luxury car, he chooses to ride his bike to worksites throughout the city. And combine that journey with taking a Metro bus to get through some of the more challenging sections.

Except when full racks leave him stranded on the side of the road, waiting for bus after bus to pass by until one finally has an open space for his bike — even when there’s room for both him and his bike inside.

Here’s an email he sent to Metro on Friday, and cc’d me on.

Dear Ms. Johnson,

My name is Michael Binkow and I’ve been a resident of Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks) for the past 32 years.  I’m a television producer (“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” “1 vs 100,” “Container Wars,” etc.) so my work takes me to various parts of the city.  I’m now in Santa Monica and riding a bike to and from work most everyday.  With (the end of) Daylight Savings Time and ongoing construction on northbound Sepulveda Boulevard through the Sepulveda pass (and no bike lane), I’ve been riding the bus for 3 miles from Church Lane or Getty Center to Skirball Center to continue my ride home.

Here’s the issue—if there are two bicycles on the front of a bus, I’m stuck.  Drivers are “not allowed” to let me on and sometimes I must wait for several buses to pass before there’s an open slot.  By then of course it’s dark and even more dangerous to ride.  I’ve heard it’s a liability issue with potential injury to other passengers.  This is just fair.  One possible solution:  leave it to the driver’s discretion.  If there’s room on the bus and the bike won’t affect other passengers, let us on.  If the bus is too crowded and there’s not enough room, so be it, we’ll have to wait for the next one.

It’s obviously frustrating that those of us trying to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce auto traffic and take advantage of public transportation are discriminated against.

Please do what you can to revise this current policy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Michael Binkow

………

My friends Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, authors of Where To Bike Los Angeles, have been hosting a series of rides around the city and nearby environs in conjunction with the LACBC.

Their next ride will explore the legendary Route 66 that reaches its terminus right here in the City of Angels. Or more precisely, in Santa Monica, despite what the song says.

Route 66

When:   Sunday, December 22, 2013

Time:    Meet at 8:30am; ride at 9:00am

Where: Union Station in downtown Los Angeles

Meet in the garden courtyard on the south side of the main concourse of Union Station. Here’s the map.

Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, Main Street of America, or the Will Rogers Highway, is one of our Nation’s first interstate highways. Opened in 1926, it rolls west from Chicago. In our end of the country, it passes through Azusa, Pasadena, downtown L. A., and on to its unofficial terminus at the Pier in Santa Monica. On this tour, we’ll experience a bit of this historic highway by following a bike friendly version of Route 66 (the current official route is on the 101 Freeway from downtown to Hollywood) from Union Station west on Sunset Boulevard, then Fountain Avenue, then Santa Monica Boulevard and a few side streets to the ocean. Along the way, we’ll ride down holiday decorated streets in Silver Lake, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. After a short break at the Pier, we’ll meander back to downtown on Main Street, Abbot Kenney, Venice Boulevard, and another Main Street.

Ride Length: 40 miles.

Ride Duration: Approximately 4-5 hours, including stops.

Difficulty: Recommended for intermediate-level riders, aged 16 and up. We’ll be riding on city streets, sometimes in bike lanes and sometimes on bike friendly streets marked with sharrows. Bottom line: be prepared for riding around automobiles on the last shopping weekend before Christmas. Hardly any climbing.

Weather Policy: Torrential rain, snow, earthquake or fierce wind cancels the outing. Otherwise, we ride.

What to bring: A road-worthy bike, extra inner tubes, a patch kit and pump, plenty of drinking water, a pocket snack (such as an energy bar, banana or trail mix), a helmet, proper clothing, and money for refueling at random espresso bars and for post-ride refreshments.

Parking: There’s plenty of inexpensive parking not far from Union Station in Chinatown. Or, save gas and parking coin—ride a Metro train or a bus to the station.

RSVP: Strongly encouraged, via wheretobikela@gmail.com, so we can send you last-minute advisories, particularly about weather.

………

Finally, there’s still time to get into the spirit of the season — assuming you read this before Sunday evening — with the LACBC’s annual Larchmont Holiday Caroling Bike Ride.

 

Bike hate and road rage rear their ugly heads in San Diego County, leaving one rider seriously injured

Photo by @bikeSD

Photo from Sam Ollinger of BikeSD.com

Some people don’t even try to hide their willingness — if not desire — to kill you for getting in their way.

Bike San Diego reports coming across a frightening sign on the side of the road saying it’s better to run over a cyclist than risk a head-on collision by going around one.

I think the writer misunderstands the basic concept of sharing the road. It does not mean that bike riders have to get the hell out of the way, despite what some impatient drivers might suggest.

And unless you’re a total ass behind the wheel, hell-bent on getting where you’re going as fast as humanly possible regardless of the cost, it is in fact possible to wait patiently until it’s safe to pass, and avoid the risk of collision altogether.

The writer also makes it clear that he — I’m assuming, perhaps erroneously, that such a hate-filled colossal pile of human waste capable of writing something like this must be a he — couldn’t care less about the person on that bike if it’s in his way.

On the other hand, he very carefully avoids crossing the line by actually inciting violence. The sign is on private property, and as offensive as it is, the writer has a First Amendment right to express his highly objectionable opinion as long as he doesn’t actually encourage drivers to run cyclists over.

On the other hand, if he even so much as bumps the wheel of a bike, this sign could offer proof of criminal intent.

For the rest of his life.

………

A San Diego cyclist was nearly killed in a collateral damage collision between two road raging drivers on Saturday.

The drivers were reportedly jockeying for position where two travel lanes merged into a single lane on State Route 67 in Poway. The vehicles sideswiped one another, causing the pickup in the right lane to swerve into the rider, who was taking part in the Pedal the Cause ride to raise funds for cancer research.

Both drivers left the scene; frighteningly, the driver of the pickup reportedly had no idea he hit her.

The victim was hospitalized with major injuries, including broken bones; doctors said her helmet saved her life. Personally, I’d blame a couple of dangerously aggressive jerks for nearly taking it, instead.

And that’s the difference between the risks posed by cyclists and drivers, which so many bike-hating motorists don’t seem to get.

Even the most aggressive cyclist is a danger primarily to him or herself, while aggressive drivers are a danger to everyone around them.

Update: According to San Diego’s NBC-7, the 38-year old victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding in a marked bike lane when the collision occurred; her injuries are described as severe but not life threatening. 

The two drivers are both 50-year old men, which is certainly old enough to know better. 

And speaking of knowing better, NBC-7 should know than a collision that results from the intentional act of two drivers each refusing to yield to the other may be many things. But it is no more an accident than if they had used guns rather than motor vehicles to settle their dispute.

………

Despite a state law requiring bike helmets for anyone under 18, only 11% of LA children injured while riding a bike were wearing theirs. Children over 12, minority children and children from low income families are least likely to wear one.

………

Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 9th at 4 pm when The Long Bike Back screens at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood as part of the All Sports Film Festival.

The new film traces the recovery and cross country ride of a cyclist seriously injured in a bicycling collision.

Pearson Constantino was preparing to fulfill his lifelong dream of bicycling across the United States when he was hit from behind by an SUV.  Despite his helmet, Pearson suffered serious injuries including a shattered femur, a crushed vertebra, and head trauma.

The Long Bike Back follows his recovery and his exciting bike ride across America with his brother Pete advocating for safer roads and reminding people of the joy of riding a bicycle.

Pearson and Pete’s cross-country journey covers the length of historic US Route 20.  Along the way, Pearson encounters many unexpected challenges including record high temperatures, flooding, food poisoning, inhospitable drivers, poor road conditions, crashes, detours, flat tires, and new injuries which inspire him to recommit to what matters most.

………

A writer for the Times suggests licensing bike riders, but acknowledges it might not make a bit of difference. You’re invited to ride Central Avenue this Sunday. The 7th Street bike lanes are being extended from Figueroa to Main St, hopefully taming what has long been one of the most dangerous streets I regularly ride. Rick Risemberg joins about a hundred other riders to plead for bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd, and calls out “Uncle Tom” LaBonge for betraying the bicyclists he claims to support. The Eagle Rock community celebrates the new Colorado Blvd, though the comments suggest not every community member does. An Atwater Village advocate complains about last minute attempts to add bike lanes and sidewalks to the proposed Hyperion-Glendale bridge makeover, failing to note they were included in the 2010 bike plan; Streetsblog’s Damien Newton counts 45 speakers against the proposed plans for a highway speed makeover at tonight’s meeting, and only 3 in favor. The Biking Grey Hole of Beverly Hills asks a somewhat biased question about bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica will host a bike expo next to the pier next May. You can now call them Santa Monica’s award-winning Ocean Park green bike lanes. SoCalCycling offers results from Sunday’s Krosstoberfest along with photos from Saturday’s Spooky Cross; CLR Effect offers more great photos. South Pas prioritizes sidewalks over bike lanes. Best wishes to Seth at Cycling in the South Bay, who hits the pavement hard in a gnarly 10-bike crash caught on video; he credits his helmet with preserving his brain matter. Corona del Mar hosted a Halloween costume ride over the weekend. The embattled Bike Nation bike share system lives on in Fullerton. There’s still time to attend the California Bike Summit in Oakland next month.

How to avoid bike-on-bike crashes; maybe the group Seth was riding with should have read this first. Well yeah, if you built a bike path next to it, maybe the Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t be such a total ecological disaster after all. The late, great Lou Reed was one of us. A Portland man steals his stolen bike back, and helps bust a theft ring. No more excuses — bike-friendly Portland built their entire bikeway network for the price of a single mile of urban freeway; just imagine what all that money wasted on the much-maligned 405 makeover would buy. In yet another Portland story, a clown has his tall bike stolen, while people report someone approaching strangers trying to sell one for 20 bucks. Just heartbreaking: A 92-year old Chicago-area man was killed when his adult tricycle was hit by a speeding car. Security is increased after an Illinois bike rider threatens blue-eyed private school children. If you’re bicycling in Ohio, make sure you’re not riding recreationally if you want any protection under the law. Maybe it’s time to stop being polite when a law-breaking driver threatens your safety. Just heartbreaking 2: An 89-year old Florida man is killed in a left cross while riding his adult tricycle in a crosswalk. Bike lanes may reduce the frequency of collisions, but not their severity.

The effectiveness of pro cycling’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission depends on how far back they go; I doubt the golden, dope-free age of cycling we all fondly want to remember ever existed. British parents write about the loss of their bike-riding daughter. Maybe #space4cycling should be #space4people. How to stay cycle chic all winter; wouldn’t those shorts be cold, though? A Brit bike rider verbally — and physically — abuses a 12-year old girl after a minor collision; seriously, that’s taking general obnoxious jerkishness way too far. A writer for the Guardian says the lack of a women’s Tour de France keeps cycling in the dark ages. Video shows an Amsterdam cyclist nearly crushed by a tree felled by yesterday’s hurricane force winds. Just a slight disconnect here, as a New Deli writer complains about how dangerous it is for bike riders to commute to work in the city — like his driver, for instance. Katy Perry rides Down Under, sans skid lid; now that I think about it, I don’t recall if she was wearing one when I saw her riding with her ex on the South Bay bike path awhile back. Japanese bureaucracy is effectively banning biking to work.

Finally, the future meets the past with this new e-Penny Farthing. And there was a time when Malibu actually encouraged people to bike there; as the photo suggests, though, it was a long time ago. Thanks to Jen Klausner for the heads-up. 

Malibu Pro-Bike Cover

Guest post: No justice, no closure for family of a fallen Palm Spring cyclist

This story breaks my heart. And it scares the crap out of me.

Last spring, Donny McCluskey was waiting at a red light when he became collateral damage in a violent vehicular collision.

He did everything right. He was exactly where he was supposed to be, and obeying the law in every way.

And yet he still died when a speeding driver ran a red light, and was broadsided by a drunk driver who was crossing on the green, sending the van tumbling into him.

The pickup driver who was otherwise obeying the law was arrested on the spot for DUI. Yet the driver who caused the collision and took the life of an innocent cyclist got a relative slap on the wrist, charged with a single count of misdemeanor vehicular homicide.

The victim’s family thought they’d see justice and get closure at his hearing. They were mistaken.

I’ll let his sister, Patti McCluskey-Andre tell the story.

No JUSTICE

Update on Donny McCluskey’s case with opening court date completed on February 13, 2013. It appeared to be held in Indio traffic court where most of the crimes were DUI, not showing up for DUI work (warrants) or driving without a license. After hearing these cases, there was Donny’s case: MISDEMEANOR vehicular manslaughter. No bail, no driving suspension, no reason to even show up in court for the driver (Armando Gomez of Cathedral City) who killed Donny-HE NEVER has to go to court because as the judge said several times: he was only charged with a misdemeanor (never mentioned manslaughter again) and he hired an attorney to represent him.

The judge explained the charges and the law as the DA had but the DA had no way of knowing he had hired a lawyer. As a family, we believed we would see the man and have some kind of closure. We agreed it was a terrible tragic accident caused by one man’s inattention and selfishness but not intentional. Yet, after court we realize the man who killed my brother, NEVER HAS TO GO TO COURT. Court was imagined as a form of cathartic movement for us to check off our grief list. We know there is no bringing Donny back, no matter what our actions are. We left the court in disbelief as to what kind of message are these charges delivering? Donny’s life was not worth more than paying a lawyer and going on with your life without much ado?

I could literally feel my 82 year old dad’s heart break as he sat next to me. I sensed him using sheer will to keep on breathing through the impersonalization and lack of importance attached to the death of his son. He also had to go home to tell Donny’s wife and mom what occurred. My heart breaks for everyone. My sister, my dad and I came to INDIO as we felt it was Donny’s day in court and since he was dead, his family would represent him.

Seems there are no laws protecting cyclists who die from gross vehicular operation unless the driver was texting, drunk or leaves the scene. Mr. Armando Gomez ran a light and accelerated an additional 30 mph when he realized it. Unfortunately, Mr. Gomez and his van were hit by a truck traveling through a green light resulting in his van flipping and skidding into my brother causing massive life ending injuries (Donny was following ALL the laws).

Mr. Gomez’s lawyer actually stated it was possibly the OTHER man’s fault. Now that is taking responsibility for your actions. I don’t know what the green light man did, but he was arrested at the scene for being under the influence. Maybe he could have stopped, if he was not under the influence but he was not the root cause of the accident. I am sure this driver will have more profound consequences.

Meanwhile, we grieve and acknowledge every month that goes by without our amazing husband, brother, son and uncle. Today is the 10 month anniversary. February 28th would have been his 50th birthday.

We need to change CA law. A car is a weapon and when not following laws that govern their use, even if you did not intend to kill someone and you do, then there needs to be consequences. It could be you or someone you love next time!

We need guidance on how to change these laws!
Patti McCluskey-Andre

The scary thing is this could happen to any of us. The actions of a careless driver can cause a chain reaction that can put us at risk; I’ve jumped the curb myself to avoid a car careening from a collision.

And if it does, the driver will probably get off. Or face the most meagre of charges, despite the damage he or she may cause.

Patti’s right.

The law has to change to ensure lawbreaking drivers who kill or maim innocent people face consequences equal to their actions.

Because their victims do.

Restaurant run down, cyclist collateral damage in Venice police chase; plus major Fat Tuesday linkage

A cyclist was collateral damage in a Venice police chase Sunday night.

Police reportedly spotted a pickup driven by a parolee driving too fast the wrong way on a one-way street just off the beach at Venice Blvd and Speedway. Following a short chase, the cyclist was struck at the intersection of Lincoln and Brooks before the truck crashed into the Wurstküche restaurant a few blocks away at Vernon.

Fortunately, the rider is relatively okay; the Times reports that he suffered a broken leg in the collision.

But these chases are getting far too frequent and dangerous.

And the next person to become collateral damage may not be so lucky.

………

As hard as it is for me to admit at times, there are other issues besides bicycling in this year’s race for mayor of Los Angeles. Candidate Kevin James offers a detailed position on animal issues for of us who care about the city’s four-footed residents; I’d like to see what the other candidates have to say on the subject.

………

Streetsblog posts video of Sunday’s CD 1 candidates debate; I’m told there may be a problem with one candidate’s responses. UCLA’s Daily Bruin looks at Saturday’s ride for more bike lanes in Westwood. Santa Monica’s first complete green street opened on Ocean Park Blvd on Saturday. Santa Monica College gets a spectacular new bike parking lot with space for 400 bikes — and skateboard parking, too. If you’re on probation and in possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, maybe you should steal a cheaper bike. Better Bike is back to bug the Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills into becoming less bike unfriendly. Occidental College and NELA want your bike art for a gallery exhibition opening later this month. The Path Less Pedaled offers their typically great photos from their recent trip back to SoCal. The podcast of Saturday’s edition of Bike Talk hosted by the LACBC’s Colin Bogart is available online now. Cyclelicious reveals the face of a bike thief. Learning to ride safely with dead batteries. A cyclist is critically injured by a drunk driver in Fresno. As a cyclist, nothing scares me more than sharing the road with a cement truck; a San Francisco woman lost her life to one on Saturday.

We need more research on the effects of bicycling on the brain. Bob Mionske offers advice on dealing with the door zone. The Bike League forms a new Equity Advisory Council to reach beyond the usual voices. A 72-year old Scottsdale AZ woman is killed by a 20-year old driver in an apparent right hook. A hero Spokane cyclist saves a jogger from her attacker, then rides off without leaving her name. A Colorado woman is fined a whopping $100 after apologizing for running down a cyclist before running away. Chicago Tribune says Gen Yers are falling out of love with cars; maybe I’m younger than I thought. Ignoring all the available evidence, Illinois puts the brakes on a protected bike lane in Chicago by pretending they’re unproven. A Wisconsin man rides over 800 miles to visit friends in New Orleans, then gets run down from behind and killed just miles from his destination. Brooklyn is New York’s most dangerous borough for cyclists for the third year running. Dear Mr. Obama, give us another Ray LaHood, please. Maryland’s proposed mandatory helmet law would make cyclists less safe. A Florida cyclist commits suicide by car; the driver wouldn’t have faced charges if he’d stayed at the scene.

A cyclist is killed by a speeding ambulance in Guyana. A 16-year old UK cyclist tracks his stolen bike four miles through the snow to get it back. Dealing with anti-social cyclists. Sure, you could say one in five Oxford, England cyclists run red lights — or you could realize that means an overwhelming 80% don’t. Brit trucks drivers say bike safety shouldn’t rest solely on their shoulders. London’s Sunday Times says Strava is turning cyclists into dangerous speed maniacs; bike writer Carlton Reid says not so fast. That sound you hear is a Scottish politician backpedalling furiously when it comes to cycling targets. Israel lacks sufficient infrastructure to keep cyclists safe on intercity highways.

Finally, an apparently older writer says the privilege of driving is far too important to test drivers over 80 for cognitive impairment, and somehow equates getting dangerous older drivers off the road to Nazi Germany; thanks to Todd Munson for the heads-up.

And I thought I had a close call with a Big Blue Bus recently; this guy nearly lost his head.

Happy Mardi Gras! Throw me something, mister!

Palm Springs cyclist dies in collateral damage collision; 2nd fatality today, 3rd this week

Some drivers will tell you they’ve never seen a cyclist stop for a red light.

Yesterday, proving them wrong cost a 49-year old Palm Springs man his life.

Donald McCluskey was stopped at the red light on southbound Da Vall Drive at Ramon Road in Rancho Mirage around 12:15 pm Wednesday when a 2010 Chrysler Town and County minivan traveling in the opposite direction ran the red light.

The van overturned after it was hit by a 1998 GMC Sierra pickup traveling west on Ramon, plowing into McCluskey, as well as the car stopped next to him. He was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 1:40 pm.

Remarkably, Larry Wayne Goodman of Cathedral City, the driver who had the green light — not the one who ran the red light — was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence. No word on the identity of the Chrysler driver, who was hospitalized with moderate injuries, or why he blew through the light.

In other words, the two people who caused the collision were both breaking the law, while the person who died as a result of their actions apparently did everything right.

This is the 14th cycling fatality in Southern California since the first of the year, and the third in Riverside County. It is also the second bike death today, and the third in the last seven days.

My deepest sympathy to Donald McCluskey and his loved ones.

%d bloggers like this: