Tag Archive for Damian Kevitt

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.

………

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.

 

Update: Gatto bill suspends licenses for hit-and-run; hit-and-run victim Damian Kevitt to finish his ride in April

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Last year, Glendale-area state Assembly Member Mike Gatto sponsored successful legislation to extend the statute of limitations in hit-and-run cases from three to six years.

The bill was stronger as originally written, though, providing an additional year from the date a suspect was identified. Still, the final version that passed the legislature on a unanimous vote of both houses was signed by Governor Brown — which is not always a sure thing — and went into effect on the first of the year.

Now Gatto is taking the next step in ending the epidemic of hit-and-and run.

According to a press release from his office, which does not appear to be online yet, Gatto has introduced legislation calling for automatic license revocation for any motorist who leaves the scene of a collision involving another person — even if the injuries are minor.

That’s revocation, not suspension.

(Update: Actually, it’s not. See below.) 

As such, it goes beyond the 2010 Life Before License campaign sponsored by the apparently dormant Bikeside LA, which called for license suspensions of varying length depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Because too often, drivers are allowed to keep their licenses after fleeing the scene, even in cases where the victim has been seriously injured.

And it corrects, in part at least, a loophole in California law that only allows serious consequences in cases resulting in death or serious bodily injury.

Even then, hit-and-run drivers too often walk off with a slap on the wrist. And their license.

“The only way to know if you hurt someone is to stop. The only way to get someone medical help is to stop,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “Allowing drivers who don’t stop to keep their license, adds insult to their victim’s injuries.” …

“AB 1532 will give victims of hit-and-runs solace, knowing that cowards who drive recklessly, and purposefully avoid responsibility for their actions, are no longer driving the streets,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “This is a sensible fix to the law that will lead people to think twice before leaving the scene of an accident.”

It’s not the full solution to hit-and-run.

But it’s something I’ve long called for to discourage drivers from fleeing the scene, and get drivers who’ve shown they can’t obey the most basic requirements for driving — let alone human decency — off the road.

We still need to address the fact that current law actually encourages drivers who have been drinking to flee the scene until they have time to sober up. As well as the fact that unless their vehicle is taken away, many motorists will continue to drive after their licenses have been taken away.

And again, with little or no consequences in far too many cases.

But Gatto’s bill is a vital step to control, if not end, the epidemic. And get some of the state’s most dangerous and heartless drivers off the road.

As Eric Bruins, Planning and Policy Director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, noted,

“Stopping and rendering aid after a collision is the most basic duty of a motorist. … Failing to do so can be the difference between scrapes and bruises and a serious injury or fatality. Anyone who flees the scene of an accident has demonstrated in the most cowardly way possible that they do not have the judgment necessary to keep their driving privileges.”

Update: Now that the bill has been posted online, it’s clear that the press release was misleading, at best. Rather than calling for revocation, as the press release stated, it would merely require that drivers who leave the scene have their licenses suspended for 6 months.

As such, it’s still a step forward, if a relatively small one. It’s not as strong as what was called for under Life Before License, and a lot weaker than what I’ve been calling for; whoever wrote Gatto’s press release should know there’s a big difference between suspension and revocation.

The bill would also amend current law to require that drivers who hit a person would be required to stop at the scene, rather than at the nearest location that would not impede traffic. 

The current provision has been abused by drivers who would leave the scene, then turn themselves in hours later with no penalty.

Thanks to Alex H for the correction

……….

The press release also notes that Damian Kevitt — the cyclist critically injured in a hit-and-run when a minivan driver dragged him onto the 5 Freeway after running him over near Griffith Park nearly a year ago — is planning to finish the ride that took his leg.

And nearly, his life.

Other hit-and-run victims are continuing the healing process.  Damian Kevitt was struck by a mini-van while on his bicycle and dragged more than a quarter-mile down the Interstate 5 Freeway in Los Angeles last February.  The collision resulted in dozens of broken bones and the amputation of one of Kevitt’s legs. Kevitt recently announced that he will be finishing the ride he started last year at an event on April 27, 2014 to raise awareness for hit-and-run victims and challenged athletes.

The suspect who hit him remains at large, despite a $25,000 reward. You can contribute to Damian’s efforts to raise $10,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Seriously, I’m in awe of that guy.

……….

In a somewhat related, and horrifying, story, a Wisconsin driver faces charges for allegedly running down an adult tricycle rider, then fleeing the scene with his victim still lodged in his windshield. Fortunately, the rider wasn’t seriously injured, and managed to free himself after the driver arrived home, reports the StarTribune.

A Wisconsin man who became lodged in the windshield of a car that struck him said he turned to the driver and said, “Hello, I’m the guy you hit on the bicycle.” …

The man finally noticed Gove when he stopped the car outside his home.

“He looked at me and said ‘Who are you? What are you doing in the car?’” Gove said. “He started freaking out: ‘I’m going to jail, I’m going to jail.’”

Thanks to Michael McVerry for the heads-up.

……….

A 79-year old Glendora cyclist is critically injured when he’s left-crossed by an 86-year old driver.

Meanwhile, a 19-year old Temecula man faces nine years in prison after reaching a plea bargain on charges that he fled the scene after hitting a stopped car, then ran a red light to strike another car and a bike rider in a crosswalk; the cyclist survived, but the other driver died several days later.

And if you can get past the paywall, the OC Register’s David Whiting asks if the death of his friend means we should give up sharing the road.

That would be no.

For all the bad news — and yes, there’s been far too much lately — your risk of dying on a bike is an infinitesimal one in 6.3 million. You also face twice as much risk inside a car as you do on a bike, on an hourly basis. And research shows the health benefits of bicycling far outweigh any risks.

I write about the bad things that happen because every fallen rider deserves to be remembered, and even one victim is one too many. And because someone has to wake up our civic leaders to the need for greater safety for everyone on our streets.

Don’t let that scare you off your bike, though.

Because bad things may happen. But they’re highly unlikely to happen to you.

……….

LADOT unveils the next round of planned bike lanes throughout the city. Assuming anti-bike city councilmembers don’t block them, that is.

Meanwhile, the city officially unveiled new bike lanes on Virgil Ave. And LADOT introduces People St to help rebuild our city on a more human scale.

……….

Bike share programs around the US and Canada have been called into question, as the company behind many of the leading programs has filed bankruptcy. Hopefully, Bixi’s financial problems will be just a bump in the road for cities like New York and Chicago, though Time Magazine isn’t very hopeful.

Thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the tip.

………

Flying Pigeon looks at last weekend’s successful Tweed Ride.

………

Finally, the National Business Review asks what you’d do if you knew how to stop bicycling deaths; evidently, the answer is not much, based on experience in Auckland. And Tennessee sheriff’s deputies threaten a bike rider with arrest after he’s assaulted by teenagers, even though they confessed to the crime; thanks to Charles Hudak for the link.

Your end of week bike news clearance — all links and emails must go

I’ve got a long list of things to catch up on after a busy week filled with too much breaking news.

So let’s see if we can clear out the inbox, along with a long list of backed up links.

………

Last February, cyclist Damian Kevitt barely survived a horrifying hit-and-run in which he was dragged 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway under the van that hit him, losing a leg and suffering what a good Samaritan doctor described as the worst non-fatal injuries he’d ever seen.

Yet remarkably, Kevitt is back on his bike just seven months later.

I just hope I get the chance to shake his hand someday. That guy is amazing.

Meanwhile, the heartless coward who left him for dead is still walking free, presumably on two functional legs. Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP at (800) 835-5247; there’s a $25,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in this case.

………

More details on the bike rider critically injured on OC’s Santa Margarita Drive.

Rancho Santa Margarita Patch reports the 34-year old rider remained in critical condition with life-threatening injuries after apparently bunny hopping the raised concrete median before darting into the path of an oncoming truck.

Patch notes that the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet. Not that it likely would have made a difference in a 45 mph collision with a delivery truck.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link.

………

The LACBC and Los Angeles Walks are still looking for volunteers for next month’s bike and pedestrian count. Counters are especially needed in South LA, San Fernando Valley, Westwood and USC area.

………

Matthew Gomez writes that new bike lanes are hitting the street in Arcadia, in both directions of Colorado Blvd from Colorado Street to San Antonio Road, west of the newly remodeled bridge for the coming Gold Line extension.

Looks like they’re wisely getting ready for an increase in ridership once the trains start running.

………

Manhattan Beach will hold a meeting to discuss the city’s General Plan Mobility Plan update on September 24th from 6 pm to 8 pm.

The Mobility Plan update will provide goals and policies for a balanced, multi-modal transportation system for the movement of people and goods in Manhattan Beach. A balanced system uses multiple modes of travel to meet the needs of all users to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors and users of public transportation.

Thanks to Paiwei Wei for the heads-up.

………

DCIM102GOPROI received an email from Craig Kobayashi complaining about the dangerous conditions that have resulted from the closure of the popular Coyote Creek Trail.

I’m writing to try and enlist help on focusing attention to a dangerous detour generously provided to us by our good friends at CalTrans. I posted a comment on one of your blog entries regarding the Coyote Creek Trail. It has been closed due to the I-5 widening project since mid-2012 and projected to be closed until 2015! The closure can be seen here: http://dpw.lacounty.gov/bikepathclosures  The bypass route they have provided includes the Carmenita Blvd bridge overpass, which is incredibly narrow with no provided shoulder. I’ve included a picture of the southbound portion of the bridge as taken from my GoPro. This is the detour CalTrans expects us to tolerate until 2015.

The Coyote Creek Trail was previously a staple on my daily commute route and I’ve simply grown fatigued of fighting this traffic.  I fear that being forced into traffic lanes will inevitably result in a collision and we know how well cyclists fare vs. cars.

He notes that he contacted Caltrans about the project, and got a typical canned response. Hopefully they can do better with his follow-up.

Update: Craig reports he’s received a response from a Caltrans representative saying they are working with the County of Los Angeles to create a safer detour while the construction work goes on. And he offers a video  of his commute through the work zone. For some reason, the video won’t embed, but you can click on the link to view it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aePC_W5-tI&hd=1

………

The first ever Rose Bowl Legacy Cycling Challenge is scheduled to roll on October 20th to celebrate the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium and the cities of the San Gabriel Valley, and benefitting City of Hope on its 100th anniversary.

The non-race rules-of-the-road ride will feature three routes ranging from 38 to 100 miles, with a $75 entry fee and a $350 fundraising commitment.

………

A new crowdsourcing website has been launched to express Angeleno’s concerns with the seemingly endless 405 expansion project.

The founder is especially concerned about the impact the project has had on city bicyclists and wants to hear from members of the bike riding community how the project has affected your life and safety, and what your concerns are going forward.

………

Maybe the reason LA is the nation’s leader for hit-and-runs is we’re also a world leader for massive SUVs and over-stressed drivers. LA has the second most collision — not accident — prone drivers in the US; turns out my hometown has the best. Great photos from last weekend’s inaugural Active Streets LA. Keep an eye on this proposed City Council ordinance which would require better workmanship on street repairs affecting crosswalks and bike lanes; it’s been continued for two more months. Streetsblog looks at last weekend’s second annual Clitoral Mass; men weren’t invited, but then, we probably wouldn’t have been able to find it anyway. Where to live car-free or car-lite in LA. Flying Pigeon hosts their next Brewery Ride on Saturday, Sept. 7th. Better Bike proposes a bike corral for the Biking Grey Hole of Beverly Hills; they’ve been upgraded to grey because they now have a great bike lane on Burton Way, even if you still have to risk your life just to get to it from either direction. Long Beach sharrows seem to show a drop in bicycle crashes.

Calbike offers their August update. Cynergy Cycles invites you to join in on the California Coast Classic Bicycle Tour next week. Bike Newport Beach looks at cycling’s invisible constituency, and says three deaths in the last year are three too many. You’re invited to San Diego’s Pedal for the Cause in October. A Fresno bike rider’s bike cam catches the hit-and-run van that knocked him over; needless to say, the owner’s wife blames the cyclist. Bike share officially begrimes the Bay Area. San Francisco’s bike progress leaves some neighborhoods behind. The chief of the SFPD says the driver who killed cyclist Amelie Le Moulac has been found at fault, after the city’s Bike Coalition uncovers security cam video the department didn’t care enough to find. Meanwhile, a local columnist says everyone needs to ease up a little. It takes a real schmuck to steal bicycles from Watsonville special ed students.

Seven tips for first time bike commuters. Bicycling looks at the state of bike commuting across the US. Modern American bike shops feature beer, coffee and wedding cake; sounds like our own Pedalers Fork fits right in. Unemployment doesn’t explain the nation’s drop in driving rates. A cyclist dies over a week after he’s apparently right-hooked by a Nevada judge. Portland dentist offers to fix a local cyclist’s teeth after they’re broken by traffic cone-wielding thugs. Sadly, a two-and-a-half pound Chihuahua survives a bike trip across the Rockies in his owner’s saddlebag, but succumbs to a collision with a Denver bicyclist. A Boulder CO bike shop calls on its customers to stop for stop signs. Tulsa OK considers a new law that would restrict cars from sharing a lane with bicycles. Columbus OH police shoot and kill an unarmed suspected bike thief after first knocking him off his bike with their patrol car, then it turns out it was his bike after all. New Hampshire police chief gets into videoed confrontation with racing cyclists. A second look at bicycle signal activation signs. Good things happen when towns put people ahead of cars. Bike share means more bike riders, more bike riders means more collisions, more collisions means more injuries, and more injures means more money for New York liability lawyers; did I get that right? If you’re going to run a stop sign, don’t do it in the path of a Virginia Tech campus cop. NASCAR racer Bobby Labonte breaks three ribs in a bicycling accident.

Your next helmet could be made of paper pulp, even if it looks like recycled paper salad bowl. Edinburgh drops speed limits to 20 mph to encourage bike riding; I’d be happy if we could keep LA drivers below 40 mph, or even 50, for that matter. Germany’s Chancellor Merkel calls bikes an important part of the mobility solution; I’ll be impressed when, and if, our bike-riding president ever says something like that. Check out these underground bike parking facilities in Japan; thanks to Phillip Young and Allyson Vought for the tip. Russian bike vs car collision caught on video; clearly, it’s the bike rider’s fault for like, being on the planet.

Finally, Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw may have had history’s most intellectual bicycle crash. And new bike panties promise to protect women’s sensitive parts while you ride; wish I’d had the concession for the Clitoral Mass ride.

Update: Goodbye to bicycling’s best friend on City Council; Gardena hit-and-run, and Kevitt sent to rehab

Best wishes to outgoing City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, who is being honored by the L.A. City Council today in his final council session.

In many ways, the city’s recent upswing in bicycling can be traced back to Rosendah’sl stepping forward in the wake of the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check that sent Dr. Christopher Thompson to jail for deliberately injuring two cyclists.

It was Rosehdahl who famously declared “Car culture ends today.” And shepherded the creation and passage of the city’s groundbreaking bicycle anti-harassment that has been copied by cities throughout California and around the country.

Not to mention bringing then new LAPD Chief Beck to meet with bicyclists in the council chambers, leading Beck to promise the department would do better — eventually becoming one of the nation’s most bike-friendly police departments.

Those a just a few of the highlights of a man who has been the best friend bike riders have ever had on the L.A. City Council.

And one who will be sorely missed.

Best wishes, Bill.

But don’t go too far. This city — and the cycling community you’ve worked to protect — still needs you.

………

A Gardena cyclist was severely injured in a hit-and-run Wednesday night.

The collision occurred about 9:50 pm on the 1000 block of El Segundo Blvd as the victim, identified as Gardena resident Jessie Dotson, was riding to work. He was rushed to a County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in extremely critical condition with head injuries.

Police are looking for a 40 – 50 year-old Latino man in a dark colored compact vehicle, with damage to the front windshield and a 5 in the license number. Anyone with information is urged to call Gardena police at 310/217-9600.

Sounds like prayers, good wishes or whatever you’re comfortable with are in order.

Thanks to Jim Lyle and Lois for the heads-up.

Update: Not surprisingly, the victim in this case, Jesse Dotson, died of his injuries three days after the collision, on Friday, June 29th. According to the Daily Breeze, despite the description given above, police arrested 22-year old Vanessa Marie Yanez on suspicion of manslaughter, perjury, filing a false police report and felony hit-and-run. 

In other words, they threw the book at her.

Something about this case must have really pissed someone off.

………

Semi-bike friendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge offers an update on Damian Kevitt, the Zoo Drive hit-and-run victim who lost a leg — and nearly lost his life — after being dragged onto the 5 Freeway. He reports Kevitt continues to make progress after being ransferred to the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehab Center in Downey for intense physical therapy.

Meanwhile, the city continues to offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the heartless coward who left Kevitt bleeding in the street.

………

Cannondale offers a free digital magazine to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France; the Cannondale Gazette is also available for download on iTunes, Android and Kindle.

………

Streetsblog offers advice for Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti’s first 100 days in office. Is anyone really surprised that bikeshare won’t come to L.A until next year at the earliest? Downtown’s Broadway could get a “dress rehearsal” road diet. Metro plans to spread CicLAvia outside L.A. Celebrate Bastille Day with the Beach Babes Bicycling Classic in Long Beach. A new combination bike and coffee shop opens in Agoura Hills. Red Kite Prayer celebrates cycling’s iPhone moment. Fallen San Diego bike racer Jackie Dunn is remembered as a kind and caring person. How to report an idiot driver. Marin County is up in arms because two preteen mountain bikers rode off after startling two equestrians, leaving them and a horse injured; jerks, yes, but I’d be more upset if they were adults. Making sense of a Fresno-area cycling tragedy a year later. For the right bike and rider, a good kickstand can be a good thing.

Artistic Cycling is the hot new sport. How to beat the heat on hot summer rides. An Ohio man gets a $5000 fine and five years in prison for killing a cyclist while under the influence. A Maine cyclist was killed by being sucked under by the slipstream of a passing semi-truck. Tickets for cyclists have gone up 81% in Brooklyn since New York’s CitiBike bikeshare program opened; not surprisingly, CitiBike users don’t want to ride uphill. Meanwhile, a New York cyclist is ticketed for riding a bike. Someone stole a tandem bike from a blind East Harlem cyclist. An automotive website says NY police are focusing more on pedestrian deaths, and that’s a good thing. The Wall Street Journal’s wicked witch is back for more bike hate; read the annotated Cliff Notes version instead. Evidently, life in Gotham is cheap as a judge calls the death of a four-year old killed by a teenage driver fleeing police “a mistake;” yeah, I’d say. Vastly over-estimating deaths and citing a discredited study to argue in favor of bike helmets. Video shows a cyclist wasn’t responsible for the collision that killed him, despite a long distance mistaken analysis. No bias here, as a DC cyclist is blamed for causing the collision that put him in the hospital — even though video evidence proves he didn’t.

A Toronto councilor is ticket for running a stop sign that doesn’t exist. In a rush back to the 1970s, the UK pledges to focus more on road building and less on active transportation. The case of a British woman who tweeted that she had knocked a cyclist off his bike — and actually did — has been referred to prosecutors. A Bath paper asks why there been another wave of bike hate; seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. A Brit researcher says bike helmets aren’t a no-brainer after all. Sometimes patient drivers are as annoying as the other kind; I often try to wave drivers around to get ‘em off my ass. Seven reasons to visit the bike-friendly Venice of Belgium. Oops; a court orders former pro cyclist Michael Rasmussen to pay over half a millions pounds after he sued his former team for firing him.

Finally, how many times do we have to say it? If you’re riding with an entire mobile meth lab in your backpack, stay off the damn sidewalk, already. And don’t throw your bike at police when they try to stop you for riding salmon.

A ride derailed, and my best wishes for your own personal holiday weekend

This day did not go as planned.

Starting with a middle of the night wake-up call from a sick Corgi that ended up canceling my plans for a half-century ride to the South Bay; she needed me home to look out for her more than I needed to ride.

And trust me, I needed to ride.

That was followed by an unexpected call from a reporter for KABC-7, who was picking up the story of 18-year old hit-and-run victim David Alexander Granatos, and wanted to interview me as part of it.

And while I appreciate the LA Weekly giving me a heads-up about their story reporting on the hit-and-run — really, I do — it would have meant more if I hadn’t already been reporting on it all week, in significantly more detail.

But I’m glad they covered it, just as I’m glad they did a much better job of reporting on hit-and-run victim Damian Kevitt — the cyclist who lost a leg, and may lose another, after he was dragged nearly 600 feet onto the I-5 Freeway by a fleeing driver — and putting it in context of the larger issue of cowardly drivers who refuse to take responsibility for the devastation they cause.

And I’m just as grateful that KNBC-4 and KABC-7 both reported on tonight’s Critical Mass, which was dedicated to Kevitt and rode past his hospital room.

Meanwhile, the more I learn about Granatos, the more heartbreaking it gets, as I find myself mourning a young man I never knew.

And now, never will.

Good Friday, for me, is always a maudlin day at best.

One calling for introspection and acknowledgement of just how far I stray at times from the man I choose to be.

Which is why I usually try to spend as much of it on my bike as I can. Because it’s there that my thoughts are clearest, I am most at peace and feel closest to God. If only because L.A. drivers threaten to make me that much closer to meeting him.

All of which is a long way of explaining why there was no update tonight.

Instead, allow me to offer my best wishes for a happy Easter and a blessed Passover, both of which are acknowledged in our mixed faith home. Even if the last few years have left me feeling like God’s favorite.

Or whatever you observe, even if it’s just a lovely weekend.

And hopefully, a great ride or two.

As for the Corgi, she seems to be doing much better.

Fingers crossed.

A call for justice for Damien Kevit; Redwood City police blame 14-year old cyclist for her own death

The fight for justice continues in the case of Damian Kevitt.

As you may be aware, the cyclist lost a leg — as well as suffering a number of other horrific injuries — when he was dragged onto the 5 Freeway by a hit-and-run driver last month.

Tonight I received the following email attempting to mobilize the community to find the heartless bastard who did it.

And I use that term advisedly.

……..

COMMUNITY MOBILIZING TO FIND HIT & RUN ASSAILANT

WHAT:  Members of the media are invited to attend a public outreach event in the continuing search for the driver who hit cyclist Damian Kevitt last month.

Volunteers and community organizers will be distributing fliers to inform the public of the hit-and-run collision and the $25,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of the assailant(s).

Damian was struck on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 11:30AM, the timing and distribution area correlate to the time and location of the hit-and-run one month ago.  There is a strong possibility the assailant was playing soccer at or near the field prior to the accident.

WHEN:
Sunday March 24, 2013
10:30AM Check-In
Public outreach from 10:45AM-12:00PM
 
WHERE:
John Ferraro Athletic Fields – Griffith Park
Meet at the Giant Soccer Ball adjacent to the soccer field parking lot
4701 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 91207

BACKGROUND: On Sunday February 17, 2013, Damian Kevitt was struck by a light colored minivan, possibly a gray Toyota Sienna which might have had a “for sale” sign posted in the rear window, on Zoo Drive near the Ferraro Soccer Complex and Dog Park.  The driver was possibly wearing a soccer jersey.

A $25,000 reward is being offered by the City of Los Angeles and the CHP to find the hit-and-run driver.  Anyone with information is asked to call CHP’s Altadena station at (626) 296-8100 or (323) 259-2010

Damian Kevitt was struck on on Feb. 17 around 11:35 a.m. when a minivan made a hard left, that struck and dragged him 600 feet down the Interstate 5 on-ramp until he fell from the vehicle.  The violent collision broke 20 bones and crushed his right leg.  Doctors had to amputate his right leg below the knee.  His left foot is missing tissue and skin and may also need to be amputated the road rash was so severe, it was down to the bone on Kevitt’s left elbow, and his buttocks will need skin grafts.

………

In a heartbreaking case, police blame a 14-year old Redwood City bike rider for her own death in a right-hook collision.

The official conclusion is that she undertook a truck that was signaling for a right turn, and got squeezed out when the road narrowed at a bulb-out. However, it’s far more likely that the truck overtook her, then cut her off by turning in front of her.

Unfortunately, the victim isn’t around to tell her own side of the story.

But a local rider does a pretty good job of telling it for her; link courtesy of LadyFluer.

But regardless of how it happened or who was at fault, there’s something terribly wrong with expecting a 14-year old to ride and react like an experienced cyclist just to stay alive on her way to school.

………

The family of fallen hit-and-run victim Benjamin Torres still hope for justice, six months after he was killed while riding to work. Boyonabike looks at Thursday’s LACBC-sponsored discussion on making bike-friendly places. An LMU student tells what it’s like to crash the LA Marathon with thousands of other riders. Will Campbell enjoys the irony of biking to the DMV. Pasadena City College installs a self-serve bike repair station; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Streetsblog is throwing itself a 5th birthday party and Streetsie Award dinner on Saturday, April 27th.  C.I.C.L.E. hosts a Street Art Ride for the Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival on Saturday, April 20th. Ride with the mayor of increasingly bike-friendly Glendale on Saturday, April 6th. Santa Monica bike riders deliver Meals on Two Wheels. A Valencia woman faces up to four years for seriously injuring a bike rider in a hit-and-run. Long delayed Calabasas bike-centric farm-to-table restaurant Pedalers Fork is scheduled to open April 15th; let’s see, that’s only a 52 mile roundtrip ride from my place…

A look at San Diego bike paths. Residents are divided on a proposal to right-size a roadway in Riverside; that’s the new, more PC term for a road diet. Riverside’s mayor invites the public to join him on a bike ride today. A Hemet bike rider is airlifted to a trauma center following a collision. More — and more secure — bike racks coming soon to Bakersfield. In a bizarre case, a Fresno cyclist stabs two men after claiming another driver hit his bike when he stopped to help a stranded motorist. If you’re going to break the law by riding on the sidewalk in a city that bans it, leave the meth at home. A bike rider is hit and killed by a pickup in Clear Lake. Don’t plan on renting a bike in Yosemite anytime soon; not even for a guided fundraising ride to dismantle the park’s Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which never should have been built in the first place.

People for Bikes invites you to turn your bike into art. Those woodpecker-inspired cardboard bike helmets should be on the market this summer, while a new prototype headlight projects your current speed onto the roadway in front of you. Tell Bicycling about your favorite ride, and you could win a new bike valued at up to $4,999; my favorite ride is usually the one I’m on. Car commuters, even those who work out, put on more weigh than active commuters. How to ride to work and still wear a suit. Idaho bike club bands together to buy their own Watch for Bikes signs. How to build protected bike lanes even confident cyclists will use. A Minnesota city ends its experiment with advisory bike lanes, deciding a permanent bike lane is preferable. A New York bike rider breaks the rules of subway etiquette. New York bicyclists demand the NYPD get off its collective ass and hold killer drivers accountable; okay, some of that anger might actually be mine. Atlanta cyclists struggle to co-exist with motorists. Two Miami-area mayors ride to work for National Bike to Work Day, which doesn’t actually take place until May. Cycling Weekly gets the skinny on biking scion Taylor Phinney.

The long and ever-growing list of very high-end bikes from exclusive auto manufacturers. The difference between UK and US police is the Brits apologize after they hit you. British cyclists understandably take offense at being called Lycra-clad lemmings. A British pro soccer player credits his helmet with saving his life when a driver swerves into his bike. Road rage strikes even in the middle of a bike race, as a team car not-so-gently nudges a motorcycle out of the way. The Cannibal, AKA legendary cycling great Eddy Merckx, should be back on his bike in a couple weeks after getting a pacemaker. Spanish bicyclists seek asylum at European embassies to protest anti-bike legislation. Here’s your chance to help buy bikes for orphans in Kenya. The first African pro team to compete in a spring classic surprisingly wins the first time out. Tanzanian cyclists ride to support victims of sickle cell disease. New Zealand rider Jack Bauer — no, not the fictional terrorist fighter — suffers a nasty concussion in a racing crash. Safety issues discourage Aussie women from riding. Taiwan needs to lower its speed limits to become a bicycling island. A Thai bike rider’s body is scattered like roadkill in a horrific multiple hit-and-run; seriously, unless you have a strong stomach, you may not want to read that one.

Finally, an amputee makes his own prosthetic finger out of spare bicycle parts. Patrick at Red Kite Prayer continues to remind us that there are things far more important than riding a bike, as heretical as that may seem sometimes. Latest word is the surgery went well, but prayers and good thoughts, whatever you’re comfortable with, are still needed.

And ending on a more upbeat note, UK band British Sea Power becomes the latest group to offer a bike-centric music video. I say it has a nice beat and it’s easy to ride to.

Update: Courtesy of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, here’s a story I missed last night, as a very pregnant Seattle woman gets out of a car, pulls a stun gun out of her bra and shoots a bike messenger in the face twice. The male driver of the car also got out and swung a second stun gun at the messenger, both apparently in retaliation for the messenger kicking the car’s wheel well in a crosswalk dispute.

Metro supports your right to the road, PCH cyclist beaten in Malibu, $25k reward for hit-and-run driver

I like it.

Metro is introducing a new bike safety campaign leading up to May’s bike week. One that may finally convince at least some drivers that we’re not confined to a tiny strip of roadway next to the gutter.

13-1362_otd_bike_traffic_safety_30sheet_jl_lo

I hope they show this to law enforcement agencies, too.

………

A cyclist riding with his wife on PCH in Malibu last month was severely beaten by two men after recording an argument with another rider on his cell phone.

The two men, described as Persian or Middle Eastern in their 40s or 50s, were in a black two-door Bentley without permanent license plates. After they noticed the man recording their argument with the cyclist, they got out and demanded his phone, then punched and kicked him, and took his phone after knocking him to the ground, before driving south on PCH.

The victim suffered a concussion in the assault.

………

Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge joins with the CHP to offer a $25,000 reward to find the hit-and-run driver who critically injured cyclist Damian Kevitt by dragging him nearly a quarter mile onto the 5-Freeway near the L.A. Zoo.

Meanwhile, Cal Poly Pomona professor Boyonabike offers his thoughts on the tragic death of cyclist Ivan Aguilar on campus last Thursday; a highly recommended though heartbreaking read.

………

Bike scribe Padraig of Red Kite Prayer could use a few prayers and/or good thoughts for a new baby who’s not out of the woods yet.

………

The 13th Annual Nation Bike Summit kicked off in Washington DC on Monday with the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, which heard inspiring words from freshman Congresswoman, double war amputee and cyclist Tammy Duckworth. How to diversify bicycling in three easy steps. And Frank Peters of cdmCyclist provides photos from the first day.

………

For anyone interested in somewhat colder pursuits, my Iditarod veteran brother is offering his insights into this year’s dog sled race.

………

Traffic planning star and L.A. native Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York Department of Transportation, spoke at the UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs Complete Streets Initiative last week, and rocked the house as usual; I’m told she got a standing ovation at the Bike Summit, too. Streetsblog offers a guide to today’s city council election. New bike lanes on Vermont are a small step forward. Los Angeles Cycle Chic looks at a CicLAvia wedding. Better Bike reminds those who live in the Biking Black Hole to vote today if you ever want to see improvement in the city; the new Request for Proposals to remake Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills doesn’t look promising. A Santa Monica woman is charged in the hit-and-run death of a tow truck driver on PCH in Malibu last month. Santa Monica Spoke wants your help to deliver Meals on Wheels by bike later this month. Walk Bike Glendale gets that city’s city council candidates on the record for their stands on, yes, walking and biking.

Cyclelicious looks at the bicycling bills under consideration during the current legislative session — including one disastrous proposed law that would remove government liability for any injuries that occur as a result of bad bike lane design or maintenance. Whittier approves a new bike plan focused on improving safety. San Diego considers a bike safety resolution, even as local advocates express their disappointment; Bike SD calls on local riders to attend Tuesday’s council session as a result. North San Diego County drivers will get a wider freeway, while cyclists will get two new bikeways, including a 27-mile pathway along the coast. Temecula will update its trails and bikeways master plan. A Texas attorney dies after jumping into the chilly San Francisco Bay during the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon. After a Marin County cyclist collapses while riding, a sheriff’s deputy uses a portable defibrillator to save his life.

USA Cycling celebrates Major Taylor, America’s first cycling hero, who broke the color barrier over a hundred years ago. Oregon’s largest newspaper starts a new bicycling blog written by their riding reporters. Portland businesses seek out bike front properties. Washington legislator Ed Orcutt apologizes for saying cyclists should be taxed because our heavy breathing contributes to global warming; I guess a tax on sexual activity is out of the question then. Arizona considers reforming their three foot passing law, which currently makes it legal to kill a cyclist if he or she is riding in a bike lane. Utah cyclists may soon be able to ride through red lights that don’t change for them. A Colorado dump truck driver faces a $1000 fine and up to one year in jail for carelessly killing a cyclist. Texas bike wreck survivor and bike safety blogger Witch on a Bicycle unveils his $500 contest to design a tattoo to cover a large fish-shaped scar on his leg.

Biking in crime-ridden Guatemala City is possible after all. Mikael Colville-Anderson, author of Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic, makes his return to his native Calgary. Rising British cyclist Junior Heffernan is killed in a collision with a car in his first race with his new pro team. A British bike rider is hit in the face with a branch thrown at her from a bridge. Did an angry Brit driver punch out a cyclist because he hates bikes or because the rider gave him the finger because he was angry? The BBC cans their long-time cycling commentator in favor of a much younger colleague. UK health professionals warn against creeping requirements for helmets on charity rides, a practice that is virtually universal in this country. Lance could lose his French Legion of Honor medal in the wake of his recent doping scandal. Multiple world champion cyclist Marianne Vos enters her first ever mountain bike race in Cyprus — and wins, of course. Retroactive tests of 50 South African cyclists shows evidence of EPO use. Melbourne celebrates the World Naked Bike Ride; yes, there are naked pictures, whether that makes you want to click on the link or avoid it. Two Kiwi cyclists are hit in separate collisions at virtually the same spot half an hour apart. A Japanese bike mechanic is still wrenching at 85.

Finally, Indian bike advocates call for licensing cyclists, with a small cash payment if one gets killed, saying that will encourage more people to ride; I’d think it would have exactly the opposite effect. And a study from the University of Duh shows that cyclists who are hit by moving vehicles are four times more likely to suffer severe injuries than riders involved in non-vehicle accidents.

Now put this down and get out and bike the vote if you haven’t already.

KABC-7 updates the Zoo Drive hit-and-run, and a BMW driver gives me good chance to check my brakes

A few quick notes this morning.

KABC-7 picks up the horrifying story of Damian Kevitt, the cyclist hit by an impatient driver while riding on Zoo Drive near the L.A. Zoo, and dragged by the fleeing minivan nearly a quarter mile onto the 5 Freeway.

As the story notes, Kevitt has already lost one leg below the knee and suffered 20 broken bones throughout his body; according to his uncle, he’s still at risk of losing the other leg.

Keep your eyes peeled for an older gray Toyota Sienna or other similar minivan with possible front end damage; witnesses report the van had a For Sale sign in the window with the partial phone number 213/XXX-0776.

The driver needs to do some serious jail time for such a cruel and vicious assault. The collision may not have been intentional, but the decision to flee with the victim still trapped underneath his van was.

Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP Altadena station at (323) 259-2010.

………

Yesterday, I had a clear demonstration of the importance of good brakes, as a driver on San Vicente cut in front of me with no warning the moment the bike lane ended just west of Brentwood.

……..

After the success in getting all five major candidates for mayor of L.A. and several city council candidates on the record for their stands on bicycling issues, the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee meets tonight to discuss how to get out the bike vote, and the next steps for the May runoff election. The meeting takes place at 6:45 pm at the Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.

……..

LACBC local chapter Santa Monica Spoke is calling for cyclists to support a proposed $134 million Transportation Impact Fee at tonight’s Santa Monica city council session, including $59 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects throughout the city.

If you can’t be there in person, they urge you to call or email the council members before the vote.

……..

I received an invitation yesterday to participate in this fall’s California Coast Classic to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Unfortunately, my wife’s recent health issues make my participation in a multi-day ride a little problematic, to say the least. However, given that I’ve suffered from severe arthritis in my right knee for over 15 years as a result of a botched knee surgery in my teens, this is one event I can whole-heartedly support.

And my relatively minor inconvenience doesn’t even begin to compare to what so many others, young and old, have to go through. Despite perceptions, arthritis doesn’t just affect the elderly and infirm.

But since I can’t make it, maybe you can take a few moments to support the woman who invited me, and make a pledge to Monet Diamonte to help raise money for her ride.

Not only does she have one of the best names I’ve encountered in recent years, she’s dealt with juvenile arthritis herself since she was just two years.

And clearly, hasn’t let it get the upper hand.

……..

Finally, speaking of horrifying injuries, a young Chinese boy suffered a bizarre freak accident when he fell off his bike, breaking the seat post — and embedding it the last place you’d ever want it.

The good news is, surgeons were able remove it with no serious injury. But that might be the one injury that could make me quit riding forever.

%d bloggers like this: