Big news on the legal front to start your week.
Along with a call for urgent action on the Expo Bikeway, and to fight hit-and-run in the seemingly heartless biking black hole of Beverly Hills.
As well as your chance to be an ambassador for bicycling in your own neighborhood.
Let’s start with the long-awaited Expo Line bikeway, which appears to be rapidly turning into a train wreck for Westside cyclists.
Expo Bicycle Advisory Committee member Damien Newton offers a detailed background on just how and why the plan is riding off the rails. It’s a must read for anyone who cares about the safety of cyclists on our streets.
Which is where cyclists will end up when the planned bikeway forces them onto dangerous crossings. Or when they avoid the bikeway entirely because they feel safer on busy high-speed streets than on a badly designed, rushed and corner-cutting bikeway.
Fortunately, you still have a chance to put your foot down and demand the Expo Line Authority start listening to the BAC they appointed, rather dictating bad design from above.
The LACBC is calling for concerned cyclists — and yes, you should be very concerned — to attend the next Expo BAC meeting at 8 am tomorrow at the Skanska-Rados Joint Venture Field Office, on the 3rd floor at 11390 W. Olympic Blvd.
If you can’t make it, they — and I — urge you to email the list of Expo Directors on their website today to demand a safer bikeway from Downtown to Santa Monica. They also provide a sample email you can use as a template.
It will only take you a few minutes to write and send an email.
And the bikeway you save could be your own.
Meanwhile, Don Ward, aka Roadblock, calls on cyclists to attend the next Beverly Hills City Council session on Thursday to demand an end to their local — and hopefully unofficial —policy of letting hit-and-run drivers off the hook without even the slap on the wrist they get in most jurisdictions.
Ward points out a recent case in which a cyclist was severely injured, and the driver actually came forward to confess. Yet the case was so badly bungled by local authorities that no charges were ever filed.
According to Beverly Hills PD a break came the next day when the alleged driver, Victoria Chin, phoned in to confess her crime. Detectives arranged for her to turn herself in that day. They requested she bring the car in as well. This is where things apparently got complicated for the Beverly Hills Detectives. After flaking on her first appointment, Chin showed up the following day along with a lawyer but without her car. Beverly Hills Detectives acknowledge that they failed to process her confession and they sent her home without booking or arresting her.
Months later, citing issues not fully understood, the case was declined by District Attorney Steven Katz. Katz claims that since there was no car in custody, and the woman confessed on the phone and not in person, there was not enough evidence to move forward with a case. Questions arise of whether this is an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern of Beverly Hills apathy towards cyclists… Paul was not the first hit and run victim in recent memory to be denied justice by the city.
Brett Morin, the other driver charged in the road racing death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, has accepted a peal deal. He’s scheduled for sentencing on October 3rd; considering the gift of a sentence given the driver who actually killed Alvarado, don’t expect more than a slightly harsh caress of the wrist.
Our anonymous Orange County source reports that we finally have convictions in the case of two allegedly drunk Huntington Beach speed racers who flew off the road, critically injuring a cyclist riding on the beachfront bike path.
Yes, even separated bikeways aren’t safe from speed-crazed Southern California drivers.
And yes, both have once again gotten off with a relative slap on the wrist — even if one appears to be a tough sentence for that particular judge.
Which says far more about our SoCal court system than we should be willing to tolerate.
Glenn Michael Moore & Michael Dennis Roach are the scumbags who were skunk drunk at half past eight on a Sunday morning and racing each other down PCH (can’t be late for church!!!) when they clipped each other. Both speeding vehicles flew down an embankment. Moore’s car slammed into Richard Lauwers as he rode his bike on the completely segregated beach bike path. The next speeding vehicle on PCH was the responding ambulance.
Lauwers was having a nice quiet ride after a leisurely weekend breakfast at our famous Sugar Shack. He would’ve been home in another twenty minutes. Instead he ended up in the ICU, where he spent six days.
On Wednesday, Moore pleaded guilty to all counts against him. He was sentenced to fines & restitution, one year in jail (stayed), three years of formal probation, and a “First Offender Alcohol Program.” Oh, and his license was suspended for a year. I can’t figure this one out, because I’m working with insufficient data here. IF Moore was before Judge Adams, who generally presides over that particular courtroom and is lenient, AND had a good lawyer (and by all accounts his lawyer is very good), AND he doesn’t have an extensive rap sheet (he’s pretty clean in OC at least), then this is a surprisingly tough sentence. It’s still insufficient, but it’s certainly on par for Judge Adams and our overtaxed justice system in general.
Meanwhile, Michael Dennis Roach appears to have three separate sentences for the single count of engaging in a speed contest with injuries to another: two sentences for 90 days in jail, and a third for 90 days of service in lieu thereof. Also, three years of formal probation as well. Dunno what this is about, but there’ll be further proceedings on the 28th. Also, the OCDA unearthed a DUI with property damage that Roach had committed in November 2001 (while driving on a suspended license, but never mind that); a second DUI within 10 years could have resulted in a stiffer sentence, but oddly, his DUI charge and its enhancement were dismissed.
Did I ever mention that I have a real problem with drivers who put everyone else at risk because they can’t keep their damn feet off the accelerator — let alone get behind the wheel when they’re drunk or stoned?
The good news is that Lauwers is okay, and back on his bike.
The LACBC is offering a way to become more active as a bicycling advocate in your own neighborhood. And make a real difference where you live and ride.
The new Neighborhood Bike Ambassador program is designed to empower you to influence the implementation of the L.A. bike plan, as well as programs developed by the LACBC.
The first kick-off meeting takes place tonight in the Valley, followed by four others throughout the L.A. area over the next 10 days. The meetings — and the program itself — are open to everyone; you can sign up to be a Bike Ambassador here.
Finally, a few other brief notes from the world of bicycling.
In a truly shocking case, a Santa Rosa driver takes his road rage off road, chasing a cyclist 100 yards onto a golf course before running him down with his car. The good news is, an arrest has been made; the bad news is, the 81-year old driver has done it at least twice before. And was still allowed to drive.
Thanks to Emily C for the heads-up.
The schmuck who kidnapped and murdered Louisiana cyclist Mickey Shunick pleads guilty to first degree murder in her death, as well as that of another woman. Hopefully they’ll shove him so deep into the living hell that is Louisiana’s Angola Prison that he’ll never see the light of day again.
Police may have solved the recent rash of Calnago thefts. The Orange County Bicycle Coalition reports hat two stolen Calnagos have been recovered when they were abondoned by the thieves outside an OC Dennys, and a third was recovered in a West Hollywood pawn shop through stolenbikeregistry.com.
No word yet on arrests in the case.
The L.A. Times offers a nice profile of Cypress Park’s Flying Pigeon bike shop and the eponymous Chinese bikes they love and sell.
And a PA cyclist moons a couple in a passing car, then threatens them with his bike seat before crashing into a police cruiser.
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.