Tag Archive for Gardena

No charges in Sarah Leaf death, guilty plea in North San Diego, vehicle identified in Gardena hit-and-run

Evidently, they just don’t get it.

Newport Beach police have cleared the truck driver in the death of cyclist Sarah Leaf, concluding that she lost control of her bike and fell under the turning truck on her own, without the truck ever hitting her.

Yet they apparently failed to consider the possibility that it was a massive truck passing too close and/or turning across her path that caused her to lose control.

So let’s get this straight once and for all. Skilled, experienced cyclists don’t just fall over. And a vehicle doesn’t have to actually hit a rider in order to cause her death.

Something made her to lose control. Until the police can offer some reasonable explanation of what that was, we should not accept the results of this investigation.

And until police everywhere figure that out, no bike rider will ever be safe on our streets.

Update: A commenter who claims to have known a friend of Leaf disputes the contention that she was an experienced rider. By his account, she was a novice rider on a borrowed bike, who had been urged by a friend not to ride that day. And according to him, the reason she fell because she was unfamiliar with clipless pedals. However, as he did not actually witness the collision, that should be taken with a grain of salt; hopefully, we’ll learn more on Monday when the Chief of the Newport Beach Police Department meets with the city’s Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee.

………

Jin Hyuk Byun, the 19-year old driver charged with killing 18-year old North San Diego bike commuter Angel Bojorquez in a late night hit-and-run, has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of hit-and-run causing death.

Byun faces up to four years up to four years in prison — or as little as probation. Hopefully, the court deliver a sentence that shows Bojorquez’ life had value.

Unlike courts in, say, San Bernardino.

………

Gardena police have finally narrowed down the type of vehicle used in the hit-and-run death of Torrance cyclist Benjamin Torres on October 10th.

Be on the lookout for a maroon or purple 1995 to 2001 Ford Explorer or a 1997 to 2001 Mercury Mountaineer with light to moderate damage to the right headlight area. Call Investigator Matthew Hassoldt at 310/217-6189 if you have any information.

And on a related note, his step-daughters are asking cyclists to join them in honoring Torres and calling for bike safety on November 10th.

………

The LACBC is launching a safety education and bike light giveaway program dubbed Operation Firefly. The Times looks at the Bicycle Kitchen’s women’s-only Bicycle Bitchen night. Richard Risemberg writes that bike lanes benefit the entire community, including local merchants. Your access to mountain bike trails could depend on playing nice. South Pasadena may consider extending the Arroyo Seco bike path next week. The Culver City Bicycle Coalition is hosting a fundraising ride on Sunday, November 11th, while C.I.C.L.E. is hosting a Made in LA ride on Saturday, November 17.

How not to sell a bike on Craigslist. Video of the amazing turnout at last weekend’s memorial ride in Newport Beach. A new female-centric bike shop opens in Orange County. If you’re looking for a good ride and good beer, you could do worse than a ride to North San Diego County’s Stone Brewing Company. Lucky San Diego cyclists get to choose between two bike supporters for mayor, which is exactly what the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee is working towards here in L.A. A nurse has her bike stolen when she stops to help an injured cyclist at San Diego Critical Mass — then a local businessman buys her a new one. A coach with the Sacramento Kings hits a bike-riding child while test driving a new Jaguar, then returns it to the dealership instead of staying to help. Palo Alto police arrest two bike thieves after recognizing them from security footage. Who’s the genius who put a Share the Road sign in the middle of a bike lane? A 92-year old Sonoma driver denies running down two boys in a crosswalk, claiming they were the ones who damaged his car — and that one of them was a girl.

Seven reasons why bikes are for everyone. What does it take to build a world-class bicycling network, and will the US ever embrace bicycling like Denmark has? Why you might need more than one bike. Someday soon, you may never get another flat. Private bike share program Spinlister changes its name to Liquid, in an apparent attempt to conceal what the hell it is from anyone who might be interested. HuffPo looks at the hubris of Lance Armstrong, while the company that gave him $12 million in bonuses wants it’s money back, and an English town prepares to burn him in effigy; thanks to George Wolfberg for the latter link. Drunk Spokane driver gets two-and-a-half years for killing a cyclist. My hometown employs a smartphone app to crowd source cycling data. Oklahoma City gets its first sharrows. A Texas cyclist is under arrest for threatening two pedestrians with a gun. Doorings are down in Chicago, the question is why. Kill a Windy City cyclist in a right hook, and get a ticket for an improper right turn; no, really. The real riders on the storm — New York filmmaker Casey Neistat captures a four-hour ride through hurricane drenched streets. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, bikes provide the best way in, out or around Manhattan, as the city bans vehicles with less than three occupants from Manhattan. The anti-bike New York Post blames bike lanes for bus-bike collisions; yeah, it couldn’t be impatient bus drivers, overly aggressive riders or just plain carelessness. The world’s first car-only roadway is now a bike path, even though motorists used to fear the same vehicle segregation that many now call for. A Pennsylvania man gets six months probation for killing a cyclist while driving under the influence — six-effing-months probation, which is exactly the same sentence he would have gotten for a first-time DUI even if he didn’t hit anyone; nice to know the death of a human being doesn’t matter one damn bit in Western PA.

The popularity of tweed rides has helped increase the sales of more than just bikes. Helmet-cam video results in charges against a Canadian driver who dangerously Jerry Browned a cyclist — even though he could have safely passed a few seconds later. What to do after a crash. The victim is dead, but at least his bike has been returned. Teenage Brit triathlete is seriously injured in an apparent hit-and-run as she’s found on the side of the road after a car passes her, still clipped into her pedals. A new UK website tracks the best deals on bike gear. An Aussie writer asks whether you consider yourself a cyclist; ever notice that no one ever asks if people consider themselves drivers, which everyone becomes the moment they slide behind the wheel?

Finally, South Park takes on l’affaire Lance. A Polish cyclist is charged with speeding in a 30 mph zone — while riding completely naked except for the pants wrapped around his head.

And if you think some drivers are blind, you may be right.

Torrance bike commuter killed Wednesday in Gardena hit-and-run

Once again, a driver has run down a SoCal cyclist. And left him to die, his crumpled body lying helplessly in the street.

According to the Daily Breeze, 49-year old Benjamin Torres was on his way to work early Wednesday morning when he was hit by a vehicle while riding east on 135th Street at Wilton Place in Gardena.

Oddly, the intersection appears to be controlled by a red light in just one direction on 135th, with a stop sign on the cross street. (Update: It’s actually a one-way fire station signal.)

His body was found by a nearby worker after Torres was already dead. Whether he could have been saved if the coward behind the wheel had stopped and called for help may never be known.

Personally, I think every driver accused of a fatal hit-and-run should be charged with murder, since the delay in getting help inevitably contributes to the victim’s death if the collision was in any way survivable.

Torres’ stepdaughter reports that he always rode his bike from his home to his job at Brek Manufacturing on 132nd Street at 4:15 each morning, saying he felt it was pointless to pay for gas to go to work.

Police say he was struck sometime before 4:30 and 5 am. No witnesses have come forward; given the early hour, none are likely.

The paper says investigators found debris from the vehicle, including headlights, suggesting it’s likely to have significant front-end damage, most likely on the right side. Police are using that debris to determine the make of the vehicle; however, they had no other description at this time, including the color.

No mention is made of whether Torres was using lights or reflectors at that early hour.

He suffered severe head injuries despite his helmet. However, bike helmets are only designed to protect against impacts up to 12.5 mph; they are no match for a car moving at speed.

Torres leaves behind a wife of 17 years, as well as five stepchildren and their 12 children.

Gardena police urge anyone with information to call Investigator Matthew Hassoldt at 310/217-6189.

This is the 63rd bicycling death in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County. Torres is the 13th bike rider killed in a hit-and-run in 2012; three of the 10 riders killed in traffic collisions in L.A. County this year have been victims of hit-and-run.

My prayers and sympathy for Torres and his family.

Pregnant bike rider killed in Gardena hit-and-run

The murderous plague of hit-and-runs continues, this time taking the life of a Gardena woman and her unborn baby early this morning.

According to the Daily Breeze, 31-year old Jennifer Costlow was riding with her boyfriend on Normandie Avenue at Gardena Blvd shortly after midnight when she was hit from behind by a dark colored car. The former Riverside Poly High School cheerleader was four months pregnant.

Reports indicate that she was revived at the scene and taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

In a stomach churning coda to the story, the Breeze says that a man believed to be her brother later visited the scene of the collision, and became visibly upset when he found “remnants of the accident, including his sister’s blood on the sidewalk.” Firefighters came to clean it up after the police were notified.

Any witnesses are asked to call the Gardena police at 310/217-6135.

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