Tag Archive for Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar

Morning Links: Support Lankershim bike lanes, new buffered lanes in Sunland, and killer driver warns others

The LACBC is asking for people to come out on Wednesday to support plans to install bike lanes on Lankershim Blvd between Magnolia Blvd and Vanowen Street.

The meeting of the Mid-Town NoHo Neighborhood Council starts at 7 PM, at the Senior Citizen Center at 5301 Tujunga Blvd. RSVP to [email protected] if you plan to attend.

These are the same bike lanes former Councilmember Tom LaBonge blocked while he was in office; now that he’s gone, maybe we can finally make the street a little safer for everyone.

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Maybe there really is hope.

Michael Sullivan forwards photos of new buffered bike lanes going in on Foothill Blvd in Sunland, where Jeffrey Knopp was killed when his bike was struck from behind while riding on the narrow shoulder.

Looking west from Foothill and Riderwood towards Wentworth

Looking east from the same spot towards Sunland, next to the barriers that previously trapped riders next to fast-moving traffic

The road diet should slow traffic, while giving people on bicycles a safer and more comfortable piece of the roadway. Sullivan calls it a very welcome change on a street he regularly rides as part of his commute.

My understanding is that these plans were in the works long before Knopp’s death. But it’s good to see a dangerous road made a little safer.

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The 22-year old driver who killed Cal Poly Pomona student Ivan Aguilar four years ago is now speaking to high school students about the dangers of distracted driving, his probationary penance for what he calls the worst day of his life.

Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar says the appearances mandated as part of his five-year probation have allowed him to help heal himself.

I sincerely hope he’s able to peace, and live with the knowledge that he needlessly destroyed an innocent life.

But I’m far more concerned that Aguilar’s loved ones are able to come to terms with his loss, and the fact that his killer wasn’t sentenced to a single day behind bars.

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Very sad news, as Peter Flax reports the husband of fallen OC cyclist Deborah Gresham — the subject of his moving piece on the creation of a ghost bike — has died unexpectedly, leaving their four kids without a mother or father.

Let’s hope there’s someone to take them in and comfort them. Because that’s just too much tragedy for any child to bear.

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A driver buzzes a bicyclist as he’s filming a trailer for a documentary. And proves once again that too many drivers don’t have a clue when it comes to the rights of cyclists, or how to drive safely around people on bikes.

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Spoiler alert: If you still haven’t seen Sunday’s Paris – Roubaix, skip to the next section. Or watch streaming video of the race courtesy of SoCal Cycling, then come back for the rest.

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Local

Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mike Bonin call for using Measure M return funds to save lives through Vision Zero, noting that New York is spending $174 million on Vision Zero projects this year, while Los Angeles has committed to spending a paltry $3 million.

A writer for The Source notes that she feels safer on a Metro Bike than a regular bike, and that bikeshare has made her feel more comfortable riding around DTLA.

Help clean up the Ballona Creek for Earth Day on the 22nd.

A mountain bike rider had to be evacuated from the Lower Monroe Truck Trail in Angeles Forest following a crash. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Santa Monica is set to unveil the final draft of the city’s Downtown Community Plan on Wednesday. Hopefully, it will include a heavy reliance on bicycling, transit and walking over motor vehicles.

Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson relates the tale of a cycling wedding.

 

State

The LA Times recommends getting fit and doing good by joining one of several charity bike rides around the state, as well as one in Tucson.

A Huntington Beach event allowed people with disabilities to experience the freedom of handcycling for the first time.

A helmetless La Jolla woman suffered life-threatening injuries in a solo fall after losing control of her bicycle going downhill. Sadly, crashes like this are exactly what bike helmets are designed for.

Apparently, it was worth it to a San Diego driver to risk injuring a bicyclist to snag a prime beachside parking space; the rider slammed into the back of her car after she cut him off.

A Riverside driver turned herself in Sunday morning for fleeing the scene after crashing into two bike riders Saturday night. Which would have given her time to sober up if she’d been drinking.

Two Stockton teenagers were killed fleeing from police following a robbery after crashing into a bike rider and several cars; fortunately, the bicyclist and the people in the other cars weren’t seriously injured.

Seven months later, Sebastopol authorities still can’t prove — or disprove — that a fatal crash between two cyclists on an organized ride was caused by a careless driver.

Over 30 triathletes suffered hypothermia after swimming in a Napa County lake before getting on their bikes.

 

National

A new book from a Colorado woman describes her victory in the frozen 1000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational bike race.

The Montana bill that included a tax on out-of-state bicyclists — which sponsors later said was a joke — passed out of committee without the provision attached.

Life is cheap in Massachusetts, where a hit-and-run driver gets a whole 18 months in prison for killing a bike rider, then claiming he hit a deer.

The New York Post questions why the city should spend $12 million to expand the Citi Bank bikeshare to outlying areas, when the coming dockless, app-based bikeshare systems could do it for them.

A writer for the Guardian describes his single week as an Uber courier, which ended when he discovered the hard way that Uber doesn’t ensure couriers’ bicycles against theft.

The World Cycling League will team with a Reading PA college to build a world-class, $20 million velodrome.

A kindhearted friend of a Virginia McDonald’s customer bought a new bicycle for one of the store’s employees after learning he was walking 10 miles each way to get to and from his job after his old bicycle gave out. Thanks again to Megan Lynch.

The Tampa Bay Times offers a strongly worded editorial calling for better safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, saying it’s time to stop accepting injuries and deaths as “collateral damage in a culture focused on cars.”

 

International

Here’s video of the Cuban cyclist stopped by police in his attempt to set a record for the world’s tallest ridable bike with the help of LA’s Ritchie Trimble, builder of the current record holder; builder Félix Ramón Guirola Cepero says he’s going to try it again. Got to hand it to Trimble; it’s a total class act to help the guy trying to beat your own record.

An 82-year old Brit man had the chutzpa to apply for a new driver’s license, just days after knocking a man off his bike, then driving over him at 3 mph.

The UK is about to be invaded by Chinese app-based bikeshare providers, extending their battle from the Middle Kingdom to foreign shores.

Caught on video: A British driver tweets that a bike rider should be prosecuted for riding through a red light when there was no traffic coming in any direction.

A Bollywood filmmaker plans several additional rides after finishing a 1,500 mile ride across India to promote mental health; he has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Australian police are closing in on a suspect in the 15-year old cold case murder of a man who was gunned down in his home weeks after finishing an eight-month tour of the country that ended when his bike was stolen.

 

Finally…

No, seriously. If you’re going to use a bike as your getaway vehicle after robbing a bank, try not to drop the cash you just stole. Your next bike helmet could fit in a water bottle, not that it would do a lot of good there.

And your latest bicycling jam comes courtesy of Frank Ocean, with an assist from Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator.

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Chag Sameach!

 

Christine Dahab sentencing Friday, LA City Council takes up hit-and-run reform, Gardena police sued

Just a couple quick notes to wrap up a busy and exhausting day.

First up, a comment from Renee Andreassen sends word that Christine Dahab, the allegedly drunk and distracted driver who plowed into 13 bicyclists on a late night ride in Culver City in 2011, will be sentenced on Friday.

Christine Dahab, who hit 13 bicyclists June 2011 will be sentenced Friday July 26, 2013 at 
West District
Airport Courthouse,
 11701 South La Cienega Blvd.
 Los Angeles, CA 90045
 Dept D

I hope all of the victims will come to give their victim impact statements. 
I would appreciate any assistance this website can get out to those impacted by this horrible event

Dahab pleaded no contest to all charges last April, apparently including DUI causing injury and DWI with a BAC over .08 causing injury.

She was sentenced to a 90-day evaluation period in state prison pending final sentencing. So she’s already spent more time behind bars than most drivers do even in fatal collisions. And could face a lot more.

I have other obligations Friday, so if anyone attends the sentencing, please let us know how it turns out.

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Hit-and-run rears its ugly head once again in L.A. But this time, they may actually do something about it.

From the blog of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition:

The Public Safety Committee will hear the LAPD report on Friday, July 26th at 8:30 AM in City Hall Room 1010.  Please join LACBC in requesting that the City take a leadership role to fix state law to increase penalties for hit-and-run.  You can also write the committee members at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

No matter how you parse the numbers — and the LAPD has been roundly criticized for attempting to put the best face on a dismal record — the city ranks at or near the top among major cities for cowardly drivers refusing to take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.

Fortunately, the department appears to be taking the problem seriously. And they seem to have been listening to me, with recommendations including:

  • Automatic license consequences — hopefully including revocation
  • Possible hold or forfeiture of the vehicle used in the crime
  • More significant consequences, including tougher penalty enhancements
  • Limit civil compromises
  • Extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-runs that result in death or serious injury

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Not surprisingly, Gardena police are being sued for civil rights violations and excessive force in the shooting death of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, who was killed by police while trying to help recover his brother’s stolen bicycle.

Diaz-Zeferino reportedly ran up to police as they held guns on two of his friends, shouting in English that they weren’t the thieves, but were trying to help find the bike.

And that’s when they shot him eight times, including twice in the back. As well as hitting one of his friends, resulting in permanent injuries.

Not that they overreacted or anything.

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Finally, the arraignment for Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar, the driver accused in the death of Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar, has been postponed until September.

Salazar faces a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. The relatively light charge may reflect the fact that was reportedly Aguilar riding against traffic, as many students do in that location, due to a lack of safe bicycling infrastructure.

Meanwhile, discussions are underway to make much-needed bike and pedestrian safety improvements on campus.

Hopefully before someone else gets killed.

Charge filed in death of bike-riding Cal Poly Pomona student Ivan Aguilar; is the university really at fault?

A bike-riding college student is dead.

The driver who took his life faces a relative slap on the wrist.

And the campus where he was killed appears to be doing little or nothing to protect cyclists on campus.

Instead, Cal Poly Pomona seems to be hiding behind California’s devastating 85th Percentile Law to justify plans to raise speed limits on campus, making it even more dangerous for anyone on foot or two wheels.

Or at least, that was the gist of a Twitter conversation I had with representatives of the school Wednesday morning.

The outpouring of grief that followed the death of Cal Poly Pomona student and cyclist Ivan Aguilar should have spurred immediate action to tame what is reportedly dangerously out of control traffic on campus, where numerous students have reported feeling unsafe walking or biking.

Yet four months later, no changes have been made to protect students and faculty — not even on the street where Aguilar lost his life. And none are currently planned.

In fact, the school’s new 2013 traffic study doesn’t even include the words bicycle, bicyclist or pedestrian, according to a story by Beau Yarbrough in the Daily Bulletin.

Kind of makes it hard to make meaningful improvements when nothing is considered except speeding motor vehicle traffic flow.

Although to be fair, they have talked about bikes.

Key word being, talked.

But traffic plans that don’t even consider non-motorized transportation show just how out of touch campus leaders are. And how far the school has to go to make it safe for anyone, let alone everyone, whether on two feet, two wheels or four.

Apparently, those students are right to be afraid.

Especially when the death of a popular and promising young man leads to nothing more serious than a misdemeanor charge with a maximum penalty of just one year in county jail.

According to the Daily Bulletin, CPP Civil Engineering student Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar will face a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

In other words, pretty much the mildest charge authorities could file under the circumstances, while still holding someone accountable for the death.

Is that justice?

I have no idea.

I’ve yet to see any description from any source of how the collision occurred. No word whatsoever on how fast the driver was going, or if he broke any traffic laws leading up to the impact with Aguilar.

Apparently, it’s on a need to know basis.  And no one with knowledge of the investigation seems to think you or I need to know.

We’re just expected to accept that the charges are fair and appropriate given the top secret circumstances.

Sort of like we’re supposed to trust that campus administrators have the safety of their students at heart, on a campus that does not include a single inch of bicycling infrastructure.

Beverly Hills, meet your collegiate counterpart.

In all honesty, I’m not sure Salazar is the one who should be facing charges.

But you can’t charge a college with living in the auto-centric past and favoring motorists at the expense of every other road user. As much as it may be deserved.

But something tells me Cal Poly Pomona won’t make the list of bicycle-friendly universities anytime soon.

Update: Gottobike forwards a quote from American bike racer Ted King that seems oddly appropriate to this discussion:

It is impossible to find solutions when you’re busy making excuses.

And Boyonabike reminds me of something I let slide from the Daily Bulletin story about the Salazar charge, and shouldn’t have. 

The story quotes Megan Chaney, director of Clinical Programs and Experiential Learning and Associate Professor of Law at the University of La Verne College of Law, explaining why a misdemeanor charge may be appropriate in this case.

“A lot of time when somebody plows into somebody in a crosswalk or an intersection, it’s just an accident,” Chaney said Wednesday. “We put the onus, the responsibility on the driver, not the pedestrian, unless they’ve done something really horrible….”

“You’re allowed to look at the radio; that’s why you’ve got a radio. You drop your water bottle and look down to pick it up,” she said. “You really weren’t acting with any sort of criminal culpability. “

That’s the problem.

As a society, we’ve chosen not to hold drivers responsible for all but the most extreme actions behind the wheel. The collisions that result from carelessness, distraction or relatively minor violations of the law are excused as mere accidents, and left for the insurance companies to deal with, with little or no consequences for the drivers involved.

And that’s why we continue to have 30,000 +/- deaths on American streets each year.

It may be the current legal standard. 

But actions that result in the death or serious injuries of others should never be accepted. Or excused. Motor vehicles are, by their very nature, dangerous machines, and their operators can and should be expected to use the same caution behind the wheel that we expect from those involved in any other hazardous situation.

When life is taken more seriously than simple convenience on our streets, then — and only then — will anyone be safe on our streets.

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