Tag Archive for harassment

Antelope Valley cyclists barely survive drunken assault; Apple Valley rider killed March 1st

So not funny.

Around 9 am on Sunday, a group of Antelope Valley cyclists riding in a paceline were deliberately assaulted in what the drunken perpetrators apparently considered a prank.

On that got that must have been that much more amusing to them when the driver, reportedly over twice the legal limit despite the early hour, misjudged the distance and Jerry Browned the riders, sending six of them tumbling to the pavement.

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. Although another inch or two could have made the difference between a handful of minor injuries and a mass homicide.

I’ll let Kevin Walsh, one of the riders involved, tell the story, which he posted on his Facebook page. And yes, his story has been confirmed by an item in Monday’s Antelope Valley Press, which I can’t link to since it’s hidden out of site behind a paywall.

I’m thanking my guardian angel…again…way too close to tragedy. Met 6 friends at Ave L and 20 St West for today’s ride. Today’s cast of characters were Roger, Bob, Randy, Javier, Scott and Brian.

I was hoping for a recovery ride after yesterday’s hard effort in the wind. Brian was the only other rider who rode the 70 miles yesterday. Brian was also feeling the effects of yesterday’s ride. Randy rode the 44 mile loop. The plan was to ride up Godde Hill Rd (60 St West) to get out of the wind which was again strong today. (FOX@8AM: 56deg; WNW22G29. Poppy Park@9AM: 57deg; W29G44. FOX@11AM: 63deg; W30G36.) Then make a right on Elizabeth Lake Rd (ELR) to Munz Ranch Rd back to the valley floor and get pushed home by the wind. Bob and Roger were going to 3 Points.

The 7 of us were riding in a paceline on ELR just west of Bouquet Cyn Rd when a car suddenly sideswiped all of us except Roger who just rotated to the back of the group. I was at the front of the paceline on my aerobars when (seemed like instantaneously) I was hit by something hard on my left cheek-bone, felt a car brush my shoulder, heard yelling and crashing sounds behind me. I don’t know how I didn’t crash. After the car passed me, it drifted further into the shoulder and kept going. We were doing about 20mph, the car about 40mph.

Roger saw the entire incident unfold. Javier and Randy went down hard (3rd and 4th in line). Randy slid a long way on his backside – lots of road rash. Javier went down hard on his hip – very fortunate that he was ok. Scott who was behind Randy was hit on his ass by the car’s mirror and the passenger’s hand and arm. He doesn’t know how he didn’t crash. Roger saw the passenger put his arm out of the window. The mirror broke off and remained at the scene of the accident. The car also hit the back side of Brian – he also didn’t crash.

I called 911 – response was very fast. The paramedics checked out Randy then took him to the hospital for observation. He was obviously in shock. Turns out Randy is ok and back home. The Sheriffs got all of our personal info and each of our accounts of what happened. We all said that it was a small black sedan like a Ford Focus or a Honda. Other Sheriffs came then left to look for the car. Javier got picked up by his mom who was rightfully upset.

Before all of our info and accounts were taken, the car was found at a house in the hills above Elizabeth Lake golf course. The sheriff came back and wanted 2 of us to go with him to officially ID the car (easy without the sideview mirror). Roger and Scott went. The perps were two 20-year olds and not too bright. One of the 20-year olds had a cut above his eye. The 1st question the officer asked him was “How did you get that cut?” The reply was a bicycle mirror. Not sure what the officer then said but essentially it was “say no more” and they were both handcuffed.

It took awhile for Roger and Scott to return to the accident scene where we were. The sheriff then wanted 2 more of us to go to the house for official ID so Bob and Brian went. We then found out that the passenger gave a full confession. After drinking all night they went to Palmdale to McDonalds for some food. On the way back they saw us and thought it would “be fun” to slap the back side of us cyclists. The driver being drunk swerved too close and wound up hitting us. Over an hour after the incident, the driver was tested at 0.16 – twice the legal limit. So, the driver is facing 3 felony counts: 1) Assault with a deadly weapon with injuries; 2) Hit and run; 3) DUI. The passenger is facing 1 felony – not sure if it’s assault with a deadly weapon or “hit and run”.

After more than a couple of hours, we finally headed home. Bob and Roger continued west to go down Munz; Brian, Scott and I turned around and rode to 25 St West to get back home on 30W. After Scott got home and took a shower, he noticed that not only did he get hit by the mirror but he had an arm and hand imprint (all 5 fingers) on his butt. He’s sending a picture to the deputy tomorrow.

Don’t know what else to say except that I’m very thankful that no one was seriously hurt (could’ve been so much worse), the perps were caught, and justice will be served!

This is an extreme example of the sort of harassment cyclists have to endure every day, virtually everywhere. It’s not unusual for riders, especially women, to be slapped or grabbed while riding, or to be deliberately startled by honking, run off the road or have objects thrown at them.

If this occurred in the City of Los Angeles, or a number of other cities or counties that have adopted a version of L.A.’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance, the victims would be able to sue for actual damages or $1000, whichever is higher, plus triple damages and legal fees.

As it stands, they could only sue for actual damages, which are likely to be minimal — if they can find a lawyer willing to take the case.

Which is why the law needs to be adopted on a statewide basis. Now.

We need to put a stop to this sort of thing before someone gets killed.

………

Unfortunately, this one flew under the radar last month, as happens too easily in Southern California’s far-flung corners.

According to the High Valley Daily Press, 56-year old Kevin Olin of Apple Valley was killed on March 1st while riding in the bike lane on Apple Valley Road near Quantico Road.

The rider was rear-ended by the driver of a Chevy Tahoe pickup travelling in the same direction, and died at the scene. According a press release from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, inattention may have been a factor in the collision — presumably on the part of the driver.

A regular cyclist in the area, Olin was the much loved maintenance director at Our Lady of the Desert Catholic church, and leaves behind his wife, four children and some grandchildren.

His death raises the total number of Southern California bicycling fatalities this year to 16; it’s also the second cycling death in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kevin Olin and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to JL for the heads-up.

………

Frequent contributor Rick Risemberg — aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation — forwards an incredible story of yet another killer driver walking off with a bare caress on the wrist.

Let alone a slap.

The Press-Enterprise reports that Juan Zacarias Tzun was sentenced to just 90 days for the death of a motorcycle-riding Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Dispatcher. After credit for time served, that means he’ll be subject to just another 34 days in jail.

This, despite driving without a license and two previous convictions for drunken driving. But because Tzun was sober at the time of the collision, and wasn’t speeding or driving distracted, he was only charged with a single misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter count.

His victim, on the other hand, received the death penalty.

And that’s the problem with our current laws.

Driving without a license, for whatever reason, should automatically elevate any additional driving offense to a felony. And a conviction for DUI should be counted as a first strike towards any future traffic offenses, automatically increasing the penalty in order to get dangerous drivers off the roads — hopefully, before they kill someone.

And politics aside, we’ve got to find a way to legalize undocumented drivers so they can be licensed and insured, and held accountable for their actions behind the wheel.

………

Finally, Matt Baume sends this painful reminder to ride carefully, and watch out for hidden road obstructions. And no, it wasn’t the massive pothole that got him.

Bike harassment caught on video, a small step to fight hit-and-run and a long list of links and events

The state legislature is about to consider its first, small step to halt the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

Burbank state Assembly Member Mike Gatto has introduced a bill to increase the statute of limitations for drivers who flee the scene of a collision.

Currently, the limit expires three years from the date of the collision, after which the driver is free to publicly confess his or her crime without fear of prosecution. Gatto’s bill would allow prosecution within three years of the collision, or one year after the suspect is identified by law enforcement, whichever is later.

It’s a step in the right direction, if only a small one.

It won’t do anything to encourage police to pursue more hit-and-runs where the victim isn’t killed or seriously injured, or for prosecutors to file charges in such cases. And it won’t do much to encourage drivers to resist the impulse to run like cowards to avoid responsibility for their actions.

But it’s a start.

Just like the city council’s fledging attempts to look into the epidemic.

………

If this had happened in Los Angeles, it would have been the perfect test case for the city’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance. Instead, it will be up to Santa Monica authorities to determine if a chargeable crime took place.

………

The Times looks at L.A.’s unexpected bike friendliness. Three CicLAvias, no waiting — and no space shuttle. LAPD lists the top four bike theft locations in DTLA. Grand theft auto and burglary from cars by bike on Ventura. Here’s your chance to work for LADOT’s bike team, and tell them where the next bike corrals should go. L.A.’s own Ovarian-Psychos introduces their new documentary film and Kickstarter campaign. Bike riders and pedestrians sign the pledge to keep the peace on the L.A. River bike path. A cyclist is beaten unconscious on a Long Beach Blue Line platform defending his bike from thieves.

Costa Mesa has a $2.5 million surplus; maybe they could work with neighboring Newport Beach to improve bike safety. While Newport Beach has gotten friendlier for cyclists, Anaheim hasn’t. A San Diego cyclist rides home after being stabbed in an apparent gang attack. A San Diego writer looks at what it would take to get more people on their bikes. So if a Santa Maria cyclist is hospitalized with a leg injury following a collision, why does it matter that she wasn’t wearing a helmet? The Path Less Pedaled discovers an undiscovered cycling paradise on the Central Coast. A San Francisco columnist says biking is for grown-ups, and it’s time everyone acted like it. A cyclist asks what the f*** is wrong with Bay Area drivers. Dressing for the drizzle. San Francisco drivers don’t like the city’s separated bike lanes, and apparently, neither do cyclists.

Forget road diets, we need to right size our streets. The country’s three leading bike advocacy groups struggle to work out the terms of their failed engagement. Laws banning dooring don’t mean much if police don’t enforce them. A new electric kids bike trailer is looking for you to give it a boost. Great new police bike training video from Portland. A Spokane thief cuts down a tree to steal a bike. The mayor of OKC says his city should be rebuilt for people; that’s exactly what we’ve been saying about Los Angeles. It’s now against the law to ride sans skidlid in Jackson MS. Turns out New York bike lanes and pedestrians plazas are good for business. Commuting 40 miles by bike in the middle of a New York winter. Bikeyface discovers a superpower we all share. A team of 26 cyclists will ride from Newtown CT to Washington DC to press for common sense gun safety legislation. Denis McDonough gives up bike commuting to become White House chief of staff.

Toronto doctors say bike lanes save lives. Ottawa hikes bike use by 40% over the last six years. Call it a getaway bike share. When you have snow tires on your bike, winter doesn’t have to be the off-season — even in Scotland. An Irish teen funds his invitation to a debutant ball by stealing bike parts. A Kiwi writer offers advice on how to stay safe on your bike; though I might argue with the hi-viz, and my black helmet seems quite visible during the day, thank you. An interesting look at sharing the roads through the eyes of Aussie cyclists and drivers.

Finally, an Ottawa man gets 60 days for shooting a cyclist after mistaking his helmet for a skunk. And if I ever dope, I’m going straight for the wild boar dung boiled in vinegar.

Yum.

………

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

new support group is forming for people who have been involved in a bicycle collision. Everyone is welcome to share your experiences, gain insight and understanding into your emotional state and develop new coping strategies. The group will meet Saturdays from 11:30 am to 1 pm at 6310 San Vicente Blvd, Suite 401. Current LACBC members receive a discount. To learn more, contact Aurisha Smolarski at 323/203-1526 or email aurisha.smolarski@gmail.com.

If you read this early, you may still be able to catch the inaugural Monthly Community Ride with the LACBC’s newest affiliate chapter in Downey. The ride meets at 8 am, rolling at 8:30, from the Southwest parking lot of Apollo Park, 12544 Rives Avenue.

Caltech Bike Lab teams with C.I.C.L.E. to offer a series of free defensive cycling classes; the first takes place on Saturday, January 26th from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Caltech Y, 505 S. Wilson Ave in Pasadena. Subsequent classes will take place on Sunday, April 7th and Saturday, June 8th; RSVP to bike@cicle.org with the date you want to attend.

Bicycle Kitchen is holding a fix-a-flat workshop from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm on Sunday, January 27th, 4429 Fountain Ave; RSVP to bkworshops@gmail.com.

Bike SGV celebrates their first anniversary with the first Bike Train of the new year on Sunday the 27th starting at 9 am. The ride meets near the docks on the southernmost section of Legg Lake for a ride along the Rio Hondo and the San Gabriel River.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. This month’s meeting will take place at the Pitfire Pizza on Second and Main in Downtown L.A. on Tuesday, January 29th, focusing on the upcoming March elections. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the discussion list.

You won’t want to miss the official opening of Pasadena’s new bicycle boulevard along a three-quarter mile stretch of Marengo Avenue at 3 pm on Thursday, January 31st, at the corner of Marengo and Orange Grove Blvd.

Friday, February 1st marks Move LA’s 5th Annual Transportation Conversation from 8 am to 3:30 pm in the old ticketing area at Union Station, 800 N. Alameda Street in Downtown L.A.

Flying Pigeon will host their monthly Brewery Ride at 3 pm on Saturday, February 2nd, starting at 3404 N. Figueroa St and rolling to a local microbrewery or watering hole.

The next LACBC Sunday Funday ride rolls on Sunday, February 3rd with the aptly named Pigskins and Pedals: A Sunday Funday Tour of L.A.’s Historic Football sites. Meet at the world famous peristyle entrance to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 3939 S. Figueroa Street, at 9:30 am, rolling at 10 am for a tour of the city’s pervious — and possibly forthcoming — Super Bowl sites. The ride is free for LACBC members and a guest; discount memberships are available at the start of the ride.

The UCLA Bike Coalition and the LA County Bicycle Coalition invite you to join in the West Area Community Ride – Ride Westwood! On Saturday, February 9th at 10 am for a fun community ride to showcase existing and future bike facilities in the Westwood area. Did I mention a light breakfast and lunch will be provided?

On Sunday, February 10th, the LACBC invites you to join in on the Ride Figueroa to explore and promote planned bike lanes on Figueroa and Colorado in North East L.A. The ride meets at 10:30 am, rolling at 11 am, at Greayer’s Oak Part at Figueroa and Marmion Way; followed by a candidate forum for Council District 1 to replace bike-friendly Councilmember Ed Reyes at 1 pm at Herrick Memorial Chapel Lower Herrick Room at Occidental College.

Flying Pigeon isn’t the only group hosting brewery rides these days, as Brewcyclers provides a beer doubleheader with a ride to Brew-Ligion Brewhouse and Aftershock Brewing Co on Sunday, February 17th. The 30 mile loop kicks off at Brew-Ligion, 39809 Avenida Acacias in Murrieta at 8:30 am, rolling at 9 am.

If you’re as tired of cyclists and pedestrians being left to bleed in the streets as I am, mark your calendar for Tuesday, February 19th when the LAPD reports back to the Police Commission on hit-and-run stats requested by the city council; the meetings usually take place at 9:30 am at the new, officially unnamed police headquarters across from City Hall at 1st and Main.

Stand up for bike lanes on the Westside as L.A. Planning and LADOT host the West Area Bike Lanes Public Hearing on Tuesday, February 19th from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at the Medina Parking Enforcement Office, 11214 W. Exposition Blvd at Sepulveda Blvd.

LACBC will host the city’s first Bike Prom from 8 pm to midnight on Saturday, February 23rd, at the American Legion Hall Post 206, 227 N. Ave 55 in Los Angeles. Similar events have been very popular in other cities, so this could be the bike social event of the year — get your tickets early.

Also on Saturday the 23rd, the annual L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Bike Ride will offer a 20-mile route along the LA River for families and casual riders, and a more challenging 30-mile on city streets for more advanced riders. The LACBC will provide a free bike valet.

Registration is open for the 2013 UCLA Complete Streets Conference on Thursday, February 28th at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 120 South Los Angeles Street Downtown.

This should be a major party, as the infamous semi-official Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race takes place on St. Paddy’s Day, Sunday, March 17th, starting at 3:30 am at Tang’s Donuts, 4341 West Sunset Boulevard. Be sure to wear green — or better yet, ride a kelly green bike festooned with shamrocks and leprechauns.

Make your plans for the Malibu 7-Canyon Ride on Saturday, March 23rd with rides of 100 miles, 100 kilometers and 50 miles. The fully supported ride will begin at Zuma Beach, and pass through Latigo, Encinal, Decker, Mulholland, Little Sycamore, Yerba Buena and Deer Creek Canyons, with over 9,000 feet of climbing on the century ride.

The next CicLAvia rolls out on Sunday, April 21st from 10 am to 3 pm, following a new route from Downtown to Venice Beach — or as Yo! Venice! puts it, from Dogtown to Downtown — along Venice Blvd. Future events will follow Wilshire Blvd from Downtown to Fairfax on Sunday, June 23rd, before returning to an extended Downtown route on Sunday, October 6th.

Registration has opened for this year’s LA River Ride, to be held Sunday, June 9th, starting and ending in Griffith Park. If you haven’t done the River Ride, I highly recommend it; if you have, then what are you waiting for?

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