Tag Archive for hit-and-run

Teenage cyclist loses leg in collision, 3-foot passing law awaits Brown’s veto, and an 8-year old PCH bike reporter points a finger at Caltrans

We’ve got a lot of news to catch up on. So let’s not waste any time.

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In still more tragic news, a teenage Long Beach girl loses a leg, and nearly both, when her bike is struck by a Lexus and she’s pushed through a plate glass store window Monday afternoon.

According to the Long Beach Post, the girl was riding to the beach with her adult nephew when the Lexus allegedly ran a red light and struck another vehicle. The collision caused the Lexus to veer into the riders, who were standing with their bikes waiting for the red light to change.

Both riders were struck, though the other rider suffered less serious injuries.

In a sign of just how trivially traffic laws and dangerous drivers are treated, the driver was cited and released.

Meanwhile, his or her victim has been sentenced to a lifetime on one leg.

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AB 184, which would add one year to the statute of limitations for prosecutors to file charges once they identify a suspect in hit-and-run cases, moves forward in the state Senate.

Meanwhile, California’s third attempt at passing a three-foot passing law once again sits on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, awaiting his signature — or perhaps a chance to veto it a third time. Texas Governor Rick Perry is the only other governor to veto a three-foot bill, and he only did it once.

There is simply no reason left to veto this watered down bill, after every objection Brown expressed to the previous versions has been addressed or removed.

So when if he vetoes it once again, I hope he’ll be honest with us and say he just doesn’t like bikes.

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Opus the Poet’s Witch on a Bicycle has long been one of my favorite bike-related websites, tracking cycling collisions and other bike news from around the world — and offering advice on how to avoid them yourself.

The collisions, not the news.

What many readers may not realize, though, is that he himself was briefly a bicycling fatality, brought back to life only by the miracle of modern medicine.

And, as he movingly explains, as a different person than he was before. Not necessarily better or worse, but very different.

It can be a damn long road back from a devastating collision, and not everyone has the courage to do it. He did, and does.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I admire that guy.

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Just heartbreaking.

Some despicable low life has stolen the bike that would been used by a San Pedro man in the cycling portion of last June’s Redondo Beach Triathlon — if he hadn’t died of a heart attack in the swimming leg that proceeded it. His adult son had been planning to ride the yellow Specialized Allez in next year’s race in his father’s honor.

If the schmuck who took it has any human decency left, he’ll put it back where he found it. If not, hopefully we can find some room for a lengthy stay behind bars for him.

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First the good news about the news, then the bad.

In a must-watch news report, an eight-year old journalist reports on Caltrans’ dangerous installation of K-rail along the shoulder of north/westbound PCH above Malibu.

The concrete barrier, installed in response to a recent brush fire in the area, dangerously forces riders in front of high speed traffic on a bend in the roadway. Funny how a child has a better sense of bike safety than the state Highway Department charged with keeping us all safe.

That is their job, isn’t it?

Then again, a group of riders recently took the lane on PCH instead of hugging the shoulder. And declared it the best bike lane in the world.

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Yellow journalism lives, as the anti-bike publisher of NELA’s Boulevard Sentinel accuses the LACBC of planning to pad the planned Eagle Rock bike count on September 14th.

Tom Topping, who has led a vociferous, if somewhat biased, opposition to planned road diet and bike lanes in Northeast LA, writes that a planned Sept. 14th bike safety class in Eagle Rock, as well as additional classes in Glendale and Pasadena, exist only so the Coalition can get unsuspecting participants to ride past the Eagle Rock bike count location scheduled for the same day.

Never mind that the two events are completely unrelated, or that the planned route for the Metro-sponsored safety classes go nowhere the bike count location. Or that the dates and times for the citywide bike count co-sponsored by the LACBC and Los Angeles Walks are the same for every neighborhood in the LA area, regardless of whether they face opposition from a local newspaper publisher intent on keeping bike lanes from besmirching his neighborhood.

Of course, by calling advance attention to this paranoid conspiracy theory, he’ll later be able to claim that he stopped the Coalition from cheating on the count when the class participants don’t go anywhere near where they never going to go in the first place.

Just like I can keep tigers away by snapping my fingers.

No, really. Haven’t seen one yet.

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Somewhere in between those two journalistic efforts, the Los Angeles News Group’s Summer of Cycling comes to a disappointing end.

The parent group of the Daily News, Press-Telegram, Daily Breeze, et al, finishes its short examination of bicycling in the Los Angeles area with a positive look back at the last 20+ years. Along with unexamined — and unchallenged — readers comments, including a call for every bicyclist to ride facing traffic.

I kid you not.

And a “can’t we all just get along” summation of the lessons learned in their feeble efforts over the past few months. One that mistakenly says bike riders must dismount and walk at crosswalks, ignoring state law that, confusing though it may be, allows bicyclists to ride along crosswalks.

The LAPD’s current interpretation of that law is that bike riders can ride in the crosswalk as long as they go in the direction of traffic; ignoring the bi-directional nature of both crosswalks and the sidewalks of which they are an extension.

Los Angeles cyclists and drivers could have both benefitted from an in-depth examination of the issues facing local cyclists and the impact of bikes on our communities. Instead, we got a series that barely skimmed the surface, offering less depth than the investigative efforts of a typical high school newspaper.

They apparently didn’t even contact any of the many bicycling advocates and city officials fighting for greater safety, acceptance and improved infrastructure for bicyclists on SoCal streets. Any series on local cycling that doesn’t mention Long Beach’s Charlie Gandy, CICLE or the LACBC, or examine the progress in Long Beach or Santa Monica, just to name a few, is a failure from the outset.

If this is the face of LA journalism, count me out.

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I’ve always wondered how any bike rider — or anyone else — could get hit by a train; a new Metro video dramatically drives it home. The Source talks with bike commuting LADOT employee Jon Overman, who helped the city score a grant for 43 miles of new bike lanes; when I started this blog, I don’t think most of the city’s traffic planners and engineers knew what a bike was, let alone actually rode one. LA’s city council takes a big step towards livability by voting to cap the 101 Freeway in Downtown LA with a park. A call for entries for Ghost Bikes of LA, a multi-media exhibition exploring the ghost bike phenomenon, hosted by red35 yellow#7. LAist offers tips for drivers and cyclists on how to survive around one another. Gary Kavanagh offers his input on the planned redesign of Santa Monica’s Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGO); loss of parking is a concern. A September 15th ride around the Santa Monica Airport is planned to consider its future after the city’s agreement with the FAA expires in 2015. Ten reasons to complete the survey for the Malibu PCH Safety Study. Pasadena police arrest two suspects for knocking a cyclist off his bike in an attempted robbery. The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition is hosting a barbeque on Saturday, Sept. 21st to thank everyone for their support.

Cycling in the South Bay writes movingly about fallen Newport Beach rider Debra Deem. Four hundred competitors take part in the inaugural Temecula Grand Prix. A Cayucos CA driver is under arrest after allegedly running down two cyclists, killing one and critically injuring the other while under the influence; she already had an outstanding warrant for reckless driving, but apparently was allowed to remain on the road until she succeeded in killing someone. In a case that sounds like a surreal scene from a David Lynch movie, a Stockton man riding with his son is wacked eight times with a cane by a 20-something Asian man. Petaluma brothers repair bikes for the homeless. Bike riders go just partway on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

Twenty-nine riders have been named to the US World’s team. Family members say ‘70s cycling legend Dale Stetina is showing improvement. This is why you always carry ID with you on your bike, as an unidentified rider is killed in Wyoming. Eight months later, not a single citation has been issued under the new Dallas vulnerable road user law. A Lincoln NE bike rider ignores his injuries to aid the driver of the SUV that hit him. An Arkansas driver faces charges for the alleged distracted driving collision that took the life of a high school student on a cross country bike tour. Chicago’s bike friendly mayor shows just how friendly he is by aiding a rider who was injured in a collision. Evidently, she’s a Ramones fan, as an Ohio woman proceeds to beat on the brat with a baseball bat, oh yeah, after a 14-year old bike rider hits her in the face when she yelled an obscenity at him from her car; both were — deservedly — cited for assault. A New York state man is charged with hit-and-run after a road rider is found dead on the side of a street Sunday morning. New Jersey cracks down on New York bike riders. Boston wants to be the nation’s leading city for bicycling. If you think there’s been an increase in road raging drivers, you’re probably right. Florida confronts the state’s well-deserved killer reputation with protected and buffered bike lanes; it comes too late to help a tandem-riding couple critically injured by a hit-and-run driver.

A Vancouver area man is arrested in a fatal hit-and-run after his license plate is found next to the victim’s body; passersby tried heroically to save the victim’s life before paramedics arrived. Protesters surround the UK Parliament to protest cycling conditions; MPs respond by voting to Get Britain Cycling. Could a new London building be the ultimate weapon in the war on cars? Spandex — or rather, Lycra — clad thieves simply ride off on high-end bikes. A big hearted Liverpool cop teams with Walmart to replace a boy’s stolen bike. Clearly, hit-and-run is not just an LA problem. Tour de France riders live an average of 6.3 years longer than the general population; maybe because they get all the good drugs. Formula 1 star saves unpronounceable Spanish Euskaltel Euskadipro cycling team. New Varibike can be pedaled with feet or hands. A teenage Delhi boy is killed in a fight over bicycling courtesy; seems needlessly rude if you ask me. A young girl’s collarbone is broken in a collision with an Aussie cyclist on a shared pathway.

Finally, what it’s like to live in a town so bike friendly, even the chef at your soon to be ex-favorite restaurant can recognize a bike part in your food. You can now ride your bike up a tree. And if you’re going to walk off with the bike you just stole — complete with U-lock still attached to the rear wheel — don’t cross against the light.

Important LAPD meeting next week for anyone who lives or rides through the San Fernando Valley

Yesterday I received the following email from Glenn Bailey, Vice-Chair of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee. 

Dear Valley Bicyclists:

At the request of LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas, commanding officer of LAPD’s Operations-Valley Bureau, an important meeting with Valley bicyclists to discuss and improve the handling of:

  •       traffic enforcement to ensure cyclist safety
  •       hit and run collisions/crimes
  •       bicycle thefts
  •       improving safety on the Orange Line and other bicycle paths in the Valley
  •       safety education for motorists and cyclists
  •       and other topics of interest to bicyclists

The LAPD Valley Traffic Division will be participating and the County Sheriff (Metro Orange Line enforcement) has been invited as well.

You are cordially to invited to attend:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
LAPD Van Nuys Division
6240 Sylmar Avenue
Van Nuys, CA 91401

So that there is adequate seating and copies of handouts, please RSVP via email to glennbaileysfv@yahoo.com if you are attending OR may be attending. Also, if you have additional topics you wish to be considered for this or a subsequent meeting, please forward those as well.

I encourage you to forward this invitation to other interested Valley cyclists.

Hope to see you there.

Thank you.

Glenn Bailey, Vice-Chair
Bicycle Advisory Committee
City of Los Angeles

Having worked with both Bailey and Deputy Chief Villegas as part of the department’s bike task force, I can assure you this is one meeting that will definitely be worth your time.

Especially given the subject matter.

Update: Riverside County cyclist killed on Friday; bike rider injured in Van Nuys hit-and-run

Sometimes, news seems to take a long time to file in from the Inland Empire.

I’m just now learning about the collision that took the life of a Riverside County bike rider on Friday. Although the liability lawyers seem to have found out about it long before I did.

And as usual for most collisions that occur east of the LA County line, the details are sparse, at best.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 57-year old Perris resident Pascual Vega Jr. was hit by a pickup on Menifee Road near Long Street at 8:30 pm, in the unincorporated Nuevo area east of Perris. He was pronounced dead at the scene 10 minutes later.

That’s it.

Not one word that isn’t contained in the equally sparse Coroner’s report, such as how the collision occurred.

Less, in fact, as the Riverside County Coroner places the collision about 500 feet north of Long Street, in an area that doesn’t appear to have cross streets or driveways, suggesting that it was most likely a hit-from-behind, or possibly head-on, collision.

And based on previous experience, I wouldn’t count on a follow-up report, either from the local press or the Coroner’s office.

This is the 61st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Riverside County. That compares with 47 SoCal bike deaths this time last year, and nine in Riverside County.

My sympathy and prayers for Pascual Vega Jr and all his loved ones.

Update: Surprisingly, there’s has been a follow-up from the Press-Enterprise adding a little more information. 

According to the paper, Vega was riding north on Menifee when he was hit from behind by a 2000 Nissan Frontier driven by 59-year old Carlos Hernandez Sr. of Nuevo. The truck was reportedly traveling at 40 mph when he hit Vega’s bike, which did not have lights or reflectors, even though it was roughly an hour after sunset at the time of the collision. 

Tragically, a comment from Joyce reveals he was a cousin of Michael Vega, killed by a hit-and-run driver in Rancho Cucamonga last August.

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The Daily News reports that a bike rider was injured in a Van Nuys hit-and-run Monday night.

According to the paper, the collision occurred on the 13000 block of Oxnard just before 8:30 pm. However, the report also places the location as near the intersection of Oxnard Street and Buffalo Ave, which is several blocks west of the 13000 block. The second location might make sense, since it’s a crossing point for the Orange Line bike path.

The victim was taken to a hospital with unknown injuries; no word yet on his or her condition or any identification. And no description on the suspect vehicle or how the wreck happened.

Let’s hope this one doesn’t turn out to be serious. And that the cowardly jerk behind the wheel is quickly brought to justice.

Monday morning meditations from a muddled mind — hit-and-runs, Bob Filner and podium girls

Sometimes there’s just too much swirling around my head to focus on any one thing. And not enough coffee in all the Starbucks in all of LA to clarify things.

Which is exactly where I am this morning.

A day when I can breath a sign of relief that my morning search for bike news didn’t turn up any major bad news for SoCal cyclists. Although the word from other places near and far isn’t nearly as good.

And you’d think that an old man using a walker would be able to cross a damn LA street without getting run down by some jackass who doesn’t have the basic human decency to stop his or her goddamn car after killing another human being.

Drivers continue to flee the scene of collisions because current law means even if they do get caught, they’re better off getting charged for hit-and-run than DUI, or may not have a valid license and insurance for whatever reason.

Then again, some drivers just bet that they can get away with it.

And usually do.

Not to mention we seem to live in a society that has lost sight of the value of human life.

And all of those things have to change before anything else will.

Then again, it would help if the press took the matter more seriously. Or at least cared enough to dig a little deeper and get the story right.

As for insurance, there was a proposal several years back to include basic state-run liability coverage for every motorist in the cost of gas. Whenever you paid at the pump, a fee would be added to ensure that every victim of every collision would be protected from every driver.

Which means you’d never again have to worry how you’re going to pay your mounting medical bills after some driver ran you into the ground.

Needless to say, it didn’t go anywhere, for any number of reasons, valid and otherwise. Not the least of which was that bad drivers would pay the same rate as good ones, even though they could receive supplemental billing to make up for a lack of driving ability. Never mind that the state should be focused on getting bad drivers off the streets.

Plus some provision would have to be made for electric and hybrid vehicles. And state run auto insurance sounded a lot like communism to some people.

Then there’s the news from our neighbor to the south that scumbag Mayor Bob Filner is stepping down at the end of this week.

Political leaders have long felt entitled to do anything they damn well pleased when it came to sexual behavior. Mostly because no one held them accountable for much of American history.

Though you’d think the long line of embarrassed elected leaders stretching from Gary Hart through Bill Clinton and onto New York’s Anthony Weiner would convince them to keep their damn zippers closed in inappropriate situations.

All of which would appear to have little to do with bicycling.

Except Weiner had tried, with varying success, to reposition himself as a bike-friendly candidate after earlier threatening to tear out New York’s bike lanes. And appeared to be winning some support before the latest round of sexting revelations.

And San Diego has been making great strides under Filner’s leadership to reverse decades of benign — and sometimes, not so benign — neglect of bicyclists.

Which may, or may not, continue under the next administration that replaces him.

Thanks, Bob.

No, really.

At least there’s better news from my home state, where a new generation of bike racers took center stage. Colorado’s Tejay van Garderen took first place and Peter Sagan won four of the seven stages, while Christian Vande Velde called it a career at yet another successful USA Pro Challenge.

Even though the race continues to allow women just token participation, while demonstrating that the best way for a woman to get on a racing podium is to put on a tight dress and kiss the winner when the race is over.

And if any local bike shops are thinking about using podium girls at any races you might sponsor, don’t.

Just don’t.

And yes, I’m talking to you.

Think of the message you send women riders — and your potential customers — when you treat them like trophies instead of handing them one.

And the mixed message you send more than counteracts any good will you might earn by sponsoring women’s races.

Keep sponsoring competitions for both sexes. But drop the podium girls, already.

After all, it’s hard enough for women riders to get the respect they deserve — let alone compete on equal terms with male riders — when you treat them with as much respect as Bob Filner might.

Don’t get me wrong.

I enjoy looking at an attractive woman as much as any man.

But what really makes a woman attractive, to me at least, is knowing she could drop me on a steep uphill ride anytime she damn well feels like it.

Now that’s hot.

Almost as hot as watching a woman receive a hard-earned prize for outracing the world’s best riders, instead of just being one.

Stupid human tricks: Hit-and-run triathlete, assault on a cyclist, and confused SF and NYC cops and DAs

Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a common theme to much of this week’s news.

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A Chicago cyclist is injured in a deliberate assault, as a passenger in a passing SUV reaches out and grabs her messenger bag, dragging her alongside the vehicle until her bike crashed into a parked car.

Evidently, just for the heck it, as she reported that the occupants were laughing as they risked her life.

Fortunately, she wasn’t badly hurt. But it’s another argument for protected bike lanes as she was quick to point out.

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Following the death of a San Francisco bicyclist, members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition held a rally calling for improved safety and a separated bike lane on the street where she was right hooked by a truck driver who illegally turned across the bike lane she was riding in.

Evidently, one of San Francisco’s finest didn’t get the memo.

He illegally parked his patrol car in the middle of the bike lane, in the middle of the rally — despite an empty parking space to his right — forcing riders to leave the bike lane to go around his car. All to make a point that bike riders are supposed to pass on the left, just like anyone else.

Except they aren’t. Bikes are allowed to split lanes in California. And cyclists using a bike lane are in a separate lane from automotive traffic, and are no more required to stop for traffic in the lane next to them than a driver in the right lane would be expected to stop for one in the left.

Which isn’t to say it’s not the smartest move in response to clueless drivers sometimes.

Better to come to a full stop even though the law doesn’t require it than end up under the wheels of a car or truck.

And he blamed the death of Amelie Le Moullac, and two other bike riders killed by trucks in the same area this year, strictly on the victims. Even though the truck driver who killed Le Moullac was most likely overtaking her, rather than the other way around.

So he took the law into his own hands, apparently making the law up as he went along and needlessly risking the safety of anyone using that bike lane, just to blame the victim of a collision that’s still under investigation and attempting to bully bike riders into seeing the world through his own windshield perspective.

Sound about right?

If he’s not working a desk and worrying about his pension today, there’s something seriously wrong in Baghdad by the Bay.

Thanks to murphstahoe and Bike Soup USA for the heads-up.

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Thankfully, not all San Francisco cops have their heads so far up their own badges, as the department responded to a tweet from a tipster to bust a bike chop shop.

And speaking of bike thieves, a San Francisco resident noticed one riding off on a stolen bike. And promptly nailed him with an ice cube from his third floor apartment.

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In a case of someone who really should have known better, a well-known San Francisco triathlete has been arrested for the hit-and-run that left a Bay Area business suffering from the after effects of a severe brain injury.

Ironman champion Meredith Kessler was allegedly driving the SUV that ran into Soren Krogh-Jensen as he walked in a crosswalk last March, tossing him into the air before crashing back down ob his head. Security video shows her remaining at the scene for several minutes, reportedly checking the victim before getting back in her car and running away like just another heartless coward.

You’d expect better behavior from someone who rides a bike, especially at that level.

At least, I would.

Then again, instant karma seems to have played a role, as Kessler suffered a head injury herself in a collision with another rider while competing in a triathlon that followed the hit-and-run.

And yes, I know karma doesn’t really work that way.

But still.

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On the opposite coast, a New York City cop decides to ticket a bike rider for going through a red light by knocking her off her bike, apparently failing to realize — or perhaps not caring — that any fall from a bike can result in serious injury.

Or worse.

That’s like deliberately crashing into a driver’s vehicle in order to make a simple traffic stop. Or pistol whipping a pedestrian for jaywalking.

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Update: Thanks to Joe B for pointing out that the case below actually dates to 2009. For some reason it popped up in a web search for stories posted online in the previous 24 hours, and I neglected to check the date before writing this. So the good news is, maybe today’s New York isn’t as bad as it seems; or maybe the bad news is, this sort of thing has been going on longer than we thought. 

Or maybe I just need to avoid posting my own stories after 1 am. My apologies.

In another example of the sheer idiocy of officials in supposedly bike-friendly New York, a rider faces a charge of criminal mischief after he was deliberately doored by the driver of a massive SUV.

The vehicle was stopped partially blocking a protected bike lane with no indication of why it was stopped; but when the rider attempted to go around it, it started moving again.

So the cyclist responded by slapping the side of the SUV to warn the driver he was there; I’ve done the same thing more than once, and seen other cyclists do it as well.

It usually scares the crap out of the driver, but it’s better than getting run over by someone who doesn’t even know you’re there.

But I’ve never seen anyone respond the way this driver did, flinging open his door into the victim and knocking him off his bike. Then standing over him threateningly before picking up the man’s bike and setting it on the kickstand and driving away.

Leave it to the New York DA’s office to victimize the victim all over again, apparently for that potentially life-saving tap on the driver’s door.

According to the story, criminal mischief requires property damage in excess of $250 — which is far more likely to have been caused by the door hitting the rider than the other way around.

And this from the city Bicycling ranks as the 7th most bike-friendly community in the US.

Maybe the New York DA’s office didn’t get the memo, either.

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In another horrifying case from Gotham City, a taxi driver took the leg — or possibly legs — of an English tourist after an apparent dispute with a bike rider.

And Dr. Oz came running to the rescue.

The bike rider, who was injured in the incident, was next to the cab when the driver allegedly became impatient while attempting to make a left turn. When the rider attempted to tell him to stop, the cabbie reportedly became angry and stepped on the gas, tossing the cyclist onto his hood before slamming into the woman who was sitting on a piece of concrete street furniture.

Her life was apparently saved by a bystander who had the presence of mind to use his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding on her severed leg, while another put the amputated limb on ice. Reports are her other foot was crushed and may not be able to be saved.

TV’s Dr. Oz reportedly saw the collision from his studio window, and came down to help, followed by a camera crew.

Needless to say, the NYPD seems to have ignored everything leading up to the crash and quickly determined there was no criminality involved. Not an impatient, careless or road raging driver, but just another tragic oops.

Fortunately, the city’s DA — yes, the same ones who charged the cyclist in the previous story — is taking another look at it. And the agency responsible for licensing cab drivers is taking steps to revoke the driver’s taxi license for a whopping 30 days; although under the circumstances, life would seem more appropriate.

Meanwhile, advocates are trying to get the NYPD to take traffic crime seriously, instead of just targeting bike riders while ignoring speeding motorists.

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A Florida detective makes a U-turn without checking his mirror, and collides with a driver in the next lane. But of course, it’s the stop sign-running bike rider who gets the blame.

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A British mom gives her hockey playing son a new BMW because she thought it was too dangerous to ride his bike to work.

Forty-two days later, he was killed driving his new car.

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Newport Beach’s highway-style right turn lanes put cyclists and pedestrians at needless risk. Actually, these are far too common throughout Orange County as well as San Diego County; another example of well-meaning but outdated planning gone dangerously amuck.

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But at least the Tour de France was dope-free this year. Right?

Although now that I think about it, I remember the same being said about Lance in the not too distant past.

………

Finally, here’s the story I wrote for LA Streetsblog as guest editor yesterday, reporting on the new Save Our Streets LA proposal to repave the city’s crumbling streets.

And hopefully fix the sidewalks and install bikeways and build complete streets in the process.

LA’s hit-and-run bike body count climbs; Lakewood Sunday Funday and Brentwood Grand Prix

Add another name to SoCal’s climbing bike body count.

It made the news all over town when 18-year old Inglewood High School star athlete Markeis Vonreece Parish was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing the street at Crenshaw and 78th Place last month.

What I missed at the time, or the stories I read failed to mention, was that he was walking his bike in an unmarked crosswalk when he was hit by a speeding Mercedes with enough force to send his body sliding a full block to 79th Street, and stripping him of his clothes as he skidded across the pavement.

And even though he was identified as a pedestrian at the time, that makes him more than just another notch in the seemingly endless epidemic of hit-and-runs plaguing Los Angeles and other Southern California cities.

It makes him one of us.

And I apologize for the delay in acknowledging that.

The collision occurred at 6:15 pm on Saturday, July 20th; the car was found less than an hour later, roughly two miles away at Imperial Highway and Spinning Avenue. To the best of my knowledge, no arrest has been made, despite reports that the identity of the driver is common knowledge within the community.

This is the 55th bike-related fatality in Southern California this year, and the 24th in Los Angeles County; that compares to 23 in LA County for all of last year.

It’s also the 9th bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles, compared to five in each of the previous two years. And it’s the 13th fatal hit-and-run involving a bike rider in Southern California since the first of the year; eight of those have occurred in LA County — seven in the City of LA.

My sympathy and prayers for Markeis Parish and all his family and loved ones.

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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.

CD4 Council Member Tom LaBonge hosts his annual Tour LaBonge each Wednesday through August 17th.

Metro continues to offer a series of free bike safety classes throughout the LA area, including classes this weekend in Downey, Hacienda Heights and Culver City, as well as a Spanish language class Monday in Azusa.

There will be a memorial ride for San Diego cycling legend Gordie Shields today at 9 am, starting at Pepper Park, 3299 Tidelands Ave in National City.

The next edition of the LACBC’s Sunday Funday Rides takes place this Sunday, August 4th, with a Lakewood Family ride led by board member Steve Boyd. The easy ride along the San Gabriel River Bike Path offers options of six and 18 miles, returning along PCH. The ride is free for LACBC members and a guest; meet at Del Valle Park, 5939 Henrilee Street at 9:30 am, rolling at 12:30 pm.

The best of California bike racing comes to LA on Sunday, August 4th when the Brentwood Grand Prix rolls through the streets of the Westside with the SCNCA Elite State Criterium Championships. The racing starts at 7 am and continues through the Women’s Cat 1 – 3 and Men’s Cat 1 – 2 at 2:15 pm and 3:15 pm, respectively. And you won’t want to miss the kid’s races at 12:45 pm.

The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee meets at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each even-numbered month; the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 6th at the Hollywood Neighborhood City Hall Community Room, 6501 Fountain Ave.

The USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships returns to the bike-unfriendly StubHub Center in Carson next weekend, with events starting Friday, August 9th and continuing through Sunday the 11th.

Downtown Long Beach will host its inaugural Bike Drive-In starting at 6 pm on Saturday, August 10th in the parking lot across from Fingerprints Music at the intersection of Fourth and Elm streets. The evening will feature live music from three bands, followed by the bike-centric animated feature, The Triplets of Belleville.

The Planning Committee of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition hosts a panel discussion on What Do Elected Officials Want to Hear on Thursday, August 22nd at 7 pm in the Edison Room on the 1st Floor of LACBC Headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street. Free for LACBC members, $10 for non-members.

The second annual Clitoral Mass — yes, you read that right — women’s ride rolls on Saturday, August 24th from 4 pm to midnight. Riders assemble at Watts Towers, 1765 E. 107th Street.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month to discuss how to elect and influence bike-friendly politicians. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 27th, site TBD. The meetings are open to everyone, and you don’t have to be an LACBC member to participate; email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the discussion list.

Here’s your chance to bike the famed Las Vegas strip and the surrounding Las Vegas Valley, with the 6th Annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo Pinarello on Saturday, September 21st. The event will offer routes for riders of all levels, from a 17-mile ride to 60-mile Metric Century and a 103-mile Gran Fondo; the longer rides will visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Lake Mead.

Bike SGV invites you to join them for their 2013 Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser on Saturday, September 28th from 5 pm to 11 pm at the San Gabriel Mission Grapevine Arbor, 320 South Mission Drive in San Gabriel.

CicLAvia returns to an expanded version of the original Heart of LA route on Sunday, October 6th.

Catching up on the latest news: LA tackles hit-and-run, more on Ballona Creek, off-base bike joke

It looks like City Council is finally taking LA’s hit-and-run epidemic seriously, including dropping use of the term accident to describe what is clearly a crime.

About time.

Most of the changes, such as increasing penalties for hit-and-run, revoking drivers licenses and seizing vehicles of drivers who flee collisions will have to be made on the state level.

But they’ll have a much better chance of succeeding with the backing of the state’s largest city.

Meanwhile, the city council can charge the LAPD with reprioritizing the crime and improving tracking so we know just how serious the problem really is.

Note to the LA Weekly. Seriously, we appreciate you calling attention to the problem of hit-and-run. But you didn’t discover it, and certainly weren’t the first to write about it. Try not to sprain anything patting yourself on the back.

………

More information on the recent attack on a cyclist on the Ballona Creek bike path mentioned here last week.

Turns out the victim was a Manhattan Beach school board member commuting home from his job on Mid-Wilshire; still no exact location where the attack occurred other than Culver City.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Rick Risemberg says the solution is more and better coordinated police patrols, with checks and balances.

Thanks to Paiwei Wei for the link.

………

Scotland asks all road users to just be nice and get along; holding hands in a circle and singing Kumbaya is apparently optional. The organization behind it calls the campaign groundbreaking and the first of it’s kind.

Actually, similar “Be Nice” campaigns have been tried all over the world to limited success; local riders don’t seem too impressed.

Even if it does offer an opportunity to show some cute kittens.

………

Then there’s this from comedian Neal Brennan:

“Bicycle helmets save lives. Because if you wear one, women will never have sex with you, so you’ll never get AIDS.”

Yeah, hilarious.

………

Some jackass — which is the mildest term I can use under the circumstances — took down the Midnight Ridazz website over the weekend; you can help get it back online. Raising funds for Streetsblog’s new Santa Monica edition, Santa Monica Next. Speaking of which, Streetsblog will host a Google Hangout / YouTube discussion of bicycling this Wednesday at 5 pm. How to request repairs for LA City bike paths. No shortage of Hollywood films are coming out about cycling’s fallen seven-time hero. Temple City will remake Las Tunas Drive to de-emphasize cars and make it more attractive for bike riders and pedestrians. Pomona Valley Bikes hosts an all ages ride around Pomona this Saturday.

California’s third attempt at a three-foot passing law is still working it’s way through the state Senate; unfortunately, the clause allowing drivers to safely cross the center line to pass cyclists has been removed. If bike racks aren’t being used, they’re probably in the wrong place. Riverside considers a CicLAvia of their very own. The Press-Enterprise cites the right part of the state vehicle code to describe a bicycle, and still gets it wrong. Huntington Beach bike shop employee describes a chaotic night of fending off Surf City rioters. Eighteen-year old Dublin CA driver charged with killing one cyclist and seriously injuring her husband after losing control at 83 mph; his father was arrested on weapons charges after police searched for evidence in the collision. A look at the artist behind Sacramento’s new bike racks. Looks like the recent rash of bike path robberies has spread to Chico; or maybe it started there.

Evidently, traffic violations are a gateway crime. Seattle city council member suffers a broken shoulder blade when his bike is hit by a careless driver. US Pro Challenge bike art at Denver’s DIA. Not surprisingly, the way to get bike riders to obey traffic signals is to make them bike signals. This isn’t the first time bikes have been fashionable in New York. The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay gets a bike lane in front of his own house. A teenage Brooklyn bike rider is busted twice by the same cop, evidently just for the hell of it. Advancing the technology in the battle to be seen; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. Bikeyface looks at bike racks that don’t fit, or don’t even exist. Washington’s MLS soccer team will host a bike night this weekend; has any LA sports team ever done that? Looks like anti-bike KY Senator Rand Paul has failed in his latest attempt to strip Federal bike funding.

Ontario doctors say cycling is a necessary part of the cure for the Canadian city’s commuting problem. A London borough proposes to be as bike-friendly as Holland, including a floating bikeway on the Thames. From the country that gave us WAGS comes the latest spat from British cycling’s significant others. Should Britain get a mandatory helmet law? A helmet probably wouldn’t have helped this Brit rider avoid a 16” branch through the throat; on second thought, maybe you don’t want to see that. By now, it should be clear that virtually every pro cyclist doped in the 90s and 00s, as Eric Zabel is the latest to ‘fess up after retiring. A passing Kiwi driver helps save a cyclist who’d been dragged under a truck. How to deal with road raging Aussie drivers.

Finally, the director of the Tour de France calls adding a women’s Tour impossible, which apparently is French for we don’t want to. But at least women will get a five-day Tour of Britain next year.

And if women’s pro cycling is going to succeed, podium girls need to get the boot.

Update: Two bike riders killed in San Bernardino County hit-and-runs; both victims found dead on roadway

I could just scream.

Not only does the body count of bike riding hit-and-run victims continue to rise, but details on the twin San Bernardino County deaths seem to be treated like state secrets.

In what may be the single worst news item I’ve ever seen, the Press-Enterprise reports that a 55-year old bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, died somewhere in Ontario sometime on Thursday morning.

Ontario police responding to a report of a man in the street found the victim lying dead next to a bicycle, and determined he’d been hit by some sort of vehicle.

No word on where in the city of over 160,000 this might have occurred. Nor is there any suggestion of when this might have happened between the hours of midnight and noon, or any information on the victim aside from his age.

Or any other details whatsoever that might allow us to make any sense of the story.

All we know is another bike rider is dead, and another heartless coward ran away after taking the life of a fellow human being.

No word yet about the death on the San Bernardino County Coroner’s website, either; hopefully they’ll provide more information later today.

Update: The coroner’s office has identified the victim as 55-year old Ontario resident Antonio Soriano, and says he was killed on the 700 block of west State Street in Ontario; the call came in to 911 at 5:25 am.

……..

Unfortunately, searching for news of the above death on the county coroner’s website revealed yet another fatal hit-and-run in San Bernardino County.

According to a brief press release from the coroner’s office, a 911 call reported a collision between a vehicle and a bike rider in Phelan — southwest of Hesperia and Victorville — at 11:41 last night. The San Bernardino Sun offers a typically cryptic report that merely retypes the coroner’s release.

When CHP officers and San Bernardino fire fighters arrived at the intersection of Highway 138 and Gramercy Road, they found 29-year old Max Deanwallace Abraham of Wrightwood lying alone in or near the roadway; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on whether he was riding on 138 or trying to cross the dangerous highway, which has earned the nickname Blood Alley.

Again, hopefully we’ll get more information later. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Update: Maybe it wasn’t hit-and-run after all. 

According to the Victor Valley Daily Press, Abraham was riding his bike east on Highway 138 when he was struck from behind by a Chevy Tahoe pickup traveling at 60 mph.

A CHP spokesman says he was riding within the right hand lane, even though there appears to be an adequate shoulder in the area. The paper notes Abraham’s bike and body were found four feet inside the lane.

However, the landing point of the victim’s body is a highly unreliable indicator of where the rider was positioned prior to the collision, especially when hit at high speed. It’s entirely possible that the driver drifted off the side of the road to strike his bike, and he was thrown back into the roadway by the force of the impact.

The paper also notes he was not using lights or reflectors despite the late hour, and was not wearing a helmet. If the Daily Press can point out any bike helmet capable of protecting against a 60 mph impact, then, and only then, will that last part be relevant. 

No word on why this was originally reported as a hit-and-run.

The CHP spokesperson identified Abraham as a resident of Sunland, rather than Wrightwood; no explanation for the discrepancy.  Anyone with information is urged to contact the CHP at 760-241-1186, or call anonymously at 800-835-5247.

………

These are the 52nd and 53rd bicycling fatalities in Southern California this year, and the eighth in San Bernardino County; that compares to seven in the county this time last year.

Nearly 25% of those deaths — 13 out of 53 — have been the result of hit-and-runs.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for both victims and their loved ones.

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.

………

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 councilmember.englander@lacity.org, councildistrict15@lacity.org, councilmember.bonin@lacity.org, and councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org.

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

………

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.

………

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.

Update: Monrovia cyclist survives violent road rage assault; Ontario rider critically injured in hit-and-run

This has not been a good weekend for Southern California cyclists.

In addition to Saturday night’s collision that took the life of a Chatsworth bike rider, a rider was critically injured in deliberate motor vehicle assault in Monrovia, while a young Ontario bicyclist clings to life following an apparent hit-and-run.

……..

The Pasadena Star-News reports that 19-year old Anthony Pina of Glendora could be facing charges including DUI, hit-and-run, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon for a deliberate assault on at least one bike rider, as well as a motorist who tried to help.

The near-murderous rampage began a little before 6 am Saturday when a car matching the description of Pina’s 1987 Buick Regal collided with a 43-year old bike rider from El Monte, who has not been publicly identified, at the intersection of Mountain and Shrode Avenues just outside of Monrovia.

That collision may not have been intentional, according to police. But the decision to flee the scene, leaving the rider injured on the street, was.

About five to ten minutes later, Pina apparently aimed his car at a 63-year old bike rider at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Royal Oaks Drive in a failed assault; again, the rider has not been publicly identified.

The bicyclist was not so lucky the second time.

Pina encountered the same cyclist a few blocks later at Huntington Drive and Mountain Avenue, where he reportedly carved donuts by repeatedly circling the bike before intentionally crashing into it. The rider was critically injured, but reportedly has stabilized following emergency surgery.

The paper reports there is no known connection between Pina and his victim.

Other than the fact he tried to kill him, that is.

As Pina once again fled the scene, he was followed onto the 210 Freeway by two men in a Mini Cooper who had witnessed the attack. When he discovered he was being followed, he pulled over to the side of the road, then deliberately crashed into the Mini Cooper before hitting the center divider and flipping his car.

Pina ran off on foot before being apprehended by an Azusa police officer minutes later. Remarkably, he was being held on just $50,000 bail pending a court appearance.

But let’s be clear about one thing. This is not a traffic case. Nor is it just another hit-and-run.

As the potential charges reflect, this was an attempt to murder another human being, followed by an attack on two others in a attempt to get away with the crime. The fact that he failed to kill his victim should not reduce the charges or the ultimate penalty in any way.

And neither should the fact he used a motor vehicle instead of a gun.

Thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

Update: The Star-News reports that Monrovia police have concluded Pina did not know either rider, and the collisions with both were intentional; the CHP — which is running a concurrent investigation — may not be so sure. 

According to the MPD, Pina lay in wait for the second victim to pass after missing him the first time. 

The good news is, the second victim, who was the more severely injured of the two riders, is reportedly doing well and speaking with police. 

Update 2: According to the Star-News, Pina faces multiple charges. And deservedly so.

Anthony Pina, 19, was charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of drunken driving causing injury and two counts of hit-and-run causing injury, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He was ordered to return to Pasadena Superior Court July 31 for a preliminary hearing setting. 

His bail was also increased, from a paltry $50,000 to a more appropriate $320,000.

……..

At least in the Pina case, we know what happened.

We can’t say the same for a teenage cyclist who suffered life-threatening injuries in Ontario Sunday morning.

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the rider was found lying in the street at Riverside Drive east of Walker Ave around 12:36 am. There was no other vehicle present; however, police believe a motorist hit the rider while traveling east on Riverside before fleeing the scene.

The paper notes that the victim was not wearing a helmet, but does not indicate whether he suffered head injuries or if one would have been of any use in this case. A bike helmet offers no protection to any other part of the body, and is not designed to protect against high-speed collisions.

But let’s give the writer credit for not using the term “accident” anywhere in the story.

Police are looking for a dark colored car with front-end damage.

They believe the collision occurred sometime between 11:30 pm and 12:30 am. Which means the victim could have bled in the street for more than a hour before help arrived.

Let’s all hope he recovers from his injuries.

If he doesn’t, the driver should face a murder charge for denying him the prompt medical care that is the right of every traffic victim, and often means the difference between life and death.

Yet the driver who ran down this rider couldn’t be bothered to place a simple call for help before fleeing the scene like the coward he or she is. Let alone actually stop and render aid as the law requires.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Ontario Police Department at (909) 986-67811 or Detective Steve Hurst at (909) 395-2902.

Update: The victim, Horacio Pineda, died of his injuries Sunday night.

I hope you’ll join me in offering prayer, good thoughts, or whatever you are comfortable with for both of these victims for a full and fast recovery from their injuries. And for justice in both of these cases.

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