Tag Archive for hit-and-run

Morning Links: Cyclist hit by two cars in Beverly Hills, cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, and Orlando Bloom’s bike shorts

A 47-year old bike rider was seriously injured when he was hit by two cars in Beverly Hills on Sunday.

KABC-7 reports the victim was crossing the intersection of Robertson Blvd around 9:50 am when he was thrown through the air after being hit by a car. He landed in front of an SUV stopped at the light, which somehow managed to roll over him before speeding away.

Yet remarkably, his injuries were not considered life-threatening. And for a change, the station noted the victim didn’t do anything wrong.

The second driver was arrested about a mile away after he was followed by a witness.

Both collisions were captured by a nearby security camera. As of Sunday night, the station had not posted the video online; fair warning, it’s not easy to watch.

Update: The video is now available online.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, appears to be riding east in the bike lane on Burton Way as he crosses southbound Robertson. He appears to swerve at the last second to avoid the impact, though LAist says he was turning right onto Robertson. 

It’s unclear how the wreck could have occurred unless the first driver went through the intersection before the light changed.

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German rider John Degenkolb wins on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix after winning the San Remo classic last month.

British great Bradley Wiggins fails to end his career on a high note as he finishes 18th, while Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan fell out of competition when his shifter broke.

And it’s not every day when the peloton is disrupted by a high-speed train; thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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In today’s celebrity bike news, the gossip press freaks out when they catch of glimpse of the chamois in Orlando Bloom’s bike shorts as he pedals down PCH, suggesting he should wear a helmet and a jock strap. And keep his hands on the handlebars.

Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin looks angry when he gets a flat on his bike. Or maybe he’s just annoyed by paparazzi following his every move.

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Local

An animated GIF from KPCC shows how much LA’s bikeway network has changed in just 10 years, even though we still face a disconnected network filled with trash cans and mostly useless sharrows.

A seriously misguided Northridge letter writer questions the wisdom of devoting space to bicycling, insisting that only fit people ride bikes. And never at night.

Joel Epstein says Bicycle Coffee LA sets an example for the mayor’s new sustainability plan.

 

State

Huntington Beach police say they’ve busted the transient bike thief who’s been stealing expensive bikes from the pier. Although $2,100 is hardly expensive these days.

Hardly anyone bothers to show up when Escondido holds its first ciclovía. A little advance publicity or a longer course wouldn’t have hurt.

A San Bernardino bike rider is expected to survive after being shot several times.

Bike and safety advocates win one in Menlo Park, as the city’s planning commission chooses bike lanes over a third traffic lane.

A bike rider was killed when he was hit by a train in East Oakland on Saturday.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 96-year old Woodland cyclist plans to celebrate his 100th birthday by riding a century.

Two motorists collide head-on near Calistoga. Yet somehow, a cyclist falling off his bike when emergency vehicles speed past seven miles away becomes part of the story. Thanks to John Murphy for the link.

 

National

People for Bikes offers 10 ways to win the battle over removing parking spaces for bike lanes; a Vancouver restaurant owner who unsuccessfully fought one in front of his place says business is better than ever a year later.

Vox makes the case for lowering speed limits, including a 25 mph cap in urban areas.

A new helmet-mountable cam promises to capture a 360° view. Including things you may not want to see as drivers speed by from every angle.

A Denver columnist asks whether the Mile High city has a policy of cyclists first, ignoring how much of its infrastructure is dedicated to motor vehicles.

Wyoming will study bike paths and bicycle tourism, including a possible state-wide bicycle network.

A Texas politician who swears he’s not anti-bike is pushing a ban on using state or federal funds for road diets. Apparently, he’s not anti-safety, either.

An Arkansas minister will bike across the state to raise money for a new church building.

A Florida writer takes up bicycling again after 23 years, while a letter writer insists we should all ride salmon.

 

International

Dubliners worry the city is too bike-unfriendly for its new bike share system, as a new docking station is vandalized just days after installation.

Ten Israeli cyclists are injured when the car accompanying them is rear-ended.

An Aussie cyclist says the ineffectual Australian Cyclist Party needs to get its shit together.

A Korean bike lane is covered with solar panels to protect riders from sun and rain while generating electricity. But who wants to ride down the center of a freeway, covered or otherwise?

A Chinese cyclist gets his stolen bike back after it was taken just days from the end of an 18,000 mile journey around the country.

 

Finally…

An Alaska criminal ends up bikeless when his intended purse-snatching victim refuses to go down without a fight. Former golfing great Greg Norman says Lance is a frigging disgrace, while, an Irish cyclist refuses to take part in a charity challenge if the ex-Tour de France winner rides.

And MCippollini unveils a $54,000 gold, platinum and diamond encrusted bike, for when you just have to show the world you’re an over-privileged SOB with no idea what to do with your money.

 

Weekend Update: CA bike helmet bill dead for now, LA council votes on hit-and-run rewards Wednesday

Just a quick update to catch up on some of the more important news this weekend.

First up, good news from Sacramento, as the proposed law to require all bike riders to wear a helmet is dead for now.

Faced with almost universal opposition, Sen. Carol Liu has amended SB 192 to require a study of bike helmet use instead. Also gone is the silly requirement for all riders to wear reflective hi-viz after dark, which would have criminalized commuting in normal street clothes during the winter months.

Let’s hope the study, if the revised bill is passed, goes beyond the junk science we usually see on the subject. And considers not just whether a bike rider was wearing a helmet, but whether the victim actually suffered a head injury and if wearing a helmet could have made a difference.

Thanks to Calbike and CABO for their opposition to the bill.

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The LA City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal to establish a standing reward for hit-and-runs this Wednesday.

The program would start at a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for property damage, rising to $50,000 if someone flees a fatal collision.

Anyone who has experienced hit-and-run first-hand — not just bike riders — is urged to attend the council session to tell your story in support of the proposed ordinance.

In addition, a press conference will be held at LA City Hall prior to the council session, starting at approximately 9 am; anyone who supports the proposal is urged to attend, whether or not you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run. This will also tie into the Finish the Ride event the following Sunday to call attention to the epidemic of hit-and-run on our streets.

If you can make it, email Damian Kevitt at damiankevitt@finishtheride.org to let him know you plan to attend, and give him a brief summary of your personal experience with a hit-and-run driver.

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Word is that the people pushing to keep Griffith Park’s Mt. Hollywood Drive open to cars are keeping the pressure on city officials to make the temporary opening permanent — converting the treasured hiking, biking and horse riding trail into just another car-jammed street.

Which means we have to keep the pressure up, as well.

Swrve offers a sample email you can personalize and send to the following people:

I’d suggest adding your own city council member to the list, as well.

As a cyclist and hiker who regularly rides and hikes Mt Hollywood I urge you all to not open the Mt Hollywood gates, on the Valley and Observatory sides, to private vehicle or City tram traffic. It will create a hazard for cyclists, hikers and equestrians on the Mt Hollywood road, will disturb the serenity of one of the most popular trails and areas of GP, and needlessly congest a wild area.

Tram, private vehicle transit or parking on Mt Hollywood will crowd the road too greatly, be a new source of air pollution and will add to the safety hazards cyclists, hikers and equestrians already face in other areas of the park such as Fern Dell.

Thank you,

(your name)

You might also consider adding a line or two about the added risk of wildfires started by hot car engines parked over tinder-dry brush, or cigarette butts carelessly tossed by tourists who may be unaware of our current severe drought conditions — creating exactly the risk proponents say they’re trying to prevent.

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Finally, a handful of events you won’t want to miss this weekend.

We’ve already mentioned Saturday’s unveiling of the work done as phase one of the Reseda Blvd Great Streets, and the workshop for phase 2 from 10 am to 1 pm.

Anyone attending this weekend’s Redlands Classic is invited to join in a social ride and bike parade hosted by the Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance at 3 pm this afternoon.

Flying Pigeon hosts their popular monthly Spoke(n) Art Tour tonight, including an exhibit in the shop by Highland Park-based artist and musician Timothy Sellers.

Sunday evening, the LACBC is hosting a Pre-Climate Ride Party at the Angel City Brewery from 5 to 8 pm to raise funds for members of their climate ride team. The party is free to attend, but includes incentives for donating to your favorite Climate Rider:

  • $25 = 1 Beer Ticket
  • $50 = Beer + Raffle Ticket
  • $75 = LACBC Membership + Beer + Raffle Ticket
  • $100 = LACBC Membership + 2 Beer Tickets in souvenir pint glass + 3 Raffle Tickets
  • Raffle prizes include a Tern folding bike, a Laemmle Theatres private screening for 13, George Lopez tickets, Los Angeles Dodgers tickets, a Timbuk2 messenger bag and more.

And if you hurry, you may still be able to make it to Corgi Beach Day at the Huntington Dog Beach Saturday morning. Unfortunately, our Corgi sends her regrets, since she’s not terribly fond of other dogs, particularly not ones as cute as she is.

Sienna-on-bed2

Morning Links: Serial hit-and-run driver allegedly attacks three in Venice, including two people on bikes

Sometimes, the news barely makes the news.

Especially if there are bikes involved.

Yo! Venice reports that three people — two of them riding bikes — may have been intentionally targeted by a hit-and-run driver Saturday morning.

According to the website, a cyclist was riding with friends across the intersection of Speedway and Venice around 10:30 am when a red Honda CRV clipped the back tire of his bike; witnesses at a nearby restaurant reported the driver didn’t even hit his brakes before speeding off.

As the victim and his friends gave chase down Speedway, they called out a warning as they saw him approach another rider. After the second cyclist pulled to the side of the road, the driver appeared to intentionally veer towards him, knocking him to the ground and leaving him with a cut on his left side, his mangled bike lying in the roadway.

The site reports the driver then ran over a third victim around 25th and Speedway; no word on whether that person was riding or on foot. Both of the last two victims were transported to a local hospital.

The driver was taken into custody later that day.

Yet somehow, despite the serial hit-and-run and the apparent vicious nature of the alleged attack, the story failed to make a much of a dent in the local media.

Even though it’s reminiscent of another allegedly intentional attack in which a driver plowed through tourists on the crowded Venice boardwalk just feet from Saturday’s incident.

KCBS-2 was the only major media outlet to pick up the story, confirming that two victims, possibly cyclists, suffered substantial, but non-life threatening injuries.

The TV station also reports that the suspect was arrested when witnesses were able to provide police with the Honda’s license number.

Frighteningly, police say he knew he’d struck people when they contacted him, and that he did not appear to be intoxicated.

Thanks to Joe Ryan for the heads-up.

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Urbanful lists five fun social bike rides around the US, including our own CicLAvia; the next one walks and rolls through Pasadena’s Old Town on May 31st.

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Local

CiclaValley offers a recap of Thursday’s Griffith Park Advisory Meeting, where the recent opening to cars of popular biking, hiking and horse riding route Mt. Hollywood Dr. was discussed; Streetsblog’s Joe Linton provides a detailed report on the meeting.

Work begins on the city’s first parking-protected bike lane as part of the Great Streets program on Reseda Blvd.

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg says more and better road diets are the solution to trash bins blocking the bike lane. That’s been a long and recurring problem in the City of Angels, even though it’s illegal to block a bike lane, period.

A San Dimas stage race brought road racers from around the world, while mountain bikers race around Castaic Lake.

 

State

No bias here, as a San Diego TV station says plans for a bike lane through the Hillcrest neighborhood would destroy “prime” parking spaces.

Sad news from San Diego, as a 47-year old bike rider isn’t expected to survive after being shot in the city’s East Village neighborhood.

Mountain bikers are overwhelming the 20,000-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, described as the Louvre for off-roaders.

No bias here either, as a San Francisco website accuses a seriously injured cyclist of smashing into a car on a Highway 101 onramp.

A 27-year old woman is honored as one of the Outstanding Women of Monterey County for her role in Ciclovia Salinas.

A Bay Area woman has taken over 25,000 kids back to nature on mountain bikes, often for the first time; her Trips for Kids non-profit now has 90 chapters around the world.

Seriously? A Petaluma website seems shocked that anyone would ride a century, while calling a bicycle seat the world’s most excruciating sitting device.

 

National

Bicycling lists 10 famous people who worked as bike messengers, nine of whom took me by surprise.

Two Yuma AZ cyclists were hit by a car, one injured critically, by a driver with a suspended license who admitted he just wasn’t paying attention.

A Utah cyclist on a training ride with a group of 100 other riders was somehow hit and killed by a semi-truck traveling in the same direction even though neither appeared to be distracted; a GoFundMe account has been set up to pay her funeral expenses.

Rocky Mountain National Park will open to mountain bikes for the first time.

Some people just don’t get the benefits of bike tourism; Kansas commissioners question why they would want a US Bike Route besmirching their county, especially if they have to pay for the signs.

A Chicago rider is suing after she was doored by a police officer while riding in a marked bike lane; naturally, the cop blames the victim.

The field is set for the Little 500 made famous by Breaking Away after qualifying for the men’s and women’s races.

 

International

A cyclist in his 80s rides over 6,200 miles across Canada, despite Parkinson’s and macular degeneration.

A new British study says bike riders are healthier and less stressed than non-riders. But while biking may be the new golf, London professionals are still afraid of the city’s streets.

Good read from the Guardian, saying what’s lacking from Lance’s attempt at rehabilitation is humility. If Armstrong really wanted to rebuild his reputation, he could start be becoming an advocate for bike safety.

We only seem to hear about pedestrians injured in collisions with cyclists, but the bike riders often get the worst of it. That was the case with woman in a London park, who was seriously injured when she collided with a runner.

That Brit bike rider attempting to ride over 75,000 miles this year was on target, riding a minimum of 205 mile a day; however, his attempt may be in jeopardy after his ankle was broken in a collision with a moped.

Danish bike riders get their own bike-through McDonalds, but only for a limited time. Sort of like McRibs.

 

Finally…

If you’re using a bike as a getaway vehicle following a burglary, it’s probably not a good idea to have a stolen weed-eater sticking out of your backpack. Put Carlos Santana in the Interested but Concerned category, as the guitar great is afraid to ride his new bike because of what happened to Bono, who fears he may never play guitar again after his solo bicycling crash in Central Park.

And a French mountain biker has set a new world record of over 138 mph.

Downhill, of course.

 

Morning Links: LA finally gets tough on hit-and-run, Calimesa driver convicted in fatal DUI hit-and-run

Now that’s more like it.

After years of rampant, unsolved hit-and-runs that have made this the City of Fallen Angels, Los Angeles is finally getting tough on fleeing drivers.

Streetsblog reports LA will establish its own Amber Alert-style emergency notification system after Governor Brown vetoed a similar statewide system last year. Alerts will be sent out on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to warn the public to be on the lookout for drivers responsible for serious hit-and-runs.

In addition, the city is establishing a standing reward for information leading to the conviction of runaway drivers, ranging from $1,000 for a collision resulting in property damage with no injuries, up to $50,000 for fatal collisions.

It won’t remove the incentive to flee.

But maybe if more drivers are convicted of the crime, others may think twice about flooring it following a wreck.

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William Donald Johnson has been convicted in the allegedly booze and drug-fueled hit-and-run death of cyclist Phillip Richards in Calimesa at the end of 2013. He reportedly fled the scene after crossing the center line to hit Richards head-on.

Johnson faces up to 15 well-deserved years in prison.

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Local

The next Bicycle Roundtable is scheduled for 6:30 pm this Thursday at Metro headquarters. The agenda includes updates on bike share, bike platform symbols and complete streets policy; the latter earned them national recognition for last year’s efforts.

A USC student was hit by a car while she was riding in a marked intersection near campus, while those darn cops refuse to play fair, hiding behind cars and trees to catch law-breaking Trojans.

Ciclavalley examines the Forest Lawn Death Trap as part of a series on the worst bike lanes in Los Angeles. Which sadly seems to be a much longer list than the best ones.

South Pasadena’s Monterey Road may be up for a road diet.

 

State

San Diego finally hit the on switch for its long-delayed bike share system.

A salmon cyclist suffers two broken wrists in Brea collision when she’s hit by a car pulling out of a parking lot; drivers seldom look for anyone coming against traffic.

Participation will be off at this weekend’s Tour de Palm Springs due to a lack of available hotel rooms, while riders taking part in the tour may have to wait for the presidential motorcade to pass.

A Texas man and his dog bike from Main to Monterey the long way.

 

National

An Anchorage man averaged a speedy six mph on a 225 mile fat bike race along the frozen Iditarod trail.

Someone is removing ghost bikes from the streets of Houston. But at least the city is getting green lanes downtown.

Only 18 bicyclists have been injured using Chicago’s bike share system since it was introduced 2-1/2 years and 3.2 million rides ago. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s successful bike share is expanding into neighboring Kentucky.

The seemingly endless battle of bikeways versus parking rears its ugly head once again, this time from St. Paul business owners. Because only motorists could conceivably spend money, not bike riders. Right?

Wisconsin’s conservative governor takes aim at funding for bike and pedestrian projects.

Stickers saying “I parked in a bike lane” are called too passive aggressive for New Yorkers, who are more likely to simply bash a windshield with a U-lock according to one Gotham cyclist.

How to ride a Mississippi roundabout.

A road raging West Palm Beach driver intentionally crashes into a bike rider, then gets out and punches him, apparently just for being in his way.

An Orlando writer discovers biking to work is more fun than driving, though a DC writer might disagree after giving up biking to work following a solo crash he can’t remember.

 

International

A look at the history of bicycling superhighways, both real and vaporware, starting with the elevated bikeway that eventually became LA’s first freeway. Meanwhile, City Lab criticizes all those farfetched plans to remove bikes from the streets, because it’s not the bikes that are the problem.

Safety fears keep British kids from bicycling.

London cyclists stage another massive die-in to call for safety.

Talk about distracted driving. A Scottish driver is photographed using headphones, a mobile phone and a laptop computer while he drove, all at the same time.

Greg LeMond handicaps this year’s Tour de France, saying Froome is the favorite but don’t Quintana count out. And says cycling needed Lance to crash and burn.

A cold-hearted Aussie woman actually bragged to family and friends about fleeing the scene after hitting a bike rider, leaving him to die of hypothermia in a ditch.

Caught on video: riding on top of a car may be taking sharing an Australian road just a tad too far.

 

Finally…

You might have to wait awhile to print your own bike, at least if you actually want to ride it.

And Walmart’s newest bicycle shaped objects are assembled in the US from foreign-made parts, while Scottish kilts come from Long Beach, courtesy of a cyclist who evidently wanted to air things out after a hard ride.

 

Bike rider dies after January hit-and-run in West Covina; third bike rider killed in SoCal this year

And then there were three.

The San Gabriel Tribune reports that Emilio Simon, a 50-year old resident of West Covina, died Thursday after fighting for his life for nearly two weeks following a hit-and-run last month.

Simon was walking his bike in the middle of the block across Francisquito Ave just west of California Ave in West Covina around 8:10 pm on January 23rd when he was hit by a westbound SUV.

The driver fled south on Sunset Ave, apparently without stopping, leaving Simon suffering from severe injuries in the street.

The car was described as an older silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, 1997 to 2001; police said it may have damage to the front driver’s side.

Anyone with information is urged to call West Covina police at 626/939-8500, or 24-hour tip line at 626/939-8688.

Let’s catch this jerk.

This is the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in LA County; that compares to six in the county this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Emilio Simon and his family. 

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver charged in death of PCH cyclist; fund set to help injured bike rider

It looks like LA’s District Attorney could learn something from her counterpart in Orange County when it comes to traffic crime.

The OC DA announced Thursday that 20-year old Dylan Thomas Randluby of Emerald Bay has been charged with felony hit-and-run with injury and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of 55-year old cyclist John Colvin.

Colvin was riding in the bike lane on North Coast Highway last June when he was run down from behind by Randluby’s car. Randluby allegedly kept driving despite a shattered windshield; he was followed by a pair of witnesses and arrested after stopping a mile later.

In too many other cases, hit-and-run has been essentially forgiven when drivers stopped nearby, returned to the scene later or turned themselves in even days later. It’s nice to see Orange County prosecutors treat it like the serious crime it is, even if the charges could be a little stiffer.

Randluby has apparently been released on $50,000 bond; KTLA-5 reports that no one by that name was in custody as of Thursday.

Thanks to Amy Senk and Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

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A Giveforward account has been established to help raise $30,000 for a bike rider who was severely injured when she was hit from behind at an estimated 50 mph while riding in a bike lane.

And an LA rider wants your help thanking the firefighters who came to his aid when he was injured on Angeles Crest.

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Local

KNBC-4 says LA has a crack problem — potholes and surface cracks in the streets that can seriously injure cyclists. And quotes BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass, as well as frequent contributor Patrick Pascal.

The LACBC shares an interview with new Executive Director Tamika Butler.

Santa Monica officials propose naming their coming bike share program “Breeze;” the city is also hosting a Valentine’s Day Kidical Mass family ride.

 

State

Rather than improve safety on the Coast Highway, Laguna Beach installs sharrows and signage to steer riders away from it.

Does a bike co-op by any other name smell as sweet? Santa Barbara City College opens a DIY bike shop.

A Danville court case could determine whether the safety of cyclists should be considered in the environmental review process for new developments. Maybe we should be classified as an endangered species.

One of the victims in that recent Mendocino County collision where an 18-year old driver mowed down five riders in rapid succession recounts her story in horrifying detail; she remembers seeing the driver sneer at her through the windshield before she fell under the car and was dragged 400 feet.

 

National

If you wondered who would ever buy that $20,000 S-Works McLaren Tarmac, the answer is cyclist and former baseball great and alleged doper Barry Bonds.

Charges have been dropped against a 74-year old Arizona woman who kept going after hitting a bike rider, blew through a red light and t-boned a truck, killing the driver — while on Ambien, no less — because she was found incompetent to stand trial. And to drive, evidently.

After a 14-year old Kentucky boy with Cerebral Palsy has his bike stolen, a stranger reaches out to buy him a new one.

Deadspin drops in, unwelcomed, on the nation’s second-oldest alley cat race in Minneapolis; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

A Maryland county finds drivers are at fault in 58% of collisions involving bike riders.

The Baltimore paper looks at why some drivers flee after a collision; maybe because they’re at fault 58% of the time.

A Florida county becomes the first in the state to criminalize harassment of bicyclists, pedestrians and people in wheelchairs.

 

International

Get your video fix from Road.cc with this roundup of the year’s best bike videos, including a texting driver shouting at a rider to get in the bike lane and a massive pile-up in the Tour Down Under.

The head of London’s licensed taxi drivers association says maybe he went a tad too far in comparing bicyclists to terrorists. If we were really like ISIS he would have been beheaded for that remark.

In yet another pie-in-the-sky — or maybe pie-in-the-ground, in this case — plan, a London design firm proposes converting abandoned subway tunnels into underground bikeways.

Kind-hearted Londoners raise £6,000 to send the body of a bike rider killed in the city back home to Greece.

British authorities have finally dropped charges against a bike rider who was fined £50 after he swerved out of a bike lane to go around a phone booth. Yet no one seems to ask why was there a phone booth in the bike lane to begin with.

A Brit bike rider is called the most hated man on two wheels after using his helmet cam to help police convict 70 scofflaw drivers.

A Czech group has sent 200 bikes to Cameroon to help protect African elephants. And no, they aren’t so the elephants can ride them to safety whenever poachers show up.

In one of the most over-the-top editorials in recent memory, a “hard-hitting” writer for the Sydney, Australia Telegraph accuses the Lord Mayor of desecrating the city with gridlock-inducing bike paths.

 

Finally…

Plans for a Halifax, Nova Scotia bike lane are put on hold when a hot dog vendor complains it will put him out of business; evidently, bike riders don’t eat hot dogs in the Great White North. A British bike lock goes high fashion.

And if mountain biking isn’t challenging enough, maybe it’s time to try it with one wheel. Or perhaps racing through shopping malls.

 

A rider fallen, family and friends shattered, and a young woman on the verge of hard time

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year.

Yes, all traffic deaths are tragic.

But some seem more troubling than others, haunting the edges of memory until something — an anniversary, a ghost bike, a news story — brings it back full force. And you’re struck once again by the incredible waste of it all.

A life taken for no reason.

Other than a driver’s carelessness and — alleged — criminal behavior.

A 21-year old bike shop worker taking the long way to work early on a Sunday morning, run down from behind by an 18-year old girl accused of having meth in her system from the night before.

It was exactly one year ago today that Joseph Robinson was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road in Orange while on his way to Jax Bicycles in Irvine. Sommer Gonzales was charged with the crime after being arrested in a parking lot not far away on Santa Margarita Parkway, reportedly while hiding evidence in a friend’s car.

It was thanks to an off-duty firefighter that Robinson was discovered off the side of the road, on the verge of death. And that a police officer had the information he needed to spot Gonzales’ car and make an arrest.

OC Battalion Chief Mark Stone was on his way to work when he spotted the badly damaged car traveling in the opposite direction, and began looking for what — or who — the car had struck. The only visible sign of the crash was a tumbleweed smashed against a guardrail, and a single bike shoe resting on the road.

Evidently, I’m not the only one who’s been haunted by Robinson’s needless death.

A memorial ride was held in Irvine this morning; hundreds of riders were expected to participate, escorted to the site of his ghost bike by Irvine police and CHP officers.

Meanwhile, Gonzales faces felony charges for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury, hit-and-run causing death and possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, she’s charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, with sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury and fleeing the scene of a crime, according to the MyNewsLA website.

The site reports she could spend over 15 years in state prison if convicted on the felony charges, with an additional six months in county for the misdemeanor count.

Our anonymous South Bay correspondent was in the courtroom recently for the preliminary hearing for Sommer Gonzales.

………

The preliminary held Wednesday, January 21st, was lengthy and at one point during some protracted questioning by the defense, the judge interrupted to remind him that the purpose of the prelim is to present only the most germane facts.

And the facts appear to be these:

Sommer Nicole Gonzales had been hanging out at a private residence in Anaheim on Saturday night. About 3 am on the morning in question, she allegedly smoked meth. A couple hours later, she began her drive to visit a 24-year-old gentleman friend in South County, taking a route familiar to her. Her undamaged vehicle is seen on the video surveillance of a Villa Park 76 Station shortly before she reached Santiago Canyon Road. At 6:47 am she texted a reply to the persistent gentleman friend, saying she was going through Santiago Canyon.

At approximately 6:55 am, she left a frantic message on another friend’s mom’s voicemail, stating that she had “hit something” and needed help. (The mom, for the record, disapproves of her son’s acquaintanceship with Gonzales, and immediately deleted the message.)

Although video surveillance from the gated entrance of the nearby Loma Ridge Emergency Operations Center didn’t capture the impact that flung Joey’s body 200 feet through the air, it shows that Gonzales stopped and exited her damaged vehicle. She did not walk back towards the site of the collision. Instead, twenty-five seconds later, she got back in the driver’s seat and continued driving southbound on Santiago.

OCFA Battilion Chief Marc Stone, commuting northbound, noticed the smashed hood and shattered windshield of Gonzales’ car as it passed him by the south entrance of Irvine Lake. The magnitude of the damage to her windshield initially, very briefly, made him think the car had struck a deer, but his intuition instantly put him on alert. Three miles up the road, he spotted crunched-up tumbleweeds and a lone bike shoe nearby. The same surveillance video shows his truck slow and flip a U-turn. Off camera, he found Joey’s body and dialed 911. Just up the hill, the dispatchers at the Loma Ridge Facility, which houses the county’s emergency communications bureau, relayed the description of the damaged maroon Toyota to law enforcement.

A sharp-eyed Sheriff’s deputy located the suspect’s vehicle, along with the suspect and her 24-year-old gentleman friend, in a parking lot. She had burn marks on her lips and paraphernalia in her purse. She had all sorts of nystagmus and was uncooperative with officers who attempted to administer a field sobriety test. After very few questions, she was taken into custody.

The judge listened to both sides impassively, examining all the exhibits and asking pertinent questions. Throughout the hearing, he was observant, neutral and unreadable, even during the defense’s closing arguments that dropped jaws in the audience.

The defense, possibly sensing the hopelessness of requesting a dismissal of charges, contended that Gonzales’ behavior that night did not meet the definition of gross negligence. The judge disagreed, and stated several reasons to support his opinion: She was high. She was texting. She was on a road familiar to her as one popular with cyclists. She, for whatever reason, maneuvered her vehicle straight into a marked, eight-foot wide bike lane. She failed to investigate the cause of the damage to her vehicle. Fifteen miles away from the scene, she parked her car head-in so that the damage would not be so visible to passers-by. She called pretty much everybody except 911. She made conflicting statements to law enforcement. Her “credibility,” concluded the judge, “is a question for the jury to decide.”

And, despite his calmly expressed finding that the evidence in the case clearly merits a more thorough examination by trial, there was no mistaking his own incredulity at the defense’s claims. I’m fairly sure everyone else in the courtroom (with the exception of Gonzales and her lawyer) wanted to yell “YESSS!” and add a fist pump for good measure.

………

She goes on to offer her personal take on the case:

Gonzales is an idiot for not taking whatever lenient plea deal she was offered, because it’s off the table now. Let alone for not learning anything about how to manage her addiction during three (count ’em, three) stints in rehab as a minor.

And it’s disgusting that her gentleman friend hasn’t been charged as an accessory after the fact. He was helping her remove her possessions from her damaged vehicle when the two were discovered. He’s also the brilliant mind who suggested that she reposition her vehicle so that the damage would be less noticeable, and “accidentally” deleted the texts he sent and received that morning (it took a subpoena to his carrier, but the DA has them all).

Meanwhile, Orange County traffic engineers still think 55 mph is an acceptable speed on a downhill stretch with a blind vertical curve. And the tower visible off in the distance from where Joey was killed, the one that looks like a steeple?

It belongs to the county’s 911 dispatch center.

………

Two lives were destroyed that morning; two families shattered and countless friends shaken.

Sommer Gonzales may have a chance to rebuild hers once she finally gets out of prison — assuming she’s convicted, of course.

Joseph Robinson will never get that chance.

 

 

Morning Links: CicLAvia sued over Wilshire hit-and-run; LaBonge keeps Glendale-Hyperion Bridge dangerous

Maybe you remember.

It was during the June, 2013 Wilshire CicLAvia when a bike rider was hit by a hit-and-run driver during the ostensibly car-free event.

Now CicLAvia has been sued by the rider, who suffered three broken vertebrae when an impatient motorist drove through the barricades blocking a cross street and sped across the boulevard, striking him in the process.

No arrest was ever made, making it impossible to sue the person actually responsible for the injuries. So instead, the victim’s lawyer is going after the nearest deep pockets, which is what lawyers are paid to do. Although how deep CicLAvia’s pockets are remains to be seen.

Presumably, the non-profit organization has insurance to cover cases like this, so it’s unlikely that it will affect future events. Although increased costs for insurance coverage and security are likely to make them more expensive to stage.

And don’t expect to hear CicLAvia respond to the suit. They’ve undoubtedly been advised by their attorneys not to comment publicly on the case.

……..

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from erstwhile bike blogger Will Campbell, now an animal cop with the spcaLA.

Will explains that the local spcaLA is not associated with the national ASPCA, and any donations made in response to the ubiquitous ad with the sad-eyed dogs and cats won’t benefit homeless or abused animals here in the City of Angels.

He invites you to guess how many coins are in a jar he plans to donate to the society; the winner can have the donation made in their name. Or you can donate directly through the society’s website.

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with bikes.

But it’s a damn good cause.

……..

‘Tis the season.

A Turlock, CA group puts together 50 bikes to donate to the Salvation Army for underprivileged kids. A mountain bike group donates dozens of bikes to kids at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Grand Rapids MI volunteers give away 1,500 free bikes. Three-hundred Miami kids from needy families get new bikes, thanks in part to Walmart.

……..

Local

Outgoing 4th District councilmember Tom LaBonge’s insistence that no traffic lanes be removed from the soon-to-be redesigned Glendale-Hyperion Bridge force dangerous compromises to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The best solution may be to wait a few months until someone else sits in his seat.

The Eastside Bike Club hosts a ride on Sunday, January 4th to protest CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s misguided comments to the council that bike riders represent the 1%; let’s show him that real Angelenos — and voters — of all types ride bikes. Thanks to Jaime Kate for the tip.

Better Bike discusses how Beverly Hills fails to take California’s three-foot passing law or cyclist safety into account in a planned redesign of Santa Monica Blvd; you’re invited to discuss a new complete streets proposal for the boulevard at 7 pm tonight in the Beverly Hills Public Library. And maybe the topic of how political accountability takes a holiday in the Biking Black Hole will come up, as well.

A 26-year old Pomona bike rider was killed in a drive-by shooting. Bad enough we have to dodge cars; no one should ever fall victim to bullets.

 

State

An Irvine woman walks out of jail just hours after being sentenced to nearly a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop. If the courts won’t take a vehicular assault on a cop seriously, what hope is there for the rest of us?

A San Diego bike rider makes a remarkable recovery from an Ocean Beach hit-and-run that nearly took her life just two months ago.

A Bakersfield bike rider is killed in an early morning hit-and-run on Saturday.

Palo Alto proposes striking designs for a planned bike/pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

 

National

Close associates of ex-six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by ex-one-time Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, agreeing to pay the Feds $541,000.

Tucson bike ambassadors give away bike bells, arguing that the bells sound nicer than saying “on your left.” And every time one rings, an angel gets his wings.

The National Parks Service proposes allowing bikes to use a six-mile pathway in Bryce Canyon. However, a recent NPS rule change could mean cyclists could be banned from nearby roads if the bikeway is approved.

As if the state’s highways weren’t risky enough for cyclists, South Dakota expands the use of rumble strips to make them more dangerous.

Massachusetts’ state parks department approves a half-million dollar study on how to better accommodate bikes, recognizing that bicycling is a growing form of both transportation and recreation.

Pittsburgh installs a new stop box for cyclists, but fails to tell motorists what it’s for.

A North Carolina judge rules a motorist gave a cyclist enough passing distance — even though the car’s mirror knocked the rider off her bike. I’d hate to see what he thinks is too close.

It takes a real jerk to steal bikes from Florida foster kids.

 

International

Volvo announces a new safety system to provide proximity alerts between drivers and cyclists; of course, it only works if both are using the same system.

Aussie pro Simon Gerrans is out of commission for the next few months after breaking his collarbone while training.

Now that’s a big heart. A Kiwi cyclist forgives the motorist who ran him off the road and assaulted him before running over his bike.

Caught on video: A Chinese bike rider miraculously walks away after getting run over by a semi in a right hook; warning, though, you may find the video hard to take. Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

 

Finally…

Aussie police conduct a drunk driving crackdown over the weekend, but the most wasted person they caught was riding a bike. Lance insists he would never cheat, at least not at golf; didn’t he used to say the same thing about bike racing?

And bad enough that bike riders have to dodge dangerous drivers; not even ghost bikes are safe. I’m afraid I’ve lost track of who sent this one to me, but thank you, anyway.

 

Morning Links: Arrest made in Anaheim hit-and-run; saddle up for Selle’s Christmas party in San Diego

An arrest is finally made in the hit-and-run death of an Anaheim mother early last month.

Daniella Palacios was riding her bike across the street just blocks from her home when she was run down by a white pickup, whose driver fled the scene without stopping.

Now 30-year old Buena Park resident Junior Lopez has been arrested for the crime. He’s being held on $50,000 bond, and his Ford F-150 truck has been seized as evidence.

……..

If you find yourself in San Diego tonight, make your way to the Selle Anatomica Christmas Party at 7939 Silverton Ave, Suite 806, from 6 to 9 pm. Just bring a canned good for the San Diego Food Bank and a “funky” item for the schwag exchange. RSVP in advance to fred@selleanatomica.com.

……..

Irvine and Riverside personal injury legal firm Avrek Law introduces the BikeSafe Bicycle Accident Reporting App, allowing you to report bike-related incidents throughout the SoCal region, or search for collision data by year or type. And yes, it does make an impact to see all those wreck sites on a single map.

Although I wish lawyers, of all people, would learn to call them collisions instead of accidents, since accident implies that no one is at fault.

……..

The LACBC is teaming with Better Bike to host a meeting on Monday on how to create a more bike friendly Beverly Hills. Personally, I’d start with a major attitude adjustment at City Hall.

……..

Lois forwards this photo of a gray-haired Burbank man who appears to be riding a ghost bike, right down to the RIP sign attached to the frame.

Stolen or not, I’d say that’s tempting fate just a little too much.

……..

Longtime LA Times columnist Patt Morrison says local bike riders should be required to get an “info license” to make them learn the rules of the road.

Aside from the fact that only the state can impose licensing requirements — cities can license bikes, but not riders — it’s an interesting, if muddled, unnecessary and ultimately unworkable idea.

……..

Local

Streetsblog reports on Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s snub of bicyclists as the City Council unanimously approved the city’s Call for Projects list. Meanwhile, Across LA asks who the real one-percenters are. And Richard Risemberg aptly describes Cedillo’s method of governing as a “tantrumocracy.”

The USC Bike Coalition unveils first bike repair station and pump on the traditionally bike-unfriendly campus.

UPS makes Burbank deliveries by bike.

Now that the San Gabriel Valley bike plan has been approved by all five cities involved, Monterey Park cyclists could see improvements as early as next spring.

Three Baldwin Park bike thieves are under arrest after the owner spots his stolen bike for sale on Craigslist.

 

State

An Irvine woman gets just a year in jail for intentionally running down an airport bike cop.

San Diego neighborhoods battle over plans to close an off-ramp to make room for a bike and pedestrian corridor, as local merchants fail to grasp that people on bikes spend money, too.

Paso Robles plans a L’Eroica Vintage Bicycle Event next April; participants are limited to riders on steel frame bikes built before 1987.

An Oklahoma man stops in Petaluma after riding 7,500 miles with his dog in support of animal shelters.

That’s a good problem to have, as a Bay Area Caltrain station struggles to keep up with demand for bike parking.

The civil trial begins in the case of a San Francisco bike rider killed in a collision with a 13 ton delivery truck. Police initially blamed the cyclist until the SF Bike Coalition found security camera footage that police hadn’t bothered to look for.

‘Tis the season, as a Turlock real estate agency donates 23 bikes for less fortunate children.

 

National

Requiring sideguards on large trucks could save the lives of countless cyclists and pedestrians.

People for Bikes looks at the nation’s 10 best protected bike lanes, including one right here in Temple City.

Biking pop star Katy Perry gets a custom painted ride.

DC bike riders are most likely to be white or Hispanic, and either wealthy or low income.

 

International

The ugly Christmas sweater fad spreads to bike jerseys. Although hideous might be a better word.

A heartbraking story from the UK, as a father is accused of killing his own bike riding son by passing too closely.

Unbelievable. An injured British cyclist is kept waiting over two hours before an ambulance finally arrived.

Good thing the peloton has been cleaned up. An Italian pro cyclist is caught using testosterone, despite serving an 18-month ban for doping. Meanwhile, banned cyclist Riccardo Riccò says it’s impossible to win a grand tour without doping; scary thing is, he may be right.

A Japanese cyclist is banned from riding his bike for 90 days after crashing while under the influence of quasi-legal drugs.

 

Finally…

Once again, a driver mistakenly assumes that gas taxes pay for the roads, let alone the bikeways on them, and blames scofflaw cyclists for breaking the law — unlike all those law abiding motorists. Bike riders are often turned away from drive-through widows; evidently, it helps if you use a gun and ask for the contents of the cash drawer.

And caught on video: Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas plays Jingle Bells using bike bells.

 

Morning Links: The Times looks at rising bike hit-and-run rates; and the year’s most inspirational video

You already knew hit-and-runs were a problem for cyclists.

But maybe none of us realized just how bad it’s become.

According to the LA Times, overall injury and fatal hit-and-run rates have actually declined since 2000. Except for those involving bike riders, which have increased a whopping 42% since then.

It’s easy to lay blame for the increase on a rising rate of bicycling over the same period, which has grown 61% since the turn of the century, according to a recent report from the League of American Bicyclists. But the fact that overall rates have gone down while bike-involved hit-and-runs have gone up just raises the question of why so many drivers think it’s okay to leave a bike rider bleeding in the street.

Then again, maybe it’s just that a collision with a bike rider is less likely to leave the driver’s car too damaged to flee than a wreck with another motor vehicle.

Regardless of the reason, nothing will change until the law is changed to make the penalties for hit-and-run greater than the potential reward for running away.

And that won’t happen until someone can get it through our out-of-touch governor’s head that hit-and-run is a serious — and deadly — problem.

Especially for those of us who aren’t protected by a couple tons of glass and steel.

………

The Times piece also notes that an overwhelming 80% of all hit-and-runs go unsolved. And only half of the cases that do get solved result in a conviction.

In other words, drivers have a 90% chance of getting away with it if they hit the gas instead of the brake after a collision. No wonder hit-and-run remains at epidemic proportions.

In addition, the story profiles some of the victims of fleeing drivers — at least, the ones still able to tell their own story, including Paul Livingston, whose story was told here last June.

There’s a great interactive map, as well, that drives home the obscene number of bike-involved hit-and-runs every year, and where you need to be on the lookout for fleeing drivers. Including Long Beach, Santa Monica, DTLA, Van Nuys and North Hollywood — in other words, the places where you’re most likely to find people on bikes.

And the paper offers a video interview with Finish the Ride’s Damian Kevitt, who barely survived the gruesome hit-and-run that took his leg.

Then again, it’s not just an LA problem, as a Florida paper asks what kind of driver doesn’t stop after hitting someone.

Or more to point, what kind of pond-sucking scum would even consider it?

………

No surprise, as prosecutors have declined to press charges against the South LA bike rider allegedly beaten by cops while being held down after a brief pursuit.

Police had reportedly ordered Clinton Alford to stop while he was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd, but he kept going because he says they failed to identify themselves as police officers. Then he ran when someone grabbed his bike from behind, which lead to the alleged beating.

Based on the description of events, though, the police appeared to lack probable cause to make the stop, since sidewalk riding is legal in Los Angeles. Which makes everything that followed, including alleged evidence of drug possession and accusations of resisting arrest, inadmissible in court.

Never mind that filing charges would stand in the way of reaching a settlement with the city over the beating.

………

Unbelievable. A Paso Robles cyclist is dead and her riding partner severely injured because the jerk behind the wheel dropped his effing cell phone and bent down to pick it up. Then had to swerve to avoid the stopped car ahead of him, slamming into the riders in the process.

Never mind that using a hand-held phone while driving is illegal in California.

Or that taking your eyes off the road to pick it up is idiotic.

………

Local

CicLAvia offers a narrative guide to Sunday’s event (pdf) from the real voices of South LA.

An Aussie travel writer takes a 32-mile bike tour of LA in — gasp! — a single day.

West Hills’ Spoke N’ Wheel Bicycles bounces back after a summer fire nearly put it out of business.

An important bike route through the UCLA campus is needlessly blocked by construction. And Porta Potties.

Santa Monica sees a dramatic increase in bicycling since 2000, nearly six times the national growth in cycling. And yes, this story is where I got that stat about the 61% increase in bike riding nationwide.

Riding for a great cause. The Midnight Ridazz annual All City Toy Ride takes place on Friday, December 9th. Thanks to James Hawkes for the link. 

The Eastside Bike Club is hosting a family-friendly Slow ES Cool — Cypress Park Ride to explore some of LA’s and the San Gabriel Valley’s beautiful sites and diverse eateries on Saturday, December 13th.

 

State

Riverside police plan to offer a $10,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of fallen rider D’Andre Sutherland.

A San Bernardino man is the victim of a bike-by shooting; he’ll survive, but may have trouble walking for awhile.

Evidently, they’re just a bunch of old softies, as a group of Hell’s Angels — yes, the notorious motorcycle gang — buy up all the bikes at a Fresno Walmart and donate them for needy kids. And not for the first time.

San Jose prepares to ban all bikes on the sidewalk because of a few overly aggressive riders.

The popular East Bay Bike Party has been cancelled for December due to out-of-control and disrespectful riders.

 

National

Evidently, bad research never dies, as the press continues to report on that highly flawed Governors’ report on bike safety.

Rails to Trails offers 10 great bike movie moments.

Your next GoPro could offer overhead shots, as the company is reportedly developing its own line of drones.

A Maine man admits to fatally running down his bike riding friend while driving drunk, after initially claiming he found him lying in a ditch.

New York City cuts the speed limit in Central Park to reign in all those dangerous bikes.

New York police use faulty, or perhaps made-up, data to justify a crackdown on bike riders.

 

International

A Vancouver writer says motorists must take more responsibility for keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe.

An Ottawa paper goes for major click bait, asking their readers whether an idiot on a bike or a moron behind the wheel is worse. How about the idiot editor who approved the piece?

A new association of the top pro cycling teams plans to bring a little more rationality to the sport.

A London writer offers up five mistakes that cancel out even the best bike lights.

London’s mayor Boris considers holding open streets events in the city after seeing similar events in Jakarta. If he thinks that’s impressive, we should invite him to Sunday’s CicLAvia.

Bike cams are being accepted as evidence in cases against Scottish motorists.

An American man and his 12-year old son tour Amsterdam by bike, including the Red Light District.

Caught on video: A Polish rider participating in a bikejoring competition — racing with dogs pulling her bike — is tackled by, not 10 Lords a Leaping, but a leaping herd of deer.

A Chengdu, China bike rider invents an air purifier that fits in a very big backpack.

 

Finally…

Florida cyclists connect through Facebook to get a man’s $5,000 Cannondale back before he even knew it was stolen. Lance just can’t keep away from the sport, as he admits to motorpacing BMC’s Tejay van Garderen.

And they must make ‘em tough Down Under, as a 13-year old boy rides his bike back home after being bitten by a shark.

………

One quick bonus video: Michael Eisenberg forwards what may be the most inspirational video you’ll see this year, featuring former race car champ and champion paracyclist Alex Zarnardi, who lost both legs in a car racing collision.

Seriously, if he can get back on a bike, so can I.

And so can you.

 

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