Tag Archive for hit-and-run

A year in jail for killer Moorpark driver, cyclist hit by Maserati on Rock Store climb, and your Morning Links

Somehow, this one fell through the cracks last month.

Susan Levy, a cousin of fallen Moorpark cyclist Bernie Cooper’s widow, reported that the driver who killed him pled guilty to felony hit-and-run and two related misdemeanor counts.

Twenty-two year old Ridgecrest resident Nicholas Santiago was sentenced to one year in jail and five years probation.

Santiago hit Cooper’s bike as he was riding on Tierra Rejada Road with enough force that Cooper’s body was thrown into a nearby tree. Santiago fled the scene, but apparently had a change of heart and returned half an hour later to accept responsibility.

Thanks to Levy for keeping us in the loop. And my apologies for the delay in reporting this.

……….

Reports are a cyclist was airlifted to a hospital after being struck by a Maserati on the Rock Store Climb — aka the Snake — on Mulholland yesterday morning. No word on the condition of the rider.

Paul Herold, the famed photographer who documents the activity on that contested stretch of roadway — and offered advice here on how to stay safe there — somehow managed to capture the male victim in midair following the initial impact. Personally, I think it’s in poor taste to post a photo of someone in the process of being injured, so use your own judgment on whether to click the link.

However, it should also be noted that Herold was seen comforting the victim until help arrived.

And of course, the comments devolve into whether cyclists should be allowed on the crowded roadway, especially on weekends. A better question is why speeding motorists are allowed to test their limited skills there.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the links.

……….

Interesting idea. Denver has an Amber Alert-type system to warn the public to be on the watch for hit-and-run vehicles, called a Medina Alert. Oregon is considering a similar system, which was named after a 21-year old man killed in a hit-and-run.

Maybe we should push our City Council members and state legislators to get a similar system in place here. Especially one that notifies every body shop to be on the lookout for a car matching the description of the suspect vehicle — with serious penalties for failing to report it the police.

Of course, the problem with any citywide program is that drivers could sidestep the law by taking their vehicles across the city limit, where compliance would be voluntary rather than mandatory.

On the other hand, the city can usually move much faster than the lumbering state legislature to get something like that in place.

Thanks to our anonymous OC/South Bay source for the tip.

……….

Local

Friday’s Critical Mass will honor hit-and-run victims with a candlelight vigil.

A LAPD officer and a bike rider both suffered injuries in a South LA fight after the rider refused to accept a vehicle code citation. Or maybe they’re predicting the future, since the article — dated today — says the fight occurred, or maybe will occur, at 9:35 tonight. Though I assume they meant last night.

Outside Magazine looks at the recent uncanceled Marathon Crash ride, while the LA Weekly offers a comparison of the Ballona Creek bike path and the Elysian Valley section of the LA River bike path.

Errands by bike are easier when you add the Red Line to your route.

USC’s Neon Tommy looks at the benefits and challenges of riding in LA, and offers a vision for the future.

Cynergy Cycles offers a free seminar on making extreme cycling events easier with science on Wednesday.

If you still give a damn about the Lance Armstong saga, the Times reviews two new books on the subject.

Long Beach’s Charlie Gandy offers a detailed look at the city’s streetdecks.

 

State

More proof that bike riders aren’t always the good guys as a Riverside County cyclist stabs a driver in the neck and steals his vehicle.

A 23-year old driver turns himself in for killing a cyclist in a Half Moon Bay hit-and-run. Maybe he had enough time to sober up before coming forward.

Fruit of the poisonous tree? A Napa man is arrested for meth possession after being stopped for texting while riding his bike. Except texting on a bike isn’t illegal in California, which could call the stop and everything that followed into question if he has a good lawyer.

A Yuba City program teaches people with disabilities to ride a conventional two-wheeled bike independently; I’d love to see a program like that here. And everywhere.

A local cyclist with nearly 50-years riding experience writes the book on Northern California’s best riding routes.

 

National

A Tucson women develops an LED/reflective harness to improve bike and pedestrian safety.

Tulsa gets its first mile-long bike lanes following a road diet; do I really have to say some residents aren’t happy?

An Ohio rider is killed by a 78-year old driver while on a 200-mile group ride.

New York’s highly successful and suddenly embattled bike share program faces a possible cash shortfall, as the mayor refuses a bailout and Alta is accused of shoddy maintenance.  But if it survives, you can (illegally) add an e-motor to your rental ride for just $1,350.

CNN looks at New York’s Worksman Industrial Cycles, the oldest large-scale bike manufacturer that actually makes its bikes in the US, in operation since 1898.

 

International

Huh? A Hamilton Canada letter writer says don’t build bike lanes to make bicycling safer because it’s too dangerous for motorists when cyclists ride in the winter. Oh, and fix those damn potholes first.

Tragic news from across the Atlantic as a British father of three is killed by an 18-year old drunk driver while on a 24-hour, 248-mile solo charity ride. He’d hoped to raise £1000 for the mental health charity; after his death, over £40,000 in donations have poured in. A 19-year old man has also been arrested.

The UK’s Independent looks at the rise of the female cyclist, while two teenage girls have been arrested for attempting to decapitate one.

My favorite Scottish bike blogger writes about getting caught in a stinging rain and offers advice for surviving such. And appropriately closes with this line: “Anyone commenting to the effect that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing, will be hunted down and drowned.”

Copenhagenize conducts a little bike archeology, and comes up with 10 former bike features worth reviving.

A Philippines congressman calls for bike lanes on the country’s major thoroughfares.

A Bangkok airport offers bike riders a new 14-mile off-road bikeway.

 

Finally…

In a man bites dog twist, a Florida man was arrested for leaving the scene after drunkenly colliding with a SUV.  On a bike. And in a case of man bites cop, a  Sacramento rider is under arrest for biting the officer who tried to stop him for a traffic violation, and assaulting another.

Makes that South LA case look pretty tame.

Another LA bike rider run down and left to die in the street; fifth SoCal cycling death in last five days

Make that five.

On the day the LA Times columnist Steve Lopez examined the LA-area ghost bike movement, a heartless coward created the need for yet another in Downtown LA — the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California in just the last five days.

According to KABC-7 and a number of other sources, the victim was struck by an unknown vehicle on Alameda Street at the offramp to the westbound 10 Freeway around 2 am this morning. Police responding to a call found him dead in the number two lane of the offramp with no vehicle in site.

The victim is described only as a man in his early 30s; no description of the vehicle or the driver who killed him is currently available.

Anyone with information was urged to contact the CHP at 213/744-2331.

The location of the victim’s body on the offramp seems odd, since a car exiting the freeway would be more likely to knock his body off the ramp, rather than onto it. That suggests the rider was either hit by a car driving on Alameda, rather than exiting the freeway, or was somehow riding on the offramp itself.

The location itself also seems problematic, since the westbound off-ramp from the 10 empties onto 14th Street well before it connects with Alameda.

The Times places the location near Alameda, rather than on it, and identifies the victim as in his 40s.

In my personal opinion, there is no lower form of scum than someone who would run away like a coward after a traffic collision instead of stopping — as the law requires — and call for the help that might have saved the victim’s life if it had come in time.

This is the 18th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in LA County already this year. It’s also the 2nd in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year, and the year’s first fatal hit-and-run involving a bike rider, compared to 10 in 2013.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

Update: Another drunken OC driver, another fatal hit-and-run; arraignment Friday in death of Pasadena cyclist

It’s happened again.

An Orange County man gets behind the wheel after drinking, and flees the scene after running down a bicyclist riding in a Huntington Beach bike lane.

According to KTLA-5, the victim was riding south in the bike lane near Edwards Street and Ellis Avenue just before 11 pm last night when he was hit from behind by a 2012 Toyota Camry.

The rider, identified only as a 37-year old Huntington Beach resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver fled the scene — leaving behind one of his front tires — and was found by police about a mile away, with damage consistent with a collision. And presumably, only three tires.

Police arrested 29-year-old Antonio Magdaleno Jr. of Oxnard suspicion of driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run leading to death.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Accident Investigator Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Accident Investigator Robert Barr at 714-536-5666.

This is the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County; in both cases, the victim was hit from behind by an alleged drunk driver while riding in a bike lane.

It’s also the 6th cycling death in Huntington Beach since 2011 — half of which were hit-and-runs, and involved drivers under the influence.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew Liechty and his family.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

Update: The Orange County Register has identified the victim as 37-year old Matthew Liechty of Huntington Beach. And yes, the photo with the story clearly shows the driver fled the scene on only three wheels.

Meanwhile, a source tells me HBPD Investigator Huynh averages over 100 DUI arrests each year, and had 445 in 2008.

Evidently, there are a lot of drunks on the road in Huntington Beach. We all owe a round of thanks to Investigator Huynh for taking some of the off.

Thanks to the OC Register for making this story public.

Update 2: The Witch on a Bicycle points out that the speed limit on that Edwards Street is 45 mph; given that most California drivers exceed the post limit by at least 10 mph, any collision with a cyclist or pedestrian is almost guaranteed to be lethal.

The Register has updated their story to report that Liechty was a former employee of the Orange County Probation Department, and briefly worked in a non-sworn position with the OC Sheriff’s Department before leaving last year.

………

On an all too similar note, I’ve received word that the driver who killed Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill last June is — finally — being arraigned tomorrow.

O’Neill was riding with a companion near Caltech when he was hit from behind as he rode in the lane on Del Mar Blvd; he was struck with enough force to throw him across the road and into a parked car before striking the curb.

The woman he was riding with still struggles with the devastating effects of watching her friend fly through the air to his death. I’m respecting her privacy by withholding her name; however, here is her email urging bike riders to attend the arraignment.

Dear Friends and Family,

As some of you may know, the arraignment for the Pasadena motorist who struck and killed Phillip O’Neill on Del Mar Blvd. on June 15, 2013 is this coming Friday.

Phillip’s family and I would very much appreciate a show of support at the arraignment. We all feel that it’s important to send a message to the city that taking the life of a vulnerable road user is a very serious offense and should be treated as such. I have included details of the arraignment below.

Date: February 21, 2014

Time: Arrival 8:30am. Note that this case is one of six which will be heard this morning. We do not know the order in which the cases will be heard, however the prosecutor believes the case will be heard before noon.

Place: Pasadena Superior Court, 300 E. Walnut, Pasadena 91101

In the event that the case goes to trial there may be additional opportunities to show your support. I will share those if it does. To find out more about how Pasadena CBO’s and residents have come together in response to Phillip’s death, and others like it, go to the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition website at http://www.pas-csc.org/.

In a follow-up email, she describes the man whose life was ended by a careless driver that day.

Phillip was an amazing person – young but incredibly accomplished, with a master’s degree in renewable energies, he was a master gardener at one of the best botanical gardens in the nation, amateur chef; these are just a few in an impressive list.

I know it’s a lot to ask to sacrifice your morning, especially on such short notice. But if you’re in the Pasadena area on Friday, they could really use your support.

And it couldn’t hurt to send a message to the court that we’re watching this case.

Meanwhile, it serves as a reminder that Pasadena still has a long way to go to make the roads safe for everyone.

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

Another drunken hit-and-run, another bike rider left to die in the street

We should all be sick of this by now.

Another drunk driver. Another hit-and-run. Another bike rider left to die in a crumpled heap on our streets.

This time, it happened in Oxnard, at 2:09 this morning, when 43-year old Gerald Garcia of Oxnard was riding south with a friend in the bike lane on Rose Avenue, just below Raider’s Way.

A 2000 Volkswagon GTI driven by 29-year old Oxnard resident Policarpio Diaz was traveling in the bike lane and rear-ended Garcia’s bike. Garcia was thrown off, while Diaz fled the scene with the bicycle still trapped beneath his car.

It’s entirely possible the wide bike lane may have looked like a travel lane in the early morning hour. To a drunk, anyway.

Witnesses aided police in locating Diaz’ car — apparently with the bike still trapped underneath — and they took him into custody a short distance away. Diaz was booked into Ventura County Jail on felony counts of DUI, Hit and Run and Vehicular Manslaughter, as well as two outstanding misdemeanor DUI warrants.

That’s right.

Diaz had two outstanding warrants for DUI, yet he was still allowed to remain on the streets to kill another human being.

Tragedies like this will keep happening as long as our legal system refuses to take drunk driving, hit-and-run and other traffic crimes seriously. Garcia is just the latest in a long string of traffic victims, with no end in sight.

And if that doesn’t piss you off, maybe it should.

This is the 11th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Ventura County. It’s also at least the fifth bicycling fatality in Oxnard in the last 38 months.

My deepest sympathy to Gerald Garcia and all his family and friends.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa and Kelly for the heads-up.

And no thanks to the California DMV and a legal system that continues to value the rights of drunk drivers over the right of the rest of us to simply stay alive.

Horrific DUI hit-and-run case goes on trial, bicycling may be safer than you think, and a Saturday San Gabriel ride

Before we start, a little housekeeping.

Note the addition of four new pages at the top of this site. Hopefully, they’re self-explanatory.

Facts & Stats is exactly that, a random collection of bike facts and statistics that will continue to grow as we stumble upon useful and/or interesting information — including the bit about bike safety a little further down this page.

Resources is a listing of things bicyclists may need, from information on the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance and the seemingly dormant Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, to the LAPD’s Bike Liaisons and a listing of lawyers experienced in bike cases.

Organizations lists bike advocacy groups on the national, state and local levels, as well as local riding groups.

Bike Shops & Co-ops provides links to a small listing of local bike shops that I recommend, or that have been recommended to me; obviously, there are too many shops in the LA area to list them all. In addition, you’ll find bike co-ops and other bicycle services, as well as locally based manufacturers and online retailers. Other online retailers may be added down the road, but the idea is to support local bike shops and builders.

All of these should be considered works in progress. So if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or email the address on the About page.

And I promise to update the Events page now that things are finally getting back under control.

………

Somehow, I’d forgotten all about this case. Maybe because it didn’t involve a bike rider.

Just a drunken Torrance drug and alcohol counselor who hit a pedestrian so hard she knocked him out of his pants and boxers. Then drove two more miles with her dying victim lodged in her windshield, naked from the waist down. And turned away from the emergency room that could, maybe, have saved him.

Consider this from The Awl.

When Wilkins had pulled into the gas station with a pantless (Phillip) Moreno embedded in her windshield, her blood alcohol level was .17. That’s twice the legal limit. There were traces of THC and benzodiazepine in her bloodstream. When police searched her car they found two empty mini-bottles of Absolut Vodka and a 40-ouncer, along with a receipt that showed it’d been purchased that evening.

That driver, Sherri Lynn Wilkins, is on trial now in a Downtown LA courtroom in a case that’s expected to take three weeks.

With two prior felony convictions, she faces life in prison if convicted of vehicular manslaughter, which would be her third strike.

I have a lot of sympathy for people who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. But anyone who could do what she did deserves to go away for a long time.

Take a few moments, and read Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s story from The Awl. It’s very well-written, and a very powerful read.

Though perhaps one that’s best done on an empty stomach.

Thanks to Geoff Stiltz for the heads-up.

………

Ever wonder how safe bicycling really is?

According to the 2010 National Bicycling and Walking Study, Americans took 4 billion bike rides in 2009; resulting in an estimated 52,000 injuries, while the national FARS database recorded 628 deaths.

As a result, the odds of returning home unscathed that year would have been nearly 77,000 to one in your favor, while the odds of surviving any given ride were an overwhelming 6.3 million to one.

And yes, deaths and injuries have gone up since then, but so has ridership. If anything, your odds could be even better today.

So don’t let the bad news scare you off. Even if you’ve seen far too much of it here lately.

As for me, I’ll gladly take those odds. Especially when the health benefits of bicycling significantly outweigh the risks.

Thanks to People for Bikes for the top link.

………

City leaders are finally talking Vision Zero. Just not in this city.

New York’s new mayor follows through on his campaign promise for a Vision Zero; even if new NYPD Chief Bratton’s famed data blames the victims. And San Francisco steps up to the plate to stop killing cyclists and pedestrians.

Even new US DOT Secretary Foxx says it’s time to make bike and pedestrian safety a priority.

Los Angeles?

<crickets>

………

Update: Ride cancelled due to smoke from the Colby fire.

This Saturday my friends Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles, are hosting their latest monthly ride through the LA area — this time a tour of the San Gabriel foothills.

Saturday, January 18, 2014 – 8:30am

When: Saturday, January 18;  Meet at 8:30 a.m., ride at 9:00 a.m.

Where: Classic Coffee – 148 North Glendora Avenue, Glendora, 91741 (Meet in the public parking lot behind Classic Coffee)

This is the 2nd edition of our very first Touring LA County ride—a tour in the San Gabriel foothills along the northeastern fringe of urban Los Angeles. Rich in history, variety and natural beauty, the area is home to some of LA County’s earliest small cities: Monrovia (incorporated in 1887), Azusa (1898) and Glendora (1911). Two river bike-path systems — along the San Gabriel and the Rio Hondo — tie together the ride, passing along the Emerald Necklace, an evolving string of pocket parks and greenways. The route also includes the Royal Oaks Bike Trail (a rails-to-trails path on the old Red Line trolley right-of-way) and a foray into Monrovia Canyon Park, with its forest and streams.

Ride Length: 46 miles

Ride Duration: About 5-6 hours, including stops

Hopefully, the Colby Fire will be out by then, and everyone can enjoy some good air to breathe.

And mark your calendar for a new Los Angeles Bicycle Commuter Festival and Summit on Sunday, February 16th.

………

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton finds problems with the mayor’s recent traffic collision. LA City Council members want to set rules for how long ghost bike should stay up; how long do the victims stay dead? New Virgil Ave bike lanes officially open on Saturday. New semi-green bike lanes on UCLA campus. Neon Tommy explains why traffic sucks in Century City. Looks like a massive Boyle Heights roundabout is finally moving forward; no word on whether they plan to accommodate bikes or use us as bumper fodder for speeding drivers. Great idea, as a last-minute effort attempts to save the Figueroa-Riverside Street bridge as an elevated parkway for cyclists and pedestrians; as usual, the city says no. On the other hand, we should get a new bright orange Taylor Yard bike and pedestrian bridge soon. UCLA Today interviews parking meister Donald Shoup. Glendale gears up for the 2014 Jewel City Ride next May. Massive new Burbank Ikea will have 1,726 parking spaces — and 86 for bikes.

When your bike becomes your frenemy. San Diego’s acting mayor sees a world-class bike city in the town’s future. A 71-year old Riverside County rider is injured when she allegedly turns into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Thousand Oaks cyclists get new bike lanes on a bridge, but no safe way to get to them. UC Santa Barbara student committee works on improving bicycling on campus. It takes a real schmuck to assault an 11-year old Bakersfield boy to steal his BMX bike. A 70-year old Antioch cyclist is killed in a collision; witnesses report he ran a red light, not something most 70-something riders are normally prone to do. Napa cyclist responds to hate speech graffiti.

Four 5x goals from People for Bikes. Protected bikeways mean business. Elly Blue writes about riding out your period. High speed Seattle road ragers crash multiple times, on purpose. Washington farmers say bikes and trees are incompatible; seriously, I can’t make this crap up. Headline of the day: If smartphones are so smart, why don’t they tell drivers to watch the road? Chicago lawyer goes after taxi that apparently hit a cyclist, only to find the real culprit. Chicago celebrates winter Bike to Work Day; strange that we don’t have one when our weather is so much better. Unlicensed Illinois teenager gets five years for killing a nine-year old bike rider. Tennessee teens pepper spray a cyclist from a passing car. A Massachusetts cyclist is run down by a drunk driver early New Year’s morning after his mother warned him not to go out. Utica NY driver ticketed for failing to pass safely after running down a 74-year old woman with a reputation for “recklessly bicycling in the street;” no, really, that what they said. Cars don’t kill people, irresponsible drivers do; amen brother. Florida police catch a bike riding cross-dressing bank robber. Miami cyclists want the mayor to ride with them to see why riders are getting run down on a city causeway.

In a case eerily reminiscent of the Torrance tragedy above, a Brazilian motorist drives 6 km — 3.73 miles — with the body of his bicyclist victim embedded in his windshield. Maybe bike forks don’t have to be angled after all. Brit motorcyclist tries to kick a bike rider into traffic. Britain needs more cyclists. Britain’s bicycling minister sees a future for everyday riders the current streets can’t support; at least they have a cycling minister, unlike some countries I could name. As long as we’re introducing crazy laws for cyclists, here’s three more. We don’t need no stinking elevated bikeways. Spaniards riot over plans for a bike-friendly boulevard. Think your ride’s tough? Try a 12,000 km race across Africa. Kiwi driver gets 32 months for pushing a triathlete off his bike in a road rage attack. Family of a fallen New Zealand cyclist forgives the driver she collided with, saying he did nothing wrong; that’s class. Aussie pro quits his comeback due to a dangerous heart arrhythmia. Australian judge loses her license for a whole eight months after hitting a cyclist while driving under the influence, but at least she’s barred from hearing alcohol and traffic cases.

Finally, CNN looks at the future of bicycling, which oddly doesn’t include just getting on a bike and going for a ride. And that would probably please a Santa Monica letter writer, who wants to rein in all those killer bike riders on the boardwalk.

Sadly, I’ve gotten word of yet another apparent bicycling fatality, but haven’t been able to get confirmation yet. Let’s hope Friday will bring better news.

Good news and bad news: LAPD makes hit-and-run arrest; bike rider killed in Compton

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Let’s start with the bad news.

No details yet, but I’ve received confirmation that a bike rider was killed in Compton Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

As if the photo that’s circulating online wasn’t confirmation enough. And no, I’m not going to share it here.

According to the reports, he was killed while riding his bike at Compton Blvd and North Dwight Ave. Friends of the victim, who identified him only as Pete, confirm that he was hit by a car sometime before 5 am Wednesday morning and died at the scene; the driver remained at the scene following the collision.

Judging by the photo of the victim, he appears to be a bearded white male with grey hair, possibly in his 50s or 60s.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 7th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, as we maintain the horrific every-other-day pace since the first of the year. And it is the third cycling death in LA County this year, which suffered an intolerable 39 bike-related deaths in 2013.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: I didn’t recognize the corner, but Gamboa points out it’s the same intersection where Ovidio Morales was killed in a still-unsoved hit-and-run in 2010; his ghost bike is still there across the intersection. 

He reports one of the victim’s friends said he was a good man who struggled with alcohol, and was in and out of treatment programs.

As the photo suggests, neighbors have placed candles in his memory.

………

Gamboa also forwards word that an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run death of a Panarama City man, who has not been publicly identified at the request of the man’s family.

According to a press release from the LAPD,

Fatal Hit And Run Driver taken into custody

On January 13, 2014 at 6 PM Valley Traffic Division Detectives arrested a 46-year old male, Rene Amaya of Panarama City on suspicion of the felony hit and run (20001(a)VC) death of a bicyclist, which occurred on December 23, 2013, at the intersection of Burnet Ave and Lanark St in the Community of Panarama City, California. Bail was set at $50,000.

Maybe someone can explain to me why we continue to grant such a low bail to someone who has already demonstrated a willingness to flee after taking a life.

Update: 16-year old bike rider killed in Desert Hot Springs hit-and-run

Then there were three.

Just 10 days into the new year, Southern California has already suffered three cycling fatalities, continuing the bloody pace from last year, when at least 88 riders lost their lives on SoCal streets.

The latest came last night, as a 16-year old bike rider was killed while riding with a friend in Desert Hot Springs.

According to The Desert Sun, Reuben Guzman was sharing a single bike with another boy when they were hit by a Nissan pickup at 5:35 pm at the intersection of West Drive and Desert View Ave. One boy was pedaling the bike north on West Drive while the other rode on the handlebars; no word on whether Guzman was on the seat or the handlebars, or whether the other rider was injured.

The boys reportedly veered into the traffic lane where they were struck from behind by the truck; the driver fled the scene, leaving the victims bleeding in the street.

Guzman died at 11:05 pm at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

Police are looking for a blue or gray Nissan pickup with major front end damage.

This is the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Riverside County already this year; there were 11 bicycling deaths in the county last year.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Desert Hot Springs Police Department at 760/329-2904.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Reuben Guzman and all his loved ones.

Update: According to KESQ.com, Guzman was pedaling the bike while his friend rode on the handlebars on their way to a local bike park. The other victim has been released from the hospital.

Update: Panarama City hit-and-run victim dies; 17th confirmed LA bike fatality in 2013

Yet another bike rider’s life hangs in the balance, in one of the worst holiday periods in memory.

According to a press release from the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, a cyclist was riding west on Burnet Ave when he was struck by an unknown vehicle headed south on Lanark St in Panorama City. A street view shows a typical Valley intersection.

Investigators were called around 7 am; no word on when the collision occurred or how the victim was discovered. The rider was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. No arrest has been made, and no description of the suspect vehicle was provided.

The LA Weekly reports that the victim’s son has identified him as a 57-year old man, but asked than his name be kept private for the time being.

According to the paper, the victim is in grave condition and not expected to survive.

He told the Weekly his father sustained a “severe brain injury” and that his “condition deteriorated” to the point where family members were told his chance of survival was essentially “zero.” He said he’d keep us updated.

He also requested the media’s help in finding the person who left his father in the street to die.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Valley Traffic Division Detective William Bustos at 818/644-8021 or Officer Scott DeWitt at 818/644-8027; anonymous tips can be given to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800/222-8477).

This comes after at least three bicycling fatalities in the past 10 days.

Update: According to the LAPD, the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, has died.

This is the 87th — and hopefully last — bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 38th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the 17th confirmed bike death in the City of LA, over three times the total for 2012, and four times the total in 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family and loved ones.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as Dimitar Batchiyski

………

Famed bicycle tool maker Paul Morningstar was found dead in his booby-trapped home on Saturday morning.

………

Storage company contributes $17,000 to Bahati Foundation, founded by Compton’s own former US Crit champ Rahsaan Bahati. Ride the Santa Monica Mountains on New Years Day. CORBA invites you for a little off-road riding on January 11th. The New York Times looks at the LAPD’s idiotic crackdown on DTLA pedestrians; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the heads-up.

Camarillo reaches the final phase of a four-mile bike path. Wildomar will get bike lanes and sidewalks on two major streets. The Badwater Ultramarathon race will bypass Death Valley this year due to the National Park Service moratorium; the Furnace Creek 508 bike race will likely suit. Thirteen reasons you should make a resolution to ride to work. English research scientist killed by big rig truck in Oakland. There’s more than one way to celebrate Christmas.

The boom in bicycling causes the old bike tax suggestion to rear its ugly head once again — despite the fact that bikes cause little or no wear and tear on the streets and cyclists already overpay for their share of the road. Michael Eisenberg also forwards news of the hot rod of electric bikes. Building a better fat bike for Arctic riding. Colorado tests a new way to measure bicycle traffic. Cyclists petition for bike lanes near Colorado National Monument. Turns out there’s another bike swallowed by a tree, this time in Oklahoma. An Alexandria VA resident says trading parking spaces for bike lanes in a worthy sacrifice.

Pro cyclists pick the best and worst of the recent racing season. New safety devices can’t cure bad road design. Motorized traffic is declining in London, but so is bicycling. Kiwi rider hit by egg from moving car.

Finally, in a pair of stories worthy of the season, a Mesa AZ cop rescues a little girl from a kidnapper — then buys her a new bike after the one she was riding is impounded as evidence. And a Good Samaritan buys a Chicago woman a new bike after she posts a very public notice when hers is stolen. 

Michelle Mowery in the LA Times, the most heartless hit-and-run driver yet, and a Saturday memorial for Milt Olin

The Times’ Patt Morrison interviews LADOT Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery.

It’s a good piece for the most part, with an eye on where we’re going; using Copenhagen as a role model can’t be a bad thing.

Although I have to admit, I cringed in a few places.

Like where she responded to a question about licensing cyclists by correctly addressing the need for better education, without discussing why licensing is a bad idea. Let alone questions about bikes running red lights, without pointing out most riders don’t, and we’re not the only scofflaws on the road.

Others readers I heard from objected to a seemingly flip response to the question of parents who don’t wear helmets even though their children do.

And Morrison brings up the nonexistent traffic jams on 7th Street following the road diet that added bike lanes, with no refutation from Mowery — let alone a tacit admission that it could have resulted in a significant increase in pollution from idling cars.

Right.

Still, she has some good things to say, and it’s a good look at the woman who’s the closest thing this city has to a bike czar.

And who deserves a lot of credit for the changes we’ve seen on the streets in recent years, as the city has done the seemingly impossible by becoming officially bike friendly.

………

In the single most horribly heartless report I’ve ever seen, a Florida man drives for two miles after striking a cyclist, with the rider embedded in the car’s rear window. Then after arriving home, he pried the rider out of the glass, and dumped him behind a dumpster to die before hiding his damaged car from his girlfriend.

Fortunately, a landscaping crew found the victim nearly over two hours later, albeit in critical condition with a deep gash in the forehead, nearly severed ear, and spinal injuries that could leave him paralyzed.

Police arrested the driver at a body shop later that same day, as he attempted to get his car fixed before the damage could be discovered.

If there’s any justice, he’ll face an attempted murder charge for deliberately dumping the victim and leaving him to die.

And a very long sentence in a very unpleasant pen.

Wait. Attempted manslaughter? Seriously?

………

A memorial will be held for fallen cyclist, entertainment attorney and former Napster CEO Milt Olin at 2 pm this Saturday at the Jim Henson Company Lot, 1416 N. La Brea. The family asks attendees to carpool and RSVP here.

Still no word on the official cause of the collision that took his life, though rumors are rampant that the 16-year veteran sheriff’s deputy behind the wheel was using the patrol car’s laptop computer while he drove.

………

The LA Times says the LAPD should focus on riskier behavior than jaywalking; Streetsblog’s Damien Newton offers arguments against the crackdown. Meanwhile, Streetsblog Sahra Suliaman asks for community involvement in the planned Slauson active transportation corridor. Better Bike reviews the recent meeting to remake bike-unfriendly Santa Monica Blvd; there may be hope for Beverly Hills yet, thanks largely to the efforts of Better Bike’s Mark Elliot. Santa Monica hosts an important meeting on the planned MANGo project on Saturday, January 7th. Downey’s new mayor has supported bike lanes since he was eight years old; let hope he still does. Wolfpack Hustle announces the official results of their 2013 race series. As we’ve been telling you, wayfaring signs really are coming to the LA River; no, really. Celebrate the season with the LACBC’s East LA Holiday Bike Parade. A bird-flipping Benz driver threatens to kill a Highland Park cyclist; could be another test case for the city’s anti-harassment ordinance.

Coronado’s temporary bike corrals may not be. Annual National City bike giveaway needs more bikes. Now you can ride the last leg of the Amgen Tour of California just like the real pros. but without the EPO and clenbuterol and stuff. Trek’s John Burke backs plans for a Santa Barbara bike network. San Francisco’s fire department opposes safety measures that could protect cyclists and pedestrians. More green lanes in San Francisco, and a parking protected bike lane. Oakland truck driver fatally drags a cyclist two blocks after hitting her; he may not have known he hit anyone. Sonoma County sting stops people driving away from the courthouse after their licenses have been suspended; wait, you mean the judge was serious about that?

Alta offers advice on how to avoid collisions, and what to do if you don’t. The seven habits of highly effective bike cities. Now you, too, can honk your horn in an obnoxious manner, or not. Drunk ND driver hits a cyclist, then backs up and runs over a pedestrian coming to the rider’s aid. Wisconsin hit-and-run driver who killed a 61-year old bike rider had 13 previous traffic violations in the last four years; so why was he still allowed to drive? Maybe bike lanes aren’t the cause of Buffalo’s traffic congestion. New York’s DOT launches a new campaign against reckless driving. Road raging New York cyclist arrested for bashing in a driver’s window for no apparent reason, if you believe the story. Philadelphia now allows you to tweet about blocked bike lanes, and they’ll actually do something about it. Boston police still won’t identify the officer who killed a cyclist last July. Bikes are the new enemy for misguided conservatives.

Canadian bike safety taught via Legos. UK driver gets six years for killing a cyclist while driving drunk and without a license. Riding a bike cross-county, and with a pig. Riding a London bike share bike up Mt. Ventoux before the rental period expires; then again, Boris Bikes are turning up in Gambia, too. UK bike rider takes the long way home — from South Korea. New German fitness shirt promises to manage your e-bike for you; but if you’re riding an e-bike, why do you need a fitness shirt? Ninety-four percent of Turkish motorists think they’re better drivers than they really are; I suspect that would hold true everywhere. Kolkata bans bikes, or maybe not. Saudi groom rides his bike into his wedding hall on a dare. Gambia cracks down on dangerous cyclists. Aussie world-champion time trialist Michael Rogers claims his positive drug test for clenbuterol resulted from tainted meat; why not, it’s worked before. An Australian concrete company bars a bike path. Road raging Kiwi driver gets 32 months in prison for attacking a triathlete.

Finally, a Missouri woman won’t face charges for fatally running down a bike rider at 82 mph. But her ex-boyfriend will, after flashing a gun and chasing her through the streets; he’s charged with second degree murder in the rider’s death.

Seriously, there are no words.

Thanks to John McBrearty and Rich Alossi for their generous donations to help support this site.

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