Tag Archive for hit-and-run

Breaking news: Bike rider killed in Valley hit-and-run

It’s happened again.

A bike rider has been killed killed by a heartless coward who left him to die on a San Fernando Valley street.

According to a release from the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, 44-year old Van Nuys resident Max De La Cruz was riding west on Roscoe Blvd east of Balboa Blvd around 11:30 pm last night when he was struck by a pickup truck.

The driver fled the scene; De La Cruz was transported to a local hospital where he died of his injuries.

Police are looking for a white truck with cargo in the back, possibly a Chevrolet or GMC, with damage to the front end. More information as it becomes available.

If you have any information, contact Valley Traffic Division Officer Fuentes at (818) 644-8022. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800)-222-8477).

This is at least the 25th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in L.A. County; there was another death that occurred in West Covina while I was offline last week, more on that later. It’s also the fourth fatal hit-and-run involving a cyclist in Southern California since the first of the year.

My heartfelt condolences and prayers for De La Cruz and his loved ones.

Catching up with today’s way too long compendium of all the latest bike news and links

Let’s take a few minutes to catch up on this week’s news now that things have settled down a little.

Or maybe quite a few minutes.

It’s a long list.

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Beverly Hills isn’t the only place where a road raging driver has left an injured cyclist in his wake.

Around 5 pm last Friday, a group of women visiting from Las Vegas were riding single file on eastbound PCH in Newport Beach, when a Cadillac pulled up behind one on the riders and started honking impatiently — then plowed into one of the riders, rather than wait a few seconds until they could get out of his way.

The jerk driver fled the scene, but returned later, claiming it was the victim’s fault. Evidently for having the audacity to occupy the same space where he wanted to put his car.

The woman was transported to a local hospital with a head injury; a comment to the story indicates she was released after being kept overnight.

And no word yet on whether the driver was cited, or if charges are pending.

Thanks to Lois for the link.

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An unarmed bike rider is shot by an L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy who thought he was acting “suspicious” and might have had a gun.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but since when is the mere possibility that someone might a weapon sufficient justification for using deadly force?

Maybe that’s why some drivers have been so aggressive lately. They can’t tell if I’ve got a gun in my bike shorts, or just happy to see them.

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On the job front, Safe Routes to School is looking for an Active Transportation Fellow in DC. The League of American Bicyclists is looking for a Development Director. And if you’re a bike enthusiast with wrenching skills, GMR Marketing has a job for you at this year’s Amgen Tour of California.

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The LA Weekly trolls for web hits once again, claiming, among other things, that the best way to improve L.A. traffic is to rip out bike lanes in favor of restoring regular traffic lanes. As evidence, the bike-baiting writer who shall remain unnamed claims the 7th Street bike lanes are unused and result in angry motorists.

Yet he somehow fails to explain why the city’s worst traffic problems are on streets that don’t even have bike lanes.

As someone who rides 7th Street on a regular basis, I can attest that I have never seen a traffic jam there since the bike lanes were put in, even at rush hour. And seldom find myself the only cyclist using the popular lanes, which have become the primary feeder route for riders coming into Downtown from the Westside.

But then, the Weekly doesn’t always let the facts get in the way of the story when it comes to bikes these days.

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Once again, L.A. County’s killer highway claims another life, this time a pedestrian crossing Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Which is a needlessly tragic lead-in to the news that Malibu is hosting a pair of public meetings next month to discuss the city’s PCH Safety Study next month. If you ride on PCH — or ever find yourself trying to cross the street there — you owe it to yourself to attend one.

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Maybe it’s just because the producer is my nephew. But this looks like a pretty decent distracted driving PSA. Especially considering it was made by a 16-year old who just got his license.

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The city council gives the go-ahead for bike share in Downtown L.A., while CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar introduces a motion to repaint the Spring Street green bike lanes. Speaking of which, the most recent bike count shows ridership on Spring Street is up another 40%, after a 52% increase last year; I suppose the Weekly would say no one uses those, either. Construction will begin soon on shared bike/bus lanes on Sunset Blvd. Mark your calendar for Bike Week; pledge to ride on Bike to Work Day and you could win a bike from REI. Examined Spoke offers some good thoughts about CicLAvia; I missed that somehow in yesterday’s roundup. Will Campbell unwillingly shares a burger with a man who blames cyclists for everything that’s wrong with Los Angeles; maybe he’s a regular Weekly reader. A Silver Lake bike rodeo is scheduled for May 18th. Metro works to improve bike and pedestrian access in Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo. How to get abandoned bikes removed from racks. Both Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica and Pasadena’s Incycle Bicycles invite you to ride with them this weekend to learn about Tour de Cure. County Commissioner Zev Yaroslavsky says NBC Universal has agreed to complete — and help pay for — a missing link in the L.A. River Bike Path through Universal Studios; now if he could only apply a little pressure to the anti-bike city of Vernon. Calabasas bike-centric farm-to-table restaurant, coffee roaster and Moots bike boutique Pedalers Fork is open, and the first reviews are already in and looking good. In other food news, bike-powered Peddler’s Creamery is now open in Downtown L.A. The San Marino paper offers what may be the most accurate estimate of attendance at Sunday’s CicLAvia, putting the total at an open-to-interpretation several hundred thousand.

The third attempt at a California three-foot passing law passed its first hurdle in the state legislature; now its on the Appropriations Committee, even though it wouldn’t seem to require any. Riverside boldly decides to study a disputed bike lane. An open letter to the AAA. No charges against a stop sign-running Apple Valley driver who hit a cyclist. A call for artistic bike racks in Beaumont. A Newport Beach city councilmember criticizes the sentence given the killer driver in the Campion-Ritz hit-and-run; but why is the death of a “significant citizen” any more important or tragic than anyone elses? Presenting the best bike ride around San Diego’s Mission Bay; I often followed a similar course when I lived down there. Escondido’s Muffler Man will get bike drag in time for the Amgen Tour of California. When a little girl’s bike is stolen, an Oxnard cop buys her a new one at his own expense, then teaches her how to ride it; thanks to our Carolina friend Zeke for the heads-up. Red Kite Prayer drops in on this year’s Sea Otter Classic. A new bike path opens connecting Downtown San Jose to the Bay. A case so old I’d forgotten all about it finally comes to a conclusion, as a Santa Clara County deputy gets a warm caress on the wrist when he’s sentenced to four months, possibly to be served at home, for killing two riders while asleep at the wheel. Unlike its L.A. counterpart, the San Francisco Weekly doesn’t have it’s collective head planted firmly up its own posterior, explaining why protected bike lanes are good for business; then again, even NBC says the same thing, at least for small businesses. It’s been a bad year for NorCal cyclists, as a 79-year old rider was the latest to killed; if a bike rider can fall under the wheels of a passing car, doesn’t that suggest the car was passing dangerously close — let alone that it might have caused the fall?

A Portland driver somehow finds herself on a separated bikeway rather than the interstate highway bridge next to it; local police say “oops.” Another self-hating bike rider who says cyclists don’t belong on the road (scroll down). Those bike-riding Portland kids sure have it easy these days. Bike share will launch in Seattle next year. An Alaska cyclist rides his fatbike over 2,000 miles in the middle of winter along two of the state’s famed sled dog trails. Big hearted strangers give a new bike to the victim of an Oklahoma hit-and-run victim. America’s only surviving Tour de France winner says he has no vendetta against Lance Armstrong; can’t say the same about the U.S. government, though. Louisiana driver gets a minor citation despite hitting and seriously injuring a bike rider who stopped in a bike lane. Bikeyface wishes bikes were more like cars. New York imposes new restrictions on bike delivery riders. NYC’s new bike share program isn’t even open yet, and it’s already being vandalized.

A UK nurse was over twice the legal alcohol limit — and on her way to work — when she killed a cyclist and fled the scene, stopping only to pull the bike out of her way. A driver with a suspended license killed a cycling married couple as he fled from police. Amazingly, British police refuse to file charges against a road raging driver was captured on helmet cam beating the crap out of a bike rider; thanks to Joni for the heads-up. Parliament members call for reducing speed limits and jailing dangerous drivers, as well as boosting spending levels to £1 billion to encourage more people to take up bicycling. Photos of eyes over bike racks cut theft rates. Town Mouse is more concerned with the safety of the dog chasing her. The director of a Dutch — yes, Dutch — road safety institute calls for a mandatory helmet law for riders over 55. A new book looks at Italian cycling great Fausto Coppi. The authoritarian state of Uzbekistan is banning bicycles in the capital, seizing bikes and advising bike shops to shut down. A Persian Gulf writer asks if taking a dangerous shortcut is really worth it. Queensland is relaxing their mandatory helmet laws to allow religious requirements. An Aussie woman is ticketed for using a handheld cell phone while riding, but the local press is more freaked out by her “bizarre” tall bike. Tempers run hot Down Under, as a cyclist is punched out by an angry driver. Why women should ride to work and how to get started.

Finally, build your own sandwich bike; peanut butter and jelly optional. A British thief returns a stolen “lusciously smooth” bike with an apology and a coupon. And trust me, you don’t want to read the comments to the Times’ story  about the Beverly Hills road rage case — let alone the ones on the CBS version.

But you’re probably going to anyway.

Breaking news: Cyclist attacked in Beverly Hills road rage assault; rider not seriously injured

More bad news from the Biking Black Hole.

News is just breaking that a bike rider was deliberately attacked with a motor vehicle after the rider hit the driver in a road rage dispute.

According to the Beverly Hills Police, the incident occurred nearly three weeks ago, around 6 pm on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Evidently, they don’t feel an urgent need to keep the public informed of violent crime on their streets. Let alone for the prompt release of information that might lead to the arrest of a dangerous suspect.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly punched the driver of a white, possibly 2008 model year BMW 328i in the face. The motorist threatened to kill the rider, and followed him into an alley in the 9000 block of Wilshire Blvd, between Wetherly and Almont Drives; a Google satellite view shows alleys on both sides of the street behind the buildings facing Wilshire.

The driver then intentionally rammed the cyclist with his car, pinning him against a metal trash bin. Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured; the fact that the trash bin was on rollers may have lessened the force of the impact.

The assault was captured on security footage; the attacker can clearly be seen reversing course in the alley and striking the victim, who clings to the mirror of the car as it backs away. Once he’s thrown off, he walks back to collect his bike.

There’s no word from the police on what caused the dispute.

Yes, the rider broke the law in striking the driver, regardless of what led up to it. It’s possible that he could face criminal or civil charges for assaulting the driver unless it can be shown that he hit him in self-defense; however, that requires that the action is necessary to halt a current or imminent physical attack.

The far more serious crime, though, is the motorist using his vehicle in a deliberate attempt to injure or kill the rider after the initial incident had concluded. It should be no different under the law than someone who gets into a fight in a bar, then goes out to the parking lot and shoots the person he’d argued with.

This is a clear case of assault with a deadly weapon. Any claim the driver may have had to self-defense ended the moment the cyclist initially rode away.

The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern or White male in his mid-30s, with dark hair and eyes, and a thin build; the Beverly Hills Courier has a somewhat sketchy sketch of the suspect. The car suffered possible minor front-end damage, although it may have been repaired by now.

Hopefully, the BHPD can overcome the delay in releasing this information and bring a violent criminal to justice.

And take this for fair warning.

As tempting as it may be sometimes to get even with the jackass that just ran you off the road, it’s never a good idea. There are some crazyass, and potentially very violent, people out there.

And it doesn’t take much to set them off.

Hit-and-run on Mulholland Hwy, boat racing by bike and train, win a bike trip to Tuscany from LACBC

Lots of news coming in through my inbox this past week.

So let’s take a few moments to catch.

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First up is news of a hit-and-run on the dirt road section of Mulholland Highway. Fortunately, the rider wasn’t hurt, but that doesn’t change the need to find the driver and bring her to justice.

According to the email, the owner of a Valley bike shop was riding between the trail head near Topanga Canyon and the Reseda trail head when he was struck by what’s described as a white crossover SUV. He landed hard on the hood of the car, leaving a major dent.

The driver was reportedly looking down at her phone when she hit him. She got out of her car to look at the dent on the hood, then sped away without talking to her victim, who wasn’t able to get the plate number or make of car before she left.

If you see a vehicle that matches that description with a large dent in the hood, take down the license number and call the police.

Thanks to Dan at Santa Monica Helen’s for the heads-up.

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A couple weeks ago, Michael Eisenberg, who has contributed a number of items here in recent months, emailed me asking for info on taking a bike on an Amtrak train.

He was planning to participate in a Newport to San Diego sailboat race, and wanted to drive his boat trailer down to San Diego, then use a combination of bike and train travel to come back up to get his boat and start the race.

I’ll let him tell you how it worked out.

I’ve returned from my sailing/biking weekend and I thought you might want a travel report.

After launching the boat in Newport Harbor, I headed down to San Diego to leave the car and trailer. As I expected, I was running late and wasn’t ready to start cycling back to Newport Beach until 3:45. With a stop for dinner I calculated that I would arrive at my destination  around 10. I really didn’t want to finish the ride on PCH after dark, so I changed my plans and headed over to the Amtrak Old Town station.

The train was scheduled to depart at 4:08, so I needed to hustle to cover the 5 miles in time. I got there with 2 minutes to spare. As an aside, as I was speeding up Rosecrans Blvd passing block upon block of stalled rush hour traffic, I came upon a police cruiser with a cyclist pulled over and with his hands spread out on the hood awaiting a pat down. I have no idea what led up to this.

I’ve never ridden on a train before, so I had to ask around to find out what to do next. I was told that the only bike storage was on the lower level of the first car. When I entered to car, I found 10 bike racks in the front. This car also contain the area for special needs travelers. There were already 7 bikes in racks, and these must all have arrived. At the first stop, as Old Town was the second stop. I noticed that every other bike was locked, so I new I would have to get up at each stop to keep tabs on my bike as it was the low hanging fruit.

While on the train, I figured out how to register on-line with Amtrak and to purchase a ticket. I was ready when the conductor came by to scan the bar code on my phone. The ride was of course extremely pleasant. As I was dressed in cycling gear, I had two people come up to me asking about where to find good cycling spots in SD. Talk about the blind leading the blind. I was able to tell them about the excellent bike path that traverses the South Bay from Coronado around to Chula Vista and up to San Diego.  But when I mentioned the path was only about 30 miles long, their eyes got really big. My how perceptions change after a time.

The only glitch occurred when we arrived in Irvine. The train overshot the platform, and I had to carry my bike up the stairs and back to the second car before heading back downstairs to exit. Talk about tight.

Once I exited the station, I Googled the directions from Irvine to Corona Del Mar in walking mode. I was given 3 choices, all the same length of 15 miles. Two were major boulevards, and one was listed as Shady Canyon / Bonita Canyon. That sounded the most appealing and it did not disappoint. I was a first rate bike path with spectacular views. I arrived at my destination at 7:00 with a sense of accomplishment in discovering a new method of travel.

Once back at the boat, I removed the bike wheels, packed the bike into a travel bag, and stored it down below. The next day I won my singlehanded division in the Newport to San Diego sailboat race.

I’ve written this for you, not because I’m looking for any publicity, but instead to inform you about how easy and satisfying bit was to combine rail and bicycle travel.

Just goes to show what you can do with a bike and a little imagination.

As an aside, he notes that he’s planning to bike down to Knott’s Berry Farm for an annual car show later this month, a distance of 115 miles round trip. Which should impress his friends more than any car he might take down there.

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Eisenberg's DIY bike rack

Eisenberg’s DIY bike rack

Eisenberg also writes that he’s gotten in the bike rack business for a friend.

I went to the gym last night. The gym manager showed me a video taken in the morning of some low life creep cutting a cable lock on a $1000 bike and riding off. I hope they catch the bastard. Anyway, there was no proper place to lock a bike before, just around a 6″ x 6″ support post. So I whipped this up for him today. It’s now out being powder coated. I made this one for about 1/2 of what I saw similar ones online if anyone is in interested.

I should note that LADOT offers a free bike rack program, installing U-racks on request anywhere within the City of Los Angeles.

But if you’re outside the city or want a larger rack, you can contact him at maecomotorsport@bizla.rr.com.

Bike rack 2

You could have a rack like this of your own

And he notes that, now that the rack has been installed, the gym owner hopes the rack gets enough use to justify a second one.

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The LACBC is offering you a chance to win a bike trip to Tuscany by fundraising for the upcoming River Ride.

Fundraise for LACBC’s Annual Los Angeles River Ride.  It is easy.  The top prize for the highest fundraiser is a bike trip to Tuscany, courtesy of VBT. We also have a prize for the fundraiser who gets the most people to donate to the cause: a bike from DTLA Bikes. Runner-up prizes include a New Belgium Brewing Cruiser Bike and signed copies of Where to Bike Los Angeles. Prizes are guaranteed for meeting fundraising minimums at the $100 (LACBC socks), $250 (River Ride jersey), $500 (access to the River Ride VIP tent and beer garden), $1000 (recognition at LACBC donor and supporter party), and $5000 (custom vintage cocktail mixology, tea ceremony, or dinner with our Excutive Director and Board President) levels. Go to http://www.active.com/donate/riverride and  www.la-bike.org/riverride for more information.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has long been fighting for a safer, cleaner, quieter form of transportation for all Angelenos whether they bike, walk, or drive. The Annual Los Angeles River Ride provides much of the funds LACBC needs in order to transform the face of Los Angeles County and give future generations the option of enjoying Los Angeles by bike! This year’s Annual Los Angeles River Ride also incorporates a campaign to complete all 51 miles of LA River Bikeway. Imagine it: a completely car-free uninterrupted bike highway running right through the middle of Los Angeles, from Canoga Park to Long Beach!

When you raise funds for the River Ride you are contributing to this campaign. What a legacy to leave, the knowledge that you helped make such an enormous and positive change to the landscape of the 5th largest economy in the world. In addition to helping LACBC do such great work, high fundraisers win great prizes.

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Reporter Roger Rudick produced a story for KCRW’s Which Way LA contrasting the impressive bicycling infrastructure in the Dutch city of Rotterdam with the far less notable bikeways here in the City of Angeles.

Yet surprisingly, he discovers that the two cities aren’t that different.

Which suggests that Los Angeles could do a lot more to encourage cycling and keep riders safe.

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Police have concluded that the driver was at fault in the death of Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar. Charges against the driver, who has not been publicly identified, are on hold pending the result of a final report from the L.A. County Coroner.

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The family of cyclist Donny McCluskey published a moving memorial to the fallen cyclist, who was killed in Rancho Mirage when a speeding driver ran a red light and hit another vehicle driven by a drunk driver. The cars spun out of control and hit McCluskey, who was stopped at the red light.

McCluskey was killed despite doing everything right. Except being in the wrong place when two drivers broke the law.

Yet shamefully, neither has faced more than a slap on the wrist for taking the life of an innocent human being.

Donny McCluskey Memorial

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Finally, it turns out that those green bike lanes on Spring Street in Downtown L.A. aren’t so hard for filmmakers to remove in post-production after all.

Which begs the question of why Hollywood really wants them gone. And why FilmLA, the L.A. Times and L.A. city officials have fallen for what appears to be one big anti-bike lie.

Let alone why the city appears to have caved in to bogus demands to let the highly popular green lanes fade to oblivion.

Credit to LA Streetsblog’s Damien Newton for getting the truth in this story.

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I’m going to be at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition booth at CicLAvia from 2 pm to 3:30 pm this Sunday at the Culver City hub; stop by and say hi if you get the chance.

Better yet, bring a few bucks, checkbook or credit card with you and I’ll be happy to sign you up as an LACBC member if you’re not one already.

Breaking news: Joel Alexander Murphy gets serious jail time in DUI hit-and-run death of Roger Lippman

I’ve just gotten word that Joel Alexander Murphy has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for the drunken, high-speed hit-and-run collision that took the life of Orange County cyclist Roger Lippman.

Lippman was riding north on PCH along the Bolsa Chica Wetlands last June when he was run down from behind by a car driven by Murphy; a witness reported seeing his body flying over 100 feet through the air following the impact.

Instead of stopping, Murphy continued on until he had second collision a few miles away, crashing into the fence surrounding the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. He was arrested at the scene, and booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and violating probation for prior drug offenses, including DUI, dating back to 2005.

Last month Murphy changed his plea to guilty, reportedly without a deal in place.

On Friday, he was sentenced to 10 years in state prison on one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, along with an additional five years for fleeing the scene. The terms are to be served consecutively, with the five-year sentence specifically excluding any eligibility for parole.

Which means that we can expect Murphy to be off the streets for at least the next 10 years at the bare minimum.

It doesn’t bring Lippman back.

But for once, a killer driver gets more than just a slap on the wrist.

Meanwhile, my source reminds me that the Orange County DA’s office still has not filed charges against Becki Lee James in the allegedly drunken death of cyclist Kenneth Prevatte just a month later and a few miles up the road, despite receiving a final report from the Huntington Beach Police Department over six months ago.

Which makes me wonder what exactly they’re waiting for.

What the f*** is wrong with Beverly Hills??????

Excuse me if I’m a little livid.

Okay, mad as hell, to the point that my head may explode.

Because once again, a story has surfaced of a cyclist seriously injured on the streets of Beverly Hills. And once again, the local gendarmerie is either incompetent, or just doesn’t give a damn about a bike rider bleeding on their streets as a heartless motorist just drives away.

It’s an all-too-common complaint I’ve heard from far too many bike riders. They get hit by a car in the Biking Black Hole, and there’s little or no follow-up by the Beverly Hills police.

And as a result, little or no justice.

The latest case comes courtesy of L.A. Streetsblog, as they follow-up with Paul Livingston, a rider so critically injured in a hit-and-run that he’s able to walk only through the miracle of modern medicine.

Let alone still alive.

The last thing Paul remembers that day is being put on a stretcher before he woke up in a hospital bed six days later. He suffered spinal and pelvic fractures. His pelvic bone, broken in half and pushed upwards into his bladder had severed blood vessels causing him to bleed internally. When he was first admitted to the hospital he was hypotensive, which means his organs were shutting down with the lack of blood and his body was going into shock. Paul underwent three abdominal surgeries within the first two days just to stop the bleeding. On the fourth day, the doctors were able to fix his pelvis and then he went through spine surgery only to have pelvic surgery once again to get it back to its original position. Paul also suffered from post-operative infection from the abdominal surgeries. Finally, with his fever gone, he was healthy enough to have his spinal fusion – as a result, Paul is a bit shorter now.

You’d think that any competent police agency would conduct a thorough investigation of such a serious felony, and do everything necessary to bring the near-killer driver to justice.

You’d think.

I ask him about the person who hit him, self-identified as Victoria Chin. He tells me that during the time of his recuperation, he had been in touch with the Beverly Hills Police Department to find out what was going on with the woman who hit him and then ran. Apparently, they were dropping the ball on his case as they never even processed her car for evidence. And her explanation for not stopping, as given to the BHPD, “There was no place to park.”

The technical loophole that Victoria Chin falls into is that no one could properly identify her even though the day after the collision she called the BHPD herself. The police officer she spoke to said she had to come in to the police station to turn herself in. She then called back saying she would be in tomorrow. The police officer reminded her to bring her car in for processing. The next day, Chin showed up without her car and with a lawyer. She only admitted to being Victoria Chin refusing to say anything else. Her lawyer asked the police officer if they were going to book his client. BHPD said no. So, the lawyer asked if they were going to arrest his client. BHPD said no.

They let Victoria Chin go. No arrest. No charges.

It’s far from the first time something similar has happened.

Beverly Hills police and courts have repeatedly dropped the ball on cases involving cyclists. And while they have responded to pressure from riders, it shouldn’t be up to us to force them to do their damn jobs.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I’m not anti-police.

In fact, I have a great deal of respect for most cops, and have often been impressed with the responsiveness of the LAPD when I’ve dealt with them on various issues. While there are always a few bad apples, I’ve found overwhelming majority of officers are caring and committed to doing their best to protect the public and bring justice to those who have been wronged.

With the obvious exception of the NYPD, who the Beverly Hills police are evidently trying to emulate in their lack of responsiveness in incidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

But there is simply no excuse for any department dropping the ball so badly in so many cases where bike riders are run down on their streets. And given that it happens so often, the question arises whether it’s the fault of a few incompetent cops, or if there is a willful, systemic bike-blindness within the department that emanates from the top down.

It’s not a question I can answer right now.

Fortunately, charges were finally filed in the Livingston case, despite the failure of the department to conduct the most basic investigation.

In late august 2012, over a year after the crime, Don Ward wrote about the crash here at Streetsblog and elsewhere informing people about Paul’s situation and called on the cycling community to join them at the Beverly Hills City Council Meeting to draw attention to his case.

For a moment, Paul pauses his story, speechless, he swallows and then tells me that four months later, after the public outcry and the persistency of his lawyer, Otto Haselhoff, the DA of Beverly Hills is finally pressing charges. The helplessness that Paul describes to me, all his suffering, mental and physical anguish, had begun to lift. He quit drinking, started jogging, he was able sleep through the night.

“Knowing that something can be done, that there will be some kind of justice, this changed my life.”

Maybe so.

It’s long past time for Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden and new Mayor John Mirisch to meet with bicyclists to find some solutions to the dangers we face on their streets. And the apparent lack of support we get from the police.

In the meantime, I will continue to avoid Beverly Hills as much as possible. Not just because of their failure to provide a single inch of bikeway anywhere in the city.

But because I don’t trust the police to give a damn conduct a thorough and honest investigation if I end up bleeding on their streets.

Update: LAPD confirms 18-year old cyclist was critically injured in Valley Glen hit-and-run

I’ve just received confirmation from the LAPD that a cyclist was injured in a hit-and-run in Valley Glen.

An 18-year old bike rider, identified as David Alexander of Van Nuys, was riding south on Bellaire Ave at Oxnard Street around 5:30 pm on Sunday when he attempted to cross Oxnard in the crosswalk on the northbound side of the street. A driver traveling west in the left lane on Oxnard ran the red light, striking Alexander.

According to a report on Reddit, he was thrown over 100 feet by the force of the collision.

Various witnesses described the vehicle as a Silver 2000-02 Mecerdes ML SUV. The driver was described as an overweight white or Armenian male in his 50s, with either gray hair or bald head.

The Reddit report, written by someone who identifies himself as a neighbor of the victim, indicates that Alexander is on life support with little or no brain activity.

If you have any information on this case, contact Det. Tucker at LAPD Valley Traffic, 818/644-8000.

My prayers go out to David Alexander and all his family and loved ones.

Update: Earlier information indicated that the vehicle might have been a Silver Range Rover; however, that is no longer under consideration.

Update 2: I’ve just received the following press release from the LAPD:

Hit and Run Driver Leaves Bicyclist Seriously Injured

VALLEY VILLAGE:   On March 24, 2013, at approximately 6:30 p.m., a serious injury traffic collision occurred at the intersection of Oxnard Street and Bellaire Avenue in the Valley Village area of the San Fernando Valley.

The victim, an 18 year old male resident of Van Nuys, was riding his bicycle southbound in the east crosswalk when he was struck by a vehicle traveling west on Oxnard Street.  The bicyclist sustained major injuries and was transported by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel to Holy Cross Hospital for medical treatment.

The vehicle is described as an older model, light colored, possible silver/grey, Mercedes Benz ML class Sport Utility Vehicle.  The driver of the vehicle is described as an older male.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Valley Traffic Division Officer M. Tucker at (818) 644-8063.   The report number is DR #13 15 08298.  During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800)-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most key pads) using a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”  Tipsters can also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “web tips” and follow the prompts.

Update 3: The Reddit site, as well as a commenter below, reports that David Alexander passed away last night, surrounded by family and friends. Both have proven to be reliable throughout this breaking story. 

This is the 13th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second to die as the result of a hit-and-run. Alarmingly, eight of those deaths have occurred in Los Angeles County, compared to just one this time last year.

Update 4: North Hollywood Patch and KABC-7 both report the victim’s full name is David Alexander Granatos, not David Alexander, as I reported. And his death came around 5:30 pm Tuesday, not Thursday.

A call for justice for Damien Kevit; Redwood City police blame 14-year old cyclist for her own death

The fight for justice continues in the case of Damian Kevitt.

As you may be aware, the cyclist lost a leg — as well as suffering a number of other horrific injuries — when he was dragged onto the 5 Freeway by a hit-and-run driver last month.

Tonight I received the following email attempting to mobilize the community to find the heartless bastard who did it.

And I use that term advisedly.

……..

COMMUNITY MOBILIZING TO FIND HIT & RUN ASSAILANT

WHAT:  Members of the media are invited to attend a public outreach event in the continuing search for the driver who hit cyclist Damian Kevitt last month.

Volunteers and community organizers will be distributing fliers to inform the public of the hit-and-run collision and the $25,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of the assailant(s).

Damian was struck on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 11:30AM, the timing and distribution area correlate to the time and location of the hit-and-run one month ago.  There is a strong possibility the assailant was playing soccer at or near the field prior to the accident.

WHEN:
Sunday March 24, 2013
10:30AM Check-In
Public outreach from 10:45AM-12:00PM
 
WHERE:
John Ferraro Athletic Fields – Griffith Park
Meet at the Giant Soccer Ball adjacent to the soccer field parking lot
4701 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 91207

BACKGROUND: On Sunday February 17, 2013, Damian Kevitt was struck by a light colored minivan, possibly a gray Toyota Sienna which might have had a “for sale” sign posted in the rear window, on Zoo Drive near the Ferraro Soccer Complex and Dog Park.  The driver was possibly wearing a soccer jersey.

A $25,000 reward is being offered by the City of Los Angeles and the CHP to find the hit-and-run driver.  Anyone with information is asked to call CHP’s Altadena station at (626) 296-8100 or (323) 259-2010

Damian Kevitt was struck on on Feb. 17 around 11:35 a.m. when a minivan made a hard left, that struck and dragged him 600 feet down the Interstate 5 on-ramp until he fell from the vehicle.  The violent collision broke 20 bones and crushed his right leg.  Doctors had to amputate his right leg below the knee.  His left foot is missing tissue and skin and may also need to be amputated the road rash was so severe, it was down to the bone on Kevitt’s left elbow, and his buttocks will need skin grafts.

………

In a heartbreaking case, police blame a 14-year old Redwood City bike rider for her own death in a right-hook collision.

The official conclusion is that she undertook a truck that was signaling for a right turn, and got squeezed out when the road narrowed at a bulb-out. However, it’s far more likely that the truck overtook her, then cut her off by turning in front of her.

Unfortunately, the victim isn’t around to tell her own side of the story.

But a local rider does a pretty good job of telling it for her; link courtesy of LadyFluer.

But regardless of how it happened or who was at fault, there’s something terribly wrong with expecting a 14-year old to ride and react like an experienced cyclist just to stay alive on her way to school.

………

The family of fallen hit-and-run victim Benjamin Torres still hope for justice, six months after he was killed while riding to work. Boyonabike looks at Thursday’s LACBC-sponsored discussion on making bike-friendly places. An LMU student tells what it’s like to crash the LA Marathon with thousands of other riders. Will Campbell enjoys the irony of biking to the DMV. Pasadena City College installs a self-serve bike repair station; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Streetsblog is throwing itself a 5th birthday party and Streetsie Award dinner on Saturday, April 27th.  C.I.C.L.E. hosts a Street Art Ride for the Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival on Saturday, April 20th. Ride with the mayor of increasingly bike-friendly Glendale on Saturday, April 6th. Santa Monica bike riders deliver Meals on Two Wheels. A Valencia woman faces up to four years for seriously injuring a bike rider in a hit-and-run. Long delayed Calabasas bike-centric farm-to-table restaurant Pedalers Fork is scheduled to open April 15th; let’s see, that’s only a 52 mile roundtrip ride from my place…

A look at San Diego bike paths. Residents are divided on a proposal to right-size a roadway in Riverside; that’s the new, more PC term for a road diet. Riverside’s mayor invites the public to join him on a bike ride today. A Hemet bike rider is airlifted to a trauma center following a collision. More — and more secure — bike racks coming soon to Bakersfield. In a bizarre case, a Fresno cyclist stabs two men after claiming another driver hit his bike when he stopped to help a stranded motorist. If you’re going to break the law by riding on the sidewalk in a city that bans it, leave the meth at home. A bike rider is hit and killed by a pickup in Clear Lake. Don’t plan on renting a bike in Yosemite anytime soon; not even for a guided fundraising ride to dismantle the park’s Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which never should have been built in the first place.

People for Bikes invites you to turn your bike into art. Those woodpecker-inspired cardboard bike helmets should be on the market this summer, while a new prototype headlight projects your current speed onto the roadway in front of you. Tell Bicycling about your favorite ride, and you could win a new bike valued at up to $4,999; my favorite ride is usually the one I’m on. Car commuters, even those who work out, put on more weigh than active commuters. How to ride to work and still wear a suit. Idaho bike club bands together to buy their own Watch for Bikes signs. How to build protected bike lanes even confident cyclists will use. A Minnesota city ends its experiment with advisory bike lanes, deciding a permanent bike lane is preferable. A New York bike rider breaks the rules of subway etiquette. New York bicyclists demand the NYPD get off its collective ass and hold killer drivers accountable; okay, some of that anger might actually be mine. Atlanta cyclists struggle to co-exist with motorists. Two Miami-area mayors ride to work for National Bike to Work Day, which doesn’t actually take place until May. Cycling Weekly gets the skinny on biking scion Taylor Phinney.

The long and ever-growing list of very high-end bikes from exclusive auto manufacturers. The difference between UK and US police is the Brits apologize after they hit you. British cyclists understandably take offense at being called Lycra-clad lemmings. A British pro soccer player credits his helmet with saving his life when a driver swerves into his bike. Road rage strikes even in the middle of a bike race, as a team car not-so-gently nudges a motorcycle out of the way. The Cannibal, AKA legendary cycling great Eddy Merckx, should be back on his bike in a couple weeks after getting a pacemaker. Spanish bicyclists seek asylum at European embassies to protest anti-bike legislation. Here’s your chance to help buy bikes for orphans in Kenya. The first African pro team to compete in a spring classic surprisingly wins the first time out. Tanzanian cyclists ride to support victims of sickle cell disease. New Zealand rider Jack Bauer — no, not the fictional terrorist fighter — suffers a nasty concussion in a racing crash. Safety issues discourage Aussie women from riding. Taiwan needs to lower its speed limits to become a bicycling island. A Thai bike rider’s body is scattered like roadkill in a horrific multiple hit-and-run; seriously, unless you have a strong stomach, you may not want to read that one.

Finally, an amputee makes his own prosthetic finger out of spare bicycle parts. Patrick at Red Kite Prayer continues to remind us that there are things far more important than riding a bike, as heretical as that may seem sometimes. Latest word is the surgery went well, but prayers and good thoughts, whatever you’re comfortable with, are still needed.

And ending on a more upbeat note, UK band British Sea Power becomes the latest group to offer a bike-centric music video. I say it has a nice beat and it’s easy to ride to.

Update: Courtesy of Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, here’s a story I missed last night, as a very pregnant Seattle woman gets out of a car, pulls a stun gun out of her bra and shoots a bike messenger in the face twice. The male driver of the car also got out and swung a second stun gun at the messenger, both apparently in retaliation for the messenger kicking the car’s wheel well in a crosswalk dispute.

KABC-7 updates the Zoo Drive hit-and-run, and a BMW driver gives me good chance to check my brakes

A few quick notes this morning.

KABC-7 picks up the horrifying story of Damian Kevitt, the cyclist hit by an impatient driver while riding on Zoo Drive near the L.A. Zoo, and dragged by the fleeing minivan nearly a quarter mile onto the 5 Freeway.

As the story notes, Kevitt has already lost one leg below the knee and suffered 20 broken bones throughout his body; according to his uncle, he’s still at risk of losing the other leg.

Keep your eyes peeled for an older gray Toyota Sienna or other similar minivan with possible front end damage; witnesses report the van had a For Sale sign in the window with the partial phone number 213/XXX-0776.

The driver needs to do some serious jail time for such a cruel and vicious assault. The collision may not have been intentional, but the decision to flee with the victim still trapped underneath his van was.

Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP Altadena station at (323) 259-2010.

………

Yesterday, I had a clear demonstration of the importance of good brakes, as a driver on San Vicente cut in front of me with no warning the moment the bike lane ended just west of Brentwood.

……..

After the success in getting all five major candidates for mayor of L.A. and several city council candidates on the record for their stands on bicycling issues, the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee meets tonight to discuss how to get out the bike vote, and the next steps for the May runoff election. The meeting takes place at 6:45 pm at the Johnnie’s Pizza at Museum Square, 5757 Wilshire Blvd.

……..

LACBC local chapter Santa Monica Spoke is calling for cyclists to support a proposed $134 million Transportation Impact Fee at tonight’s Santa Monica city council session, including $59 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects throughout the city.

If you can’t be there in person, they urge you to call or email the council members before the vote.

……..

I received an invitation yesterday to participate in this fall’s California Coast Classic to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Unfortunately, my wife’s recent health issues make my participation in a multi-day ride a little problematic, to say the least. However, given that I’ve suffered from severe arthritis in my right knee for over 15 years as a result of a botched knee surgery in my teens, this is one event I can whole-heartedly support.

And my relatively minor inconvenience doesn’t even begin to compare to what so many others, young and old, have to go through. Despite perceptions, arthritis doesn’t just affect the elderly and infirm.

But since I can’t make it, maybe you can take a few moments to support the woman who invited me, and make a pledge to Monet Diamonte to help raise money for her ride.

Not only does she have one of the best names I’ve encountered in recent years, she’s dealt with juvenile arthritis herself since she was just two years.

And clearly, hasn’t let it get the upper hand.

……..

Finally, speaking of horrifying injuries, a young Chinese boy suffered a bizarre freak accident when he fell off his bike, breaking the seat post — and embedding it the last place you’d ever want it.

The good news is, surgeons were able remove it with no serious injury. But that might be the one injury that could make me quit riding forever.

Update: Bike rider dragged onto freeway in hit-and-run; win Schwinn bikes for two this month

Maybe you can figure this one out.

A series of cryptic CHP transmissions suggest that a cyclist — or possibly more than one — was run down by a hit-and-run driver near the L.A. Zoo around 11:30 Sunday. And horrifically, may have been dragged onto the freeway from the collision site on Zoo Drive.

Initial reports indicated that an older tan or white van fled the scene after hitting a security guard while making an illegal turn at the Zoo Drive onramp onto northbound I-5; the guard was reportedly directing traffic from his bicycle.

A few minutes later, however, a report came of a cyclist trapped under a gray Toyota Sienna on the I-5/134 transition. That report indicates the cyclist was hit at the top of the Zoo Drive onramp, then dragged onto the freeway as the van driver fled.

However, there may have been more than one vehicle involved, as the report says the Sienna does not appear to be related to the Zoo Drive traffic collision.

Hopefully, we’ll get more information to clear up the confusion soon.

And hopefully the security guard will bounce back from what sounds like a truly horrifying collision.

Update: Five days later, the story has finally appeared in the local press.

According to the Glendale News-Press, 36-year old L.A. resident Damian Kevitt — not a security guard — was riding west on Zoo Drive when the driver of an older gray Toyota Sienna made a sudden left turn in heavy traffic and struck the rider. 

Kevitt became trapped under the minivan, and was dragged 600 feet — the length of two football fields — as the driver continued south on the 5 Freeway without stopping.

A comment below says the victim ended up in the 2 lane of the freeway, where a motorist undoubtedly saved his life by stopping to protect him as he lay in front of high-speed traffic.

The writer, who identifies himself as a doctor at County Hospital, describes Kevitt’s injuries as the worst non-fatal injuries he’s ever seen. And correctly predicts that he would lose a leg.

The paper confirms Kevitt’s leg was amputated below the knee, and that he suffered a number of broken bones, as well as severe road rash on his chest and back — injuries the commenter described as “bone deep.”

The News-Press says the minivan had a For Sale sign in the rear window, with the partial phone number 213/XXX-0776.

Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP Altadena Station at 626/296-8100.

Best wishes to Damian Kevitt for a fast recovery.

Update 2: A writer claiming to be Kevitt’s uncle posted this on a gun owner’s forum:

Sunday, Feb. 17th my nephew Damian Kevitt was the victim of a hit & run and left for dead on the I-5 Frwy in Griffith Park. He has lost his right leg below the knee and the left is in limbo as to whether it will survive. Both his legs, arms, wrists, and multiple ribs are broken. He has broken and missing teeth and very little skin left. This is the most horrible hit & run I have heard of short of it being fatal. Please help us catch this disgusting person.

I couldn’t agree more. Whoever could do something like this deserves to do serious time.

image001………

Okay, so I’m a little late with this one.

Schwinn is sponsoring a Valentine’s Month contest for bike lovers, in every sense of the term. Just visit Schwinn’s Facebook page before the end of the month — i.e., February 28th — and share your idea of the perfect rendezvous in their new Perfect Rendezvous Sweeps.

You could win a Schwinn Ladies’ Rendezvous and a men’s 4 One One bike, plus movie tickets and a gift card for your favorite restaurant.

Or two men’s or women’s bikes, if that’s more appropriate.

………

That’s one seriously anti-bike animal, as a spooked horse gets loose and trashes a Bassett bike shop, trampling 45 bikes in under a minute. Nearby host families are needed for the San Dimas Stage Race. Exploring Canyon County with the LACBC and the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles. Modesto police are looking for a strong-arm bikejacker. Napa High School students raise funds to continue a school bike club; every student who joins gets a bike, helmet and cleats if needed.

The judge rejects a plea deal in the Colorado horn-honking road rage case because the victims weren’t consulted; link courtesy of Cyclclicious. Fat bikes are taking over winter riding. Iowa considers a three-foot passing law; hopefully, their governor is somewhat more enlightened than ours. Rockford IL plans to convert abandoned railways into bike trails. Even in Fort Worth, roads go on diets and bike lanes go in. A teenage Massachusetts cyclist talks his high school into forming a one-person bicycling team so he can continue to compete. Evidently, biking to work doesn’t pass the national security test when you’re the new White House Chief of Staff. Drunken Florida driver kills cyclist, then sideswipes three cars before hitting a fourth head-on as he tried to flee.

Canadian man busted for riding a gas-powered scooter disguised as an e-bike. Bristol England police are trying to identify a mountain biker who was seriously injured when he came off his bike; this is why you always carry ID when you ride, right? How to get hooked on bicycling. Somehow, a Scottish boy gets his legs trapped in his bike. Confessions of a formerly arrogant Kiwi cyclist. A New Zealand truck driver loses his license for eight months for playing chicken with some unwilling cyclists, in full view of an off-duty cop who evidently failed to do anything about it for 40 km; thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up. An Aussie driver runs into a cyclist, then gets out and punches him in the face. A British couple are killed by a pickup in Thailand while riding around the world; they had chronicled their journey on the blog Two on Four Wheels. A look at safe cycling in Kuala Lumpur.

Finally, a new laser GPS design promises to improve safety by projecting directions onto the road in front of you. And an Ohio writer asks why waste money on deer crossing signs when animals can’t read and won’t obey the law anyway?

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This might explain that awful grinding noise from my bottom bracket the other day; Chris at Westwood Helen's says my bike will be back on it's feet in no time.

This might explain that awful grinding noise from my bottom bracket the other day; Chris at Westwood Helen’s says my bike will be back on it’s feet in a few days.

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