Tag Archive for hit-and-run

Update: Goodbye to bicycling’s best friend on City Council; Gardena hit-and-run, and Kevitt sent to rehab

Best wishes to outgoing City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, who is being honored by the L.A. City Council today in his final council session.

In many ways, the city’s recent upswing in bicycling can be traced back to Rosendah’sl stepping forward in the wake of the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check that sent Dr. Christopher Thompson to jail for deliberately injuring two cyclists.

It was Rosehdahl who famously declared “Car culture ends today.” And shepherded the creation and passage of the city’s groundbreaking bicycle anti-harassment that has been copied by cities throughout California and around the country.

Not to mention bringing then new LAPD Chief Beck to meet with bicyclists in the council chambers, leading Beck to promise the department would do better — eventually becoming one of the nation’s most bike-friendly police departments.

Those a just a few of the highlights of a man who has been the best friend bike riders have ever had on the L.A. City Council.

And one who will be sorely missed.

Best wishes, Bill.

But don’t go too far. This city — and the cycling community you’ve worked to protect — still needs you.

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A Gardena cyclist was severely injured in a hit-and-run Wednesday night.

The collision occurred about 9:50 pm on the 1000 block of El Segundo Blvd as the victim, identified as Gardena resident Jessie Dotson, was riding to work. He was rushed to a County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in extremely critical condition with head injuries.

Police are looking for a 40 – 50 year-old Latino man in a dark colored compact vehicle, with damage to the front windshield and a 5 in the license number. Anyone with information is urged to call Gardena police at 310/217-9600.

Sounds like prayers, good wishes or whatever you’re comfortable with are in order.

Thanks to Jim Lyle and Lois for the heads-up.

Update: Not surprisingly, the victim in this case, Jesse Dotson, died of his injuries three days after the collision, on Friday, June 29th. According to the Daily Breeze, despite the description given above, police arrested 22-year old Vanessa Marie Yanez on suspicion of manslaughter, perjury, filing a false police report and felony hit-and-run. 

In other words, they threw the book at her.

Something about this case must have really pissed someone off.

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Semi-bike friendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge offers an update on Damian Kevitt, the Zoo Drive hit-and-run victim who lost a leg — and nearly lost his life — after being dragged onto the 5 Freeway. He reports Kevitt continues to make progress after being ransferred to the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehab Center in Downey for intense physical therapy.

Meanwhile, the city continues to offer a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the heartless coward who left Kevitt bleeding in the street.

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Cannondale offers a free digital magazine to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France; the Cannondale Gazette is also available for download on iTunes, Android and Kindle.

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Streetsblog offers advice for Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti’s first 100 days in office. Is anyone really surprised that bikeshare won’t come to L.A until next year at the earliest? Downtown’s Broadway could get a “dress rehearsal” road diet. Metro plans to spread CicLAvia outside L.A. Celebrate Bastille Day with the Beach Babes Bicycling Classic in Long Beach. A new combination bike and coffee shop opens in Agoura Hills. Red Kite Prayer celebrates cycling’s iPhone moment. Fallen San Diego bike racer Jackie Dunn is remembered as a kind and caring person. How to report an idiot driver. Marin County is up in arms because two preteen mountain bikers rode off after startling two equestrians, leaving them and a horse injured; jerks, yes, but I’d be more upset if they were adults. Making sense of a Fresno-area cycling tragedy a year later. For the right bike and rider, a good kickstand can be a good thing.

Artistic Cycling is the hot new sport. How to beat the heat on hot summer rides. An Ohio man gets a $5000 fine and five years in prison for killing a cyclist while under the influence. A Maine cyclist was killed by being sucked under by the slipstream of a passing semi-truck. Tickets for cyclists have gone up 81% in Brooklyn since New York’s CitiBike bikeshare program opened; not surprisingly, CitiBike users don’t want to ride uphill. Meanwhile, a New York cyclist is ticketed for riding a bike. Someone stole a tandem bike from a blind East Harlem cyclist. An automotive website says NY police are focusing more on pedestrian deaths, and that’s a good thing. The Wall Street Journal’s wicked witch is back for more bike hate; read the annotated Cliff Notes version instead. Evidently, life in Gotham is cheap as a judge calls the death of a four-year old killed by a teenage driver fleeing police “a mistake;” yeah, I’d say. Vastly over-estimating deaths and citing a discredited study to argue in favor of bike helmets. Video shows a cyclist wasn’t responsible for the collision that killed him, despite a long distance mistaken analysis. No bias here, as a DC cyclist is blamed for causing the collision that put him in the hospital — even though video evidence proves he didn’t.

A Toronto councilor is ticket for running a stop sign that doesn’t exist. In a rush back to the 1970s, the UK pledges to focus more on road building and less on active transportation. The case of a British woman who tweeted that she had knocked a cyclist off his bike — and actually did — has been referred to prosecutors. A Bath paper asks why there been another wave of bike hate; seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. A Brit researcher says bike helmets aren’t a no-brainer after all. Sometimes patient drivers are as annoying as the other kind; I often try to wave drivers around to get ‘em off my ass. Seven reasons to visit the bike-friendly Venice of Belgium. Oops; a court orders former pro cyclist Michael Rasmussen to pay over half a millions pounds after he sued his former team for firing him.

Finally, how many times do we have to say it? If you’re riding with an entire mobile meth lab in your backpack, stay off the damn sidewalk, already. And don’t throw your bike at police when they try to stop you for riding salmon.

Update: Twelve-year old bike rider killed in Camarillo; fourth SoCal bike death in just four days

And that makes four.

Four bicycling deaths across the northern SoCal region, from San Bernardino County through Pasadena and, now, Camarillo.

All in just four tragic days. And all at roughly the same time of day.

The Ventura County Star reported earlier tonight that a 12-year old boy was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after he was hit by a vehicle in a possible hit-and-run.

Now KABC-7 is reporting that the victim has died of his injuries; they also say that police have spoken with the driver.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Carmen Drive and East Edgemont Drive around 5:10 pm Sunday. No information yet on how the collision occurred, and the victim has not been publicly identified.

KABC-7 reports the victim was not wearing a bike helmet; California law requires one for any bike rider under the age of 18. Whether it could have done any good in this case remains to be seen.

This follows a pair of teenage riders killed in train collisions in Montclair and Upland on Thursday and Sunday, respectively, and a cyclist killed while riding near Caltech in Pasadena on Saturday. Oddly, each of the collisions took place between 5:10 and 5:30 pm.

This is the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Ventura County since the first of the year; that compares to three bicycling deaths in Ventura County for all of last year.

My prayers and condolences go out to the victim and all his family and friends. 

Update: Details are still sketchy, and no ID on the victim yet. However, KTLA-5 reports the boy was riding west on Carmen Drive with two friends when he tried to cross the street and was hit by a 2000 Toyota Avalon driven by a 79-year old woman. 

Update 2: The Ventura County Star identifies the victim as 12-year old Joseph Johnson of Camarillo; unfortunately, any other details are hidden behind a subscriber-only paywall.

Update 3: A police report corrects the information in the KTLA report above. According to the report, Johnson and his friends were riding salmon, headed north on the southbound side of Carmen Drive, when he cut across Carmen at Edgemont Drive, where he was hit by the car.

Based on the description, it sounds like it may have been a difficult collision for the driver to avoid, as the bike would have darted across her path from an unexpected direction. And depending on the speed of the car, which is not noted in the report, a helmet may actually have made a difference in this case.

The report notes that the collision is still under investigation, and asks anyone with information to contact the Camarillo Police Department at (805) 388-5100.

Oddly, it also asks to hear from people who are “aware of anyone that might have been involved in the accident,” suggesting that there may have been another vehicle involved, which would explain the early reports that this could have been a hit-and-run.

Near head-on collision with scofflaw tricyclist, OC hit-and-run, good news in San Pedro and NELA

Talk about close.

A late start meant I didn’t have a lot of time to ride yesterday, so I took a quick spin along the beachfront bike path through Santa Monica and Venice — despite my long-held preference to avoid it as much as possible this time of year.

And I nearly paid for it with a head-on collision with a scofflaw salmon cyclist.

Make that a four-year old scofflaw.

On a tricycle.

She didn’t seem too pleased when I suggested she should ride on the other side, either.

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Yet another coward has fled the scene following a serious collision, leaving a bike rider to bleed in the street. This time in Orange County.

According to KABC-7, a teenage cyclist suffered critical head injuries when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle around midnight Wednesday on North Harbor Boulevard near La Palma Avenue in Orange.

A passing motorist saw the victim lying in the street and called for help.

Anyone with information is urged to call Anaheim police at (714) 765-1900.

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Tuesday’s twin meetings called to oppose bike lanes in NELA and San Pedro may not have turned out the way opponents might have planned.

The special meeting of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee — maybe they could work on shortening that just a tad — gave every indication of being a set-up for opponents of bike lanes on Figueroa Street in Northeast L.A. Even going so far as to allow a bike lane hater to present an uncontested 15 minute video in opposition to the lanes.

A presentation he reportedly botched — eventually leading to his ejection from the room for disrupting a public meeting.

The Fig4All website calls the meeting a farce in every sense. Yet one that resulted in an overwhelming 41 to 16 in favor of the bike lanes.

Meanwhile, the highly contested road diets and bike lanes recently installed in San Pedro received unexpectedly strong support from city officials, in a special meeting with area Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

The lanes were installed as part of the 2010 L.A. bike plan, as well as in an attempted to calm traffic on streets with excess capacity — including in front of a school, where parents inexplicably complained about the difficulty of dropping their children off, rather than praising the attempt to increase safety for their own kids.

Fortunately, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed, as Buscaino suggested drivers get used to the changes and find ways to avoid the brief periods of congestion.

I’m starting to like this guy.

Now let’s see if he, and the other members of the council, show as much backbone dealing with Hollywood’s irrational demands to remove the Spring Street green bike lanes at Friday’s council meeting.

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A couple bike-related items from Metro made it into my inbox yesterday.

First up is how to cope with the new locking turnstiles being activated in Metro train stations this summer.

Metro Rail turnstiles will be activated this summer and open only with a valid TAP card. If you bring your bike on board, please plan ahead for how this change can affect your station access.

Some important tips to remember for bringing your bike through turnstiles:

  • Follow ADA-accessible routes to find elevators and wider turnstile gates to safely walk your bike in and out of stations.
  • If lifting your bike over turnstiles, please be careful. Avoid lifting your bike over turnstiles in a crowded station.
  • Using the emergency exit gate for non-emergency purposes is not allowed and punishable by fine.

Whatever type of fare you’re using – single ride, pass or transfer from another system – it must be loaded on a reusable TAP card to ride any Metro Rail line. Please be sure your TAP is loaded with cash or valid fare before approaching turnstiles at Metro Rail stations. If you don’t already have a TAP card, you canpurchase one along with your fare from the TAP vending machine for a $1.

I can’t say I’m fond of the idea that one-time train users will be forced to buy a tap card, increasing the cost of a single ride to $2.50.

And Metro will be working with bike advocacy organizations to co-sponsor a series of bike education and safety classes throughout the county.

All cyclists can benefit from a working knowledge of the rules of the road.

Continuing efforts to educate all road users, Metro presents a new series of free bicycle traffic safety workshops, rolling out across the county over the next few months.

With funding from the Office of Traffic Safety, Metro is working with the LA County Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Gabriel Valley and Multi-Cultural Communities for Mobility to lead the workshops. A 3-hour beginner’s road rules class will be offered in English and Spanish, and an 8-hour workshop for intermediate cyclists will focus on building traffic skills.

The series kicks off with the following classes. As more classes are scheduled, information will be available able at metro.net/bikes andfacebook.com/bikemetro.

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, June 22 

8am-5pm
Alexander Hughes Community Center
1700 Danbury Rd
Claremont, CA 91711
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Saturday, July 6 

9am-6pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Street Cycling Skills Class
Friday, July 12, 6pm-9 pm 
AND Saturday, July 13, 8am-2 pm

Azusa Memorial Park Recreation Center
320 N Orange Pl
Azusa, CA 91702
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Sunday, July 14 

10am-1pm
South El Monte Community Center
1556 Central Av
South El Monte, CA 91733
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Street Cycling Skills Class 
Wednesday, July 17, 5:30pm-8:30pm 
AND Saturday, July 20, 9am-1pm

California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Bl
Long Beach, CA 90815
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class
Saturday, July 20

10am-1pm
El Monte Senior Center
3120 Tyler Av
El Monte, CA 91731
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, July 27 

10am-1pm
Palm Park Rec Center
5730 Palm Av
Whittier, CA 90601
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Thursday, August 4 

1-4pm
Culver City Veteran’s Memorial Building
4117 Overland Av
Culver City, CA 90230
Register with LA County Bicycle Coalition here

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Sunday, August 18 

10am-1pm
La Verne Community Center, Classroom 1
3680 “D” St
La Verne, CA 91750
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

Bicycling on the Road Class 
Saturday, August 24 

10am-1pm
Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center
7810 Quill Dr
Downey, CA 90242
Register with Bike San Gabriel Valley by emailing info@bikesgv.org

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Finally, you could soon fly over potholes; no, literally. And if you’re going to steal precious artwork by a revered artist, bring a bag big enough that it doesn’t stick out of your backpack as you make your getaway by bike at 4:30 am. Let alone big enough to carry everything you meant to steal.

Save the endangered San Pedro and Spring Street bike lanes; hit-and-runs involving bicyclists up in L.A.

I’m a little battered and bruised tonight.

Riding home from another wildly successful River Ride, I hit an open 8-inch mini-manhole cover somewhere along the transition from Silver Lake to Beverly Blvd. I somehow managed to stay upright, although how I have no idea, finding myself momentarily riding a wobbling and fully ballistic bike veering dangerously towards both the curb and the asphalt.

Falling down there would have meant going down hard and in front of traffic. It would have also meant my second fall of the day, as I misjudged a steep hill on my way there in the morning, and couldn’t clip out from pedals in time after a bad shift.

Which would have made it just my second fall in the past several years, as well.

Even so, I ended up with cuts and bruises where my legs smacked the frame. And everything from butt up feels like I was hit by a Mack truck.

Yes, everything.

Enough said.

Just a reminder that something most drivers wouldn’t even notice can be dangerous if you’re on a bike.

Even if you don’t hit the street.

So with that, let’s catch up on the news we missed as I tried to sleep off my bumps and bruises yesterday.

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Bad news from Redondo Beach, as a 48-year old triathlete Michael Giardano collapsed and died after the swimming leg of the Redondo Beach Triathlon. My condolences to all his loved ones.

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Buscaino FlyerIf you’re anywhere near San Pedro tonight, try to make it to the 6 pm meeting with Councilmember Joe Buscaino to defend the recent road diets and bike lanes in the area.

As we’ve discussed before, the primary complaints center on the road diet installed on Westmont Drive, which reportedly results in traffic congestion just 20 minutes each morning and afternoon as parents pick their children up at the local school.

Yet the bike lanes those parents complain about exist primarily to tame traffic and improve safety around that very school. Which means that instead of demanding that they be removed, parents should be thanking city officials for taking tangible steps to protect their children.

The mantra for this meeting should be it’s not about bicyclists, it’s about the safety of your children. And if local residents somehow think the convenience of a few drivers is more important that, something is seriously wrong in San Pedro.

With school ending for the year, they’ve got all summer to find a solution that works for everyone. And returning to the previous status quo ain’t it.

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Remember that vivid green paint that lasted about a week on Spring Street, which Hollywood location scouts claimed was impossible to avoid filming or remove in post-production and was used nowhere else in the known universe?

Yeah, right.

Mark your calendar for a Battle Royale this Friday when the issue comes before the full City Council. Every bike rider who can make it should be at City Hall at 10 am Friday to refute the lies and demand that the safety of our citizens should take precedence over the convenience of filmmakers — as if there’s not enough money in their bloated budgets to cover-up a little green paint on the street.

Tell you what.

Just give me a couple of hours and a box of gaffers tape, and I guarantee they won’t see an glimpse of green in the dailies.

Fortunately, not all Hollywood types are bike-unfriendly. Or have such small hearts.

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I haven’t had a chance to dive into it yet, but the long-awaited LAPD report on hit-and-runs has finally been released, and will be presented to the Police Commission at today’s meeting.

At first glance, it suggests that the city’s rate of hit-and-run, while not acceptable, is not out of line for comparable major cities, and hit-and-runs resulting in death or serious injuries to pedestrians is on the decline.

But if you think more drivers fleeing after killing or injuring bicyclists, you’re right.

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The “new” LADOT issues their annual report, and takes credit for more than doubling the number of bike lanes in the last eight years compared to the previous 32, with 150 miles installed during the eight-year Villaraigosa administration.

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A bike rider is shot in Santa Monica in an apparent gang driveby, which had absolutely nothing to do with last week’s shooting rampage, despite the Times unfortunate spin on the story. L.A. mayor-elect Eric Garcetti promises bike lanes and walkable communities. The Source names the bikiest guy in L.A. The upcoming Wilshire Blvd CicLAvia should be better for pedestrians; CicLAvia means open streets for everyone, not just bike riders. Another neighborhood council wants your take on bike lanes on North Figueroa; take a few minutes to respond, because the bike haters certainly will. Turns out handlebars aren’t the safest place to ride, but you knew that, right?

Laguna Beach sees an increase in bicycle collisions. If you hit another cyclist or a pedestrian, stick around until you know they’re okay, hit-and-run laws — and common human decency — apply to us, too; thanks to Allan for the heads-up. A Sacramento man faces a murder charge after deliberately running down a bike rider he’d argued with, then getting out and kicking him repeatedly. An 18-year old Pleasanton driver kills a woman cyclist and injures her husband; since she rear-ended both of them, it doesn’t really matter if one might have been outside the bike lane, does it? In what was clearly a horrible weekend for NorCal cyclists, a 25-year old bike rider is killed in Elk Grove, a San Jose cyclist is killed in a collision with a train and a Modesto man is killed in a hit-and-run. Once again, a San Francisco pedestrian is injured by a cyclist.

Your next bike could be a lot smarter than your last one; on the other hand, I’m not looking forward to a bike that can say “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Especially since my name’s not Dave. IsolateCyclist looks at the people who self-identify as cyclists in order to criticize other cyclists. Bicycling is catching on with the NBA. Members of my college fraternity will be riding cross-country to raise half a million dollars for people with disabilities. Lessons learned by a first-time bike commuter from my hometown. A Kansas man is electrocuted trying to steal copper wire, but props for riding a bike to do it. Chicago’s bike-specific traffic signals increase compliance by 161%. New York’s new bike share program currently reaches just 10% of the city’s population; the NY Times asks why the fuss over bikes in a city that can tolerate anything? Why conservatives should love bike share; then again, no one ever said embracing bike share would be easy. NYC bicyclists offer their wisdom on riding in the city in 10 words or less. A struggling rider finds advice on how to ride uphill. Even when one of their own editors is doored, the NY Daily News blames the victim; however, they agree cyclists aren’t the real danger, despite what the WSJ’s wicked witch says. Boston incorrectly blames bicyclists for most collisions. Bob Mionske relates how a local Tennessee political boss got away with murder — or vehicular homicide by intoxication, in this case — something I suspect occurs far more often than we’d like to admit. The wife of North Carolina’s Bicycle Man fills in during his illness.

A British PSA might just shock a few drivers into sobering up first; thanks to Day One for the heads-up. London’s bike czar says the city needs fewer testosterone-fueled cyclists and more careful female ones; nope, not a hint of reverse sexism there. A UK cyclist suffers a broken arm in a road rage assault. As usual, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers a blog roundup that puts this one to shame. Bike safety devices designed to prevent collisions with trucks could make things worse. Guess which country has gone pazzo for bicycling? A South African driver flees the scene after plowing into three cyclists. An Australian woman is killed while riding with her husband the day before an appointment to find out if she was pregnant. Proof that bike riders aren’t always the good guys, as an Aussie cyclist shoots a sleeping transient with an arrow. A special New Zealand inquest rules mandatory hi-viz clothing won’t cut bicycling deaths. Chinese authorities apologize for beating a bike salesman. Well said: “If we meet out on the road or trail, let that be the start, not the totality, of a friendship.”

Finally, it’s seldom a good idea to celebrate your birthday by riding drunk and trying to strangle the cop who stops you. This is why it’s not a good idea to use people instead of traffic cones at bike races, with entirely predictable results. And someone should tell this 10-time loser that just because the sign says Highway 101, that’s not actually the speed limit; seriously, if you lose your license 10 times in four years, you shouldn’t even be on the damn highway. Or any other street, for that matter.

Too easy to get, too hard to lose, indeed.

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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

………

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.

………

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.

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