Tag Archive for hit-and-run

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

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

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

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

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

That’s it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which is exactly where I am this morning.

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

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

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

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

And usually do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks, Bob.

No, really.

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

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

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

Just don’t.

And yes, I’m talking to you.

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

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

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

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

Don’t get me wrong.

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

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

Now that’s hot.

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sound about right?

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

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

………

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

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

………

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

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

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

At least, I would.

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

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

But still.

………

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

Or worse.

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

And Dr. Oz came running to the rescue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

………

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

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

………

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

………

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

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It makes him one of us.

And I apologize for the delay in acknowledging that.

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

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

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

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

………

Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About time.

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

Thanks to Paiwei Wei for the link.

………

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

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

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

………

Then there’s this from comedian Neal Brennan:

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

Yeah, hilarious.

………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I could just scream.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

………

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

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

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

Christine Dahab sentencing Friday, LA City Council takes up hit-and-run reform, Gardena police sued

Just a couple quick notes to wrap up a busy and exhausting day.

First up, a comment from Renee Andreassen sends word that Christine Dahab, the allegedly drunk and distracted driver who plowed into 13 bicyclists on a late night ride in Culver City in 2011, will be sentenced on Friday.

Christine Dahab, who hit 13 bicyclists June 2011 will be sentenced Friday July 26, 2013 at 
West District
Airport Courthouse,
 11701 South La Cienega Blvd.
 Los Angeles, CA 90045
 Dept D

I hope all of the victims will come to give their victim impact statements. 
I would appreciate any assistance this website can get out to those impacted by this horrible event

Dahab pleaded no contest to all charges last April, apparently including DUI causing injury and DWI with a BAC over .08 causing injury.

She was sentenced to a 90-day evaluation period in state prison pending final sentencing. So she’s already spent more time behind bars than most drivers do even in fatal collisions. And could face a lot more.

I have other obligations Friday, so if anyone attends the sentencing, please let us know how it turns out.

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Hit-and-run rears its ugly head once again in L.A. But this time, they may actually do something about it.

From the blog of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition:

The Public Safety Committee will hear the LAPD report on Friday, July 26th at 8:30 AM in City Hall Room 1010.  Please join LACBC in requesting that the City take a leadership role to fix state law to increase penalties for hit-and-run.  You can also write the committee members at councilmember.englander@lacity.org, councildistrict15@lacity.org, councilmember.bonin@lacity.org, and councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org.

No matter how you parse the numbers — and the LAPD has been roundly criticized for attempting to put the best face on a dismal record — the city ranks at or near the top among major cities for cowardly drivers refusing to take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.

Fortunately, the department appears to be taking the problem seriously. And they seem to have been listening to me, with recommendations including:

  • Automatic license consequences — hopefully including revocation
  • Possible hold or forfeiture of the vehicle used in the crime
  • More significant consequences, including tougher penalty enhancements
  • Limit civil compromises
  • Extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-runs that result in death or serious injury

………

Not surprisingly, Gardena police are being sued for civil rights violations and excessive force in the shooting death of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, who was killed by police while trying to help recover his brother’s stolen bicycle.

Diaz-Zeferino reportedly ran up to police as they held guns on two of his friends, shouting in English that they weren’t the thieves, but were trying to help find the bike.

And that’s when they shot him eight times, including twice in the back. As well as hitting one of his friends, resulting in permanent injuries.

Not that they overreacted or anything.

………

Finally, the arraignment for Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar, the driver accused in the death of Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar, has been postponed until September.

Salazar faces a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. The relatively light charge may reflect the fact that was reportedly Aguilar riding against traffic, as many students do in that location, due to a lack of safe bicycling infrastructure.

Meanwhile, discussions are underway to make much-needed bike and pedestrian safety improvements on campus.

Hopefully before someone else gets killed.

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

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

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

……..

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

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

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

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

The bicyclist was not so lucky the second time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

……..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s all hope he recovers from his injuries.

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

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

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

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

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

South Bay cyclist victim of a hit-and-walk

One of the primary arguments used to attack bicyclists lately has been the alleged carelessness — or aggressiveness — some bike riders show around pedestrians.

Never mind that a solid  collision between a cyclist and someone on foot is likely to result in injuries to both. And while people can point fingers at a handful of cases where careless riders have seriously injured — or even killed — pedestrians, it is a problem that goes both ways.

As just about anyone who has ever ridden any of Southern California’s beachfront bike paths can attest.

Case in point, this email I received yesterday from frequent South Bay contributor Jim Lyle.

Nine days ago, I was returning home from my morning ride up the coast.  As I navigated the bike path under the Redondo Beach pier, a woman ducked under the chain that separates the bike path from the pedestrian walkway directly in front of me.  I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her and went down, hard.  As I hit the pavement, I heard a “pop” and knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing.  I unclipped and tried to get up, but couldn’t bear any weight on my left leg due to the pain.

Here’s where it gets surreal.  The woman, with a bunch of her friends, did not offer to help me, did not ask if I was OK, or if I was hurt; they simply walked away as if nothing had happened.  Does that qualify as a “hit and walk?”

I was able to pull myself up using the bike to lean on and hobbled to an open area where I had cell phone coverage.  I called a friend who lives near the pier and asked her to come get me.  She arrived, put the bicycle in the truck bed, but I couldn’t get into the cab, it was too high and it hurt too much to move the leg.  I started to go into shock, tunnel vision and losing consciousness.  My friend called 911.  The EMTs arrived, put me on a gurney, and transported me to emergency.  X-rays revealed I had snapped a bone on my femur, but there was no displacement.  They gave me pain meds and crutches and sent me home.  I return to the orthopod in a couple of weeks to make sure there’s been no movement of the bone and I’m on the road to recovery. Otherwise, they’ll have to do surgery.  Meanwhile, I’m moping around the house feeling sorry for myself.  It could have been worse, much, much worse.

As you know, it is illegal (CVC and city ordinances) for pedestrians to use the beach bike path.  There are signs posted and “BIKES ONLY” is painted on the path every few yards.  Because these laws are not enforced, pedestrians, nannies, dog walkers, skaters, illiterates, and scofflaws use the bike path instead of the pedestrian walkway which is often within spitting range.  I always knew this created a dangerous situation for cyclists and pedestrians. And, now, I’m a victim.

In the past, a polite “on your left” or “bikes only, please” would be sufficient.  In future, when I’m back riding, I am no longer going to be very pleasant when I encounter the brain dead idiots who insist on endangering my health.  Police chiefs in the beach cities are going to know my name.  All it would take is a little public education and the occasional ticket to make the beach safe for all users, on two wheels or none.

I’m still fuming about the lack of humanity shown by people.  Surely, they’re in a minority, or are they?

Make no mistake.

Pedestrians are the only class of road users more vulnerable than we are. And we need to go out of our way to protect their safety, especially when riding on sidewalks and through crosswalks, where they should have unquestioned right-of-way.

And yes, I’ve seen cyclists plow through a crowded crosswalk, seemingly oblivious to the harm they may cause. And a Santa Monica cyclist was recently convicted, fairly or not, of assault with a deadly weapon for doing just that.

But as Jim’s email suggests, we aren’t always the problem. And we are just as vulnerable to their carelessness as they are to ours.

One other point.

Had he been able to stop the woman, she could have been held liable for his injuries, just as a bicyclist can be held legally liable for injuring a pedestrian. Or another bike rider, for that matter.

But whether she could be charged with leaving the scene of a collision is a question I can’t answer.

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

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