Tag Archive for Josh Cohen

Morning Links: Dangerous SaMo corner, LA Calbike board members, East LA man killed in bike dispute

I count on my readers to keep us appraised dangerous situations.

Especially now when health issues continue to keep me off my bike.

For instance, Santa Monica cyclist Bill Jordan writes about a dangerous intersection after seeing a cyclist down Wednesday morning.

Wanted to make you aware of a bike car collision that occurred this morning at the bottom of the 23rd street hill behind the Santa Monica Airport where it intersects Dewey St. Two cars were stopped with multiple police officers on the scene and a crumpled bike in between the two cars.

Samo MapI’m quite familiar with the intersection, as I bike commute 1-2 days per week past it in both directions, and I can safely say it’s the spot I’m most concerned about on every ride. It’s also easily solvable with a little adjustments to traffic flow. As you can see in this crude graphic, evening rush hour traffic backs up 23rd St. (highlighted in red), typically all the way to Ocean Park Blvd.

This encourages people to use the comparatively empty 21st St, and then cut across Dewey, Navy, Marine, or even the alleyway between Navy and Dewey (highlighted in yellow). This would be fine, except drivers rarely remember to check the unimpeded southbound bike lane on 23rd before turning out into the stopped traffic. Since it’s a 3% decline, I often find myself riding the brakes to avoid running broadside into a car that didn’t realize there was more than one lane of traffic they were turning across. It is not surprising at all that the Strava Segment for that downhill section is called “Ocean Park – Rose Kamikaze.”

As for why the traffic backs up, you don’t have to go far to find the solution. The intersection at Rose Avenue and Walgrove has a light that is timed for the morning rush, when a number of people are coming west on Rose Avenue and turning north on Walgrove/23rd. However, that traffic doesn’t exist in the evening, but of course the lights follow the same pattern. This leads to lots of red light time for cars heading southbound on 23rd/Walgove, and creates the three quarter mile backup that encourages the unsafe neighborhood cut-throughs. Obviously with the morning collision the backup wasn’t the problem here, but it does show how unsafe the bike lane there is. Would love to know who could help fix this issue.

I’ve forwarded his email to Cynthia Rose of LACBC neighborhood chapter Santa Monica Spoke.

Any other suggestions for who he should talk to?

Update: I’ve just gotten word that the cyclist involved in this collision was popular LA rider Nate Loyal, who came out on the losing side of a collision with an SUV.

I’m told he was rushed to the hospital with a broken tibia, tibia and collarbone — but thankfully, no head injury. He’s scheduled for surgery today, but expected to be okay.

Best wishes and prayers for full and speedy recovery.

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Calbike gets four new board members, including San Diego’s Elayne Fowler, Silicon Valley’s Janet LaFleur, and our own Dorothy Wong and BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen.

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Sad news from Portland, as a beloved recumbent bike shop owner takes her own life, two years after she suffered a severe brain injury in a collision while riding her ‘bent. Thanks to David Wolfberg and Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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LASD sketch of the suspect

LASD sketch of the suspect

Just heartbreaking. A 76-year old East LA man suffering from dementia was beaten to death last August in a dispute over a bicycle, which did not belong to him.

His killer, identified only as a Hispanic man with a trimmed mustache and beard — which he probably shaved off if he’s seen the news — rode away on the bike.

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Canyon Velo Cycling will host a Remembrance Ride for fallen OC cyclist Sherri Norton, three years after she was killed in a highly disputed collision. Thanks to Jeffrey for the news.

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Local

Mayor Garcetti promises to step up street repaving, and assures Streetsblog the new and improved streets will have the most recent approved designs, including bike lanes and continental crosswalks. Meanwhile, a city council proposal would allow residents to tax themselves to pay for road and sidewalk repairs.

Santa Monica approves the county’s first Smart Bike bike share system.

More on Friday’s planned crackdown by Santa Monica police to improve bike and pedestrian safety; and yes, for a change, they’re targeting drivers as well as cyclists and jaywalkers.

Peloton looks at last Sunday’s Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer competition up some of the city’s — and the nation’s — steepest hills.

 

State

The San Diego Reader looks back at fallen cyclist Udo Heinz and the bus collision that needlessly took his life.

Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place. An El Cajon bike rider suffers serious injuries when he’s collateral damage in a collision between two vehicles.

A San Bernardino bike rider is killed in a pre-dawn shooting.

Santa Barbara police issue nearly 100 citations to drivers and cyclists alike in a crackdown to improve bike safety.

It’s not all bad news, though, as Santa Barbara will build a new bike station at the city’s Transit Station. Thanks again to Megan Lynch for the link.

San Francisco will expand their bike share system while upgrading equipment.

The long-planned Bay Bridge bike path connecting Oakland and San Francisco could be in trouble after authorities choke on a $400 million-plus price tag.

 

National

Wired offers up nine things drivers need to stop saying in the debate over bikes vs cars. To start, we could stop positioning it as bikes vs cars. Or cyclists vs drivers.

A big-hearted, yet anonymous Oklahoma cop buys a boy a new bike after his was stolen.

New York looks at the progress made in the first year of Vision Zero, while Portland moves forward with their plan.

If I rode with a knife like that, I'd probably get more respect from drivers, too

If I rode with a knife like that, I’d probably get more respect from drivers, too

People for Bikes unveils a new bike safety campaign based on popular Pittsburgh series.

Caught on video: Just days after a Boston aggro bike filmmaker survives a brush with a road raging cabbie, he barely survives a right hook in the rain — then wishes the driver a happy Wednesday.

A Philadelphia cyclist intervenes to stop a bike thief, even after the outlaw flashed a gun.

The writer of Brooklyn Spoke explains why he’s opposed to the proposed New York ban on cellphone use while bicycling.

A Florida father files suit against FedEx after a driver kills his bike-riding special needs son; the driver was allegedly looking down while he accelerated, and didn’t even know he’d hit someone.

 

International

Bikes are an economic powerhouse, as Europe’s cycling economy has created 650,000 jobs. And could reach one million in just six years.

Brit cyclists plan a die-in and faux funeral to call attention to the need for safer streets.

Your next bike could be a junk. Literally, as Brit firm specializes in upcycling scrap cars into handmade bicycles.

Dublin is hiring a new cycling czar. Don’t bother applying, I’m taking it.

Germany considers sending convicted dopers to jail for three years, with 10 years for the doctors who help them.

Cycling Weekly looks at a bike that isn’t quite the one the won a stage in the Tour de France in 1959, and offers solutions to embarrassing problems on a bike. Just make sure no one is drafting on you when you break wind; then again, if you’ve got a wheel sucker behind you, it’s a good defense mechanism.

An Aussie councilmember proposes a boxy, so-called “smart helmet that would comply with the country’s mandatory helmet law, while providing a licensing registration number that can be read by road cameras. And it has built-in turn signals, brake light, visor with wiper blade, and offers a warning when the rider gets too close to pedestrians. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

 

Finally…

A Seattle website asks whether a bike rack has been circumcised; looks like it to me. So much for the common argument that no one rides in winter weather.

And fair is fair: A Chicago columnist is incensed that dog owners must carry proof of a license when their dogs go out to poop, but cyclists don’t need one — to ride, not poop. But maybe bike-hating writers should have one to write crap like this.

 

Morning Links: LA bike lawyer examines anti-harassment ordinance; shoes starting to drop in Milt Olin case

Los Angeles attorney Josh Cohen writes about LA’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance for Plaintiff Magazine.

In it, Cohen — a BikinginLA sponsor — explains that the ordinance may not be the panacea we had hoped, since California law relieves insurance companies of responsibility for intentional acts — making it difficult to collect anything other than a small judgment in a harassment case, unless the driver has unusually deep pockets.

His suggestion is that most victims may be better off filing a case in small claims court for a flat $1000 judgment, rather than struggling to get an attorney to take the case when there’s little chance of a recovery.

He goes on to explain that you can file a form with the DMV to identify the driver. And even if you never see a dime, winning your case means you can get the DMV to suspend the driver’s license if he or she can’t — or won’t — pay.

Then again, getting a dangerous driver off the road is a victory in itself.

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The shoes are finally starting to drop in the Milt Olin case.

According to the Daily News, court papers show the sheriff’s deputy who killed him was texting moments before the collision, and may have been using the patrol car’s onboard computer.

However, it’s my understanding that police officers are exempt from the California law banning the use of handheld devices, which means he’s unlikely to be charged with texting while driving. Although he still could face charges for careless or distracted driving.

Of course, the real question is whether the deputy was texting a private number while on duty, or someone within the sheriff’s department. And whether, as many have suggested, that it is department policy — official or otherwise — for officers to use the onboard computer while driving.

If so, it could exonerate the deputy, but leave the department itself on the hook for Olin’s death.

Which may be why the DA’s office is taking so long to decide what, if any, charges to file. Or what laws may even apply in this increasingly bizarre case.

Thanks to Lois, John McBrearty, Mike Kim and Lisa Buckland for the link.

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Bike riders are being urged to attend tonight’s Laguna Beach City Council session to call for safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians following the death of John Colvin last month.

To the best of my knowledge, the 19-year old driver still hasn’t been charged, despite stopping over a mile away.

Just a reminder to please join us tomorrow night on the City Hall lawn to express our solidarity and support for urgent change to our transportation grid. We demand safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Laguna has a long way to go, but if our City Council sees how many of us care about this issue, and understand how we fear for our lives every time we mount a bike, perhaps we can spur some action.

Please spread the word and urge your cycle buddies to join us.

Livable Streets Laguna Rally
5:30-6:30
Tuesday, July 15
City Hall
505 Forest Ave

Bring your bike if possible.

Thanks to Jeffery for the heads-up.

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You’re invited to show up on Wednesday to protest Metro’s short-sighted plan to give mere crumbs to active transportation.

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And then there were none.

The last remaining former winner of the Tour de France abandoned the race today when Alberto Contador injured his knee in a solo fall. Despite a broken tibia, Contador did his best to finish the mountain stage.

Which means yellow-jersey bearer Vincenzo Nibali becomes the instant favorite, with a wide-open field behind him.

Meanwhile, to no one’s surprise, former Russian pro Denis Menchov — two-time winner of the Vuelta and one-time Giro winner — gets a two-year ban for doping.

And the great Marianne Vos wins her third Giro de Rosa, as Emma Pooley takes the final stage. In a show of total domination, Vos’ Rabobank-Liv teammates Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Anna van der Breggen round out the podium.

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Local

More on CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s Orwellian decision to halt the road safety project slated for North Figueroa. Maybe someone should tell Cedillo that increasing traffic congestion — as West Hollywood did in remaking Santa Monica Blvd — can be a good thing, leading to a vibrant and popular neighborhood.

In another loss for LA bicyclists, new buffered bike lanes on Vineland could mean the death of long fought-for lanes on nearby Lankershim.

Another link opens in the eventual 51-mile LA River bikeway with the opening of the Los Angeles River Headwaters greenway in the San Fernando Valley.

Santa Monica Museum of Art’s popular bike-centric Tour da Arts rolls August 26th; RSVP early because the bike ride always fills up.

Meetings are planned to integrate bikes into the new Expo Line extension in Santa Monica.

Five hundred women take part in Long Beach’s Beach Babe Bicycling Classic; the event also marked the announcement of an all-women’s Gran Fondo in Napa Valley next spring. Meanwhile, a writer says the city can and should take the lead in encouraging more women to ride.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist is injured after he’s cut off by a car exiting a parking lot.

The San Diego victim’s family is justifiably furious when the DUI driver who killed their father is let back out on the streets just over two years into a six-year sentence.

A Riverside man rides his bike back home. From Montana.

Despite finding more than 130 stolen bikes and frames, the Marin County DA drops bike theft charges against a woman suspected of buying hot bikes.

 

National

Bicycling’s Elly Blue compares abusive drivers to internet trolls. Sounds about right.

Great advice to support the ones who support you at your local bike shop.

Good for her. A transgender rider fights discrimination while taking the BMX world by storm.

An editorial writer for the Denver Post is nearly as sarcastic as I am in ridiculing the slap on the wrist given a killer hit-and-run driver from my hometown.

Does it really matter if drivers understand that bike riders have a right to ride in the middle of the lane? Aren’t they supposed to somehow avoid running over anyone directly in front of them anyway?

It takes a real schmuck to shove a five-year old Cleveland boy off his bike and steal his nine-year old brother’s Schwinn at gunpoint.

 

International

The typical Calgary bike rider is helmet-wearing man who prefers to ride on a bike path.

A Toronto writer says maybe drivers and cyclists could achieve some sort of détente on the road if we all tried thinking like the other guy.

A Brit cyclist celebrates World Naked Bike Ride Day with a bare solo ride on a major highway.

A UK man is pushed into a river when his bike is stolen in a strong arm robbery.

Team Rwanda is headed to the British Commonwealth Games.

Rants in the Australian media help fuel anger against bike riders.

 

Finally…

I don’t care how drunk you are, how on earth does anyone mistake the cyclist she just killed for a badger? And seriously, no matter how pissed off you are about the truck driver who nearly hit you, don’t lie and say he threatened you with a gun; it won’t end well for you.

 

An open letter to cyclists from the Rock Store photographer, and a warning about a dangerous NELA bike lane

Cyclists tackle The Snake on Muholland; photo by Paul Herold

Cyclists tackle The Snake on Muholland; photo by Paul Herold

Sometimes, my posts get written for me.

Not that I’m complaining.

This is one of those occasions, with an open letter to cyclists from a well-known motor sports photographer. A couple of videos. A request for witnesses from an LA bike lawyer.

And a friend who played an unwanted game of bumper bike near Westside Pavilion on Pico Blvd.

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First up is that open letter to cyclists who ride the famed Snake on Mulholland, aka the Rock Store ride, from Paul Herold, known around the world for his photos of the cyclists, motorcyclists and high-end sports car drivers who test their skills there.

I can’t say I agree with everything he’s written. On the other hand, I don’t ride there; some cyclists who do tell me his advice is spot on.

Either way, it’s worth a read.

Dear Velonauts,

Rumour has it that Amgen’s 2014 Tour of California will be returning to The Snake (the Rock Store climb) this May with the same circuit format we all enjoyed so much back in 2010. While I can find no confirmation on the TOC web site, I see ample support for the rumour in the faces of scores of new visitors I am seeing every weekend. Enthusiasm is not the only thing I am seeing in those new faces though….fear, horror, dread, anger frustration and rage are there too, mixed in with the usual fatigue and desperation. I can’t help much with fatigue. But perhaps I can help ease some of the fear, dread, loathing and rage.

And there's the problem; photo by Paul Herold

And there’s the problem; photo by Paul Herold

After sitting on The Snake camera in hand for seven years of weekends and holidays, I have some ideas to help make your ascent or descent of the Rock Store more enjoyable and safer. First, some perspective.

The Snake is one of the greatest 2.3 mile stretches of tantalizingly twisty tarmac on the West Coast. Located on Mulholland Highway north west Los Angeles County, the road is accessible to millions of car enthusiasts, motorcycle riders and cyclists. And it ain’t no secret. Crash videos from The Snake on YouTube are viewed by tens of millions viewers world wide. Visitors from South America, Europe and Asia are on the hill every weekend to witness the spectacle in person. Unsurprisingly, the top sweeper known as Edward’s Corner, is probably as famous and recognizable as any street curve in the world.

Local car clubs regularly include The Snake on their weekend cruises. National car clubs run The Snake for their national events. Individuals in everything from tricked out Civics to convertible Bugatti Veyrons run The Snake on a normal weekend. And the vehicles Jay Leno brings are sweet enough to ruin your diet.

Photo by Paul Herold

Rider down; photo by Paul Herold

Motorcyclists from all over the USA ride The Snake too. For some, it is a jumping off point for hundreds of miles of canyon and coastal riding. For many, many others, it is an end destination.  I have seen individual riders pass me over 50 times in the course of a day, up and down, again and again loving every minute. The mix of motorcycles is split between crotch rockets, sport tourers and cruisers.

So…how do you stay safe on your bicycle, amidst the mechanized din? Here are my suggestions.

  • Please ride single file. Don’t force overtaking traffic into oncoming lanes. If you are riding with two friends or twenty please respect the rights of the traffic behind you.
  • Lose the ear buds. It is unlawful and dangerous. Not every motorcycle or car has loud pipes.
  • Ride early….or late. The mechanized madness peaks between 10am and 3pm.
  • Hug the white line. I read many years ago that if you can’t keep your road bike on the line, you shouldn’t be on the street. The white line is your friend. Hug it robustly.
  • Generally, the higher the RPM of the vehicle approaching you, the less skilled the operator. Stay alert.
  • Don’t stop and sightsee in turns. Step over the guardrails if you must, unless a wheelchair sounds like fun.
  • Another rider down; photo by Paul Herold

    Another rider down; photo by Paul Herold

    Imagine an out of control car or bike heading your way from the other side of every blind apex…and pick your line accordingly. If a driver or biker is going to lose control, it will usually be at the exit of a turn.

  • While climbing, courteous riders vacate the apex post haste. There is only one ‘best line through’ any turn. If you don’t need that line, don’t hog it
  • If you didn’t climb it, don’t descend with abandon, because you don’t know what road hazards may await…oil, wet patches, gravel….
  • Ride with a GoPro or dash cam. If you complain to me about a car or motorcycle, I can’t educate/mediate/excoriate unless I know who it was.
  • Prepare your body. Out of shape climbers rock to and fro enough to move themselves around within their lane.
  • Prepare your mind. This is not an abandoned country road. You are going to get ‘buzzed’. You are going to hear a horn or two. And you will certainly hear some throaty exhausts.
  • Prepare your bicycle. The Snake is not where you want to discover a slow leak or frayed cable.
  • I keep water, velo tools, tubes (thank you Ashton Johnson of Franco) and air in my truck at all times. So if you are in need, find me on the hill.
  • This is what you may see coming from behind; photo by Paul Herold

    This is what you may see coming from behind; photo by Paul Herold

    STAY OFF THE YELLOW PAINT! It is slick as bal… er, uh… ice. If you try and corner on the yellow lines, you will go down.

  • Be especially vigilant on the first Sunday of each month. A well attended Valley automobile event gets a lot of motors running, usually between 9am and noon.
  • Be prepared for anything. A group from Helen’s on a break neck descent came around a fast curve only to confront an armada of three radio controlled cars screaming towards them in the wrong lane. Semis, garbage trucks and longboarders are also sighted frequently.
  • Road shoulders at the exit of any turn are not the place for repairs. Cross the road or get well off to the side.
  • The better the weather, the more mechanized company you will have.
  • RIDE SINGLE FILE!

In these past few years, I have taken over I million photos on The Snake. In that time, I am aware of only three incidents in which a cyclist was hospitalized, and know of only five incidents involving motor vehicles vs. cyclists. The catalog of close calls and WTF’s could fill a reservoir, but the safety record still isn’t bad.  I’d guess that despite the frenetic nature of a sunny Sunday prime time on The Snake, you are still safer here than you would be on PCH…or in Kabul. ;).

Major speed differential creates danger among the various road users; photo by Paul Herold

Major speed differential creates danger among the various road users; photo by Paul Herold

And there is no real enmity among the motorcyclist towards the cyclists. The moto riders’ #1 complaint is when cyclist ride two or more wide. Conversely, the number one complaint I hear from cyclists is that they were buzzed by a motorcycle. Seems to me that if fewer cyclist rode in social formation, there would be fewer incidents of ‘buzzing’.

My experiences, observations and suggestions are limited specifically to weekend conditions on The Snake, but may have general applicability to narrow canyons throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. As May approaches, there will be more and more riders heading for the Rock Store climb, as our heroes will be doing in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. The purpose of this letter has been to give you some perspective about The Snake and offer some suggestions that will keep you and everyone else safe.

Come. Ride. Enjoy. Buy pictures! And remember….You Will Never Ride Alone.

Ride safe,

Paul Herold
RockStorePhotos.com
 

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Next up, Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Josh Cohen offers a warning about a dangerous stretch of bike lane on westbound Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock. And he’s looking for witnesses familiar with that hazard for a case he’s handling representing an injured bike rider.

A serious injury has been reported due to a dangerous condition in the center of the westbound bicycle lane on Colorado Boulevard, between Vincent Avenue and Mount Royal Drive, in Eagle Rock. The condition is a deviation in the center of the lane that runs for several yards parallel to and directly between the lines that delineate the bicycle lane. It consists of an undulating ledge that has formed where the asphalt of the roadway dips into a shallow trench where it meets the concrete that forms the gutter and sidewalk. Cracks also exist between traffic side lane line of the bicycle path and the number two vehicular lane (and bus lane). There is also a bus stop just west of and adjacent to the hazard, which makes navigating this section of roadway even more treacherous. Cyclists riding along this section of lane should use extreme caution and be especially mindful, as following the arrow at Vincent Drive that directly them into the bicycle lane on Colorado forces them into having to choose between avoiding a series of cracks on the left side, the ledge on the right, and possibly a bus that may be merging across their path.

Anyone with first-hand information or experience with this situation is urged to call him at 323/937-7105 or email [email protected]

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Okay, so it’s not LA. Or even Southern California.

Or the US, for that matter.

But I was forwarded this short video from Vancouver Cycle Chic about a veteran Vancouver politician, the man who loves him and their mutual love for bicycling. And liked it enough to share with you.

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I’ve long considered Streetsblog’s Damien Newton a friend, sometimes collaborator, occasional employer and always, editor of the best transportation website in the city.

On Wednesday, we can add dooring victim to that list.

Damien was riding his bike east on Pico Blvd between Overland and Beverly Glen Blvds — a busy stretch of roadway which inexplicably used to be considered a Class 3 bike route and isn’t anymore, for good reason — when he was dangerously buzzed by passing driver who nearly didn’t.

Riding my bicycle on Pico Blvd. going east between Overland and the really hilly section a driver buzzed so close to me (note: the lane to his left was empty) that I veered right…right into an opening car door that was opened inches in front of me. As I struggled to maintain balance, another car buzzed me and this time I toppled over onto my right side into an empty parking space directly in front of the Beverly Hills Bike Shop.

I probably terrified the woman in the car. To be fair, I doubt she was at fault. I came at her at a funky angle after reacting to the “Jerry Browning.” Frustrated, scared and filling up with adrenaline I took my helmet off and slammed it into the ground as Gunpowder clattered itself on the asphalt and I walked to the sidewalk. A 6’2 guy acting erratically after a high-stress incident probably seemed like something from another planet to this elderly woman who was gripping her steering wheel and staring at me.

Thank goodness he was able to limp away.

It could have been so much worse.

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Broadway make-over; photo by Patrick Pascal

Broadway make-over; photo by Patrick Pascal

Downtown’s Broadway has long lost the luster that made it the heart of pre-war LA. Now it looks like it could once again become the heart of a revitalized Downtown, as the city gives it a pedestrian, if not bike, friendly makeover.

Frequent bike commuter Patrick Pascal shares a photo showing the work has already begun.

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One of yesterday’s links was to the story of a Bermuda Dunes bike rider who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Now more information has come out.

And as too often happens, the truth is worse than anything most of us may have imagined.

According to MyDesert.com, 20-year old Liliana Avalos was talking on her cell phone as she drove down Country Club Drive at a high rate of speed, weaving through traffic and passing vehicles in the left turn lanes and right shoulder. She was attempting to pass yet another car on the right when she entered the shoulder and struck the 28-year old victim from behind before speeding off.

And in a sign of just how seriously the courts don’t take traffic crime, she was released within hours on a mere $25,000 bond.

No, really.

And we wonder why so many people don’t take traffic laws seriously.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

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Finally, music videos featuring the LA bike scene are becoming a very crowded sub-genre these days.

The latest is from Nashville-based indie-rock band And the Giraffe, who rigged a camera onto the front of a bike with some strapping tape, and rode around greater LA from PCH to the high desert, capturing a number of recognizable vistas.

The whole thing cost them about $200 to make; I’ve seen far worse for a comma and two or three zeros more. They talked about it with KPCC.

Not a bad song, either.

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