Tag Archive for Koreatown

Update: Bike rider killed by allegedly drunk hit-and-run driver in Koreatown

Yet another person has been the victim of an — allegedly — drunk coward who fled the scene of the crash.

According to multiple sources, the victim was riding south on Western Ave near San Marino Street when a driver struck him from behind just before 2 am.

The 26-year old driver fled the scene, but was arrested nearby after police found a white sedan with damage consistent with the collision. Fox 11 reports he was speeding at the time of the crash, and was found in his car obviously intoxicated.

The victim has been publicly identified only as a Latino in his 50s. He died at the scene.

He appears to have been riding a mountain bike with reflectors, but no lights are visible in the news reports.

A street view shows a four lane road on Western with center left turn lanes in both directions at San Marino, and no bike lanes. And little or nothing to slow a speeding drunk at that hour.

This is the 52nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County; it’s also the eighth in the City of LA.

At least 19 of those 52 fatal crashes have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The victim has been identified as 48-year-old Los Angeles resident Mario Calderon.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mario Calderon and his loved ones.

Morning Links: Stolen bicycle recovered, raw video of Koreatown incident, and bikeshare news

Let’s start with good news, for a change.

Last night I received word that the bicycle stolen at gunpoint from Ulises Melgar, which we discussed yesterday, has been recovered after being spotted in Hollenbeck Park.

The only things missing were the lights and a Garmin.

As a result, the crowdfunding campaign to replace Melgar’s bicycle has been frozen, and anyone who gave will be contacted about their donation.

No word on whether any progress has been made in apprehending the violent jerks who stole it.

………

News service LoudLabs posted raw video of the recent Koreatown incident.

As you may recall, several people pulled an aggressive driver out of his car after he hit a bike rider while plowing through a group ride that was corking an intersection, and held him down until police arrived.

The additional footage includes the full interview with a witness, as well as showing extensive damage to the car.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

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Today’s common theme is bikeshare.

The Bay Area’s Ford GoBike bikeshare took a beating in its first month, with bikes stolen, tires slashed and a bike dumped in a lake.

Dueling dockless bikeshare companies are spreading throughout the Bay Area, Sacramento and Santa Cruz.

A Seattle writer watches as a homeless person tries, and fails, to steal one of the city’s dockless bikeshare bikes.

Baltimore’s bikeshare is contending with the problem of stolen bikes; the Baltimore Sun reported less than a third of the 200 bikes were available for use when they checked.

And a real estate writer says developers now consider proximity to a bikeshare dock an amenity.

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A new short movie examines the effects of Australia’s mandatory bike helmet law, while stressing that being against forcing people to wear helmets isn’t the same as being opposed to them.

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Welsh cyclist Luke Rowe will be out of action for awhile, since it’s hard to ride with a broken leg; he was injured while whitewater rafting during his brother’s bachelor party.

An Aussie new site asks if Alberto Contador is a cycling legend, flawed genius or forever tainted. Short answer, yes.

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Local

The Washington Post looks at the overwhelming success of the Expo Line, while noting that opposition to building the line centered on race and class, as well as cost. I recall someone from the Westside’s upscale Rancho Park, who said no one from that neighborhood would ever take the train, which would only be used by maids and gardeners. And that same opposition was successful in derailing plans for the Expo Line bike path through the neighborhood, resulting in the infamous Trousdale gap.

The latest edition of Bike Talk discusses Vision Zero, Road Diets, and the Backlash Against Safe Streets.

A free three-mile ride sponsored by CICLE and Metro will take you on a tour of LA’s best Filipino restaurants along Temple Street in Historic Filipinotown on the 24th; reservations are required.

Several Santa Clarita firefighters are competing bicycling events in this week’s World Police and Fire Games.

 

State

If you ride the San Juan Creek Trail in San Juan Capistrano, prepare for some extensive detours over the next few years.

The annual Bike the Bay is your chance to ride San Diego’s Coronado Bay Bridge at the end of the month, even without a $210 million bike tube.

A San Diego man is posting satirical YouTube videos exposing the mythical war on cars.

This is who we share the roads with. After a Jurupa Valley motorcycle rider is nearly sideswiped by a driver, he records the man plowing into two stopped cars, then fleeing the scene — and follows him to Moreno Valley at speeds up to 90 mph.

 

National

Now you, too, can make your very own scraper bike with a “badass” sound system.

A Hawaii man says it felt like he was hit by a truck when he was struck by a bicyclist, after spending three nights in the ICU with two broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and internal bleeding.

Alaska Air is now officially the cheapest airline to fly with your bike.

No overreaction here. Police in Evanston IL arrested two 12-year old kids for the crime of running a red light while riding on the handlebars and rear pegs of a BMX bike while someone else pedaled. Yes, they were arrested for a traffic infraction. Or maybe just riding while black.

In a field where women are seriously under represented, a Michigan woman has been repairing bicycles for 33 years; she started a mobile bike repair business after closing her bike shop in 2004.

Bighearted New Jersey cops buy a ten-year old boy a new bike after they were impressed with his positive attitude when he was injured in a collision.

Former Delaware Governor Jack Markell is one of us; Markell just finished a 3,600-mile ride across the US to raise money for kids in the state.

A Pittsburgh-area cyclist finally gets his day in court, after spending the last year in jail awaiting trial on charges of riding his bicycle in the middle of the lane, just like riders are taught to do. Apparently able to read minds, the ADA handling the case alleges David Smith’s intent was to disrupt traffic, rather than ride safely.

A Louisiana engineer makes a persuasive argument over why and how bikes should be included in the traffic plan for the state capital.

A Good Samaritan alerts Florida officials to a reckless, and likely stoned, driver, allowing deputies to arrive less than a minute after he struck a bike rider.

 

International

The UK’s version of HuffPo lists the best apps for bicycling. Not all apply for US riders, however.

Road rage is on the rise, even among those obsessively polite Canadian drivers.

A 17-year old British man was apparently sprayed with acid while riding his bike near London’s Kensington Palace. Authorities referred to it as “an unknown substance;” however, the attack follows a spate of acid attacks on the city’s streets in recent weeks.

Good idea. The father of a fallen British bicyclist says children should be taught the Dutch Reach in school.

Caught on video: An English van driver intentionally swerves into a bike rider to keep him from passing. Skip ahead to the 2:50 mark; evidently, they don’t have video editing software in the UK.

The Guardian imagines what the perfect bicycling city would look like if it could be built from the ground up for bikes.

A Portuguese company shows how a relatively flat bike network can be designed, even for a hilly city.

The 14th and final stage of the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme race finishes in Vladivostok, Russia today; organizers are working on how to get more women to enter the 5,700-mile race across Russia, and how to keep them in the race longer.

 

Finally…

Your next ebike could have the lines of a 1920s motorcycle. Ten irredeemably uncool bike things guaranteed to piss off just about everyone.

And these guys give bike cops a whole new meaning.

Morning Links: Ugly incident in Koreatown, and lawsuit alleges driver killed Palos Verdes cyclist on purpose

Things got ugly in Koreatown Thursday night.

In a violent confrontation only partially caught on video, a swarm of people on a group bike ride pulled the driver of a BMW out of his car at 6th and Hobart in Koreatown. And forcibly pinned him to the street, holding him down until police arrived.

The video begins with the riders breaking the window of the BMW as the car’s trunk is already open, then shows several riders milling around as the driver appears to shout from his prone position on the street.

The LA Times fills in some of the missing details.

Apparently a group of roughly 50 people were riding their bikes through the Koreatown intersection when the traffic light changed. Rather than split the group, one or more riders tried to cork the intersection, blocking the drivers who had the green light.

The driver of the BMW attempted to go through the intersection anyway, and got into a shouting match with the rider blocking traffic. When the rider tried to grab the driver, he responded by stepping on the gas, plowing into the group and running over a bicyclist’s leg.

The driver then reportedly attempted to flee, but the riders in the group swarmed his car to keep him from leaving.

That’s where the video appears to begin.

While corking may be a common practice, it’s still illegal, even though police usually look the other way.

But as BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen points out, the driver could — and perhaps should — be charged with assault with a deadly weapon for aggressively driving into the group of riders.

Although chances are, he may have claimed he was only get away because he was frightened by the cyclists swarming his car.

As LAPD officers have explained similar situations to me in the past, however, the bicyclists may have crossed over the line the moment they broke the driver’s window.

Had they merely surrounded the driver’s car, they would have been within their rights to keep him from fleeing. Or they could have taken down his license number and let him leave, likely leading to a charge of felony hit-and-run.

But by damaging his car, and physically assaulting him by dragging him out of it and forcing him to the street, they’ve left themselves open to the possibility of criminal charges, as well as a civil suit for the damage to his car and any injuries he may have suffered.

Although both sides may have lucked out, since KCBS-2 reports that no one was ticketed or arrested at the scene.

Investigators may just wash their hands of the whole ugly mess, concluding that they both contributed to the confrontation.

Since the video only shows the second half of the incident, though, and not the driver’s actions that led up to it, it will only serve as fodder for the people who already think we’re all a bunch of lawless thugs. And seem pathologically incapable of separating the actions of a few from everyone else who travels on two wheels.

This looks like a case where no one wins.

Least of all the rest of us who had nothing to do with it, but may ultimately bear the burden anyway.

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The family of fallen bicyclist John Bacon have filed a lawsuit alleging the driver who took his life did it on purpose.

Bacon was headed back home from a group ride last May when the 68-year old man was run down from behind in Palos Verdes Estates by the driver of a white pickup truck. The driver fled the scene after stopping briefly and calling for someone to call 911.

The driver, later identified as James Rahman, was caught on security video following Bacon’s bike at an uncomfortably close distance. The suit alleges Rahman honked at Bacon before swerving at him and striking him with the wing mirror of his truck.

However, no charges were ever filed, and no details of what happened were ever released.

In fact, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has alleged that the local police never took the case seriously. It took an alert cyclist to spot the truck days later, and even then couldn’t get the police to respond.

He’s also written that several other bike riders in the area had reported being harassed by the driver of a truck that matched the description of Rahman’s truck.

But again, crickets from the cops.

Even though, if this lawsuit is correct, this wasn’t hit-and-run.

It was murder.

Update: I have been contacted by Joan Bacon, John Bacon’s wife, who wants to correct the information above indicating a lack of concern on the part of the Palos Verdes Police Department. 

I want to be very clear that I and my family are very grateful to Palos Verdes Estates Police Department and in particular to Detective Hellinga and Detective Reed for their year-long effort and hundreds of hours put into the investigation of John’s death… The Police Department kept me informed along the way, were very gracious and kind and I know did a great job. It is also important that you know the decision to not prosecute the offending driver involved in the crash was not the decision of the Palos Verdes Police Department but rather a decision made by the District Attorney’s Office.

You can read the full press release from the family’s attorney below.

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Needless to say, readers responded to the LA Times’ recent hard-hitting editorial criticizing opponents of street safety projects by insisting they’re not selfish, and they really do care about safety.

And is anyone really surprised that the incredibly ugly comments to LA’s new video explaining the need for Vision Zero paint it as nothing more than propaganda and alternative facts?

Because actually taking it seriously would require caring about the lives of others, and placing someone else’s safety above their own convenience.

Which apparently is a bridge too far for some people.

Especially this guy, who’s willing to consider the lives of others, as long as it doesn’t cost him more than four minutes out of his commute.

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Spoiler alert: If you still have the Tour of Utah on your viewing list, skip the last line of this section.

Marianne Vos won her third European road cycling championship.

A Colorado Springs CO newspaper examines the inaugural Colorado Classic beginning this Thursday, looking at both the men’s four-stage race and the women’s two stages.

US anti-doping officials remind Lance Armstrong that he’s been banned from cycling. And that could extend to his podcast if organizers of the Colorado Classic pick up his tab for covering the race.

Twenty-two-year old American pro Tyler Williams is hoping to rise to WorldTour status along with his Israel Cycling Academy squad.

Canadian pro Rob Britten held on to win the Tour of Utah after leading since the individual time trial in stage three.

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Local

A new rendering offers a flyover — and under — of the new Sixth Street Bridge scheduled to open in three years. Although that still looks like a steep climb up the spiral bike and pedestrian ramp.

The Ovarian Psychos annual Clitoral Mass ride was transformed into a Black Mass to protest gentrification in Los Angeles this past Saturday.

A man in his 30s was critically injured in a collision while riding his bicycle at Walnut Street and North Wilson Ave in Pasadena Saturday evening; as of Sunday morning, he was in stable condition. The 74-year old driver remained at the scene.

Hermosa Beach celebrated the 50th anniversary of its sister city program with a bike ride along the beach for middle school students from Hermosa Beach and Loreto, Mexico.

 

State

A young boy was dragged by a car while riding his bike through a Huntington Beach apartment complex Sunday morning. More proof that kids need safe places to ride their bicycles.

A Chula Vista mom turns detective to track down the hit-and-run driver who gave her bike-riding son a fake name and address after crashing into him.

San Diego officials accept most of the recommendations in the ambitious plan presented by the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, agreeing with 25 of the 32 proposals.

A former BMX champ is rebuilding his life after addiction and prison, and helping at-risk Fresno middle school students pedal their way to a better attitude.

 

National

A ten-year old Washington kid credits his new Mohawk-style helmet with saving his life in a crash.

Colorado land managers are struggling to deal with ebikes on mountain trails, where they are often banned — and easy to spot, since they go uphill faster than non-motorized riders.

A writer drives 1,000 miles to ride the legendary singletrack on the 100-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail in North Dakota.

The war on bikes continues, as a Denton TX driver apparently gets away with brake-checking a bicyclist.

Houston police promise to start enforcing the city’s three-foot passing law after writing less than three dozen tickets in 30 months. Maybe we can get them to come up here and enforce California’s three-foot law, since no one here seems to want to do it.

When a bighearted Michigan kid won a new mountain bike, he turned around and gave it to someone who needed it more.

A Staten Island website says don’t bother with Vision Zero, because bicycling fatalities have remained stable in recent years, despite a dramatic increase in ridership. And because bike riders break the law.

Illegal rental bike vendors are hustling tourists away from the only legal bicycle vendor in New York’s Central Park.

A new 20-year study from New York confirms the safety in numbers theory, clearly showing that safety improves as more bike riders take to the streets.

A North Carolina writer says yes, he screwed up while he was driving, but a pair of cyclists didn’t help their cause by swearing at him. On the other hand, he left crossed a father riding a bike with his kid in the child seat, and undoubtedly scared the crap out him; Mother Theresa would probably have a hard time keeping her cool under those circumstances.

Macon, Georgia’s six mile long pop-up bike lane network has been honored with an Excellence Award from New York’s Center for Active Design; the project resulted in a ten-fold increase in people riding to work or school.

 

International

Ottawa, Canada solves the problem of whether bicyclists can ride in the crosswalk by installing a bike crossing right next the crosswalk on a dangerous intersection.

Speaking of Ottawa, the city has discovered they can save $41 per meter — a little more than three feet — by building cycle tracks next to new roadways, rather than painting bike lanes on the streets.

London has already removed 130 dockless bikeshare bikes from the city’s streets for blocking sidewalks. Maybe it’s just me, but using the term “yellow plague” — or even “yellow bike plague — seems pretty damn tone deaf in reference to a Chinese company, even if that’s the color of the bikes.

A UK writer says it’s just politics, not geography, tradition or cost, that prevents cycling becoming a key transport mode. And that bicycling needs to be a key part of the Labour party’s transportation policy.

Sometimes the punishment really does fit the crime. After an English boy is caught on video trashing a bikeshare bike, he’s sentenced to learn how to fix it.

Caught on video: After a British bike rider was hit by a car, he responded by repeatedly punching the driver through an open window; the man who filmed it said he’d never seen anything so violent. That’s the fastest way to go from victim to criminal. So don’t do that. Ever.

E-mountain bikes are bringing France’s spectacular Vercors Massif mountain range into reach of average riders.

Beirut bicyclists are trying to revive cycling in what might be one of the world’s most bike-unfriendly cities.

A 186-mile supported bike tour through bad roads from Sierra Leone to Liberia is changing lives.

Not surprisingly, fines for scofflaw cyclists have surged in Australia’s New South Wales in the first year after instituting draconian fines for relatively minor offenses, including a jump from $337,000 to $1.99 million for not wearing a helmet.

A new ride aims at promoting unity among Malaysians, as many young people seem to have lost faith in the county.

Japanese bike riders can pump up their tires with free bike pumps at any police box.

A Thai website looks at the world’s longest elevated bikeway in Xiamen, China.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to steal a bicycle from the grounds of the Russian embassy. It might not be the smartest move to call the police to say you’re being followed, if the person following you is the father of the kid whose bike you just stole.

And if you’re going to flee from police after running a stop sign, make sure the cyclist you end up crashing into isn’t an off-duty cop.

 

Update: Two cyclists shot in Koreatown, one killed

Multiple sources report that two Hispanic men were shot while riding their bikes in Koreatown Saturday afternoon.

According to the L.A. Times, incident began near the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and San Marino Street around 1:20 pm, when a bike rider was struck by a white SUV. One of the men inside the SUV then got out and shot the victim as he lay on the ground, killing him.

Witnesses report that the SUV appeared to be chasing at least one one of the riders when some sort of altercation occurred leading up to the collision and shooting.

Following the first shooting, the men in the SUV began pursuing the second rider; it’s unclear whether he was riding with the first victim or just happened to be riding alone in the same area. He was shot by the same man in the 800 block of south Vermont Avenue; fortunately, his wounds are not life threatening.

The suspects are described only as three Hispanic men in a white SUV-like vehicle. They were last seen driving south on Vermont Avenue towards Olympic Boulevard.

Police continue to investigate the motive for the shooting.

While gang violence seems like the obvious explanation, as the Times points out, it could also be the result of road rage or a personal vendetta.

Thanks to Sam Ebnet for the heads-up.

Update: KABC-7 identifies the victim as a 19-year old Los Angeles resident; while they give a name on the video report, but I’m unable to clearly make it out after several listenings. Police report two men exited the vehicle; witnesses report hearing approximately 15 gunshots.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Mark Morgan at 213/38-9470 or 877/527-3247.

Update 2: LAist identifies the victim as Shaoyan Almazan. The Times reports Almazan appears to have been targeted by his killers.

Update 3: According to the L.A. Times, the second victim was riding with Almazan, and was struck in the hand as he tried to ride away. He stopped to in the 800 block of Vermont to call 911, which is why he was found a few blocks away. The shooter is described as medium height and weight, wearing a hooded sweat shirt. In other words, it could be just about anyone.

Still no word on why the riders were targeted.

Update 4: According to the LAPD, the shooting was definitely gang related. That doesn’t make it any better, but it means local cyclists don’t have to worry about a crazed road raging driver roaming the streets.

Just a cold-blooded killer.

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