Tag Archive for LA County Sheriff’s Department

All hands on deck: Ride and vigil tonight for justice in Milt Olin case; is the DA’s office involved in a cover-up?

Let’s be honest.

When a prosecutor really wants to file charges in a traffic case, they’ll tear the vehicle code apart until they find something that sticks.

So when the DA’s office examines a case and concludes there’s nothing there, it’s more often an indication that they don’t want to prosecute, for whatever reason.

Like when it’s a cop who ran down a cyclist, for instance.

When the LA County DA’s office announced last week they weren’t filing charges against the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, they concluded (pdf) that he had not violated the state prohibition against texting while driving because police officers in the course of their duty are exempted from the law. Never mind that he’d also been texting — illegally — with his wife as recently as one minute prior to the wreck.

And yet, I’ve repeatedly been told by officers from a number of different police agencies that it’s not just the act of texting behind the wheel that’s against the law, but simply being distracted while driving. For whatever reason.

From putting on makeup or eating, to simply changing the stations on the radio. And yes, some people still listen to the radio when they drive.

Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is distracted driving. Or as cited by the LA Times, “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

By that standard, Deputy Wood was clearly distracted when he ran down Olin’s bike from behind.

In fact, by his own admission, he never even saw Olin or knew he was driving in the bike lane when he hit him at somewhere around 48 mph, which was his last recorded speed prior to the impact.

He could just as well have been charged with making an illegal lane change. Or driving in a bike lane.

Or even the catch-all violation when police can’t come up with anything else to charge a driver — or too often, a bike rider — with, violating CVC 22350, the state’s basic speed law.

After all, no speed is safe when you have no idea where you’re driving or what’s in the road directly in front of you.

And any or all of which could be used to support the sheriff’s investigator’s recommended charge of vehicular manslaughter.

So the question becomes one of why they’re not willing to file charges. Any charges.

It could, as many have speculated, be a case of looking out for their own; the District Attorney relies on police officers to build their cases, and may be reluctant to prosecute an officer as a result.

Or it could simply be that the death of a cyclist — even one as prominent as entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive Milt Olin — just isn’t worth their time.

Or it could be a cover-up.

By prosecuting Wood, the deputy could be forced to testify in his defense that, even though using the onboard computer while driving is officially against sheriff’s department policy, the unofficial policy encourages officers to do just the opposite.

Which would make higher-ups in the department complicit in Olin’s death. And could have led them to pressure the DA not to file.

Maybe there’s a more innocent explanation for the failure to charge the driver with something.

Anything.

But the official explanation doesn’t hold water.

And the fact that they’ve left themselves open to this kind of speculation shows just how wrong that decision was.

………

If this case pisses you off as much as it does me, you’ll have your chance to demand justice for Milt Olin, and all of us, tonight.

The LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA are hosting a ride and vigil for Milt Olin to call on the DA to revisit the case and press charges.

This is an all-hands-on-deck demand for justice.

If there’s any way you can be there for all or part of it, you owe it to yourself to attend. Because the more people who participate, and the more varied the riders who attend, the better our message will penetrate the insulated offices of the District Attorney.

I’m going to do my best to attend the vigil, at least. If you don’t see me there, it means my health has knocked me on my ass once again.

From the LACBC website:

When: Wednesday, September 3

Schedule:

  • 4:00 p.m. Meet at crash site (around 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302)
  • 4:15 p.m. Moment of silence
  • 4:30 p.m. Start ride
  • 6:30 p.m. Leave from the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027). Other riders can meet up here.
  • 7:30-8:00 p.m. Arrive at District Attorney’s office (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
  • 8:00 p.m. Candlelight vigil

The public is invited to join us at the beginning, ride with us, join us for the vigil, or meet us at any point along the way (exact route to be determined).

Route: https://goo.gl/maps/Y4xFh

The route follows major streets through the San Fernando Valley and Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. Riders will be expected to stay alert and follow all traffic laws. The ride is scheduled to arrive in Downtown just after sunset, therefore lights are required by law.

The route is 30 miles. Riders should come prepared with water and snacks to stay fueled.

Shorter options:

  • Start at the L.A. Zoo parking lot (5333 Zoo Dr, Griffith Park, CA 90027) for an approximately 10-mile ride into Downtown. Please arrive no later than 6:15 and be ready to ride by 6:30 p.m.
  • Start in Calabasas, ride 17 miles to the Universal City Red Line station (located at Lankershim Blvd and Campo de Cahuenga), and take the Red Line to Civic Center, where the D.A.’s office is located (210 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012). Riders who lag behind the main group will be asked to take this option.
  • Join us for the vigil. People are welcome to skip the ride and meet us at the D.A.’s office. The ride is expected to arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.
  • Meet us along the way. We will do our best to live-tweet our location with the hashtag #rideformilt. Follow us @lacbc.

Getting to the ride:

  • The start is on a suburban section of Mulholland Highway with little to no on-street parking (approximate address: 22532 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302). We recommend taking the Metro Orange Line or Orange Line Bike Path to De Soto or Canoga and riding from there. Free park-and-rides are available along the Orange Line.
  • Check out the Facebook event and feel free to post feeder rides there.

Getting from the ride:

  • The best option is always riding (with lights!) or taking transit.
  • If you parked at a Metro Orange Line park-and-ride, take the Red Line from Civic Center to North Hollywood. Then either transfer to the Orange Line (limit 3 bikes per bus) or ride along the Orange Line Bike Path to your car.

Questions? Post them in the Facebook event or call the office at 213-629-2142 and we’ll do our best to respond before the ride.

 

Update: DA refuses to file charges in Milt Olin case

The investigation is finally complete.

As predicted as soon as the LA County Sheriff’s Department inexplicably insisted on investigating itself in the death of cyclist and former Napster Exec Milt Olin, no charges will be filed against the deputy who killed him.

And as long predicated by myself and others, the immediate cause of the collision was the deputy’s use of the patrol car’s onboard computer while traveling on a winding road at 48 mph.

It was clear that the Sheriff’s Department was attempting to downplay their investigation — if not coverup the results — when they announced late on the Friday before Memorial Day that it had been turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation over a week before.

Then, nothing.

Not a word from the District Attorney for over three months, until news broke late this afternoon that the deputy responsible, Andrew Wood, would not face charges.

DA refusal letter (pdf)

Surprisingly, it actually appears the Sheriff’s Department recommended a charge of vehicular manslaughter; not surprisingly, the DA declined to file, saying they did not feel they could prove the deputy was negligent, which would be required for a conviction.

As we have discussed before, the case hinged on CVC 23123.5, which prohibits using electronic communication devices while driving — but exempts police officers and other emergency service workers in the performance of their duties.

According to the DA, that exemption applied in this case, as Wood was typing a response to a query from another officer when he drifted into the bike lane and rear-ended Olin’s bike without ever braking.

As often happens in such cases, Wood initially claimed Olin swerved in front of him in the traffic lane, and he only went into the bike lane in an attempt to avoid him. That is, until physical evidence and witness testimony proved him wrong, at which point his story changed to say he never saw Olin prior to the collision.

Yet somehow, the mere fact that Wood was driving at nearly 50 mph — in a bike lane — with no idea what was on the road directly in front of him is not sufficient evidence of negligence as far as the DA’s office is concerned.

Simply put, there are only two options.

Either the deputy was at fault for driving distracted — even though he could legally use the computer, he is still required to drive in a safe and legal manner.

Or the Sheriff’s Department itself is negligent for a policy allowing its officers to use the onboard computer in a manner that places everyone else at risk, as they will undoubtedly be found responsible for in the civil suit filed by members of the Olin family.

Either way, thanks to the complicity of the DA’s office, no one will ever be held accountable for the death of an innocent man, whose only crime was going for a bike ride on a sunny afternoon.

And a dangerous, if not deadly, policy will never be changed.

Thanks to Brenda Gazzar for breaking the story. 

Update: The afore mentioned Brenda Gazzar offers a detailed look at the case and the DA’s decision not to file charges in the LA Daily News, including this:

Eric Bruins, planning and policy director for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, said he was disappointed to see a clearly distracted law enforcement officer escape charges on what he called a technicality.

“Just because the law allows someone to do something while driving doesn’t mean they are allowed to do something unsafely while driving,” Bruins said. “Hitting someone from behind is very clear evidence that whatever was going on in that car was not safe and should have been considered negligent.”

It’s definitely worth a read to get the full story.

Meanwhile, LAist quotes several angry tweets from very pissed-off cyclists. Including yours truly.

 

 

Morning Links: LA sheriff’s agree PCH cyclists belong in the lane; women could race in 2015 Pro Challenge

Don’t tell Seth Davidson.

But he’s rapidly turning into one of Southern California leading bike advocates.

After meeting with the police chief of Santa Paula on Friday, along with the LACBC’s Eric Bruins, in the aftermath of the recent anti-bike You Tube fiasco, the author of Cycling in the South Bay followed up with Sunday’s Sheriff’s Department ride-along on PCH.

Along with members of Big Orange Cycling, Davidson organized a demonstration of why large groups of cyclists belong in the traffic lane, riding abreast, rather than hugging the curb or weaving in and out of the lane while riding single-file.

In a result that should surprise no one, with the possible exception of most motorists and many law enforcement personnel, the deputies agreed that riding abreast in the lane was far safer than the other alternatives, and posed fewer problems for the drivers around them.

Which means that riders on PCH can expect fewer unfair and unfounded tickets for violating the requirement in CVC 21202 to ride as far to the right as practicable, which doesn’t apply on non-sharable lanes.

And the deputies agreed that the right lane of PCH is too narrow for a bike to safely share with a motor vehicle. Especially once the new three-foot passing law goes into effect in September.

As he points out, this is less a victory than a step in the right direction.

But it’s a damn big step.

And we all owe Seth, and the other riders involved, a round of thanks for fighting for our rights and helping them take it.

Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.

……..

Now that Kazakhstan-based Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali has won it, the Central Asian country wants to host the Tour de France. After a fan lost his helmet cam while filming stage three of the Tour, Europcar rider Kevin Reza films himself finishing the stage, then returns it to the owner. A team founded by Jock Boyer, the first American TdF rider, hopes to be the first all-African team to compete in the race. Jens Voigt looks back on the last of his 17 Tours.

And following the successful Le Course women’s race at the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge may consider letting women race next year.

……..

Local

A Freedom of Information request confirms an LAPD officer had no basis to claim bike lanes would delay emergency response times on North Figueroa, despite what he said during a sham hearing put on Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

CicLAvia is working on a route through several cities in southeast LA County for spring of 2016.

A new urban cycling bike shop is opening in Santa Monica, with a pre-grand opening happy hour on Wednesday.

Two Long Beach riding groups will meet Wednesday to discuss how to get more women riding in the city.

 

State

The Palm Springs area could get its own bike share program.

Mountain View is looking for a new Mobility Coordinator. I’ll take the job if I can do it from here.

 

National

A six-year old Portland girl makes her own sign criticizing the thief who stole her father’s bike.

My already bike-friendly Colorado hometown is getting buffered bike lanes.

Red Kite Prayer remembers mountain bike framebuilder Tom Teesdale, who died of a heart attack during Iowa’s RAGBRAI.

A question I’ve often asked myself — should you speak up when you see someone riding in a risky manner?

New York’s Citi Bike is cheaper than other transportation options, and faster than most.

 

International

Moving story of yet another bicycling visitor to this county whose life was cut short by an American driver; this time a young Toronto man run down outside Memphis.

The son of a fallen cyclist asks London’s mayor to stop promoting bicycling in an unsafe city.

A new Indian concept bike could fit in a backpack, and be reassembled in just 10 minutes.

Could a single bad decision ruin Tokyo cycling forever?

 

Finally…

A Boston-area cop begs to differ when a rider claims he can’t be arrested for refusing to give his name after running a red light. And a nice story, as LA Sheriff’s transit deputies and support staff buy a new bike for disabled Reseda man after his is stolen from the Chatsworth Orange Line Station. Nice work, guys.

 

Morning Links: Olin lawsuit filed; deputy was texting on private phone in apparent violation of LASD policy

As expected, the family of fallen cyclist and former Napster executive Milt Olin filed a lawsuit against the LA County Sheriff’s department.

But in yet another twist in the case, it turns out the deputy behind the wheel sent over 100 text messages in the hours preceding the collision, including six in the last four minutes prior to fatally rear-ending Olin in the bike lane.

As KTLA-5 points out in the link above, state law exempts emergency personnel operating an authorized emergency vehicle in the course their duties from the law prohibiting texting or handheld cell phones while driving.

However, The Acorn reports the deputy had been using his own personal cell phone to text an undisclosed number in Camarillo. And according to KTLA, sheriff’s department policy prohibits the use of cell phones in a county-owned vehicle “absent extenuating circumstances.”

KNBC-4 says the department has still not made the mobile digital computer records public that would show whether the deputy was using his onboard computer at the time of the collision.

Meanwhile, Olin’s family has started a new foundation honoring his memory and dedicated to eliminating cycling-related fatalities and serious injuries.

……..

Galloping Tony Gallopin takes stage 11 of the Tour de France, just days after spending one day in the yellow jersey. Major gut check, as Andrew Talansky suffers his worst day yet in this year’s Tour after yet another crash, but courageously holds on to finish the stage and beat the cut-off time.

And what the Tour de France looks like from the bike’s point of view.

……..

Local

Downtown News talks with new LADOT transportation maven Seleta Reynolds.

Flying Pigeon says thanks for nothing to Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who ignored safety studies to kill the long-planned North Figueroa road diet.

Despite what LAist says, CicLAvia is not a bike festival, it’s a people festival; the route is open to anyone who wants to enjoy the streets without a motor, and with or without a bike.

The LA Register looks at Santa Monica’s month-long crackdown on scofflaw bike riders.

Empact LB leads a bike tour of Long Beach farms and community gardens this Sunday.

The conflict between cars and bikes escalated as a U-Haul truck tries to single-handedly take out a Redondo Beach triathlon shop; thanks to Steve Herbert for the heads-up.

 

State

BikeSD examines how failed regional transportation plans erode public trust.

Bike riders get more room on a Chico roadway following the death of a cyclist last year.

This is why DUI and hit-and-run drivers need to have their vehicles impounded; too many continue to drive even after their licenses are revoked.

A coalition of unrepentant motorists, NIMBY’s and conservatives qualifies a ballot measure to maintain automotive hegemony and undo San Francisco’s progress in promoting alternative transportation. They’d probably start by killing this bikeway along the Embarcadero.

 

National

Five ways to carry pets by bike.

The former mayor of Wisconsin’s Mad City says it’s time to cool the bike rage. And questions whether the amount of irresponsible riding outweighs all the irresponsible driving.

Road raging Illinois driver beats up a bike rider who flipped him off. My rule of thumb: Never flip off the driver behind you.

Sympathy for the much maligned Chicago sidewalk cyclist.

After a Georgia bike rider is the victim of a hit-and-run, he spots the car the next day — with part of his pedal still stuck in the grill.

Florida gets tough on hit-and-run with a new law imposing a minimum four years in prison for fleeing the scene of a deadly collision.

 

International

UK police ram a BMX rider after he’s seen waving a gun.

Victim-blaming Brit seems to confuse the risks faced by bike riders with the dangers they don’t pose to others.

New Zealand researchers determine the best way to encourage bicycling is to build protected bike lanes on arterials, and traffic calming measures on quieter side streets.

 

Finally…

The Onion get the TdF scoop of the day, reporting an unexpected delay occurred when the peloton paused to throw rocks at some bugs. And Boyonabike says bicycles could help meet UN sustainability goals, which should come as no surprise to Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists.

 

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.

……..

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.

……..

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.

……..

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

……..

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.

……..

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.

 

Weekend Links: Is the LA County Sheriff’s Department trying to hide the results of the Milt Olin investigation?

So what, exactly, are they trying to hide?

It’s standard practice in public relations that when you want to hide something bad news, you release it on a Friday afternoon where it can get lost on the weekend news cycle. And when you really want to hide something, you release it on a Friday just before a three-day holiday weekend.

That’s exactly what the LA County Sheriff’s Department did today.

The department has been highly criticized for investigating their own deputy in the December death of cyclist Milt Olin, rather than turn it over to independent investigators from the CHP, which usually handles traffic fatalities for the LASD.

Now, after sitting on the news for over a week, they finally announced that the results of their foot-dragging investigation into the former Napster executive and entertainment lawyer’s death were turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation on May 15th.

Why it took over five months to conduct an investigation that probably wouldn’t have taken five days if it was an average citizen behind the wheel is anyone’s guess. Let alone why the announcement wasn’t made last week, unless they were deliberately attempting to time it for the holiday weekend.

The incredibly cryptic announcement doesn’t offer a clue as to the results of the investigation, leading many in the cycling community to suspect the department may be attempting to cover-up its own culpability in Olin’s death. And hoping we won’t notice.

Good luck with that.

I’ve heard from a number of riders since the news broke late Friday afternoon, all of whom suspect something fishy is going on. And virtually all of whom question why the LASD chose to investigate itself, knowing the results would be held in doubt unless they unexpectedly come down hard on the department itself.

And yes, I’m told the CHP was more than willing to step in to assist or take over the investigation, but were never asked.

Meanwhile, the Times cites the coroner’s report as saying Olin appeared to be wearing earphones connected to an iPhone, which would be in violation of state law permitting an earpiece to be used in one ear only.

What bearing that could possibly have in the investigation is highly questionable, unless they’re trying to make a case that Olin should have somehow been able to avoid the patrol car that drifted into the bike lane and ran him down from behind.

Even eyes in the back of his head, let alone perfect hearing, probably wouldn’t have helped in that case.

The paper also notes that the Sheriff’s Department has publicly apologized to Olin’s family. As well they should.

But what they really owe them, and us, is an open and honest investigation, rather than a five month cone of silence followed by deliberately trying to bury the press release when it was most likely to go unnoticed.

On the later, they failed miserably.

On the former, the jury is still out. If it ever gets to one.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story.

………

The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer a new animated bike safety video; Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen says it was made by people who hate bicycling.

Seriously? Seems pretty innocent to me.

………

You’ll find a free bike valet at the annual Fiesta Hermosa in Hermosa Beach, which makes biking along the beach by far the best way to get there.

I’ll try to catch up on updating the Calendar over the weekend.

………

This weekend marks the US Cycling Pro National Championships in Chattanooga TN.

Cycling scion Taylor Phinney is a favorite, but can we please stop calling him the next big thing and/or the future of American cycling and just let him prove himself on the race course, or not, as the case may be?

………

Local

Great news on the Westside, as the popular San Vicente bike lanes are being extended through Brentwood. I rode through there myself on Friday, and even unfinished, it feels a lot more comfortable than the usual Friday traffic madhouse.

A Burbank resident writes a paean to the Chandler bikeway.

More on the planned Downey Bicycle Master Plan, which plans to borrow ideas from nearby Long Beach. Good ones, I hope.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer looks at the recent Campy Gran Fondo San Diego.

CalBike lobbies the state legislature for protected bikeways and a vulnerable user law.

Merced police pitch in to buy a cerebral palsy patient a new bike after his is stolen.

This one definitely wins the prize for California’s best named bike tour. Welcome to the Tour de Manure.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer says bike style has the power to capture the imagination.

 

National

The hit-and-run epidemic spreads to Seattle, as a bike rider suffers serious injuries while the cowardly driver flees the scene.

Denver’s mayor leads cyclists on a test ride of the city’s first protected bike lane.

The popularity of Chicago’s bike-friendly mayor sinks to just 29%, evidently because voters don’t like bike lanes.

Jersey City moves some bike lanes to the left side on one-way streets.

A speeding New Orleans driver is indicted on negligent homicide and negligent injury charges for killing an Atlanta firefighter in town for an Ironman competition and injuring another rider. Apparently they’re taking this case seriously, since he was taken into custody on a total of $600,000 bond.

After a North Carolina bike rider confronts a cop to deny running a red light, the officer takes him down, breaking his arm in the process.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer insists roads are for cars and bikes don’t belong there. So there.

A UK motorcyclist riding in a bike lane knocks down a bicyclist, then blames the victim before posting video of the incident online — which clearly shows his mirror clipping the rider’s arm.

Bike Radar profiles the essential kit for bike commuting. Yes, tires are essential; the rest, maybe not as much.

A Sydney newspaper calls a study showing bike lanes carried the same amount of traffic as the lanes next to them a two-wheeled fraud.

A Thai driver walks with a one year probation and a 10,000 Bhat fine — the equivalent of just $307 — for killing two bike riding British tourists on an around the world tour. I’d like to say life is cheap there, but I’ve seen just as bad right here in the US.

 

Finally…

A North Carolina TV station says Chapel Hill police seek expensive bike thief. So how much are bike thieves going for these days? And after an Alabama truck driver idiotically posts videos online showing himself threatening cyclists, he’s arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment; needless to say, other idiots rush to his defense.

 

Morning Links: Still no end to Milton Olin investigation, US House committee goes after bike/ped funding

So what the hell is taking so long?

Nearly six months after cyclist and former Napster CEO Milt Olin was killed by a sheriff’s deputy while riding in a Mulholland bike lane, investigators still haven’t sent the case to the DA, claiming they’re just being thorough.

The sheriff’s department raised a lot of eyebrows by deciding to investigate their own officer in Olin’s death, rather than turn the investigation over to an independent agency such as the CHP; I’m told the CHP — which usually handles traffic fatalities in the area — was more than willing to step in but was never asked.

The endless delay just raises more questions about whether the department is leaving no stone unturned in a search for the truth, or simply trying to find a way to exonerate one of their own.

Or perhaps the department itself, since many have suggested that it’s department policy for deputies to use the patrol car’s onboard computer while driving, which would be illegal for anyone not in uniform. And dangerously distracting for anyone, regardless.

Then again, maybe they’re just hoping that once they finally release the results, no one will care anymore.

Not gonna happen.

………

Once again, small minded representatives in the US House Appropriations Committee vote to gut bike and pedestrian funding. The proposed appropriations bill would turn the popular TIGER grant program into just another roads bill.

More proof, as it it’s needed, that too many of our elected leaders know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

………

Local

In advance of tonight’s community meeting to discuss bike lanes vs sharrows on dangerous North Figueroa, Richard Risemberg says your life, health and prosperity are at stake. And astutely calls sharrows the junk-food of bicycle facilities.

On the other end of Figueroa, the Times says the MyFigueroa project could result in a bikeable, walkable LA. And we shouldn’t settle for OK Streets instead of Great Streets.

Streetsblog offers five changes to improve the proposed LA mobility plan.

After wrapping what may have been its final season, the entire crew of Lifetime’s LA-based Drop Dead Diva — from grips to the stars of the series — are given new bikes.

A federal judge says you no longer have to pay a fee to bike or hike in undeveloped regions of the Cleveland, Los Padres, Angeles and San Bernardino national forests.

 

State

The Newport Beach Committee investigating restricting usage of the city’s Back Bay Drive has issued their report. I haven’t have a chance to read it yet, but you can download your own copy here.

A lightless, sidewalk-riding 73-year old Thousand Oaks cyclist is injured in a left cross collision with a 75-year old driver.

A casual cyclist embraces Bike to Work Day, as San Francisco prepares to celebrate theirs a week before we do.

The Bay Area’s Bicycle Coffee delivers fresh roasted coffee by bike; a new “chapter” plans to open in Silver Lake in three weeks.

 

National

Strava plans to sell its data to urban planners and advocacy groups; problem is, their data only shows where Strava users ride, not other types of riders.

Pharrell rides a bike in an undisclosed location. And yes, he looks sort of happy, maybe.

Boulder CO cycle track uses standard, inexpensive parking stops to form a protective barrier.

A New York lawmaker proposes increasing penalties to treat cyclists who flee the scene of a collision the same as hit-and-run motorists.

Cyclists may not have discovered DC’s new two-way cycle tracks, but drivers have. Meanwhile, a DC-area cyclist is ticketed in the hospital after she’s hit by a car when a witness claims she came out of nowhere, didn’t have lights, wasn’t in the crosswalk and was in the middle of the road. Sounds like maybe that witness was the driver who ran her down.

In a case of man bites dog, a Hattiesburg, Mississippi cyclist is the victim of a hit-and-run — and witnesses identify the suspect vehicle as a marked police car.

And these new compression shorts come complete with a fillable codpiece. Make of that what you will.

 

International

Most Toronto residents — and Canadians in general — want to require licenses for bike riders.

Former Amgen Tour of California winner Robert Gesink has surgery to correct the cardiac arrhythmia that has kept him off his bike in recent months. No word on when or if he’ll race again.

An Aussie writer says don’t feel sorry for careless cyclists, feel sorry for the poor innocent drivers who hit them — even though a study last year showed drivers were at fault in 79% of cycling collisions Down Under. Link courtesy of Opus the Poet, who’s Witch on a Bicycle blog you really should be reading if you don’t already.

 

Finally…

Following our discussion of scofflaw cyclists the other day, Priceonomics says it’s drivers’ fault that cyclists run stop signs. No, really.

And after an auto-centric writer for MotorSport magazine said the problem with cyclists is they get in your damn way and interfere with your right to zoom dangerously around winding roads, wiser heads prevailed and the story was removed from the website. But nothing ever really disappears from the Internet.

 

Update — bike rider killed in wreck with Sheriff’s patrol car

Word is just coming in that yet another bike rider has lost his life on Mulholland.

And this time, the police may be fault.

According to KCBS-2, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding in the bike lane on the 22000 block of Mulholland Highway in Calabasas around 1:05 pm today when he was hit by a Sheriff’s Department patrol car. Calabasas Patch reports that both the victim and the patrol car were traveling in the same direction, suggesting the rider was struck from behind.

The sheriff’s deputy behind the wheel was reportedly on routine patrol and not responding to an emergency call; a sheriff’s spokesman said speed was not a factor in the crash.

However, the driver was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor lacerations to his face and eye due to broken class from the impact, suggesting a significant impact. No explanation was given for why the driver apparently entered the bike lane to hit the cyclist; drug or alcohol use was not suspected as a factor.

This is the 82nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 34th in Los Angeles County; that compares with 71 in the seven-county SoCal region and 21 in LA County this time last year. And this was at least the fourth cyclist to lose his life on Mulholland Hwy in the last four years.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

Thanks to Carlos Morales, Danny Gamboa, sonofabike and John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Update: KABC-7 has just identified the victim as 65-year old Milton Everett Olin Jr. of Woodland Hills; a well-known attorney in the entertainment field. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LASD Malibu/Lost Hills Station at 818/878-1808.

Meanwhile, the Ventura County Star reports that Olin’s bike somehow hit the patrol car, rather than the other way around — despite obvious damage to the car’s windshield. The LA Times confirms the car’s windshield was broken, making it virtually impossible for the rider to have struck the car if they were both traveling in the same direction. 

Update 2: KTLA-5 reports Olin and the patrol car were both traveling east on Mulholland Hwy when the collision occurred.

The Times fills in Olin’s work history, noting that he was Chief Operating Officer at Napster from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the file-sharing service was under fire from the music industry for enabling piracy, and forced to liquidate in bankruptcy court. 

He’d been a practicing attorney since graduating from UCLA Law School in 1975, and worked as vice president of business development for A&M Records — which was chiefly responsible for the lawsuit that led to Napster’s bankruptcy. He also served briefly as the senior vice president for business development for Firstlook.com before joining Napster.

The Star has corrected their story that repeatedly blamed the victim for the collision in a later report, although they’ve left the initial biased story online; thanks to Lois for the tip.

Update 3: Too often, we never learn anything about the victims of bicycling collisions, or the pain their loss leaves behind. But in this case, both the LA Times and KNBC-4 fill in the blanks with nice reports on a man who loved his family and riding his bike.

Although it does not build more confidence in the investigation to know the lead investigator in the case took yesterday off. Or that I’m told the CHP was willing to conduct an independent investigation, but wasn’t asked.

Meanwhile, a reader forwards an email exchange with the editor of the Ventura County Star in which he complained about the bias in the initial report. And received a very nice response promising to look into the matter — which resulted in the updated report correcting the misinformation, as well as changes to the initial story.

Too often, complaints like that get ignored. So let’s give credit to VC Star editor John Moore for doing the right thing.

Update 4: The LA Sheriff’s Department offers an apology, but doesn’t accept responsibility.

Update 5: The Daily News identifies the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed Olin on as a 16-year veteran from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, despite a lack of confirmation from the department. The collision is still under investigation; two weeks later, investigators still haven’t spoken to all the witnesses. 

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