Tag Archive for L.A.P.D.

Morning Links: BOLO alert for Brentwood hit-and-run driver

The LAPD wants your help in tracking down the hit-and-run driver who seriously injured a bike rider in Brentwood last November.

Brentwood BOLO

Then again, they might have better luck if they didn’t wait five months to ask for help next time.

Just a suggestion.

……..

Local

The LA Times offers the latest reminder about this weekend’s Finish the Ride to call attention to the problem of hit-and-run.

Wrap up next month’s Bike Week with the first Bike Night at Union Station.

KCRW’s beginning LA bike rider takes a Confident City Cycling course and concludes that drivers need bike education, too.

The Bike League looks at the Santa Monica Bike Center, now a Platinum-level Bike Friendly Business. And managed by the instructor of the afore mentioned CCC course.

Long Beach police are on the lookout for a bike riding groper.

 

State

Mark your calendar for the Honor Ride Irvine this August.

San Francisco motorists demand the restoration of balance in the city’s transportation planning; in other words, a return to all cars all the time.

I like it. San Francisco police virtually dare thieves to steal a bait bike. And pass out “Is this a bait bike?” stickers to post on your bike to make thieves think twice.

San Francisco’s bike share program expands to the East Bay despite the Bixi bankruptcy.

California’s proposed bike tax becomes a potential $5 fee on cars to repair and maintain bike paths in regional parks. Although I wonder how many voters, aka drivers, will be willing to tax themselves to fund bikes — especially when it requires a two-thirds majority.

 

National

This should be fun, as recently retired pro Dave Zabriskie commits to riding this year’s RAAM to promote Yield to Life as part of the Legends of the Road team.

A petition asks online fences websites Craigslist and EBay to require serial numbers on all bike ads. Of course, sellers could just lie about them, but still.

USA Today names Davis CA the best cycling town in America; my hometown comes in at number two.

Portland teens injure two people by throwing bricks at passing bike riders; one victim nearly loses an eye.

Ottumwa, Iowa Shriners are expecting 70 – 80 riders for a 30-mile Ride With the Clowns. Something like that could draw hundreds here; just don’t sniff any flowers.

Submitted without comment. North Carolina’s 21-time national champ admits to doping with amphetamines, synthetic testosterone and EPO. At age 62.

 

International

A Vancouver company plans bicycling sunglasses with a heads-up display.

A new World Health Organization report says if London achieved Copenhagen-like riding levels, it could save 500 lives a year and create 8,000 jobs.

David Hembrow looks at the good, the bad and the ugly of on-road bike lanes.

This time the tainted meat excuse actually works, as former Aussie world time trial champ Michael Rogers is cleared of doping charges after blaming Chinese meat.

 

Finally…

For the English-challenged members of the media, there is a big difference between “watch out for bike riders” and “beware of bicyclist.”

Seriously.

 

SoCal cops to bike 300 miles in memory of fallen officers next month

Sometimes, what you’re looking for shows up exactly when you’re not looking for it.

I’ve been seeing online comments from various LAPD officers training for the Police Unity Tour of Southern California Challenge Ride. And made a mental note to ask about it after CicLAvia.

Instead, as I stopped at one of the smaller hubs, I looked over to my right. And there was a booth manned by LAPD officers promoting exactly that.

Olympic Division Senior Lead Officer Eric Mollinedo explained the purpose of the bike tour, which runs nearly 300 miles from New Jersey to Washington DC, is to raise awareness and honor officers who have died in the line of duty. As well as to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial.

I can’t think of a better cause.

I’ll let Mollinedo explain in a letter he wrote seeking donations.

Dear friends and family,

On May 10, 2014, I will join nearly 1500 law enforcement officers from throughout the country who will bicycle along varying routes, each nearly 300 miles, to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC. This year, the Police Unity Tour – Southern California Chapter will have nearly 100 police officers representing the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and police departments from Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Estates, and Pasadena.

On May 10th, we will depart from Somerset, New Jersey and travel through Philadelphia, Baltimore, and ultimately into Washington DC. On May 13th, we will join over 50,000 people at the National Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil. During the ceremony, the names of every officer who died in the line of duty during 2013 will be read and his/her name officially added to the Memorial, which already contains over 19,000 fallen heroes.

The primary purpose of the Police Unity tour is to raise awareness about the police officers that have died in the line of duty. Our motto is, “We ride For Those Who Died.” The secondary purpose is to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Since its inception in 1997, the Police Unity Tour has raised over $14 million to support the Memorial. It is because of your incredible level of support and financial contributions that I will be able to participate in the 2014 Police Unit Tour and ensure that the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice are not forgotten.

I am seeking your financial support in order to allow me to ride in this incredibly worthwhile event. Each rider must raise approximately $2500 in order to participate in the Tour. The first $1850 is paid to the Police Unity Tour. This money includes a $1000 donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and $850 to cover support services, ground transportation, overnight lodging, and food while we ride. Donations to the Police Unity Tour are tax deductible (Tax ID# 22-3530541). If you are not concerned about the tax deduction, you may write a check directly to me, which will be applied to the cost of airfare and other expenses that I am responsible for. Any donated monies in excess of what is used for airfare and expenses will be donated to the Police Unity Tour.

Thank you so much for your consideration in supporting the Police Unity Tour. If you have any questions… please send me an email.

Sincerely,

Eric Mollinedo
31754@lapd.lacity.org

(Note: To protect the officer’s privacy, I’ve removed any contact information other than his email address.)

You can also donate through PayPal in the name of Mollinedo, or a long list of other officers, by clicking here.

A couple of names jumped out at me from that list; South Traffic Division bike liaison Sgt. Jon Aufdemberg and Valley Traffic Division bike liaison Sgt. Steve Egan are both listed among the participants. And both are men I can personally vouch for; you can find their email addresses on the Resources page.

One other note. Mollinaedo told me he’s riding in memory of fallen LAPD officer Nicholas Lee, who was killed in a crash on Sunset Blvd in Beverly Hills last month.

Sadly, another LAPD officer lost his life yesterday, as 27-year veteran Chris Cortijo died from injuries he suffered when his motorcycle was hit by a driver allegedly high on cocaine.

In a case of tragic irony, he had arrested over 3,000 DUI suspects before becoming victim to one.

 

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

Good news and bad news: LAPD makes hit-and-run arrest; bike rider killed in Compton

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Ghost bike for Compton victim Pete; photo by Danny Gamboa

Let’s start with the bad news.

No details yet, but I’ve received confirmation that a bike rider was killed in Compton Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

As if the photo that’s circulating online wasn’t confirmation enough. And no, I’m not going to share it here.

According to the reports, he was killed while riding his bike at Compton Blvd and North Dwight Ave. Friends of the victim, who identified him only as Pete, confirm that he was hit by a car sometime before 5 am Wednesday morning and died at the scene; the driver remained at the scene following the collision.

Judging by the photo of the victim, he appears to be a bearded white male with grey hair, possibly in his 50s or 60s.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 7th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, as we maintain the horrific every-other-day pace since the first of the year. And it is the third cycling death in LA County this year, which suffered an intolerable 39 bike-related deaths in 2013.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: I didn’t recognize the corner, but Gamboa points out it’s the same intersection where Ovidio Morales was killed in a still-unsoved hit-and-run in 2010; his ghost bike is still there across the intersection. 

He reports one of the victim’s friends said he was a good man who struggled with alcohol, and was in and out of treatment programs.

As the photo suggests, neighbors have placed candles in his memory.

………

Gamboa also forwards word that an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run death of a Panarama City man, who has not been publicly identified at the request of the man’s family.

According to a press release from the LAPD,

Fatal Hit And Run Driver taken into custody

On January 13, 2014 at 6 PM Valley Traffic Division Detectives arrested a 46-year old male, Rene Amaya of Panarama City on suspicion of the felony hit and run (20001(a)VC) death of a bicyclist, which occurred on December 23, 2013, at the intersection of Burnet Ave and Lanark St in the Community of Panarama City, California. Bail was set at $50,000.

Maybe someone can explain to me why we continue to grant such a low bail to someone who has already demonstrated a willingness to flee after taking a life.

Cutting through the confusion — LAPD clarifies why driver wasn’t cited in last week’s right hook wreck

Call it a case of miscommunication.

Last week’s failure to ticket the driver who right hooked Melanie Freeland as she biked to work — despite being witnessed by two police officers — quickly went from bad to worse.

As Freeland questioned why the driver wasn’t ticketed for failing to signal and yield the right-of-way as required by law, it quickly devolved into a desk officer arguing with her and refusing to put through her call to the bike liaison for the Central Traffic Division.

And led to an explanation from the Watch Commander on duty at the time of the collision that made it appear that most police officers are prohibited from writing traffic tickets, even if they witness the incident.

Or maybe not.

That bike liaison in question, LAPD Central Traffic Division’s Sgt. Laszlo Sandor, went to great lengths to clarify matters at last night’s regularly scheduled bike liaison meeting, which evolved from the department’s long-standing bike task force.

First off, the officers who witnessed the collision could have written a ticket on the spot. The reason they didn’t wasn’t that they didn’t have specific training in traffic law, as Freeland had understood from the Watch Commander’s explanation. It was that they were due in court, and had to hand the case off to someone else to avoid the wrath of an angry judge.

Or worse, having their case dismissed.

Secondly, Freeland reported that the Watch Commander had described a Catch 22 that would seem to prevent most patrol officers from writing a ticket in virtually any situation.

She stated that in order for a traffic citation to be issued two criteria must be met. An LAPD officer must witness the incident and be trained in traffic laws (taken the special course in traffic). Because the [traffic officer] didn’t witness the incident it did not meet the two criteria. Secondly, the officer who did witness the incident is not trained in traffic laws, so again it does not meet the criteria.

In other words, as she understood it, in order to issue a ticket at the scene, an officer must 1) actually witness the infraction, and 2) have specialized training in traffic investigations.

Which counts out the overwhelming majority of officers on the street.

Well, almost.

As Sgt. Sandor explained, there are two ways a driver — or a bike rider or pedestrian, for that matter — can be held accountable for an infraction.

The first is the one we’re all familiar with.

Someone commits an infraction, like running a red light, for instance. An officer sees it, fires up the lights and sirens, and tickets the violator on the spot.

Or in this case, can write a ticket after actually witnessing a collision. Which these officers could have done, but didn’t, for the reason explained above.

The second way is what the Watch Commander evidently tried, and failed, to explain. A driver can be ticketed after the fact if the investigating officer can conclusively determine what actually happened based on witness statements and the evidence at the scene.

But in order to do that, the officer must have specialized training in traffic investigations.

So any officer can write a ticket for any infraction they witness. Or an officer with specialized traffic investigation training can write a ticket or make an arrest after the fact, based on the totality of evidence.

In addition, there are two ways a driver can be held accountable for an infraction.

Again, he or she can be ticketed or arrested, depending on the severity of the infraction. Or the investigating officer can find the driver at fault in the traffic report, in which case the driver won’t face a fine or jail time, but will be charged points against his or her license by the DMV.

That appears to be what happened in Freeland’s case.

So justice was, apparently, won, despite a full week’s worth of aggravation and confusion.

The officers at the meeting suggested that, in some ways, it’s better to have the driver found at fault and have points charged by the DMV, since, unlike a ticket, it can’t be fought in court or dismissed if the officer is unable to attend the hearing.

Although if the driver is convicted, he will still have points charged against his or her license, as well as face additional penalties from the court.

As for the argument with the desk officer, Sgt. Sandor suggested that the officer was actually trying to help, since he — Sandor — was out of the office for several days.

But in the end, we all agreed that it would have been better to simply send the call to his voice mail, rather than appear to screen the bike liaison’s calls.

On the other hand, all of the department’s bike liaisons at the meeting agreed that email was the best way to contact them, rather than calling. Email leaves a written record of the conversation that they can refer to later. And they receive emails on work computers as well as on their personal devices, regardless of whether they are in the office.

And one more thing.

This morning I received an email from Melanie Freeland, who reported that she was back on her bike and once again riding to work, exactly one week after she was hit by the car.

Now that’s good news.

………

Thanks to Sgt. Sandor for looking into the matter and clarifying a very confusing situation. And thanks to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Colin Bogart, who worked with the LAPD and city officials to assist Freeland in this case.

The LACBC doesn’t often trumpet its victories or the work it does to help individual bike riders — perhaps to its detriment.

But as in the case above, I’ve often witnessed their staff members fighting behind the scenes for the rights of bike riders, whether collectively or on an individual basis. And whether or not they’re members of the coalition.

It’s an organization I’m proud to support and be a part of.

Meanwhile, writing on LA Streetsblog, an LA attorney offers advice on what to do if the police fail to adequately respond to a collision.

Update: LAPD traffic investigators evidently don’t believe other cops who witness a right hook bike collision

Evidently, cops aren’t credible witnesses.

At least as far as LAPD traffic officers are concerned.

Imagine you’re riding along when a driver right hooks you — not just turning across your path, but illegally making a right turn from the left lane — and in the process, not only violates your right-of-way, but causes a collision.

And for once, not just one, but two cops witness the whole thing.

And then…

Nothing.

………

That’s exactly what happened yesterday morning, when Melanie Freeland was making her regular bike commute from Highland Park to Downtown LA.

She was riding on North Broadway through Chinatown around 8:40 am, in the right peak hour lane — that is, what would normally be the parking lane, but converts to a regular traffic lane to accommodate rush hour traffic.

As she was passing the Far East National Bank at 977 N. Broadway, the Lexus traveling in the lane on her left — what was, in effect, the center of three lanes — suddenly turned into the building’s parking lot. The driver cut across the lane Freeland was riding in, without warning, forcing her off the roadway and causing her bike to collide with the car’s door and front panel.

A classic right hook, with the extra added benefit of an illegal turn from the wrong lane. Without signaling, no less.

If that’s not clear, just imagine you’re in the right lane of a two lane street, and the driver on the left suddenly makes a right turn directly in front of you.

And for once, a cop saw the whole thing.

Two police officers — one in uniform, the other in plain clothes — were on their way to court when the collision occurred right before their eyes. They pulled over to offer assistance, calling for an ambulance and staying with her until a regular traffic officer arrived to investigate.

Both officers — I’m leaving out the names of all the cops involved, though Freeland provided their names and badge numbers* — said the driver failed to signal or yield the right-of-way. But even though they were the ones who witnessed the wreck, it would be up to the traffic cop to actually issue a ticket.

The officers gave their report to the traffic investigator, then left for the courthouse.

………

And that’s when everything went to hell.

The investigator told Freeland he couldn’t issue a ticket or determine fault in the collision because he did not actually witness it, saying he “could not issue a traffic ticket for something he did not see.”

Never mind that two sworn officers did. As well as a security guard for the building, who supported the first officers’ version of events.

So Freeland smartly asked to speak with the traffic officer’s supervisor. Yet when the Sergeant arrived, she repeated the exact same sentence.

And added that “It is not a crime to hit a pedestrian.”

Note to police: bike riders are not pedestrians. We have all the rights and responsibilities of motor vehicle operators, and are allowed on every public street cars are allowed to use, with the exception of some limited access freeways. Calling us pedestrians implies we belong on the sidewalk and belittles our legal right to the roadway.

While it’s true that police officers are generally prohibited from writing citations for traffic violations they don’t witness, I’ve been assured by officers that they can write a ticket or make an arrest based on clear evidence pointing to responsibility for a collision or other violation.

And if the testimony of two cops who witnessed the whole thing — as well as a third independent witness — isn’t clear evidence, I don’t know what the hell is.

Instead, the officers sent just as clear a message that, as far as they’re concerned, bikes don’t’ belong on the street. And good luck getting justice.

Just like the bad old days of LAPD’s anti-bike, windshield bias I thought we’d left long behind us under Chief Beck’s more enlightened leadership.

As Michael MacDonald put it in an email informing me of the case,

There are a lot of things wrong in this picture, not the least of which is that LAPD has again made it clear that cyclists are essentially fair game. I am particularly frustrated that someone I know that had made a concerted effort to make a mode shift towards cycling and to educate herself to ride safely now feels no degree of protection on the road, and is deterred from ever commuting by bike in Los Angeles again.

Fortunately, Freeland does not appear to have suffered any serious injuries, although she was due to be examined by a physician late yesterday.

She’s following up with the original officers, and contacting the department’s bike liaison for the Central Traffic Division. And she plans to reach out to Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Jose Huizar to express her disappointment and call for safety improvements on Broadway.

Police officers also tell me you should contact the Watch Commander overseeing the officers involved as quickly as possible after an incident like this.

But make no mistake.

Yesterday the LAPD failed Melanie Freeland.

Tomorrow, it might be you.

*My purpose here is not to embarrass the officers. The LAPD was been provided with all the names and badge numbers; it’s up to them to deal with the individuals involved.

Update: Okay, now I’m pissed. Melanie Freeland emailed this morning that she tried to call the bike liaison officer for the Central Traffic Division after I passed his contact information on to her. Except the desk officer who took the call initially refused to put the call through, significantly misrepresenting her case and saying “I know the same laws he does.”

She was finally able to leave a message, but hasn’t heard back yet.

Under former LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer, the department made great strides in improving relations with the bicycling community. But the expanded bike liaison program is absolutely meaningless if self-appointed gatekeepers are allowed to screen their calls.

And no one should ever have to face an argument when reaching out to anyone in the department for help.

I’ve praised the LAPD as one of the most progressive and bike-friendly police departments in the county since Chief Beck took over. But this is starting to feel like a huge step back to the bad old days.

Update 2: Freeland reports she spoke with the Watch Commander on duty at the time of the incident. Who turned out to be the same Sergeant who came to the scene and backed up the original traffic officer. 

In the course of a long conversation, the officer described a Catch 22 that makes it almost impossible for the department to issue a ticket to anyone. Which goes a long way towards explaining the wild west mentality of LA streets, where drivers feel entitled to do virtually anything without fear of consequences.

I called the Central Traffic Division and asked to speak with the Watch Commander on duty yesterday. As I probably should have guessed it was [the Sergeant she’d spoken to at the scene].  I explained to her my phone conversation with [the desk officer] and she stated she did not know why he would state it was a rear end incident when it wasn’t.  We talked at length about why a citation would not be issued for this offense.  She stated that in order for a traffic citation to be issued two criteria must be met. An LAPD officer must witness the incident and be trained in traffic laws (taken the special course in traffic). Because the [traffic officer] didn’t witness the incident it did not meet the two criteria. Secondly, the officer who did witness the incident is not trained in traffic laws, so again it does not meet the criteria.  Thus it is now my understanding, due to the letter of the law that it is not possible for the LAPD to issue a citation to the driver who hit me.

But aren’t all officers trained in traffic law at the Academy? 

And are you seriously trying to tell me that a uniformed LAPD officer lacks sufficient judgement and training to determine that a driver failed to signal and violated the right-of-way of another road user?

Sorry, but this explanation sounds like BS.

And if it isn’t, even worse.

Important LAPD meeting next week for anyone who lives or rides through the San Fernando Valley

Yesterday I received the following email from Glenn Bailey, Vice-Chair of the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee. 

Dear Valley Bicyclists:

At the request of LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas, commanding officer of LAPD’s Operations-Valley Bureau, an important meeting with Valley bicyclists to discuss and improve the handling of:

  •       traffic enforcement to ensure cyclist safety
  •       hit and run collisions/crimes
  •       bicycle thefts
  •       improving safety on the Orange Line and other bicycle paths in the Valley
  •       safety education for motorists and cyclists
  •       and other topics of interest to bicyclists

The LAPD Valley Traffic Division will be participating and the County Sheriff (Metro Orange Line enforcement) has been invited as well.

You are cordially to invited to attend:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
LAPD Van Nuys Division
6240 Sylmar Avenue
Van Nuys, CA 91401

So that there is adequate seating and copies of handouts, please RSVP via email to glennbaileysfv@yahoo.com if you are attending OR may be attending. Also, if you have additional topics you wish to be considered for this or a subsequent meeting, please forward those as well.

I encourage you to forward this invitation to other interested Valley cyclists.

Hope to see you there.

Thank you.

Glenn Bailey, Vice-Chair
Bicycle Advisory Committee
City of Los Angeles

Having worked with both Bailey and Deputy Chief Villegas as part of the department’s bike task force, I can assure you this is one meeting that will definitely be worth your time.

Especially given the subject matter.

Gardena BWB tickets dropped, bike rider shooting caught on video, York road diet improves safety

Good news from Gardena for a change.

Streetsblog reports that the LACBC, along with a number of outraged letter writers, have been instrumental in getting the Gardena police to drop the tickets issued to a group of riders stopped for apparently riding while brown.

The riders, mostly members of the East Side Riders and Los Ryderz, had just replaced a ghost bike for fallen hit-and-run victim Benjamin Torres, which had been removed by the city. And which was removed a second time just hours later.

They were on their way meet with city officials when they were stopped, frisked, and — after much delay and debate among the many officers present — ticket for obstructing traffic, in violation of state law.

I doubt that members of La Grange, or any other spandex-clad Westside riding group, would have been stopped under the same circumstance. Let alone frisked.

Then again, it’s not like you can hide much in Spandex. Or anything, for that matter.

Fortunately, justice and rationality has finally reigned in Gardena.

Now if they can just keep their cops from killing crime victims.

The story notes that another memorial ride will be held this weekend. And this time, Gardena police have been invited to take part.

Now, the United Riders of South L.A. are asking for you to show your support for them, for victims of hit-and-runs, and for cycling in Gardena in general by joining them on this weekend’s memorial ride.

The group will meet this Saturday, August 10, at Rowley Park (13220 Van Ness Ave) at 3:30 p.m. to do a loop through Gardena and stop to pay their respects at the site where Torres was killed. If you have any questions, please see here or contact the East Side Riders or Los Ryderz.

………

The LAPD offers security video showing two gunmen targeting a bike rider in what would have been a drive-by, except the shooters got out of their SUV to fire their guns repeatedly.

Not surprisingly, police think the shooting, which occurred in El Sereno late last month, was gang related. The victim was treated and released for non-life-threatening injuries.

And just to clarify, gang-related does not necessarily mean the person getting shot at is a gang member; just that the people shooting at him may have been, or thought he was.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact Hollenbeck Detective Donna Cornejo at 323-224-0104.

However, someone should tell the LAPD that bike riders, even ones getting shot at, are not pedestrians.

Mistaking the two could explain a lot when it comes to why some cops seem confused about the rights of riders.

………

Analysis of the 2006 York Blvd road diet shows it cut collisions by 23%, and injuries by 27%. And reduced felony hit-and-runs by a whopping 47%. However, collisions involving bicyclists continue to rise, perhaps due to increased ridership.

………

LA’s proposed street repair bond is revived by the city council; with reports due back to the council on the feasibility of including fixing sidewalks and complete streets serving all road users — including bicyclists — in the bond issue.

Of course, there’s a difference between mandating a complete streets approach and requesting a feasibility study. So we’ll want to keep an eye on this one.

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Free three-hour bicycling skills courses will be offered by Metro and the LACBC over the next two months. The Culver City Bicycle Coalition hosts a family ride this Friday. The next Wolfpack Hustle midnight drag race gears up on September 7th; registration opens August 10th. Santa Monica’s new Streetsblog edition is coming next month. Formerly bike-unfriendly Malibu will show just how much they’ve changed with two PCH Safety Study Meetings later this month, on the 20th and 22nd. Oh the horror of it all, as Glendale streets are losing lanes and gaining signs to accommodate non-motorized road users. Long Beach looks into funding for their own ciclovia.

The Huntington Beach bike shop looted in the recent surf riot now offers T-shirts proclaiming it Riot Proof, as locals pitch in to pay for the damage. San Diego’s Qualcomm is working on a portable system to help drivers avoid bikes and pedestrians; thank goodness, because eyes and ears don’t seem to do the job. The fourth annual Ventura Share the Road Ride is scheduled for October 5th. Cyclelicious looks at the bike section of the updated 2013 California Drivers Handbook; not perfect, but it’s getting better, even if it does still say you can park in a bike lane. This is the guy behind many of the recent innovations in bike design. A San Francisco bike rider is killed in a Calistoga SWSS — Single Witness Suicide Swerve. A Red Bluff man says bicyclists don’t belong on local highways unless they pay to put bike lanes on them, neglecting to consider who pays for the traffic lanes he drives in — or that most cars come equipped with brakes to help them avoid slower traffic. Downtown Chico sports new green bike lanes, thus ruining their chance to pass for LA’s Spring Street in any Hollywood production.

The Federal Highway Administration moves to back separated cycle tracks. AAA’s own stats say high speeds kill, yet the Auto Club consistently opposes attempts to lower them. Not surprisingly, bike riders gravitate towards protected bikeways. The Bike League offers an in-depth report on women’s bicycling, and how to get more women on bikes. New flash cards help assess concussion in cycling falls; every racing team and riding club should have a set. No one really knows why your bike doesn’t just fall over; then again, maybe they do. Now that’s sad, as a barking dog leads strangers to the body of his master, who was killed in a fall from his bike. Seattle newspaper calls for more and better bicycling infrastructure. A Las Vegas bike rider is slashed by a double meat cleaver wielding Juggalo; my worst nightmare — homicidal, probably insane and horrific taste in music. The Denver public library goes mobile with a WiFi equipped book bike. Bike share generates more foot traffic than car parking in Chicago. How to not bike like a dickweed. New York mayoral candidate calls for a Vision Zero plan — aka no traffic deaths — for the city; long past time for one of our own here in the City of Angeles. Beyoncé bikes across the Brooklyn Bridge to perform at the Barclays Center; no one recognized her, proving that bikes really do make you invisible. Boston guards bikes in a subway station with a cardboard cutout of a cop — and it works; thanks to D.D. Syrdal for the link. In a heartbreaking case, the family of a cyclist riding near his home witnesses the hit-and-run that killed him. Mass insanity strikes Cobb County GA as they reject a grant because it reeks of a UN Agenda 21 plot to take away their cars. Louisiana bike rider tries to outrun a patrol car after stealing soda and beer.

Toronto cops are ordered to track doorings, while a local writer says let the city’s bike share system die a slow and painful death. In a hard-hitting piece, a Brit blogger says it’s really not funny when someone claims they were only joking about killing a cyclist or raping a woman, and the two have more in common than you might think. Britain’s Liberal Democrats call for proportionate liability to hold the larger vehicle responsible in a collision; something I’ve long called for (#10) here. Bike riders don’t deserve the abuse they receive on Twitter. Eight in ten British cyclists fear for their safety on the country’s roads; evidently, the rest don’t read online comments. Or maybe it’s because the courts send 95-year old drivers who kill cyclists after fainting back out to do it again. Advice on how to stay safe on your bike, and what to do if that advice doesn’t work. Aussie shock jocks are blamed for a bike lane backlash. Australian police crack down on rogue cyclists. A search for the best biking city Down Under. A Yokohama bike lane is a real obstacle course. A Japanese construction crane operator is arrested for hit-and-run in the death of an 11-year old bike rider; yes, a construction crane.

Finally, you can now protect yourself from the sun while you turn your helmet into a giant sombrero, but would it block the view from your built-in cam? Here’s the perfect bluegrass-flavored soundtrack for your next ride.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, just try to keep your jaw from hitting the floor when a mountain bike racer goes horizontal off a billboard to take the win.

Your Monday morning tour through the weird, wacky and wonderful world of bicycling

Just a brief — or not so brief, as it turns out — update from the world of bicycling.

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La Opinion examines LA’s ghost bikes — or bicicletas fantasmas — and quotes yours truly on this year’s very scary stats.

Evidently, I am now un activista.

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Get ready to get run over. The LAPD has decided it’s no longer a crime to drive without a license. Violators can still be ticketed, but will no longer be arrested or face felony or misdemeanor charges if they don’t have a license for the vehicle they’re driving.

Yeah, let’s not do anything to hold unlicensed drivers accountable or get them off the streets.

It’s not like they can suspend the licenses of dangerous drivers who don’t have one.

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Yet another bike rider has been injured on the Marina’s Fiji Way, which, anecdotally at least, seems to be one of the area’s more dangerous places to ride a bike, even with the new semi-buffered bike lanes.

And even if the description of the collision doesn’t make any sense.

According to Marina del Rey Patch, an 85-year old woman pulled out of her parking stall at 13737 Fiji Way, which places her in the parking lot at Marina Village (photo pre-bike lane). After waiting for another car, she pulled out of the lot and into a bike/walk path, hitting a cyclist.

Except there is no bike/walk path there.

There’s a sidewalk for pedestrians, and an on-road bike lane for bike riders — which is, presumably, where the victim was riding.

Unless he was on the sidewalk. Or riding through the parking lot, which would explain what the hell pulling out of a parking stall in a parking lot has to do with hitting someone on a bike.

Let alone what waiting for another car to move has to do with anything.

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After a San Jose priest is killed just short of his goal of biking 100,000 miles, parishioners ride in his honor to complete the goal for him. Thanks to Cyclelicious for the heartwarming story.

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KNBC-4 tackles bike theft and busts a ring of thieves; thanks to Sam Winkler for the heads-up.

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Scotland’s new Nice Way Code tells drivers to treat you like a horse — evidently Scots are more familiar with horses than those strange two-wheeled conveyances — and that if any bike riders runs a red, it makes us all look bad.

Right.

And when any motorist runs a red, it reflects badly on everyone behind the wheel, and justifies whatever hostility you want to spew on those law-abiding drivers who haven’t done anything wrong.

Nice way, my ass.

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Speaking of the nice way, Elly Blue says if you ever feel like yelling at a cyclist — even just a friendly warning — don’t. Just don’t.

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Tomorrow’s scheduled meeting of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee has been moved up to tonight at 7 pm to avoid a scheduling conflict.

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In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, bike race volunteers now must be anti-terrorism experts, as well.

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And speaking of terrorism, a father tries to teach is seven-year old daughter to ride a bike on a quiet side street. And both get hit by a drunk driver. At noon, no less.

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In one of the most bizarre accidents I’m aware of, a 10-year old boy in Nepal is killed when the brake on his bike breaks, sending a fragment through his eye and piercing his brain.

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This is why dooring can be deadly.

A Chinese woman barely avoids being thrown under a passing truck when the driver of an SUV unexpectedly throws open the door. In the video, she appears to hit her head on the truck’s rear wheel, sending her helmet — or is it a hat? — tumbling.

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One quick thought on Saturday’s horrific assault on the Venice boardwalk, in which a homicidal driver killed an Italian tourist on her honeymoon and injured 11 others — apparently intentionally.

We screen gun buyers in this country — even if there are a lot of gaps in the system. But we let anyone who can pass a simple test get a drivers license and own or operate a motor vehicle.

Maybe that needs to change.

We have to recognize that a motor vehicle can be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. And some people simply shouldn’t be allowed to drive, for any number of reasons.

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Finally, congratulations to Velo Club La Grange for pulling off another great Brentwood Gran Prix. Nice to spend a perfect LA day watching high-quality bike racing on the Westside.

Midway through the men's Cat 3 race

Midway through the men’s Cat 3 race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the blog of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not that they overreacted or anything.

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

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

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

Hopefully before someone else gets killed.

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