Tag Archive for lenient sentences

Morning Links: Hit-and-run driver gets limp slap on wrist, bike riders under attack, and Ride of Silence rolls tonight

Four times virtually nothing is still virtually nothing.

After a hit-and-run victim pled for a stiffer sentence for the man who ran her down, got out of his car to apologize, then got back and fled the scene — leaving her lying helpless in the street with a broken hip — the judge increased his sentence from 10 days of community service to a whopping 40 days, along with two years probation.

And not one day in jail.

Even though a hit-and-run resulting in serious injury is supposed to be prosecuted as a felony, with up to one year in jail.

Instead, Spencer Lofranco was allowed to plead down to a misdemeanor, and walk out of court without even a sore wrist.

He was ordered to pay $161,000 in restitution. But as we’ve seen from other cases, it’s unlikely his victim will ever see more than a fraction of that, if anything.

Just one more example of the courts and prosecutors failing to take traffic crime seriously.

And why drivers continue to leave their victims on the side of the road, making LA the country’s hit-and-run capital.

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There’s a tragic common theme to today’s news.

Word of a Colorado cyclist fatally shot while riding near my hometown — and on a roadway I’ve ridden more than once — has made waves around the world. In an unusual move, the FBI is joining in the investigation, suggesting that this may be more than a random shooting.

A Savannah teenager was shot and wounded while riding his bike on April 1st; the shooter who targeted him early Tuesday was more successful.

A Tampa bicyclist suffered non-life threatening injuries in a drive-by shooting.

A Salinas man was shot and killed by unknown assailants while riding his bike Saturday night.

And right here in Los Angeles, a woman was shot in the arm while riding in South LA early Tuesday morning; she was able to make it back home before being taken to a hospital, where she’s in stable condition.

Meanwhile, a man riding to work on an Anchorage bike path was attacked by three teenagers who hit him in the face with a tree branch, resulting in skull fractures, a broken nose and orbital socket, and cuts to his face; a 15-year old boy was arrested in the case.

The only significant difference from the other attacks was the choice of weapon.

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The Ride of Silence rolls to honor the victims of bicycling collisions tonight, with rides at the Rose Bowl and four in Orange County.

Visit the website for more locations throughout California.

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KCET looks at the city council’s attempt to rush through approval of Option 1 for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, which would preserve all traffic lanes while putting a sidewalk on just one side.

Both candidates in Tuesday’s CD4 election prefer the third option, which would remove a traffic lane to allow sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides. (Breaking news — it looks like David Ryu won with 53% of the vote; less than 21,000 Angelenos even bothered to cast a ballot.)

Streetsblog’s national edition correctly notes LA’s Great Streets will be nothing more than talk if Mayor Garcetti won’t stand up for good design.

So far the city has successfully managed to avoid any of the tough choices necessary for the safe, livable city we’ve been promised.

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CalPoly students call for greater bike and pedestrian safety, as school administrators hide behind semantics.

An administration spokesperson says the idea that school streets are not safe is a “pretty vague statement,” and that Kellogg Drive on campus is up to code for all city and state standards.

Which is a long way from being safe.

Boyonabike notes that instead of improving safety and promoting alternative means of transportation, the college is spending $41 million on a new parking garage.

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Alberto Contador says he’s getting better every day following a dislocated shoulder; bad news for his competition in the Giro since he’s already in the leader’s jersey.

In a gesture of sportsmanship, Simon Clarke gave fellow Aussie Richie Porte a front wheel after Porte flatted, despite being on competing teams. However, accepting the wheel cost Porte a two minute penalty, knocking him out of contention. Or maybe it was just a brilliant tactical move by Clarke.

The Giro d’Italia is once again considering a US start; VeloNews offers an in-depth analysis of how US racing can reshape pro cycling.

Amgen is expected to remain the title sponsor of the Tour of California for the long haul. And Sunday’s final stage of the Amgen Tour of California apparently took some Highland Park residents by surprise.

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Local

A writer for the Daily Bruin says it’s time for UCLA officials to demand bike lanes on Westwood Blvd so students and faculty can get to campus safely. And politely points out the hypocrisy — my word —of Councilmember Paul Koretz opposing bike lanes while calling for the need to confront climate change.

Turns out the new portion of the Expo Line bike path is on track to open along with the rail line next year.

LADOT issues a new and improved 2015 Bikeways Guide. Or three.

The Downtown News calls on the LAPD to go after bike chop shops and the ringleaders behind them to stop the rash of bike thefts in DLTA. The DA also has to start taking the crime seriously, finding a way to prosecute thieves instead of bargaining the charges away.

A mountain biker had to be airlifted from the Angeles National Forest after suffering critical injuries when he fell 50 feet off a trail.

The Times looks at the steady growth of bicycling in Long Beach, where 40 miles of off-road bike paths, and bikeways on 10% of the city streets, has lead to a 30% increase in bicycling since 2008.

Volunteers are still needed for Wolfpack Hustle’s Short Line Crit in Long Beach on the 30th.

 

State

Pedal Love is giving away two bikes to women with stories to tell.

A Hesperia couple is riding across the country with their four Yorkies to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug use. Somehow, I don’t get the connection.

San Bernardino County opens the final leg of a 21-mile bike and walking path from Claremont to Rialto on the 28th.

A Santa Barbara writer says to improve safety, cyclists need better infrastructure, more helmets and less booze.

Eureka could kick bikes off the sidewalk next week.

 

National

In something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, the Federal government issues guidelines for separated bike lanes.

Drivers are more distracted than ever; one in 10 admits to video chatting behind the wheel. Although in most cases, drivers don’t want to hit us any more than we want to get hit by them.

Spokane is offering a new bike registry.

A Seattle woman recognizes a stolen bike listed on Bike Index, and returns it to the owner during her costume birthday bike parade. You can register your bike with Bike Index — or report a stolen bike — for free right here, no matter where you live.

A new Minnesota study suggests the US census undercounts bike use.

Chicago cyclists get a new curb protected bike lane.

In yet another example of keeping dangerous drivers on the road until they kill someone, the upstate New York woman charged with the texting hit-and-run that critically injured a teen bike rider has faced two previous DUI charges, as well as four charges of driving without a license and seven other infractions.

No bias here, as a PA website says an 8-year old boy crashed into the side of an ambulance; never mind that it’s just possible the ambulance might have cut him off.

 

International

Mashable lists the world’s seven best bike routes, including one in our relative back yard.

Calgary will send a group of Bicycle Ambassadors to offices and events to explain the city’s new cycle track network. Note the key word, network.

Who was that that masked man? A heroic London bike rider jumps into a river to save the life of another rider who had fallen in, then rides away without giving his name.

London’s Royal Parks continues to stand in the way of the city’s planned cycle superhighways.

UK police single out cyclists for riding irresponsibly, ignoring the lawbreakers in the big, dangerous machines. And it’s not the bike riders who are stringing fishing line across bike paths at head level to garrote unsuspecting people.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who’d steal a Brit bicyclist’s bike just minutes after he was hit by a car.

Virgin’s e-bike riding Richard Branson calls on cities to close down entire streets to all vehicles but bicycles.

Luxembourg climbs to 13th in the ranking of bike friendly European nations; not surprisingly, Denmark and The Netherlands come out on top.

 

Finally…

Somehow, I don’t think a campaign that says, in effect, “Come to the darkside, wear a bike helmet” is an effective safety message. Police Down Under won’t respond to a hit-and-run involving a cyclist if no one bothers to call them.

And in the UK, ducks get their own lanes, which the Royal Parks service doesn’t seem to object to.

 

Morning Links: LA cyclist killed in Arizona; Santa Ana hit-and-run driver has long record and suspended license

Let’s start with the bad news.

LA cyclist Jesse A. Simon was killed while riding in Arizona last Thursday.

The driver who hit Simon to police he attempted to swerve at the last second when the 65-year old rider entered the roadway — apparently from the shoulder of the highway — but still clipped him with the pickup’s mirror.

Of course, in real life, that usually means the driver wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see the cyclist until it was too late, and simply didn’t react in time. Unfortunately, unless another witness is found, police will only have the driver’s statement to go by, since the victim is unable to give his side of the story.

I’m told Simon worked for LA Metro, though I don’t know what position he held with the county transit agency.

An earlier version of the story said he was riding through Arizona as part of a national bike tour; however, that has since been removed for some reason.

My prayers and condolences for Jesse Simon, and all his family, friends and co-workers.

Thanks to Alan and Vanessa for the link.

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Police make an arrest in the hit-and-run deaths of three trick-or-treating teenage girls who were killed in Santa Ana Halloween night.

Thirty-one year old Jaquin Ramone Bell was arrested on Sunday, and booked on felony hit-and-run causing death; he also had two outstanding warrants for domestic violence charges.

Unbelievably, Bell had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of child abuse and endangerment, DUI and hit-and-run with property damage for an August 1st collision in Anaheim. And was sentenced to a whopping 10 days in jail and three years probation on the child abuse count, and eight days — eight — for the traffic charges.

We should all thank the judge who set him loose to kill someone the next time.

Granted, he was driving on a suspended license when he killed the three girls. Although clearly that didn’t stop him.

Then again, that’s probably to be expected since he had violated probation seven times before.

And we can only guess whether he was drunk behind the wheel on Halloween, despite a three-month court ordered substance abuse program. Fleeing the scene gave him plenty of time to sober up before he was busted two days later.

If he had been drinking or using drugs, that is.

And did I mention that he had his own teenage children in the car with him when he fled the scene like the heartless coward he allegedly is, leaving three innocent children to die in the street?

Nice parenting lesson there, dude.

If you’re not disgusted, maybe you should be. Because once again, our courts failed to take traffic crime seriously, despite being given every possible warning that the suspect couldn’t be trusted.

But once again, they gave him yet another second chance.

And once again, an innocent victim died as a result. Or three, in this case.

Yes, they should charge the jerk with three counts of felony murder, lock him up and drop the key in the deepest pits of hell.

But maybe the people who let him off the hook over and over should do some of that time with him.

Meanwhile, Santa Ana officials vow to slow speeds and improve pedestrian safety, which is sadly lacking in the city.

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Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk offers a detailed report on the death of triathlete Gary Holmes, two-and-a-half years after he was run down by a DUI driver near Los Olivos.

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Local

Mayor Garcetti wants LA to experiment with pedestrian scrambles, already proven in Beverly Hills, Pasadena and yes, Westwood — as well as countless cities around the world. Yet the Times worries drivers will freak out over having to wait at red lights a few more seconds.

Groundbreaking took place on Saturday for the Greenway Trail, extending the LA River bike path another five miles through the San Fernando Valley.

LA erases DIY street safety efforts in Silver Lake, but lets gang symbols remain on South LA streets.

A suspected drunk driver hits a seven-year old Burbank bike rider; fortunately, the boy is expected to recover. So don’t expect the courts to take it seriously or anything.

Pasadena gets $172,000 to conduct a year-long bike safety program for children and their families.

 

State

Cyclelicious offers a statewide guide to today’s election.

Huntington Beach sees a jump in bike thefts. Evidently, you’re not safe on your bike in HB, and your bike’s not safe when you’re off it.

Bike share is finally getting ready to roll in San Diego, where the first stations were installed Monday.

A reminder that the end of Daylight Savings increases the risk for riders; make sure you leave home with the lights you’ll need later.

The Sacramento Bee says the recent governor’s report on bike deaths misses the chance to focus on real problems.

 

National

A new warning system alerts drivers to the presence of bikes, but only of they both have the same system installed. Or drivers could, you know, just pay attention.

A Tucson cyclist is killed by an unmarked patrol car.

A Minneapolis cyclist has his bike stolen after an alleycat race, but the thief returns it the same night.

An Illinois cyclist is killed by a driver who crossed onto the wrong side of the road; somehow, the state police still blame the victim.

New distracted driving laws took effect in New York state on Saturday.

A columnist for the New York Daily News claims New York’s new 25 mph speed limit, intended to save lives as part of the city’s Vision Zero, will just mean more lives lost to road raging drivers. Because, you know, it’s impossible to be patient or control your temper behind the wheel; then again, maybe he’s right.

 

International

Biking Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, which you are still officially prohibited from visiting if you carry a US passport.

Olympic cycling champ Chris Boardman offers 12 tips for urban cycling in a BBC video report. But Brits freak out over why he didn’t wear a helmet.

A British statistician looks at how safe cycling really is in the UK.

London police back two proposed bike superhighways. Which is what they called the city’s previous bikeways, which weren’t.

A Yorkshire paper says golf is out as middle-aged men in Lycra get on their bikes.

My favorite Scottish bike advocate and blogger explains why covered bikeways won’t work.

Pro cycling’s governing body may shorten two of the three Grand Tours.

Singapore has some way to go to become a cycling nation.

 

Finally…

Caught on video: A driving instructor and bike trainer explains why those damn cyclists ride in the middle of the road. A new study confirms that San Francisco’s streets are decidedly auto-centric, unlike every other city in North America, evidently.

And meet the bike for people who don’t ride bikes. But does it have a seat that turns into a lock — or wheels made of ice, for that matter?

 

Pasadena driver gets gentle caress on wrist for killing popular local cyclist and musician Alan Deane

Once again, a killer driver gets off with a virtual pat on the back for decreasing the excess cyclist population.

What else can you call it when the driver pleads to reckless driving, bargained down from an original charge of vehicular manslaughter? And gets off with an obscenely lenient 10 days of community labor, 400 hours of community service and a whopping $4000 in restitution and other fines.

That’s what the life of a human being is worth these days. If he’s on a bike, anyway.

Ten days. Four hundred hours. And at least $4000.

Who knows, maybe they’ll go hard on him and make it $4050.

That’s what Siddhartha Misra got from a Pasadena judge on Tuesday in his trial for the death of cyclist and musician Alan Deane.

And this for a fatal collision that was caught on video, and reportedly showed the driver failing to yield before fatally slamming into Deane on his bike.

And he apparently gets to keep his driver’s license.

So much for keeping dangerous drivers off the road. Let alone sending any kind of message that would encourage careless motorists to slow down and pay a little more attention for fear of the consequences if they didn’t.

If this is what passes for justice around here, I’ll pass.

Maybe our new DA will decide that bike riders have a right to get home alive.

Misra made a statement to the court apologizing for his actions and saying it’s a heavy burden he’ll have to live with until the day he dies.

I have no doubt that he’s sincere in his remorse. Lord knows I couldn’t live with myself under the same circumstances.

But I can assure you Deane’s family feels a hell of a lot worse.

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A 63-year old Long Beach cyclist suffers a broken hip and rib when the victim of a hit-and-run; her son reports she was trapped under the car, and the driver actually backed off her to get away.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Long Beach Police Department Accident Investigation Detail at (562) 570-7355.

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Big news in pro cycling — and good news, for a change — as USA Cycling finally puts women’s cycling on the same footing as men, with equal prize money and championships on the same weekend.

Now maybe the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will figure out a way to get a women’s peloton on the course.

Chances are, they’ll get just as exciting racing — if not more.

And maybe even fewer former (?) dopers.

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An Op-Ed in the L.A. Times says NBC Universal’s agreement to extend the L.A. River through their property is a good start — but until the other studios in the area fall in line, it’s just a start. Santa Monica considers $326,000 in improvements to the beachfront bike path through the city. Will Campbell plays Let’s Make a Deal as he just avoids the door prize, twice.

Fullerton joins with Bike Nation to develop a bike share program, as the latter seems to be developing the critical mass (lower case) for a pan-SoCal system; thanks to Lois for the heads-up. San Clemente considers a road diet — including bike lanes — on El Camino Real. Pomona replaces parking near Cal Poly with bike lanes. A Bay Area news site offers tips to ride safely following the tragic cycling death of a 12-year old girl. A San Francisco schmuck motorist hits a cyclist and drives off with his bike stuck under his car. Sonoma County Supervisors consider an L.A.-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance; this would be the first to be adopted on a countywide basis. No really, if you’re carrying meth and a pipe after dark, put some damn lights on your bike.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking is accepting nominations for bike and pedestrian advocates and organizations. CNN discovers tweed rides and Cycle Chic — as well as our own Melissa Balmer of Women on Bikes SoCal. Honda says it’s okay to take a little nap behind the wheel. New bike-themed apartment complex opens in Denver, featuring bike storage, a repair room and even free bikes for tenants; so when can we move? Been awhile since we’ve checked in with Dottie at Let’s Go Ride a Bike; she offers a typically beautiful — for her — look at fall riding. A Pittsburgh cyclist says the driver who hit him did it deliberately. A Concord writer says he’ll take bike racks over bike lanes. Boston police warn cyclists about dangerous streets just hours before a cyclist is killed. Boston’s BikeyFace illustrates a downloadable bike safety poster. How New York can fight salmon cyclists, or not. Would you wear your medical information coded on your helmet?

Ontario townsfolk pitch in to replace a boy’s stolen bike. A Toronto physician is arrested protesting the removal of a bike lane. The London Standard says you don’t have to be Bradley Wiggins to deserve a safe ride home. Brit runners following a bike in a race end up following the wrong one. Maybe bike-friendly Bristol isn’t so bike-friendly anymore. Town Mouse’s mum would vroom away from red lights if only her town had any. After losing his license and property, an Aussie cyclist says the only thing bike helmets are proven to protect riders from is fines; my thick skull would beg to differ.

Finally, a Tennessee letter writer evidently assumes all cyclists ride as a hobby — and that local parks just magically appeared. And apparently, a British ad agency is going out of their way to develop the most offensive bike safety campaign yet; it may have been a misguided attempt at viral marketing, but at least they apologized.

Maybe instead of all this apologizing, we could try avoiding things that have to apologized for. Just a thought.

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