Tag Archive for Long Beach

80-year old Long Beach bike rider killed in collision with medical van

Would an 80-year old bike rider really run a red light?

That’s what we’re being asked to believe, after a cyclist lost his life on a Long Beach intersection Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, 80-year old Long Beach resident Mariano Carasaquit Libron was riding in the crosswalk on eastbound 16th Street, attempting to cross Long Beach Boulevard, when he was hit by a medical van.

The collision occurred at 1:27 pm as Libron reportedly ran the red light in front of the southbound transport vehicle driven by a 24-year old Long Beach resident. The Orange County Register reports responding officers found him lying unconscious in the roadway; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The satellite view shows a very wide six lane intersection, divided by two railroad tracks and a center median.

While anyone can make a mistake, it seems to strain credibility that an 80-year old man conservative enough to ride in a crosswalk — and presumably, on the sidewalk leading up to it — would blow through a light directly in front of oncoming traffic.

What seems far more likely is that the light may have changed while a slow-riding Libron was already in the intersection, and the transport driver somehow failed to see the rider directly in front of him after the light turned green as he approached the corner.

It’s also possible that the driver of the van may have been the only surviving witness; unless there were independent witnesses, investigators only have his word that the light was green.

Anyone with information is urged to call Long Beach Collision Investigation Detail Detective Steve Fox at 562/570-7355.

This is the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. This is also the eighth bike rider to die in Long Beach in the last four years.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mariano Libron and all his loved ones.

Long Beach proves separated bike lanes even work here, despite arguments to the contrary

There’s big news from Long Beach.

We’ve seen a number of studies in recent years showing that separated bike lanes are good for business, as well as cyclists.

But now we have solid proof from right here in our own backyard that separated lanes benefit everyone on the streets.

According to a federal study conducted over the last year, the separated bike lanes on Broadway and Third Street in downtown Long Beach resulted in a 33% increase in ridership over the last year, while increasing pedestrian use along the streets by 13%, and cutting vehicle use by 12%.

In other words, not only did they improve the streets for cyclists, but made it more inviting to walk next to them, as well.

At the same time, bike collisions dropped 80%, from five to one, and motor vehicle collisions went down 44%. Average vehicle speeds also dropped to 27 mph on Third and 26 mph on Broadway.

And yes, that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, the rate of sidewalk riding, the bane of pedestrians everywhere, decreased as much as 42%.

It’s hard to argue that separated bikeways haven’t been proven effective when the results show they benefit everyone on the road.

Even here on the Left Coast, where the hegemony of the automobile has long reigned supreme.

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And yet, the father of vehicular cycling says if you prefer bike lanes — even the sort of proven separated bike lanes discussed above — you’re an “incompetent cyclist.”

No, really. That’s what John Forester says.

He goes on to say that, despite the sort of evidence shown in the Long Beach study, there’s no proof that bikeways increase safety.

Well, none if you choose not to believe it, anyway.

Sort of like global warning.

I’ve ridden vehicularly for over 30 years. Not because of Forester’s book, which came out four years after I started riding, but because my own experience taught me it was the safest way to ride in the almost universal absence of effective infrastructure in those days.

But I’ve never, ever considered it better, safer, more enjoyable or effective than riding in a good bikeway.

And the demonstrated growth in ridership that can be traced back to new bike lanes (pdf) in cities throughout the world — including this one — would suggest that I’m not alone.

John Forester created an effective tool for a time when cyclists could not rely on well-designed roads or effective bikeways.

But those bad old days are, thankfully, fading fast.

As the Long Beach study clearly shows, well-designed bicycling infrastructure and a complete streets approach benefits everyone.

And it’s long past time we all demanded it.

Thanks to Christopher Kidd for the link.

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I’m told that the LAPD has discussed the dooring-by-cop incident mentioned here last week with the cyclist involved, and that the officer in question has expressed her regrets for her behavior.

Wes says he’s very pleased with the response from the department, and sees no need for formal discipline in the matter.

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At least two of the four candidates for mayor of Los Angeles see bikes in the city’s future; oddly, they may not be the ones you’d think. Downtown’s Spring Street should get new parklets next week to go with its semi-green mostly buffered bike lanes. Metro wants your input on the Union Station master plan; a few extra bike votes couldn’t hurt. Highland Park Patch asks if slower traffic is worth it to add bike lanes to North Figueroa and Colorado Blvd; personally, I think slowing traffic in a state where angry drivers honk at anyone who has the audacity to actually drive the speed limit is good thing. LADOT recaps the recent BPIT meeting. CLR Effect’s new cycling cap takes those of us with long memories back to the land of sky blue waters.

The latest update from Calbike, including their 2013 legislative agenda — which includes hit-and-run reform, but not a third opportunity for Governor Jerry Brown to veto a three-foot passing law. Riverside’s mayor rides with local residents; the LACBC asks candidates for mayor if they’ll commit to leading a similar ride. The Classic Gran Fondo San Diego takes place on April 14th; make sure you have your taxes finished first. San Diego cyclists are urged to support bike-friendly changes on the Coast Highway in Encinitas. Great photos of a practice crit from the San Diego Union-Tribune. A Palo Alto woman faces misdemeanor hit-and-run charges after hitting a cyclist and two occupied cars. The story behind Verizon’s romantic new bike ad, courtesy of Cyclelicious. San Francisco lays out big plans — and possibly big money — to improve bicycling and walking. Apple is granted a patent for a new smart bike system.

Bike lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on what to do if a cop stops you for a bicycling violation. Lance Armstrong offers to help clean up cycling; in other news, John Dillinger has offered to come back and help stop bank robberies. People who commute by car gain more weight than those who commute by bus, bike or train. Fans of Lovely Bicycle will be happy to learn she now has a new weekly column in Bicycling. A Washington driver stops to look at the bike rider she killed and the one she merely injured, then drives off like the heartless coward she— allegedly — is. Perhaps the most bike and alternative transportation-friendly USDOT secretary in our lifetimes sadly says it’s time to go. Maryland considers a mandatory helmet law. A Baton Rouge cyclist is shot three times without warning by a 16-year old thief who wanted his bike. Win the free use of a bike share bike at this year’s Super Bowl. Better bike lanes and crosswalks could help kill fewer pedestrians and cyclists in the country’s second and third most dangerous city for both, respectively.

Simple solutions would help get Great Britain cycling. A British bicyclist is stabbed to death the same day another rider buys him a bottle of brandy to apologize for a bike-on-bike collision. UK police tried to stop a driver just before he killed a couple on a tandem and fled the scene on foot. Potholes cause an estimated 10% to 15% of Brit cycling wrecks. An Aussie cyclist is injured when he hits a man sleeping on a bike path. The excuse a Chinese BMX racer gave for testing positive for steroids couldn’t possibly be true, a sports nutritionist says. Two Singapore brothers sharing a bike are killed when they’re hit by a cement truck; but what kind of sick s.o.b. would circulate photos of their bodies online?

Finally, despite the overwhelming success and popularity of New York’s new bike lanes, separated and otherwise, the city’s Daily News can’t seem to get their collective heads out of their own collective asses.

With all due respect, that is.

Bike rider killed in Long Beach last night; victim may have run a red light

Maybe it was the cold that kept less committed cyclists of the streets.

Whatever the reason, Southern California had suffered just one cycling fatality since the first of the year, compared to four this time last year.

Unfortunately, that unusual combination of good luck and — hopefully — safer streets came to an end last night, as a 50-year old bicyclist was killed while riding in Long Beach.

According to the Press-Telegram, the Long Beach resident, who has not been publicly identified, was riding west on Atherton Street at 7:17 pm when she allegedly ran the red light and was struck by a green 2002 Honda Odyssey headed south on Bellflower Blvd. The 19-year old driver stopped at the scene and attempted to render aid; unfortunately, the victim died of her injuries at a local hospital four hours after she was struck.

The Long Beach Post reports the driver was released at the scene, and no charges are pending.

What none of the stories answer is whether anyone other than the driver witnessed the collision. Reports that the rider ran a red light should be taken with a grain of salt unless it can be confirmed by independent witnesses. It’s a common problem in investigating bicycle collisions that police often only get one side of the story when the victim is unable to speak for him or herself.

A satellite view reveals a wide, complicated intersection that required the rider to cross 10 lanes of traffic get to the other side. It’s entirely possible that she started out with a green light, which may have turned red before she could get all the way across.

It seems unlikely that anyone would try to blow through the light at such a wide intersection, especially at such a relatively early hour when traffic could have been expected. But it’s always possible that she may have thought she could make it and didn’t see the car that killed her until it was too late.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Brian Watt of the Long Beach Police Department’s Accident Investigation unit at 562-570-7355.

This is the second cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in L.A. County; there were 24 bike-related fatalities in the county last year, and 74 in the SoCal region. There were no bicycling deaths in Long Beach last year, following five in the bike-friendly city in 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones.

Update: The Press-Telegram has identified the victim as 50-year old Susan E. Curtis of Long Beach. 

According to the paper, Curtis’ bike was her primary form of transportation, which she used to get to her two part-time jobs, as well as working as a pet sitter and dog walker. She leaves behind a dog and six cats, along with an assortment of other pets, which are now in need of a new home.

Belmont Shore – Naples Patch reports that her friends don’t consider her someone who would run a red light under any circumstances. 

Meanwhile, Opus the Poet, who writes the Witch on a Bicycle blog, crunches the numbers to suggest that Curtis if entered the entered the intersection near the end of the green light, she could have easily failed to make it across the wide 10-lane intersection before the light turned green on Bellflower Blvd. And leaving her stranded and vulnerable in the path of oncoming traffic.

I’m not say that’s what happened, but it’s possible.

And it makes more sense than the idea that a 50-year old safety-conscious woman would intentionally run a red light on such a wide, busy intersection. 

Breaking news — Long Beach hit-and-run driver runs down two cyclists on PCH Saturday

I’ve just received a first-hand report about a Long Beach attempted hit-and-run that left two riders injured — possibly seriously — on Saturday.

The writer, who prefers to remain anonymous, reports that he was riding on PCH, waiting at a red light between Sunset Beach and Seal Beach, when passing motorists called out to him to stop an elderly driver who had just hit two cyclists riding 100 feet apart.

He says the driver waived his handicapped parking placard at him as if to say he had a free pass, and claimed he didn’t know he’d hit anyone. Even though he reportedly later told police investigators that both riders were out in the middle of the road and he couldn’t avoid them — despite what the writer describes as a 10-foot wide bike lane in that area.

According to my source, the police seemed to be buying that explanation — which he described as total BS, and which was contradicted by his earlier statement that he didn’t know he hit anyone. However, it’s always possible the officer was playing along to get more information from the driver.

He indicates that one of the victims was in bad shape with what he described as a nasty head injury, and that the other, who appeared to be a member of local riding club Velo Allegro, had suffered a hip injury.

If you have any more information on the collision or the condition of the riders, let me know.

Update: I’ve just been forwarded word from Velo Allegro that their rider suffered road rash, while the injuries to the other rider are not life threatening. According to them, the 85-year old driver was arrested by Seal Beach police, apparently on site.

Update 2: Carey left the following comment to this post, including contact information for the Seal Beach police.

A good friend of mine was one of the cyclists injured in the crash. I have since spoken with the officer investigating the case and he would like to hear from anyone who saw anything, including what happened after the driver fled the scene. Please contact the Seal Beach Police Department at (562) 799-4100 and any officer would be able to help you. Let’s try and help make the road safe for all cyclists.

If you have any information, please call them right away so we can get this driver off the road.

Permanently. 

Events: Malibu safety study, OC Bike bike wash for injured Marines, Pro Walk/Pro Bike and Tour de Fat

The City of Malibu is conducting a Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Safety Study in conjunction with the Southern California Association of Governments, with public hearings set for 6 pm to 8 pm on the next four Thursdays, at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road. Each session will focus on a specific stretch of PCH:

9/13 – Study Area 1 Topanga Canyon Road to Cross Creek Road
9/20 – Study Area 2 Cross Creek Road to Busch Drive
9/27 – Study Area 3 Busch Drive to Western City Limits
10/4 – All Study Areas

This is your chance to help remake one of the area’s most dangerous roads for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists; if you ever ride or drive PCH, you owe it to yourself to participate.

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Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

A new support group has formed for people who have been involved in a bicycle collision. Everyone is welcome to share your experiences, gain insight and understanding into your emotional state and develop new coping strategies. The group meets every Saturday from 11:30 am to 1 pm at 6310 San Vicente Blvd, Suite 401. Current LACBC members receive a discount. To learn more, contact Aurisha Smolarski at 323/203-1526 or email aurisha.smolarski@gmail.com.

OC cyclists can get their bikes washed this Sunday, September 9th from 10 am to 4 pm at S.C. Rider Supply, 520 S. El Camino Real in San Clemente, to benefit the Semper Fi Fund for injured Marines. The event includes all day barbecue, live music and prizes.

The Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic invites you to ride down Highway 1 to raise funds for a cure. The ride rolls 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles from Sunday, September 9th to Sunday the 16th; a two-day option is also available on Saturday, the 15th and Sunday the 16th.

The national Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference takes place this Monday through Thursday, September 10th through 13th in Long Beach. The 17th annual conference is sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Project for Public Spaces. Long Beach will also host the country’s first National Women’s Bicycling Summit, as well as a Cycle Chic: Past, Present and Future fashion show on Thursday, September 13th in conjunction with the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference; tickets for both are $35.

Wednesday, September 12th, Cynergy Cycles hosts a lecture by world-class physical therapist Robert Forster on Getting Started – Basic Bicycle Training, as part of their Phase IV Lecture Series. The session starts at 7 pm at Cynergy, 2300 Santa Monica Blvd.

Friday, September 14th marks the opening night reception of the Bike Love Art Show at Society — A Vayden Roi Gallery at 635 North Pine Ave in Long Beach. The exhibit features artwork by members of the Southern California cycling community; the reception opens at 6 pm.

Also on Friday the 14th, the incomparable bike scribe Elly Blue returns to the L.A. area for a evening of Dinner & Bikes (& Cupcakes), hosted by LACBC affiliate chapter Santa Monica Spoke; Joel Biel will screen his new short film One Less Truck, with dinner prepared by celebrity vegan chef Josh Ploeg. Doors open at 6 pm, with dinner served at 7; 502 Colorado Blvd.

This year’s Tour de Fat will take place on Saturday, September 15th at Los Angeles State Historic Park — and this time, it’s not scheduled on the Jewish high holidays, so everyone can attend. And should. Because it’s not just a fundraiser for the local bicycling community, it’s the most fun you can have with bikes and beer on a Saturday afternoon.

The massive Interbike trade show takes place in Las Vegas from Wednesday, September 19th to Friday the 21st. I had planned to be there this year, but the money gods have not been kind.

The Eastside Bike Club hosts Date Night on a Bike on Friday, September 21st. Riders will meet at 7:30 pm at Hecho En Mexico Restaurant, 4976 Huntington Drive in El Sereno, leaving for a short ride before returning for dinner. Participants are encouraged to bring bright lights for their bikes, and dress up in vaquero attire.

The second season of Cycle Claremont is set to take place on Saturday, September 23rd, with complimentary bike check and minor maintenance starting at 1 pm, and the ride set to roll at 2 pm.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Civic Engagement Committee meets at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, September 25th, at the Downtown Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main, across from LAPD headquarters. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the email list.

Celebrate the return of Carmagedon on Saturday, September 29th as Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cyclists who beat a Jet Blue jet from Burbank to Long Beach — invite you to ride your bikes from every point in the city to meet on the L.A. River bike path for the biggest ride ever with the All City LA River Ride; details to follow.

There’s a new date for the next CicLAvia, which has been moved up one week from October 14th to 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday, October 7th. The route has also been changed, with new spurs extending from Expo Park  in South L.A. to East L.A. and Boyle Heights.

The Bicycle Film Festival returns to Los Angeles this October, with a kick-off party at historic El Cid in Silver Lake on the 11th, followed by the debut of The Contender, the first BFF-produced film at Cinefamily on the 12th. Other screenings will take place at the Downtown Independent theater from 11 am to 10 pm on Saturday the 13th, with an all-ages DTLA block party the next day from 10 am to 6 pm. Convergence rides are planned for the various events. Email volunteerla@bicyclefilmfestival.com for more information or to volunteer.

Run or bike with the men and women in blue as the LAPD’s Metropolitan Division hosts the 5th Annual Randy Simmons 5K Challenge Run on Saturday, October 20th, with rides of 26 and 52 miles. The rides start at 1880 North Academy Road; register by Thursday, October 18th.

Sunday, October 21st, Hemet High School hosts a Grad Night Poker Ride featuring five climbs on a 55 mile route. First place prize for the best poker hand is $500, with a $50 prize for the worst hand; lunch provided by Sweet Baby Jane’s BBQ. Thanks to Scott Boyd for the tip.

Now here’s a great idea for a ride. The Arthritis Foundation is teaming with one of the L.A. area’s favorite Cuban bakeries and cafés to offer the first ever Tour de Porto’s starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, October 28th. The ride starts at Porto’s in Glendale, travels a short distance to the Burbank Porto’s, then down the L.A. River Bike Path to the restaurant’s Downey location. If the entry fee includes a Cubano or Medianoche, count me in.

San Diego protest ride, PCH bike meeting & Malibu Creek Restoration Ride — and that’s just this week

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to update the Events calendar. And there’s a lot happening this weekend, and over the next week.

But before we begin, there are a couple of events that deserve a little extra attention.

First up, as you may be aware, there have been far too many cycling fatalities this year. Especially in San Diego, which has suffered far too many biking deaths in a city that’s doing far too little about it.

And local cyclists have had enough.

They’re sponsoring a ride next Wednesday to protest these deaths, and demand action from city officials to improve safety.

Now.

San Diego, CA- Local bicyclists are organizing a memorial bike ride for riders who were struck and killed by motor vehicles in the past weeks.

Theodore Jones, a 56-year old San Diego resident, was pronounced dead on Sunday, July 8 after suffering severe head injuries when a vehicle collided with him on Tuesday, July 3rd on the 4700 block of Solola Avenue in Lincoln Park.

Angel Bojorquez, 18, of Escondido, was killed by a hit and run driver as he rode home from work in Rancho Santa Fe early in the morning of July 6, 2012. 19-year-old Jin Hyuk Byun has been arrested for the incident. Police say that Byun hit Angel with his 2008 Chevy Avalanche and left him in the bushes at the side of the road, where he died. If convicted of the charge of felony hit-and-run, Byun faces only 4 years in prison. His bail was set at only $50,000, a pittance given the senseless loss of life that he caused.

Angel’s brother Steve, said they both worked at the same place and often drove together, but Angel was riding his bike home because their schedules did not match.

These incidents raise the total of cycling fatalities in Southern California to 10 since July 4, and 39 year-to-date.

Angel Bojorquez was one of 10 fatal bike-related hit- and-runs in Southern California this year. There have been 4 just since July 6, 2012.

The people who are dying on our city streets are not just reckless or inexperienced bicyclists, they are often cautious and experienced riders who are often simply commuting to or from work and school.

Solutions to these tragedies are simple.  Protected bike lanes, reduced speed limits, safer road design, and grade-separated bike lanes will protect cyclists and give more people the opportunity to use this healthy, green, and practical transportation alternative.

The ride will take place Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 4:30pm.  It will begin at the fountain in Balboa Park and conclude at 202 C Street. in front of the City Administration Building.  At the conclusion of the ride, bicyclists will use chalk to trace their bodies to send a message to city officials that their continued failure to design safer roads is unacceptable.

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Next up, Malibu hosts a special meeting to discuss the PCH Bike Route Improvements Project next Wednesday.

Please join us for a Special Joint Meeting with the Public Works Commission and the Public Safety Commission to review and discuss the preliminary design concepts for the Pacific Coast Highway Bike Route Improvements Project at Malibu City Hall on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.  Below are the meeting details:

When:  
Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 6:00 p.m
 
Where:  
Multi-Purpose Room
Malibu City Hall
23825 Stuart Ranch Road, Malibu, CA 90265

After receiving insightful community input from four public workshops and conducting a critical analysis of PCH, creative solutions have been developed to address issues pertaining to cycling throughout the project corridor. The meeting will provide an overview of the recommended design strategies that will improve safety and functionality along PCH.

We hope you can join us Wednesday, July 25.  We will send out a reminder as the date gets closer.

If you have any questions or can’t make the meeting and would like to learn more about the project, please contact Elizabeth Shavelson, Public Works Analyst at (310) 456-2489 ext. 254 or via email at eshavelson@malibucity.org

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This is the group that gave up a Saturday morning earlier this year to help repair the Malibu Creek watershed.

Finally, on Saturday the 28th, the Mountains Restoration Trust and Heal the Bay offer a second opportunity to restore critical riparian habitats within Malibu Creek State Park by riding to sites that are too far to hike to. Mountain bikers — or anyone capable of riding a dirt fire road — are invited to join them on at Malibu Creek State Park, 1925 Las Virgenes Road from 8:45 am to noon.

Click here to sign up in advance, then bring your sunscreen and be ready to work.

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Bike Talk airs every Saturday at 10 am; listen to it live or download the podcast from KPFK.

Bike Long Beach hosts Bike Saturdays every weekend; ride your bike to participating local shops and business throughout the city to get special offers and discounts.

The Bicycle Film Fest presents the Bike Movie Weekend all this weekend at the Silent Movie Theater at 611 North Fairfax Avenue. Showings include Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Best of the Bicycle Film Festival, the masterful documentary A Sunday in Hell and everyone’s favorite bike movie, Breaking Away (including an appearance by star Dennis Christopher) among others.

Stately Pasadena will be invaded with cyclists when the Pasadena edition of the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia settles in for a weekend of biking events, starting with a two day expo at Pasadena City Hall, followed by rides of 29, 64 and 83-ish miles on Sunday. It all takes place Saturday, July 21st and Sunday, July 22nd; registration closes Wednesday, July 18th.

Eric Lubeck of the Caltech Bike Lab is leading a bike ride to the Eagle Rock Brewery on Saturday the 21st. The ride departs from San Pasqual and Wilson Ave on the Caltech campus at 3 pm, and returns to the same location; riders who enjoy themselves a little too much can return via Metrolink.

Also on Saturday the 21st, the High Desert Cyclists will bike to San Buenaventura State Beach for a beachfront barbeque; three starting points offer rides of 35 to 80 miles, arriving at the beach between noon and 1 pm. The ride is one way, so you’ll need to arrange transportation back to your starting point.

Sunday, July 22nd, bike-friendly CD13 city council candidate Josh Post hosts a two-hour bike ride along the L.A. River to highlight his plans for a bike-friendly L.A. and a revitalized L.A. River. Riders meet at 9 am at Oso Park, 1050 Riverside Drive.

Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls Bike Friendly Business District is sponsoring a Kidical Mass Kid Friendly Bike Ride on Sunday, July 22nd. The ride begins at Los Cerritos Park at 1 pm, and will ride 2.5 miles round trip to Georgies Place, 3850 Atlantic Ave, returning by 3 pm.

Long Beach begins a series of monthly community bike meetings to provide an overview of what’s happening bike-wise in the city, as well as offering an opportunity to provide input on city plans. The first meeting takes place from 3 to 4:30 pm on Monday, July 23rd in the City Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd, and will be repeated on Tuesday, August 2nd from 6:30 to 8 pm at Exhibit A Gallery, 555 Pine Avenue.

Okay, so it’s not bike related, but it’s a rare combination of good wine, great food and a great cause, as Mama’s Hot Tamales hosts a Wine Tasting for a Cause on Wednesday, July 25th. For the uninitiated, Mama’s a non-profit café dedicated to teaching immigrants how to work in the food industry by serving some of L.A.’s best tamales and coffee. The event is being held to raise funds for a new freezer; 6 to 9 pm at 2124 W. 7th Street across from MacArthur Park.

On Saturday, July 28th, join Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cycling team that beat a jet to Long Beach — for the Midnight Drag Race: Codename “The Final Effin Sayso” as single speed cyclists race through Downtown’s famed 2nd Street tunnel. Sign-up starts at 10:30 at 2nd and Hill Street, with the first heats beginning at 11 pm.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s new Civic Engagement Committee at 6:45 pm on the last Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be Tuesday, July 31st, at Pitfire Pizza at 2nd and Main in Downtown L.A.. Email bikinginla at hotmail dot com to be added to the email list.

The 4th Annual California Tour de Dreams 2012 will take place August 9th through 19th as cyclists will ride 540 miles from UC Berkeley to UCLA to educate communities about the passage of the California Dream Act and advocate for passage of the Federal Dream Actregister online by May 31st.

The Antelope Valley’s High Desert Cyclists hosts a series of monthly Brunch Rides on the second Saturday of each month. The comfortably paced 15 to 20 mile rides will visit a local restaurant or coffee shop for brunch before returning to the starting point; organizers promise no rider will be left behind. The next ride is scheduled for Saturday, August 11th; details to follow.

Registration has opened for the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s fourth annual Cause for Creativity: Tour da Arts on Sunday, August 19th, featuring an art focused bike tour and other bike centric artistic activities and exhibitions. Be sure to sign up early, because the free bike tour always reaches capacity long before the event.

Bikes are normally banned from the famed San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge, but you can ride it on Sunday, August 26th, during the 5th Annual Bike the Bay, to benefit the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

The Eastside Bike Club invites you to join them on the Dodgertown Bike Ride on Saturday, September 1st. The ride begins with a rally starting at 3 pm at El Arca, 3839 Selig Place before riding to see the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks, with game time starting at 6:10 pm. Buy your tickets in advance on the Dodgers website.

Sunday, September 2nd marks your chance for fixed gear glory with the Lord of Griffith IV, a climbing, three lap track bike/fixed gear race in and around Griffith Park.

The Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic invites you to ride down Highway 1 to raise funds for a cure. The ride rolls 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles from Sunday, September 9th to Sunday the 16th; a two-day option is also available on Saturday, the 15th and Sunday the 16th.

Early registration has opened for the national Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference to be held September 10th through 13th in Long Beach. The 17th annual conference is sponsored by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Project for Public Spaces.

This year’s Tour de Fat will take place on Saturday, September 15th at Los Angeles State Historic Park — and this time, it’s not scheduled on the Jewish high holidays, so everyone can attend.

Celebrate the return of Carmagedon on Saturday, September 29th as Wolfpack Hustle — yes, the cyclists who beat a Jet Blue jet from Burbank to Long Beach — invite you to ride your bikes from every point in the city to meet on the L.A. River bike path for the biggest ride ever with the All City LA River Ride; details to follow.

There’s a new date for the next CicLAvia, which has been moved up one week from October 14th to 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday, October 7th. The route has also been changed, with new spurs extending from Expo Park  in South L.A. to East L.A. and Boyle Heights.

Now here’s a great idea for a ride. The Arthritis Foundation is teaming with one of the L.A. area’s favorite Cuban bakeries and cafés to offer the first ever Tour de Porto’s starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, October 28th. The ride starts at Porto’s in Glendale, travels a short distance to the Burbank Porto’s, then down the L.A. River Bike Path to the restaurant’s Downey location. If the entry fee includes a Cubano or Medianoche, count me in.

Wrist slap rescinded, as drunken hit-and-run driver John Hines resentenced to 4 years in state prison

So much for that slap on the wrist.

Former fire captain John David Hines, scion of a leading Long Beach fire fighting family, had the book thrown at him by an angry judge, turning a one-year sentence in a relatively plush pay-to-stay cell into over four years of hard time in the state penitentiary.

Hines had been sentenced for the drunken hit-and-run that left cyclist Jeff Gordon lying severely injured on a Seal Beach street, after drinking himself silly at a Long Beach bar last April Fools Day. When police arrested him at his home, drenched in urine soaked pants, Hines had a BAC of .24 — three times the legal limit.

In what many cyclists — or maybe just me — considered an overly lenient sentence, Santa Ana Superior Court judge Erick Larsh sentenced the former fireman to four years and four months in state prison — then suspended the sentence in lieu of one year in the Orange County jail and five years probation.

And rather than force him to consort behind bars with OC’s criminal element, the judge allowed Hines to buy his way into the Huntington Beach jail, where he could serve his time in greater comfort.

All he had to do was stay out of trouble for a few months.

Yet the former EMT-certified fire captain, trained to save the lives of victims just like the one he left lying in the street, couldn’t even manage that.

This past January, jailers noticed him wobbling, and discovered he had extracted alcohol from hand sanitizer by filtering it through salt. Then he drank enough of the resulting extract to result in a blood alcohol level of .22 — almost as high as when he nearly killed Gordon.

And enough to turn that gentle slap on the wrist into a good swift kick into the state pen.

That’s exactly what happened on Friday, as Judge Larsh ruled that Hines had violated his probation, and resentenced him to the full four years and four months of his original sentence, saying “I can’t fix you.

Don’t get me wrong.

I have no sympathy for hit-and-run drivers. And even less for anyone who gets behind the wheel after drinking — let alone nearly taking the life of another human being.

But Hines is clearly a very sick man.

Whether he’ll get the help he needs behind bars is highly questionable. We can only hope he comes out of prison a much healthier man than when he went in.

……..

I’m told that Danae Miller, the DUI/distracted driver convicted of running down world-class triathlete Amine Britel in Newport Beach last year, is settling in nicely at the Chowchilla women’s prison, where she can expect to spend most of the next four years.

……..

On a slightly less serious note, reader Mark Pryor sends a warning that Huntington Beach will host the 2012 Surf City Open later this month, from March 29th through April 1st.

And no, it’s not a bike race. Or even a surfing championship.

It’s a paint ball tournament. Which means that cyclists can expect to be used for target practice.

Consider Mark’s story —

In Spring of 2008 I was shot at close range with a paintball gun on PCH in Seal Beach while heading towards HB. I stayed up and was unaware of what happened, until a relative explained what it was later that day.

I was informed the next day that a major PB Tourney for Pros was underway in HB. I did report the incident to OC Sheriffs, but they were uninterested since I was OK.

My back was beet red from the injury, although nothing appeared to penetrate the skin.

Moral of the story: when the PB Players are in town, cyclists will be considered as easy targets.

Its shameful that the tournaments are allowed when people are victimized this way by participants traveling to and from the events.

……..

Today’s news kept me from updating this week’s events tonight; hopefully I can get to that later this weekend.

But don’t forget Saturday’s Get Sum Dim Sum ride, or the early morning Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash race prior to the L.A. Marathon on Sunday; over 1,300 riders have already registered to take part.

Saturday is also St. Patrick’s Day, which means tens of thousands of amateur drunks will be on the roads all day.

So assume every driver you see on the streets has had about three green Guinness too many.

And ride accordingly.

Update: If you’re looking for something dry to do tonight, the Now Pro Women’s Cycling Team unveils their 2012 roster starting at 7pm at Cynergy Cycles, 2300 Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica.

Analyzing 2011 SoCal cycling fatalities: Los Angeles — and door zones — may be safer than you think

Earlier this month, we remembered the people behind the statistics, the victims of cycling collisions on Southern California streets.

Now lets take a look at the numbers. And some of the surprising findings those statistics reveal — including some that suggest Los Angeles could be your safest place to ride. And that the door zone may be a hell of a lot safer than we all think.

But first, a couple of big important disclaimers.

These stats are based strictly on the fatalities that I am aware of, whether they have been reported in the press or have come to my attention in other ways. It is entirely possible that there were other bicycling-related deaths that I don’t know about.

These numbers also do not include non-fatal collisions. It’s possible that any given area could have had a high rate of injury collisions while having few or no fatalities. Or that one risk factor may result in a high rate of fatalities but few injuries — or the other way around.

The limited data I have to work with simply doesn’t show that.

Nor does it suggest why one area may appear to be more dangerous than another, even though I may make a guess at it.

And with that, let’s get on with it.

By my count, 71 cyclists were killed in traffic-related collisions in Southern California last year. That does not include another nine riders who were fatally shot — eight in Los Angeles County and one in San Diego.

Those 71 fatalities represent a dramatic increase over most recent years on record, with 55 cyclists killed in both 2008 and 2009. In addition, it’s slightly more than the five-year average from 2005 to 2009, at just over 68 traffic-relating cycling fatalities per year.

It also marks a return to the roadway carnage of 2005 and 2006, when 76 and 89 riders were killed, respectively.

Fatalities by county: 2011       2009*       2006**     Ave. 2005 – 2009

Los Angeles                24           22             24           24.2

Orange                       13           11             21           13

San Diego                   12           8               5             8

Riverside                     11           7              14            10

San Bernardino            6            4              11            7.4

Ventura                       4            2              11            4.6

Santa Barbara***        1            1               3             1.8

Imperial                       0            1               0             .4

As you can see, Los Angeles County has remained remarkably steady despite a dramatic increase in ridership, with an average of two riders killed per month. At the same time, while Orange County has dropped significantly from the horrors of 2006, it continues to reflect an average of more than one cyclist killed every month.

Meanwhile, San Diego, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties all showed a 50% increase over 2009, though both Ventura and San Bernardino were still below their five-year averages.

At first glance, it would appear that Los Angeles County is by far the most dangerous place to ride in Southern California. However, L.A. is also the most populous of the eight counties included in this count.

Ranking the counties in terms of risk of death per capita reveals some surprises, with the eight counties ranked from worst to best:

County                    Population               Rate of death

Riverside                  2,100,516               1 death per 190,956 population

Ventura                   797,740                  1 per 199,435

Orange                    3,010,759               1 per 231,597

San Diego                3,001,072               1 per 250,089

San Bernardino        2,015,355               1 per 335,893

Santa Barbara***    405,396                  1 per 405,396

Los Angeles              9,862,049              1 per 410,919

Imperial                  174,528                   0 per 174,528

Unfortunately, there’s no objective measure of how many people ride bikes in each county. But surprisingly, these stats suggest that heavily congested L.A. County may actually be twice as safe as other heavily populated counties.

Those fatalities occurred in 53 cities and unincorporated areas throughout the region, with eight cities suffering more than one fatality last year:

San Diego   7

Los Angeles  5

Long Beach  4

Garden Grove  2

Redondo Beach  2

Pasadena  2

Riverside  2

Oceanside  2

Again, using the measurement of deaths per population reveals some very surprising results:

City                               Population                 Rate of death

Redondo Beach              66,748                      1 per 33,374

Pasadena                       137,122                    1 per 68,562

Oceanside                      167,086                    1 per 83,543

Garden Grove                 170,883                    1 per 85,441

Long Beach                    462,257                    1 per 115,564

Riverside                        303,871                    1 per 151,936

San Diego                      1,301,617                 1 per 185,945

Los Angeles                    3,792,621                 1 per 758,524

While multiple deaths in smaller cities may raise a red flag, they don’t really tell us much. Two deaths apiece in each in the first four cities could be a statistical fluke; just one more in any of the other 45 cities not listed here, and they could have made this list, as well.

It’s also worth noting that some of these cities, such as Oceanside and Redondo Beach, are destination areas for cyclists, with a level of weekend ridership that can far exceed their relatively small populations as cyclists pass through from other areas.

More interesting is the fact that the City of Angels, with it’s long-held reputation for car culture, bad streets and open hostility to cyclists, has significantly fewer fatalities per capita than Riverside and San Diego. Combined.

And at least in terms of fatalities, Los Angeles is over six times safer than bike-friendly Long Beach.

That could reflect any number of factors, from the possibility of better trauma care and emergency response times in L.A., to more dangerous streets in Long Beach — including Los Coyotes and PCH — that have yet to see the improvements that have made biking safer in other areas of the city.

But it’s shocking to think that you may actually be safer riding your bike in bike-unfriendly L.A. than the streets of the self-proclaimed most bicycle friendly city in America.

Then again, the real shocker is that L.A. could a hell of a lot safer than most of us thought.

Myself included.

Now let’s look at some equally surprising stats on how these collisions occurred.

Again, bear in mind that most of this information has been gleaned from media reports; in some cases, they offer a detailed analysis of the collision, and in others, barely mention anything more than the fact that it occurred.

We’ll start with the question of who was at fault.

  • Driver:  32
  • Cyclist:  28****
  • Unknown or both:  11

This is my own analysis of the collision, based on the limited information I have; it does not necessarily reflect how the police, sheriff’s or CHP may have assigned fault.

Especially since many investigative officers tend to be poorly trained in bike collision analysis and investigation, and often appear to be biased in favor of the motorist.

In the absence of any information to the contrary, I assigned hit-and-runs to the fault of the driver, on the assumption that an innocent person has little motive to flee — while recognizing that is not always true.

I have also assigned fault for solo collisions and riders hit by trains to the cyclist. Even though it’s possible that other factors, such as near misses by motorists or poor road conditions, may have contributed to the death in some way.

These numbers also err on the low side, reflecting only the information I have been able to document; in many cases, there was not enough information to make a determination.

And there may be multiple factors involved in any given collision, so these won’t add up to a total of 71.

So let’s look at some of the other numbers.

  • At least 25 riders were hit from behind — by far the leading cause of cycling fatalities in 2010
  • At least 13 were hit-and-runs
  • At least 12 were hit at intersections or driveways
  • At least 10 involved drugs or alcohol — and not always on the part of the driver
  • At least eight were hit while riding on or leaving a sidewalk
  • At least seven were hit head-on, usually while riding on the wrong side of the street
  • Seven were solo collisions
  • Seven victims were over the age of 70
  • At least six were killed after running stop signs
  • At least six were killed while riding in a marked bike lane or off-road bike path
  • At least six were killed in right hook collisions
  • Six 12 years old or younger
  • Another five were between the ages of 15 and 17
  • At least four weren’t using lights after dark
  • Three were killed by trains
  • Three were killed by out of control vehicles
  • At least two were killed by drivers running red lights or stop signs
  • At least two were killed distracted drivers
  • At least one was killed in a left cross
  • One was killed by a truck backing into a loading bay
  • One was killed, at least in part, due to poorly designed infrastructure
  • And just one was killed as a result of a dooring

Stop and think about that.

For decades, we’ve been taught that the door zone is one of the most dangerous places to ride; vehicular cyclists often refer to it as the death zone.

Yet these stats show just the opposite. You are far more likely to be killed in a hit-from-behind collision or at an intersection than you are by getting doored. And yet, the solution we’re invariably taught is to ride in the traffic lane, directly in front of traffic coming up from behind.

Maybe that’s because so many cyclists are heeding that advice and avoiding the door zone, while placing themselves at greater risk of getting hit from behind. Or maybe because hit-from-behind collisions tend to occur at higher speeds, reducing survivability, while doorings tend to be relatively slow speed collisions that are more likely to result in injury than death — especially if the rider is wearing a helmet to protect from head injuries in a fall.

And that’s not to say that riding in the door zone is safe. But it may be far less deadly than we have been lead to believe.

Of course, that’s not the only conclusion that jumps out from these numbers.

Like far too many drivers are willing to flee the scene, leaving their victims to die in the street. Too many cyclists run stop signs — especially when other vehicles are present.

Sidewalks remain dangerous places for cyclists, particularly where they intersect with streets and driveways.

Riders can lower their risk simply by riding on the right side of the road and using lights after dark. And staying of the roads after drinking or using drugs.

Ditto for stopping for trains; once the warning signals chime and the gates drop, stay the hell off the tracks. And that goes for drivers trying to beat a train, as well.

Bike lanes are no guarantee of safety. Yet there were fewer cyclists killed in bike lanes than on sidewalks and crosswalks, and far fewer than on streets without them. But that may just speak to the scarcity of bike lanes in most of Southern California.

Then there’s the single most glaring conclusion we can make from these fatalities.

Too many people have died, and continue to die, on our streets.

One is one too many; 71 is an obscenity.

And it’s clearly headed in the wrong direction.

Update: in response to one of the comments to this post, I’ve added information on how many of the victims were under 18; six riders were 12 or under when they were killed, while another five were aged 15 to 17. In addition, seven of the victims were over the age of 70.

……..

*Most recent year currently on record

**Worst of the five years on record

***I will drop Santa Barbara County from this count next year, to reflect the 7-county area included in the Southern California Council of Governments (SCAG)

****Includes solo collisions and collisions with trains

Drunken Long Beach fire captain suffers a severe slap on the wrist

Is a single year in county lockup sufficient penalty for nearly killing a cyclist with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit?

An Orange County judge seems to think so.

Yesterday, Santa Ana Superior Court judge Erick Larsh sentenced Long Beach fire captain John David Hines to four years and four months in state prison — then suspended the sentence in lieu of one year in the Orange County jail and five years probation.

Reports could not be confirmed that Hines responded by grabbing his wrist and yelling “Ow!”

And yes, that’s slightly bridled sarcasm, as I find myself censoring what I’d really like to say.

It was almost three months ago that Hines pleaded guilty to three felony counts — driving under the influence, driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of .08, and hit-and-run, as well as sentencing enhancements for having a BAC over .20 and causing great bodily injury.

Those charges stemmed from a bloody, drunken and reportedly urine-soaked April Fools Day episode that left cyclist Jeffrey Gordon struggling for his life.

And no, it wasn’t the least bit funny.

The scion of a leading Long Beach firefighting family, Hines spent the morning drinking at the Schooner or Later bar in Long Beach before climbing behind the wheel of his truck and attempting to drive home, despite a BAC measured at .24 over two hours later.

The legal limit in California is .08.

The bar should bear at least some responsibility for allowing Hines to get that drunk at their hands. Let alone letting him drive after serving him so much alcohol knowing full well how drunk he had to be at that point.

I hope Gordon has a great lawyer; if not, I’ll be happy to recommend a few. If there’s any justice, he’ll own the bar before this is done.

And hopefully, the first thing he’ll do is change that damn name.

As he reportedly wove his way across the roadway on Westminster Blvd, Hines lost control of his truck, drifting into the bike lane to hit Gordon’s bike from behind at an estimated 60 mph. The rider was thrown 70 feet through the air before landing in a crumpled, bloody heap.

His injuries were severe enough to require two weeks hospitalization, as well as limited mobility, and speech and memory loss that continues to this day. Then again, given the speed and severity of the impact, it’s a miracle Gordon survived at all.

Meanwhile, Hines continued to make his merry way to his Huntington Beach home, either unaware or unconcerned that he had nearly killed another human being. He was followed by two witnesses who reported his location to the police.

According to the Belmont Shore – Naples Patch, Billy Chisholm was a passenger in one of those pursuing vehicles.

“I was sick to my stomach the whole time,” Chisholm recalled. “He just hit him and left him to die like he was a skunk in the road. He had to have known he hit him because his truck was all busted up. That was a human being he left there to die. It’s not right.”

When police arrived, they found Hines in an obvious state of drunkenness, with a strong urine odor coming from his clothes. His parked pickup showed major damage to the front-end and hood — including blood spatter from the victim.

As so many scoundrels do these days, he immediately entered rehab after his release from jail, spending over five months in an alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Like Schrodinger’s Cat, whether that was a badly needed attempt to gain control over his apparent alcoholism or a blatant attempt at gaining leniency from the court depends on your perspective.

He also served a 90-day diagnostic evaluation — make that 86 days — in state prison to determine whether he is suitable to serve a sentence in the state penitentiary.

Maybe I’m just not up on current sentencing practices. But I doubt many gangbangers or bank robbers enjoy such sensitivity from the judge after pleading guilty.

Then again, not many felons come from such prominent fire fighting families.

And last but not least, Hines was ordered to pay $102,000 in restitution — most of which has already been eaten up in medical costs.

According to the Los Alamitos Patch, Gordon prepared a written victim impact statement to be considered at sentencing.

“I am a very active person who enjoys being outdoors with my family. I also have a very mentally and physically demanding job that I love. All of that was taken from me in just seconds.

“As a result of the impact, I was seriously injured, receiving an 18-centimeter head laceration, cranial bleeding, three broken vertebrae, a bruised kidney and multiple cuts, scrapes, and contusions over a large area of my body. Medical expenses are piling up from the long hospital stay and treatment from so many specialists… so far reaching nearly $65,000. The doctors are not yet sure when or if I will recover enough to return to full duty at work or to the quality of life that I had before.

“I have found myself becoming more and more upset by the possibility that the negligence of another person may have lasting effects on me, but the person who is responsible may suffer little or no consequences for his actions.”

An anonymous source who was in the courtroom for part of the sentencing hearing offers this assessment of Hines professional position, who has been severely criticized by many — including me — for causing exactly the sort of injuries he was trained to treat.

I wish to point out that although Hines undoubtedly responded as part of a pre-hospital care team to the type of vehicular crime he committed, he was not the one who would have been providing hands-on care to patients.  As a captain, he directed others on the response team.  In fact, Hines is not a paramedic; he holds only an EMT certificate (pending review), and this is probably the bare minimum medical education requirement for a person of his position within his agency.  At EMT level, he cannot even administer painkillers.  With his certification, he would not likely be the one in the back of an ambulance with a puking head trauma victim like the one he created last April, because injuries of that magnitude require paramedic-level response.  He could monitor vitals and provide oxygen in such situations, and that’s about it.

My opinion is that his interest in public safety is less about his interest, if any, in humanity than in the salary & inherent reputation of a firefighter, and the protection that such a reputation affords him as an alcoholic.  But this is just an opinion.

Meanwhile, the OC Weekly offers a scathing report on the lenient sentence.

As they suggest, current jail overcrowding problems make it highly unlikely Hines will serve the full year, joining local public enemy #1 Lindsey Lohan in the revolving door of SoCal jurisprudence.

And I’m sure her wrist is just as sore.

On the other hand, Hines acted as self-appointed judge and jury in sentencing the victim to a possible life sentence of disability.

As disgusted as I am by the apparent leniency, I honestly don’t know if a long prison sentence is the right answer in this particular case.

Alcoholism is an illness, and punishment in prison will do little or nothing to reform a dangerous drunk and return him to a productive member of society.

But I do know that until judges start taking cases like this seriously — and impose sentences that will serve as a warning and deterrence to other drivers — we’ll continue to experience the ongoing carnage on our streets.

And not everyone will be as lucky as Gordon.

A bloody few days in Long Beach — two cyclists critically injured, one intentionally

This has not been a good few days for Long Beach cyclists.

Two riders are critically injured — one because a driver ran a red light, the other because he was intentionally run down by a driver following a dispute.

In the first case, a 67 year old man, who has not been publicly identified, was riding east on Bixby Road at Cherry Avenue around 11 am Friday when he was hit by a pickup traveling south on Cherry. The Press Telegram reports that the driver of the pickup apparently ran the red light.

The rider was rushed to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition. The 66-year old driver was not charged at the scene; however the investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department Accident Investigation’s detectives at 562-570-7355.

In the second, and in some ways, more serious case, the Press Telegram reports that a cyclist is clinging to life at a local hospital after being intentionally hit by a motorist, who then fled the scene.

The incident occurred around 3:20 Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Bellflower Blvd and 23rd Street, following a dispute between the cyclist and a driver.

According to KCBS-2, there’s no word on what caused the dispute. However, the victim, who again was not publicly identified, was described as a homeless man who was known to be aggressive and violent.

The station says some accounts — they don’t say whether from the driver or independent witnesses — have lead police to believe that the victim may have attacked the driver by reaching into his van.

The Press Telegram writes that witness followed the van for several blocks before flagging down a police officer who detained the driver and eventually arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon.

Remarkably, KCBS disputes that account, not only reporting that the driver turned himself in, but that he may not face charges.

Running an unarmed man over with a van is not self-defense, and even belligerent homeless people have a right to live. Unless the driver can prove he was attacked in an unprovoked assault, then inadvertently struck the victim in an attempt to get away, he should face an assault charge.

Or murder if the rider doesn’t make it.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Long Beach Police Department’s Accident Investigations Detail at 562-570-7357.

Meanwhile, the KCBS story is so different from the Press Telegram article that it raises serious questions, going out of their way to paint the driver as the real victim.

Did they uncover the story that the local paper missed? Or are they letting a bias against the victim — the real victim — color their story?

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

Thanks to Rex Reese for the tip.

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