Tag Archive for Los Angeles County District Attorney

Morning Links: Bay Area bike advocate busted for Biking While Black, and LADOT officer blocks a DTLA bike lane

Was a Richmond bike rider busted in Oakland for Biking While Black?

Najari Smith, the founder and executive director of non-profit group Rich City Rides, was handcuffed and taken into custody on Friday for the crime of playing amplified music while leading a group of kids on a celebratory ride, and forced to spend the weekend in jail.

Which at it’s worst is a violation of the vehicle code, and a just ticketable offense.

Like LA’s East Side Riders, Rich City Rides operates as a bike shop/co-op dedicated to building a better community by getting the people of the economically depressed area onto two wheels. And Smith is respected, if not beloved, as the peacemaking leader of that group.

In fact, Streetsblog reports that Smith was trying to calm young riders angered by the aggressive police tactics when he was arrested. And that he remained calm and respectful throughout, turning down his music when requested by officers.

Not that it appeared to make any difference.

According to Streetsblog, Oakland police issued a statement saying Smith was taken into custody for repeatedly refusing to provide identification after officers approached him for blocking an intersection. Even though that’s not what was written in the citation.

However, police in the East Bay area have a history of cracking down on groups of young black bike riders.

And a Stanford University study showed Oakland police ticketed black riders at six times the rate of white bicyclists, in a city that’s less than one-third black.

Photo shows Najari Smith with the trailer and sound system he was using when he was arrested.

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What does it mean when the people responsible for keeping drivers from blocking bike lanes are the ones blocking them?

In more ways than one.

A bike rider who prefers to remain anonymous forwarded this video of a confrontation with an LADOT Traffic Officer who not only stopped in a DTLA bike lane in heavy traffic, but passive aggressively stood next to her car refusing to move an inch so the rider could get by.

Maybe she was under no obligation to move until she was damn good and ready.

But is it too much to expect a little common courtesy from a city employee, when stepping aside for a few seconds wouldn’t have affected her job performance in the slightest?

Apparently so.

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Once again, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office plea bargains a serious crime down to a mere caress on the wrist, as a French citizen was sentenced to time served — a lousy 18 days — for ramming his SUV into a group of people in DTLA.

That’s despite facing up to eight years on the original five counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Seriously, how can we expect drivers to take traffic crime seriously if the DA doesn’t?

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Awhile back, we linked to a story about a rapidly growing petition from an Australian anti-bike group that was calling for bicyclists to be required to ride single file.

Now Cycling Tips reveals the results of a months-long investigation in to the hidden face behind the Facebook group behind the petition.

And their surprising discovery that it may be a well-known cyclist who turned against the local cycling community, after most of the local group rides had turned against him.

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Local

Seriously? Public TV station KCET offers ten basic bike tips for a satisfying ride. And the first one is “Wear a helmet.” As I’ve noted before, I never ride without one. But bike helmets should be seen as the last line of defense when all else fails, never the first. Better advice would be telling people to ride defensively.

Keep Rowena Safe is asking for an all-hands on deck turnout for tonight’s meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Transportation and Neighborhood Safety Committee, to counter a suspected effort to undo the successful Rowena road diet.

It’s going to be a busy few months on SoCal streets, as Santa Monica Next announces details of October’s two-mile COAST open streets event in the coastal community. That comes one week after the epic CicLAvia celebrating the LA Phil’s 100th birthday, and a little more than a month after Long Beach gets in on the act.

 

State

Some people just don’t get it. A community planning group in Ramona wants San Diego County to prioritize improving traffic safety before building bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Never mind that building them is how you improve traffic safety.

You’re invited to re-imagine Downtown Ontario tonight with pop-up buffered bike lanes on Euclid Avenue, as well as extended sidewalks and parklets, followed by a free concert in the town square.

A San Jose sidewalk rider asks everyone to just chill out, because he says it’s not that bad, and the streets can be dangerous. Never mind that sidewalk riding is illegal in downtown San Jose, and riding on the sidewalk actually increases your risk of a collision.

 

National

The rich get richer. Portland gets a beautiful new two-way protected bikeway through an industrial zone, even if no one knows its there.

A San Diego native plans to ride an electric wheelchair across the Cascade Mountains through Washington State to call attention to improving accessibility to the outdoors; he was paralyzed when he crashed his bike into a tree ten years ago while he was a student at UC Santa Cruz.

One Tucson AZ letter writer insists not all people on bicycles are jerks, while another says some bike riders don’t use common sense — like walking their bikes across busy intersections. Sure. As soon as drivers get out and push their cars across them.

An Op-Ed in a Colorado newspaper says mountain bikes shouldn’t be banned from wilderness areas.

A Colorado triathlete recounts the story of the horrifying crash with a careless driver that left her severely injured — and how the police and press got the story wrong because they could only talk with the driver afterwards.

A Colorado town pats itself on the back for improving safety for bike riders — by banning them from riding on sidewalks in the central business district.

Witness the Ofo graveyard, where yellow Dallas dockless bikeshares go to die. You’d think they could donate some of those bikes to homeless or underprivileged people. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

 

International

CNN looks at how children around the world get to school. Hint: Kids in the US don’t ride bikes. Or walk, for that matter.

A bike rider in British Columbia suffers potentially life-threatening injuries when he’s hit by a driver. But all the local paper seems to care about is the road that was closed as a result.

Calgary bicyclists complain after the city botched several bike path detours, forcing riders onto dangerous streets. Sort of like the repeated closures of the LA River bike path around Griffith Park, part of which remains closed through next year.

The Royal Canadian Mounties have recovered ten racing bikes stolen from a Malaysian track cycling team last month, hidden in an abandoned property outside of Edmonton.

An English bike rider wants to thank the bystanders who lifted a car off his leg following a crash.

A British children’s TV host is offering a reward for the return of his stolen ebike, which he named after his brother who died last year after suffering from Down’s Syndrome and dementia.

The New York Times offers a moving look at Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, the American bike tourists murdered by ISIS terrorists in Tajikistan. Thanks to David Drexler for the heads-up.

Israel announces plans to build nearly 375 miles of bike paths to connect with existing paths, forming a 750-mile bikeway stretching across the country.

An Australian city attempts to save lives by experimenting with the equivalent of an 18 mph speed limit.

 

Competitive Cycling

The women’s winner of last year’s Colorado Classic will join the winner of the 2018 women’s Amgen Tour of California, and over 80 other riders, as she attempts to defend her title in this year’s race.

Aussie cyclist Simon Gerrans decides to call it a career after 14 years, with wins in Milan-San Remo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Santos Tour Down Under, as well as stage wins in all three Grand Tours.

Maybe Gerrans shouldn’t be the only one to retire. Germany’s Tony Martin’s comeback from a fractured cervical vertebrae is on hold after his doctors say another fall right now could be fatal.

Scottish residents complain about being trapped in their homes by the time trial in the European road cycling championships.

 

Finally…

Who says you need a truck to move your belongings to a new home? Call it whatever you want, a fanny pack by any other name is still a fanny pack.

And this is not the proper way to carry a bike on your car.

Credit Santa Monica Mountains Cyclery with the link.

 

Morning Links: One year for killing OC cyclist, new video of LAPD beating bike rider, and bike hating sportswriters

We have way too much news for one day. So grab yourself a cuppa Joe and buckle in, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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Just one year for the hit-and-run death of a Laguna Beach bicyclist.

Twenty-one-year old Dylan Thomas Rand-Luby plead guilty Monday to one count of felony hit-and-run with injury and one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of John Colvin over two years ago.

Sure, you could call death an injury.

Rand-Luby swerved his car out of his lane and into the bike lane where Colvin was riding, striking him from behind, then continued on for another mile with a windshield too shattered to see through before finally pulling over.

He had faced up to four years in prison, but accepted a plea deal calling for just one year behind bars, with three years formal probation upon his release.

You can read the OC District Attorney’s full press release here, including the very moving impact statements from Colvin’s family.

Thanks to Edward M. Rubinstein for the heads-up.

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The LA Times released security camera video of the beating of South LA bike rider Clinton Alford, Jr. by an LAPD officer following a brief chase on bike and foot.

Yet despite what you see, the LA District Attorney’s office inexplicably let the officer who kicked Alford in the head, beat him for several seconds, then kneeled heavily on his back for a couple minutes — even though Alford was in handcuffs and laying face down on the street the whole time — off with community service and a $500 fine.

And he could have his felony conviction changed to a misdemeanor once he completes the terms of his plea deal.

This is the third time DA Jackie Lacey has let a cop off with a slap on the wrist — or less — in a case involving a bike rider, following her refusal to charge the sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, and the three Gardena cops who fatally shot the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim.

Clearly, the DA has someone’s back.

But it’s not ours.

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Where to even begin with this one?

The online bike world blew up over the weekend when not one, not two, but three sportswriters felt a need to display their ignorance, anti-bike bias or just plan willingness to risk the lives and safety of those on two wheels.

Starting with a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King showing his co-worker driving in the bike lane in order to get to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium for an interview. A move that did not sit well with a number of people, including the San Diego Police Department.

Properly chastised, King apologized on Monday. Although generally, if someone is truly repentant, they don’t bury the apology at the bottom on an exceptionally long column.

Then there’s Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who felt compelled to chime in, saying it’s hard not to drive in a bike lane down there since it’s all they have, claiming there’s 10,000 miles of bike lanes for just ten bicyclists.

Never mind that San Diego ranks third nationally for bike commuting among cities over one million population.

This is what San Diegan Frank Lehnerz had to say in an email to Canepa’s colleagues at the U-T.

No, it’s not okay to violate CVC 21209 as Mr. King bragged on social media last weekend. There are plenty of normal traffic lanes for motorists to use. Bike lanes are far from “all we have.” Nearly every mile of freeway in the city prohibits cyclists and the infrastructure is only usable to only the most competent and attentive cyclists.  If your colleague can’t learn, respect, and follow the laws, he should do the public a favor and surrender his driving license. In addition to the few dangerous drivers, bicyclists here in San Diego have to deal with potholes, train tracks, cracks, non-functioning signals, and bikes lanes which end all the sudden at intersections and where roads cross over freeways. Personally I’ve dealt with several close calls of people driving motor vehicle swerving into the bike lane in order to pass stopped traffic or get a head start on making a right hand turn. These drivers often do this with no turn signal or with a cell phone in hand. It’s not a joke when a cyclist is struck and injured or killed. In some cases it’s a hit and run, in others the cyclists is either dead or unable to recall the actions and thus his or her side of the story is never told.

Motorists should not be in the bicycle lanes unless it’s for one of the exemptions given under CVC 21209 and after they’ve ensured the lane is clear of cyclists.

And last, and certainly least, there’s former footballer and current NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, who may have absorbed one hit too many before hanging up the cleats.

Because it was Evans who took it a step further by expressing his desire to run down people on bikes, apparently because he was briefly delayed by a couple cyclists in Venice.

SI7O0H2T.jpg-large

Funny how no one ever says they want to kill motorists because they were stuck on the 405 for hours, but a few seconds behind someone on a bike is enough to bring out murderous rage.

Like King, but apparently, not Canepa, Evans apologized after debating the matter with rightfully enraged members of the Twitterati, even as he expressed bewilderment that bikes don’t actually belong on the sidewalk.

It’s worth a few minutes out of your day to read what Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has to say on the subject. And even New York’s famed Bike Snob couldn’t resist adding his two cents to the West Coast blow-up.

Because, as ignorant as these comments and actions were, these are the people we share the streets with.

And as much as we might like to think they’re extreme examples, the attitudes they express are a lot more common than any of us would like to believe.

Thanks to Cuong T. for the tip.

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Good luck to Mark Friis, formerly the Executive Director of the Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance.

Friis recently stepped down from his position, and yesterday the reason became clear. He’s about to embark on an around-the-world bike tour.

You can follow his journey on his new website. And contribute to his efforts online, if you’re so inclined.

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Still more kindhearted people.

Pomona police dig into their own pockets replace the bike a 12-year old boy was rebuilding after it was stolen; it only took 20 minutes for eight cops to step up after the call went out looking for officers willing to pitch in.

Clovis police recovered a boy’s stolen bicycle after it had been dismantled, so they rebuilt it themselves before returning it to him.

Bighearted volunteers in Calgary are refurbishing donated bicycles to provide reliable transportation for Syrian refugees.

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Local

CiclaValley takes a late night ride with Walk Bike Burbank’s Midnight Ramble.

Pasadena is taking steps to become more bike friendly in the next 10 to 15 years — apparently not five as the headline suggests — by conducting road diets and installing buffered and protected bike lanes.

Damien Newton’s latest podcast talks with Claremont Mayor Sam Pedroza and Jose Jimenez, Education Director for Bike SGV.

 

State

Cyclelicious says thank you, but he did not coin the term Idaho Stop, although he was among the first to popularize it.

San Diego’s CicloSDias open streets event returns on October 30th after a two year hiatus. Meanwhile, San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood will get a new bike co-op, including a weekly bike valet.

The San Diego Union-Tribune looks at the state of protected bike lanes in the US, and around the world.

Sunday marks the ninth annual Bike the Bay in San Diego, offering riders a once-a-year opportunity to ride across the arching San Diego – Coronado Bridge. Although you’ll find yourself among the bizarrely anti-bike Coronado denizens once you get to the other side.

A law firm is offering a $25,000 reward for information in the hit-and-run death of Moreno Valley resident Duane Darling as he rode his bike in Mead Valley last month.

The Redlands cycling community mourns Randy Stephenson, who was killed by a driver fleeing sheriff’s deputies in Loma Linda last week; the long-time member of the Redlands Water Bottle Transit Co bike club had just left Don’s Bike Shop in Redlands when he was run down.

 

National

The Bike League looks at how cycling can help solve global warming.

A Chicago website reports on the booming, spandex-free underground bike scene that roams the city every Monday night.

Eleven cities in the US and Canada are now using the sonar system developed by the Chattanooga Police Department to measure whether drivers give bicyclists the three-foot passing distance required by law. Sadly, Los Angeles isn’t one of them.

The New Yorker looks at the challenges of transforming the Motor City into a bike making center.

A Rochester NY minister is offering a $1,000 reward for his stunt BMX bicycle that apparently fell off his car on the way back to his church — after using it to jump over a helicopter into a burning wall.

New York needs a better system for removing abandoned bicycles clogging up the city’s bike parking.

Tragic irony, as a Florida man who served time for killing a man in a road rage incident was himself the victim of a road raging driver.

 

International

Bike Radar says the formula for how many bikes you need is N+1 = CX, offering five reasons why your next bike should be a cross bike.

New cars should be able to see you by 2018, even if their drivers don’t.

A Columbian startup is rewarding riders in Bogotá and Mexico City with points for each kilometer they ride, which can be exchanged for discounts at participating merchants; they will expand into Vancouver next.

A Toronto sportswriter tries riding the new Rio bikeways without luck, including the rebuilt cliff-side trail that collapsed earlier this year, killing two people.

Winnipeg bike riders are advised to use two locks when they lock up, as bike thefts jump nearly 75%.

A Brit bike rider claims to have set a new world record for the longest distance traveled on a bikeshare bike in a single hour, at just over 20 miles.

A British woman wants signs posted in a park warning pedestrians about bikes after she was knocked down by a bike rider. Seriously, anytime there are pedestrians around, slow the hell down.

Apparently not satisfied with winning most of the cycling medals in the Rio Olympics, British Cycling looks to build on its success.

 

Finally…

Everything you need to know about getting back on your bike after a vasectomy. No, those aren’t bike shorts.

And if you’re going to use an axe to try to hack through a bike lock in broad daylight, try not to whack the bike.

 

Morning Links: Cop gets slap on wrist for beating bike rider, and road raging driver threatens CdM cyclist

Once again, the Los Angeles District Attorney let a cop accused of wrong doing off the hook.

And once again, it involved someone riding a bicycle.

The LA Times got wind of a plea deal reached earlier this year in the case of LAPD officer Richard Garcia, who was captured on security video beating and kicking a bike rider after he voluntarily surrendered and was already restrained by other officers.

Then-22-year old Clinton Alford Jr. was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Avalon Blvd in South LA when a police car pulled up behind him and ordered him to stop. According Alford, the officers failed to identify themselves, and fearing for his safety, he tried to get away, fleeing first by bike and then on foot.

After a brief pursuit, he stopped on his own and laid down on the ground, and was taken into custody without resistance.

That is, until an officer identified as Richard Garcia arrived on the scene, and immediately began beating and kicking Alford; one police official said he kicked the man’s head like he was kicking a field goal.

This is how the Times described the brutal attack.

The officer then dropped to the ground and delivered a series of strikes with his elbows to the back of Alford’s head and upper body, sources said. Alford’s head can be seen on the video hitting the pavement from the force of the strikes, two sources recounted. Afterward, the officer leaned his knee into the small of Alford’s back and, for a prolonged period, rocked or bounced with his body weight on Alford’s back, the sources said. At one point, the officer put his other knee on Alford’s neck, a source said.

Afterwards, several officers can reportedly be seen on the unreleased video carrying his limp body into a patrol car.

Yet despite that, and despite the determination by LAPD Chief Beck and the Police Commission that Garcia and another unnamed officer violated the department’s use of force policies, DA Jackie Lacey quietly negotiated a plea that lets Garcia off without a single day behind bars. Let alone the three years he faced if the case had gone to trial.

And possibly, without even a felony conviction.

Garcia pled no contest to felony assault in exchange for a sentence of community service and a paltry $500 fine to be paid an unnamed charity. After he completes the terms, he will be allowed to enter a new plea to a misdemeanor charge, which would replace the original conviction, and be placed on two years probation.

That’s it.

According to the Times, Lacey thinks that was a tough sentence.

Lacey said that she believed filing the felony charge against Garcia signaled to both police officers and residents that “people will be held accountable.”

“I do think it sends a strong message to any law enforcement officer who is thinking about violating the law,” she said. “If you talk to any officer about a felony on their record gotten in the course of their job, I don’t think anyone would see this as light at all.”

She’s right, it does send a strong message.

It tells every officer on the street that you can nearly kill a man for no valid reason, and walk away without even a felony conviction on your record.

Which is exactly the same message she sent in refusing to file charges against the LA County sheriff’s deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin while typing on his onboard computer instead watching out for the man who was legally riding his bike in the bike lane on Mulholland Highway — just moments after the deputy texted his wife while driving, something that could have landed anyone else in jail.

And the same message she sent in refusing to indict the three Gardena police officers who killed an unarmed man who was simply trying to tell them they had stopped the wrong men after his brother’s bicycle was stolen, in a shooting captured on dashcam video.

Let’s be clear. Alford is no saint.

He was originally booked on possession and resisting arrest, charges that were quickly dropped when news of the beating came to light. And he faces new charges of pimping, rape and assault with a deadly weapon.

But even the worst criminal deserves protection from rogue cops who take the law into their own hands.

And from a DA who doesn’t seem to give a damn.

One time might be explainable. But three times is evidence of a pattern, and an apparent policy of refusing to hold even the worst police officers accountable for their actions.

Or maybe it’s just the people on bicycles she doesn’t like.

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Unbelievable.

A cyclist in Corona del Mar receives a death threat from a road raging motorist who calls him a pussy and a queer, among many other things, and says he’s just lucky there are witnesses around. All because the rider had the audacity to ride his bicycle on the sharrows, exactly where he’s supposed to be.

They need to get this asshole off the streets before he kills someone. On purpose.

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A Santa Monica writer notes that bike theft was up 30% in the city in 2015, and guesses that the trend has continued this year. And wonders if the Expo Line is to blame.

Never mind that the Expo Line didn’t even reach SaMo until May of this year.

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The next time someone says bike riders don’t pay our share of the road because bikes aren’t registered, show them this.

CA DMV Where Money Goes

Only 13% of registration fees go to maintain the roads — and even that is just for state highways.

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We have results from yesterday’s Olympic time trial, so skip to the next section if it’s still waiting in your viewing queue.

Fabian Cancellara caps his cycling career by capturing gold for Switzerland in the time trial, eight years after winning in Beijing; Tom Doumalin and Chris Froome finished second and third.

No Cinderella story on Wednesday, as cycling scion Taylor Phinney finishes 22nd, over five minutes behind the leaders, while Aussie Rohan Dennis had to settle for fifth after his handlebars broke. A Namibian cyclist takes pride in finishing dead last in the time trial after he entered the race at the last minute on a road bike because he didn’t have a time trial bike.

American Kristin Armstrong overcame age and a bloody nose to win her third consecutive gold medal in the women’s time trial on her final day as a 42-year old; dope-tainted Russian Olga Zabelinskaya took silver while Anna van der Breggen captured bronze. The Wall Street Journal calls Armstrong the comeback queen.

The US women’s pursuit team begins its pursuit of a gold medal today with new left-side drive Felt track bikes that promise to shave three seconds off their time.

The world’s top pro cycling teams have voted to boycott the time trial at October’s world championships in Qatar in a protest against cycling’s governing body.

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Local

The LA2050 Challenge Grants are back for another year; applications are being accepted between September 6th and October 4th.

A Los Angeles triathlete’s bike was stolen while she was training with her team in Long Beach; her bike was missing when she came back from a swim. As of this writing, a gofundme account to replace it has raised $1895 of the $3,000 goal.

A French artist begins a two-month examination of the LA River by foot and bike for an art project based on the items he recovers.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on the soft opening of West Hollywood’s new WeHo Pedals bikeshare. Although almost all of the planned docking stations are on the Santa Monica Blvd corridor, ignoring most north/south streets and the Sunset Strip.

Alhambra police ask if you know this bike-riding package thief. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Caltrans reports it has patched pavement along PCH; however, a Malibu Safety Commissioner says they should be held to a higher standard of surface integrity given the large number of bicycles on the roadway.

Friends remember Bill Bowers, the homeless bike rider fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in Castaic last week; posters at the event call the shooting murder.

Save the date for Noche de los Luminarias, the Bike SGV Awards Night on November 10th.

 

State

Too little too late. Newport Beach decides to install four new stop signs between Newport Heights Elementary School and Newport Harbor High School following the death of eight-year old Brock McCann as he rode his bike home from school. There’s no reason to believe it would have prevented this tragedy, but maybe it will help prevent the next one.

Dozens of Encinitas streets could get bike lanes or sharrows, depending on the width of the street.

A San Diego man teams up with a cop in an unsuccessful effort to recover his stolen bike, though they did catch the suspected thief with a stolen truck and two other hot bikes. Note to ABC 10: $900 does not a pricey bike make.

A Ventura tow truck driver pled not guilty in the hit-and-run death of 14-year old bike rider Jonathan Hernandez earlier this year; he faces up to 40 months in prison if he’s convicted.

 

National

A mountain biker says the current ban on bikes in wilderness areas is based on nothing more than a few people who don’t like them, and risks dividing supporters of environmental protection of unspoiled areas.

Elly Blue says everyone benefits by looking past the stereotype of bicyclists as white guys in spandex to embrace the full bicycling community, regardless of color or sex, noting that people of color make up the fastest growing cycling demographic.

People for Bikes says businesses are finding creative ways to put bicycles to work.

When a beginning bike rider asks how far an “easy” ride really is, a Portland writer says a bike coach who recommends adding 10 miles per ride until you reach 80 miles can just fuck off.

A New Mexico teen is making a remarkable recovery, even if his dreams of becoming a pro cyclist ended on the bumper of a careless driver.

A Denver bike rider says the hit-and-run driver who ran him down did it on purpose.

The National Transportation Safety Board issues their preliminary report on the Kalamazoo massacre in which five cyclists were killed and four injured by a stoned driver, but doesn’t have much to add to the story. If this is just the first step in the NTSB finally dealing with bicycling and traffic safety, it’s a welcome one; if not, it should be.

Scientists at Columbia University are studying vehicle exhaust to determine its effects on bike riders.

A Pennsylvania county offers a $500 reward to catch whoever has been repeatedly tossing tacks on a popular bike trail. Note to Fox 43: A deliberate attempt to harm cyclists or their bikes may be many things, but a prank it’s not.

Philadelphia women say they’re forced to ride their bikes through red lights and stop signs to escape threats and sexual harassment. Seriously, everyone, regardless of gender, has the right to travel the streets safely and without fear.

 

International

A Canadian bike rider praised Vancouver’s bike lane network, but says most of the country’s bike lanes are a waste of space and money, with some amounting to little more than private roads for hip urbanites.

British cyclists crowdfund the private prosecution of a driver accused of killing a 70-year old bike rider; a writer says it’s not about persecuting the driver, but getting prosecutors to take bicycling deaths seriously. Too bad we can’t do that here.

Katy Perry is one of us, as she shows a little cheek riding in the French countryside.

Anime fans can look forward to the release of Yowamushi Pedal: Spare Bike next month, though you may have to go to Japan to see it.

CNN shares a cyclist’s perspective on Tokyo, courtesy of Byron Kidd, editor of Tokyo by Bike.

This is why you don’t lock up to living things. A Chinese bike thief is caught on video cutting down a tree to steal the bicycle chained to it.

 

Finally…

Your next helmet could be a headphone. Taking a virtual reality tour of the UK on a bike that doesn’t move is not the same as the real thing.

And if you want to illustrate the town’s new bike lanes, maybe the best way to do it isn’t with a photo of a salmon cyclist riding next to one, with a sidewalk cyclist visible in the background.

I’m just saying.

 

Morning Links: Cyclist injured in apparent non-hit-and-run, and LA bicyclists appear to be fair game

It looked like a hit-and-run.

But for a change, there doesn’t seem to be anyone else involved.

Police spent Tuesday night searching for a driver who fled the scene after a passerby found a man lying critically injured in a Van Nuys crosswalk, still wrapped around his BMX bike. After further investigation, however, they concluded that he fell and hit his head while riding under the influence.

Of course, as always, the question is why he fell; whether he was simply too drunk to stay upright or if there was some other factor that caused him to lose control of his bike.

Regardless, let’s hope he makes a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

……….

The Times reports on the bike-riding Long Beach man who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies after one deputy accidently shot his partner in the leg during a scuffle.

The recently released video shows Noel Aguilar struggling with the officers, who had apparently disarmed him before opening fire, despite Aguilar’s insistence that he didn’t shoot anyone.

And once again, the DA’s office declined to press charges against police officers, despite the video evidence. Just like the case of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino in 2013.

Or the Milt Olin case, for that matter, where a deputy plowed into Olin’s bike from behind as her was distracted by the car’s onboard computer just after texting with his wife.

Which raises the question of whether the DA refuses to prosecute cops. Or just doesn’t give a damn about people on bikes.

………

Apparently, I’m the mixed metaphor minion-master Obi-Wan Kenobi of LA bicycling.

………

‘Tis the season.

Donations now total over $16,000 for the bike-riding Colorado busboy who turned in $3,000 in cash a customer had left behind; make that $22,000. Evidently, honesty really does pay.

Texas police collect over 100 bicycles to distribute to children.

An Oklahoma police officer repaired a girl’s damaged therapy tricycle after it was stolen and thrown over a fence; her parents couldn’t afford the $5000 it would take to replace the bike for their daughter, who suffers up to 60 epileptic seizures a day.

Pennsylvania police give a new adaptive bicycle to a six-year old special needs boy.

An anonymous donor gave the equivalent of $150 to replace a British girl’s bike for Christmas after hers was stolen.

Around 150 Brits dressed up like Santa for a bike ride to raise funds for a children’s hospice.

After a paralyzed Welsh stunt biker tried to sell his bike to raise money for his rehabilitation, over £50,000 — roughly $74,000 — in donations poured in from fans.

And a Santa Rosa cyclist uses Strava to wish you a Merry Christmas.

………

Local

CiclaValley is justifiably angry about the death of pedestrian on Riverside Drive, where the city installed new bike lanes while simultaneously making the street more dangerous. Kind of like Vision Zero in reverse.

Richard Risemberg says Burbank made the right decision in requiring riders to walk their bikes across a dirt-covered bridge used by equestrians; although he notes that if horses could be trained to charge into battle for the past 7,000 years, they should be able to tolerate someone on a bicycle.

Reseda Blvd receives a nomination from Streetsblog for the nation’s Best Urban Street Transformation of 2015. While it’s a huge step for auto-centric LA, it doesn’t begin to compare with the best work elsewhere. Or where we need to be, for that matter.

LA Weekly ranks the city’s new Mobility Plan number one on its list of why this was a banner year for new ways to get around in LA. Although they screw up the timeline; the plan has already been approved by the city council, first with, then without amendments, with more under consideration.

The jerk who stole a bicycle out of the hands of a boy who had just won it in a Halloween raffle makes LAist’s list of Southern California’s biggest jerks for 2015.

A Santa Monica man was severely beaten by a bystander after dropping the bike he was walking onto his own dog, accidently or otherwise.

Long Beach’s Danny Gamboa writes about the ghost bike movement for Bicycling Magazine. Danny is one of the heroes of the local bike movement, even if he prefers to give the recognition to others.

 

State

As of the 1st, it will be legal to ride your e-bike on California bike paths.

After the father of two Santa Ana teens were hit by a car while riding his bike, they responded by forming the Bike It! Santa Ana campaign, which was recently awarded a $2.7 million grant for three projects, including two protected bikeways. Makes you wonder why adults have so much trouble getting things done.

A Santa Barbara man invents a new dog carrier for his bike — bicycle or motorcycle — which allows your dog to ride safely tethered inside. Now I know what to get the Corgi for Christmas.

A proposal to cut back on street sweeping in Davis would mean more flat tires for bike riders.

 

National

As she nears retirement, the founder of Trips for Kids reflects on the group she founded 27 years ago; the national organization works to get kids out on mountain bikes.

After a five-year old Idaho boy was seriously injured in a collision while riding his bike, the state agrees to put more bicycling questions on their driving test.

A Los Angeles man keeps fighting for a bikeway in Grand Teton National Park, where his 13-year old daughter was killed by a distracted driver 16 years ago. Somehow, a roadway doesn’t harm the environment, but putting a protected bike lane on or next to it would.

The Department of DIY strikes in Rhode Island, as city officials move to quickly rip out a BMX track secretly built in the woods.

Baltimore residents can’t seem to figure out the city’s new parking protected bike lane.

Fort Lauderdale becomes the latest US city to embrace Vision Zero, and the first in Florida.

A Florida cyclist films the hit-and-run driver who ran him down from behind, without slowing, while he was riding on sharrows. The video is hard to watch, leading right up to the point of impact. And if you’ve ever wondered why I’m no fan of sharrows, this is a damn good reason.

 

International

A Canadian website says investing in bicycle infrastructure is one of the smartest investments a city can make. Meanwhile, Toronto is leading the way with a year-round network of protected bikeways.

Brit rider Mark Cavendish wants to cap his riding career with a medal in track cycling at the Rio Olympics.

In an usual case, a 13-year old British boy is charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist by intentionally riding his bicycle into the path of a car; the driver stopped in time to avoid him, but the victim hit the car.

Now that’s more like it. A Swedish university suggests paying people to ride bikes in the most congested part of Stockholm by using congestion charges from motorists.

A writer looks at the recent Tour of Rwanda, where police beatings and the country’s recovery from genocide overshadow the action in the peloton.

An Aussie writer says the government must stop its war on cyclists, and stop actively discouraging people from riding.

 

Finally…

If you want to spot the trendy new neighborhoods, just follow the fixies. Don’t bust out a car window, even if the jerk driver honks and nearly hits you for riding in the traffic lane.

And if you’re going to burglarize a shed and steal a mountain bike, it’s probably best if you don’t leave your mobile phone behind.

………

It’s the last day of the BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive. Thanks to David Wolfberg, Christian Hesch, Calla Weimer and Carmen Tellez for their generous support, along with everyone who has so generously contributed this past month.

Seriously, thank you.

Who could turn down a face like that?

The Corgi thanks you for your support. And she’s glad it’s the last day of the Holiday Fund Drive so she can attempt to reclaim her dignity.

LA County DA rules Gardena police were justified to shoot and kill the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim

Finally, we know what really happened.

Or not.

In July of 2013, two men were shot by Gardena police responding to the theft of a bicycle.

Except they didn’t kill a dangerous bike thief and wound his partner in crime.

The man they mistakenly killed was the brother of the man whose bike was stolen. He was just trying to tell the officers that the men they had stopped weren’t vicious thieves, but were actually helping to look for the missing bike.

Unfortunately, the three officers didn’t seem to understand Ricardo Diaz Zeferino’s Spanish, even though customers at a nearby restaurant could clearly make out what he was saying. And he didn’t seem to understand the cops commands to stop.

Now the DA’s office has ruled that they acted within the law in shooting the unarmed man eight times — including twice in the back.

The same with what they say was the unintentional shooting of his similarly innocent friend, who was also shot in the back.

The DA’s decision was based on dash cam video, which apparently captured the whole thing. It reportedly showed Diaz Zeferino reaching into his pockets to toss unidentified items to the ground, then taking off his baseball cap, despite orders to stop. The officers opened fire when he started to raise his hands again.

The cops couldn’t see his right hand, according to the Deputy DA who reviewed the video, and believed he was going to reach for a weapon.

A weapon that didn’t exist.

Not that that inconvenient fact seems to matter to anyone.

Not surprisingly, the attorneys for the victims reached a different conclusion, arguing that the video showed the police gave confusing orders, and that Diaz Zeferino’s right hand was empty and in front of his body when they opened fire. And that the other victim, Acevedo Mendez, was shot despite keeping his hands over his head the whole time.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know which version is true, since the Gardena Police Department has refused to make the video public.

Although they did allow the cops to view the video before making their statements so they could get their stories straight.

On the other hand, whatever the video showed, it was enough to convince the city of Gardena to settle a civil rights lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million. Not that any amount of money will do Diaz Zeferino a lot of good.

According to the DA’s report, the toxicology report showed he had meth and alcohol in his system. Which is no more relevant to the case than whether he was wearing a bike helmet.

The three officers who opened fire are still on active patrol duty nearly two years after the shooting; the department’s internal review over the shooting was on hold until the civil case was resolved, which happened earlier this week.

The outcome of that review is something else we’ll never know about; any disciplinary action will be confidential under California law.

This is the second time this year the DA has refused to prosecute cops who killed someone in a bike-related case. And the second time that disciplinary action, if any, will be a deep, dark secret known only to the officers involved.

So if your bike is ever stolen in Gardena, maybe you’re better off just letting it go. Those cops could still be out there, ready to shoot at the drop of a hat.

Literally.

And whatever happens, don’t count on the LA County DA’s office to do a damn thing about it.

 

Morning Links: An open letter to the LA DA’s office; Streetsblog talks with LADOT head Seleta Reynolds

The fight for justice goes on.

Following up on DA Jackie Lacey’s non-response to the LACBC’s demand for justice in the Milt Olin case, cyclist Al Williams shares an email he sent to the DA’s office. And cites a similar case from Santa Clara County where the DA actually did give a damn.

Milt Olin was cycling in a designated, marked bike lane on a clear, sunny afternoon.

While it may be legal for a sheriff’s deputy to use his computer while driving, it is not legal for him to be inattentive while driving, which he most clearly was; and it is not legal for his car to enter a designated bike lane, as his car clearly did.

It is inconceivable to conclude that Andrew Wood was other than inattentive when he struck and killed Milt Olin on 8 Dec 2013.  Please correct this decision.  Please correct the finding of your office.  It is imperative that a message be sent that inattentiveness resulting in death will not be tolerated.

James Council, the Santa Clara County deputy sheriff who “fell asleep” while driving on duty, crossed the road, and killed Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson on March 9, 2008 was charged with vehicular manslaughter by the Santa Clara Count District Attorney, plead guilty and was convicted.  (http://abc7news.com/archive/6884991/)  The punishment was distressingly minor, but at least he was charged and convicted.  You should follow this precedent.  Failure to charge Deputy Wood is an outrage.

You can contact the DA’s office to express your own outrage any of the following ways, courtesy of the LACBC.

1. E-Mail :[email protected], bcc: [email protected]

2. Snail mail to:
District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000

Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

New Vuelta winner Alberto Contador rules out a trip to the world championships; Chris Froome finished second in the race.

Caught on video: A rider in the Tour of Britain loses it on a sharp curve and takes out several spectators.

Jeremy Powers and Katie effing Compton — no really, that’s her Twitter handle — capture the Boulder Cup cyclocross race.

……..

Local

The upstart LA Register says fat bikes are big business.

Two former USC students want to cover the world with free bicycles; profits come from ads on the bikes.

Streetsblog’s Damien Newton talks with new LADOT boss Seleta Reynolds; she may just be the world-class transportation leader LA has been begging for. And deserves.

 

State

The Orange County Register takes an in-depth look at the state’s new three-foot law, which goes into effect on Tuesday.

Seriously? A reader poll in the San Diego Union Tribune’s story on the three-foot law says bikes are bigger road hogs than cars. I kid you not.

Incensed motorists accuse San Jose’s Mr. Roadshow of being biased towards bicyclists; bike riders get their say the next day. Personally, I’ve always found the column fair and balanced in dealing with road issues. Then again, I’m one of the one’s he’s accused of favoring.

Hundreds of Marin County cyclists ride to remember fellow rider Robin Williams.

If you’re riding with a fake gun and police try to stop you for a traffic violation, don’t try to flee into an acquaintance’s home — especially if she has meth and hash inside. Oops.

 

National

Miss America contestants highlight their footwear; Miss Oregon gives a whole different meaning to bike shoes.

New York bicycling injuries drop despite an increase in ridership.

A Maryland writer is shocked by the irrational hatred directed towards cyclists by online commenters, saying riders just want to safely return to their loved ones.

A Virginia writer says the first step in solving traffic problems is treating bike riders and pedestrians as respected users of the public right-of-way.

 

International

An 18-year old UK cyclist is back to riding after technically dying four times — whatever that means — following a trackside heart attack.

After a frequently photographed bike is stolen from the Scottish barn it leaned against for at least four decades, a local photographer contributes a suitably rusty replacement.

Another look at Australia’s first hydrogen-powered bicycle.

 

Finally…

Biking to work can improve your romantic relationships — and your sex life. But you already knew that, right? An actual human cyclist pulls off a video game quality stunt; even I’m impressed.

And it seems like the entire world is in an uproar over the Columbia women’s cycling team’s highly unfortunate new uniforms; some with tongue apparently planted deep in cheek.

 

Weekend Links: LA DA responds in Olin case, but says nothing; KY rider convicted for riding in the street

It didn’t take long for LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey to respond to the LACBC’s demand for justice in the Milt Olin case.

Only problem is, she didn’t have anything new to say.

In the letter (pdf), she repeats the insistence in the original refusal notice (pdf) that Deputy Wood was legally allowed to use his onboard computer when he ran Olin down last December. And that there is simply not enough evidence to get a conviction in the case.

Never mind that Wood was clearly driving distracted — which is a crime even if the driver is participating in an otherwise legal activity — as well as illegally driving in the bike lane, and admitted that he never saw the cyclist directly in front of his car. And witnesses said he never even touched his brakes before plowing into Olin’s bike.

Even I could get a conviction with evidence like that.

And never mind that prosecuting attorney’s frequently file challenging cases because they feel the victim deserves justice.

Which raises the question of what’s really going on here. And whether the DA is deliberately trying to quash the case, for reasons known only to her.

Though we can speculate.

The bottom line is, if Lacey is unwilling to prosecute in a case like this, no cyclist can expect to get justice in Los Angeles County.

Especially not if there’s a cop involved.

And that’s the real tragedy.

Here’s how to contact the DA’s office to express your outrage, courtesy of the LACBC. And if you’re not outraged, you should be.

1. E-Mail: [email protected], bcc: [email protected]

2. Snail mail to:

District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

3. Phone: (213) 974-3512

4. Twitter: @LADAoffice

……..

In a bizarre miscarriage of justice, a Kentucky bike rider is convicted of careless driving for repeatedly riding in the traffic lane instead of on the shoulder on a busy multi-lane highway.

Even though the shoulder is not legally part of the roadway, and cyclists are entitled to ride in the traffic lane in every state in the Union. Yes, even in the Blue Grass State.

You can contribute to her legal fight here. And yes, she plans to appeal.

……..

Lots of writers are weighing in on bikes this weekend.

Starting close to home, a Burbank letter writer clearly gets it, saying bikes don’t impede traffic, they reduce congestion. Meanwhile, a columnist for the Daily News clearly doesn’t, insisting the new three-foot law will only make our streets narrower and that bikes could never, ever be even a small part of the solution for LA’s traffic problems.

A Riverside letter writer doesn’t get it, either, basically insisting that bike riders are all scofflaw jerks who deserve what they get.

An Arizona writer says yes, cyclists have rights, but also have responsibilities. And a Wyoming letterist takes the local paper to task for a perceived bias against bike riders.

……..

Alberto Contador extends his lead over Chris Froome to wrap up the Vuelta.

Officials insist the doping era in professional cycling is officially over; evidently, no one bothered to tell Italian rider Matteo Rabottini.

And in non-pro cycling, a 70-year old New England cyclist took home three golds from the US masters road championships.

……..

Local

An architect and urban planner says it’s time to speed up the scope and pace of urban change in the City of Angels — including replacing Copenhagen as the bike capital of the world.

The LACBC offers members a free Basic Bicycling Skills class on Saturday the 20th.

Also on the 20th, Helen’s Cycles hosts a monthly no-drop Women’s Only Group Ride. The same day, Helen’s holds a free training ride for the Beverly Hills Gran Fondo Italia.

Glendale residents discuss where to locate a bike, ped and possibly equestrian bridge over the LA River.

Gritty Wilmington has the most extensive bike network in the city — and maybe the state — with 21.6 miles of connected bike lanes.

 

State

A San Diego cyclist is seriously injured after allegedly running a red light.

The Riverside Police Department asks for the public’s help in solving the hit-and-run death of bike rider D’Andre Sutherland last month.

Riverside entrepreneur Michael Cachat parlays his love of bicycling into a $28 million business.

A Jurupa Valley bike rider suffers major injuries in a Thursday afternoon collision.

A fake Palo Alto cop pulls over and chastises a teenage cyclist while waving a gun.

A helmet-wearing Sacramento comedian suffers a concussion in a collision.

 

National

City Lab explains what a road diet is and why even the US Department of Transportation recommends them; evidently, they know something CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo doesn’t. Or doesn’t want to, maybe.

The next step in accommodating bikes is building low-stress bike networks.

New cardboard panniers fold out on the spot to carry your belongings.

In Tucson, even streetcar drivers are disciplined for driving too close to a bike rider.

Was Boise’s failed buffered bike lane project designed to do so?

A Milwaukee website says protected bike lanes are the silver bullet of bike safety.

New York plans bike corrals in front of four Prospect Heights bars, even if not everyone gets it.

Caught on video: A New York rider captures a dooring and its aftermath on helmet cam.

Baton Rouge gets bike wayfinding signage right.

 

International

Sad news from the UK, as the girlfriend of a British mountain biker is killed when another rider loses control as she stood next to the course to see her boyfriend compete.

British Cycling plans to get more women riding in Wales and Scotland, the latter of which may derail their plans by untying the United Kingdom.

An Aussie advocacy group calls trucks wheels of mass destruction.

An Australian state DOT rejects “radical” bike rule changes, including an Idaho stop law and legalizing sidewalk riding. No, radical would be arming cyclists to defend themselves against threatening drivers.

 

Finally…

Seriously? A Cincinnati letter writer calls for red and orange safety warning triangles on bikes. Seattle moves to invalidate marijuana tickets written by a bike cop who actually flipped a coin to decide who to write up.

And after a Biloxi man steals a police bike, cops chase him down on foot — because he stole their bike.

 

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

Let’s be honest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or it could be a cover-up.

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

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

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

Anything.

But the official explanation doesn’t hold water.

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

………

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

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

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

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

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

From the LACBC website:

When: Wednesday, September 3

Schedule:

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

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

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

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

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

Shorter options:

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

Getting to the ride:

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

Getting from the ride:

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

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

 

Morning Links: More on misguided Olin decision; protected bikeways and hit-and-run bills pass legislature

More on the DA’s refusal to prosecute the sheriff’s deputy who killed cyclist Milt Olin, as cyclists urge the DA to change her mind.

Meanwhile, the local Calabasas paper picks up the story, while Digital Music News offers an angry response. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton rails against the decision. And the story goes international, courtesy of London’s Daily Mail; thanks to Kevin Hopps for the tip.

LA Daily News writer Brenda Gazzar writes that the Sheriff’s Department will open an internal affairs investigation into Deputy Andrew Wood now that the investigation is complete; thanks to Danny Gamboa for the link. Be sure follow her if you’re on Twitter for the latest updates and best reporting on this case.

For those who want to do more than sit and seethe, a protest ride and vigil will held next Wednesday, sponsored by the LACBC, Yield to Life and Ghost Bikes LA.

milt_olin_FLYR

……..

Despite difficult to understand opposition from CABO, the protected bikeways bill sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition passed the legislature Thursday and awaits the governor’s signature. The bill will allow protected bikeways, which are currently considered experimental under California law, as long as they adhere to NACTO guidelines.

Meanwhile, two hit-and-run bills sponsored by Glendale Assembly Member Mike Gatto passed, as well; AB 47 will create a Yellow Alert system to notify the public about significant hit-and-runs, while AB 1532 would automatically suspend the license of any driver convicted of hit-and-run. Thanks to Finish the Ride for the heads-up.

……..

LA Weekly rides along to the Emmys with Mad Men writer/producer Tom Smuts and company.

……..

Alejandro Valverde captures stage six of the Vuelta. Disappointing that one of the world’s great bike classics is getting so little coverage, especially when it promises to be one of the best in years.

And even though Lizzie Armistead has already wrapped up the Women’s World Cup, there’s still a lot at stake in the final race.

……..

Local

Two miles of new bike path open along the LA River in the West Valley.

Flying Pigeon questions whether North Figueroa drivers really want faster speeds or better traffic flow.

Fig4All explains how one misguided councilmember can derail a much needed safety improvement project on North Figueroa. And what can be done about it.

Bicyclists in the City of Angeles will ride in solidary with the Afghan women’s cycling team “and all women who ride bikes in the face of adversity” this Saturday.

LA cyclists ride to remember three fallen Belizean riders.

Who knew? The Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills was once home to some of the region’s finest bike trails.

Santa Monica police bust a bait bike thief.

A jogger is critically injured running in the bike lane on PCH in west Malibu when he’s hit by a car, which doesn’t bode well for cyclists using the lane intended for them. Correction: It turns out that’s not a bike lane, after all. 

 

State

San Diego’s new Bicycle Advisory Committee promises to make the city better for biking

Santa Barbara gets $8.6 million for bike projects, while Goleta gets $3.654 million and Santa Ana gets a relatively paltry $3 million.

Sadly, a Roseville rider is killed by her own SUV when it rolls over her while she’s trying to remove her bike from the back.

 

National

Momentum Magazine lists the next great bicycling cities, while Bicycling is about to offer an updated list of the nation’s top 10 bike cities. Do I really need to mention that LA didn’t make either list?

A 91-year old Oregon WWII and Vietnam Vet plans to keep riding despite being hit by a car.

No distracted driving law means the penalty for hitting a Texas cyclist is no worse than getting a speeding ticket.

Despite the LSU paper’s apparent ethical dilemma, bike theft is just wrong. Period.

A 75-year old former Manhattan bike commuter reminds his fellow Virginia riders they’re not above the law.

Milt Olin isn’t the only cyclist to lose his life to a sheriff’s deputy, as a 15-year old Florida boy is run down for no apparent reason by a patrol car driven by a Lee County deputy.

 

International

Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich puts his NHL career on hold to recover from serious injuries suffered in a frightening bike collision last month.

The UK government is urged to protect funding for bikes and pedestrians.

Half of Brit drivers break the law; I suspect the percentage would be a lot higher here.

Turns out London cyclists aren’t a danger to guide dogs after all.

A Brit minibus driver gets five years for killing a cyclist while looking a photos on his cell phone.

India’s Health Minister wants a nationwide network of protected bike lanes.

Clearly, it was a loss felt worldwide, as Aussie cyclists ride to remember Robin Williams.

 

Finally…

When you’re leaving an Ohio drug house with crack on your bike, put a damn bell on it if that’s what the law requires; the bike, not the crack. Now that your GoPro bike cam can give you a dog’s eye view of the world, expect to see a lot of butt close-ups.

And evidently, a pair of Laguna Beach cyclists are selling something to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. Unless the local paper meant pedal, instead of peddle, of course.

 

Update: DA refuses to file charges in Milt Olin case

The investigation is finally complete.

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

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

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

Then, nothing.

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

DA refusal letter (pdf)

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

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

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

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

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

Simply put, there are only two options.

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Brenda Gazzar for breaking the story. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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