Tag Archive for Michael Vega

The DMV gets it right, a killer hit-and-run driver may get what’s coming, and your Monday morning links

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of publications from the DMV about bicycling and sharing the road with cyclists.

But this is the first one I’ve seen that really gets it right — even if it is a tad light on instructions for motorists.

It even answers the question the LAPD has struggled with for the past year, explaining that bike riders can, in fact, ride in the crosswalk. Although it doesn’t say anything about whether riders have to cross with traffic, or if crosswalks are bi-directional for cyclists just as they are for pedestrians.


A preliminary hearing is scheduled Monday for Jason Cox, charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death or injury for the death of cyclist Michael Vega in Rancho Cucamonga last August.

Unfortunately, this case will be held in Bernardino County, where the lives of cyclists seem to have little value.

Update: I had originally misplaced Rancho Cucamonga in Riverside County, rather than San Bernardino. Thanks to JG for the correction.


The London Guardian says you can, in fact, look good on your bike. And they’re right, epecially if you invest in the Pee-Wee Herman skin suit.

Meanwhile, Bicycling offers their sartorial advice on dressing for cold weather.


L.A. City Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander take up the city’s hit-and-run epidemic; Englander calls for impounding vehicles of drivers who flee, maybe he’s been reading my blog? The Times looks at Gil Garcetti, bike-friendly photographer and former DA — and father of current mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti. Long Beach’s biking expats are back in SoCal after returning to the scene of a beautifully challenging ride near Solvang.

There was actually a time when Riverside was a center for cycling. Plans are underway to remake Orange County’s Moulton Parkway to add sidewalks and bike lanes, and unfortunately, widen the roadway, which will undoubtedly increase speeds. Coronado ignores Caltrans and approves bike corrals throughout the city. Oceanside plans to rebuild PCH on a more human scale, making it bike and pedestrian friendly. When a reader asks why Los Gatos is so unfriendly to cyclists, a town official swears it ain’t necessarily so. A popular 90-year old Livermore resident struggles to recover from a December collision with a 70-year old cyclist. San Francisco plans to spend $200 million on bike projects over the next five years.

60 Minutes discovered something fishy was going on in cycling back in 2001; but don’t forget cycling is just people on bikes. Bicycling says now Greg LeMond can be the American hero he always should have been; it didn’t hurt that his name was on the bike ended up buying when I was shopping. Colorado Springs depends on bikes for freaky fast delivery. Memphis officials discuss the benefits of bike lanes. It shouldn’t take the tragic deaths of two teenage cyclists to bring their families together. Bikes are good for business, but how can cyclists make their presence known? Bicycles and Mack Trucks have exactly the same rights to the roads.

A Vancouver cyclist responds to his stolen bike by inventing a new cable lock hidden in the seat post; here’s the link to the Kickstarter page, courtesy of Bill. A UK driver flees the scene on foot after killing a couple riding their recently purchased tandem. A British mother wants to thank the driver who hit her bike-riding son for exposing the tumor that could have killed him. Another Brit hit-and-run driver faces jail for claiming his car was stolen, but not for the cyclist he killed. As usual, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain offers a long list of mostly, but not exclusively, UK-centric bike links. Touring the Loire Valley by bike. Now that’s scary, as an Australian cyclist is critically injured after riding into a downed power line. The internet is killing Aussie bike shops. A Singapore physician is charged with five counts in the hit-and-run death of one cyclist and seriously injuring another; are you starting to notice a theme here? Bangkok cyclists put pressure on candidates for governor to improve the city for bicycling.

Finally, having evidently solved the problem of distracted drivers maiming and killing people with their multi-ton vehicles, the biggest traffic problem in New Zealand is now texting cyclists. And another Kiwi writer politely says these roads are mine, so keep your damn Lycra-clad asses off it.

Loosely translated, of course.

Suspect arrested in hit-and-run death of Michael Vega; bike-jacking bank robber and Sat’s Tour de Fat

Let’s start with good news from the Inland Empire.

The Press Enterprise reports an arrest has been made in the late August hit-and-run death of Michael Vega in Rancho Cucamonga.

According to the paper, published news reports and a phone tip led police to a truck driven by construction worker Jason Cox; after inspecting the vehicle, they arrested Cox on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run resulting in death or injury.

It will be interesting to see how they can make the intoxication charge hold up, since Cox had over two weeks to sober up.

The paper says he’s being held in the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on $250,000 bond.

But before you get too excited, remember this is the same DA and court system that let the street racing killer of Jorge Alvarado off with just three lousy months in jail.

Thanks to Joe Devito for sending the link.

Update: The Inland Valley Daily Enterprise reports that the tip that led to Cox’s arrest came as a result of a video plea for information from the Sheriff’s Department that was posted on their website Tuesday.

Deputies received a tip Wednesday evening pointing them towards Cox, who drove a work truck for a construction company in Chino. When Police inspected the truck, they found heavy front-end damage, as well as paint the matched the truck and the bike.

Cox will appear in court on Monday.


A Santa Ana cyclist chases down a bike-jacking bank robber with the help of a stranger, recovering his bike and leading to the arrest of the thief, who had previously failed to carjack three separate vehicles.

The thief may want to consider a new career once he gets out. Which isn’t likely to be anytime soon.


This weekend’s big bike news is the return of Tour de Fat at L.A. State Historic Park — a full day of bikes and beer, starting with a can’t miss bike parade through Downtown from 11 to noon, with registration for the parade starting at 10 am.

Entertainment runs from noon to 5 pm. I’ll be there volunteering at the LACBC booth until at least 1 pm, so stop by and say hi; anyone who signs up for LACBC membership gets a token for a free beer.

And if you hurry, there’s still time to sign up to trade your car for a bike worth up to $2,250.

Admission is free. Costumes are encouraged, but remember the forecast is for temperatures in the mid to upper 90s on Saturday. So you might want to dress for the weather and wear as little as possible.

And no, you don’t need arrive by bike; there’s plenty of parking in the area, and it’s walking distance from the Chinatown Metro station.


Don’t forget tonight’ Dinner & Bikes (& Cupcakes) with Elly Blue, one of the cycling community’s leading writers and thinkers, presented by LACBC affiliate Santa Monica Spoke.


The Los Angeles Valley College Valley Star newspaper takes a look at California’s recently passed three-foot passing law. Jessica Simpson’s dad is given permission to drink again following an August DUI arrest, as long as he stays out of cars, bikes or motorcycles; nice to know the courts take these things not very seriously. West Hollywood teams with Sustainable Streets to offer a free Confident City Cycling course this Sunday. Courtesy of my friends at Altadenablog comes word of a lifelong cyclist and ex-Marine who won’t let MS stop him from riding, turning to Altadena custom bike-maker BlackSmith for a competitive hand bike. A Shell Beach physician is killed by a big rig after allegedly riding through a stop sign in San Louis Obispo; for some reason, a local TV station quotes bike injury stats from the Royal — note that word — Society for Prevention of Accidents. A bicyclist is injured every nine days in Mountain View; maybe he should learn to ride more carefully. It’s starting to seem like open season on bike riding pastors, as a Crestline Baptist minister is injured on a training ride.

People for Bikes wants your helps landing a $250,000 grant. The League of American Bicyclists responds to the National Women’s Bike Summit in Long Beach by announcing the launch of Women Bike to encourage greater female ridership. Analyzing Ebony magazine’s unhappy bicycle wedding. New bike helmet impact sensor automatically calls for help if it detects an impact. Bike Lawyer Bob Mionske offers advice on how to cover your ass if you lead a group ride. The massive Interbike trade show cracks down on non-industry entries; I’ve got a press pass, but no money to go, dammit. A suburban Iowa town is the latest to attempt to ban bikes. A Houston cyclist avoids serious injuries after falling 25 feet off a bridge. A Michigan judge agrees to sentence a hit-and-run driver to a minimum term after she pleads guilty, despite a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. Why cyclists do the things we do. Remarkably, a jury concludes that it was just a coincidence that a New Jersey driver happened to run down and kill the teenage boy who vandalized his car. New York is failing to protect its vulnerable road users; a blind Detroit attorney sues the city for failing to stop reckless cyclists. Not surprisingly, a Brooklyn driver isn’t charged after hitting a cyclist and driving through a fence into a 50-foot pit. Courtesy of our friend Zeke comes word of a South Carolina salmon cyclist who was the victim of a hit-and-run; also by way of Zeke is a nice story of a successful 25-year old bike shop — as well as word that Albert Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity while riding his bike. No, really, if you’re going to carry 12 grams of dope on your bike after dark, use some lights.

Editors at the Washington Examiner fan the flames of bike hatred with a highly inflammable headline unsupported by the even-handed article. Edmonton cyclists get their first bike box, which is one more than L.A. cyclists have. Better UK bike commutes through technology. As usual, British courts give a slap on the wrist to a killer driver who failed to see a cyclist before running him over; they’re almost as bad as New York. The World Anti-Doping Agency considers amnesty for riders who confess to drug use, but too late to help Lance, who rudely insists on riding anyway. You won’t want to miss the tongue-in minutes of an appeasing — not appealing — Aussie bike club.

Finally, after a driver attempts to run a cyclist off the road, they talk it out like British gentlemen. And it turns out giving birds the bird won’t stop Aussie avian attacks.

Stupid Driver Tricks — bizarrely impatient Brentwood driver; and knee-jerk Hollywood anti-bike hatred

Maybe it was something in the water.

Or maybe it was a little lunar lunacy in anticipation of tomorrow’s Blue Moon.

But Thursday’s ride to Manhattan Beach and back was marked with more Stupid Driver Tricks — and not just drivers, as a few cyclists and pedestrians insisted on getting into the act — than I usually see in a month.

But this one takes the cake.

All this woman had to do was wait a few seconds until the light changed, and she could have easily gotten out of that parking lot with her dry cleaning.

Instead, she pulled out directly towards the car in front of her. When that didn’t work, as he failed to magically disappear from her way, she backed up, pausing as I pulled up next to her. Then looked directly at me, and cut me off anyway — as the driver next to me and I both shook our heads, arms extended in the universal WTF gesture.

And yes, I may have made another gesture that didn’t show up on camera as I pulled up next to her.

No, not that one.


Streetsblog offers a good look at what you should do if you encounter my pet peeve — bike lanes needlessly blocked by Hollywood production crews.

Even though experience has taught me that Corgis make much better pets than peeves.

As they note, film crews are required to have a permit before they’re allowed to block a bike lane, or any other traffic lane, for that matter.

And yes, a bike lane is a legal traffic lane, albeit one reserved for bikes, just as HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with more than one occupant. Or people willing to pay for the privilege of driving alone.

Which means that, without a permit from the city — which is remarkably easy to get — film crews have no more right to block a bike lane than they do the center lane on Wilshire Blvd. Though that never seems to stop them from doing it anyway.

The story also notes, correctly, that you have every right to demand to see that permit, whether they like it or not. And that if they don’t have one, you’re entitled to call the police — or Film LA — and demand that they move the offending cones to reopen the bike lane.

Although getting someone to actually care enough to do something about it can be another matter.

Then there are the seemingly inevitable comments from film crew workers unwilling to even attempt to obey the law.

Including this one from a self-described Assistant Location Manager who threatens to have anyone who asks to see the permit arrested on false charges.

As an Assistant Location Manager, the guy whom you will probably be approaching for a film permit, which will then be followed by your venting hippie diatribe about why my working trucks are blocking your bike lane here’s what I am going to do….Ask to see my permit, which I will produce for you. Then it will be I who will call the cops and claim that you threatened my production company with extortion, which I will be able to produce witnesses for. I will also suggest to the officer who responds that we spotted you taking illicit drugs not far away from my set, which I will also produce witnesses for. Being that most bikers I know engage in the occasional to regular use of drugs, I will most likely be right. When your being cuffed and taken to jail, I will then sell your bike on ebay….I may even use the funds to put gas in my Ford F-150 (not a Prius). You guys want a fight, your going to get one…

Point is, we are losing production jobs everyday to other states and cities because of BS like this. My methodology may seem machiavellian but I will do whatever it takes to keep filming in Los Angeles, keep food on my family’s table, and not be forced to move to keep working in film industry which provides a much needed paycheck and health benefits to family and I. Be warned, if the working trucks are parked in a bike lane, bike around us and go on your merry way…

Nice way to put a good face on Hollywood, dude.

And summing up exactly why many people in this town are fed up with self-entitled production crews, regardless of the jobs they create.

Yes, we all want to put an end to runaway productions, and keep those high-paying jobs right here at home.

But Hollywood needs to take a long, hard look at itself, and accept that other people in this city have rights, as well.


Joe Devito forwards a photo of the ghost bike for Michael Vega, the 25-year old cyclist killed by a hit-and-run driver earlier this week in Rancho Cucamonga.

And judging by the comments, it sounds like we’ve lost a great guy.


A few other quick notes:

Flying Pigeon looks at Tuesday’s meeting of the LACBC Civic Engagement Committee. Downtown is rapidly being redrawn to support bicycling. Glendale letter writer doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that bike lanes make streets safer, not the other way around. Three San Diego firefighters are on trial for beating the crap out of two bike riding brothers after calling one a bicycle faggot. A rocket scientist Ventura motorcyclist hates on California’s new three-foot passing law, missing the concept that it is actually possible to drive safely; and that emergency vehicles get an entire lane, while bicyclists only get three feet.

Trial has begun in the case of the driver who killed tandem cyclists Greg and Alexandra Bruehler, resulting in the single saddest photo I’ve ever seen. Here’s a good reason not the be an idiot, as a road-raging Detroit cyclist runs a red light, hits a truck, punches the driver — and gets fatally shot as a result. A PA cyclist is the victim of an early season drive-by pumpkining. Maybe cyclists should be licensed — and paid to ride. Ex-framebuilder Dave Moulton notes that doping has been around as long as competitive cycling.

Finally, I’ve always like fast women, as Bikeyface nails it once again. And it’s so hot, Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali is fixing bikes in his tightie whities reds.

Come back a little later in the day Friday, when we’ll have a giveaway contest to celebrate National Trail Mix Day. No, really, there actually is one. And I’ll see if the video came out on some of those other Stupid Driver Tricks over the next few days.

Update — Rancho Cucamonga cyclist latest victim of a fatal hit-and-run; 2nd in last two months

KCBS-2 reports that yet another cyclist has been killed in a Southern California hit-and-run.

According to the station, 25-year old Michael Vega was riding west on Foothill Blvd near Ramona Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga around 6:40 pm Tuesday, when he was run down from behind by a white truck, which fled the scene.

A fire captain reports the impact was hard enough to knock Vega out of his shoes. The station also notes that Vega was wearing a helmet, but the force of impact was too great for it to be of benefit.

And yet a police spokesperson suggests that unless the driver was drunk — which will probably never be determined, since he fled the scene — it will amount to nothing more than a simple traffic accident.

Thanks for having our back, dude.

Hint to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department — killing another human being with a motor vehicle is a serious matter. Or at least, it should be.

Whether or not the driver was drunk.

KCBS reports the witnesses tried to comfort Vega where they found him crumpled in the gutter; he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Police are looking for a white work truck with a ladder or lumber rack in the back. Anyone with information should contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department’s Rancho Cucamonga station at 800/477-2800.

Vega is the 49th cyclist to die on Southern California streets this year, excluding gunshot victims, and the eighth in San Bernardino County.

This is also the third cycling death in Rancho Cucamonga — a frighteningly high total for a city of less than 168,000 — and the second fatal hit-and-run involving a cyclist in that city in just the last two months.

My prayers and deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones.

Update: Michael of CLR Effect offers his thoughts, which are always insightful and always worth reading, including this:

Almost as troubling is the initial reaction from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. I don’t normally like to knock law enforcement, they are only charged with enforcing existing laws, not making them, not prosecuting them. But tied into the process of enforcement is the act of interpretation. When a department spokesperson says “unless the driver is intoxicated, nothing other than having a traffic accident taken is going to come out of this” has to leave me wondering what ever happened to the serve and protect code (granted that is the LAPD motto, but have always believed it should apply to all in the public service sector). 

Update 2: The Press-Enterprise says Vega was a resident of Norco, and died at the hospital less than an hour after being hit.

Update 3: KCBS offers a good follow-up on their original story, noting a ghost bike has already been installed, and that Vega worked at the Apple Store in Victoria Gardens. 

He was on his way to his girlfriend’s home when he was killed; his mother thanked those who comforted her son as he lay dying, and said she saw a double rainbow that night, taking a picture of it at the same time he passed away.

Update 4: An arrest has been made in this case

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