Tag Archive for Moorpark

Morning Links: 300 days in Moorpark distracted driving case; applications now open for Great Streets grants

The good news is, we’ve figured out what caused the problem with email notifications for new posts. Now the problem is figuring out how to fix it. Hopefully we’ll have it working again soon.

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Life is cheap in Ventura County.

The Ventura County Star reports 27-year old Rachael Hill was sentenced to 300 days in jail for killing bicyclist Maciek Malish and motorcyclist Jesse Cushman just outside of Moorpark last year while “distracted by a portable electronic device.”

Probably texting, in other words.

Hill received an unwarranted gift when the Ventura County DA inexplicably filed the case as misdemeanors, rather than the felony charges recommended by CHP investigators.

She’ll begin her sentence November 4th, and will most likely serve just a fraction of that time before she’s released from county jail.

On the other hand, we should probably be grateful she got any time at all.

Meanwhile, Hill sentenced both men to death, and their families to a lifetime without them.

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Applications are now open for the second round of LA’s Great Streets Challenge projects.

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The official trailer has been unveiled for a new documentary about cargo bikes, called Motherload.

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A triathlete gave up a probable gold medal while competing in Cozumel, Mexico, when he stopped to help his heat-stroke stricken brother across the finish line.

There’s a new record for the world’s fastest human-powered vehicle, as a bullet-shaped ‘bent hit 89.58 mph in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge.

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Local

Peter Flax says riding an ebike does not make you a bad person, and that ebikes aren’t about replacing bicycles, but replacing cars.

Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman writes that bicycling and equity advocates will converge on Atlanta in November for The Untokening: A Convening for Just Streets and Communities to reclaim the streets and make them safe and accessible for all.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton suggests walking, expanded bikeshare and bike valets as possible solutions to the transportation crunch getting to the Rams games at the Coliseum. Improved bike lanes would also help, while benefitting USC students and local residents on non-game days.

The 626 Golden Streets ciclovía postposed due to last June’s brushfires in the San Gabriel Valley has been rescheduled for March 5th; the 19-mile open streets event will allow people to walk, jog, skate and bike through eight SGV cities.

 

State

Seven years after being paralyzed from the waist down in a dirt bike crash, a California man is able to ride a recumbent under his own power after receiving an electronic spinal implant.

Only eight tickets have been written in the entire state of California for violating three-foot passing law since it went into effect in September 2014; out of 10 drivers asked about the law by a San Francisco TV reporter, not one knew it even existed.

A mountain biker had a close encounter of the scary kind when he was confronted by a mountain lion while riding in Foothill Ranch; a bike rider was killed by a mountain lion on the same trail in 2004.

Laguna Beach plans to deal with safety problems on PCH by somehow moving cyclists off the deadly roadway instead of building the bike lane recommended in a recent safety study; as always, the real reason appears to a preference for parking spaces over human lives.

Sad news from Santa Maria, where a bike rider was killed when he allegedly turned left in front of a car.

Palo Alto approves plans for a Dutch-style protected intersection to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

 

National

Cosmo recommends riding to work, and offers solutions for five excuses not to.

Bicycling explains what goes on with your body when you crash.

Nikon introduces a new $500 action cam, while GoPro unveils a new $800 drone.

A Virginia cyclist outruns a road raging tractor driver who tried to cut him off in a bike lane.

North Carolina approves a four-foot passing law, while allowing drivers to briefly cross a center line to pass cyclists when they can see far enough to do it safely.

A New Orleans chef turns to Uber after her bicycle is stolen and someone steals the seat off her other bike.

 

International

The Ottawa trucking official who caused a stir by saying cyclists should have to stop half a block back from intersections so they don’t interfere with turning trucks doubles down, complaining about the complaints he received, while noting we all just want to get home safely. Never mind that in any crash with a bicyclist, the truck driver probably will, while the bike rider, not so much.

Halifax drivers complain that new protected bike lanes meant the loss of 49 parking spaces, even though the city installed 79 new spaces just a few blocks away to more than mitigate the loss. Meanwhile, someone keeps moving a Halifax bike corral out of the street and onto the sidewalk.

A writer for the Guardian says we need to kick our addiction to driving.

A London man describes a fist fight between a road raging cyclist and his equally road raging Uber driver, while getting billed for the driver’s trip to the hospital.

Iranian women continue to ride their bicycles, despite a religious edict from the country’s supreme leader banning the practice because it “exposes society to corruption” and “contravenes women’s chastity.” Because we all know bike riding makes you a slut, right? And that goes for men, too.

Caught on video: A Chinese ebike rider was badly injured after being kicked off her bike by someone on a passing scooter.

 

Finally…

Don’t leave home without your reflective clothing. Once again, using your bicycle to whack the driver you just collided with is just not what it’s designed for.

And evidently, riding a bicycle will remove all your skin and strip you naked.

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Guest Post: The cost of traffic violence — the daughter of a distracted driving victim speaks out

Last year, an alleged distracted driver plowed into a cyclist in Moorpark, then swerved into motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction, killing them both.

Recently, the daughter of one of those victims asked for the opportunity to tell her story. 

This is what she has to say.

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Hailey Cushman’s Story

My name is Hailey Cushman and I am Jesse Cushman’s only biological child. My dad was killed on September 12th, 2015 on his way home from work from BMW Motorcycles located in Ventura. He was hit head-on on his motorcycle in Moorpark, CA by Rachel Hill, who was later found to have been texting and driving. Hill first hit bicyclist Maciek Malish then over-corrected and swerved to hit my father. Both men were killed on impact but Hill only walked away with scratches. In fact, Hill was caught taking pictures of her injuries and posting them on her Facebook the next day as if the accident was humorous to her. This tragic event happened just 9 days before my 21st birthday (in which I had plans that were immediately cancelled and never rescheduled). Dad was going to be 44 years young in October 2015. He was born in Simi Valley, CA but lived most of his life in Reno, NV, which is where I live. Within a couple days of the accident I was down in Fillmore, CA, where dad currently lived with my grandmother, Jorja, and my stepmother, Julia. Julia and dad married in 2002. When dad moved to Southern California he was brought closer to his biological father, Joe Freas, who lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. Joe and dad were in the process of trying to rekindle their relationship after years of separation.

As a child I was lucky to have never experienced a close death in the family but that aspect has also made losing my father at this age extremely difficult for me. My dad had an exciting, fulfilling and fun life. My dad was Batman! My dad and Julia were heavily involved with cosplay and all things comics. Dad had several Batman suits that were so legit that he was in several professional photo shoots. That year dad and Julia won free tickets to the San Diego Comic Con, which they had been trying to attend for years. Dad and I enjoyed doing a lot together when I would come visit in the summer time; we would go boogie boarding in Malibu, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain several times a month (it was our favorite together), race quads (he raced professionally but he also taught me how to ride and I was too racing at just 5 years old). As a family, we would frequently play video games and board games as they owned a plethora of Monopoly games and superhero video games. We would even get the whole family involved with Rockband and have somebody on each instrument. Another big part of my dad and Julia’s life was motorcycles. They were a part of the local STAR riding chapters where they would do toy drives, poker runs and many other fun rides with the group. My grandma would always worry about dad on his motorcycle because she knew the risks but both dad and Julia were very cautious riders. I guess this proves that no matter how cautious you are in life you can never fully protect yourself from others.

Since I lost my dad my life has changed forever. I’ve had to see more psychiatrists lately for stress, anxiety and depression in order to keep my job and continue my college education (which I am close to finishing). I am so young and I have so much of my life ahead of me but my father will not be able to be there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, be there at the birth of his grandchildren, see me graduate college or buy my first house. The Cushman and Malish family’s lives have forever been changed and will always hurt when we think about this tragic incident. We try to put our minds at ease by thinking about how Rachel Hill will have to live with what she has caused these two families for the rest of her life as well, but unfortunately, we are unable to rely upon the justice system to make her accountable. We have recently been told by the Ventura County District Attorney’s office that Hill may not even receive any jail time but only community service. The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is certainly corrupt. The CHP took 8 months to complete the police report to ensure they had all the information and evidence to create a strong case. The CHP’s recommendation was that Hill should be charged with a felony of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Within 2 weeks of the Ventura County District Attorney receiving the case they decide that Hill only be charged with a misdemeanor!

Now, I am a smart and educated person. I have been going to school for 16 years (total) and this is not what I was taught in how our justice system operates! When you kill another person due to reckless driving you go to jail! End of story! Rachel Hill is only getting a slap on the wrist for killing TWO innocent people. I spoke with the assistant District Attorney who informed me that they did not have enough evidence to prove gross negligence, even though they had all of Rachel’s text message conversations showing she was texting while driving leading up to the accident. Hill has been able to spend the last 9 months with her family through the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were especially hard times for both the Cushman and Malish families. Now that Father’s Day is less than one week away my heart aches just thinking about that empty feeling I will have now not being able to celebrate it with my dad. No amount of money or punishment on Rachel Hill’s behalf will ever bring my father or Maciek Malish back but it would at least be nice to have a piece of mind knowing that Rachel Hill’s life would be forever affected with jail time, a felony and two counts of manslaughter on her record for the rest of her life the same way that our family will forever be devastated about this loss and injustice. Not a single person I have spoken to agrees with the District Attorney’s decision of a misdemeanor (besides the Hill family). We need to bring attention to this obvious injustice and corruption of our justice system by bringing publicity to this case for both the Cushman and the Malish family in hopes to one day begin to heal from this tragic loss.

From left to right: dad, Julia, grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating mine and Julia's graduation, grandmas birthday and dad and Julia's anniversary.

From left to right: Dad, Julia, Grandma and me. Disneyland 2012 celebrating my and Julia’s graduation, grandma’s birthday and Dad and Julia’s anniversary.

Dad and Julia's wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad and Julia’s wedding picture: June 12th, 2002.

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

Dad in his amazing Batman costume!

My favorite picture of dad and I at Disneyland.

My favorite picture of Dad and I at Disneyland.

R.I.P. Jesse Cushman. I love you!

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Reducing, let alone eliminating, traffic fatalities will be impossible as long as prosecutors refuse to take even the most egregious cases like this seriously. 

If you’re as angry as I am about this case, contact Ventura County DA Gregory D. Totten, and politely — but firmly — demand that the case be re-filed as a felony.

Hailey, and all the families and loved ones of both victims, deserve better.

As do we all.

Morning Links: Life is cheap in Ventura County, Kuehl’s cartoon bike goes Expo, and happy Bike to Work Day

We’re still at 17 new or renewing members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in the first-ever May BikinginLA LACBC Membership Drive.

Let’s get this up to one per day by getting just two more people to sign up now or renew your membership today to make it 19 on the 19th. It’s worth the low cost of membership just for the great LACBC gear you’ll get. Never mind helping to make this a more bikeable, livable and equitable city and county.

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They should be ashamed.

The Ventura County DA’s office gave an unwarranted gift to a killer driver on Tuesday, by charging a Camarillo woman with two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter in the distracted driving death of two people in Moorpark last year.

Even though the CHP had recommended felony charges.

Twenty-six-year old Rachel Hill was allegedly distracted by a “portable electronic device” when she slammed into 53-year old cyclist Maciek Malish at 55 mph, then overcorrected after killing him and smashed head-on into 43-year old motorcyclist Jesse Cushman as he rode in the opposite direction.

Thanks to the inexplicable generosity of the DA’s office — which evidently doesn’t take either traffic crime or human life seriously — Hill faces a maximum of one year in county jail for each count, rather than the six years in state prison per count the CHP and common sense suggests is warranted.

Now two men are dead and two families shattered, while a deadly driver is guaranteed of receiving nothing more than a gentle slap on the wrist.

It’s heartbreaking to realize the lives of those on two wheels are worth so little in Ventura County — even when one is an Emmy winning sound editor.

Let’s hope voters in the county remember this when the next election rolls around.

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LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has a little fun riding the new Expo Line with an animated bike, surfboard and service dog.


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Happy Bike to Work Day.

If you’re reading this early enough, you’ll find pit stops all over the LA area.

If not, don’t fret; both the Santa Monica Spoke and the LACBC are hosting handlebar happy hours for your ride home.

KPCC observes Bike to Work Day while noting that local bike commuting rates are still too low; Pasadena leads LA area cities with a 2.2% share.

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Italian cyclist Diego Ulissi came out on top in a three-way sprint in Wednesday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, as Bob Jungels keeps the leader’s pink jersey. Former leader Tom Dumoulin dropped out due to a sore butt.

The fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California ends with a sprint finish at Laguna Seca; thousands turned out for the start at Morro Bay. Peter Sagan captured his record 15th stage victory in the race, while Julian Alaphilippe leads American Peter Stetina by 22 seconds in the general classification.

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Local

LA’s Fox-11 concludes it is in fact possible to go carfree in SoCal.

HuffPo’s Joel Epstein complains about LA’s trashy streets.

The president of the Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association says the possible removal of Westwood Blvd from the bike plan is a victory for residents, insisting Gayley Ave is better suited for a bike lane. Because God forbid we should get in the way of their precious Mercedes, Range Rovers and Teslas.

Glassell Park will consider improvements to Verdugo Road, including a road diet and possible bike lanes.

LA Magazine says the Biking Black Hole’s new bikeshare system is encouraging people to ride bikes “on streets that are hostile, if not downright dangerous, to two wheels.” Sort of like Westwood/Holmby Hills residents.

 

State

The 2016 Tour de OC rolls this Saturday to help send foster kids to camp for a mentorship program.

San Diego traffic delays have doubled over the last three years, as too few people opt for transit or riding to work. Yet the city’s mayor says separated bike lanes work, and getting 22% of commuters on bikes is doable.

Bike friendly Redlands is looking for state funding to install a new bike lane connecting with the Santa Ana River Trail.

Fresno is looking to improve the health of its residents by making it safer to ride and bike in the largely Latino and African American south part of town.

A San Francisco cyclist was critically injured when he was run over by a cab driver while riding in a crosswalk.

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district is about to get its first bike lane.

The Sacramento Bee wades into the great helmet debate with a surprisingly even-handed report.

 

National

A police website discusses the new GPS-enabled bait bikes to bust bike thieves.

NPR joins in on a Portland house move by bicycle.

A Spokane bike shop is helping the homeless and underemployed get back on their feet and out on the road.

Caught on video: An Arizona bike rider catches a foul-mouthed road raging driver on his bike cam screaming at him to get on the sidewalk because he was using the left turn lane.

A year later, there are no leads in the apparently random shooting of a bike rider from a passing car near my hometown.

Someone has apparently set out to deliberately injure or kill Colorado mountain bikers by planting three-inch nails embedded in concrete on a new singletrack trail; it’s the second such incident in the area in the past year. Whoever did this should face an attempted murder charge when they’re caught, at the bare minimum.

A North Dakota letter writer applauds attempts to say no to those damn liberal bike lanes.

A bike-riding Massachusetts minister asks motorists to watch out for bicyclists, and not judge the majority of well-mannered riders by the actions of a few idiots. His words, not mine. But still.

Once again, New Yorkers rise up against bike lanes, this time in Brooklyn. Somehow, they seem to think older and handicapped people fair better dealing with speeding cars than bicycles.

An 11-year old bike rider never even left his driveway, yet he’s in the hospital now because a driver couldn’t be bothered to pull over before reaching into the backseat to get something. Too bad it’s not against the law to be an effing jackass.

 

International

A UK shire re-enacts the 97-year old unsolved murder of a young woman as she rode her bike from her uncle’s house.

Nothing like taking a beating from a road-raging 77-year old Brit driver.

A Scottish adventure cyclist has circled the world twice — once setting a world record — and ridden from Alaska to Argentina and the full length of Africa, all before his 34th birthday.

Despite the panicking headline, only eleven Belfast cyclists have been cited for biking under the influence in the past five years.

It’s urban drivers who benefit most from cycling, though that’s not always obvious to motorists, according to a Dublin letter writer.

Barcelona considers building superblocks to reclaim 60% of the city’s streets from cars.

An Aussie pro cyclist says she’s encouraged to see more riders Down Under, yet utterly afraid because of their lack of skills and bad behavior.

An Australian politician says all new road and rail projects in the country should include walking and cycle tracks. Actually, that should be the policy everywhere.

 

Finally…

Think of it as fly paper for bicyclists. Maybe you don’t want to wear that yellow jersey after all.

And it’s pedals, dammit, not peddles.

Seriously.

 

Update: Two dead in Moorpark collision as driver rear-ends Emmy-winning cyclist, then swerves into motorcyclist

Tragic news from Moorpark, as two people are dead in a chain-reaction collision that took the life of a bicyclist and a motorcycle rider.

News initially broke last with a CHP report of a cyclist killed in a collision at the intersection of Moorpark and Tierra Rejada Roads around 5:21 pm.

However, the initial news report from the Ventura County Star, which is no longer available online, suggested that there were two dead at the scene in a collision between car and a motorcycle.

The confusion was cleared up this morning with news reports from the VC Star and Ventura radio station KTVA.*

A Saturn Ion driven by woman, who has not been publicly identified, was traveling south on Moorpark south of Tierra Rejada at 55 mph when she slammed into a cyclist riding on the shoulder, then overcorrected to hit the motorcyclist head-on on the opposite side of the road.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

The road narrows to a single lane south of Tierra Rejada, but has a wide, well-marked shoulder where the first victim was riding.

He was identified this morning as 53-year old Emmy Award-winning sound editor Maciek Malish. KTVA reports he won two Emmys for his work on the X-Files, as well as receiving numerous Emmy nominations. IMDb lists a number of credits dating back to 1987; he was currently working as dialogue editor on the new Westworld TV series.

The other victim was identified 42-year old Fillmore resident Jesse Cushman.

No reason is given for why the driver drifted onto the shoulder at such a high speed, although the description of the wreck suggests some form of distraction, However, it’s still under investigation by the CHP.

This is the 48th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Ventura County.

Update: The Star confirms that investigators suspect that distraction appears to have played a role in the crash.

A CHP spokesman said the driver was apparently looking for something in the car when she swerved off the roadway, but it’s too early in the investigation to determine if the 26-year old woman will be charged.

The paper also notes that both victims were wearing helmets. However, a collision at 55 mph was unlikely to be survivable, with or without one.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Maciek Malish and Jesse Cushman, and all their loved ones.

Thanks to Lester Walters for the heads-up.

*Because of the Star’s paywall, and KTLA not allowing linkage to a single news story, these stories may be unavailable later.

 

78-year old bike rider killed in Moorpark hit-and-run

Once again, a cryptic CHP dispatch hinted at a horrible cycling collision long before anyone else.

A transmission early Thursday afternoon told of a damaged bicycle on the right shoulder of Tierra Rejada Road in Moorpark, with debris in the roadway — and a body in a tree.

And someone — maybe a passerby, maybe the driver involved — was waiting on the right shoulder to guide CHP officers to the collision site.

Now the Ventura County Star and Moorpark Patch confirm that 78-year old Simi Valley resident Bernard Cooper was killed in a rear-end collision while riding on the right shoulder of Tierra Rejada east of the Moorpark Freeway around 1:20 pm Thursday; the CHP puts the initial report at 1:28 pm.

After hitting Cooper with enough force to throw his body into a tree, 20-year old Nicolas Santiago of Ridgecrest drove for another mile-and-a-half before evidently having a change of heart and returning to the scene. The CHP dispatch identifies the vehicle waiting for them as a Nissan Xterra; unfortunately, there’s no word on what kind of car Santiago was driving or whether he returned after the collision had been reported.

Both Cooper and Santiago were headed east on Tierra Rejada; a satellite view of the roadway shows a wide shoulder where Cooper should have been safely out of the line of traffic, while a Google street view shows a 55 mph speed limit in the area.

Not surprisingly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash was still being investigated Thursday evening, however, the CHP reports that alcohol does not appear to have been a factor.

Santiago was arrested at the scene for hit-and-run. However, based on similar cases, the fact that he returned to the scene of the collision — apparently voluntarily — suggests that the charge is unlikely to result in significant penalties.

This is the fifth cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Ventura County; that compares to three bicycling deaths in Ventura County in all of 2012.

My prayers and condolences for Bernard Cooper and all his family and loved ones.

Update: A comment below says the driver of the Xterra was the one who called 911, and was not involved in the collision.

Update: 2012 SoCal bike deaths reach an even 50, as 52-year old Moorpark cyclist killed Thursday

This is not the story I wanted to write today.

I’d promised you a contest for the holiday weekend, sponsored by Clif Mojo bars to celebrate national Trail Mix Day.

But that will have to wait, as I’ve just gotten word of a fatal bicycling collision that took the life of a Moorpark man on Thursday.

According to Moorpark Patch, the victim, identified only as a 52-year old man pending notification of next-of-kin, was riding south on Moorpark Avenue at Poindexter Ave at around 9:55 am when he was struck by a car traveling in the same direction.

Details are sparse. It could have been a hit-from-behind collision; however, the fact that it occurred in the intersection would suggest a possible right hook. Or the rider could have been attempting to make a left turn, and either crossed into the driver’s path, or been struck when the driver failed to see him.

The victim was taken to Los Robles Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The 44-year old driver, a resident of Sylmar, remained at the scene.

It’s sad that hit-and-run has become so common that something like that even needs to be mentioned.

This is the 50th fatal bike collision in Southern California this year, and the third in Ventura County, compared to four in the county last year. And eight months into the year, it puts us on a pace for 75 fatalities in the seven-county SoCal region this year, not counting shooting victims, compared to 71 in 2011.

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

Out of respect for the victim, I’ll wait until later this evening to put the contest online. I hope you’ll come back then or over the weekend; especially after news like this, we all need to have a little fun.

Update: The Ventura County Star has identified the victim as 52-year old Moorpark resident Kenneth Guthrie, who was hit by a car driven by 44-year old Jaime Tijero Ibarra of Sylmar. Still no word on how the collision occurred; Ibarra was not cited at the scene, and the case remains under investigation. 

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