Tag Archive for Naira Margaryan

Run a stop sign, kill a cyclist, flee the scene, get probation

Evidently, life is cheap in the East Valley.

On the morning of September 23rd, 2008, Naira Margaryan blew through a stop sign in her Mercedes Benz, hit a cyclist and fled the scene, leaving Gerado Ramos lingering in a coma for over a year before he finally died of his injuries.

This Tuesday, she was sentenced for her actions.

Correction: The Glendale News Press had said that Margaryan fled the scene; they have since corrected the above story to indicate that she stayed at the scene following the collision.

Not for the jail time that such a crime would seem to call for. Instead she received 700 hours of community service.

And a restricted driver’s license.

I got a stiffer punishment from the ruler-wielding nuns back in catechism class.

Meanwhile, her victim, who authorities found equally responsible for the collision, received the death penalty for the crime of riding his bike on the sidewalk. Which may or may not have been legal in the exact spot where he was struck, given the confusing nature of Glendale’s Municipal Code.

Apparently, riding on the sidewalk is legal anywhere except a business district. But business district is defined so broadly that pretty much any location that isn’t made up exclusively of single family homes would seem to qualify.

CVC 240(c) All churches, apartments, hotels, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings, other than schools, shall be deemed to be business structures.

So one ran a stop sign and killed another human being; the other rode his bike on the sidewalk.

Yeah, those seem like equivalent crimes to me, alright.

But only one of them gets to walk away.

Update: This story has been edited to remove any additional references to hit-and-run, based on the News Press correction.

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L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa provides his own perspective on this week’s Bike Summit on the Huffington Post, and promises to follow-up with answers to the most popular questions on his Google Moderator page. Blogdownton responds that cyclists are looking for progress, not promises, while Bikeside accuses the Mayor of declaring helmet war on cyclists.

And leading Brit bike site Road.cc notes that the Mayor is turning into a cycling evangelist, and things seem to be changing for the better here in L.A.; any story that quotes me can’t be all bad.

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LACBC urges cyclists to write in support of the suddenly threatened bike lanes on Wilbur Avenue in the Valley; the problem is local resistance to a planned road diet to make room for the lanes, not a shortage of roadway paint.

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The Source looks at Wednesday night’s Moving Beyond Cars event, and offers highlights from last week’s Metro Bicycle Roundtable. Streetsblog looks forward to this weekend’s Bikeside Speaks, while Gary offers an updated speaker list. Never thought I’d be envious of a bike route through Claremont, but that’s one pretty ride. Police crack down on Tucson’s Tuesday Night Bike Ride. If a cyclist riding the wrong way hits a jaywalking pedestrian, do they cancel each other out? Bob Mionske says if you buzz pedestrians, you give all of us a bad name. Bicycling looks at the best up-and-coming American riders. The Thin Bike promises to take up less space in your crowded apartment. A Colorado man takes a bat to a $4,800 bike because he’s tired of “old guys…hogging the road;” Dave Moulton asks, was it worth it? From my home town, cyclists say You know me, I ride a bike. Texas cyclist Reed Bates is found guilty of reckless driving for not riding as far right as possible, the judge says whether or not it’s safer to ride in the middle of the lane, it’s still reckless; Andy Clarke explains why the League of American Bicyclists didn’t get involved. What if bike racks could pay for themselves — or maybe even make money? Michigan cyclists raise money to repave a popular riding road. Two Indiana cyclists are killed in separate incidents just hours apart. The most dangerous state for cyclists promotes its new three foot passing law. Anti-bike scaremongering reaches the boiling point in New York, even though collisions between cyclists and pedestrians have dropped by more than half. MIT’s Copenhagen Wheel, capable of turning any bike into an electric-assisted bicycle, wins the U.S. round of the James Dyson Award; the Guardian says it’s too clever for it’s own good. The local bike shop in Altlandsburg, Germany shouldn’t be hard to find. York, England authorities are puzzled by an unexpected surge in bike thefts. Private street rangers plan to crack down on London’s sidewalk riding cyclists. A Brit cyclist deals with sexist idiots by exposing them on her blog, 101 Wankers.

Finally, bounce back from your next hard summer ride with a post-ride recovery beer. Now there’s a cycling supplement program I can support.

A raft of bike-related court cases; L.A.’s revised bike plan MIA.

Dj Wheels catches us up on the current of court cases affecting the cycling community — some of which we’ve discussed before, along with a few new ones in the ever expanding list of drivers brought to justice.

Robert Sam Sanchez, charged in the hit-and-run death of Rod Armas in Malibu while allegedly intoxicated, had his Preliminary Setting continued to May 26 at 8:30 am in the Malibu Courthouse.

According to Wheels —

I didn’t see anyone that appeared to be there for the victim’s family, but there were plenty family members there in support of the Defendant. The deputy DA said again that there would either be a disposition on this day (ie. a plea deal entered) or there would be a date selected for a Preliminary Hearing (a mini trial before the judge to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hear the case before a jury).

William Keith Square, arrested in the hit-and-run death of a still-unnamed cyclist in Carson on April 17th, was arraigned three days later and entered a not guilty plea on all counts. A Preliminary Setting was held on May 5th, and Preliminary Hearing scheduled for June 10 at 8:30 am. Notes Wheels, “Funny how when you don’t have private counsel, the process moves a lot faster.”

Angelina Gailine Everett, accused of the hit-and-run that left an injured Ed Magos lying in the street on January 6. Dj Wheels explains —

She initially stopped, but then left the scene without rendering aid or exchanging information with the injured cyclist. The city attorney was not going to file charges at first, but after pressure from the cycling community and a promise from the newly appointed Chief Beck to request that the C.A. take a second look at it, charges were finally filed on April 6. There was an initial arraignment date of May 6, but apparently Everett did not show up. According to my sources, the city attorney might have sent the citation and notice to appear for her arraignment to an old address.  The court’s system still doesn’t have a new arraignment date entered.

Everett is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there physical injuries to one of the involved parties – CVC 20001

2) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there is property damage – CVC 20002(A)

Naira Margaryan, accused in the death of Gerado Ramos 13 months after he was struck while riding in a Glendale crosswalk.

On September 23, 2008, Margaryan ran over a cyclist at a crosswalk in a residential section of Glendale, after allegedly blowing through a stop sign. Detective Mankarios of the Glendale PD claims the victim cyclist was somehow also at fault in violation of the Cal Vehicle Code by riding his bike on the sidewalk. The case was filed on April 30. There was an initial arraignment date of May 13, and the defendant appeared with private counsel but did not enter her plea. Arraignment was continued to June 2 at 8:30am at the Glendale Courthouse in Dept. 1.

Margaryan is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – PC 192(c)(2)

In a non-bike related case, former state legislator Walter Karabian stands accused of assaulting an unnamed parking attendant during a USC football game last fall. Wheels reports that a pretrial conference was heard on May 13, with another hearing scheduled for June 10 for compliance with discovery requests, as well as a Trial Setting Conference. A jury trial has been tentatively scheduled for July 19.

Yelena Krupen is accused of damaging the property of an unnamed victim in a hit-and-run collision while driving with a suspended license.

On December 3, 2009, Krupen struck a cyclist from behind with her Mercedes on Santa Monica Blvd at Bedford Ave. in Beverly Hills, causing damage to the bicycle. However, Krupen immediately left the scene after backing up off the rear wheel of the bike. Another motorist who witnessed the incident followed the Mercedes for a short distance, wrote down the license plate and returned to the scene with the info, which was later provided to the BHPD. After an investigation by BHPD and some complaints to the BH City Council for what was feared would become a dismissal, charges were filed on March 15, 2010.

Arraignment was held on March 26 and Krupen pleaded not guilty to both counts with the assistance of the Public Defender. A pretrial conference was held on April 23, which was continued to May 20. The defendant was not present but appeared by private counsel. She was ordered to be present at the next hearing.

Krupen is charged with:

1)one misdemeanor count of failing to stop and provide information at the scene of a collision where there is property damage only – CVC 20002(A)

2)one misdemeanor count of driving with suspended/revoked license – CVC 14601.1(A)

And still no word on charges against Patrick Roraff, the 18-year old driver who allegedly killed pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado while street racing near San Bernardino on April 8th.

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Remember the new bike plan that seemed to be such a big deal last year? Yeah, me neither. LACBC seems to recall that LADOT promised us a revised plan all the way back in February, and — justifiably — takes the city to task for failing to schedule a realistic release date three months later. And oh-so-politely points the finger at the upper echelons of the department.

Seems to me that if the people in charge at LADOT wanted to release a bike plan, it would have happened already. So here’s my polite suggestion. Either get with the program, or get hell out of the way so people who actually give a damn about cycling in this city can get something done.

Otherwise, you may find L.A.’s cycling community gathered on LADOT’s doorstep with a different finger extend.

And this one won’t be pointing.

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Richie Porte keeps the leader’s jersey in the Giro; Vinokourov starts his comeback by gaining 10 seconds on the leader, leaving him just 9 minutes and 48 seconds behind. Thursday’s Amgen Tour of California was not hijacked by Floyd Landis, despite appearances to the contrary; Michael Rogers — no relation — claims the leader’s jersey despite having the same overall time as Dave Zabriskie.

Landis-accused Lance Armstrong crashes out at the beginning of the stage, while Greg “Everyone is a Doper but Me” LeMond sides with Landis for a change; tune in tomorrow for As the ToC Turns.

Meanwhile, Blog Downtown anticipates big crowds and closures on Saturday.

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Gary gets a pleasant Bike to Work Day surprise — along with some not so nice surprises. Bike to Work Day is celebrated in Claremont and by the LACBC Downtown, while UCLA offers Bike to School Day. Metro offers free rides to cyclists with helmets, but may have forgotten to tell their drivers. And a little Tweet pressure gets Trader Joe’s to think twice about opening in Bike Week without bike parking.

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LADOT continues their advice for beginning cyclists. Pasadena tells cyclists to please stay off the sidewalk. A new OC bike shop will offer dial-up roadside service. Hemet police find cyclists at fault in 16 of 18 collisions; yeah, no hint of bias there. A cyclist in Oakland is killed when he gets doored by a driver and forced into a bus. On the heels of the worldwide popularity of the Tweed ride comes the Seersucker Ride; seriously, does anyone look good in seersucker? Dave Moulton notes that most drivers would give a stray dog more than three feet clearance, so why not a cyclist? The obvious answer is most people like dogs. A cyclist confesses to running red lights, carefully. Boulder CO police are looking for the speeding driver of a $110,000 Mercedes SUV who fled the scene after striking a cyclist in a bike lane. The Washington Post says sharing the road is a two-way street. Evidently, there’s a rash of narco-cyclists in Dallas; oddly, they lifted the photo from USC’s Daily Trojan. A Miami rider says a bus driver ran over him on purpose; the driver claims the cyclist intentionally collided with the bus. Truckers call a proposed new law that would require a four foot distance when passing a cyclist — five feet above 49 mph — “insanity.” Korea prepares a new mandatory bike registration plan to deal with the problem of abandoned bikes. Drivers going through bus and bike-only traffic lights are turning a Birmingham UK road into a ring of death.

Finally, this is pretty much the definition of a very lucky bicyclist.

The problem with Glendale and riding on the sidewalk; more on Bike Week

Clearly, there’s more to the Glendale bike death wrist slap than there appeared last week.

According to the Glendale News Press, Naira Margaryan was charged with a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter for the death of Gerardo Ramos, who died 13 months after she ran a stop sign and struck his bicycle as he rode through a Glendale crosswalk.

Infuriating cyclists in the middle of the city’s Bike Month, Glendale authorities assigned equal blame for the death on both parties; to make matters worse, a police spokesman incorrectly said that Ramos shared the blame because riding on a sidewalk is a violation of California vehicle codes.

But as Damien Newton pointed out on Streetsblog, California delegates the decision on whether to allow or ban riding on the sidewalk to local jurisdictions — despite what the DMV’s Driver Handbook says.

So that everyone is clear about the law, here is the relevant section from the California Vehicle Code:

21100. Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution regarding the following matters:…
… (h) Operation of bicycles, and, as specified in Section 21114.5, electric carts by physically disabled persons, or persons 50 years of age or older, on the public sidewalks.

Ok, but that doesn’t mean anything without knowing Glendale’s laws.  Here is the section on sidewalk riding in Glendale:

Glendale Municipal code 10.64.025 Bicycle riding on sidewalks. No person shall ride or operate a bicycle upon any public sidewalk in any business district within the city except where such sidewalk is officially designated as part of an established bicycle route. Pedestrians shall have the right-of-way on sidewalks. The prohibition in this section shall not apply to peace officers on bicycle patrol. (Ord. 5116 § 1, 1996)

As Dj Wheels pointed out, the intersection where Ramos was struck looks very residential.

And that’s exactly the problem. Because section C of CVC 240 defines a business district as virtually anything that isn’t made up of exclusively of single family homes.

(c) All churches, apartments, hotels, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings, other than schools, shall be deemed to be business structures.

In other words, a definition so broad that it brings into question the enforceability of any ordinance based on it, since it would be almost impossible for a rider to know whether or not he could legally ride on the sidewalk in any given spot. What would be legal on one block might be illegal on the next — or even on different sections of the same block, as he rides past single family homes and apartment buildings, schools and churches.

Whether or not that played a role in the decision to blame to Ramos for the collision that killed him has yet to be determined — as is whether anything can be done about it.

What is clear is that Glendale cyclists are stuck with a bad law that is almost impossible to obey; and that legal authorities continue to hold cyclists and drivers equality responsible for actions that contribute to collisions — even though careless drivers pose a risk to everyone around them, while even the most careless cyclists pose a risk predominantly to themselves.

Meanwhile, master framebuilder Dave Moulton weighs in on the Gerardo Ramos case, noting that cyclists have to take responsibility for our own safety and stay off the sidewalk.

He’s right.

Studies show there’s a significantly higher risk to bicyclists riding on the sidewalk compared to street — with or without bike lanes or other infrastructure.

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Another day, another fatal hit-and-run in LA; this one involving a pedestrian in Koreatown.

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More Bike Week news:

Will Campbell proves himself a better man than I am by attending the Blessing of the Bicycles, and credits it to protecting him during a perfect unplanned sliding dismount; I let an hour long rush hour ride from the Westside in a cold, steady drizzle dissuade me. So if anyone knows any freelance bike-friendly priests, ministers and/or rabbis on the Westside, my bike is still in serious need of blessing.

LAPD provides a podcast of Chief Beck’s Bike Week remarks. Green LA Girl continues her excellent coverage of Bike Week throughout the LA area. The Source calls attention to Wednesday’s Downtown L.A. Ride; better hurry, because it starts at 8 am. Stephen Box astutely looks forward to the day when Bike to Work Week won’t be necessary anymore. Bicycling offers a no-excuse guide to bike commuting, while UCLA Transportation provides a five minute video look at the same subject.

Announcing a major victory for bike commuters timed for Bike Week, Metro plans to drop the rush hour ban on bikes on trains, replacing it with unlimited bikes in the articulated sections between cars, and releases a pretty new map of local bikeways, busways and train lines — though more street-level detail would help. And you can finish off the week by taking Metro to the L.A. stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Saturday; then again, you could just ride there.

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American Tyler Farrar wins his second stage in the Giro; Vinokourov keeps the leader’s maglia rosa. On the left edge of America, Dave Zabriskie wins Tuesday’s stage of the Amgen Tour of California and takes the overall lead; Brett Lancaster won yesterday’s rain soaked stage.

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On the political front, Claremont Cyclist endorses the LBVLA, while Damien takes an in-depth look at transportation issues in the 36th Congressional District. LACBC recruits cyclists to test ride LA’s soon-to-be-sharrowed streets; meanwhile, volunteers are wanted to make snowballs in…well, you get it. A UCLA survey question about biking and driving distances could have been phrased a lot better, and offered a better prize as well. LA Cycle Chic reports on a small but successful Mom’s Ride. Gary updates the state of cycling in semi-bike friendly Santa Monica, including a softening on bike licensing and the need for city agencies to work together; meanwhile, you’ll find more bike parking on the Promenade and throughout Downtown. George Wolfberg forwards a story from the NY Times about the ever-present fear of crashing among pro cyclists. Your word for the day: Aggromuter. An East Coast blogger asks if Boston is the new Portland; didn’t Long Beach already beat them to it? Tucson Bike Lawyer trades rings with a trike-riding toddler. A New Jersey cyclist barely avoids injury when she’s knocked off her bike by cups of ice thrown from a passing car; Texas high school students could have faced charges for assaulting cyclists with bananas. Springfield Cyclist celebrates the city’s newfound status as a bike-friendly community. Transport for London turns down an offer of help from the founder of 3FeetPlease; evidently, they have that rash of London cyclists killed by large trucks under control. Fashionable clothes, a toned bum and a tanned face equal cycle chic. Will 2010 be the Summer of Cycling? A Montreal paper says cyclists should be banned from regular roads because we’re all scofflaws — even though less than 20% ran red lights in their own study. And it wasn’t a cyclist who killed three riders in Quebec last week.

Finally, Wednesday night marks the annual Ride of Silence honoring cyclists who have died on America’s streets. Memorial rides will take place in cities throughout the country; local events will take place in Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, Ventura, Rancho Cucamonga, Irvine and Temecula. I have other obligations, or I’d join the ride in Santa Monica, maybe someone can take my place. And lets make sure there’s a ride in Los Angeles next year.

Kill a bike rider in Glendale, get a slap on the wrist

Twenty-one months after Gerardo Ramos was struck by a car in Glendale — and six months after he died of his injuries — the driver who blew through a stop sign and struck him is finally being charged.

With a misdemeanor.

According to Glendale Police Detective Ashraf Mankarios, prosecutors determined that Ramos was equally at fault because he was riding on the sidewalk, which Mankarios incorrectly states is a violation of state law.

“They agreed that it’s 50-50,” Mankarios said. “He violated the vehicle code, but in essence had she stopped, he would have gone right through and in front of her.”

As most cyclists could have told them, riding on the sidewalk may be against local Glendale ordinances, but it is not a violation of the vehicle code — and in fact, it’s perfectly legal in Los Angeles, just on the other side of the Glendale city limits.

Had the driver, Naira Margaryan, stopped as required by law, the worst consequence Ramos would have faced would have been a ticket for a local violation, and he might still be riding today.

And could still be sending money back home to Mexico to support his wife and children.

Now a driver who broke the law and killed another human being faces a relative slap on the wrist, charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and a possible penalty of up to one year in county jail or — more likely — a fine.

Their crimes were not equal.

Ramos broke a minor local ordinance, most likely because he — incorrectly — felt safer riding on the sidewalk, and posed a danger to no one other than himself. Meanwhile, the driver failed to operate a dangerous machine in a safe and legal manner, posing a risk to everyone around her.

Yet the Glendale authorities believe one violation cancels out the other.

But that’s okay.

He was only a cyclist, right?

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Damien Newton looks at tomorrow’s first meeting of the League of Bicycling Voters Los Angeles, taking place at 10:30 am Saturday at the UCLA Law School on the Westwood campus.

If you’re happy with the state of bicycling in the Los Angeles area, feel free to sleep in tomorrow.

If not, you really need to be there.

And maybe we can get elected officials to take dead cyclists seriously.

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The LAPD issues a BOLO alert for a getaway-bike-riding robber; thanks to George Wolfberg for the heads-up. REI is working with Bike Oven to help find a new home for unwanted bikes. A San Diego cyclist explains how to set up a bike valet. Marin County gets a $25 million bike and pedestrian tunnel next October. San Francisco takes up Bike to Work Day; ours is next week. A writer says ridership is declining, despite all appearances to the contrary. My hometown starts a new campaign to get more women on bikes. Zeke takes up proposed legislation with his state representative that would require NC cyclists to ride no more that two abreast and get the hell out of the way of passing vehicles. A 10-year old cyclist says the hit-and-run cabbie who knocked out her teeth belongs in jail. Shreveport looks forward to an appearance by our biking Long Beach expats. A look at the bikes of Lahaina. Biking through New York with a transportation ethicist. London’s mayor announces plans to spend the equivalent of $172 million on bicycling projects over the next year, with an emphasis on improving safety and reducing crime. The first two London Cycle Superhighways open July 19th; a rider takes one for a very fast test spin. A British graph clearly shows the relationship between bicycling and childhood obesity; I only wish they’d included the U.S. What a bike rush hour looks like; thanks to Todd Mumford for the link.

Finally, Vincenzo Nibali kept the pink leader’s jersey on the Giro d’Italia for a second day; in a nice gesture, his gave his jersey to the son of the legendary cyclist Fausto Coppi to place on his nearby tomb 50 years after the great racer’s death.

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