Tag Archive for Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino

Morning Links: LA River bike path gets greener, more on Gardena shooting, and analysis of York Blvd bike wrecks

Great news for anyone who rides the LA River bike path.

And for the city of LA, as the Army Corps of Engineers approves a $1.8 billion plan to restore the river to a more natural state.

Which means maybe you’ll see more natural habitat and wildlife along your route, and less graffiti-ridden concrete slabs.

Although the question of who’s going to pay for it, and how, remains to be determined. As does just how long it will take before they get started, let alone finish.


The Times explains how the city arrived at the $4.7 million settlement for the death of Diaz-Zeferino and the wounding of Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez, and looks at the differing interpretations of what happened in the 27 seconds before officers opened fire. And whether the shooting could have been avoided.

Meanwhile, a writer on City Watch calls the video a damning and graphic look at the cold-blooded shooting of an innocent man.

And yet, the three officers who opened fire on the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim haven’t been charged — or even disciplined — and are still patrolling the streets.


LADOT Bike Blog looks at collision data for York Blvd over a 12-year period, noting that drivers were responsible for over 56% of collisions involving cyclists.

Most of the wrecks where drivers were at fault were the result of failure to yield or improper turns, while the overwhelming majority of collisions where the bike rider was at fault resulted from riding salmon.

It’s also worth noting that hit-and-runs on the boulevard declined by 38% after a road diet was implemented in 2006, more evidence that infrastructure influences behavior.


A new vegan cookbook co-written by LA’s own nutritionist and endurance bike racer Matt Ruscigno — the man behind the city’s toughest hill climb challenge — gets an overwhelmingly positive review.

The again, it’s about cooking with chocolate and cacao, so what’s not to like?


A new app promises to make you more visible while you’re walking.

Designed by a former Fire Chief and a former Public Works Supervisor, who experienced first hand the results of drivers treating people on foot as if they were not there, the free PedSafe app was developed to make pedestrians more noticeable while walking. It provides a random amber flashing light & pedestrian symbol on a smartphone to alert drivers that someone is walking & crossing a street.

Sounds like it could also act as a backup flasher if yours goes out or you get caught without lights while riding after dark.

Thanks to Frank Colin for the heads up.


The Guardian offers a timeline of Thursday’s stage 12 of the Tour de France. The Alps could be the last obstacle for Chris Froome, after his dominating performance up to this point.

A pair of retired riders point an accusing finger at Froome, while others whisper about the still theoretical crime of motor doping. In his defense, Froome insists he’s clean and has never tested positive. Which is exactly what Lance used say, isn’t it?

VeloNews sums it up nicely, saying Froome is the only one who can ever know for a fact if he’s riding clean; the rest of us can only believe.

Twenty-three-year old French rider Warren Barguil may be in a lot of pain after a spill, but he’s also in 11th place in his first Tour. No explanation for why Vincenzo Nibali is faltering after winning last year’s TdF, though.

And Bicycling asks what kind of bike race fan you are. I’m more the sit in front of the TV watching the race while wishing I was out on my bike instead type.



A bike rider was seriously injured Thursday morning when he was hit by an off-duty LAPD officer on his way to work at Central Ave and Washington Blvd just south of DTLA. The officer was reportedly rattled by the collision, saying the rider came out of nowhere. Amazing how many bike riders are able to defy the laws of physics and just materialize out of thin air. And if he’s rattled, just imagine how the cyclist feels.

Registration for the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit opens today.

Malibu’s Los Virgenes Road is undergoing a year-long widening project, and will re-emerge with a bike lane on the east side.

A writer for the Beach Reporter gives the new Redondo Beach Gateway Project high marks from both a cyclist’s and driver’s perspective, failing only as a site for an illegal run in the street.

The Temple City Tribune recommends a ride on the 1.5 mile semi-paved Duarte bike path this summer.

A writer from LMU says you shouldn’t have take home a six-figure income to afford bike share. Are you listening, Metro?



Twenty percent of San Diego roads could be candidates for road diets.

The Rim Nordic mountain bike park near Big Bear is now officially open for business.

San Francisco could remove a short section of bike lanes to improve safety, while a police captain promises a crackdown on cyclists rolling stop signs, rather than directing resources where it might save more lives as part of the city’s Vision Zero.

A letter writer on a Marin website says dump the Prius and get a bike, already.

The Sacramento Bee says texting behind the wheel is dangerous, and reminds us that Governor Brown twice vetoed bills to toughen the law against it.

A Chico woman gets her bike back thanks to a sharp-eyed bike shop employee who recognized a thief he knew, then the bike the thief was riding.



Writing for Gizmodo, Alissa Walker makes the argument that there are no accidents, and says the word should be dropped from use to describe crashes. The Colorado Highway Patrol is already on board.

A Senate committee passes a Complete Streets amendment to accommodate all road users in street designs, including cyclists and pedestrians, as well as approving a provision allowing bikes to be rolled onto Amtrak trains. This would be a huge step forward if it makes it to the final bill.

A writer for the Wall Street Journal says you can eat like a normal person, ride a regular bike and live your life, and still be a serious cyclist.

A Seattle cop has written over 1,100 cycling tickets in just an eight year period — including 17 to the same bike messenger.

An audit says bike-friendly Denver’s bike plan is suffering from a lack of funding and a slow pace in implementing a planned 270 miles of bikeways.

An Austin TX driver flees the scene after deliberately brake checking a bike rider; he reportedly honked first and yelled at the rider to get in the bike lane, which was blocked by vegetation.

It’s happened again. A 19-year old Dallas driver is under arrest after hitting a cyclist and driving nearly a mile with his victim lodged in the windshield, before dumping him in an alley to die. He’s only charged with causing an accident resulting in death. If there’s any justice, that will be upgraded to a 2nd degree murder charge.

An Illinois cyclist is hospitalized after colliding with a goose, followed by a collision with another rider. No word on the condition of the goose.

A Michigan transplant patient takes his new heart on a two-day, 70-mile bike tour.

Pittsburgh’s mayor says more bike lanes are coming, despite the bikelash.

Unbelievable. A New York judge says a repeat hit-and-run drunk driver who has already killed two people should be allowed to get his driver’s license back. Evidently, the judge wants to go for three; if you even wonder why people keep dying on our streets, judges like this would be a good place to start.

Savannah police are looking for the thief who was caught on video stealing a $7,000 Time bike; it was the fourth time in 10 years the owner had a bike stolen. Yet he still left his high-end bike unlocked on a stair rail after finishing his ride? Seriously?

Nice story, as a Tampa cop gives a mentally disabled man a ride to work after his bike is stolen, then teams with his partner to buy him a new one.

Miami bike crashes nearly doubled over a two year period.



Treehugger says bikes are not cars, and infrastructure is better than helmets.

Cycling Weekly looks at reader’s most embarrassing moments on a bike. Mine was probably early in my riding career, when I was watching an attractive woman instead of the road and pedaled into the back of a parked car.

Calgary bike thefts are up 60%.

Caught on video: UK police are looking for a clumsy bike thief who rode into a parking barrier as he made his escape.

Belfast cyclists are looking forward to the city’s first ciclovía.

An Indian proposal would make bikes subject to seizure if the owner rides in the roadway instead of a cycletrack.

A group of DIY fixie and single speed riders are bringing Soweto bike style to the streets of Johannesburg.

An Aussie cyclist keeps riding his tandem despite blindness, impaired hearing and Type 2 Diabetes.

Singapore authorities plan a bikeway that would provide a seamless commuting route serving 400,000 people.



Your next helmet could have turn signals and an automatic brake signal. It’s a lot easier to make the podium in your first mountain bike race when there’s only three people entered.

And road rage knows no bounds, as a pair of Balboa Island bike riders are harassed by a driver. In a golf cart.


Morning Links: More fallout from fatal Gardena police shooting; Lance calls the Froome kettle black

The LA Times reports on a deposition from the Gardena police sergeant who should have been in charge when officers fatally shot Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, but apparently wasn’t, as he explained his mindset and what led up to the shooting.

The unarmed victim was shot as he tried to explain that it was his brother’s bicycle that was stolen. And that the two men police had detained weren’t armed robbers, but just friends trying to help find the missing bike.

The officer had an audio recorder, but didn’t bother to turn it on because pushing that little button would have distracted him. And he admitted under oath that he had never seen a robbery suspect jog towards police, as Diaz-Zeferino did before they blew him away, and that he never saw a weapon, in the victim’s hands or anywhere else.

It should also be noted that the officers were all allowed to review the video before they gave their statements.

Meanwhile, the Times says a debate raged on social media over whether the shooting was justified, as the victim’s family calls for a federal probe of the department and their actions in the case.


NPR looks at the first black Africans to compete in the Tour de France, on the first-ever African-based team. Previously, only beige Africans had competed in the race.

Starting today, Lance Armstrong will ride two Tour routes in advance of the race to raise money for charity; race leader Chris Froome calls Lance’s return a non-event.

Meanwhile, Froome is accused of cheating when he and his teammates look too fresh after crushing the competition on Tuesday’s final climb; his performance data may have been hacked, as well. And Lance, who should know, speculates that Froome and his Team Sky are too strong to be clean.

Francesco Reda faces a lifetime ban after testing positive for an EPO derivative at the Italian Championships last month; an Irish website accuses him of being a compulsive cheater.

Good news from Ivan Basso, who says everything’s fine after surgeons remove a testicle because of a possibly cancerous tumor. Now he has something else in common with Lance, besides a doping ban.

Newsmax absurdly asks if bicycling causes testicular cancer.

Caught on video: While the riders in the Tour de France may ride up the Alpe d’Huez, others are busy racing down it. And not on the roads.



CiclaValley rides the rest of the Compton Creek bike path.

Santa Monica police announce more bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operations later this month.

Times readers react to their recent story about proposed safety improvements to deadly PCH in the ‘Bu.

Pasadena is in the running for a $2.7 million Metro grant for a cycle track on Union Street.



A Palm Springs resident suggests breaking up the proposed 50-mile bikeway linking cities in the Coachella Valley. Which would pretty much make the whole thing useless.

A teenage Port Hueneme bike rider was seriously injured when he was hit by a van while riding in a crosswalk. Those seem to be dangerous places for people on bikes lately.

When you’re carrying heroin and already high on some controlled substance, don’t try to steal a bike from a Santa Clara college campus. And don’t try to avoid cops by suddenly riding in the opposite direction, which isn’t suspicious at all.

Family and friends pay final respects to the Afghan refugee killed by an allegedly distracted driver as he and his son rode in a Sacramento bike lane. Something that may happen more often, as cell phone use by California drivers is on the rise.



Twenty-nine states don’t have any laws prohibiting bicycling under the influence; California isn’t one of them.

A writer for Deadspin takes a long and painful journey learning to ride a bike as an adult.

Investigators concluded that a Spokane bicyclist just happened to fatally fall in the vicinity of a speeding patrol car — even though the victim’s DNA was found on the car’s bumper.

Once again, the Orangetheory Fitness chain is shocked to learn that some people think their promotional orange bikes mock ghost bikes, this time in Spokane. Oddly, they appeared to be just as shocked in every other city they’ve pulled the same stunt in.

A rider in my hometown spots someone else riding his stolen bike; police help him recover it. But seriously, if you spot someone riding your bike, don’t threaten to slit his throat with a pocketknife.

A Chicago cyclist was wearing headphones when he tried to ride around railroad crossing barriers, with tragically predictable results.

Black cycling clubs from across the county gather in Minneapolis to ride bikes and talk equity.

An Indianapolis driver flees the scene after running over a bike rider’s arm.

The Brooklyn borough president calls for safer streets in the wake of a bicycling fatality.

U2 front man Bono says he’s getting there after being injured riding his bike in New York’s Central Park, but still can’t play guitar due to nerve damage.

Bike riders face challenges on DC’s Capital Hill. A cyclist got a speeding ticket after colliding with a car that cut her off; the officer explained that she would have been able to stop otherwise. Sure, let’s go with that.

New Orleans experiences growing pains as it goes from a whopping five miles of bike lanes before Katrina to over 100 today. Meanwhile, the widow of an Atlanta firefighter killed in the Crescent City while training for a triathlon is outraged to learn the driver is back on the streets after just 14 months behind bars.



A Winnipeg writer says protests by city councilors against the city’s proposed bike and pedestrian plan are way out of proportion.

A Brit cyclist who hit a little girl and dragged her down the sidewalk denies riding dangerously.

UK Parliament members grill the Prime Minister over bike safety.

Cyclists aren’t the only ones behaving badly on the streets of Dublin.

Melbourne’s mayor wants to ban bikes from certain roads in the central business district. For our own good, of course.

A Kiwi man is ticketed for dangerous driving after trying to chase down the bike rider who robbed him.



Caught on video: An Ohio rider hands a truck passenger back a cigarette he tossed out into the street, something I *cough* may have done once or twice myself, albeit with less positive results. Here in LA, we have to dodge distracted drivers; in Mexico, bike riders have to duck low-flying UFOs.

And the capital of North Korea apparently has more separated bike lanes than we do. And sharrows, too, confirming that they really are a commie plot.


Gardena police video released in shooting of unarmed man looking for his brother’s stolen bike

As expected, a judge has ordered the release of a video showing the Gardena police fatally shooting the unarmed brother of a bike theft victim.

Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino was trying to tell the officers that the men they had detained weren’t bike thieves, but friends who were helping to look for the bike.

But instead of releasing them, the cops opened fire when he took of his hat and lowered his hands, shooting Diaz-Zeferino eight times, and injuring one of his companions, who had his hands in the air the whole time.

Even though Diaz-Zeferino was unarmed, and as the video shows, made no threatening moves towards the officers.

He was shot, apparently, because they thought he might possibly be armed, and they were too afraid to wait to see if he really had a gun before blowing him away.

And somehow, that’s okay with the DA and the Gardena police department; KNBC-4 reports the officers are still with the force and patrolling the streets.

Even though the city felt there it had enough liability to settle with the victims’ families to the tune of a $4.7 million, paid out of the taxpayer’s pockets.

That’s a lot of guilt if no one did a damn thing wrong.

The city fought the release of the video, claiming it could result in a “rush to judgment” about the officer’s behavior, according to KPCC.

Or it could just let the public see what really happened. And realize that what sounded like a bad shoot by trigger happy cops, was.

It used to be that any cop who shot an unarmed person could expect to lose his or her job, at the very least. I once knew an officer, in another state, who freely admitted carrying a spare gun and a knife to drop by the victim if he ever shot someone who wasn’t armed.

And it used to be that fellow officers wanted bad cops off the force, because they made everyone else look bad and made the public lose faith in the officers charged with protecting them.

In fact, that officer was eventually fired, at the urging of his fellow officers.

Clearly, those days have changed.

So be careful riding through Gardena.

In other cities, getting stopped by the police could get you a ticket you might not deserve, from a cop who doesn’t understand bike law.

In Gardena, it could get you shot.

But it won’t get anyone fired.

Update: I was reminded this morning that Gardena is also where a group of Hispanic riders were illegally harassed by the police two years ago, while on their way to meet with the city manager to discuss the unsolved hit-and-run bike rider Benjamin Torres.


Warning: The video below, posted online by the LA Times, shows the full shooting from two separate angles. Decide for yourself whether you really want to see that before pushing play.

Morning Links: Judge may release Gardena police video, BOLO alert for Ford pickup in Montebello hit-and-run

The LA Times reports that a federal judge says he’s inclined to release the dashcam video of the shooting of an unarmed man in Gardena.

Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino was coming to the aid of two friends helping to look for his brother’s stolen bike when he was shot and killed by Gardena police last year.

The judge agreed there was a clear public interest in releasing the video, as requested by the Times and other media companies, noting that it’s hard to argue that the shooting was legal after the city agreed to a $4.7 million settlement to be funded by taxpayers.

Maybe he should tell that to the LA County DA’s office.

A final ruling on releasing the video could come as soon as today.


Montebello police are looking for a Ford pickup in the hit-and-run death of 24-year old Steven Garcia as he was riding his bike home from work last week. Anyone with information is urged to call Montebello police Cpl. J. Dresser at 323/887-1212, ex. 353 or Cpl. R. Yap, ex. 337.

Although they could have offered a little better description of the suspect vehicle. There are a lot of Ford trucks out there.


KCBS-2 picks up yesterday’s lead story about the CHP officer dangerously buzzing two cyclists on Glendora Mountain Road.

I’m told the CHP’s Southern Division HQ is looking into the video, so something may actually be done about it for a change.

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.


VeloNews looks at the highs and lows of the first full week of racing in the Tour de France. A TV station reports on the day’s happenings on the Tour’s first rest day, while Teejay van Garderen makes it the Fab Five.

Sadly, Ivan Basso was forced to drop out after he was diagnosed with a testicular tumor; there’s a high probability it’s cancerous, but more tests are needed to be sure. His withdrawal could adversely affect teammate Alberto Contador’s chances, but what really matters is his full and fast recovery.

A Billings MT cyclist endures rain, hail, snow, calf-deep mud and hallucinations to compete in the 2,745-mile off-road Tour Divide; another rider says the hardest part is knowing when to quit.



It’s been a busy day for the Times, as they look at the PCH safety study recently approved by the Malibu city council; the study lists 120 proposed improvements to the roadway, including bike lanes on part of the highway, along with another 30 recommendations for Caltrans.

KPCC’s Air Talk program discusses the Times’ report on the county’s 817 most dangerous intersections.

CiclaValley appears on the Bike Talk internet/radio program.

A new Replace Your Ride program will give you transit vouchers up to $4,500 if you turn in your gas-guzzling car. But not a penny if you trade it for a bike, damn it; thanks to Day One for the link.

Black Kids on Bikes and the Ride On! Bike co-op bring the Leimert Park community together with an open air tune-up session.

The 12-year old daughter of a space shuttle astronaut was found riding her bike in the Torrance/Redondo Beach area after being missing for 24 hours.



It took a bike-riding tourist to save the life of a 37-year old woman who collapsed from a massive heart attack while jogging in Carlsbad last year.

The wife of the Afghan refugee killed by an allegedly distracted driver while riding his bike in Sacramento feels lost without him; the family arrived in the US just a few weeks ago, after the electrical engineer risked his life by aiding US forces in Afghanistan. His 8-year old son also suffered life-threatening injuries.

A 36-year old man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding on the coast highway near Fort Bragg in NorCal.



California’s retiring Senator Barbara Boxer wins support for bike lanes and sidewalks in the new federal transportation bill.

Good news and bad news, as a new bikeshare study says yes, it provides economic and health benefits and encourages new cyclists, but there’s no proof that bike-sharing programs reduces congestion, gets people out of their cars or helps the environment.

The New York Times looks at the national trend of bike training classes for bicycling-challenged adults.

Not everyone supports Boulder CO’s removal of traffic lanes to make way for wider bike lanes. Shocking, I know.

An Illinois cyclist is nominated for ESPN’s ESPYAward, 20 years after losing his right arm in a construction accident.

Don’t try this at home. A 46-year old Pennsylvania man was killed trying to jump a homemade bike ramp on a children’s bike. Actually, it was probably a BMX bike, which most police departments don’t seem to be familiar with.

An exhibit at the Smithsonian looks at the impact bicycles have had on modern society.

A New Orleans man faces manslaughter and felony hit-and-run charges in the death of a bike-riding artist last week.

The Florida bike rider who crashed hard after slipping in the remains of a dead alligator on the roadway is making a slow recovery, with new titanium plates in his cheeks, forehead and clavicle; his wife calls him Titanium Tim. Now all he needs is a new Ti bike when he gets back to riding.



Toronto police bust a man for stealing a $19,000 custom made racing bike. Of course, that’s only $14,800 US.

Brazil’s Pan Am cycling team is escorted off a major highway by police after taking a very wrong turn.



Caught on video: A BMX rider lands the first quadruple backflip. A Pasadena motorist is caught on video playing acid jazz on a recorder while driving with no hands in moving traffic — and right next to a patrol car, no less.

And speaking of distracted driving, a Brit woman rear-ended a van, apparently because she was pleasuring herself with a vibrator while driving.

Then again, I once encountered something similar, myself.


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.


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


Christine Dahab sentencing Friday, LA City Council takes up hit-and-run reform, Gardena police sued

Just a couple quick notes to wrap up a busy and exhausting day.

First up, a comment from Renee Andreassen sends word that Christine Dahab, the allegedly drunk and distracted driver who plowed into 13 bicyclists on a late night ride in Culver City in 2011, will be sentenced on Friday.

Christine Dahab, who hit 13 bicyclists June 2011 will be sentenced Friday July 26, 2013 at 
West District
Airport Courthouse,
 11701 South La Cienega Blvd.
 Los Angeles, CA 90045
 Dept D

I hope all of the victims will come to give their victim impact statements. 
I would appreciate any assistance this website can get out to those impacted by this horrible event

Dahab pleaded no contest to all charges last April, apparently including DUI causing injury and DWI with a BAC over .08 causing injury.

She was sentenced to a 90-day evaluation period in state prison pending final sentencing. So she’s already spent more time behind bars than most drivers do even in fatal collisions. And could face a lot more.

I have other obligations Friday, so if anyone attends the sentencing, please let us know how it turns out.


Hit-and-run rears its ugly head once again in L.A. But this time, they may actually do something about it.

From the blog of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition:

The Public Safety Committee will hear the LAPD report on Friday, July 26th at 8:30 AM in City Hall Room 1010.  Please join LACBC in requesting that the City take a leadership role to fix state law to increase penalties for hit-and-run.  You can also write the committee members at councilmember.englander@lacity.org, councildistrict15@lacity.org, councilmember.bonin@lacity.org, and councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org.

No matter how you parse the numbers — and the LAPD has been roundly criticized for attempting to put the best face on a dismal record — the city ranks at or near the top among major cities for cowardly drivers refusing to take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel.

Fortunately, the department appears to be taking the problem seriously. And they seem to have been listening to me, with recommendations including:

  • Automatic license consequences — hopefully including revocation
  • Possible hold or forfeiture of the vehicle used in the crime
  • More significant consequences, including tougher penalty enhancements
  • Limit civil compromises
  • Extend the statute of limitations for hit-and-runs that result in death or serious injury


Not surprisingly, Gardena police are being sued for civil rights violations and excessive force in the shooting death of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, who was killed by police while trying to help recover his brother’s stolen bicycle.

Diaz-Zeferino reportedly ran up to police as they held guns on two of his friends, shouting in English that they weren’t the thieves, but were trying to help find the bike.

And that’s when they shot him eight times, including twice in the back. As well as hitting one of his friends, resulting in permanent injuries.

Not that they overreacted or anything.


Finally, the arraignment for Gonzalo Aranguiz Salazar, the driver accused in the death of Cal Poly Pomona bike rider Ivan Aguilar, has been postponed until September.

Salazar faces a single misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. The relatively light charge may reflect the fact that was reportedly Aguilar riding against traffic, as many students do in that location, due to a lack of safe bicycling infrastructure.

Meanwhile, discussions are underway to make much-needed bike and pedestrian safety improvements on campus.

Hopefully before someone else gets killed.

Was the brother of a Gardena bike theft victim murdered by the cops sent to help them?

Maybe those riders in Gardena are lucky they only got ticketed for blocking the lane.

It was suspicious enough when Gardena police blew away the brother of the victim — yes, victim — of a bike theft last month, because they couldn’t be bothered to let him explain that the bike-riding men they’d detained were friends who were helping to look for his brothers bike.

And yes, he said it in English, according to witnesses.

Somehow, the patrons at a nearby restaurant were able to understand Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino clearly. But the cops couldn’t seem to make it out, claiming he was shouting and gesturing before reaching towards his waistband.

So they shot him.

Eight times.

Including twice in the back.

One of those non-bike theft friends was also shot. And yes, also in the back.

Maybe they have a problem with backward shooting trick shot artists down there.

Never mind that the officers shot and killed an unarmed man. Or the recklessness they showed in opening fire just feet from of a crowded Redondo Beach Boulevard restaurant.

At best, it looks like an incredibly bad shoot by a trio of trigger happy cops. At worst, they may have murdered the brother of a petty crime victim

I cannot repeat that enough. They killed someone helping the victim of the crime.

And now those officers are back on the street after being placed on administrative leave.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stay the hell out of Gardena for the foreseeable future.

And whatever you do, don’t report a crime there.

Correction: An earlier draft said police had killed the victim of the bike theft, which had been my understanding. However, this story from the Daily Breeze makes it clear that the man who was killed, Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, was the brother of the man who had his bike stolen, and was assisting in the search for the stolen bike. Thanks to Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman for the correction.


Meanwhile, in yet another black mark on the city’s police department — which still hasn’t been able to catch the killer of hit-and-run victim Benjamin Torres — Streetsblog’s Damien Newton writes that you shouldn’t expect justice in the case of the LAPD Sargent whose daughter is charged with killing bike-riding postal worker Jesse Dotson in a hit-and-run.

That’s because Gardena police aren’t even investigating the father, even though she was driving his car, which was later reported stolen. And oddly, discovered just blocks away from their home.

As Damien put it,

He either believes his daughter’s ridiculous story and is one of the worst investigative officers ever, or he is complicit in the scheme to report the car stolen.

Yeah, no point in investigating that.


Bike racer Emma Pooley says it’s long past time that women bike racers were allowed to compete equally with the men — in fact, they used to just a few decades back, both in the Tour de France and America’s late, great Red Zinger/Coors Classic.

If you agree women belong in a parallel Le Tour — let alone the Amgen Tour of California and the upcoming USA Pro Challenge — sign the petition here.

I did.


A new bike and pedestrian bridge over the LA River on its way to approval by the LA City Council may make a planned Glendale bridge superfluous. The county breaks ground on a new segment of LA River pathway in Studio City and Sherman Oaks. The Source is enthusiastic about bike trains. Participants in Friday’s Zócalo Public Square/Grand Park forum call for a cease fire between bicyclists and drivers. Tell that to the papers of the Los Angeles News Group, who continue to troll for bike hate, this time questioning if LA commuters will ever bike to work, in a negatively worded poll. A Pasadena bike rider suffers life threatening injuries in a head-on collision with a salmon cyclist. Boyonabike looks at cars and the environment. Ride with the mayor of Montebello next Sunday. Over 500 riders turn out for the first ever Long Beach women’s only Beach Babe Classic. A Santa Clarita cyclist suffers a broken back in a hit-and-run; the driver turned himself in four hours later, apparently at the urging of family members. The San Diego Union-Tribune endorses efforts to promote bicycling in the county. Evidently, you don’t have to be sane to have a drivers license in California, with predictable results.

Scion thinks you’re an obstacle, but they’re really, really sorry about it. Elly Blue says our roads are depreciating, too. Do bike shops just market to white males? Cycle chic is already a thing; you can’t co-opt it by adding “ing,” even if helmets really are becoming more fashionable. Five innovative ways to park a bike. Using a bike as a weapon is no different from using a car as a weapon, except for the results. Famed researcher John Pucher says it’s time for a bike renaissance in Seattle. The Boulder CO sheriff says the road rage brake check that left a leading triathlete seriously injured wasn’t. An aggressive road-raging, horn-blaring, multi-car passing Colorado driver films his own apoplectic outrage at a group of bicyclists. Turns out you can’t use your car as a weapon to run down a bike riding, cigarette-stealing Wisconsin thief, after all. Even a protected bike lane isn’t enough to protect a Chicago bike rider. Michigan police arrest a 12-year old bike riding bank robber. Thanks to our veto-wielding governor, California can’t even get a three-foot passing law; a Maine writer says three-feet isn’t enough. Lesson #1: Try not to share the same stretch of asphalt as your boyfriend’s crazed, motor-maniacal ex. Upstate New York triathlete killed when he rides into the back of a parked car; another is seriously injured while exchanging water bottles. A pair of bike-riding Pennsylvania teenagers rescue a kidnapped five-year old girl; thanks to D.D. Syrdal for the heads-up. The next broken down bike rider you see could be Dave Matthews on his way to his own show, and you could get front row tickets if you stop. Seriously, no matter how pissed off you are about the 70-something driver who nearly hit you, don’t try to punch him out. A nice piece from Bike Delaware explains why you may be invisible to some drivers.

A British pub owner is really, really sorry he threatened to run down “weak-kneed” cyclists at 60 mph. Half of all Brits admit to road rage; maybe that’s why someone is pushing people off bikes in Leicester. With a week left, the Tour de France may already be over, as Froome looks unbeatable. Cadel Evans tweets advice on how to watch a bike race safely. A year after she quit racing, American Mara Abbott is a two-time winner of Italy’s prestigious Giro Rosa. Lexus rolls out a one million-yen limited edition bike; yawn.

Finally, what do you do after leaving City Council? Former Councilmember Ed Reyes rides a bike. And it looks like Westfield Century City will soon open LA’s first bike station; more on that later.

Westfield Bike Station

Actually, the Newport Beach Police Department gets it after all; Gardena may be another matter

No one gets it right all the time.

Myself included

But I have to respect anyone who can accept criticism. Especially when they actually do something about it. And particularly when the problem involves the often troublesome intersection of police and bikes.

That’s exactly what happened recently when I criticized the bicycling webpage of the Newport Beach Police Department.

As you may recall, I took them to task for offering bike safety advice that suggested cyclists should always ride to the right, while ignoring the many exceptions to CVC21202 that allow bike riders to take the lane for their own safety.

As well as disputing their recommendation to ride single file, a requirement which is contained nowhere in the California Vehicle Code.

My reasoning wasn’t just that they were wrong. It was that both bike riders and motorists might get the wrong idea from reading it, needlessly contributing to the conflicts on our streets.

The surprising part came a few days later when I received an email from bike riding NBPD Deputy Chief David McGill.

Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled my criticisms. But instead of arguing with me, he wanted to reach out to me to work together in addressing the problems facing bicyclists in Newport Beach.

As he put it,

When Jay Johnson was sworn in as our Chief of Police in 2010, he made bicycle safety an important part of the Department’s mission.  As a result, in the past several months the NBPD has increased their efforts to work together with the community and the City’s Citizen’s Bicycle Safety Committee (recently reformed as the Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee) to do what we can to help improve bicycle safety for all people who visit, live and work in Newport Beach.  Together with our partners, we have accomplished much in the past few years, but there is always more work to do.

When I took a second look at what I’d written, I realized that I’d come off a little harsher than I had intended for what was, in balance, good advice for bike riders. So I toned down my criticism of their website, while responding to his email to explain my objections.

Then, to be honest, I forgot all about it, as a continuing parade of various issues and crises, both personal and bike-related, took precedence.

But they didn’t.

This week I got another email from McGill saying the department had considered my suggestions. And actually acted upon them.

But more importantly, they got it right this time.

My only suggestion was to add the phrase “when traveling below the speed of traffic” to their advice about “riding furthest to the right.” And when I checked back before writing this, I saw that change had already been made.

Of course, we didn’t win on every count.

While they continue to interpret the vehicle code as not allowing side-by-side riding in most situations, it also seems to be a lower priority for the department. And they’ve removed the instruction to ride single file from their website.

I can live with that.

And you can’t ask for much more than a police department that is willing to listen to — and better yet, act on — criticism from the bike riding public.

NBPD Chief Johnson, and those who work for him, have won my respect.

And my gratitude.


Gardena might be another story.

According to the official version, police responding to a report of a robbery and/or stolen bicycle attempted to stop two men they spotted riding bikes. That’s when a third man ran up to them, and — allegedly — reached into his waist band.

Thinking he was reaching for a gun, the officers shot multiple times, killing him and wounding one of the other men.

But if he really was armed, no one has bothered to mention it yet.

Now witness reports are coming out that the victim, Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, was actually running with his hands in the air, rather than near his waistband. And he was trying to tell the officers that the two men were his friends, and weren’t involved in the theft.

In other words, he died because it was his bike that was stolen. And he was trying to help two friends who had nothing to do with the crime.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I understand that cops have their lives on the line, and things can go horribly wrong in any contact with the public. And that they have to make split-second decisions to protect both their own safety and those they are sworn to protect.

It’s easy for us to sit back and judge their actions after the fact. A lot harder to make those split-second decisions in real time, in real world situations.

But it looks like an innocent man — one of the L.A.’s area’s many bike riding Los Invisibles — became all too visible at exactly the wrong time, in front of cops who apparently reacted to what they thought was happening, rather than was actually was.

And now a man is dead because of it.

All because he was the victim of a bike theft, and some cops in an area with a large Latino population who apparently didn’t understand Spanish.


On a related note, KPFK’s Michael Slate Show will interview Sandra Cotton, sister of Terry Laffitte, who was fatally shot by police who initially attempted to pull him over for riding without lights last month.

The broadcast will air today — Friday — at 10 am on KPFK 90.7, streaming live at www.kpfk.org.


Finally, just a few more quick notes.

Nearly forgotten in the dust-up over New York’s bike share program is the fact that L.A.’s Bike Nation bike share program was supposed to be up and running by now. Streetsblog’s Damien Newton explains why it isn’t and maybe never will be.

The new mayor of Compton is young, female and an actual urban planner.

Volvo designs a safety system that can recognize a bike rider and apply the brakes before a collision can occur; thanks to Jeff White for the link.

An Alexandria VA bike advocate effectively rebuts the myth of the scofflaw cyclist; link courtesy of Kent Peterson.

John Grotz forwards a link to a video currently making the rounds showing a New York bike rider repeatedly cut off, then threatened in a Hassidic neighborhood before another man comes to his rescue. He notes this is the same neighborhood that successfully lobbied to have new bike lanes removed a few years back.

A Victoria BC mountain biker is nearly decapitated when a wire is strung across a bike trail in an apparent sabotage attack.

And a Brazilian billionaire’s son gets community service, loss of his license for two years and a nearly half million dollar fine — chump change for his family — for running down a bike rider in his $1.3 million Mercedes SLR McLaren.

And yes, he’s planning to appeal his very generous slap on the wrist.

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