Tag Archive for Sherri Lynn Wilkins

Morning Links: 55 years to life for drunken hit-and-run, arrest in Eastdale hit-and-run, Fig4All drags on… and on

My apologies for the late post. Just too much bike news on a lucky Friday the 13th.

Well, maybe not so lucky for the New York Rangers.

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Now that’s taking hit-and-run seriously for a change.

Former substance abuse counselor Sherri Lynn Wilkins, who fell off the wagon and killed a pedestrian while driving under the influence — hitting him so hard she literally knocked him out of his boxers, and drove two miles with his body lodged in her windshield — was sentenced to 55 years to life.

Maybe if the heartless cowards who killed Andy Garcia and maimed Damian Kevitt, just to name a few in a shamefully long list, faced sentences like that, we might finally put an end to this horrible epidemic.

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San Bernardino authorities report an arrest has been made in the April hit-and-run death of Eastdale bike rider Troy Davids. More details when they’re released.

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KCRW covers the debate over the Fig4All bike lanes on North Figueroa, while a writer for KCET complains about the city’s incomplete streets exemplified by North Fig and Westwood Blvd, where Councilmembers Cedillo and Koretz have blocked bike lanes despite professing support for them.

Meanwhile Streetsblog looks ahead to the meeting that took place last night, and questions the motivations of CM Cedillo.

CedilloBallotBy all reports, the meeting was a total waste of time as Cedillo spent over an hour introducing his staff and patting himself on the back, while failing to take comments from the public on either side of the debate. Many people got bored and walked out long before the meeting was over.

Instead, attendees were asked to fill out a form indicating their preferences — the results of which will be compiled by the office of the same councilmember accused of trying to block the project.

Nothing fishy about that.

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Great read from a survivor of a cycling collision, who’s glad she didn’t die — not just for herself, but for the difference she’s made in other’s lives. And she wants your help for a great cause to raise $5000 to provide free legal services to low income veterans; she’s brought in over $3,200 so far.

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The Santa Monica Museum of Art invites you to design a critter on a bike (pdf) to serve as the logo for the August Tour de Arts.

And don’t miss the Bike Zone at this weekend’s Santa Monica Festival.

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Local

A committee recommends banning Segways from the Venice boardwalk, but continuing to allow them to risk your safety on the bike path.

An LA group wants to cap parking tickets at just $23. Or they could just, you know, obey the damn parking restrictions and not pay anything.

West Hollywood is teaming with the UCLA Triathlon Team to train 9 to 18 year olds to compete in the sport.

Cycling in the South Bay says it’s one thing to take the lane on PCH when you’re in a group, another when there’s just two of you.

The popular Kidical Mass bike ride continues to roll in Bixby Hills.

 

State

A father and son — 80 and 54, respectively — complete a 3,000 mile cross-country tour in San Clemente to raise money to fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

San Diego’s CBS8 looks at the Race Across America, which is already underway for solo riders; more on Pippa’s team RAAM ride.

Nice. A handicapped Yucaipa-area second grader gets a new custom-made hand cycle.

Seven people are under arrest after attacking, pistol-whipping and robbing a Bay Area cyclist riding on a BART bike path.

 

National

A new study says brain injuries are up an average of 14% in bike share cities. Which kind of makes sense since more people are riding, too.

A Fairbanks AK driver is under arrest for the drunken 7 am hit-and-run death of a bike rider. Yes, he was wasted and behind the wheel first thing in the morning; not surprisingly, it’s not his first DUI.

An Albuquerque cyclist says the hit-and-run driver who seriously injured another rider had deliberately attempted to run them both off the road; uncomprehending — or possibly uncaring — local police ignore her and call it just another accident.

Colorado’s governor signs a Safe Routes to School bill.

A Gillette, Wyoming cyclist recovers from harrowing injuries after he’s left-crossed while riding over 30 mph; other recent cycling victims in the area haven’t been as lucky.

A bicyclist travels 6,000 miles with his dog to raise awareness for animal shelters.

A heroic bike rider stops a suicidal man from jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge.

 

International

Wow. A Yorkshire, England man turns down treatment after a recurrence of lung cancer, sells everything he owns and sets out to tour the world by bike; two years and over 21,000 miles later, he’s still doing well.

The UK considers restructuring the Highways Agency. And possibly indicating a shift in focus by renaming it the National Cycling and Highway’s agency.

The Guardian asks how the justice system can be rebalanced to support cyclists, and says Cyclists Stay Back stickers send a message that bike riders are second-class citizens. Thanks to Ralph Durham for the heads-up.

The president of the IOC says cycling is cleaning up its doping act. No really. And with a straight face.

A 21-year old cyclist takes a 3,000 mile journey through the Australian Outback — 100 years ago.

 

Finally…

Even if I could teach the Corgi to be a trail dog, who’s going to teach me to ride like that? A Glendale man leaves his car parked in front of a convenience store, then comes back on a bike 30 minutes later — and proceeds to throw the bike through the store’s window. And after a British rider is assaulted by another cyclist in a Team Sky kit, the Guardian assures us that the perp was not Brit bike heroes Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome.

 

Dr. Thompson disappears, why ghost bikes are needed, and Times Steve Lopez says LA isn’t doing enough

Evidently, the rumors were true.

A search of the state’s prison inmate locater no longer shows Christopher Thomas Thompson in Norco prison, or anywhere else.

He’s done his time, and deserves a chance to put his past behind him.

On the other hand, anyone who uses a motor vehicle as a weapon should never be allowed to drive again.

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If you’ve ever questioned the need for ghost bikes, take a moment and read this. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

But grab a handkerchief first. You’ll need it.

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Now that you’ve dried your eyes, here’s a great piece from the LA Times Steve Lopez, in which he says the city’s plan for bikeways and a 5% bike commuter share aren’t bold enough.

That’s not (LADOT Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle) Mowery’s fault. She’s dealing with infrastructure limitations and all the usual political realities. Too many motorists, merchants and homeowners stand in the way of a bold transformation in a city that desperately needs one, and no public official past or present has been brave enough to stand up to them for the greater good. But do they really think we can just go on adding cars to already clogged roads?

If the goal is to get more people to consider commuting by bike, we need more than painted white lines on the road and the rare buffer like the one in the tunnel. We need fully protected bikeways, so people of all ages can go for a ride without fear of getting hit by a bus.

It’s a good read.

And great to have Lopez on our side.

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Speaking of good reads, BikeSD’s Sam Ollinger offers up the perfect polite, yet firm response to a woman who wrote to complain about scofflaw cyclists.

Bookmark this one. And use it as a template the next time someone expects you to take responsibility for bad bike behavior by others.

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Cyclists ride from Bell Gardens to the Downtown courthouse to attend a preliminary hearing for Wendy Villegas. She’s the 21-year old woman charged with driving under the influence, felony manslaughter and hit-and-run in the collision that killed bike rider Andy Garcia and seriously injured two other riders.

One of the riders was Garcia’s mother, who asked for tougher penalties for hit-and-run. Unfortunately, as usually happens with preliminary hearings, the hearing was rescheduled.

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OC cyclists ride to honor Irvine Jax employee Joe Robinson, killed by an 18-year old alleged meth-using, drunk and speeding hit-and-run driver.

Much respect to the folks at Jax Bicycle Center, who have gone out of their way to show some for one of their own, including raising funds for Robinson’s family. These guys definitely have their hearts in the right place.

Meanwhile, the alleged drunk and speeding hit-and-run driver who killed Robinson was due to be released without charges on Tuesday.

Eighteen-year old Sommer Gonzales was being held without bail since her arrest following the Sunday morning collision on Santiago Canyon Road. However, California law only allows a suspect to be held for 48 hours without charges being filed, and the OC DA’s office wants CHP investigators to look into the case further before deciding on charges.

Reports are she’s due to be arraigned on Thursday.

But why they couldn’t file preliminary charges to keep her custody in the meantime is beyond me.

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The Torrance substance abuse counselor who ran down and killed a pedestrian — hitting him so hard he was knocked out of his underwear, then drove over two miles with his body lodged in the windshield — has been convicted.

Fifty-two year old Sherri Lynn Wilkins was found guilty of 2nd degree murder, DUI and hit-and-run; she was over twice the legal limit when she killed 31-year old Philip Moreno.

Wilkins now faces 55 year to life.

And no, I can’t remember anyone facing a sentence like that for killing a cyclist.

Ever.

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HuffPo writes about the problems facing the previously approved My Figueroa project; if Mayor Garcetti really wants to create great streets, why is he keeping quiet? At the other end of the street, all Fig4All is asking for is better safety for everyone. Councilmember Paul Koretz, who single-handedly killed the long-planned Westwood bike lane, submits a motion to extend the Expo Greenway the full length of the train line and bike path. Streetsblog’s Joe Linton says walkability is key to the success of bike share, which means it could be a problem for LA. A woman’s journey from Israeli soldier to LAPD bike cop. Culver Blvd is getting a makeover east of Sepulveda Blvd, including a separated bikeway. Anyone interested in participating in this year’s Climate Ride is invited to attend a Meet & Greet at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood on Wednesday, February 12th — and don’t forget the Ride With Greg Laemmle contest that could pay your entry fee and most of your fundraising amount, while providing free Laemmle movie passes for the rest of the year. Eleven-year old Rosemead boy suffers a fractured skull in collision with a pickup.

Sisters are doing it for themselves when it comes to advancing bicycling in California. This is why you’re likely to get screwed in your next collision: California has the nation’s second lowest liability insurance requirement. Cyclists on an early morning ride discover a woman’s body in Yorba Linda. A cyclist is seriously injured when he’s run down from behind in a Bermuda Dunes hit-and-run. Santa Cruz Tesla driver faces charges after killing a cyclist while literally asleep at the wheel. San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Agency has adopted a Vision Zero plan to eliminate bike and pedestrian deaths within a decade; here in Los Angeles <crickets>. Oakland’s famed Telegraph Avenue could soon get slower traffic and protected bike lanes. After a Turlock driver knocks a cyclist off his bike at 60 mph, another driver hits his bike and drags him 100 feet; it’s anyone’s guess which one killed him. Mountain View considers naming a city bike-ped czar; here in Los Angeles <crickets>.  Yuba City mother calls on hit-and-run driver who seriously injured her bike riding son to do the humane thing.

If car culture is really dying, it’s a long, slow, complicated death. US business leaders are finally getting the message that Danish-style bicycling infrastructure is good for business. Lovely Bicycling considers rural transportation cycling; one of my favorite bloggers often writes about biking through the Scottish countryside. The road raging Tucson driver who hit a group of pro cyclists gets a whopping seven days in jail. Evidently, road rage is a real problem in Tucson, as a driver is suspected of murder after punching a bike rider who died hours later. A lot of Seattle fans biked to Super Bowl parties. A Colorado Springs man gets his $5000 bike back from an armed thief after spotting it on Craigslist. Minneapolis cyclist does everything right, yet still gets killed by a drunk driver; then there’s this: “Remember, bicyclists are not putting themselves in danger when riding — people driving vehicles are.” Eight years in prison for a Chicago-area bike thief and long-time criminal. Pennsylvania man overcomes cancer to ride his bike around the world five times. I like it, as a PA bike shop owner gets a bicycle funeral after passing away a age 99. Evidently, New York bike riders are behaving better. Two Chattanooga teens have finally been charged in the assault on a cyclist that caused nationwide outrage. No bikes involved; just three killed when a 79-year old Florida woman backs over a crowd of pedestrians after church. Florida moves to strengthen laws against hit-and-run; the Miami Herald says it’s time to stop the mayhem on the streets. Autistic Florida boy gets his bike back after thieves take it.

Turns out that pre-ride sugary goop may not do you a damn bit of good. New study suggests ways to detect bicycles through crash-prevention video imaging systems. Maybe being blinded by the sun isn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card for British drivers after all. Women finally gain access to the Tour de France as something other than podium girls, thanks to a circuit race through Paris on the final day. Evidently, the better looking you are, the more likely you are to win the Tour de France, which is why Adam Levine is penciled in to win this year’s tour.

Finally, Fat Cyclist urges you to get in shape to ride out the coming zombie apocalypse. And remember, I don’t need to outride the zombies, I just need to outride you.

Horrific DUI hit-and-run case goes on trial, bicycling may be safer than you think, and a Saturday San Gabriel ride

Before we start, a little housekeeping.

Note the addition of four new pages at the top of this site. Hopefully, they’re self-explanatory.

Facts & Stats is exactly that, a random collection of bike facts and statistics that will continue to grow as we stumble upon useful and/or interesting information — including the bit about bike safety a little further down this page.

Resources is a listing of things bicyclists may need, from information on the city’s cyclist anti-harassment ordinance and the seemingly dormant Cyclists’ Bill of Rights, to the LAPD’s Bike Liaisons and a listing of lawyers experienced in bike cases.

Organizations lists bike advocacy groups on the national, state and local levels, as well as local riding groups.

Bike Shops & Co-ops provides links to a small listing of local bike shops that I recommend, or that have been recommended to me; obviously, there are too many shops in the LA area to list them all. In addition, you’ll find bike co-ops and other bicycle services, as well as locally based manufacturers and online retailers. Other online retailers may be added down the road, but the idea is to support local bike shops and builders.

All of these should be considered works in progress. So if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or email the address on the About page.

And I promise to update the Events page now that things are finally getting back under control.

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Somehow, I’d forgotten all about this case. Maybe because it didn’t involve a bike rider.

Just a drunken Torrance drug and alcohol counselor who hit a pedestrian so hard she knocked him out of his pants and boxers. Then drove two more miles with her dying victim lodged in her windshield, naked from the waist down. And turned away from the emergency room that could, maybe, have saved him.

Consider this from The Awl.

When Wilkins had pulled into the gas station with a pantless (Phillip) Moreno embedded in her windshield, her blood alcohol level was .17. That’s twice the legal limit. There were traces of THC and benzodiazepine in her bloodstream. When police searched her car they found two empty mini-bottles of Absolut Vodka and a 40-ouncer, along with a receipt that showed it’d been purchased that evening.

That driver, Sherri Lynn Wilkins, is on trial now in a Downtown LA courtroom in a case that’s expected to take three weeks.

With two prior felony convictions, she faces life in prison if convicted of vehicular manslaughter, which would be her third strike.

I have a lot of sympathy for people who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. But anyone who could do what she did deserves to go away for a long time.

Take a few moments, and read Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s story from The Awl. It’s very well-written, and a very powerful read.

Though perhaps one that’s best done on an empty stomach.

Thanks to Geoff Stiltz for the heads-up.

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Ever wonder how safe bicycling really is?

According to the 2010 National Bicycling and Walking Study, Americans took 4 billion bike rides in 2009; resulting in an estimated 52,000 injuries, while the national FARS database recorded 628 deaths.

As a result, the odds of returning home unscathed that year would have been nearly 77,000 to one in your favor, while the odds of surviving any given ride were an overwhelming 6.3 million to one.

And yes, deaths and injuries have gone up since then, but so has ridership. If anything, your odds could be even better today.

So don’t let the bad news scare you off. Even if you’ve seen far too much of it here lately.

As for me, I’ll gladly take those odds. Especially when the health benefits of bicycling significantly outweigh the risks.

Thanks to People for Bikes for the top link.

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City leaders are finally talking Vision Zero. Just not in this city.

New York’s new mayor follows through on his campaign promise for a Vision Zero; even if new NYPD Chief Bratton’s famed data blames the victims. And San Francisco steps up to the plate to stop killing cyclists and pedestrians.

Even new US DOT Secretary Foxx says it’s time to make bike and pedestrian safety a priority.

Los Angeles?

<crickets>

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Update: Ride cancelled due to smoke from the Colby fire.

This Saturday my friends Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar, authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles, are hosting their latest monthly ride through the LA area — this time a tour of the San Gabriel foothills.

Saturday, January 18, 2014 – 8:30am

When: Saturday, January 18;  Meet at 8:30 a.m., ride at 9:00 a.m.

Where: Classic Coffee - 148 North Glendora Avenue, Glendora, 91741 (Meet in the public parking lot behind Classic Coffee)

This is the 2nd edition of our very first Touring LA County ride—a tour in the San Gabriel foothills along the northeastern fringe of urban Los Angeles. Rich in history, variety and natural beauty, the area is home to some of LA County’s earliest small cities: Monrovia (incorporated in 1887), Azusa (1898) and Glendora (1911). Two river bike-path systems — along the San Gabriel and the Rio Hondo — tie together the ride, passing along the Emerald Necklace, an evolving string of pocket parks and greenways. The route also includes the Royal Oaks Bike Trail (a rails-to-trails path on the old Red Line trolley right-of-way) and a foray into Monrovia Canyon Park, with its forest and streams.

Ride Length: 46 miles

Ride Duration: About 5-6 hours, including stops

Hopefully, the Colby Fire will be out by then, and everyone can enjoy some good air to breathe.

And mark your calendar for a new Los Angeles Bicycle Commuter Festival and Summit on Sunday, February 16th.

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Streetsblog’s Damien Newton finds problems with the mayor’s recent traffic collision. LA City Council members want to set rules for how long ghost bike should stay up; how long do the victims stay dead? New Virgil Ave bike lanes officially open on Saturday. New semi-green bike lanes on UCLA campus. Neon Tommy explains why traffic sucks in Century City. Looks like a massive Boyle Heights roundabout is finally moving forward; no word on whether they plan to accommodate bikes or use us as bumper fodder for speeding drivers. Great idea, as a last-minute effort attempts to save the Figueroa-Riverside Street bridge as an elevated parkway for cyclists and pedestrians; as usual, the city says no. On the other hand, we should get a new bright orange Taylor Yard bike and pedestrian bridge soon. UCLA Today interviews parking meister Donald Shoup. Glendale gears up for the 2014 Jewel City Ride next May. Massive new Burbank Ikea will have 1,726 parking spaces — and 86 for bikes.

When your bike becomes your frenemy. San Diego’s acting mayor sees a world-class bike city in the town’s future. A 71-year old Riverside County rider is injured when she allegedly turns into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Thousand Oaks cyclists get new bike lanes on a bridge, but no safe way to get to them. UC Santa Barbara student committee works on improving bicycling on campus. It takes a real schmuck to assault an 11-year old Bakersfield boy to steal his BMX bike. A 70-year old Antioch cyclist is killed in a collision; witnesses report he ran a red light, not something most 70-something riders are normally prone to do. Napa cyclist responds to hate speech graffiti.

Four 5x goals from People for Bikes. Protected bikeways mean business. Elly Blue writes about riding out your period. High speed Seattle road ragers crash multiple times, on purpose. Washington farmers say bikes and trees are incompatible; seriously, I can’t make this crap up. Headline of the day: If smartphones are so smart, why don’t they tell drivers to watch the road? Chicago lawyer goes after taxi that apparently hit a cyclist, only to find the real culprit. Chicago celebrates winter Bike to Work Day; strange that we don’t have one when our weather is so much better. Unlicensed Illinois teenager gets five years for killing a nine-year old bike rider. Tennessee teens pepper spray a cyclist from a passing car. A Massachusetts cyclist is run down by a drunk driver early New Year’s morning after his mother warned him not to go out. Utica NY driver ticketed for failing to pass safely after running down a 74-year old woman with a reputation for “recklessly bicycling in the street;” no, really, that what they said. Cars don’t kill people, irresponsible drivers do; amen brother. Florida police catch a bike riding cross-dressing bank robber. Miami cyclists want the mayor to ride with them to see why riders are getting run down on a city causeway.

In a case eerily reminiscent of the Torrance tragedy above, a Brazilian motorist drives 6 km — 3.73 miles — with the body of his bicyclist victim embedded in his windshield. Maybe bike forks don’t have to be angled after all. Brit motorcyclist tries to kick a bike rider into traffic. Britain needs more cyclists. Britain’s bicycling minister sees a future for everyday riders the current streets can’t support; at least they have a cycling minister, unlike some countries I could name. As long as we’re introducing crazy laws for cyclists, here’s three more. We don’t need no stinking elevated bikeways. Spaniards riot over plans for a bike-friendly boulevard. Think your ride’s tough? Try a 12,000 km race across Africa. Kiwi driver gets 32 months for pushing a triathlete off his bike in a road rage attack. Family of a fallen New Zealand cyclist forgives the driver she collided with, saying he did nothing wrong; that’s class. Aussie pro quits his comeback due to a dangerous heart arrhythmia. Australian judge loses her license for a whole eight months after hitting a cyclist while driving under the influence, but at least she’s barred from hearing alcohol and traffic cases.

Finally, CNN looks at the future of bicycling, which oddly doesn’t include just getting on a bike and going for a ride. And that would probably please a Santa Monica letter writer, who wants to rein in all those killer bike riders on the boardwalk.

Sadly, I’ve gotten word of yet another apparent bicycling fatality, but haven’t been able to get confirmation yet. Let’s hope Friday will bring better news.

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