Tag Archive for shootings

Because every child has a right to grow up

This is so not what I want to write about.

I’ve been working on another post, taking on so-called futurist Syd Mead, who somehow can’t seem to envision a future with bikes in it.

And typically, complains about empty unused bike lanes. Yet in the next breath, worries about cars unable to turn right because of all the bikes blocking their path.

Sometimes they just make it too easy.

But frankly, my heart’s just not in it.

Not tonight.

Because tonight my heart is weighed down by Skittles and tea, bumpers and guns; badly broken by a world where too many children lose their lives before they can get back home.

Yes, I’m talking about Trayvon Martin.

But I’m also talking about Horacio Pineda.

And Alex Romero.

And Danny Marin.

And Shantrel Williams.

And Jonathon Fernandez.

And Jeremy Perez.

And Joseph Parra.

And Roger Lewis.

And David Granados.

And Jonathon Hernandez.

All were 18-years old or younger when the life was crushed out of them by the bumper of a car. Or under a bus or truck.

In some cases, the driver was at fault. In some, the rider.

And in some, we’ll never know.

And those are just the one from Los Angeles County in the last three years. And only those who died in collisions.

The numbers would jump considerably if we added those who died from falls or trains or solo collisions. Or other SoCal counties outside LA.

Or gun violence while riding their bikes.

Like Martin, they had no idea when they left home they’d never return again. Or that the next time their parents and loved ones would say goodbye, it would be forever.

In his case, he went out for some Skittles and an iced tea.

The others were out with friends or running errands. Or just, you know, riding their bikes.

Like many others, I’m troubled by the Zimmerman verdict. Just as I am all the drivers who get off after killing a bike rider, or get just a slap on the wrist while their victims get the death penalty.

Or never face charges at all. If they’re ever found, for that matter.

I can’t say if he deserved to be convicted. I wasn’t in the courtroom; the only evidence I saw was what was presented on TV.

If you really want my opinion — and God knows, I don’t know why you would  in this case — he’s responsible for everything that happened once he ignored police instructions to stay out of it.

But I wasn’t there.

And unless your name is Zimmerman, neither were you.

What I do know is that far too many children are dying on our streets, victims of guns and gangs and cars and predators. And if we are ever to succeed as a civil society, it has to stop.

Now.

The Netherlands were once as car centric a nation as we are.

But the Stop de Kindermoord (stop the child murder) movement led to dramatic changes in transportation and society that gave a higher priority to the lives and safety of children and other assorted human beings.

Because it’s not just children who are dying out there.

It just seems more heartbreaking when it’s a future full of possibilities that’s snuffed out.

We need something like that, right here and right now. Something that goes beyond just traffic to address all the reason parents have to rightfully fear for their children whenever they leave the relative safety of home.

And to keep those children safe from the countless boogeymen and women behind the wheel.

Or behind the trigger.

Because the most fundamental right of all should be the right of every child to grow up.

Bike rider killed in Sunday Chula Vista collision; two riders injured in separate SoCal shootings

This was not a good weekend to be a bike rider in Southern California.

Following on the heels of Saturday’s infamous Mulholland motorcycle crash that mowed down two riders — more on that later — word comes this morning that a bike rider died in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista Sunday night.

Multiple sources are reporting that the 59-year old rider, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was crossing Palomar Street at Industrial Boulevard when he was struck by a westbound vehicle and critically injured around 7:30 pm. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died later last night.

The driver remained on the scene; police said drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

No other details are available at this time.

This is the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this yea, and the third in San Diego County. The victim is also the second bike rider to die in San Diego County in the past week.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

……..

Adding to the weekend’s carnage was the apparently unrelated shootings of two bike riders over the weekend.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, an unidentified rider was shot and wounded while riding on the Rio Hondo Bike Path around 4 pm Sunday.

The man reported hearing gunshots from an unknown location before discovering he had been hit by two bullets. Fortunately, his injuries were not life-threatening.

In a separate case, the L.A. Times reports that a 27-year old man was shot in the back from a passing car while riding his bike along South Hoover Street at Manchester Avenue around 3:45 this morning.

The victim is in stable condition at at local hospital. No description of the suspect or the vehicle used is currently available.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the link to the Times article.

Police say the shooting may have been gang-related, not surprising given the drive-by nature of the incident.

Catching up with today’s way too long compendium of all the latest bike news and links

Let’s take a few minutes to catch up on this week’s news now that things have settled down a little.

Or maybe quite a few minutes.

It’s a long list.

………

Beverly Hills isn’t the only place where a road raging driver has left an injured cyclist in his wake.

Around 5 pm last Friday, a group of women visiting from Las Vegas were riding single file on eastbound PCH in Newport Beach, when a Cadillac pulled up behind one on the riders and started honking impatiently — then plowed into one of the riders, rather than wait a few seconds until they could get out of his way.

The jerk driver fled the scene, but returned later, claiming it was the victim’s fault. Evidently for having the audacity to occupy the same space where he wanted to put his car.

The woman was transported to a local hospital with a head injury; a comment to the story indicates she was released after being kept overnight.

And no word yet on whether the driver was cited, or if charges are pending.

Thanks to Lois for the link.

………

An unarmed bike rider is shot by an L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy who thought he was acting “suspicious” and might have had a gun.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but since when is the mere possibility that someone might a weapon sufficient justification for using deadly force?

Maybe that’s why some drivers have been so aggressive lately. They can’t tell if I’ve got a gun in my bike shorts, or just happy to see them.

………

On the job front, Safe Routes to School is looking for an Active Transportation Fellow in DC. The League of American Bicyclists is looking for a Development Director. And if you’re a bike enthusiast with wrenching skills, GMR Marketing has a job for you at this year’s Amgen Tour of California.

………

The LA Weekly trolls for web hits once again, claiming, among other things, that the best way to improve L.A. traffic is to rip out bike lanes in favor of restoring regular traffic lanes. As evidence, the bike-baiting writer who shall remain unnamed claims the 7th Street bike lanes are unused and result in angry motorists.

Yet he somehow fails to explain why the city’s worst traffic problems are on streets that don’t even have bike lanes.

As someone who rides 7th Street on a regular basis, I can attest that I have never seen a traffic jam there since the bike lanes were put in, even at rush hour. And seldom find myself the only cyclist using the popular lanes, which have become the primary feeder route for riders coming into Downtown from the Westside.

But then, the Weekly doesn’t always let the facts get in the way of the story when it comes to bikes these days.

………

Once again, L.A. County’s killer highway claims another life, this time a pedestrian crossing Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Which is a needlessly tragic lead-in to the news that Malibu is hosting a pair of public meetings next month to discuss the city’s PCH Safety Study next month. If you ride on PCH — or ever find yourself trying to cross the street there — you owe it to yourself to attend one.

………

Maybe it’s just because the producer is my nephew. But this looks like a pretty decent distracted driving PSA. Especially considering it was made by a 16-year old who just got his license.

………

The city council gives the go-ahead for bike share in Downtown L.A., while CD14 Councilmember Jose Huizar introduces a motion to repaint the Spring Street green bike lanes. Speaking of which, the most recent bike count shows ridership on Spring Street is up another 40%, after a 52% increase last year; I suppose the Weekly would say no one uses those, either. Construction will begin soon on shared bike/bus lanes on Sunset Blvd. Mark your calendar for Bike Week; pledge to ride on Bike to Work Day and you could win a bike from REI. Examined Spoke offers some good thoughts about CicLAvia; I missed that somehow in yesterday’s roundup. Will Campbell unwillingly shares a burger with a man who blames cyclists for everything that’s wrong with Los Angeles; maybe he’s a regular Weekly reader. A Silver Lake bike rodeo is scheduled for May 18th. Metro works to improve bike and pedestrian access in Boyle Heights and Little Tokyo. How to get abandoned bikes removed from racks. Both Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica and Pasadena’s Incycle Bicycles invite you to ride with them this weekend to learn about Tour de Cure. County Commissioner Zev Yaroslavsky says NBC Universal has agreed to complete — and help pay for — a missing link in the L.A. River Bike Path through Universal Studios; now if he could only apply a little pressure to the anti-bike city of Vernon. Calabasas bike-centric farm-to-table restaurant, coffee roaster and Moots bike boutique Pedalers Fork is open, and the first reviews are already in and looking good. In other food news, bike-powered Peddler’s Creamery is now open in Downtown L.A. The San Marino paper offers what may be the most accurate estimate of attendance at Sunday’s CicLAvia, putting the total at an open-to-interpretation several hundred thousand.

The third attempt at a California three-foot passing law passed its first hurdle in the state legislature; now its on the Appropriations Committee, even though it wouldn’t seem to require any. Riverside boldly decides to study a disputed bike lane. An open letter to the AAA. No charges against a stop sign-running Apple Valley driver who hit a cyclist. A call for artistic bike racks in Beaumont. A Newport Beach city councilmember criticizes the sentence given the killer driver in the Campion-Ritz hit-and-run; but why is the death of a “significant citizen” any more important or tragic than anyone elses? Presenting the best bike ride around San Diego’s Mission Bay; I often followed a similar course when I lived down there. Escondido’s Muffler Man will get bike drag in time for the Amgen Tour of California. When a little girl’s bike is stolen, an Oxnard cop buys her a new one at his own expense, then teaches her how to ride it; thanks to our Carolina friend Zeke for the heads-up. Red Kite Prayer drops in on this year’s Sea Otter Classic. A new bike path opens connecting Downtown San Jose to the Bay. A case so old I’d forgotten all about it finally comes to a conclusion, as a Santa Clara County deputy gets a warm caress on the wrist when he’s sentenced to four months, possibly to be served at home, for killing two riders while asleep at the wheel. Unlike its L.A. counterpart, the San Francisco Weekly doesn’t have it’s collective head planted firmly up its own posterior, explaining why protected bike lanes are good for business; then again, even NBC says the same thing, at least for small businesses. It’s been a bad year for NorCal cyclists, as a 79-year old rider was the latest to killed; if a bike rider can fall under the wheels of a passing car, doesn’t that suggest the car was passing dangerously close — let alone that it might have caused the fall?

A Portland driver somehow finds herself on a separated bikeway rather than the interstate highway bridge next to it; local police say “oops.” Another self-hating bike rider who says cyclists don’t belong on the road (scroll down). Those bike-riding Portland kids sure have it easy these days. Bike share will launch in Seattle next year. An Alaska cyclist rides his fatbike over 2,000 miles in the middle of winter along two of the state’s famed sled dog trails. Big hearted strangers give a new bike to the victim of an Oklahoma hit-and-run victim. America’s only surviving Tour de France winner says he has no vendetta against Lance Armstrong; can’t say the same about the U.S. government, though. Louisiana driver gets a minor citation despite hitting and seriously injuring a bike rider who stopped in a bike lane. Bikeyface wishes bikes were more like cars. New York imposes new restrictions on bike delivery riders. NYC’s new bike share program isn’t even open yet, and it’s already being vandalized.

A UK nurse was over twice the legal alcohol limit — and on her way to work — when she killed a cyclist and fled the scene, stopping only to pull the bike out of her way. A driver with a suspended license killed a cycling married couple as he fled from police. Amazingly, British police refuse to file charges against a road raging driver was captured on helmet cam beating the crap out of a bike rider; thanks to Joni for the heads-up. Parliament members call for reducing speed limits and jailing dangerous drivers, as well as boosting spending levels to £1 billion to encourage more people to take up bicycling. Photos of eyes over bike racks cut theft rates. Town Mouse is more concerned with the safety of the dog chasing her. The director of a Dutch — yes, Dutch — road safety institute calls for a mandatory helmet law for riders over 55. A new book looks at Italian cycling great Fausto Coppi. The authoritarian state of Uzbekistan is banning bicycles in the capital, seizing bikes and advising bike shops to shut down. A Persian Gulf writer asks if taking a dangerous shortcut is really worth it. Queensland is relaxing their mandatory helmet laws to allow religious requirements. An Aussie woman is ticketed for using a handheld cell phone while riding, but the local press is more freaked out by her “bizarre” tall bike. Tempers run hot Down Under, as a cyclist is punched out by an angry driver. Why women should ride to work and how to get started.

Finally, build your own sandwich bike; peanut butter and jelly optional. A British thief returns a stolen “lusciously smooth” bike with an apology and a coupon. And trust me, you don’t want to read the comments to the Times’ story  about the Beverly Hills road rage case — let alone the ones on the CBS version.

But you’re probably going to anyway.

Breaking news — cyclist fatally shot in Silver Lake Sunday Night

It’s happened again.

According to the Beverly Hills Courier, a man was shot and killed while riding his bike in the Silver Lake area around 9:15 Sunday night; The Eastsider LA puts the time at 9:30 pm.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of Hoover Street and Del Mar Avenue, when the rider was bumped and knocked to the ground by a car, then shot by one or more people in the vehicle.

The rider has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin; the only description currently available put him at 25 to 30 years old.

The LAPD is reportedly investigating the killing as a gang-related attack, even though the description makes it sound more like a road rage incident. If the plan was to kill a cyclist, it would seem to have been just as easy, if not easier, to shoot him without knocking him down first.

Then again, if the killers had just thought it out, they would have hit him a little harder with the car, told the police they just didn’t see him, and walked away with a slap on the wrist instead of a pending murder charge.

Breaking news — cyclist fatally shot in Silver Lake Sunday Night

It’s happened again.

According to the Beverly Hills Courier, a man was shot and killed while riding his bike in the Silver Lake area around 9:15 Sunday night; The Eastsider LA puts the time at 9:30 pm.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of Hoover Street and Del Mar Avenue, when the rider was bumped and knocked to the ground by a car, then shot by one or more people in the vehicle.

The rider has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin; the only description currently available put him at 25 to 30 years old.

The LAPD is reportedly investigating the killing as a gang-related attack, even though the description makes it sound more like a road rage incident. If the plan was to kill a cyclist, it would seem to have been just as easy, if not easier, to shoot him without knocking him down first.

Then again, if the killers had just thought it out, they would have hit him a little harder with the car, told the police they just didn’t see him, and walked away with a slap on the wrist instead of a pending murder charge.

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