Tag Archive for street racing

Weekend Links: Santa Ana bike rider injured in street racing crash, a close pass in Stanton, and Bike Events

A Santa Ana bike rider was seriously injured Thursday night, the victim of a driver who was allegedly street racing with another car.

Both drivers fled the scene.

However, 20-year old Christopher Carrasco was arrested about two hours later, after he was encouraged to turn himself in by family members; he was being held on $50,000 bail. Authorities are still looking for the other driver.

The victim was reportedly in stable condition after undergoing surgery Friday morning.

Some news reports have suggested the victim may have been riding without lights, and might have done something that contributed to the crash.

However, no matter what he may or may not have done, street racing is a serious crime with entirely foreseeable consequences, akin to firing a gun down a crowded street. It should not be up to the rest of the world to stay the hell out of the way of dangerous drivers exceeding the speed limit and putting everyone else at risk.

Thanks to Jeff Vaughn for the heads-up.

………

Mike Wilkinson forwards video of a far too close pass in Stanton, which just happened to occur right next to the only parked car on the street.

He notes that, despite the perspective, he was riding outside the door zone. However, in the future, he plans to take the lane where the road narrows there.

………

Let’s catch up on a few upcoming events.

Metro will be hosting a guided Halloween Metro Bike bikeshare ride around DTLA on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Finish the Ride and Serious Cycling will host a free community ride in Agoura Hills.

The first three-day Revolution Bike Fest will take place on Orange County next weekend, with a full weekend of rides, music and beer.

revolution-bike-fest

If you find yourself jonesing for another ciclovía now that CicLAvia is done for the year, Long Beach hosts the next edition of their Beach Streets open streets event on November 12th.

nov-beach-streets

And the LACBC will host a discussion of traffic laws with representatives of the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department and the CHP, along with BikinginLA Sponsor Jim Pocrass, on November 14th.

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British Cycling confirms allegations that the head of their bike racing program used inappropriate and discriminatory language in telling a female racer to go and have a baby after her contract wasn’t renewed.

Meanwhile, leaders of the program while face questions in front of Parliament over allegations of legal doping.

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Local

Representatives of a business group call for passing Measure M because voting no would cost LA County too much. Meanwhile, a writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says voters have an opportunity to move the city forward by voting yes on M.

Metro officially votes to expand the Metro Bike bikeshare to Venice, San Pedro/Wilmington and Pasadena, where it will focus on the last mile connection; next up is Central LA, followed by Hollywood and West Hollywood, which already has its own system. Meanwhile, UCLA’s bikeshare system will open next spring.

Speaking of West Hollywood, the city’s bikeshare system will be on lockdown Monday during the massive Halloween celebration.

CiclaValley says every lane is a horse poop lane when you’re following the LAPD’s mounted patrol through the bike lanes of Downtown.

 

State

Streetsblog looks at the challenges in Caltrans efforts to develop a statewide active transportation plan, as they seek the public’s input.

Santa Ana goes beyond Vision Zero with a plan to end traffic collisions, not just deaths, while giving the streets back to people.

San Diego’s KPBS looks forward to Sunday’s annual CicloSDias open streets event. Meanwhile, the city’s downtown library is now hosting a monthly free bike repair co-op.

A San Diego man gets two Cervelos worth $46,000 back after they were stolen, thanks to the sharp eye of a neighbor.

After allowing a previous DIY protected bike lane to stay in place, San Francisco’s transportation department wastes little time in removing the latest guerilla installation.

A pair of bike riders are Bay Area heroes, as one retrieves a lost purse left on a bus, and the other leaps off his bike to save the life of a truck driver who’d just been stabbed.

A Vallejo cop hit a bicyclist while looking for a burglary suspect; the rider allegedly went through a red light while wearing all black with no lights on his bike.

A Folsom restaurant owner is collecting funds from the meals he sells to support the family of an Afghan refugee killed by a distracted driver while riding with his son last year.

 

National

A new report reminds us that homeowners who fight bikeways are just shooting themselves in the foot. Or rather, in the pocketbook.

Robin Williams’ bicycle collection raised $600,000 for charity.

A new study ranks the Philadelphia area as the second best place to ride a bike, behind the Minneapolis area and ahead of New York; the LA/OC region checks in at 37.

A new protected bike lane and wider sidewalks have resulted in zero fatalities on New York’s infamous Boulevard of Death, even though local residents don’t like it.

A Maine newspaper says the state’s Complete Streets policy won’t improve safety on the streets unless people in the state push for it to be fully funded and implemented.

 

International

A new British Columbia study says slow down while riding in urban areas to avoid inhaling toxic air pollution; 9.3 mph is recommended as the ideal speed to avoid sucking in too much smog.

An 83-year old Canadian grandmother is on a mission to give bicycles to underprivileged children, saying every child deserves a bike.

A homeless man gets 16 months in jail for knocking a cross-dressing Englishman off his bicycle with a shopping bag.

British tennis star Heather Watson says she was knocked over and verbally abused by someone on a bicycle.

Caught on video: A British driver makes an unsafe pass, then cuts back into his lane just in time to avoid a truck — and barely misses an eight-year old girl.

An Irish newspaper recounts the history of bicycling on the Emerald Isle.

Caught on video too: A Polish cyclist is lucky to walk away without serious injuries after being hit head-on.

Innovative approaches to bicycling and walking are leading Africa to a greener future, where four countries are among the world’s most dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Impoverished Johannesburg residents question whether bike lanes are racist and classist, after the city painted them without telling anyone who they were for or how to use them.

Life is cheap in Singapore, where the driver of a cement mixer gets a whopping ten weeks behind bars for killing a woman on a bike by failing to look at a pedestrian crossing.

It only took three years and a Freedom of Information request to learn a road raging Minneapolis bike rider and bus driver were both assholes.

Caught in video tres: A Singapore woman repeatedly slaps an elderly bike rider, while claiming she just got out of prison.

 

Finally…

The definition of bad luck: Someone steals your bike just two days after your car was stolen. If you want a free gold-plated Colnago, all you have to do is get elected pope.

And seriously, no sexting behind the wheel.

 

Failed justice — alleged street racing killer of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado gets off with just 90 days in jail

Pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, a victim of our streets. And our legal system.

Sorry Jorge.

America let you down.

Or more precisely, San Bernardino County let you down, along with a court system that inexplicably denied you the justice you deserved.

You came to this country to live out your dream of becoming a professional cyclist. We sent you back in a coffin, the victim of two then-high school students who couldn’t manage to keep their feet off the gas pedal.

And then let the driver who killed you off with the barest slap on the wrist, as if your all-to-brief life had no meaning or value.

Less time than he might have gotten for killing a dog, in fact.

A lot less.

It was over two years ago, in April, 2010, that you were riding on Greenspot Road in Highland, just north of San Bernardino, training for your new role as a rider for the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team, founded by Compton’s own former national crit champion Raahsaan Bahati.

It was your big break.

A chance to prove yourself as a rising rider on a new pro team with a then-promising future.

You had no way of knowing, as you rode along that country road, that your dream would end at age 27, in the field on your right.

Maybe you reacted to those cars zooming towards you. driving far too fast. You probably saw one try to pass the other at around 80 mph, and watched in horror as the other driver cut hard to the left to keep him from passing. That sent the first car, driven by Patrick Roraff, back to the right, where he hit the shoulder and lost control, skidding across the road directly into you.

You probably hit your brakes and tried to swerve.

But it was too late.

At that speed, nothing you did or might have done would have made any difference.

I wonder if you muttered an obscenity as you saw the situation unfold. Or did you whisper one last prayer, or the name of a loved one just before the out-of-control car barreled into you, slamming you into the bushes on your right?

Were you aware of what was happening? Did you know you were dying there alone on the side of the road, thousands of miles from the people you loved?

Or did you slip mercifully into oblivion, a loss of consciousness masking the pain from your broken body?

The young men who took your life were arrested, and eventually, charged with your murder.

But that’s where the wheels of justice seemed to slowly slip off the tracks.

The long wait for charges to be filed combined with endless legal delays to push any promise of justice back time and again.

Meanwhile, Roraff and co-defendant Brett Michael Morin, who was driving the other car, were able to graduate from Redlands East Valley High School. And even with a pending homicide charge, Roraff remained the star of his high school soccer team, and went on to play soccer at the University of Redlands. Perhaps foreshadowing the leniency to come, the judge even gave permission for him to travel to Texas with his team.

God forbid that killing another person should be enough to negatively impact someone’s athletic career.

Even though yours ended that day at Roraff’s hands.

To be fair, he did say he was sorry.

It looked, ever so briefly, like you were going to get the justice you deserved when Patrick Roraff finally changed his plea to guilty. Given the seriousness of the charges — felony vehicular homicide with gross negligence and a serious felon enhancement — he should have faced serious prison time.

But he doesn’t.

Instead, the judge imposed a sentence that is far closer to a pat on the back than a slap on the wrist.

Roraff was sentenced on Monday to just 90 days in jail, with three years probation, along with community service.

Ninety lousy days. And probably a lot less than that, given this state’s over-crowded jails.

That’s less that three months for what was initially described as an illegal street race  — a felony in the state of California, by the way, for which neither driver was charged — resulting in a man’s death.

And let’s be clear. This was not an accident.

Your death was the entirely foreseeable consequence of a conscious decision to use two potentially deadly motor vehicles as oversized Hot Wheels toys.

You were just collateral damage.

The court used this case to send a message — that killing another human being while recklessly endangering the public is no big deal.

So go ahead and do whatever the hell you want on the roads, because there won’t be any serious consequences.

Especially if you have athletic skills, evidently.

They might as well have thrown Roraff a party for decreasing the excess cyclist population in the county.

It matters.

Not just because you were denied the justice you so richly deserved. But because cyclists are vulnerable on the streets, subject to the whims and careless actions of those with whom we share them.

It’s the protection we receive from the police and courts — or don’t — that dictates whether those streets will be survivable. And on that count, this court failed us miserably, putting every cyclist at greater risk.

Maybe Roraff is deserving of a second chance. But by failing to give him the sort of sentence his crime called for, the legal system missed an opportunity to show things like this can’t, and won’t, be tolerated.

And making it that much more likely that it will happen again.

There’s no word on when Roraff will begin his sentence.

It’s possible that his jail time may be delayed so he can compete again this season. If not, he’ll do his time, and be free to play again; maybe even transferring to a larger school now that this is no longer hanging over his head.

Why he received this gift from the court, I have no idea. I could speculate, but it would be nothing but a guess.

And not a pretty one, at that.

The sudden guilty plea suggests that this may have been a plea bargain. If so, I would question whether any District Attorney who signed off on a deal like this is fit to remain in office.

If not, I hope local voters will keep this case in mind when the judge comes up for reelection.

And why Roraff’s co-defendant continues to fight his charges when he could get a sweet deal like this is beyond me.

Maybe he’s not a star athlete.

To say I’m disgusted is to put it mildly.

I’m sorry, Jorge Alvarado.

We failed you.

You deserved better. You deserved justice.

But like far too many people who needlessly die while riding a bike, you’re not going to get it.

And absolutely nothing about this case will keep it from happening again.

……..

Update: Cyclist/attorney Dj Wheels fills in some of the blanks in this case.

According to information on the website for the San Bernardino County Superior Court, the sentence was imposed by judge William Jefferson Powell, who was appointed to the court by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.

Roraff was sentenced to 90 days in county jail, and taken into custody immediately after the hearing. Which means he should be back on the streets by early November at the latest, followed by three years of supervised probation; the judge also ordered his license revoked for a period to be determined by the DMV. 

And Roraff was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, half of which must involve discussion of the dangers of reckless driving. 

The terms of his probation also prohibit the possession of deadly weapons; in his case, maybe that should include motor vehicles.

Drunken street racers critically injure Apple Valley cyclist; both drivers under arrest

In a case tragically reminiscent of the street racing death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, an Apple Valley cyclist has been critically injured after getting struck by a drunken street racer.

According to the Victorville Daily Press, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on the north shoulder of Bear Valley Road near Algonquin Road around 2:50 pm Sunday. A car came off a dirt road and hit the rider, seriously injuring him; an aerial view shows several dirt roads in the immediate area.

Witnesses report that two drivers had been racing when the rider got caught between them; both were arrested for driving under the influence causing injury.

At last report, the victim was still in critical condition after being airlifted to a hospital.

My prayers to for the cyclist for a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Dj Wheels for the heads-up.

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