Tag Archive for Torrance

BOLO Alert: Bike stolen in Torrance, thief caught on surveillance camera

It’s not every day a bike thief is caught in the act.

On camera, anyway.

Allison writes to report that her classic mixte bike was stolen sometime around 3 am on Thursday, October 2nd from an apartment building on the 4200 block of Artesia Blvd in Torrance.

The bike is described as having a rusty blue ladies steel frame with front and rear fenders; the rear fender is attached with a zip tie at the bottom bracket.

The 3-speed Sturmey Archer AW hub is dated 1965, while the tires are brand new Schwalbs. Front brakes are original with orange Kool Stop pads; back brakes are Tektro with black pads.

Cables are threaded through a metal headlight attachment on the front tube. The front brake cable is original white; rear bra­ke and shifter cables are black. The rear brake cable is installed upside down for this model, and loops between the down-tube and seat post as shown.

The serial number is 2339655, and can be found on back of seat post. A Zefal HPx1 frame pump was attached to the bike and is also missing.

The thief was caught by security camera; a still from the video shows a dark haired man with a long ponytail.

Torrance bike thief

Anyone having information on the identity of this man or whereabouts of the bicycle is urged to contact the Torrance Police department at 310/328-3456, reference Case ID 1400-60347. Then call Allison at 818/850-2710.

She reports that two other bikes were stolen from her apartment complex in just the last few weeks.

Let’s hope someone can identify this guy and help put a bike thief behind bars where he belongs. And let’s get Allison her bike back.

Allison's stolen bike 2

Allison's stolen bike

Teenage cyclist fatally shot in Harbor Gateway; does it still count when it’s just one kid instead of 20?

Merry Christmas, indeed.

According to the Daily Breeze, a 16-year old boy was shot and killed while riding his bike in the Harbor Gateway neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Torrance resident Richard Aldana was riding in the 1500 block of West 208th Street around 8:20 pm Sunday when a blue vehicle pulled up near him and someone fired several shots from inside. Aldana was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

Despite the drive-by, police do not think the shooting was gang related.

When 20 children are gunned down, along with six adults, the entire nation is horrified and demands action. Yet when one boy on a bike loses his life on the wrong end of a gun, no one even notices. Instead of world-wide press coverage, it merits just four paragraphs in the local paper.

It’s just too common an occurrence.

Just one of the seven bike riders killed by gunfire in Southern California so far this year, compared to nine last year, and the second in Los Angeles County.

And just one of the 30,000 +/- people who will die by gunfire throughout the country before this year is over.

Twenty-six deaths is a tragedy. One isn’t even news.

Anyone with information is urged to call homicide detectives Sid Rodriguez at 310/726-7887 or Patty Batts at 310/726-7889.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Richard Aldana and all his loved ones.

Update: Not knowing the area, I originally placed the shooting in Torrance, rather than Los Angeles. I’ve corrected it above to show the actual location. Thanks to Biker395 for the correction.

Torrance bike commuter killed Wednesday in Gardena hit-and-run

Once again, a driver has run down a SoCal cyclist. And left him to die, his crumpled body lying helplessly in the street.

According to the Daily Breeze, 49-year old Benjamin Torres was on his way to work early Wednesday morning when he was hit by a vehicle while riding east on 135th Street at Wilton Place in Gardena.

Oddly, the intersection appears to be controlled by a red light in just one direction on 135th, with a stop sign on the cross street. (Update: It’s actually a one-way fire station signal.)

His body was found by a nearby worker after Torres was already dead. Whether he could have been saved if the coward behind the wheel had stopped and called for help may never be known.

Personally, I think every driver accused of a fatal hit-and-run should be charged with murder, since the delay in getting help inevitably contributes to the victim’s death if the collision was in any way survivable.

Torres’ stepdaughter reports that he always rode his bike from his home to his job at Brek Manufacturing on 132nd Street at 4:15 each morning, saying he felt it was pointless to pay for gas to go to work.

Police say he was struck sometime before 4:30 and 5 am. No witnesses have come forward; given the early hour, none are likely.

The paper says investigators found debris from the vehicle, including headlights, suggesting it’s likely to have significant front-end damage, most likely on the right side. Police are using that debris to determine the make of the vehicle; however, they had no other description at this time, including the color.

No mention is made of whether Torres was using lights or reflectors at that early hour.

He suffered severe head injuries despite his helmet. However, bike helmets are only designed to protect against impacts up to 12.5 mph; they are no match for a car moving at speed.

Torres leaves behind a wife of 17 years, as well as five stepchildren and their 12 children.

Gardena police urge anyone with information to call Investigator Matthew Hassoldt at 310/217-6189.

This is the 63rd bicycling death in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County. Torres is the 13th bike rider killed in a hit-and-run in 2012; three of the 10 riders killed in traffic collisions in L.A. County this year have been victims of hit-and-run.

My prayers and sympathy for Torres and his family.

One year in jail for underage, allegedly drunk driver who nearly killed cyclist Adam Rybicki.

Is a single year in county jail really enough for an underage drinking and driving spree that injured two cyclists — nearly taking the life of one and leaving him with life-altering injuries?

Sources tell me that a plea deal has been reached in the case of Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, the 19-year old driver accused of plowing into a group of cyclists early on the morning of Sunday, April 3rd — while still drunk from the night before.

In fact, I’m told that at the time of the 7:15 am collision, she still had a BAC of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit.

Reportedly, she will be sentenced to one year in jail, though current jail overcrowding conditions mean she’s likely to serve less than six months.

Maybe far less.

In addition, she’ll face three years probation after her release, including a requirement that she wear the SCRAM alcohol monitor made famous by Lindsey Lohan. We can only hope it will be more effective than it was with her more famous compatriot.

She also have her driver’s license suspended for just one year. This despite at least four moving violations in the last three years, as well as allegedly totaling her car in a previous collision.

Hopefully, it won’t be the year she’ll be in jail and can’t drive anyway.

Meanwhile, I’m told that her primary victim, 49-year old Adam Rybicki of Rancho Palos Verdes, continues to progress, albeit slowly, and faces a long, hard road to recovery; it remains to be seen whether he will ever regain even a semblance of the life he lived before Garcia ran him down.

Those with whom I’ve discussed the case consider the penalties likely to be imposed on Garcia to be very light given the extreme severity of Rybicki’s injuries. However, I’m told that the D.A. handling the case had his hands tied by the penalties allowed under the law for a first time vehicular felon.

One attorney who weighed in on the plea deal said that under current state law someone has to die before a heavy prison sentence can be imposed; from what I understand, Adam Rybicki came very, very close.

In fact, he probably would have if there hadn’t been an orthopedic surgeon on ride.

But at least she’ll have a felony conviction on her record, which will follow her for the rest of her life.

Meanwhile, Garcia has written a letter asking for leniency, which has been highly criticized by some who’ve seen it; at least some observers accuse her of failing to take responsibility for her actions and seeing herself as the victim.

“I ended up being involved in an accident where two bicyclists were injured.” (Garcia)

Beyond comprehension. She is the victim here?!? Accident?!? This is a @##$$%^^&&* felony!!! Two bicyclists were injured!?! With a blood alcohol level of 0.15, she drove a vehicle directly into the path of law abiding cyclists and assaulted them with her vehicle.

“One thing that people have said about me is the fact that I was emotionless at the time of the accident. I was far from that.”

Well, yes, people did observe that appearance. She may be on the mark here. She was beyond emotionless; she was nearly unconscious! That, however, does not constitute emotion. Still no responsibility. She certainly did not offer any help at the scene of the accident; compassion, not hardly.

The case has been continued until Monday, September 12th at 8:30 am in Department 5, Room 403 of the Inglewood Superior Court.

At that time, she is expected to change her plea to guilty, and the court will hear statements from the victims — or in Rybicki’s case, his family members — and other interested parties.

And before the day is over, Jaclyn Andrea Garcia is likely to be sentenced for failing to kill Adam Rybicki, if only barely.

Whether justice will be served depends entirely on your perspective.

……..

In another case, Victims Impact Statements will be heard on Wednesday, September 7th in the case of Stephanie Segal, charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run in the death of cyclist James Laing; Segal reportedly had a BAC of .26 at the time of the collision. The hearing is now scheduled for 10 am  — I’d previously reported it would start at 8:30 am — in Department 1 of the Malibu Courthouse, 23525 Civic Center Way.

Cyclists are urged to attend wearing bike jerseys to show support for Laing and his family; however, long pants are required in the courtroom.

Harrowing first person account of collision that critically injured Adam Rybicki, and a call for justice

Jaclyn Andrea Garcia being taken into custody.

Last April, Adam Rybicki was critically injured in a collision with an alleged underage drunk driver while riding with friends in Torrance.

The collision occurred early on Sunday morning as a car driven by Jaclyn Andrea Garcia drove head first towards the cyclists, then suddenly jerked back to strike Rybicki and another rider as they swerved to avoid her. Despite her age and the early hour, 19-year old Garcia reportedly had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

Nearly three months later, Adam remains in a rehab facility, struggling to communicate using a white board; he still has both a feeding tube and a tracheotomy tube installed. Reportedly, he’s making good progress, though he has a very long way to go.

The driver who is charged with putting him there is facing a preliminary setting hearing on Wednesday, July 27th in Department 5 of the Inglewood Courthouse, Case #YA81126; she’s charge with two counts of DUI with injury, and two counts DUI with BAC of .08 and injury.

The case has been transferred to Inglewood after the Supervising Judge in Torrance recused all the judges in that courthouse because Garcia’s mother works as a court reporter there. Cyclists who knew Rybicki and were on the ride are worried that, even in another courthouse, Garcia could receive favorable treatment because of her mother’s relationship with local judges and prosecutors.

As a result, they want to get the story out about what really happened that tragic Sunday, and have sent me, and several prominent area reporters and columnists, the following, absolutely chilling, first person account of the collision.

Along with a signed petition calling for justice for Adam.

……..

At 7:15 AM on April 3, 2011, the group of riders known as “The Doctors’ Ride” was headed downhill on Camino de Encanto.

Minutes earlier they left the congregation point near the fountain at Malaga Cove Plaza, with ten riders headed north toward Marina Del Rey.  They use Camino De Encanto to avoid traffic on Palos Verdes Boulevard.

As the road curved slightly to the right at the bottom of the steep part, an oncoming car came into view.  The silver Kia driven by Jaclyn Andrea Garcia was already in the middle of the road and drifting into the path of oncoming bikes.

MB said to JT, “Watch the car.”

Incredibly and inexplicably, the car kept coming further into the cyclists’ lane.  MB and JT at the front veered right and hit their brakes, skidding on the pavement, but they had no place to go.  DC, behind MB, braked so hard he kicked up his back wheel, barely keeping control.  Adam, to his left, apparently saw an opening to go left around the car and headed that way.  KW and NG1 behind braked hard but stayed right.  Behind them, SH and NG2 also braked hard, skidding.  Well back, DS and DL watched the horror unfold.

At the front, MB yelped a primal scream as he braced for impact.  JT, an accomplished motorcycle rider, tried to keep control and find a way out.  At the last second, Garcia jerked her vehicle back to the proper side sparing MB his expected impact.  JT smashed his left handlebar into the left front fender and vaulted up, shearing off the driver’s side mirror and scraping his shorts on the left rear door handle.  He doesn’t recall hitting the ground but popped up with a smashed left hand and upper leg abrasions from the scrape with the mirror and door handle.

Adam was not as fortunate.  His chosen escape was abruptly cut off with no time to react. He struck the bumper and hood of the Kia just to the driver’s side of center.  His carbon fiber bike frame buckled and shattered from the impact, the only thing holding it together was the control cables.  His right femur also shattered from the impact to the hood.  He flew into the windshield just to the passenger side of center creating a hole about a foot in diameter and spraying shattered glass into the lap of the girl in the passenger seat.  Adam was tossed into the air and landed on the far side of the street, his chest and face-down head on the sidewalk, his pelvis and legs in the gutter.  His right leg stuck out at a horrible angle under his left leg; he looked dead.

MB circled back and assessed the situation.  The vehicle had stopped back in the proper lane about 10 feet beyond Adam’s body.  The engine was still running; he yelled at the driver to shut off the engine and stay in the car.  DS, an orthopedic surgeon, noted Adam had a pulse but was not conscious or breathing well; he had to be moved to clear an airway.  MB and DS moved Adam so he was laid out in the gutter face up.  He began moaning.  Neighbors emerged from houses to see what the commotion was about.  Riders franticly called 911 uncertain what the street name or block was.

Riders quickly ascertained that Adam and JT were the only riders hit, JT far better off than Adam.  Minutes seemed like hours as riders awaited help.  A neighbor produced a blanket to cover Adam against the morning chill.  DS tended to Adam imploring him to hang on.

Five girls gradually emerged from the vehicle and wandered to the curb to sit away from the cyclists.  One stated within earshot of KW that this was bullshit; she had to get to work.  KW, uncertain if this was the driver, told this girl she wasn’t going anywhere, this was a serious accident and she should calm down and stay put.  Jaclyn Garcia told the girl to come sit down with her.

After about five minutes, the first police appeared on scene.  Minutes later, paramedics showed up and took over first aid from DS.  Others were trying to contact Adam’s wife, Barbara, by calling information.  JT had someone call his wife, also.  JT insisted paramedics tend to Adam first.  Ambulance arrived on scene, the paramedics cut off Adam’s jersey, a nearly new Bike Tour of Colorado jersey he bought last June.  In the back of the jersey was his wallet, his mini pump and his phone.  They loaded Adam onto a gurney and hauled him away in the ambulance headed for Harbor UCLA Trauma Center.

The police secured the block with crime scene tape and segregated the car girls from the riders.  Everyone except Adam was interviewed over the next hour.  Garcia was field-sobriety checked and failed.  She was cuffed and stuffed into the back of a cruiser for a trip to Torrance Memorial Medical Center for Blood-alcohol content testing.  At age 19, the legal limit is zero.  When tested, hers was closer to 0.15.

Adam’s phone and other jersey contents disappeared from the trauma center.  It was later determined that someone in South Central LA was using his phone to make international calls.  Messages were sent to try to retrieve the phone; there were no responses.  After multiple surgeries in the trauma center, his condition was stabilized.

Three-and-a-half months later Adam is conscious, but has severely limited motor ability.  He was moved to a sub-acute care center where he receives 24-hour-a-day monitoring.  He has been bed-ridden for three months. He has a trach tube, a feeding tube and cannot do anything for himself.  He cannot hear or talk.  He can respond to written questions with yes and no nods of his head.  He has no memories of the crash.  He appreciates all visitors and well wishes.  We are all hoping that he can eventually recover some semblance of a normal life.

A number of the riders and friends of Adam have circulated a petition.  It has been deemed inappropriate for us to send it directly to the DA or the judiciary.  We feel that we’d like to put it out there anyway so we are sending to you, the press.  We appreciate any public airing this case can get.

……..

A Demand for Justice in the Case of Jaclyn Andrea Garcia

Jaclyn Andrea Garcia was 19.  She was a former student athlete at Palos Verdes High, a babysitter and a Jr College Student.  She was drunk and driving in south Torrance with four other girls in her Kia mini-SUV.  Adam Rybicki was 49.  He was a fit, enthusiastic, avid bicyclist, who was very well liked by all who knew him.  He was a productive software engineer and, perhaps more importantly, a loyal husband and father.  April 3, 2011 brought them together in a horrible, violent collision.

At age 19, the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content is zero.  When tested, JAG’s was closer to 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit for adults.  She and friends had purchased alcoholic drinks (illegally) on Saturday night and spent the night drinking at JAG’s boyfriend’s house.  How or why they emerged at 7 AM Sunday and decided to pile into JAG’s car is unknown.  But by doing so, they sealed Adam’s fate.

JAG drove her car across the centerline into the path of a group of ten cyclists.  In the mad scramble to escape her vehicle, two cyclists were struck.  Adam was by far the worst casualty.  He was struck head on with a closing speed of nearly 55 mph.

Adam’s progress is slow.  He still cannot hear.  He is still on a feeding tube and a trach tube for breathing.  He cannot speak.  He cannot do anything for himself.  Nobody knows if he will ever recover those abilities we all take for granted.

Some feel that the District Attorney should tie JAG’s fate to Adam’s; as long as he’s in his ‘prison’, she should stay in the state’s prison.  That is probably not within the law and it is not going to happen.  But it would be a travesty if she walked just because of her youth and sympathy for her family.  Adam Rybicki has no ‘inside’ connections.  District Attorneys, as we have seen in the Colorado case (see http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/06/news/the-explainer-a-follow-up-to-the-sleepy-investment-banker_177721), can make decisions on how to prosecute.  They have autonomy to make deals in criminal court that determine the defendant’s destiny.  They have no say in Adam Rybicki’s destiny.

We will see what happens in this criminal proceeding; it bears watching and those prosecuting and/or dealing should be and will be accountable – no under-the-table or behind-closed-doors deals should be allowed.  This is no longer a juvenile offender – no more sealed verdicts.  Justice is supposed to be blind and beyond reproach .

Drunk driving is a crime.  Offenders are to be cited and prosecuted.   Bicyclists constitute some of the most vulnerable users of the roadways.  They are entitled to use the roadways.  Accidents happen.  This was not an accident; this was a crime.  By illegally drinking and driving, Jaclyn Andrea Garcia became a criminal.  She should be properly prosecuted and should be properly penalized.  Any parent can appreciate wanting to spare a child distress and life disruption due to penalties.  But take a look at Adam Rybicki’s life and family.  They did not sign up for this and did nothing to deserve it.  We are all hoping that Adam can eventually recover some semblance of a normal life.

We, the undersigned, implore the District Attorney and Judge to consider the facts of the case and impose the maximum possible sentence for these crimes.

Thank you.

Richard Lull
Javier Murphy
Richard Shrader
Cynthia Tenhouse
Davis Jensen
David Perez
Dave LaForest
Raymond Eastwood
William Klahr
Paul and Kelley Swanno
Ed Taylor
Benjamin Konell
James K Yokotake
John Thomson
John Reidy
Judith Elliot
Gus and Gail Ohlsson
H. Marq Prince
William Height
Marcus Edwardes
Michael C Barr
Susan Kessler
Robert Cedergreen
Jeff Dykzeul
Kathy Risley
Jon Rosen
Kathy Nelson
 
If the authors of this petition don’t mind, they can add one more name to this list. Mine.
 
Ted Rogers, BikingInLA
 

More details on Sunday’s DUI bike collision in Torrance; driver had numerous moving violations

More details are trickling in on Sunday’s early morning DUI collision that left cyclist Adam Rybicki in critical condition.

According to the Daily Breeze, a car driven by 19-year old Jaclyn Andrea Garcia veered towards the group of cyclists, who were riding two-abreast on the right hand side of the street, as the car approached from about 75 yards away.

The members of the Doctor’s Ride — so called because of the number of physicians, lawyers and other professionals who regularly take part — swerved to get out of the way and braced for impact.

An email that was been forwarded to me, written by one of the participants on the ride, describes the car, a Kia mini SUV, swerving back to the right at the at the last second. The writer reports locking up his back wheel, screaming and somehow getting by, while the rider to his left, identified only as John, clipped the driver’s fender and fell into the street.

The rider to John’s left, identified as 49-year old Adam Rybicki of Rancho Palos Verdes, was hit head-on after he had swerved in a failed attempt to avoid the car; by swerving to the left, he had inadvertently put himself directly into the path of the Kia when it veered back to the right.

The writer reports that the car stopped, but the engine was still running, so he walked around to the driver’s side and screamed at her to turn off the engine. He reports that a man named Dick, identified in the Daily Breeze as a surgeon participating on the ride, tended to Rybicki until the paramedics arrived; his actions may have saved Rybicki’s life until he could be rushed to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.

He also notes the driver was breathalyzed and arrested, and everyone on the ride was interviewed. And that the police are doing a thorough investigation — despite the impression left by the comments made by a police spokesperson in the initial Daily Breeze report.

The Daily Breeze reports that Garcia has had multiple moving violations in just the last two years — yet was still allowed to keep her license.

Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, 19, has a valid driver’s license, but has had four convictions for driving offenses since 2009, including three for speeding, state Department of Motor Vehicles records show.

The records showed Garcia was convicted Jan. 14, 2009, of driving at a speed unsafe for the prevailing conditions.

On May 13, 2009, she was convicted of failing to obey signs. On Dec. 4, 2009, she received a ticket for speeding at more than 70 mph, then received another ticket for driving at a speed unsafe for the conditions on Jan. 25, 2011.

Despite that, she was allowed to keep driving, and nearly took the life of another person on Sunday.

One of the commenters on today’s post questioned why the passengers in her car weren’t subjected to a blood alcohol test, since they were also reputed to be drunk and underage — and he describes them, not unfairly, as accomplices rather than mere passengers.

Several reports have described the driver as emotionless, and told of one passenger who, rather than show any concern or compassion for the victim, attempted to walk away, saying she had to get to work and didn’t have time “for this shit.”

As I understand it, it is also an established legal principal that whoever supplied them with the alcohol — whether a business or individual — can be held accountable for the actions that resulted. We can only hope that the police follow the investigation as far as it goes, and the DA pursues all the charges that are warranted, whether against Garcia or anyone else who may have contributed to the tragedy.

Meanwhile, Garcia has been released on $100,000 bail, while Rybicki, who has a wife and son, remains in a coma with a broken leg and ankle, several broken ribs, a broken shoulder, cracked vertebrae, multiple skull fractures and bleeding in the brain.

Maybe you can tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

My prayers go out to Adam, his family and loved ones, with my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

.………

Another comment received Monday evening from a couple who describe themselves as regular participant in the same ride confirms many of the details from other sources.

More details on Sunday’s DUI bike collision in Torrance; driver had numerous moving violations

More details are trickling in on Sunday’s early morning DUI collision that left cyclist Adam Rybicki in critical condition.

According to the Daily Breeze, a car driven by 19-year old Jaclyn Andrea Garcia veered towards the group of cyclists, who were riding two-abreast on the right hand side of the street, as the car approached from about 75 yards away.

The members of the Doctor’s Ride — so called because of the number of physicians, lawyers and other professionals who regularly take part — swerved to get out of the way and braced for impact.

An email that was been forwarded to me, written by one of the participants on the ride, describes the car, a Kia mini SUV, swerving back to the right at the at the last second. The writer reports locking up his back wheel, screaming and somehow getting by, while the rider to his left, identified only as John, clipped the driver’s fender and fell into the street.

The rider to John’s left, identified as 49-year old Adam Rybicki of Rancho Palos Verdes, was hit head-on after he had swerved in a failed attempt to avoid the car; by swerving to the left, he had inadvertently put himself directly into the path of the Kia when it veered back to the right.

The writer reports that the car stopped, but the engine was still running, so he walked around to the driver’s side and screamed at her to turn off the engine. He reports that a man named Dick, identified in the Daily Breeze as a surgeon participating on the ride, tended to Rybicki until the paramedics arrived; his actions may have saved Rybicki’s life until he could be rushed to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.

He also notes the driver was breathalyzed and arrested, and everyone on the ride was interviewed. And that the police are doing a thorough investigation — despite the impression left by the comments made by a police spokesperson in the initial Daily Breeze report.

The Daily Breeze reports that Garcia has had multiple moving violations in just the last two years — yet was still allowed to keep her license.

Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, 19, has a valid driver’s license, but has had four convictions for driving offenses since 2009, including three for speeding, state Department of Motor Vehicles records show.

The records showed Garcia was convicted Jan. 14, 2009, of driving at a speed unsafe for the prevailing conditions.

On May 13, 2009, she was convicted of failing to obey signs. On Dec. 4, 2009, she received a ticket for speeding at more than 70 mph, then received another ticket for driving at a speed unsafe for the conditions on Jan. 25, 2011.

Despite that, she was allowed to keep driving, and nearly took the life of another person on Sunday.

One of the commenters on today’s post questioned why the passengers in her car weren’t subjected to a blood alcohol test, since they were also reputed to be drunk and underage — and he describes them, not unfairly, as accomplices rather than mere passengers.

Several reports have described the driver as emotionless, and told of one passenger who, rather than show any concern or compassion for the victim, attempted to walk away, saying she had to get to work and didn’t have time “for this shit.”

As I understand it, it is also an established legal principal that whoever supplied them with the alcohol — whether a business or individual — can be held accountable for the actions that resulted. We can only hope that the police follow the investigation as far as it goes, and the DA pursues all the charges that are warranted, whether against Garcia or anyone else who may have contributed to the tragedy.

Meanwhile, Garcia has been released on $100,000 bail, while Rybicki, who has a wife and son, remains in a coma with a broken leg and ankle, several broken ribs, a broken shoulder, cracked vertebrae, multiple skull fractures and bleeding in the brain.

Maybe you can tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

My prayers go out to Adam, his family and loved ones, with my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

.………

Another comment received Monday evening from a couple who describe themselves as regular participant in the same ride confirms many of the details from other sources.

Torrance cyclist critically injured; police appear to bend over backwards to blame the victim

Excuse me a moment, because I’m livid.

Yesterday, a 19-year old alleged drunk driver collided with a group of cyclists in Torrance, critically injuring one rider and leaving another with a broken hand.

In fact, reports indicate that the car was full of intoxicated young women, on the road at 7:15 am(!). Yet according to the Daily Breeze, a spokesperson for the Torrance police still tried to blame the cyclists for the collision.

“It’s kind of a residential street, so we’re not sure if the bicyclists were staying on their side of the road or taking up more of the road,” Chase said.

That, even though his aspersions are clearly contradicted by witnesses at the scene.

According to a second-hand witness statement posted on Road Bike Review, Adam Rybicki was riding with a group of 10 – 12 cyclists returning from a ride through Palos Verdes when they encountered a swerving car on the 600 block of Camino de Encanto.

When the car veered onto the wrong side of the road, Rybicki swerved left to avoid it. However, the car then swerved back to the right, narrowly missing the lead riders and hitting him head on, as well as hitting and injuring a second rider. The writer says it was only divine intervention that spared the rest of the group — and describes the driver as emotionless when she was cuffed at the scene.

Jim Lyle, who came on the scene moments later, described Rybicki’s carbon fiber bike as “exploded,” and said there was significant damage to the driver’s car.

I’ll spare you the description of his injuries; you can read it on Road Bike Review comment if you want. But trust me, it’s not pretty, and sounds like your prayers and/or best wishes would be in order.

Then again, judging by the report in the Daily Breeze, it also sounds like cyclists may need a little divine intervention in dealing with the local police, as well.

Here you have a case where witnesses clearly describe a car swerving onto the wrong side of the road, scattering a group of riders in a desperate attempt to save their own lives. Then the driver swerves back and hits two riders who were only on the wrong side of the road because they were trying to avoid her.

And by all accounts, the driver was clearly drunk — verified by the fact that the police immediately took her into custody for felony DUI, holding her on $100,000 bond.

Yet a spokesperson for the Torrance police still suggests that the riders may have been at fault. So just what part of drunk driving don’t they understand?

And let’s not forget that the driver was underage.

Here they had a perfect opportunity to comment on the obvious and well-documented dangers of driving under the influence — at seven in the morning, no less. And use this woman’s story as a cautionary tale to help keep other young people off the road after drinking.

Instead, all they seem to manage is to suggest that, despite all available evidence, maybe she wasn’t entirely at fault.

Excuse my language, please.

But just what the fuck is wrong with them?

My prayers go out to Adam Rybicki and his family and loved ones; best wishes for a full and complete recovery.

Update: It appears the initial comments by the Torrance Police spokesperson were wrong. All reports I’ve received from people on the scene of Sunday’s collision indicate the Torrance police conducted a fair, thorough and unbiased investigation, and that the officer whose comments suggested police were blaming the cyclists was not involved in the investigation and had no direct knowledge of the case.

The incredible disappearing sharrows, part two

Now you see them, now you don’t.

Just days after sharrows magically reappeared in Westwood — after being covered up in a massive failure of communication between two city agencies — it’s happened again.

Only this time, it’s a good thing.

According to an email I received on Wednesday, Torrance joined the recent rush to put sharrows on the streets this month — to the delight and disappointment of local cyclists.

Delight, because shared lane markings have proven exceptionally popular with many bike riders, indicating to drivers that we have a right to the road.

And to the lane.

Nice try, but this is just so wrong in so many ways.

Disappointment, because the markings were placed in entirely the wrong location — in the bike lane and well out of the traffic lane. And worse, they indicated that cyclists should ride directly in the door zone, rather than positioning riders outside it, as the marking are intended to do.

Maybe someone in the city’s Public Works Department saw the pretty bike and chevron design in another nearby town, and thought they’d look lovely on the streets of their own town. Or maybe they just wanted to be trendy, like everyone else here in SoCal, and didn’t want to get left off the sharrow express.

Problem is, they clearly didn’t research the hows and whys and — most importantly — wheres before they put paint on the street.

I’ll let my correspondent take it from here, quoting from the email he sent to the Public Works Department just last Saturday, with a copy sent to the city’s mayor.

Shared Lane Markings (aka “sharrows”) have been incorrectly installed on streets in the City of Torrance.

According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Shared Lane Markings are not to be used in designated bicycle lanes and, on streets with parallel parking, should be placed at least 11 feet from the curb.

The recently installed “sharrows” on Torrance Blvd (in designated bicycle lanes) and those on Anza Avenue (less than 11 feet from the curb and in the “door zone”) are nonconforming, exposing the city to possible liability should a bicycle rider be injured.

While the City of Torrance is to be applauded for its bicycle friendly efforts, the use of Shared Lane Markings should be in accordance with the MUTCD.

Under that black paint lies an unlamented misplaced and swiftly removed sharrow.

The response was surprisingly swift.

When he went out for his ride on Wednesday, he passed one of the locations where sharrows had been placed on Torrance Blvd.

And he was surprised to see that the offending pavement markings had already been painted over,  just five days —and only three business days — following his email. Evidently, it doesn’t hurt to copy the mayor’s office when you complain.

As he put it:

Better no sharrows than ones in the door zone.

………

As if people didn’t already think most cyclists are law-breaking scum.

The LAPD hosted a news conference Wednesday evening to announce that, despite improved relations with the cycling community, there are certain biking behaviors that just won’t be tolerated.

Like corking intersections. Riding on the wrong side of the road. Or swarming a grocery store parking lot, drinking beer and smoking pot, and riding bikes through the aisles of the store, scattering shoppers in your wake.

As Brent wrote in an email Wednesday,

…it’s like the new “skateboarding” — hanging out with your friends, skateboard in one hand, joint in the other. But it sure does tar the rest of us just trying to get to our destination by bicycle.

Leaders of the local bike community are working to ensure it doesn’t happen again at Critical Mass this Friday. And the police will be on hand to make damn sure it doesn’t.

Tolerance only goes so far.

And patience has clearly run out.

………

Damien Newton breaks the news that Rita Robinson may be leaving her position as LADOT General Manager to take a high-level position with the county. Interesting timing, as it comes at the same time that New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, a graduate of Occidental College, is rumored to be having trouble with her new, less-bike-friendly boss.

Maybe this is Mayor Villaraigosa’s opportunity to demonstrate that he really is the bike community’s new BFF, and bring her back home to L.A.

………

LADOT Bike Blog sums up its excellent series on where you can and can’t ride on the sidewalk in L.A. County. And concludes by saying it just shows there’s still work to be done.

If bicycles are supposed to be considered vehicles with responsibilities and rights equal to automobiles, like CVC 21200 states, then bicyclists deserve to have rules for their operation that are at least as uniform as the rules for operating an automobile.

The LA County Sidewalk Riding series proves, if nothing else, that we’ve still got a ways to go in that regard.

………

Villaraigosa offers Angelenos a personal invitation to attend CicLAvia on 10/10/10. Gary says when someone steals your bike, you can always rollerblade. Here’s what you can look forward to at next month’s Tour da Fat. A Fresno mother pleads for justice in the hit-and-run death of her son. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske discusses liability for road hazards, saying you may not be at fault for that fall; something you might want to remember, considering we have the 2nd worst roads in the U.S. The search continues for the schmuck driver who fled the scene after hitting two cyclists in rapid succession in Portland. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood looks back on Tuesday’s Distracted Driving Summit, saying distraction-related crashes are 100% preventable. A reputed Lance Armstrong accuser testifies before the Grand Jury investigating him here in L.A.; is it truth or sour grapes? Top young pro Taylor Phinney blows off Lance and signs with BMC. How to ride in a paceline. If you want to get away with murder, use a car instead of a gun. Canadian TV asks if enough cyclists use Vancouver’s new bike lanes to justify their existence, while a writer says the city’s cyclists are their own worst enemies. An English cyclist was five times over the legal drunk driving limit when he was killed in a collision. A British rider asks for advice on how to make her longer bike commute more fun. A rare, 130-year old tricycle is stolen from a Brit bike charity. Researchers say traffic jams are caused by a combination of aggressive and/or timid drivers; link courtesy of @Metro Library. A different approach to Budapest’s Critical Mass works better than expected.

Finally, the inevitable far-right backlash begins against Wednesday’s Car-Free Day; evidently, it’s another left-wing plot, just like bike sharing.

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