Tag Archive for Torrance

Morning Links: Arrest in Valbuena hit-and-run, adaptive bikes in the news, and who we share the roads with

Police have arrested a suspect in the hit-and-run death of bike rider Jonathan Valbuena in Torrance last month.

Thirty-seven-year old Thomas Hudson was arrested at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes following a two week investigation.

He was being held on $50,000 bail.

Valbuena, who was described as homeless, was left to die in the street following the 5 am crash at Hawthorne Boulevard and 227th Street.

Let’s hope the DA’s office takes this case seriously, and don’t just write it off because the victim didn’t have a home. Or was on a bicycle.

And that our state legislators finally do something to stop this murderous epidemic.

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Today’s common theme is adaptive riding.

Bicycling profiles handcycle mountain biker Jeremy McGhee, who has developed a rating system for mountain bike trails accessible to adaptive riders. But then they don’t bother to, you know, link to it.

After losing the use of his own legs, a Colorado framebuilder switched his focus to building one-of-a-kind adaptive mountain bikes to bring wheelchair-bound riders back to the trails.

A Pittsburgh paraplegic is preparing to make an attempt to set a new record for the most miles traveled by handcycle in 24 hours.

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This is who we share the roads with.

An allegedly drunk, off-duty Lyft driver takes a wide, fast turn onto Sunset Blvd, and takes out a handful of people standing on the sidewalk outside the Whiskey a Go Go.

Then there’s this guy.

In yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late, a British driver with eight previous convictions for distracted driving killed a bike rider moments after reading a text. And just weeks after magistrates agreed to let him keep his license.

Maybe those magistrates should be looking for a new line of work.

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Get your zen on with mesmerizing drone footage of bicyclists rounding a roundabout in bike-friendly Davis.

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Women on Wheels rides to brunch in the San Gabriel Valley on Sunday.

Maybe they’ll bring me back something from Donut Man. Not that I could actually eat it or anything.

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Damn.

This punishment pass from the UK is about the closest I’ve ever seen without actually hitting someone.

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Local

A motion by San Fernando Valley Councilmember Bob Blumenfield would revoke regulations that have officially taken 374 LA streets off the books, preventing some of them from getting repaved since 1934.

NIMBY pressure group Fix the City settled a lawsuit that had stopped plans for a Frank Geary designed complex on Sunset Blvd; the group had somehow sued to preserve a dangerous right turn slip lane at Sunset and Crescent Heights that puts pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers at needless risk.

Lyft is teaming with LADOT to sponsor a promotion to get you out of your car for 30 days. Shouldn’t be a problem; I haven’t driven mine for 285 days, give or take. Although if you’re just going to move to a ride hailing service, it doesn’t accomplish much.

Good news for South Bay bicyclists, as bike-friendly former Long Beach city councilmember Suja Lowenthal has taken over as city manager for Hermosa Beach.

 

State

The Folsom History Museum is offering new exhibits combining bicycles and beer. Or you could just ride your bike to your favorite microbrewery.

 

National

A City Lab Op-Ed proposes the concept of Universal Basic Mobility, based on the idea that everyone has a right to get around — for a price.

A business writer considers the inevitable conflicts between mountain bikers and trail runners as a metaphor for resolving business conflicts. Although from his description, I get the feeling he doesn’t know enough regular bike riders.

Gear Junkie looks at the latest ebikes on display at Reno’s recent Interbike show.

A Colorado letter writer makes the point that even when a bike lane is empty, it’s “reducing congestion and aggravation for transportation users of all kinds.”

Now that’s a ciclovía. Colorado Springs CO is closing the spectacularly beautiful Garden of the Gods Natural Landmark to motor vehicles this Sunday, replacing the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic with people on foot and bikes.

An Idaho man spends a late fall Sunday riding a little too fast past bears, elk and bison in Yellowstone Park.

Boston is working to improve its bike infrastructure, including a new two-way centerline bike lane, protected intersections and bicycle traffic signals.

No bias here. The NYPD continues to target immigrant delivery people riding banned throttle-controlled ebikes, rather than the restaurants they work for, despite the mayor’s promises and in violation of the city’s ordinance governing ebikes.

A bike-riding New York councilmember discusses her proposal to require crews to provide bike lane detours around construction sites. We could really use a similar law here in Los Angeles.

North Carolina bicyclists are warning each other to be careful after a bike rider was hit by an object thrown from a passing car.

A Louisiana parish responds to the collision that killed a bicycling Baton Rouge city councilmember by adopting an anti-bike “bike safety” law requiring bicyclists to wear flouro hi-viz and ride single file in groups of ten or less. None of which would have prevented the crash that killed him. Or likely the next one, for that matter.

 

International

Talk about not getting it. A Montreal letter writer says a ghost bike should be installed in front of city hall to remind politicians to “curb inappropriate cycling behavior to prevent hogging the road.” Which is not exactly what ghost bikes are for.

Bike riders and pedestrians will be included in a small class of vulnerable road users as Nova Scotia updates its traffic regulations for the first time since 1932.

No, removing bike parking from an English train station is not an “improvement.”

Scottish blogger Town Mouse gets a bad case of the speed wobbles.

Paris will now ban cars from the entire city center on the first Sunday of every month, starting this Sunday, to improve air quality and share public spaces.

The mayor of an Istanbul neighborhood is doing more than encouraging people to people get out of their cars and bike to work; he gave up his own official car and is using a bike to get to and from appointments.

An Indian cycling club will try to set a new record for the longest line of moving bicyclists; the current record of 1,186 bicyclists is held by Bangladesh.

A Sikh cyclist is challenging an Indian randonneuring ride’s requirement for all riders to wear a helmet, since that would mean removing the turban he’s required to wear by his faith.

Australian bicyclists are angry that two of the most popular riding routes have been bumped off plans for promised bike infrastructure, leaving thousands of bike riders on their own every day.

Australia’s eight-time world BMX champ Caroline Buchanan took time off from training in California to marry boyfriend Barry Nobles at Nevada’s Valley of Fire.

Japanese police explain how a wanted man was able to hide in plain sight by posing as a bike tourist in Osaka Prefecture for seven weeks.

 

Competitive Cycling

The barren dirt slopes of Afghanistan are witnessing the birth of an equal opportunity mountain biking movement; 40% of the cyclists in a recent race were women.

Women’s cycling will visit the UK’s north for the first time next year, with the three-day Tour of Scotland.

Hard-hitting piece from Canadian cyclist Devaney Collier, as she explains why she’s still afraid to leave her home for training rides, two years after her teammate Ellen Watters was killed in a collision.

 

Finally…

Why buy a bakfiets when you can just subscribe to one? Your wait for a gold-plated track bike is finally over.

And the best drink mix for every type of ride.

And no, margarita mix isn’t one of them.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in early morning Torrance hit-and-run

Yet another person riding a bike has been murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

According to KTLA-5, police responded to a report of a crash involving a bicyclist in Torrance around 5 am today.

KCBS-2/KCAL-9 reports the victim wasn’t breathing when officers found him lying in the street at Hawthorne Boulevard and 227th Street. They attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

He has been identified only as an adult male.

Police are looking for a tan or light gold 2006 to 2009 Toyota 4-Runner with front-end damage and part of the bumper missing. A security camera may have captured video of the crash and could show the suspect vehicle.

No other information is available at this time.

A street view shows a two lane residential street controlled with a stop sign on 227th, while Hawthorne has four wide lanes in each direction with no traffic signals for several blocks, allowing drivers to go as fast as traffic will allow.

Which means he or she could have probably traveled as fast as he or she wanted at that hour.

Just to be clear, there is simply no excuse, ever, for hit-and-run.

Drivers who leave their victims to die in the street should face a charge of felony murder, because they made a conscious decision to let a human being die rather than make a simple call for help.

Maybe then this hit-and-run epidemic would finally stop.

This is at least the 34rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim, who still hasn’t been publicly identified, was a man in his 40s. 

They also say the speed limit on that stretch of Hawthorne is 45 mph. Chances are the driver was going faster. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 32-year old Jonathan Valbuena, who is described as being homeless. Which does not change tragedy or outrage in the slightest. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to Brian McCarthy and Serena Grace for the heads-up.

 

72-year old Torrance woman killed while riding on sidewalk

Sad news from Torrance, where a 72-year old woman was killed in a collision with a delivery truck.

According to the Daily Breeze, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding her bike southbound on the west sidewalk of the 19600 block of Van Ness Ave when she was struck as the driver attempted to turn north on Van Ness.

However, there are no driveways on the west side of the street, and there does not appear to be a sidewalk on that side, which suggests she may have actually been on the east side of the street.

If that’s the case, the driver would have been looking for traffic to his left as he turned right, and may not have seen her approaching on the sidewalk to his right — even though he would appear to have had an unobstructed view.

Unfortunately, while riding on the sidewalk may appear to be safer than riding in the street, drivers tend to focus their attention on oncoming traffic, and may not notice someone coming towards them from the opposite direction.

Even though they should.

This is the seventh bicycling fatality this year, and the sixth in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and her loved ones.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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