Tag Archive for vehicular assault

No justice for a victim of road rage; hit-and-run victims urged join Damien Kevitt at Critical Mass next week

Evidently, tire tracks aren't sufficient proof of getting run over.

Evidently, tire tracks aren’t sufficient proof of getting run over.

Just a couple quick notes this morning.

First up, a painful reminder that justice for cyclists remains elusive, even here in relatively enlightened and bronze-level bike friendly Los Angeles.

You may recall last September we told the story of a bike rider who was harassed by a driver while riding home from work in Chatsworth.

He reported being passed in a dangerous manner, then repeatedly honked and yelled at after passing the car while it was stopped in traffic. When the rider paused to ask what the driver’s problem was, he was told bikes aren’t allowed in the street and threatened with a call to the police.

If only the driver had, he might have been quickly corrected and properly chastised. Instead, he got out of his car and physically threatened the cyclist. Then things got worse.

After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.

As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.

Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured, although it left him with leg pain that lingers today.

Unfortunately, it also left him with emotional scars caused by yet another failure of the justice system to take an assault with a deadly weapon seriously, when that weapon is a car and the victim is on a bike — despite having two witnesses to the attack.

I got this email from him last night.

I was just told today that the LAPD decided not to charge the driver who ran me over with any crime.  This news came as a extreme shock, to think that a driver can honk and yell at a cyclist then intentionally run him over, get out of his car, call that cyclist names then speed off, and not be charged with any crime.  It just makes me feel like I’m going to die riding a bike in LA and no one will care.  I trusted our system.  It has failed me and it has failed every cyclist in Los Angeles.  I don’t know if you care to update the story or ask anyone why he wasn’t charged; I’m told lack of evidence. But I had 2 witnesses, I had a smashed front wheel of my bike and badly bruised leg ankle and foot as well as tire tracks across my leg.  I was barely able to walk for 3 weeks and still to this day I have pain in my ankle and right foot. I’m just in so much shock right now.

Shocked is a good word for it.

Appalled, disgusted and mad as hell would be appropriate responses, as well.

He was clearly injured, he had physical proof of a collision and witnesses who could attest that the driver got out of his car and threatened him.

Yet somehow, that isn’t sufficient to file charges — even though I’ve been told by police that simply getting out of a motor vehicle is sufficient for a charge of assault in a situation like this

I can’t explain it. Except as a reminder of the bad old days when bike riders knew we couldn’t count on the LAPD for protection on the streets, let alone justice.

I thought we’d left those days behind as the cycling community established a better relationship with the police. But maybe I was wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve strongly urged the victim to contact a lawyer to discuss filing a civil suit under LA’s still-untested bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

He would seem to have an ideal case.

And the best part is, he wouldn’t have to count on the police to lift a finger.

………

By now, you probably know the name Damian Kevitt.

He’s the man who riding his bike with his wife near Griffith Park exactly a year ago this week when a van driver stuck in traffic made an illegal U-turn, hitting his bike in the process.

If the driver had simply stopped, Kevitt might have suffered minor injuries. Instead, he floored it, dragging the trapped cyclist 600 feet onto the 5 Freeway before he was finally dislodged in front of high-speed traffic as the van sped away.

Fortunately, he landed near a doctor and an off-duty paramedic who were able to tend to him until paramedics arrived; otherwise, the outcome of this crime might have been much different.

As it was, Kevitt was among the most critically injured riders I’ve ever heard of who somehow survived their collisions.

And not only survived, but thrived.

A year later, Kevitt is back on his bike, an artificial leg replacing the one lost in the collision. And he’s inviting every cyclist to join with him on April 27th to Finish the Ride.

The easy, 12-mile ride will benefit the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. But more importantly, will allow us to honor the courage of an amazing man, while calling attention to the epidemic of hit-and-runs.

In addition, Kevitt is planning to hold a vigil in front of City Hall during the Critical Mass ride next Friday, February 28th. As part of that, he’s inviting anyone who has been the victim of a hit-and-run, as well as the families of those who have been lost to hit-and-run, to join him in calling for a stop to the crime, and justice for those who have been victimized by it.

If you’d like to join him — and I would strongly encourage it if you can — email him at damiankevitt@FinishTheRide.com, or leave a message at 206/495-3116.

As for justice, the heartless bastard who nearly took Kevitt’s life is still out there somewhere.

Despite a $25,000 reward.

 

The more things don’t change, the more they remain the same; LA driver confesses to threatening cyclists

Here's a picture of my dog, who could have done a better job of moving my blog than the people I hired to do it.

Here’s a picture of my dog, who could have done a better job of moving my blog to a private server than the people I hired to do it.

So much for that.

As we left off last week, I promised this blog would be transferred to a private server over the holiday weekend, as the first phase of long-gestating plan to remake it into an advertising-supported website.

Long gestating, indeed. Many species have their babies in a lot less time than this process, which started in August, has taken.

But as you’ll see, either the transfer was done so perfectly that nothing has changed, or nothing has changed.

Smart money is on the latter.

Over the weekend I received an email from the web-hosting service I’d hired to do the transfer that they too lacked the capability to move it to their servers. This, despite sworn assurances from their sales staff that they’d done it many times before, and would have me up and running in a matter of days.

Turns out they hadn’t. And wouldn’t.

But at least I got my money back.

So the transfer is on hold for now. Hopefully, it will get done later this week, by another company that doesn’t have its head so far up it’s own ass knows what it’s doing and is a little more honest about its own abilities.

I’ll let you know more when I do.

………

It’s not everyday someone confesses to assault with a deadly weapon on National Public Radio.

But that’s exactly what self-proclaimed life-long LA driver Jackie Burke did in an otherwise positive piece about LA Bike Trains.

The story focused on the founding of the program by New York transplant Nona Varnado, who has become a leader in the local bicycling scene in the short time she’s been here — though I do miss her incredible design work for women cyclists. Along with the success the program has had in helping beginning bike commuters take to the roads.

Not that everyone welcomes new riders to the roads.

Like the aforementioned Ms. Burke, for instance.

“It’s like they enjoy taking up the lanes,” says Jackie Burke, who has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. She says bicyclists drive her crazy when she’s in a car and has to slow down for them.

“It’s very frustrating, to the point where I just want to run them off the road,” Burke says. “I’ve actually done one of those drive-really-close-to-them kind of things to kind of scare them, to try to intimidate them to get out of my way.”

Let’s start with the fact that neither Burke, nor anyone else, has a right to the roadway, let alone a right to drive unimpeded. And as Niall Huffman points out, bikes aren’t hard to pass — as long as you’re not the kind of sociopath who’s willing to intentionally threaten another human being for the crime of slightly inconveniencing your commute.

Because that’s exactly what Burke has admitted doing.

By her own account, she used her vehicle as a weapon in an attempt to intimidate another person using the roadway in a legal manner. She could, and perhaps should, be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Except that she would undoubtedly deny her own words, which is currently the only evidence against her.

In order for charges to stick, her victim or an independent witness would have to come forward who could testify that Burke threatened the rider with her car, and could place her — or at least her vehicle — at the scene of the crime.

Because a crime is exactly what it was.

Her words also place her in violation of LA’s groundbreaking cyclist anti-harassment ordinance, which allows a cyclist to file a civil suit against deliberately threatening drivers. But again, that would require Burke’s victim(s) to come forward, and be able to identify her as the attacker.

Not likely, given the challenge of taking down a license number as a rider struggles not to get run off the road. Let alone over.

Which means, despite her very public confession on national radio, she’s likely going to get away with it. Just like all the other otherwise decent people who somehow turn into blood-thirsty, road-raging sociopaths once they get behind the wheel.

Although the DMV should seriously look into permanently pulling her license. Or at least until she can learn to drive without threatening the lives and safety of complete strangers who have the misfortune of sharing the road with her.

Perhaps more frightening, though, is that Alex Schmidt, the reporter on the piece, didn’t even bother to challenge her comments.

Because attitudes and actions like hers are far too common. And far too accepted in our society.

And if that doesn’t scare the crap out of every American, it should.

Road raging driver mows down cyclist in Palos Verdes

The bike is dead. Fortunately, its rider isn’t.

The Daily Breeze is reporting that a road raging driver deliberately ran down a bicyclist before slamming into a series of cars.

According to the paper, Palos Verdes Estates resident Doug Castile was riding on Via Pacheco around 6:30 pm when he was Jerry Browned by a driver who sideswiped him, then backed up and hit him again when he complained.

Castile said he yelled, “Hey, you just hit me!” The driver of the black car then put it in reverse, backed up behind the bicyclist, pulled forward and pushed the bicyclist into the plants.

“The guy put it in reverse again, backed up, and ran over my bike,” Castile said. “At that point, my feet are clipped in the pedals on my bike. I unclipped my feet and jumped off the bike into the plants and he’s running over my bicycle back and forth.”

The driver, who wasn’t identified in the story, reacted bizarrely when Castile reached reached into his pocket for his cell phone.

“He says, ‘What are you reaching for, a gun?’ It just was so odd to hear that statement. I took my hand out of my pocket. I thought this guy is capable of anything,” Castile said.

At that point, the driver sped off, slamming into an unknown number of parked and moving vehicle before his car finally became disabled on Ganado Drive and Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest.

Castile was able to escape with scrapes, while his $3,000 to $4,000 bike was destroyed.

The paper says police were unsure whether the driver was suffering from a mental condition or committed a deliberate assault.

Unfortunately, anyone can buy a car and get a license, regardless of mental or emotional stability. And in the wrong hands, it can become a weapon.

As we have seen too many times before.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

Update: The Daily Breeze identifies the driver as 65-year old William Thomas Kelly of Torrance. He’s being held on $30,000 bond on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon; hopefully, more charges — and a much higher bail — will follow soon. 

It’s also worth noting that deputies found Kelly unconscious in his car after it rammed the gates to an FAA facility, which could lead to federal charges. According to the paper, officer’s smelled alcohol on his breath when he was taken into custody — which could make this the fourth time he’s charged with DUI since 1991.

And yet he was still allowed behind the wheel to threaten the lives and safety of others.

Ignoring road rage in Santa Rosa, San Diego cyclists targeted, and LAPD accused of beating bike rider

Talk about the charges not fitting the crime.

A Santa Rosa driver identified as 22-year old Matthew Dewayne Hamilton is under arrest on a felony hit-and-run charge for what police describe as an accidental collision stemming from a roadway dispute.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Hamilton barely missed hitting a cyclist, who responded by yelling at him. So Hamilton backed up to continue the argument, colliding with the rider in the process.

Right.

It evidently wasn’t assault with a deadly weapon from their windshield perspective, even though the rider, who has not been publicly identified, suffered several broken bones, as well as internal injuries. And even though they themselves describe it as a road rage incident, police insist the driver just wanted to chat, if angrily.

Of course.

Then, realizing his error after plowing into the rider with enough force to cause significant injuries, Hamilton stomped on the gas and fled the scene, abandoning his car nearby. He was arrested while walking through the area.

You know, just another hit-and-run. Not a violent criminal fleeing the scene of his rage-fueled attack.

It’s all in how you look at it, evidently.

Then again, according to the police report, it was the car that was in control of Hamilton at the time of the collision, rather than the other way around.

Thanks to @murphstahoe for the heads-up.

………

San Diego cyclists are being targeted by jerks with a pellet gun.

The city’s 10News says police are investigating confirmed attacks in the La Jolla and Mount Soledad areas, as well as possible attacks in the Fiesta Island and Torrey Pines areas.

One woman suffered serious road rash when a pellet penetrated her shoulder and knocked her off her bike.

Police are looking for three men in a black sedan on possible felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

At least San Diego police get the charges right. Although I might argue for a domestic terrorism count.

………

San Diego police are also looking for tips in last year’s shooting death of 19-year old bike rider Joseph Hutchins in the City Heights neighborhood. Hutchins was killed the day after his 19th birthday.

A successful tip could earn a reward of up to $1000.

Yeah, that’ll motivate someone.

………

A Los Angeles man claims police beat the crap out of him for riding without lights.

According to KCBS-2/KCAL-9, Brian Cisneros was riding to work at the Ralphs market in Marina del Rey last Friday when he was stopped by two LAPD officers at the intersection of Ida and Redwood Avenues.

According to Cisneros, the officers exited their car with guns drawn and attacked him in a brutal assault that included choking, stomping and throwing him onto the hood of their car, despite his lack of resistance.

Then left him there with a ticket for not having lights while riding after dark.

Clearly, something violent happened.

Cisneros, who says he thought he was going to die, was treated for a dislocated shoulder and a fractured elbow, among other injuries. And looks like someone who took a serious beating in the photos that accompany the report.

But something tells me there’s more to the story.

………

Manhattan Beach Patch offers the most detailed report yet on Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell, the bike rider violently assaulted in an apparent attempt to steal his bike on the Ballona Creek bike path on July 19th.

The attack took place around 6 pm, one of the busiest periods on the pathway, as bike commuters use it as a virtual bike freeway connecting Culver City with the coast.

Fournell suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs, requiring a five-day stay in the hospital, after one of the assailants threw a bike at his front wheel, then struggled with him for possession of his Litespeed bike.

And Patch finally gives us a location for the attack, saying he was assaulted by three juveniles on the bikeway between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

As others have pointed out, the east end of the bike path is far less used than the western sections. Anytime you ride in a secluded area, out of view of the public or other riders, you need to be alert to your surroundings and any possible risks.

Although three kids with a bicycle on a bike path wouldn’t necessarily look threatening or out of place.

………

The LACBC reports the bike plan currently under development by the City of Carson has been watered down in the face of pushback from a pair of large local businesses.

The city’s Watson Land Company has argued that putting bike lanes next to the traffic lanes used by heavy trucks would increase the danger to bike riders.

Maybe someone should tell them that their self-proclaimed commitment to sustainability and philanthropy should extend to our streets.

Never mind that anyone wanting to ride through the city under current conditions already has to share those traffic lanes with those same trucks. And that the studies I’ve seen say bike lanes improve safety for everyone on the road.

Speaking for myself, I’d much rather ride beside a massive truck than in the lane in front of one.

No, far better to maintain the conditions that have already resulted in the death of a bike rider earlier this summer.

At least I can understand, if not accept, where they’re coming from in their desire to maintain the heavy truck hegemony over Carson’s streets.

Far harder to understand is the opposition from the StubHub (nee Home Depot) Center, home to the region’s leading velodrome. You’d think that an athletic center that features indoor bicycling events — including the upcoming USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships — would appreciate the desire of outdoor bicyclists to get there without getting killed.

But evidently, it’s inconceivable to them that bike racing fans, or their other patrons, might actually want to ride a bike there. Or maybe they just want to ensure that people continue drive to maintain that parking revenue.

The LACBC asks you to take action to preserve the Carson bike plan.

Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington.

If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at:

jdear@carson.ca.us
myfrancisone@yahoo.comail
lholmes@carson.ca.us
mgipson@carson.ca.us
arobles@carson.ca.us

I’d suggest taking it a step further.

And let the StubHub Center know it’s not acceptable for a bicycling venue to needlessly risk the lives of their bike riding patrons.

………

Finally, Apple has evidently decided that American drivers aren’t distracted enough, and wants to incorporate iPhone functions — including texting and email — into car dashboards by the end of this year.

Which means you may be able to thank Steve Job’s successors for the distracted driver who runs you off the road next year.

If you’re still capable of thanking anyone.

Update: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek bike path; Redlands driver attempts to run down cyclists

Are the Ballona badlands back?

In a crime reminiscent of the bad old days of five years ago, when bike riders were attacked in two separate assaults on the Ballona Creek Bike Path, a cyclist was mugged on the popular bikeway Friday evening.

According to a comment from Mark Neumann, a friend of his was assaulted by three men in an attempt to steal his bike.

On Friday night about 6 pm while riding home from work, a friend of mine got assaulted on his bike riding the Ballona Creek bike path in Culver City on Friday. His words: “He threw his bike into my front wheel as I was about to pass him going about 20 mph. So that dumped me straight onto my shoulder and ribs. I hopped up and the guy was starting to pull my bike away. I told him no and grabbed it back. Wasn’t thinking straight with all the adrenaline cause he pulled it back and started reaching in his pocket. But then he let go and ran off. That’s when I started to feel the injuries and that I couldn’t breathe from the ribs and punctured lung. Feeling better today but the ribs hurt like a mother. Hope to get the chest tube out tomorrow and then get home.” Three guys caused him to crash and tried to steal his bike. He has 5 broken ribs, a broken clavicle, collapsed lung and some good road rash. He is doing well at UCLA but in lots of pain and unable to move.  Be careful on this path.

Unfortunately, things like this are nothing new.

And not restricted to the Ballona bikeway.

An August, 1990 article in the LA Times reports that the Automobile Club of Southern California had warned its bike riding members to avoid Ballona Creek due to dangerous conditions there — a risk made evident when a rider was shot to death on the bike path near Marina del Rey that July.

And it was just two years ago that riders were attacked in at least four separate incidents on the Greenway Trail in Wittier, including a woman who was severely beaten before her attackers ran off without taking anything. Or, thankfully, doing anything other than beating the crap out of her.

It’s a fear that leads many riders, especially women, to avoid off-road bikeways, particularly after dark or when other riders aren’t likely to be present. And may have contributed to the hit-and-run death of Erin Galligan in Santa Monica last year, as she chose to ride through a dangerous construction area on PCH rather than take her chances on the dark, secluded beachfront bike path just a few feet away.

It’s not that bike paths are inherently dangerous. It’s the fact that assaults like this are relatively rare that makes them so shocking.

But it’s an inherent problem with virtually any off-road pathway that while they offer protection from motor vehicles, large sections of the paths are likely to be out of public view and rarely, if ever, patrolled by the police, providing a secluded location for anyone with evil intent.

In fact, in the 2008 assaults, it became clear that the LAPD didn’t even know there was a Ballona Creek bike path, let alone where it was. A problem compounded by the three separate police agencies — LAPD, Culver City PD and LA Sheriff’s Department — responsible for various sections of the bikeway.

None of whom I have ever seen patrol the pathway while riding there myself.

That lack of police protection means it’s up to you keep an eye out for dangerous situations and people or circumstances that just don’t look right. Just as it would be if you were walking or riding through a secluded alley or parking garage, or any other place where an assault could be hidden from public view.

Though how you avoid someone throwing a bike at you is beyond me.

Update: Neumann forwards another report from a friend showing the long history of violence on the bikeway, this one dating back more than 20 years.

Flashback to: Wed Nov 27, 1991 Ballona Creek bike path. Back then there was no fence between the projects and the bike path. I was attacked by a gang while riding home from my office in Beverly Hills. They pulled me off the bike. One of them cold cocked me. I took off running. They caught me. Struck me on the side of the head (with a bike helmet on – no less) with either a gun or a pipe. While on the ground that night I thoroughly believed it was going to be my last day on this planet. But, they grabbed my backpack and ran away. (They got my wallet and a Rolex.) I was in shock. I had a fractured zygomatic (temple) arch. They never caught the culprits. My doctor failed to diagnose my fracture. It healed broken. I had to have corrective surgery which resulted in an infection/abscess. More surgery. A week in Torrance Memorial on 24 hour IV antibiotics. Lost 20 pounds. Necrosis to my jaw bone. Followed up with corrective surgery and bone removal. I have permanent limited opening of my jaw. I never thought anything could rattle me but I could not walk down a street without looking over my shoulder for over a year. I refused to ride that stretch of Ballona Creek for over 15 years. I will only ride it now if I am with others. A couple of weeks after I was assaulted a guy was shot and killed on his bike in the same stretch. I knew him. He worked at that corner mini-mart up from the MB Pier (where Skechers is now). Anyhow, I hope your friend is OK. Truly.

Update 2: The victim of the assault has been identified as Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell; he was released from the hospital after five days with a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs. 

Manhattan Beach Patch places the assault at around 6 pm on July 19th, between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

………

Maybe they really are out to get us.

According to multiple reports, a Redlands man is under arrest for deliberately aiming his car at number of bike riders in a string of attacks this past weekend.

Redlands police arrested 26-year old John McDonald on charges of assault with a deadly weapon after he repeatedly attempted to ram bicyclists along Sunset Drive with his Honda Civic. In at least one case, he swerved across the roadway in an effort to hit a cyclist riding in the opposite direction, forcing the rider off the road.

More frightening, police responded to similar calls throughout the weekend, including two on Sunday, suggesting that the attacks continued over at least a two-day period.

Under the circumstances, it seems like a miracle that no one was seriously injured.

Or worse.

And yet, when they finally did arrest him, McDonald was held on just a $50,000 bond. I guess trying to kill someone with your car isn’t considered all that serious unless you succeed.

Anyone with information is urged to call Redlands police at (909) 798-7681.

………

Finally, police are looking for the hit-and-run driver who plowed into a group of cyclists at the monthly San Jose Bike Party, injuring two riders and leaving one with a broken hip and skull.

Clearly, hit-and-runs are not just an LA problem.

They seem to occur with frequency wherever motor vehicles come in contact with soft and breakable flesh.

Update: Monrovia cyclist survives violent road rage assault; Ontario rider critically injured in hit-and-run

This has not been a good weekend for Southern California cyclists.

In addition to Saturday night’s collision that took the life of a Chatsworth bike rider, a rider was critically injured in deliberate motor vehicle assault in Monrovia, while a young Ontario bicyclist clings to life following an apparent hit-and-run.

……..

The Pasadena Star-News reports that 19-year old Anthony Pina of Glendora could be facing charges including DUI, hit-and-run, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon for a deliberate assault on at least one bike rider, as well as a motorist who tried to help.

The near-murderous rampage began a little before 6 am Saturday when a car matching the description of Pina’s 1987 Buick Regal collided with a 43-year old bike rider from El Monte, who has not been publicly identified, at the intersection of Mountain and Shrode Avenues just outside of Monrovia.

That collision may not have been intentional, according to police. But the decision to flee the scene, leaving the rider injured on the street, was.

About five to ten minutes later, Pina apparently aimed his car at a 63-year old bike rider at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Royal Oaks Drive in a failed assault; again, the rider has not been publicly identified.

The bicyclist was not so lucky the second time.

Pina encountered the same cyclist a few blocks later at Huntington Drive and Mountain Avenue, where he reportedly carved donuts by repeatedly circling the bike before intentionally crashing into it. The rider was critically injured, but reportedly has stabilized following emergency surgery.

The paper reports there is no known connection between Pina and his victim.

Other than the fact he tried to kill him, that is.

As Pina once again fled the scene, he was followed onto the 210 Freeway by two men in a Mini Cooper who had witnessed the attack. When he discovered he was being followed, he pulled over to the side of the road, then deliberately crashed into the Mini Cooper before hitting the center divider and flipping his car.

Pina ran off on foot before being apprehended by an Azusa police officer minutes later. Remarkably, he was being held on just $50,000 bail pending a court appearance.

But let’s be clear about one thing. This is not a traffic case. Nor is it just another hit-and-run.

As the potential charges reflect, this was an attempt to murder another human being, followed by an attack on two others in a attempt to get away with the crime. The fact that he failed to kill his victim should not reduce the charges or the ultimate penalty in any way.

And neither should the fact he used a motor vehicle instead of a gun.

Thanks to BikeSGV for the heads-up.

Update: The Star-News reports that Monrovia police have concluded Pina did not know either rider, and the collisions with both were intentional; the CHP — which is running a concurrent investigation — may not be so sure. 

According to the MPD, Pina lay in wait for the second victim to pass after missing him the first time. 

The good news is, the second victim, who was the more severely injured of the two riders, is reportedly doing well and speaking with police. 

Update 2: According to the Star-News, Pina faces multiple charges. And deservedly so.

Anthony Pina, 19, was charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of drunken driving causing injury and two counts of hit-and-run causing injury, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He was ordered to return to Pasadena Superior Court July 31 for a preliminary hearing setting. 

His bail was also increased, from a paltry $50,000 to a more appropriate $320,000.

……..

At least in the Pina case, we know what happened.

We can’t say the same for a teenage cyclist who suffered life-threatening injuries in Ontario Sunday morning.

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the rider was found lying in the street at Riverside Drive east of Walker Ave around 12:36 am. There was no other vehicle present; however, police believe a motorist hit the rider while traveling east on Riverside before fleeing the scene.

The paper notes that the victim was not wearing a helmet, but does not indicate whether he suffered head injuries or if one would have been of any use in this case. A bike helmet offers no protection to any other part of the body, and is not designed to protect against high-speed collisions.

But let’s give the writer credit for not using the term “accident” anywhere in the story.

Police are looking for a dark colored car with front-end damage.

They believe the collision occurred sometime between 11:30 pm and 12:30 am. Which means the victim could have bled in the street for more than a hour before help arrived.

Let’s all hope he recovers from his injuries.

If he doesn’t, the driver should face a murder charge for denying him the prompt medical care that is the right of every traffic victim, and often means the difference between life and death.

Yet the driver who ran down this rider couldn’t be bothered to place a simple call for help before fleeing the scene like the coward he or she is. Let alone actually stop and render aid as the law requires.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Ontario Police Department at (909) 986-67811 or Detective Steve Hurst at (909) 395-2902.

Update: The victim, Horacio Pineda, died of his injuries Sunday night.

I hope you’ll join me in offering prayer, good thoughts, or whatever you are comfortable with for both of these victims for a full and fast recovery from their injuries. And for justice in both of these cases.

Reward in hit-and-run murder of David Granados, new video in Beverly Hills road rage attack

Maybe the city is getting serious about hit-and-runs.

Or at least, the kind that leaves an 18-year old bike rider lying dead in the street.

As you may recall, 18-year old David Alexander Granados was attempting to cross Oxnard Street in the crosswalk at Bellaire Avenue when he was hit by a speeding SUV that ran the red light, throwing his body nearly 200 feet according to witness estimates. A friend who saw the collision told police Granados had the right of way, and looked both ways before crossing the street.

In other words, despite doing everything right, he was murdered by a lawbreaking motorist who fled the scene like a heartless coward, rather than face the consequences of his actions. And his killer continues to hide despite numerous pleas for him to come forward, and offers of forgiveness from the victim’s family.

Now the L.A. City Council will vote Tuesday to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the suspect.

The LAPD has released security camera footage of the suspect vehicle, a white or silver Mercedes M Class SUV with likely damage to the passenger side, driven by a man in his 50s.

Anyone with information is urged to call Valley Traffic Division Officer M. Tucker at 818-644-8063.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

……..

On a related note, the Beverly Hills Police Department has released a pair of new videos showing the vehicle involved in the road rage assault on a bicyclist in an alley just off Wilshire Blvd on April 3rd.

The videos show a white, newer model BMW 3281; the driver is described as a white or Middle Eastern man in his mid-30s with dark hair and eyes, and a slender build.

Despite the lengthy delay in announcing the case to the public, the BHPD appears to be taking the case seriously, seeking the driver on suspicion of attempted murder.

Anyone with information should call Det. Eric Hyon at 310/285-2156.

……..

A letter on the Encinitas Patch site reports that fund has been established for the family of fallen Carlsbad cyclist Eric Ringdahl, who was killed by an allegedly sleeping driver while riding in the bike lane on El Camino Real last Sunday.

To make a donation to help support Eric’s family, please send checks to the “Eric Ringdahl Memorial Fund.” Checks may be deposited at any Wells Fargo Branch or mailed to Wells Fargo, 277 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024.

The letter fills in the blanks in his biography, confirming that he worked in cell-based therapies at Cytori Therapeutics Inc. He leaves behind his wife Amy, an amateur triathlete, as well as three children ranging from five to nine.

In a tragic irony, the family has been active in efforts to improve road safety, working to get a new stop sign near their children’s school.

……..

Finally, a 25-year old Berkeley-area cancer patient leaves a note for the jerk who stole his or her bike, apparently attached to the one remaining wheel the thief left behind.

The note adds that the rider didn’t drive, and the bike was the only means of transportation to get to oncologist appointments.

And that “Biking made me happy.”

However, the first — and so far, only — comment to the story goes a long way towards restoring my faith in humanity.

i have a bike – you can have it.

Breaking news: Cyclist attacked in Beverly Hills road rage assault; rider not seriously injured

More bad news from the Biking Black Hole.

News is just breaking that a bike rider was deliberately attacked with a motor vehicle after the rider hit the driver in a road rage dispute.

According to the Beverly Hills Police, the incident occurred nearly three weeks ago, around 6 pm on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Evidently, they don’t feel an urgent need to keep the public informed of violent crime on their streets. Let alone for the prompt release of information that might lead to the arrest of a dangerous suspect.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, reportedly punched the driver of a white, possibly 2008 model year BMW 328i in the face. The motorist threatened to kill the rider, and followed him into an alley in the 9000 block of Wilshire Blvd, between Wetherly and Almont Drives; a Google satellite view shows alleys on both sides of the street behind the buildings facing Wilshire.

The driver then intentionally rammed the cyclist with his car, pinning him against a metal trash bin. Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured; the fact that the trash bin was on rollers may have lessened the force of the impact.

The assault was captured on security footage; the attacker can clearly be seen reversing course in the alley and striking the victim, who clings to the mirror of the car as it backs away. Once he’s thrown off, he walks back to collect his bike.

There’s no word from the police on what caused the dispute.

Yes, the rider broke the law in striking the driver, regardless of what led up to it. It’s possible that he could face criminal or civil charges for assaulting the driver unless it can be shown that he hit him in self-defense; however, that requires that the action is necessary to halt a current or imminent physical attack.

The far more serious crime, though, is the motorist using his vehicle in a deliberate attempt to injure or kill the rider after the initial incident had concluded. It should be no different under the law than someone who gets into a fight in a bar, then goes out to the parking lot and shoots the person he’d argued with.

This is a clear case of assault with a deadly weapon. Any claim the driver may have had to self-defense ended the moment the cyclist initially rode away.

The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern or White male in his mid-30s, with dark hair and eyes, and a thin build; the Beverly Hills Courier has a somewhat sketchy sketch of the suspect. The car suffered possible minor front-end damage, although it may have been repaired by now.

Hopefully, the BHPD can overcome the delay in releasing this information and bring a violent criminal to justice.

And take this for fair warning.

As tempting as it may be sometimes to get even with the jackass that just ran you off the road, it’s never a good idea. There are some crazyass, and potentially very violent, people out there.

And it doesn’t take much to set them off.

Antelope Valley cyclists barely survive drunken assault; Apple Valley rider killed March 1st

So not funny.

Around 9 am on Sunday, a group of Antelope Valley cyclists riding in a paceline were deliberately assaulted in what the drunken perpetrators apparently considered a prank.

On that got that must have been that much more amusing to them when the driver, reportedly over twice the legal limit despite the early hour, misjudged the distance and Jerry Browned the riders, sending six of them tumbling to the pavement.

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. Although another inch or two could have made the difference between a handful of minor injuries and a mass homicide.

I’ll let Kevin Walsh, one of the riders involved, tell the story, which he posted on his Facebook page. And yes, his story has been confirmed by an item in Monday’s Antelope Valley Press, which I can’t link to since it’s hidden out of site behind a paywall.

I’m thanking my guardian angel…again…way too close to tragedy. Met 6 friends at Ave L and 20 St West for today’s ride. Today’s cast of characters were Roger, Bob, Randy, Javier, Scott and Brian.

I was hoping for a recovery ride after yesterday’s hard effort in the wind. Brian was the only other rider who rode the 70 miles yesterday. Brian was also feeling the effects of yesterday’s ride. Randy rode the 44 mile loop. The plan was to ride up Godde Hill Rd (60 St West) to get out of the wind which was again strong today. (FOX@8AM: 56deg; WNW22G29. Poppy Park@9AM: 57deg; W29G44. FOX@11AM: 63deg; W30G36.) Then make a right on Elizabeth Lake Rd (ELR) to Munz Ranch Rd back to the valley floor and get pushed home by the wind. Bob and Roger were going to 3 Points.

The 7 of us were riding in a paceline on ELR just west of Bouquet Cyn Rd when a car suddenly sideswiped all of us except Roger who just rotated to the back of the group. I was at the front of the paceline on my aerobars when (seemed like instantaneously) I was hit by something hard on my left cheek-bone, felt a car brush my shoulder, heard yelling and crashing sounds behind me. I don’t know how I didn’t crash. After the car passed me, it drifted further into the shoulder and kept going. We were doing about 20mph, the car about 40mph.

Roger saw the entire incident unfold. Javier and Randy went down hard (3rd and 4th in line). Randy slid a long way on his backside – lots of road rash. Javier went down hard on his hip – very fortunate that he was ok. Scott who was behind Randy was hit on his ass by the car’s mirror and the passenger’s hand and arm. He doesn’t know how he didn’t crash. Roger saw the passenger put his arm out of the window. The mirror broke off and remained at the scene of the accident. The car also hit the back side of Brian – he also didn’t crash.

I called 911 – response was very fast. The paramedics checked out Randy then took him to the hospital for observation. He was obviously in shock. Turns out Randy is ok and back home. The Sheriffs got all of our personal info and each of our accounts of what happened. We all said that it was a small black sedan like a Ford Focus or a Honda. Other Sheriffs came then left to look for the car. Javier got picked up by his mom who was rightfully upset.

Before all of our info and accounts were taken, the car was found at a house in the hills above Elizabeth Lake golf course. The sheriff came back and wanted 2 of us to go with him to officially ID the car (easy without the sideview mirror). Roger and Scott went. The perps were two 20-year olds and not too bright. One of the 20-year olds had a cut above his eye. The 1st question the officer asked him was “How did you get that cut?” The reply was a bicycle mirror. Not sure what the officer then said but essentially it was “say no more” and they were both handcuffed.

It took awhile for Roger and Scott to return to the accident scene where we were. The sheriff then wanted 2 more of us to go to the house for official ID so Bob and Brian went. We then found out that the passenger gave a full confession. After drinking all night they went to Palmdale to McDonalds for some food. On the way back they saw us and thought it would “be fun” to slap the back side of us cyclists. The driver being drunk swerved too close and wound up hitting us. Over an hour after the incident, the driver was tested at 0.16 – twice the legal limit. So, the driver is facing 3 felony counts: 1) Assault with a deadly weapon with injuries; 2) Hit and run; 3) DUI. The passenger is facing 1 felony – not sure if it’s assault with a deadly weapon or “hit and run”.

After more than a couple of hours, we finally headed home. Bob and Roger continued west to go down Munz; Brian, Scott and I turned around and rode to 25 St West to get back home on 30W. After Scott got home and took a shower, he noticed that not only did he get hit by the mirror but he had an arm and hand imprint (all 5 fingers) on his butt. He’s sending a picture to the deputy tomorrow.

Don’t know what else to say except that I’m very thankful that no one was seriously hurt (could’ve been so much worse), the perps were caught, and justice will be served!

This is an extreme example of the sort of harassment cyclists have to endure every day, virtually everywhere. It’s not unusual for riders, especially women, to be slapped or grabbed while riding, or to be deliberately startled by honking, run off the road or have objects thrown at them.

If this occurred in the City of Los Angeles, or a number of other cities or counties that have adopted a version of L.A.’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance, the victims would be able to sue for actual damages or $1000, whichever is higher, plus triple damages and legal fees.

As it stands, they could only sue for actual damages, which are likely to be minimal — if they can find a lawyer willing to take the case.

Which is why the law needs to be adopted on a statewide basis. Now.

We need to put a stop to this sort of thing before someone gets killed.

………

Unfortunately, this one flew under the radar last month, as happens too easily in Southern California’s far-flung corners.

According to the High Valley Daily Press, 56-year old Kevin Olin of Apple Valley was killed on March 1st while riding in the bike lane on Apple Valley Road near Quantico Road.

The rider was rear-ended by the driver of a Chevy Tahoe pickup travelling in the same direction, and died at the scene. According a press release from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, inattention may have been a factor in the collision — presumably on the part of the driver.

A regular cyclist in the area, Olin was the much loved maintenance director at Our Lady of the Desert Catholic church, and leaves behind his wife, four children and some grandchildren.

His death raises the total number of Southern California bicycling fatalities this year to 16; it’s also the second cycling death in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kevin Olin and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to JL for the heads-up.

………

Frequent contributor Rick Risemberg — aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation — forwards an incredible story of yet another killer driver walking off with a bare caress on the wrist.

Let alone a slap.

The Press-Enterprise reports that Juan Zacarias Tzun was sentenced to just 90 days for the death of a motorcycle-riding Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Dispatcher. After credit for time served, that means he’ll be subject to just another 34 days in jail.

This, despite driving without a license and two previous convictions for drunken driving. But because Tzun was sober at the time of the collision, and wasn’t speeding or driving distracted, he was only charged with a single misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter count.

His victim, on the other hand, received the death penalty.

And that’s the problem with our current laws.

Driving without a license, for whatever reason, should automatically elevate any additional driving offense to a felony. And a conviction for DUI should be counted as a first strike towards any future traffic offenses, automatically increasing the penalty in order to get dangerous drivers off the roads — hopefully, before they kill someone.

And politics aside, we’ve got to find a way to legalize undocumented drivers so they can be licensed and insured, and held accountable for their actions behind the wheel.

………

Finally, Matt Baume sends this painful reminder to ride carefully, and watch out for hidden road obstructions. And no, it wasn’t the massive pothole that got him.

Fatal bike assault finally explained as case goes to trial; anti-bike Chicago columnist goes off deep end

The Valley News finally offers an explanation for why police believe the death of a Riverside County cyclist earlier this year was an intentional act.

Anaheim resident Anthony Ray Lopez was charged with deliberately running down and killing 68-year old Herman Armando Villalobos of Home Gardens. Now Lopez faces trial for first degree murder with great bodily injury allegations for the January 15th death; a jury was empanelled on Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, Lopez had spent the afternoon drinking with a friend while watching a football game at a Corona bar before driving home; on the way, he crossed paths with Villalobos, who was riding home after shopping with grocery bags on his handlebars.

Villalobos reportedly rode in front of Lopez, forcing him to brake sharply. After exchanging glares, Villalobos rode off, with an enraged Lopez following behind and cursing at the cyclist.

When that failed to get a response, Lopez bumped the rider’s bike; witnesses say his bike jumped but Villalobos was somehow able to maintain control. Lopez then floored his pickup and slammed into Villalobos, running him over and dragging him and his bike 30 feet before fleeing the scene.

He is currently being held jail on $1 million bond. We can only hope he’s been there since he was arrested, and will never again see the light of day.

Frankly, there’s not a pit in hell deep enough for someone who could do something like that.

………

Oh please.

In an absolutely idiotic proposal, a self-proclaimed visionary newspaper columnist proposes that a) cyclists pay tolls to use bikeways, b) stop sign cameras be installed to automatically ticket scofflaw cyclists, c) cyclists be required to pay hefty fees to use city-owned bike racks, and d) that cyclists buy a handlebar-mounted transponder that would allow them to bypass toll booths.

Brilliant.

As long as your plan is to discourage bike use, with the resulting increase in vehicular traffic, traffic congestion, more traffic collisions and a decrease in air quality, as well as a jump in obesity and other related health problems.

But other than that, his plan is pure genius.

Visionary, indeed.

And by the way, Chicago Tribune, do I really need to tell you where you can put your pay wall?

………

Century City bankruptcy attorney Stanley E. Goldich reports an all too typical interaction with an elderly driver while riding on PCH.

On PCH last week, heading South on PCH near Cross Creek a car coming from the Malibu Sea Colony street on the west merged into PCH without any regard to me – I was not going fast so it was not dangerous. He hit the light and I knocked on his window and could see it was an elderly man. I nicely said that he needed to yield to cyclists as well as cars – he responded that he would need to see the cyclist first.

………

Tom Danielson won stage three of the USA Pro Challenge in a bold breakaway, riding the last 20 miles alone after cresting Independence Pass; Christian Vande Velde and Tejay van Garderen are tied for the lead. Danielson and Vende Velde give credit to Dave Zabriskie. Italian rider Daniele Callegarin is back riding with Team Type-1 a year after suffering a serious crash when he hit a cattle guard in last year’s inaugural Pro Challenge.

Meanwhile, Simon Clarke edges Tony Martin following a long breakaway to win the fourth stage of the Vuelta; Joaquin Rodriguez holds the overall lead, with Chris Froome second.

And CNN offers a recap of the witch hunt case against Lance Armstrong.

………

September’s LACBC Sunday Funday ride will be the group’s first Sunday FunGay ride. Flying Pigeon urges cyclists to give their tires a little love. Long Beach votes to establish a $12 million bike share program with Bike Nation; combined with the Anaheim and upcoming L.A. programs, we could be on the verge of a pan-SoCal bike share network. Solana Beach residents and visitors are urged to leave their cars at home this Saturday. A 16-year old San Diego cyclist is injured in a hit-and-run; his brother reports hearing the truck rev its engine just before the collision. Local bike advocates look at what it will take to make Sacramento even more bike friendly. The 81-year old road raging driver who ran down a cyclist on a Santa Rosa golf course is out on bail, and people who’ve encountered him say he has a hair-trigger temper; anyone want to bet he gets rearrested before his case even goes to court? The Santa Rosa paper calls on drivers to share the road. A helmetless Santa Rosa cyclist pulls an endo trying to avoid a head-on collision; thanks to Witch on a Bicycle for the link. Tahoe police throw the book at a hit-and-run driver who critically injured a cyclist before fleeing the scene, leading them on a dangerous chase and crashing her car.

Safer cars may mean reduced safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Oregon police try to circumvent state law in order to ticket cyclists for leaving bike lanes. An OR woman seeks the hit-and-run driver who killed her bike-riding friend. A Colorado woman is charged with DUI, hit-and-run and other crimes when she turns herself in after seriously injuring a cyclist. Now that’s what I call a good looking Denver off road bikeway. A Pueblo CO girl is impaled on the gooseneck of her handlebars; for something described as a freak accident, this sort of thing seems to happen far too often. A Missoula MT detective commandeers a bike to capture a fleeing suspect; the Sheriff’s department paid to repair “significant” damages to the bike. A Wisconsin Catholic priest is killed while riding his bike. Chicago cyclists will soon enjoy a protected bike lane and special bike red lights on the city’s famed Loop. An Ohio man credited with developing the bike helmet mirror has passed away. A recumbent racer bounces back from a near-death infection to set a world record. After a Rochester NY BMX rider is hit by a car, police ticket him for riding on the sidewalk. A Kentucky cyclist suffers repeated attacks from an aggressive owl. A North Carolina cyclist captures the national crit championship in the 75 and older group. If you’re fleeing by bike after stealing a TV, keep your eyes on the road so you don’t crash into a police car.

Yesterday, a protected bike lane made of red Solo cups; today, a bike lane made from garbage — and both work. Popular UK bike website Bikeradar.com pulls support for an insurance company-backed plan that would require cyclists to pass a proficiency test before being allowed on the roads. The rich get richer: Dutch cyclists get a floating bike roundabout to avoid a busy intersection. In the wake of a recent cycling death, Singapore officials warn cyclists to be careful on the roads, rather than urging drivers not to kill them; drivers say it’s not their fault, while a cyclist(?) says we don’t belong on roads with speed limits over 31 mph. Vietnam turns back to bikes.

Finally, after she’s stuck in traffic, a Baton Rouge surgeon borrows a child’s bike to ride to a scheduled operation. A Russian cyclist rides the world’s smallest bike. And a Florida cyclist can’t stay off — or on — his, after police warn him not to ride while drunk.

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