Tag Archive for vehicular homicide

Update: Long Beach man killed by fleeing driver after crosswalk collision injures 2nd rider

For the second time in three days, an LA County bike rider has been killed by a hit-and-run driver.

And this time, it may have been intentional.

According to multiple sources, two men were either riding or walking their bikes across Long Beach Boulevard in the crosswalk at Bort Street in Long Beach around 1:20 a.m.

Depending on the source, one or both were then struck by the driver of an SUV headed south on Long Beach.

One of the men somehow ended up on the hood of the Ford SUV, and was carried several blocks before being thrown off by the fleeing driver.

He was severely injured, and died at scene after police arrived.

The other rider suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

KTLA-5 reports the driver circled the block once before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot. They also say police believe they know the identity of the driver, but have not yet made an arrest.

That is contradicted by a story in the Press-Telegram, which says authorities have the vehicle, but don’t yet know who was behind the wheel or have a description of the suspect.

KTLA also places the actual site of the wreck several blocks away at the Long Beach Boulevard offramp of the 91 Freeway, saying Bout was where the victim was thrown off and landed in the street.

There is also some dispute over how the victim ended up on the SUV.

Most reports indicate he either landed on the hood as a result of the crash, or jumped onto it in an attempt to stop the driver from getting away.

However, according to KTLA,

The second cyclist then jumped on the driver’s side running board of the SUV, reached into the window and tried to turn off the ignition before the driver took off with the man clinging to the side of the vehicle, a Long Beach police news release stated.

Earlier, Watt said the bicyclist jumped on the hood before police released additional information about the incident.

Either way, the driver had to know the victim was on his vehicle, and made a conscious decision to flee with the victim clinging to his SUV, resulting in the rider’s death.

Which means he should face a charge of vehicular homicide once he’s caught. If not 2nd degree murder.

This is the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. It’s also at least the 12th bicycling death in Long Beach since 2010.

Update: The LA Times has confirmed the details of the KTLA report

According to them, the SUV struck one of the victims at the Long Beach Blvd offramp.

The other rider, who was not hit, jumped on the running board of the SUV, and hit his head on a curb when he was thrown from the vehicle as the driver made a sharp right onto Bort.

The victim has been identified only as a 51-year old man. 

This is a reminder that it’s not worth your life to stop a fleeing driver.

Gather all the details you can — make, model, color, license and a description of the driver — as well as photos or video, if possible. Then get out of the way and let the police deal with it.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 51-year old Los Angeles resident Odie Ervin. He was a popular member of a local lowrider bicycle club

Anyone with information is urged to LBPD Det. Brian Watt at 562/570-7355.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Odie Ervin and all his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson, John McBrearty, and Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up. 

 

Morning Links: Ugly incident in Koreatown, and lawsuit alleges driver killed Palos Verdes cyclist on purpose

Things got ugly in Koreatown Thursday night.

In a violent confrontation only partially caught on video, a swarm of people on a group bike ride pulled the driver of a BMW out of his car at 6th and Hobart in Koreatown. And forcibly pinned him to the street, holding him down until police arrived.

The video begins with the riders breaking the window of the BMW as the car’s trunk is already open, then shows several riders milling around as the driver appears to shout from his prone position on the street.

The LA Times fills in some of the missing details.

Apparently a group of roughly 50 people were riding their bikes through the Koreatown intersection when the traffic light changed. Rather than split the group, one or more riders tried to cork the intersection, blocking the drivers who had the green light.

The driver of the BMW attempted to go through the intersection anyway, and got into a shouting match with the rider blocking traffic. When the rider tried to grab the driver, he responded by stepping on the gas, plowing into the group and running over a bicyclist’s leg.

The driver then reportedly attempted to flee, but the riders in the group swarmed his car to keep him from leaving.

That’s where the video appears to begin.

While corking may be a common practice, it’s still illegal, even though police usually look the other way.

But as BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen points out, the driver could — and perhaps should — be charged with assault with a deadly weapon for aggressively driving into the group of riders.

Although chances are, he may have claimed he was only get away because he was frightened by the cyclists swarming his car.

As LAPD officers have explained similar situations to me in the past, however, the bicyclists may have crossed over the line the moment they broke the driver’s window.

Had they merely surrounded the driver’s car, they would have been within their rights to keep him from fleeing. Or they could have taken down his license number and let him leave, likely leading to a charge of felony hit-and-run.

But by damaging his car, and physically assaulting him by dragging him out of it and forcing him to the street, they’ve left themselves open to the possibility of criminal charges, as well as a civil suit for the damage to his car and any injuries he may have suffered.

Although both sides may have lucked out, since KCBS-2 reports that no one was ticketed or arrested at the scene.

Investigators may just wash their hands of the whole ugly mess, concluding that they both contributed to the confrontation.

Since the video only shows the second half of the incident, though, and not the driver’s actions that led up to it, it will only serve as fodder for the people who already think we’re all a bunch of lawless thugs. And seem pathologically incapable of separating the actions of a few from everyone else who travels on two wheels.

This looks like a case where no one wins.

Least of all the rest of us who had nothing to do with it, but may ultimately bear the burden anyway.

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The family of fallen bicyclist John Bacon have filed a lawsuit alleging the driver who took his life did it on purpose.

Bacon was headed back home from a group ride last May when the 68-year old man was run down from behind in Palos Verdes Estates by the driver of a white pickup truck. The driver fled the scene after stopping briefly and calling for someone to call 911.

The driver, later identified as James Rahman, was caught on security video following Bacon’s bike at an uncomfortably close distance. The suit alleges Rahman honked at Bacon before swerving at him and striking him with the wing mirror of his truck.

However, no charges were ever filed, and no details of what happened were ever released.

In fact, Cycling in the South Bay’s Seth Davidson has alleged that the local police never took the case seriously. It took an alert cyclist to spot the truck days later, and even then couldn’t get the police to respond.

He’s also written that several other bike riders in the area had reported being harassed by the driver of a truck that matched the description of Rahman’s truck.

But again, crickets from the cops.

Even though, if this lawsuit is correct, this wasn’t hit-and-run.

It was murder.

Update: I have been contacted by Joan Bacon, John Bacon’s wife, who wants to correct the information above indicating a lack of concern on the part of the Palos Verdes Police Department. 

I want to be very clear that I and my family are very grateful to Palos Verdes Estates Police Department and in particular to Detective Hellinga and Detective Reed for their year-long effort and hundreds of hours put into the investigation of John’s death… The Police Department kept me informed along the way, were very gracious and kind and I know did a great job. It is also important that you know the decision to not prosecute the offending driver involved in the crash was not the decision of the Palos Verdes Police Department but rather a decision made by the District Attorney’s Office.

You can read the full press release from the family’s attorney below.

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Needless to say, readers responded to the LA Times’ recent hard-hitting editorial criticizing opponents of street safety projects by insisting they’re not selfish, and they really do care about safety.

And is anyone really surprised that the incredibly ugly comments to LA’s new video explaining the need for Vision Zero paint it as nothing more than propaganda and alternative facts?

Because actually taking it seriously would require caring about the lives of others, and placing someone else’s safety above their own convenience.

Which apparently is a bridge too far for some people.

Especially this guy, who’s willing to consider the lives of others, as long as it doesn’t cost him more than four minutes out of his commute.

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Spoiler alert: If you still have the Tour of Utah on your viewing list, skip the last line of this section.

Marianne Vos won her third European road cycling championship.

A Colorado Springs CO newspaper examines the inaugural Colorado Classic beginning this Thursday, looking at both the men’s four-stage race and the women’s two stages.

US anti-doping officials remind Lance Armstrong that he’s been banned from cycling. And that could extend to his podcast if organizers of the Colorado Classic pick up his tab for covering the race.

Twenty-two-year old American pro Tyler Williams is hoping to rise to WorldTour status along with his Israel Cycling Academy squad.

Canadian pro Rob Britten held on to win the Tour of Utah after leading since the individual time trial in stage three.

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Local

A new rendering offers a flyover — and under — of the new Sixth Street Bridge scheduled to open in three years. Although that still looks like a steep climb up the spiral bike and pedestrian ramp.

The Ovarian Psychos annual Clitoral Mass ride was transformed into a Black Mass to protest gentrification in Los Angeles this past Saturday.

A man in his 30s was critically injured in a collision while riding his bicycle at Walnut Street and North Wilson Ave in Pasadena Saturday evening; as of Sunday morning, he was in stable condition. The 74-year old driver remained at the scene.

Hermosa Beach celebrated the 50th anniversary of its sister city program with a bike ride along the beach for middle school students from Hermosa Beach and Loreto, Mexico.

 

State

A young boy was dragged by a car while riding his bike through a Huntington Beach apartment complex Sunday morning. More proof that kids need safe places to ride their bicycles.

A Chula Vista mom turns detective to track down the hit-and-run driver who gave her bike-riding son a fake name and address after crashing into him.

San Diego officials accept most of the recommendations in the ambitious plan presented by the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, agreeing with 25 of the 32 proposals.

A former BMX champ is rebuilding his life after addiction and prison, and helping at-risk Fresno middle school students pedal their way to a better attitude.

 

National

A ten-year old Washington kid credits his new Mohawk-style helmet with saving his life in a crash.

Colorado land managers are struggling to deal with ebikes on mountain trails, where they are often banned — and easy to spot, since they go uphill faster than non-motorized riders.

A writer drives 1,000 miles to ride the legendary singletrack on the 100-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail in North Dakota.

The war on bikes continues, as a Denton TX driver apparently gets away with brake-checking a bicyclist.

Houston police promise to start enforcing the city’s three-foot passing law after writing less than three dozen tickets in 30 months. Maybe we can get them to come up here and enforce California’s three-foot law, since no one here seems to want to do it.

When a bighearted Michigan kid won a new mountain bike, he turned around and gave it to someone who needed it more.

A Staten Island website says don’t bother with Vision Zero, because bicycling fatalities have remained stable in recent years, despite a dramatic increase in ridership. And because bike riders break the law.

Illegal rental bike vendors are hustling tourists away from the only legal bicycle vendor in New York’s Central Park.

A new 20-year study from New York confirms the safety in numbers theory, clearly showing that safety improves as more bike riders take to the streets.

A North Carolina writer says yes, he screwed up while he was driving, but a pair of cyclists didn’t help their cause by swearing at him. On the other hand, he left crossed a father riding a bike with his kid in the child seat, and undoubtedly scared the crap out him; Mother Theresa would probably have a hard time keeping her cool under those circumstances.

Macon, Georgia’s six mile long pop-up bike lane network has been honored with an Excellence Award from New York’s Center for Active Design; the project resulted in a ten-fold increase in people riding to work or school.

 

International

Ottawa, Canada solves the problem of whether bicyclists can ride in the crosswalk by installing a bike crossing right next the crosswalk on a dangerous intersection.

Speaking of Ottawa, the city has discovered they can save $41 per meter — a little more than three feet — by building cycle tracks next to new roadways, rather than painting bike lanes on the streets.

London has already removed 130 dockless bikeshare bikes from the city’s streets for blocking sidewalks. Maybe it’s just me, but using the term “yellow plague” — or even “yellow bike plague — seems pretty damn tone deaf in reference to a Chinese company, even if that’s the color of the bikes.

A UK writer says it’s just politics, not geography, tradition or cost, that prevents cycling becoming a key transport mode. And that bicycling needs to be a key part of the Labour party’s transportation policy.

Sometimes the punishment really does fit the crime. After an English boy is caught on video trashing a bikeshare bike, he’s sentenced to learn how to fix it.

Caught on video: After a British bike rider was hit by a car, he responded by repeatedly punching the driver through an open window; the man who filmed it said he’d never seen anything so violent. That’s the fastest way to go from victim to criminal. So don’t do that. Ever.

E-mountain bikes are bringing France’s spectacular Vercors Massif mountain range into reach of average riders.

Beirut bicyclists are trying to revive cycling in what might be one of the world’s most bike-unfriendly cities.

A 186-mile supported bike tour through bad roads from Sierra Leone to Liberia is changing lives.

Not surprisingly, fines for scofflaw cyclists have surged in Australia’s New South Wales in the first year after instituting draconian fines for relatively minor offenses, including a jump from $337,000 to $1.99 million for not wearing a helmet.

A new ride aims at promoting unity among Malaysians, as many young people seem to have lost faith in the county.

Japanese bike riders can pump up their tires with free bike pumps at any police box.

A Thai website looks at the world’s longest elevated bikeway in Xiamen, China.

 

Finally…

Probably not the best idea to steal a bicycle from the grounds of the Russian embassy. It might not be the smartest move to call the police to say you’re being followed, if the person following you is the father of the kid whose bike you just stole.

And if you’re going to flee from police after running a stop sign, make sure the cyclist you end up crashing into isn’t an off-duty cop.

 

Morning Links: Killer road rage driver cops plea for up to 12 years, and the war on bikes goes on. And on…

Maybe they’ll get it right this time.

In a case that horrified LA’s cycling community, a Los Angeles man could spend the next 12 years behind bars for the 2015 road rage murder of a man on a bike following an argument near USC.

According to KTLA-5, 33-year old Andrew Williams pled no contest on Friday to felony voluntary manslaughter and felony hit-and-run driving resulting in death for intentionally running down 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas.

The District Attorney’s office finally explained what happened in a case where very few details were released at the time.

On Oct. 15, 2015, Williams was driving his SUV in the 3900 block of South Vermont Avenue when he came across Ruben Wharton Vanegas, 35, who was on a bicycle, the prosecutor said.

The two men got into an argument over the cyclist being on the road and after exchanging words, Vanegas hit the defendant’s side view mirror and rode in front of the vehicle, according to court testimony. Williams then ran over the victim and dragged him for about 50 feet, the prosecutor added. Vanegas died at the scene.

Sentencing will take place on the 20th of this month.

Too many killer drivers get off with little or no significant jail time in LA County. Let’s hope that changes in a case where the driver clearly murdered his victim.

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The war cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on.

A Northern Irish bike rider was lucky to walk away after someone sabotaged a Belfast bikeshare bike by loosening the lug holding the front wheel in place.

A nine-year old Aussie boy was nearly decapitated when someone strung a rope across a pathway at neck level.

Horrifying story from Australia, where a driver deliberately mowed down a man on his bike, and shouted at him to get out of the road before driving away and critically injuring a pedestrian in a second crash. He later told police saying he only intended to knock the man off his bike, not hurt him, while claiming the pedestrian he hit was the devil.

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Thanks to Tim Rutt for forwarding this really cool collection of antique bicycle headbadges.

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The seven-stage Critérium du Dauphiné opened Sunday, serving largely as a tune-up for next month’s Tour de France; Napa’s Andrew Talansky will lead the Cannondale-Drapac team, while Alberto Contador has a new bike for the race.

The Vail CO paper talks with cyclocross legend Katie Compton, in town to give mountain biking a try.

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Local

LA’s Vision Zero is focusing on high rate of crashes in South LA. Nice to see city officials have finally ventured into the undiscovered country south of the 10 Freeway.

Los Angeles has opened the latest segment of the LA River Greenway Trail in Studio City, forming a four-mile trail along the river.

KPCC previews yesterday’s River Ride benefitting the LACBC; the Daily News says over 2,000 riders participated.

Bicycling profiles Silver Lake new and used bicycle emporium Coco’s Variety, which started as a variety shop before bicycles sales and studio rentals took over.

A writer for UCLA’s Daily Bruin says teach students about bike regulations before they get a ticket, not after.

LA Bike Dad rides with the kids to a free art class at the Barnsdall Art Park — and his four-year old rides the two mile distance on his own bike.

Pasadena could see another 400 bikes on the streets when Metro Bike comes to town on Bastille Day.

A 13-year old South Carolina boy set off from Santa Monica Saturday on a 3,000 mile bike trip across the US; before he even set off, he’d raised $300,000 in donations for clean water and hopes to raise half a million by the time he gets back home. At his age, I was happy just to ride to band practice.

 

State

Orange County will conduct a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation tomorrow. You know the drill; ride to the letter of the law so you’re not the one who gets ticketed.

Coronado adds bicycle maintenance stations along the city’s Bayshore Bikeway.

Caught on video: A security camera captures a man burglarizing an El Cajon bike shop after shooting out a window.

Bixby, the dog who’s spent the last several years riding across country to promote pet adoption, will be staying in San Luis Obispo for the next few weeks after having emergency surgery.

A trans woman in San Francisco used a settlement she received after getting hit by a car while riding her bike to go from homeless to starting two successful businesses, including a bike shop.

Around 2,200 AIDS/LifeCycle riders left San Francisco yesterday for a 545-mile along the coast to Los Angeles; the riders have already raised $15.1 million for the fight against HIV.

 

National

A Las Vegas bike shop owner is riding across the state to campaign for the Republican nomination for governor of Nevada. More proof that traveling on two wheels does not automatically make you a liberal.

As bike sales slump, Boulder CO bike shop employees are being trained not to be jerks.

A Wisconsin man shares what he’s learned after vowing to run or bike through all 72 of the state’s counties.

Chicago Streetsblog sets out on a Black Power Ride through the city’s South Side.

The Akron, Ohio paper remembers a hospital administrator who endured stares riding his bike to work in the 1950s and 60s.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 84-year old upstate New York man still rides 30 or more miles three times a week.

A curmudgeonly New York columnist follows-up on his video rant insisting bike riders suck by taking offense that anyone would take offense at what he now says was a tongue-in-cheek comment. Because really, who doesn’t bust up laughing when someone says you suck?

Caught on video: A group of North Carolina cyclists can thank a bad driver for making the right choice, pulling onto the grass next to the left shoulder after getting caught in a bad pass, rather than pulling back into the soft and squishy people on bikes as so many other drivers have done. A local TV station asks why so many drivers lose their minds around cyclists. Good question.

The Charlotte Observer talks with NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt Jr about his newfound love of bicycling. Even if he does refuse to wear spandex on the track.

 

International

Mexico City is the latest major city to have a bike mayor.

A Canadian man ties a pool noodle to the back of his bike to show the legal one-meter safe passing distance — the equivalent of a three-foot passing law — and gets hit anyway.

Toronto finally installs barriers separating a bikeway from a major roadway after a five-year old boy was killed after falling in front of traffic. Yes, this is the way Vision Zero is supposed to work, but why do authorities always seem to wait until it’s too late to fix problems they already know about?

English police told a former cycling champ to go away when he tried to report a dangerous near-miss by a driver.

The Telegraph says middle aged men are trading in their roadie Lycra for mountain bike baggies.

A bike-born British acting troupe has traveled over 6,000 miles performing Shakespeare across the UK.

A Philadelphia writer goes walking amid the bikes of Copenhagen.

A new report finds drivers are at fault in most crashes with bike riders in Adelaide, Australia.

 

Finally…

If you build it, they won’t come if the bike lane is only 27 inches wide. If you’re going to ride home drunk, put a damn light on your bike and try to hold your line.

And you no longer have to struggle to carry your bicycles on your private helicopter.

 

Update: One bike rider killed, another injured in Winnetka hit-and-run; driver may have targeted the victims

Breaking: An arrest was made in this case on this on Friday; no details available.

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This time, it might be murder.

Multiple sources are reporting that one man was killed and another injured in an early morning hit-and-run in Winnetka.

According to KTLA-5, the victims were riding north on the 6500 block of Winnetka Ave around 12:45 am after leaving their jobs at a nearby restaurant, when they were struck by the driver of a pickup.

A witness reported seeing the driver swerve into one victim, then swerve again to strike the other, in what may have been an intentional attack.

The driver reportedly stopped to look at the crash scene, then got back in his truck and calmly drove away.

Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital, where one of the men died. The other was reportedly conscious with serious injuries.

Neither man has been publicly identified at this time.

Driver may have targeted victims

LAPD investigators were attempting to determine if the attack was intentional or if the driver may have been under the influence.

It’s also possible that they may have been followed from the restaurant at Ventura Boulevard and Tampa Avenue.

Police report the victims were riding in the number three lane when they were struck, which would have placed them in the parking lane on the wide residential street.

The LA Daily News offers a description of the driver and suspect vehicle.

The vehicle was described as a white Ford or Chevrolet “utility style” pickup truck with toolboxes on the sides and possible front-end damage. The motorist was described as a white man in his late 30s or early 40s, with “close cropped” hair on his head and facial hair.

Anyone with information is urged to call 877/527-3247.

This is the 24th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the fourth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: Video from the scene makes it clear the victims had lights on their bicycles at the time of the crash.

Update 2: A ghost bike will be placed at the site at 9 pm tonight.

The Daily News offers an update on the story, focusing on the dangers of the street. Which is irrelevant if the driver really did attack the victims on purpose. Just like the LAPD’s tone deaf suggestion to use lights and helmets, which aren’t likely to fend off someone intent on murder.

Update 3: The LAPD has released news that the two victims were both Hispanic men; as the Daily News noted, they were leaving their work at the Cho Cho San sushi bar in Tarzana. 

The victim has still not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin; the delay suggests that they are outside of the country. Meanwhile, the surviving victim has been released from the hospital and is resting at home.

Here is video of the suspect truck police are looking for. 

If you have any knowledge of the crash or driver, you’re urged to contact Valley Homicide at the numbers below.

Anyone with information about this collision is asked to contact Valley Bureau Homicide, Detective Doerbecker at 818-374-1943. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit ww.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones. And my prayers for the second victim for a full and fast recovery. 

Thanks to Steve Spence, Ed Ryder and Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.

Barstow bike rider murdered in deliberate attack; driver still at large

A manhunt is on in San Bernardino County after a bicyclist was killed in what police describe as an intentional attack.

According to the Desert Dispatch, 40-year old Barstow resident Bennett Warner was riding his bike westbound on Main Street around 12:53 pm Monday when he was approached by a man identified as 22-year old Raymundo Alberto Rodriguez-Cordova of Barstow.

The two men got into an argument, after which Warner rode into a parking lot on the 1000 block of Main. Cordova followed Warner in his pickup and accelerated into Warner, slamming him into a parked car.

Cordova fled the scene following the crash, leaving Warner to die later of his injuries.

There’s no word on what the two argued about, whether it had to do with road rage or a personal dispute between the two men.

Police are looking for an older model pickup, possibly a 1993 Chevy S10, black with red or primer markings on the front, Kansas plate 180GRS.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Tom Lewis at 760/255-5187.

This is the 22nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bennett Warner and all his loved ones.

Update: Woman killed riding her bicycle in Stanton collision; driver arrested

The Orange County Register is reporting that a 44-year old Stanton woman was killed in a collision Friday night.

According to the paper, Deborah Gresham was riding her bike on Cerritos Ave east of Knott Ave at 7:35 pm when she was stuck by a vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The male driver, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time. No word on how the crash occurred, or why OC sheriff’s deputies appear to have taken the unusual step of arresting the driver at the scene.

A street view shows a five lane roadway with two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane, with a wide right lane where parking is prohibited.

Given the location east of the intersection, it’s possible that she was rear-ended, or could have been struck by someone entering or leaving a driveway..

This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 10th in Orange County; it’s also the third in Stanton in the past four years. That compares with 62 in SoCal this time last year, and 16 in Orange County.

Update: City News Service identifies the driver as Ricardo Hernandez Sandoval, who is being held on $100,000 bond on suspicion of felony hit and run, felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

A source in Orange County reports he was followed to his home by horrified witnesses, where he was arrested less than an hour after the crash. 

Gresham was in the westbound lanes when she was struck, literally within sight of her home. 

Meanwhile, the Orange County Register identifies her as the founder of a Walking Dead fan site on Facebook with 20,000 followers worldwide. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Deborah Gresham and all her loved ones. 

 

Morning Links: Charges filed in death of randonnuer Matthew O’Neill; pro cyclist honored for abandoning race

Turns out a powerful family isn’t enough to prevent a killer driver from facing charges after all.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the 16-year old son of former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, who has not been publicly named because he’s a juvenile, will face charges in the death of popular randonnuer Matthew O’Neill.

He’s being charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, as well as non-compliance with driving terms and restrictions for driving without a licensed driver over 25 in the vehicle, and driving a commercial vehicle without a license.

However, since he’s being charged as a juvenile, he can only be held until he’s 28, no matter what his sentence may be. Assuming he’s convicted, of course.

O’Neill was reportedly lit up like a Christmas tree and well positioned in the lane when he was hit by Maldonado’s truck and/or the horse trailer it was pulling.

A local TV station reports O’Neill was only 10 months from earning a second PhD in Disabilities and Risk Management when he was killed.

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Nice.

UnitedHealthcare pro rider Lucas Euser will be honored by the US Olympic Committee for abandoning the US pro road championship to care for fellow racer Taylor Phinney after he was seriously injured in a fall.

Euser and Phinney were leading the race at the time, and he could have possibly gone on to win if he had continued.

Now that’s class.

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HPimage003

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Local

A WeHo website asks what is it about stop signs West Hollywood drivers don’t understand; actually, make just about anywhere in Southern California, where stop is merely a suggestion.

A San Pedro letter writer says she’s never seen a bicyclist on the new bike lanes in the area; maybe she should look a little harder.

A 47-year old Torrance cyclist is in critical condition after she’s hit by a left-turning car on Crenshaw Blvd.

 

State

San Diego’s BikeSD pushes an LA-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance for our neighbor to the south.

The Desert Sun calls for greater protection for cyclists, including more bike paths and physical barriers separating riders from motor vehicles.

Santa Barbara cyclists get a new bike corral.

Redwood City police are looking for a suspect who punched a man to steal his bike.

 

National

The Bike League presents their latest list of bike friendly businesses, including several in California (pdf); the Santa Monica Bike Center is the only local Platinum recipient.

Bicycling suggests 16 great rides to see fall foliage — including near-treeless Las Vegas. And the magazine reviews bike cams starting at $230.

Buffered bike lanes may come back to Boise just months after they were unceremoniously ripped out.

A Wyoming writer says cyclists have to brave ignorance and impatience. And too often have to stop and change their shorts after an encounter with a driver.

A Michigan driver who killed a cyclist over the summer was killed in a hit-and-run while walking on Wednesday; police aren’t ruling out retribution for the earlier death.

Update: I originally included a story about a bike collision in New York; however, as Bran Nilsen pointed out in a comment, on closer reading, it was about a motorcycle collision. While those are no less tragic than bicycle collisions, that’s not what this site is about, so I have removed the link.

 

International

A new study says poor infrastructure and speeding traffic are the biggest reasons transportation cyclists break the rules. And in other news, ice is cold.

A German man is banned from Yellowstone for crashing a drone into a lake while filming a charity bike ride.

CNN says Taiwan’s Giant Bicycles makes the world’s most aero bikes by baking them like bread.

 

Finally…

Business Insider offers 15 rules for riding a bike in New York; the first one is bring deodorant. And the Boston Globe says there’s nothing new about the conflict over our roads; riders have been fighting for space since the 1880s.

Don’t forget yesterday’s very late morning links in case you missed them. And come back later for news about our new sponsor, Saturday’s Huntington Park Gran Prix.

 

Update — Two cyclists injured, one killed by second driver in drunken early morning hit-and-run

Andy Garcia, from MidnightRidazz.com

Andy Garcia, from MidnightRidazz.com

I’ve just gotten word from the LAPD that a bike rider was killed, and two others injured in a hit-and-run early this morning.

Or rather, the victim most likely died because the driver failed to stop at the scene as required by law and basic human decency.

According to the press release, 28-year old Los Angeles resident Ulises Melgar, 30-year old Mario Lopez of Bellflower and 21-year old Bell Flower resident Luis “Andy” Garcia were riding east on Cesar Chavez Avenue at Mission Road with two other bicyclists at approximately 2:45 am Saturday.

They were rear-ended by an eastbound 2013 Toyota Corolla driven by 21-year old Wendy Villegas, knocking all three off their bikes and into the street.

Villegas fled the scene, leaving her victims lying in the street. She drove to her home, where she told her parents she’d been in a collision, and asked them to call the police.

Unfortunately, it was too late.

Just moments after Villegas ran away, 21-year old Jimmy Marroquin was driving east on Cesar Chavez in a 1994 Nissan Quest. He didn’t see Garcia lying in the roadway and struck him with his SUV, dragging his body a short distance.

Had Villegas stayed at the scene, she could have directed other drivers around the people lying in the street until they could move or help could arrive. Ot at the very least, Marroquin would have been more likely to see the collision and drive more carefully around it.

Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene. Whether he could have survived the initial collision if he hadn’t been struck a second time is a matter of speculation.

However, the other two victims only suffered minor injuries, which suggests that his injuries might have been survivable. Lopez was treated by paramedics at the scene, while Melgar was taken to the ER at USC Medical Center.

Meanwhile, Villegas confessed to police that she had been drinking and left the scene of the collision. She was booked for hit-and-run resulting in injury or death (CVC 20001(a)) and vehicular manslaughter while under the influence (Penal Code 191.5).

In other words, police investigators are blaming her for Garcia’s death.

The collision is still under investigation.  Anyone with information is urged to contact Central Traffic Detective M. Kaden at (213) 972-1837 or Officer R. Cortez at (213) 972-1846; or call the Central Traffic Division’s Watch Commander at (213) 972-1853 during the weekend or off hours.

This is the 66th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 28th in Los Angeles County; that compares to 23 in the county for all of last year. It is also the 12th biking death in the City of Los Angeles, compared to five in each of the last year two years.

That’s nearly two-and-a-half times the city’s cycling death toll for 2011 and 2012, with over three months left in the year.

And horrifyingly, nine of those 12 deaths have been hit-and-runs.

My prayers and deepest sympathy for Luis “Andy” Garcia and his loved ones.

Thanks to LAPD Central Traffic bike liaison Sgt. Laszlo Sandor for the heads-up.

Ghost bike for Andy Garcia, from MidnightRidazz.com

Ghost bike for Andy Garcia, from MidnightRidazz.com

Update: There are a number of rumors swirling around this case. According to reports, instead of turning herself in, the second driver followed Villegas home and reported her to the police after watching her get out of the car stumbling drunk.

In a second version, there were three vehicles that hit Garcia; the third was reportedly a Metro van, or possibly an official Metro vehicle, which followed Villegas to her home after hitting Garcia.

After checking with the LAPD, both of those versions appear to be untrue. The only vehicles involved in the collision were those driven by Villegas, who fled the scene, and Marroquin, who stopped after hitting Garcia.

Marroquin did not follow Villegas to her home; if he had, he would have committed hit-and-run, regardless of his intentions in following her. And so far, there is no credible report that there was a Metro vehicle present at the time of the collision, let alone that it was involved in the wreck or that the driver tracked her to her home.

I’ve also been told that one of the victims suffered a broken back as a result of the collision, which I have been unable to confirm with the LAPD. They’re looking into it for me, but so far say both other victims suffered minor injuries.

In addition, reports are that it was actually Melgar who was treated and released at the scene, while Lopez was taken to the hospital; he’s the one who reportedly has a broken back.

There will be a memorial service for Andy Garcia Tuesday, September 17th.

andy

Accused Ventura drunken serial hit-and-run driver Satnam Singh pleads guilty, now facing 15 to life

Evidently, the farther you get from San Bernardino County, the more likely cyclists are to see justice.*

Case in point: Satnam Singh, accused in the drunken hit-and-run death of Ventura cyclist Nick Haverland, has changed his plea to guilty to second degree murder and driving under the influence following two days of damning testimony.

The 20-year old college student was riding with a friend to take a college final when he was run down by Singh’s Hummer in May of last year. The Santa Paula liquor store owner reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .39 — nearly five times the legal limit — when he hit Haverland and injured five other people in a series of violent collisions.

Singh now faces 15 years to life in state prison, followed by parole for the rest of his life if he should be released; no word on whether he would ever be allowed to drive again. He was also threatened with deportation upon release from prison if he can’t prove he’s a citizen of the U.S.; odd that something like that should even be in question this far into the case.

Prior to his drunken rampage, Singh had received at least two tickets for speeding, and been accused in another DUI collision just three months before murdering Haverland — a case in which he attempted to have his wife take the fall.

Just more evidence that the state moves too slowly to protect the public in cases like this.

*Then again, Riverside County may not be much better.

………

Sunday’s shift back to Standard Time means bike commuters will now face evening rush hour traffic in full darkness. And that means you need a good headlight and tail light — preferably flashing — in order to make it back home in one piece, let alone avoid a ticket.

Even if you’re just out for an afternoon ride, it makes sense to throw a light set into your bike bag or jersey pocket in case a flat or other mechanical keeps you out later than planned. Or at the very least, toss in some reflective ankle straps just in case.

After all, it’s better to light a single bike headlamp than to curse the darkness after getting run over.

………

Tuesday is Election Day. I won’t tell you to go vote in what may be the closest election of our lifetime — not to mention one with a slate of state propositions and local measure that could affect your life for decades to come.

I assume you’re an adult and know just how important this is.

What I will do, though, is urge you to ride your bike to the polls if at all possible to show that our votes count, too. And that it’s long past time for politicians to address our concerns if they want our votes.

………

Writing for Orange 20 Bikes, Richard Risemberg says that, contrary to perceptions, bikes are actually better for business than cars. Best wishes to LADOT Bike Blogger JoJo Pewsawang as he moves on to hopefully greener pastures. Bike lawyer Bob Mionske looks at California’s cranky and apparently bike-unfriendly Governor Jerry Brown. Calbike says Prop 33 in Tuesday’s election hurts those who are helping the environment — like bicyclists. Maybe your broken carbon frame can be brought back to life after all. The 23rd Solvang Prelude brings thousands of riders to the Santa Ynez Valley. A teenage Santa Barbara hit-and-run driver faces charges for a right hook hit-and-run that critically injured a cyclist. The widow of a Sonoma cyclist now helps others after confronting the man who killed him. A 24-year old Napa driver gets a year in jail for seriously injuring a cyclist while under the influence of marijuana.

Bicycling offers a roster of vintage rides through the wine country, along with five coffee table bike books. CNN talks to gold medal-winning Paralympian and former race car champion Alex Zanardi. A Boulder CO intersection gets a makeover in the wake of two cycling deaths; meanwhile, the city won’t pursue a stage in next year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge; probably not just because of the tour’s awful name, though. San Antonio’s safe passing law needs better enforcement. A Chicago writer says that cyclists shouldn’t have to bear responsibility for safety or accept that risk is inevitable. Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus reports on riding in the Manhattan blackout following Hurricane Sandy; the New Yorker asks if Sandy will turn the city’s residents into bike commuters. Charging powerless New Yorker’s devices by bike. Thankfully, former L.A. bike and creek advocate Joe Linton survived Sandy, as well. Why are the rules of the road are a lot longer for Boston bicyclists? What would you do if you came across a bike crash? Yet another delay in the case of accused killer Miami DUI hit-and-run driver and musician Carlos Bertonatti.

A writer says Vancouverites are too old to take advantage of the city’s new transportation plan; you’re kidding me, right? Are bike helmets or bike lanes more important for bike safety? British cycling legend Tommy Godwin passes away at 91. The London Times says bikes are the future, and cities must adapt them — but can’t be bothered to make the story available behind their paywall. A Swiss sportswear company is suing cycling’s governing body over damage to the sport following the Lance Armstrong scandal, while Guam could hold the key to real reform in pro cycling. We have a new candidate for the world’s safest cycling city: Berlin. An Aussie cyclist is shot in the ass as he tries to ride away from a group of men in a park. Bringing the internet to Bangladesh by bike. Even the Indian city of Mangalore gets cycletracks before we do.

Finally, as if doping isn’t bad enough, now former doper Alexandre Vinokourov is accused of paying off another rider to let him win the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic.

Is it just me, or is pro cycling is starting to give swamp pits a bad name?

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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