Tag Archive for vehicular homicide

Morning Links: OC fire captain critical after DUI crash, Claremont cyclist murdered, and hit-and-run driver ID’d

Tragic news from Costa Mesa, where an 18-year veteran of the fire department is fighting for his life after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver.

Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza was riding on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo around 8 am when he was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp, who remained at the scene.

Scarp was being held on $100,000 bond after police found multiple prescription medications in his car.

Kreza remains unresponsive; the Costa Mesa Fire Department tweeted that the next several hours will be critical.

A crowdfunding campaign has raised over $70,000 in just 24 hours, nearly triple the original $25,000 goal.

Let’s all say a prayer, or whatever you’re comfortable with, for Mike Kreza’s full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

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In case you missed it over the weekend, there was more bad news from Claremont, where a bike rider was murdered by a driver who allegedly used her car as a weapon.

Police say that Leslie Pray, a 54-year old Claremont resident, was intentionally run down by 61-year old Sandra Wicksted, also from Claremont.

Wicksted reportedly had swerved in the direction of other bicyclists just moments before turning her wheel towards Pray, and swerving across the roadway to slam into her bike as Pray rode in the bike lane on North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive.

Police found several empty liquor bottles in Wicksted’s car after the crash. She was arrested on suspicion of murder, and being held on a $2 million bond.

Tragically, Pray had only started riding a few months earlier.

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The combative hit-and-run driver who killed a Van Nuys bike rider hours after Halloween, then fought with police who tried to take him into custody, has been identified as 20-year old Santa Monica resident Alexander Daniel Furtado.

No word yet whether he was actually in the military, as he claimed, or if the camo fatigues he was wearing were just a Halloween costume.

Furtado is being held on $50,000 bond for suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The victim still has not been publicly identified.

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The LACBC’s annual Operation Firefly campaign, which hands out free bike lights to riders who need them, kicks off in San Pedro tonight.

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Lest ye forget, tomorrow is Election Day. And your chance to Bike the Vote for awhile.

Speaking of which, Bike the Vote LA offers their indispensable voters guide for tomorrow’s election.

The LA Times provides their total list of 2018 election endorsements.

LAist has advice on how to pick a judge to vote for.

Los Angeles Magazine explains what all those confusing propositions actually mean. And has a list of businesses that will give you a deal if you come in with your I Voted sticker .

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Local

No surprise here. Bird has filed suit against Beverly Hills and their misguided total ban on dockless bikes and scooters. The only question is what took them so long?

The map has been released for next month’s CicLAvia as it returns to the Heart of LA.

California announced the latest round of Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Grants, including $550,000 to SCAG’s Go Human campaign, and a total of $375,000 to the City of LA; Pasadena and Long Beach received $175,000 and $150,00, respectively.

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton digs into the lawsuit from self-appointed NIMBY activists Fix the City trying to halt desperately needed growth along the Expo Line. And apparently not grasping that more residential building means less traffic, not more.

 

State

Riverside has opened its first bikeshare system with 55 ped-assist ebikes.

Ride through the Anza Borrego Desert State Park on November 17th, and get rewarded with a cold beer.

Hundreds of bike riders rode through Ventura County in the annual fundraising ride in honor of Mike Nosco, 14 years to the day after he was killed when his truck collided with an unlighted farm vehicle.

A new $13 million bike and pedestrian bridge with provide Palo Alto residents with a crucial link over the massive Highway 101 for the first time in 60 years.

San Mateo County bicyclists now have a safer, green bike lane across a dangerous bridge. Even if the photo clearly shows an SUV driving in it.

Uber’s JUMP Bikes ped-assist dockless e-bikeshare system has expanded throughout the Sacramento area, including bike friendly Davis.

 

National

Good question. A drivers website asks why hit-and-runs are at an all-time high nationwide, but doesn’t really come up with an answer. Although someone should tell them hit-and-run is a crime, not an accident.

General Motors is getting into the ebike biz — and they want you to name it.

A Portland homeowner posted a huge sign in his or her window demanding that bike riders cut some slack when they try to access their own driveways.

The Houston Chronicle says walking and biking in the city can be way too dangerous. Meanwhile, a Houston bike advocacy group is increasing the frequency of their bike safety classes, including what to do in an emergency situation, in the wake of a deadly year for the city’s bicyclists.

Once again, Texas copies California — this time our hit-and-run drivers, and the low bail for the crime. Thanks to Stephen Katz for the heads-up.

A Cincinnati TV station reminds us of the dangers to bike riders and pedestrians after yesterday’s time change. Speaking of which, this is what you look like to drivers in the dark without lights.

This is the cost of traffic violence. A Wisconsin driver smashed into a group of girl scouts at they were picking up trash along the shoulder of a highway before fleeing the scene; three girls were killed along with a parent, and another girl is in critical condition.

A 57-year old New Hampshire man rode 5,000 miles across the US, accompanied by his eight-year old dog following behind in a trailer.

A New York resident tries various ways of getting around the city, giving ebike riding an A+ rating — if you can tolerate universal loathing.

A DC website says Philadelphia is kicking the district’s butt on Vision Zero, while a Philly magazine says the city is making progress, but still has a long way to goNever mind that they’re both miles ahead of LA.

A year after Hurricane Irma, a beachfront Hollywood FL bike path is still covered in sand.

One of the four Florida bicyclists run down by a 91-year old driver last week has been released; two others remain in serious/critical condition, while a fourth is in stable condition.

 

International

Evidently, it’s open season on bike riders in Canada. The father of an Ottawa crash victim called the verdict a disgrace as a driver was acquitted in the speeding, hit-and-run death of his bike riding son; the driver claimed he fell asleep at the wheel and had no idea he hit anything, despite awakening to a loud bang.

An English bike rider is snatching phones from unsuspecting women as he rides by.

Shocking yes, but not surprising. Six out of seven drivers who kill bike riders in the UK get off without any jail time. And only a third lose their licenses. It’s probably no different on this side of the Atlantic.

Horrible story from Britain, where an injured bike rider froze to death waiting for help in a cemetery, after police drove off when they didn’t find her when they responded to a call.

Great idea. An Irish politician proposes offering financial incentives to encourage kids to bike to school, similar to the country’s bike to work program.

No bias here. An Irish columnist calls for detente and cooler heads in the conflict between bicyclists and drivers — while painting bicyclists are crazed maniacs willing to go to war with the poor motorists, who have no choice but to drive.

How to plan your fall culinary tour of Copenhagen.

Caught on video: A 24-year old German artistic cyclist performs stunts Peter Sagan could only dream of.

Your spare parts could help keep riders on the road in Kampala, Uganda.

Logging the way to better Kiwi mountain biking.

Melbourne, Australia’s Green Party proposes a 10-mile, multi-lane bike superhighway as the centerpiece of the city’s nascent bicycle network.

The Australian version of Lifehacker considers weather you should get an ebike; among the downsides, they say, is people will hate you and you might hate yourself.

 

Competitive Cycling

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins defends his defense of Lance Armstrong, saying he’s “sick of being told how to feel about the sport by people who have never ridden a bike.”

The Cannibal heads Rouleur’s inaugural Cycling Hall of Fame class, along with famed bike builder Ernesto Colnago and British icon Beryl Burton.

VeloNews debates the merits of next year’s Tour de France versus Giro d’Italia routes.

 

Finally…

Forget bike riders, golfers should be the ones wearing helmets. If you’ve wanted to see Lance suffer, you finally got your wish.

And Apple wants to copy cycling’s pelotons for their electric cars.

Hopefully they’ll avoid taking half of it down by crossing wheels.

 

Update: Driver arrested on murder charge for intentionally running down a Claremont bike rider

Wrecks are seldom accidents.

But they’re usually not on purpose, either.

Yet that was the case in Claremont today, where a driver is facing a murder charge for intentionally running down a woman as she rode in a bike lane.

According to the Daily Bulletin, 54-year old Leslie Pray was riding north along the 1900 block of North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive around 11:30 am today when she was deliberately struck by the driver of a 1996 station wagon.

Pray was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested 61-year old Claremont resident Sandra Wicksted at a nearby hospital after a brief investigation.

There’s no word on how — or why — the crash happened, or whether the two women knew each other.

Wicksted is being held on $2 million bond. Then again, if she could pay that, she probably wouldn’t be driving a 22-year old station wagon.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Claremont Police Department at 909/399-5411.

This is at least the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

And the first one that was, allegedly, on purpose.

Update: KABC-7 reports that Wicksted was driving in the opposite direction on Mills, and swerved across the road to strike Pray’s bicycle.

The presence of skid marks on the street demonstrates her path across the road, as well as indicating she was braking as she crossed the roadway. Which is odd for a driver who was attempting to hit someone. 

However, the station also says other bike riders told police that Wicksted had swerved towards them just moments before she killed Pray.

She is also suspected of being under the influence; several empty liquor bottles were found in her car after the crash.

Tragically, Pray had just started riding a bike this summer.

Update 2: A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm today

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

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Photo by Erik Griswold. 

Morning Links: Bike auction to benefit BikeMS, why drivers don’t face murder charges, and Venice ain’t Bird’s fault

It’s getting closer. 

Just two more days before we #CrashCityHall to demand safer streets, and ask LA city leaders to have the courage to do the right thing. 

Something that has been seriously lacking in the past year.

You still have time to send in your letter if you can’t make the 10 am city council meeting. 

You can find all the information here

And come back this afternoon when we’ll post another open letter to the LA city council, this time from Sean Meredith. 

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It’s not every day you can get a deal on great bike, and support a good cause at the same time.

The CBS2/KCAL9 Cycling Team is auctioning off the new men’s Giant Defy 1 Disc Brake bicycle show above to raise funds for BikeMS.

The bike, which was donated by the Newbury Park Bike Shop in Newbury Park, has a retail value of $1,500. It’s still in the box, ready to be picked up from the shop or shipped anywhere in the US.

And every penny raised by the auction will go to BikeMS to support people living with muscular sclerosis.

The 15-member CBS2/KCAL9 team has already raised over $10,000, and is one of the top fundraising teams leading into the June 3rd ride.

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Another good, but challenging, read from Peter Flax.

He examines the death of fallen cyclist Mark Kristofferson in this year’s Tour of Palms Springs, who was killed at the hands of a drunk and stoned driver doing 100 mph, with a suspended license and a long history of traffic violations.

And wonders why it’s so hard to charge motorists with murder. Let alone actually get a conviction.

The easiest way to kill someone and get away with a slap on the wrist is to make sure your weapon is a car. But there has been some recent progress in how fatal crashes play out in the legal system as the problem gets greater attention from judges, state legislators, and police departments. “Ten years ago, it was really rare to get a felony conviction if a driver killed a cyclist,” (bike lawyer Peter) Wilborn says, noting that his own brother was killed in 1998 while riding a bike after an underage driver ran a red light. “Now I’d say that in cases that involve death or catastrophic injury, close to 50 percent of the time we get felony charges. I see a system that isn’t perfect, but also one that’s caring more than it ever did before.”

Wilborn asserts that it’s a logical fallacy to call the majority of these crashes murder. “I’ve been at this every day for many years and see the negligence and its impact,” he says. “I have seen the surge of distracted driving, and I know how a six-inch deviation in a car’s line can lead to a cyclist dying. We have a public-health crisis that needs to be solved, but it’s also true that very few motorists are using a car as an intentional weapon. So it’s only in extreme cases that the charge is murder.”

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

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In one of the most bizarrely wrong-headed Op-Eds in recent memory, a former player for the Denver Broncos now living in Venice blames Bird scooters for allowing tech bros to avert their eyes from the homeless lining the streets as they zoom by.

Except people have been ignoring homeless people for years, if not decades. And it’s even easier to ignore them while zooming past in your hermetically sealed automobile, with the windows rolled up to block out the sounds and smells.

The real problem is a lack of caring at worst; a feeling of helplessness to do anything about it at best.

It has nothing to do with a mode of transportation. Even if you do need a smartphone and a credit card to use it.

Meanwhile, Bird scooters are getting the blame for a Nashville hit-and-run that injured two women, instead of the coward who fled the scene after hitting them.

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Pasadena Now looks at Bike Week in the Rose City, including tonight’s Women’s Bike Night.

And don’t forget tomorrow is Bike to Work Day, which is basically like trick or treat for adult bike commuters.

You can find a map of most, if not all, of the morning pit stops on the Metro website.

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Local

Streetsblog’s Joe Linton reports on yesterday’s Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan hospital, including a way too cute photo of little tricyclists getting blessed.

Santa Monica could get the area’s first protected intersection near the Santa Monica College stop on the Expo Line. Although at a cost of 94 parking spaces, which could be enough to make the traffic safety deniers get out the pitchforks and torches.

A planning website talks with LADOT General Manager Selena Reynolds, who says she wants people to have a “symphony” of transportation choices, with driving alone being the last resort. Except that will never happen as long as LA councilmembers live in constant fear of angry drivers, and have the power to cancel projects on their own, for any reason. Which is one more reason to #CrashCityHall

Culver City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow night.

 

State

Streetsblog California looks forward to tonight’s Rides of Silence throughout the state.

A San Diego man suffered life-threatening injuries when his bike was struck by a 33-year old driver after allegedly riding into oncoming traffic.

Bicycling collisions are up in San Diego, rising nearly 30% in the first four months of the year. Maybe injuries are up because an increase in bikeways in the city is getting more people out on bikes, rather than due to dockless bikeshare, as the story implies.

A Ventura museum is hosting an exhibit on the artistic beauty and love of bicycles.

 

National

Streetsblog says it’s time to get rid of the right turn on red lights, which may be more convenient for drivers, but increases the risk for pedestrians and people on bikes.

Treehugger aptly observes that the problem with Bike to Work Week is that it requires the infrastructure to enable people to ride to work all year.

A Phoenix weekly offers tips on using dockless bikeshare, most of which involve where not to leave it.

Former pro cyclist Mara Abbott bemoans the slow death of her hometown Boulder CO newspaper at the hands of its hedge fund owner, after the editor was fired for pointing out what was going on.

A Denver writer demands more and wider roads, making it clear he’s never heard of induced demand. Or global warming.

Maintaining a spectacular Vermont bikeway that crosses four miles of Lake Champlain could prove more difficult than building it, after it’s battered by wind-driven waves.

BikeBiz talks with the co-creator of the Boston-based lighted Lumos bike helmet.

New Yorkers will be racing through the city on bikeshare bikes this weekend.

A columnist for the Philadelphia Enquirer says a protected bike lane would have saved the life of a bike courier who was killed in a crash last weekend.

A 22-mile bike path currently under construction in Florida could open the way for bicycle agritourism. And no, I never heard of agritourism, either.

A Florida bike rider says please stop killing my friends.

 

International

Life is cheap in British Columbia, where killing a bicyclist while driving without “due care” results in just an $1,800 fine and a one-year drivers license suspension.

The Guardian offers up five scenic backcountry bike rides in England’s West Country to add to your bike bucket list.

Britain’s Road Safety Week will tell bicyclists and motorcyclists to Bike Smart. Of course, it might help more if the message was Drive Smart, for truck drivers and everyone else.

A UK website suggests bicycling your way to a healthier and wealthier future.

It looks like Zwift is getting a Romanian competitor for the world of virtual cycling.

Bikeshare comes to North Korea in bike-friendly Pyongyang.

 

Competitive Cycling

A look at Monday’s Stage Two of the Amgen Tour of California by a local Santa Barbara site.

VeloNews says 20-year old American cyclist Brandon McNulty came of age on Monday’s climb up Gibraltar.

Crowds turned out for the start in King City and the finish at the famed Laguna Seca race track for Stage Three, which was won by a cyclist breaking from the pack to seize the victory in today’s spoiler-free update.

In a reflection of the sad financial state of pro cycling, two of the teams competing in the AToC are racing for sponsors, as well as stage wins.

Cyclocross legend Katie Compton switches sports to compete in the Women’s Amgen Tour of California, riding as a domestique for teammate Megan Guarnier. The four stage women’s race starts tomorrow — and no, you can’t see it on TV.

Ella Cycling Tips talks with 22-year old former Aussie world juniors champ Macey Stewart, who will be rebooting her racing career for the second time when she starts at the Tour of California on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there’s still a men’s race going on in Italy.

Outside profiles Marianne Vos, calling her the world’s best cyclist and a fighter against gender inequality.

 

Finally…

When the drunk who runs you down is a cop. Forget riding, just take a hot bath.

And a $24,000 fine for running a traffic signal may sound extreme, until you realize that works out to less than 200 American dollars.

On the other hand, ten days behind bars works out the same no matter what country your in.

Driver uses car as weapon to murder San Bernardino bike rider in intentional hit-and-run

Once again, a bike rider has been killed in a San Bernardino crash.

But this time, it was not an accident — in any sense of the word.

According to a press release from the San Bernardino Police Department, 52-year old San Bernardino resident Elroy Preston was riding on the 1400 block of E. Date Street around 6:27 pm Sunday when he was struck by a driver, who fled the scene.

Preston was taken to a local hospital, where he died later that night.

Witnesses reported he was struck by a black Dodge Magnum driven by 34-year old Dominic Deshaun Simmons of Fontana; the two men had been at the same home just before the crash.

Police spotted a vehicle matching the description at a gas station in Rialto, and arrested Simmons on suspicion of murder. He is currently being held without bail.

Simmons has an extensive criminal record, as well as several outstanding warrants for failing to appear for hearings on various charges.

Preston also had a record, though no details are available; no word on what the relationship was between the two men, if any.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Oldendorf at 909/384-5619 or Sgt. Kokesh at 909/384-5613.

This is the 59th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Elroy Preston and all his loved ones.

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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.

………

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 S, 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. 

 

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