Two months after pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado was killed by a street racing teenager, two of the three drivers involved have been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.
According to the Press-Enterprise, 18-year old high school seniors Brett Morin and Patrick Roraff were racing when Roraff lost control of his car and hit the cyclist.
“Individually, their driving behavior may not have resulted in the tragedy that occurred,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Vic Stull said Friday, “but combined, it was just almost vehicular Russian roulette — way beyond what anybody would see as reasonable conduct.”
The Contra Costa Times — which lists Morin’s age as 20, rather than 18 — says that Roraff was travelling in excess of 70 mph at the time of the collision.
“You can call it street racing, you can call it negligent driving – what they were doing depends on your point of view,” prosecutor Vic Stull said Friday. “We don’t have to prove they were racing to have a jury find them liable for the death. They were driving very fast, they were driving very dangerously. For us, that’s sufficient.”
A story in the Highland Community News — which describes the events in more detail than you may want — says three cars were involved after the drivers and passengers skipped school to go “hang out.” According to the paper, the events leading to Alvarado’s death began when Morin moved left to keep Roraff from passing, causing the second car to swerve right, lose control and skid across the left shoulder where Alvarado was riding.
The Community News reports that Roraff apologized to the victim’s family, and told investigators:
“I feel so stupid for even doing that, like trying to show off and trying to be – just stupid. I don’t know why I would do that. It’s just like – I wish I could go back and just change everything, but I can’t. I feel so – I just want to say sorry to the family. I can’t believe I took away a life.” Roraff had a promising soccer (sic) and was hoping to go to college on a soccer scholarship.
At the scene, he was reported saying, “There goes my life. There goes my soccer career.”
No reason was given why there were no charges against the third driver, or why prosecutors did not charge the drivers with murder, which the Contra Costa Times suggests the Sheriff’s Department had recommended. However, they note that investigators are still looking into whether others may have contributed to Alvarado’s death in some way.
KCBS Channel 2/KCAL 9 reports on the bicyclist injured in a collision with a Sheriff’s Department vehicle in the aftermath of the Lakers’ victory Thursday night. Evidently, the rider was going east on 11th at an estimated 11 mph, with the police cruiser headed north on Flower at slow speed when the cyclist hit car and was thrown into air. (Unfortunately, coverage of the collision is merged with the other reports from Downtown; it should be the third story after you push play. Thanks to David for the link.)
The Times indicates the collision occurred at 9:18 pm as the Sheriff’s vehicle was stationary, while L.A. Rider questions whether it was the same cyclist he witnessed riding the wrong way on 9th while talking on a cell phone.
And somehow, this one missed the radar, as L.A. Creek Freak discovers a shrine to a dead father along the L.A. River Bike Path in Cudahy; no mention of whether he was walking or biking, or if it actually occurred on the bike path; there are no news reports that I can find.
It’s almost summer, and infrastructure seems to be in full bloom.
Eco-Village reports that the rare painted bike lane has taken root on San Pedro Street adjacent to the 105 Freeway in South L.A. LADOT Bike Blog confirms the sighting, as well as confirming that we weren’t hallucinating and there really are new sharrows on Fourth Street.
And as promised, the revised bike plan was released on Friday; I’ve already downloaded my copy. Bikeside’s Alex Thompson notes that the new draft marks a 180° reversal from the much reviled previous draft.
As he wisely points out, we’re under no obligation to accept or support this or any other plan. If LADOT delivers a great new bike plan, we should back it; if not, then we can and should reject it. We should also take full advantage of the comment period make sure we end up with the best possible plan for the streets of L.A.
In weekend riding news, unfortunately, it’s too late to join in on Streetsblog’s Friday fundraising ride through NELA; though I’m sure Damien wouldn’t mind if you still wanted to send in a few bucks.
Saturday marks the long awaited Folk Art Is Everywhere Bike Tour, offering an easy 3.5 mile art ride with several stops at shops and galleries in Echo Park and historic Filipinotown — perfect for beginning or occasional riders, or anyone who just enjoys art and good company.
Slovenian rider Jure Robic won this year’s Race Across America on Friday for a record 5th time, covering the course from coast to coast in nine days, 61 minutes.
Robert Gesink holds onto the leader’s jersey in the Tour of Switzerland, with Lance Armstrong in striking distance less than one minute back. Bicycling looks at the real reasons Lance’s new team was snubbed by the Vuelta.
Gary reports that Santa Monica has set aside $25,000 for bicycle education, what form it will take is still to be determined; if you’re not familiar with Gary Rides Bikes, check it out for intelligent insights on bicycle issues. Biking cross country on the Yellowstone Trail. Dave Moulton offers his objections to Critical Mass. Yet another radio jock spews a violent anti-bike rant, while cyclists call for his firing; maybe he just wants Lance to appear on his show. Tips on how to trigger a traffic light sensor. A Tucson man removes graffiti by bike. A Baltimore columnist calls for adopting the Idaho stop and says bicyclists to wear helmets and slow down in the door zone. The first London bike share station goes up. The Guardian looks at the Black Hawk bike ban, as well as the joys of night riding — something I rediscovered myself just the other night. An Aussie cyclist plans a ghost bike for his fallen friend, only to discover one already on the site.
Finally, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry as the International Cycling Union (UCI) announces that all bikes used in this year’s Tour de France will be scanned for illegal motors.