Run a stop sign, kill a cyclist, flee the scene, get probation

Evidently, life is cheap in the East Valley.

On the morning of September 23rd, 2008, Naira Margaryan blew through a stop sign in her Mercedes Benz, hit a cyclist and fled the scene, leaving Gerado Ramos lingering in a coma for over a year before he finally died of his injuries.

This Tuesday, she was sentenced for her actions.

Correction: The Glendale News Press had said that Margaryan fled the scene; they have since corrected the above story to indicate that she stayed at the scene following the collision.

Not for the jail time that such a crime would seem to call for. Instead she received 700 hours of community service.

And a restricted driver’s license.

I got a stiffer punishment from the ruler-wielding nuns back in catechism class.

Meanwhile, her victim, who authorities found equally responsible for the collision, received the death penalty for the crime of riding his bike on the sidewalk. Which may or may not have been legal in the exact spot where he was struck, given the confusing nature of Glendale’s Municipal Code.

Apparently, riding on the sidewalk is legal anywhere except a business district. But business district is defined so broadly that pretty much any location that isn’t made up exclusively of single family homes would seem to qualify.

CVC 240(c) All churches, apartments, hotels, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings, other than schools, shall be deemed to be business structures.

So one ran a stop sign and killed another human being; the other rode his bike on the sidewalk.

Yeah, those seem like equivalent crimes to me, alright.

But only one of them gets to walk away.

Update: This story has been edited to remove any additional references to hit-and-run, based on the News Press correction.


L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa provides his own perspective on this week’s Bike Summit on the Huffington Post, and promises to follow-up with answers to the most popular questions on his Google Moderator page. Blogdownton responds that cyclists are looking for progress, not promises, while Bikeside accuses the Mayor of declaring helmet war on cyclists.

And leading Brit bike site notes that the Mayor is turning into a cycling evangelist, and things seem to be changing for the better here in L.A.; any story that quotes me can’t be all bad.


LACBC urges cyclists to write in support of the suddenly threatened bike lanes on Wilbur Avenue in the Valley; the problem is local resistance to a planned road diet to make room for the lanes, not a shortage of roadway paint.


The Source looks at Wednesday night’s Moving Beyond Cars event, and offers highlights from last week’s Metro Bicycle Roundtable. Streetsblog looks forward to this weekend’s Bikeside Speaks, while Gary offers an updated speaker list. Never thought I’d be envious of a bike route through Claremont, but that’s one pretty ride. Police crack down on Tucson’s Tuesday Night Bike Ride. If a cyclist riding the wrong way hits a jaywalking pedestrian, do they cancel each other out? Bob Mionske says if you buzz pedestrians, you give all of us a bad name. Bicycling looks at the best up-and-coming American riders. The Thin Bike promises to take up less space in your crowded apartment. A Colorado man takes a bat to a $4,800 bike because he’s tired of “old guys…hogging the road;” Dave Moulton asks, was it worth it? From my home town, cyclists say You know me, I ride a bike. Texas cyclist Reed Bates is found guilty of reckless driving for not riding as far right as possible, the judge says whether or not it’s safer to ride in the middle of the lane, it’s still reckless; Andy Clarke explains why the League of American Bicyclists didn’t get involved. What if bike racks could pay for themselves — or maybe even make money? Michigan cyclists raise money to repave a popular riding road. Two Indiana cyclists are killed in separate incidents just hours apart. The most dangerous state for cyclists promotes its new three foot passing law. Anti-bike scaremongering reaches the boiling point in New York, even though collisions between cyclists and pedestrians have dropped by more than half. MIT’s Copenhagen Wheel, capable of turning any bike into an electric-assisted bicycle, wins the U.S. round of the James Dyson Award; the Guardian says it’s too clever for it’s own good. The local bike shop in Altlandsburg, Germany shouldn’t be hard to find. York, England authorities are puzzled by an unexpected surge in bike thefts. Private street rangers plan to crack down on London’s sidewalk riding cyclists. A Brit cyclist deals with sexist idiots by exposing them on her blog, 101 Wankers.

Finally, bounce back from your next hard summer ride with a post-ride recovery beer. Now there’s a cycling supplement program I can support.


  1. danceralamode says:

    Totally unrelated, but in my quest to find viable means of self-reliant transportation, tomorrow I am roller skating to work. That’s all. Do you think there should be a mandatory helmet law for me?

    • bikinginla says:

      Actually, more people are injured in their own bathrooms than on bikes every year. So I think we should make helmets mandatory for anyone using a toilet or shower.

      • I once got a concussion because my brother’s knee connected with my head while I was sitting on the ground watching television (I was 6). We should make all children watching TV wear helmets.

  2. Moopheus says:

    Where I live (on the Right Coast), we have similar “business district” rules about riding on sidewalks. But our sidewalks are marked: the corner ramps have clear “no bike” graphics painted on them in the restricted areas. They are frequently ignored by cyclists, but they’re there. There’s no ambiguity about what’s meant by “business district”. So this is a problem that could be easily solved by a few DPW guys and a paint roller.

  3. Despite our myriad other problems, at least LA doesn’t have a “business district” rule for sidewalk riding!

  4. Richard says:

    Very few of the incidents involving pedestrians vs bicycles are reported. Many of the people who pedal on sidewalks ride bicycles that seldom see maintenance. Pedestrians are also very unpredictable. Who in there right mind would ride a fixed gear with no brakes down hill on a sidewalk full of people. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic is only going to increase not slacken. We are responsible for watching our backs when others keep braking the law. This means being a little more pro active. Instead of trying to figure out where it is legal to kill pedestrians on the sidewalk. Ride in the road where bicyclists belong and if you absolutely insist on being on the sidewalk then walk that bicycle.
    Making rude, crude and sexual comments at women from your auto is sub human in my eyes. If you catch someone doing this forget the rule book. I suggest a million volt stun baton with a nuclear power cell. Then place the switch permanently on and put it where the light don’t shine. They are now trained.

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