Roraff apologizes for killing Jorge Alvarado; cyclists disagree with city on environmental review

According to the Highland Community News, Patrick Roraff is sorry he killed pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado last April.

In a brief story about the case going forward against Roraff and co-defendant Brett Morin for the alleged street racing collision that killed Alvarado, the paper mentions that Roraff wrote a letter apologizing to Alvarado’s family — as well as telling investigators how much he regretted his actions.

According to the accident report, Roraff wrote a letter to Alvarado’s family apologizing for the crash and told investigators, “I feel so stupid for even doing that, like trying to show off … I wish I could go back and just change everything, but I can’t … I can’t believe I took away a life.”

Unfortunately, no amount of remorse will bring the rising pro rider back to life.

Then again, no amount of punishment will either, no matter how much jail time the two teenage drivers receive.

Thanks to Dj Wheels for the heads-up.

Update: I received an email from an L.A. cyclist named Bret Morin, who pointed out that I had misspelled the name of the driver charged in Alvarado’s death as Bret, rather than Brett. My sincere apologies to the other Bret Morin for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Surely no one is really surprised by this. Damien Newton reports that cyclists are in conflict with L.A.’s notoriously risk-averse agencies over plans for environmental review of projects in the new bike plan.

You didn’t think the fight was over once the plan was unanimously passed by the city council, did you?


Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson ride a tandem in Venice, which brings up one of my pet peeves.

For those unclear on the subject, the world-famous Venice Boardwalk is that crowded sidewalk between the stores and the beach where bikes are banned. That narrow strip of asphalt where Simpson and Johnson rode last weekend is the world-famous Marvin Braude, formerly Venice/Santa Monica, Bike Path, where bikes are actually allowed and pedestrians banned.

In theory, at least.


LACBC calls for volunteers for this weekend’s Culver City bike count. The West Hollywood Bicycle Task Force meets this Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Bikerowave is hosting a bike swap meet this Sunday. Source readers overwhelmingly approve of removing bike restrictions on Metro trains. Fourth District Councilmember Tom LaBonge rides next to the L.A. River; public television station KCET offers a field guide to biking it yourself. Harry Dougherty offers great photos from last weekend’s Sunday Funday ride, as well as the L.A. River clean-up. Santa Monica Spoke will host a bike exhibition at the 20th Annual Santa Monica Festival. Gary Kavanagh says Santa Monica could be the envy of the bicycling nation. Hermosa Beach invites you to an all ages bike playdate on Saturday the 14th. SoCal’s bike-friendliest city celebrates Bike Month. The Claremont Cyclist offers local bike news, including the new Citrus Regional Bikeway. The Amgen Tour of California will bypass the scenic central coast due to a massive landslide.

Astronaut Grover says wear your helmet. It’s Bike Month, so get out there and don’t proselytize. What to consider when you get new tires. Then again, maybe you’re overinflating your tires; based on this, I may try dropping my front tire a little. What’s your motivation to ride to work? The League of American Bicyclists shifts their focus from educating cyclists to educating the drivers who threaten us, and wants your help to do it; they also release the latest list of bike-friendly cities. No surprise cycle tracks save lives. Touting the environmental benefits of cycling could do more harm than good. People for Bikes says 2011 could be the year of the bike. The perfect accessory for your designer handbag could be the new Kate Spade bike.

Lovely Bicycle ponders why some towns aren’t cycling towns. Participants in New York’s popular Five Boro Bike Ride seem to spend more time walking than riding. The Washington Post implies cyclists are the only ones who need to obey the law, while Wash Cycle deftly dismantles their arguments. DC cyclists are threatened by drivers, as well as the roads they ride on. Maryland adds tougher penalties for negligent drivers who kill cyclists. A cyclist is killed by a hit-and-run driver in North Carolina after falling in the street, even though his friends tried frantically to stop the oncoming driver; thanks to Zeke for the heads-up. Florida cyclists may get a chance to ride a local causeway legally. The legal deadline has passed for Lance Armstrong to sue Floyd Landis over doping allegations.

Canadian parents are charged with letting their nine-year old son ride without a helmet after he’s hit by a car. Maybe if you rode with a halo around your head, you might not end up with one. A nurse saves the life of a man who collapsed during a triathlon, then finishes the race herself. Town Mouse wonders if we’re teaching our children the right lessons. An 81-year old UK man dies after a collision with a cyclist. Great mostly bike-related artwork. Good road design makes peace break out between cyclists and drivers. Sydney homeowners discover living near a bike path is good for property values.

Finally, if you’ve already jumped bail after being ordered not to drink, don’t get drunk and ride your bike into a parked patrol car.


  1. Louie says:

    “After she finished saving the man’s life, Ms McCoy got back on her bike and finished the race.”


  2. As Claire Bowin patiently explained over and over again in the BPIT meeting today, the city is obliged to perform an EIR under CEQA when contemplating lane removals on roads with a certain Level of Service. That requirement is not controlled by Planning or DOT. The ones to attack on this issue are the State of California and, apparently, the City Attorney’s office.

    Not being risk-averse got SF’s bike plan stalled for four years thanks to a CEQA lawsuit initiated by a single individual.

    Before you come down too hard on CEQA, though, bear in mind that hordes of Big Developers are aching to see it struck down so they can put malls and parking structures everywhere. They whine about it nearly every week in the LA Business Journal.

  3. Eric B says:


    That’s about 2/3 of the story. The City has quite a bit of latitude in setting their significance thresholds; but once they’re set, then they do have to be followed. We need to revise the thresholds such that automobile metrics are not what determines significance. Instead, some kind of multi-modal measure of a street would reflect that a street can be improved, even if auto LOS is degraded, if the LOS for all users is better (however that is measured).

    All City actions go through environmental review, so bicycle advocates are wrong to lobby for an exception, but a marginal shift in the significance thresholds could greatly reduce the amount of red tape each project needs to go through by changing which degree of study is needed (ND, MND, or EIR).

    So Claire is right in the interim (for the first batch of lanes needing review), but not telling the whole story in the medium and long term, based on how you described her statement.

  4. Jared says:

    I hoped to never talk about CEQA outside of work.

    That said, not all thresholds are set by the City. For instance, air quality thresholds are set by the AQMD. A lead agency CAN use their own, but it opens itself up to a plethora of issues if it does.

    It might seem like air has no place in a bike project/program other than, “Yea, more bike projects = more riders = less cars = better air.” However, reduced car lanes will probably mean reduced traffic speeds (which has been discussed as a good thing in regards to safety). With that said, reduced speed isn’t typically good for air quality on surface streets. Cars generally have a bit of a sweet spot to run at, and reducing speed can lead to higher emissions. Although there will be fewer cars on the road (pro-bikeway argument), the cars that remain on the road will be running less efficiently (anti-bikeway argument).

    From what I understand from browsing here, they’re looking to review a program rather than a giant list of projects. Personally, I think that IS the better/faster way. Instead of doing 40 initial studies, each one needing a separate traffic/aq study, you can basically just do one big one. Trust me, in CEQA, the less documents the better. Plus you know that from a CEQA standpoint, a bike program should fly through the process (I can’t think of any situation that would cause anything other than beneficial or LTS impacts). However, if they’re looking to do a program EIR and then subsequently review each project on an individual project level as well…that’d suck for sure.

    Good times!

  5. There was talk–primarily from Kang Hu–of moving towards exactly that, an LOS determined by throughput of persons rather than vehicles, and it sounds as though that is a genuine goal at DOT. However, it’s good to work within the present parameters till that is changed rather than waiting.

    It’s also important to keep up the pressure for the change in LOS definitions. At least the (present generation) of traffic engineers were all in favor of the change to “multi-modal LOS,” as they term it.

  6. haley says:

    every one is being a bitch and roraff just wants out of jail. being racists to mexicans!!!

  7. Brett'sCousin says:

    Brett’sCousin on August 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Just a note, im the cousin of Brett, one of the accused boys in this and he is a star athlete, im not really going to give my opinion on this situation but I will say that the court has been unfair in many other cases as well. Its a shame. I personally dont believe that the boys deserve big jail time, due to the fact that jail sometimes turns ppl into criminals. He is not a careless boy, boys will be boys and maybe throwing the book at someone should really be about The Bible. We are no greater than our brothers and sisters, we will all have to face a higher power, our Lord one day. So as we sit here and wish for harsher punishment on our brothers and sisters, that makes us no greater than the person we are wishing bad or “justice” on. Only God can judge us, the Bible promises Hell to those who kill or wish bad upon our brothers and sisters. Fight evil with a blessing and you shall be rewarded. FYI, I would say the same thing had it been a family or friend of mine killed. God forbid

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