Cyclist assaulted on bike path, former Amazon CFO killed in bike crash, confirmation Britel killer paroled

The last thing he remembers is a woman putting her hand on his thigh and pushing his bike over.

Somehow, I missed this story last month, when Jack Bornoff suffered serious injuries after he was pushed off his black and white Schwinn by a pedestrian, as he was passing her on a bike path in Balboa Park.

It happened on August 22nd, a Thursday, around 10 am.

I’ll let him tell the story.

I approached the intersection of Burbank and Balboa on my bike and I was riding in the bike path.  I turned onto Balboa northbound and was confronted by a view of a high density of pedestrians in both the northbound and southbound bicycle lanes, including 2 females pedestrians blocking the northbound lane directly in front of me about 50 ft. ahead.  Immediately, I slowed down.  I noticed 2 pedestrians walking towards me in the southbound lane who were at least 50 feet ahead of the 2 pedestrians in my lane and determined it was perfectly safe to pass on the left with this substantial interval between these pedestrian couples.  As I passed by, the female pedestrian closest to me placed her right hand on my thigh and pushed me.

It wasn’t just a fall. Bornoff landed with enough force to knock him cold, and suffered numerous fractures.

I have no clear memories beyond this for at least the next 10 to 15 minutes.  This incident resulted in numerous fractures of the clavicle, scapula and ribs including damage to my lung.

A month later, he still doesn’t know who attacked him, or why. Or even who might have helped him as he lay injured on the bike path.

If you were there and offered to help, thank you and I regret I don’t remember it.  However, if you were there and witnessed this happen, please come forward and notify LAPD Detective Thornton.  818-374-7792.  Case #9C4-4.   Thank you and be safe.

He plans to be back at that same bike path on Thursday, October 10th between 9:45 am and 10:15 am — exactly seven weeks after the attack — to look for witnesses. And would appreciate some help if anyone wants to join him in passing out flyers.

Or if you find yourself walking or riding in the area some other time, he’s prepared a small flyer you could distribute to people in the area (pdf).

Because it wasn’t just a push. It was a deliberate, dangerous assault that left a man seriously injured.

And it needs to be taken just as seriously.


Last night, it was just another tragic story of a bike rider killed in a left hook; a 22-year old driver turning his minivan across the cyclist’s path in San Mateo County.

Today, word broke that the victim has touched the life of virtually anyone who has ever used the internet or ordered something online.

Fifty-year old Joy Covey was one of the founders of Amazon. A woman whose 173 IQ took her from high school dropout to Harvard Business School, and on to become the CFO who helped the company grow from a book-selling website to the world’s dominant internet retail site. As well as leading it through a highly successful IPO in the late ‘90s.

She was working as treasurer of the National Resources Defense Council at the time of her death.

Initial reports indicated she was wearing a helmet. However, I’m told she may have been traveling up to 40 mph as she descended a steep downhill; in a broadside collision at that speed, no bike helmet is likely to offer much benefit.

As the links above show, there’s already been much written about her tragic death, and the immense and needless loss suffered by so many who knew and worked with her.

And it’s true.

Just as it is for the other more than 600 bike riders who will lose their lives on American streets this year, most of whom will never see their names in print.

In life. Or in death.

My deepest sympathy for Joy Covey and her family.

Thanks to Michael McVerry and Ralph Durham for the heads-up.


Finally, last month we reported that Danae Miller, convicted in the drunk and distracted driving death of world-class triathlete Amine Britel, appeared to have been released from prison after serving less than half of her original sentence.

Now the Orange County Register confirms that Miller was paroled on August 15th after serving just 18 months of her original four year sentence.

Unfortunately, most of the story is hidden behind their draconian paywall.

However, I’m told that the story goes on to quote a member of the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee, as well as the Newport Beach city council member who heads the committee, as expressing their disappointment at the early release.

Get used to it.

California’s prison overcrowding crisis means most people convicted of traffic crimes will serve only a fraction of their sentences. Which means we need to find alternative forms of punishment — let alone rehabilitation, which seldom if ever happens behind bars — if we want to stop the carnage on our streets. Let alone the hit-and-run epidemic.

I’m told that Miller’s family was very supportive of her during the trial. Not in the usual sense denying her obvious guilt, but actually being there and giving a damn while expressing deep and genuine sympathy for her victim’s family and fiancé.

No word on where she is right now. However, there is speculation that she received the relatively light four-year sentence — she could have gotten up to 10 years — in exchange for a commitment from her family to place her in rehab immediately upon her release.

Let’s hope that’s the case.

And let’s hope that Miller, who already had 11 traffic violations on her record when she took Britel’s life, is never allowed behind the wheel of a car again.

Thanks to the OC Register for crediting this site with breaking the story. That wasn’t necessary, but it’s sincerely appreciated.

Now about that paywall…


  1. Opus the Poet says:

    On the left cross death, I have been reading comments left on the various links as they showed in my Feed and it was mentioned that a motorcyclist was left-crossed there just a week before this wreck, and that there have been several wrecks between left-turning vehicles and other oncoming traffic, as well as a few right cross wrecks. It might be time to either fix the sightlines or install a signal at this intersection as most of the vehicles involved in the wrecks that were not making turns were at or below the speed limit.

  2. Brent Reeves says:

    Joy Covey was killed on Skyline Blvd. at Elk Tree road. This Skyline Descent segment on Strava is where it happened.

    On September 9th she was going 31.6 mph on this descent at Elk Tree Road, the road the driver made the left onto, cutting her off. If there was other traffic behind the van, her options were very limited. The grade there is about -6.3%. I ride with a Lumina 650 on daytime strobe mode. Had she had something similar, the van may have seen her in time.

    • Hoi Polloi says:

      Brent, my condolences. Thank you for posting the location, I examine the road conditions on these types of accidents. Since this accident took place In a wooded area (cyclist take note) it would be wise to wear strobe(ing) lights (front and back) if the ride exceeds 50% climbing and descending. Was your Lumina 650 mounted on the front of your bike and/or what was your rear light? Was it a jersey, seat or frame mount? I’m curious? Take care.

      • Brent Reeves says:

        Hoi, I have no inside information on this accident. I just caught the story in the news and then found Joy’s Strava profile. I don’t know for a fact that she didn’t have a light, but I think on that shady road it would be of great benefit. I have the Lumina on the front of my bike, and three flashing red lights on the rear.

  3. Alan Thompson says:

    Very sad situation. However a rich legacy left by Joy Covey who helped change the world.
    Equally sad are the legacies that will never be known, as each death takes not just the life, but everything that life could have been.

    And we are the worse for it.

  4. Jeff says:

    as far as Danae Marie Miller is concerned, she should have received 10 years plus the loss of her license for an additional 10 years. This possibly could have been avoided if she had had it taken prior to the killing of Amine – she had 11 violations on her record.

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