Increasing penalties for hit-and-run, increasing opposition to high-speed Hyperion/Glendale bridges

Today's forecast calls for first winter storm of the year. But hopefully, not this bad. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Forecast calls for first winter storm of the year. But probably not like this. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Momentum is finally building to increase penalties for hit-and-run.

But while increasing penalties to match DUI will remove one incentive to flee, it won’t be enough to stop hit-and-runs at a time when prison overcrowding means non-violent offenders serve only a fraction of their sentences.

Original thinking is required, whether that means automatic revocation of the driver’s license and seizure of the vehicle used, as I’ve long advocated, or extensive home detention and community service.

We also need to require permanent license plates for every car on the road from the minute it leaves the sales lot. Too many drivers use loopholes in the law to avoid putting valid plates on their cars, making them virtually untraceable in the event of a collision.

Just try counting the number of cars you see without plates the next time you ride.

Drivers should also face homicide charges anytime someone dies following a hit-and-run on the assumption that the victim might have been saved if they had stopped and called for help.


Opposition is deservedly growing to the planned highway-speed redevelopment of the Hyperion/Glendale bridge complex.

How this deadly throwback design even got preliminary support from city officials is beyond me.


Wednesday’s planned hearing of the My Figueroa project before the city council’s Transportation Committee has been postponed until further notice.

Let’s hope it’s soon, because funding requirements dictate that all opponents have to do to kill the project is to delay the start until after the first of the year. It would be very easy for someone to halt the whole project just by demanding further study, without ever publicly opposing it.

Not that any, say, car dealer or councilmember would actually try that, of course.


The NY Times profiles our Jewish Latino Moby-accompanying semi-hipster mayor; meanwhile, our own Times talks with LADOT bike czar Michelle Mowery, and apparently approves. City of LA department performance data goes online, including a rising rate of bike lane miles. The Times says the new and de-improved Spring Street bike lane is ready for a road test. Streetsblog’s Sahra Sulaiman walks and thinks at Sunday’s CicLAvia; Boyonabike explains why he boycotted this one. Roaming historic Leimert Park by bike. West Hollywood is about to get a new robot garage; disappointingly, it’s not actually for parking robots. Pasadena man rides to raise funds for a chemical dependency treatment program like the one that saved his life. The inaugural Rose Bowl Legacy Cycling Challenge scheduled for later this month has been cancelled until next year. Bike to the Pomona Pumpkin Festival on the 20th. A new petition calls on El Monte to approve the city’s first bike lane. Funny how frequently opponents can look at bike lanes and fail to see anyone use them, even in bike friendly Long Beach. Will we ever see the promised Bike Nation bike share programs in LA and Long Beach, and should we wait on them? CLR Effect offers more typically great photos from the 2013 Velocity Cross.

Governor Brown has signed AB 417, which will streamline the environmental process for urban bike plans, so they don’t get held hostage by absurd claims that bike lanes will cause pollution. Ride the 2014 Amgen Tour of California route before the pros. I’d love to know what OC Register readers have to say about cyclists and the recently passed three-foot law, but you know, draconian paywall and stuff. An eight-year old Corona boy is released from the hospital three weeks after he was attacked by dogs while riding his bike. Bike SD says without an implementation strategy, the city’s Bike Master Plan is just a wish list. Seven-year old Solano Beach boy finishes third in BMX Nationals. Registration opens for next month’s Tour de (Camp) Pendleton. A driver is sentenced to 11 years and eight months in prison for the DUI death of a Morro Bay cyclist last month thanks to previous convictions for DUI, reckless driving and hit-and-run; she was still drunk from the night before at the time of the 11 am collision, even after going for a run. No bias here, as the local press reports a helmetless Pacific Grove cyclist slammed into the back of a stopped car, but fails to consider whether the driver may have stopped short or cut her off. A Sacramento bike rider is killed when she’s rear-ended by a bus pulling up to a stop. San Francisco cyclists complain about well-documented anti-bike police bias; the question is, was anyone listening?

About time, as the NAACP declares walkability a civil rights issue. A drop in driving rates — especially among young people — is causing car builders to rethink their business model. Not surprisingly, bike friendly mayors often result in bike friendly cities; one hundred days into his administration, it remains to be seen just how bike friendly our new mayor is. Hundreds pause in Boulder CO to remember fallen pro cyclist Amy Dumbroski. Chicago business owner refuses to move to any city without protected bike lanes. One in four Ohio bike collisions ends in hit-and-run. More New Yorkers are killed in motor vehicle collisions than by guns; not that the NYPD seems to give a damn. Leading New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio switches from opponent to supporter of protected bike lanes, but won’t bike to work if elected. New York jurists consider whether a driver can be too drunk to be responsible for his or her actions. Lindsey Lohan rides bikes with her mom; no word on whether they rode drunk or crashed into anyone. Because a driver wasn’t willing to wait 15 seconds for a bike rider to cross a bridge, a Maryland family no longer has a mother. Charleston SC officials want to encourage bike riding while reining in all that cluttered bike parking. Georgia’s absurdly anti-bike legislation is pulled by its authors, who don’t understand the negative reaction.

Mass retirements hit the pro peloton. Bolivia’s fourth largest city could require residents to ride once a week; thanks to Cyclelicious for the link. Breathtaking Ai Weiwei bike art installation opens in Toronto. Your next really heavy helmet could be made of flax. Evidently, Cambridge’s new cycle-safe junction design isn’t as two cyclists collide head-on. Biking the back roads of Southern England. Next year’s Giro will pay tribute to the late, great Marco Pantani. The Jerusalem Post looks at “righteous Christian Italian cycling great” Gino Bartali, who risked his life to save Jews during WWII; I look forward to the Catholic church giving him the respect he deserves. Dubai prosecutors want to increase the one-month sentence given the killer of triathlete Roy Nasr. Cape Town’s new cycle track is used primarily for motorbike parking and smoke breaks. Australia’s new Prime Minister defends making the country pick up the tab for his bike rides. An Aussie cyclist is arrested for riding at nearly four times the legal alcohol limit at 11:30 am, still drunk — and surprisingly not dead — from the night before.

Finally, every thief now has an alibi, as a California appellate court inexplicably rules that it’s not stealing if you plan to return a cell phone — or a bike — when you’re done with it. And here’s the perfect bike to borrow for all you temporary bike rustlers out there.

FYI, if you see an ad on this or any other post on here, the money is going to WordPress for hosting this blog, not me.


  1. Mike Z says:

    The TV interview on the Sacramento cyclist death by bus was the usual talking head babble. They can comment w/o fact checking on follow-up. They had some jerkwad witness claiming that the cyclist prior to being run over was weaving and should have been on the sidewalk anyways.

    OK, the weaving part…..witness, OK. The sidewalk business should have been addressed by the CHP/talking heads on follow-up. Cyclists have the same right to the road as vehicles.

    BUT NOOoooo, the typical TV viewer gets the sound byte, weave, shoulda been on the sidewalk, bikers are BAAAAaaaaddd. No wonder news viewers get their information from the net.

  2. Opus the Poet says:

    Just an FYI the legal limit for BAC% is 0.05 in Oz, not the 0.08 it is here. Four times the limit 12 hours later in the US would indeed be nearly lethal at the time here, there would still be seriously drunk but not imminently hazardous to short-term existence.

  3. Hwy. 39 says:

    Re: The Maryland family that lost a mother. The lone comment makes me pessimistic that things will ever get better. The commenter is not a vitriolic bike hater, but an average Joe.

    He says that it is an incredibly dangerous stretch of road. That he has come over that crest to find stopped traffic, a fallen tree, farm machinery and cyclists. THEN, he concludes that something needs to be done to regulate the KIND OF TRAFFIC (ie cars only) through there because it’s only safe for normal sized vehicles travelling at the posted speed limit.

    It’s a blind freaking hill. SLOW DOWN. The speed LIMIT is a max speed under ideal conditions and visibility. If you can’t see a safe distance ahead because of weather or topography, SLOW DOWN! But that will never occur to the average knucklehead behind the wheel.

  4. calwatch says:

    The complaints about the OC Register paywall start to ring hollow. The Register needs to make money, and the best way to do this is to make it as hard as possible for people to read the paper for free, so people attach a value to the news professionals that write, edit, and produce their work.

    You can still read the Register for free via Newsbank, which is accessible to people with a library card (also free), but you can’t go to the Register site to access it, and you don’t get the graphics.

    • bikinginla says:

      Yes, the Register needs to make money. On the other hand, I do them, and other publications, a service by driving viewers to their website when I link to their stories, which helps support their on-site advertising.

      Most other news websites allow free access to at least a limited number of news stories, ranging from three a month at some of the smaller publications, to 10 at most papers with such a policy. This allows casual users such as myself to access the occasional stories we need, while requiring heavier users to subscribe for access to the full site.

      No offense to the Register, but I don’t live in Orange County, and have no reason to subscribe to the paper, other than to access their relatively few bike stories, just as I do with hundreds of other publications throughout the US. And neither I, nor my readers, can afford to subscribe to every publication on the internet on the off-chance they might have something we want to read, or because their paywall is holding a particular story hostage.

      And while I can access slightly dated stories through Newsbank on an individual basis, as you say, it prevents my readers from being able to access the original story and deprives the Register of additional readership.

      I do link to the Register in some cases, so that those who do subscribe to it can access the stories. But in most cases, I don’t bother, knowing that many readers would simply find it as frustrating as I do.

      Their strict paywall may be helping them become more profitable, which is good news in these days when the printed press is struggling. But it is costing them additional one-time readership, while reducing their relevancy as would-be occasional readers like myself can usually find other sources for the same information.

  5. Opus the Poet says:

    One thing I have been advocating for is recycling weapon vehicles for at-fault collisions that don’t rise to the point of misdemeanor but still result in significant injury, and in the case of a vehicle that is involved in a fatality and the driver is at fault “allow” the driver to watch the car get recycled from behind the wheel.

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