Morning Links: Guilty in North Fig hit-and-run and meth-fueled Fiesta Island crash, & still more Coronado madness

It’s been a busy few weeks for courtroom drama.

In the latest case, 21-year old Alexis Virto has pled guilty in the horrifying hit-and-run death of bike rider Jose Luna.

Luna was crossing North Figueroa in a marked crosswalk with another rider last June when Virto’s car smashed into him at an estimated 60 to 80 mph, then sped away with his victim still on the hood of his car, carrying Luna’s body 200 yards from the crash site.

Police found his abandoned car, which led them to arrest Virto as he slept with his girlfriend just six blocks from where the collision occurred; still drunk, with windshield glass glittering in his hair.

EGP News reports he plead guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated as part of a plea deal; prosecutors are expected to drop additional counts of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury, driving with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content causing injury, and hit-and-run resulting in death or serious injury to another person.

He’s due for sentencing on November 5th; the story does not say what sentence he faces as a result of the plea.

North Figueroa had been scheduled for a road diet intended to improve safety and slow speeding drivers. Had it not been summarily cancelled by Councilmember Gil Cedillo, it would have been completed long before this collision, though there’s no way to know if it would have made a difference in this case.

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Not surprisingly, the meth-infused wrong way driver who plowed into a group of cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island has been found guilty.

Despite her lawyer’s bizarre claim that she wasn’t impaired by the meth in her system. Or the meth hidden in her privates.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Theresa Owens was found guilty of felony DUI causing injury, as well as causing permanent paralysis to one victim and great bodily injury to three others.

She was also convicted on a misdemeanor possession count for the .15 grams of methamphetamine stashed in her vagina.

She now faces up to 18 years in prison.

Let’s hope wherever she ends up, it has a good rehab program.

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More madness from Coronado, as a resident uses Google to discover various Vehicular Cycling websites, and cites them as proof that bike lanes don’t belong in the crazy little burgh.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Bicycle Coalition offers a more rational voice.

And the Coronado insanity neatly sums up this piece touting the craziest things that have been said about bike lanes.

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A new study from the University of Arizona shows that wearing a bike helmet reduced the risk of severe traumatic brain injury in a collision by 58%, and the risk of death by 59%. The authors also note helmet use reduced the risk of facial fractures by 29%.

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Evidently, the reward for winning the world champion’s rainbow jersey is the chance to play waterboy for your teammates in your next race.

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Local

Outside Magazine looks at Madmen producer Tom Smut’s recent ride to the Emmys, and says what bicycling needs is the perfect A-list champion of bikes. The problem isn’t finding celebrities who ride bikes, it’s getting the world to pay attention. Unless maybe Russell Crowe, Katy Perry and Beyonce aren’t big enough, just to name a few.

South Pasadena students take part in Wednesday’s National Walk to School Day on foot and by bike; KPCC says Walk to School Day raises important safety issues.

Los Angeles Magazine looks at Culver City’s new bike friendly restaurant, The Cannibal.

Bike SGV invites you to attend the Grand Opening of their new Bicycle Education Center on the 25th, complete with Halloween Pet and Costume Bike Train.

 

State

San Diego advocates insist that transit lines and bike and pedestrian projects must move to the head of the line, as the San Diego Association of Governments, aka SANDAG, prepares to vote on a $204 billion transportation plan.

UC Riverside is the latest campus to combat bike theft using GPS bait bikes; so far, they’ve been stolen 17 times, leading to 13 convictions.

Bicycling says Marin County Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Charlie Cunningham needs your help after suffering a life-threatening subdural hematoma in a riding accident that forced him to crawl two miles out of the woods; a gofundme account has be established to help pay medical expenses.

Hollister police haven’t issued a single ticket for violating California’s helmet law for riders under 18 since 2011. Nor should they; a simple warning should be sufficient in cases like that.

A NorCal website explains the difference between Ordinary and Safety bicycles, in case you happen to find yourself in need of a ride in 1880s London.

 

National

Kevin McCarthy’s withdrawal from the race for Speaker of the House means the next leader of the US House of Representatives won’t be a California bike rider.

The Feds propose scrapping regulations that make it difficult to build Complete Streets.

Montana is the latest state to ditch the requirement that cyclists ride as far to the right as practicable; now riders will be allowed to ride as far to the right as they feel safety allows. Are you listening Calbike and CABO? This should be the next big change to California bike law. And while we’re at it, let’s ditch the must-use requirement for bike lanes and bike paths; different types of riders have different needs, and one lane does not fit all.

Bicycling is booming just about everywhere. Except Iowa, evidently.

A Nebraska man is biking the trail the Native American Ponca people were forced to march to their Oklahoma reservation.

Yet another bighearted cop, as a Texas police lieutenant replaces a man’s stolen bike.

One week after a Wisconsin boy finished building his custom BMX bike, a group of teenagers shoved a gun in his face and stole it.

The Wall Street Journal says bike lanes make riding in New York less challenging, but cyclists still face a number of obstacles, from bike lanes blocked by vehicles to lanes that stop and start without warning.

A Brooklyn councilman says the city’s Transportation Committee is more concerned about parking than the safety of bicyclists.

A Staten Island website says with a price tag of $300 to $400 million to add bike and pedestrian access to New York’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, just forget about it.

Bike New York offers advice on autumn cycling.

DC’s Metro system blames the city’s successful bikeshare system for their loss in ridership. The brilliance of LA Metro’s planned bikeshare system is that it is designed to be integrated into the transit system, not compete with it.

An OpEd in the Charlotte Observer calls for a Vision Zero there to end the cycling carnage on city streets.

 

International

Three successful women designers discuss women’s bike style beyond the usual shrink it and pink it approach.

A Toronto writer calls the so-called war on cars a mythical fabrication, and says cyclists deserve bike lanes that will allow them to ride in safety.

Two Lycra-clad British bike thieves walk into a bike shop and calmly walk out with a pair of bikes worth $6,600.

SF Gate takes a bike tour along the rugged coast of Ireland.

An Irish cyclist was fined the equivalent of $283 after he was convicted of careless driving for crashing into the back of a parked car.

The bike-riding mayor of Rome has been forced out over an expense scandal; he had won admirers for refusing to stop riding his bike despite mafia threats.

South Australia bicyclists will now enjoy the equivalent of a three-foot passing law and be allowed to ride on the sidewalk, while drivers will be allowed to cross over a double center line to pass cyclists when they have a clear view of approaching traffic and can safely do so. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have allowed drivers to do the same thing here.

Instead of improving safety, the mayor of Melbourne wants to tell riders to just avoid certain streets.

 

Finally…

There’s nothing unusual about a car chase in Los Angeles; on the LA River bike path, not so much. Caught on video: Once again, a Brit rider has been smacked by a crossing bar while trying to beat a train.

And Donald Trump seems to have forgotten about that little bike race he once held.

 

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