Morning Links: Killer Baltimore bishop already up for parole; LAPD Hollywood Memorial Riders reach Arkansas

Some things are just too awful to understand.

Peter Flax does his best to do just that, and to explain to us, the incomparable loss to family and friends when someone doesn’t come home a ride.

In this case, a husband and father. A Baltimore bike builder named Tom Palermo.

It was a case that made news around the world. Not because of who he was, but because of who took his life.

The assistant Episcopal bishop of Maryland.

Heather Cook had previously been convicted of DUI, at over three times the legal limit, but was still on the road after convincing the court she had completed rehab and installed an interlock device.

She ran Palermo down from behind, fleeing the scene as a bicyclist gave chase before returning to turn herself in, long after her lifeless victim had been taken away.

Despite being charged with a litany of crimes that could have added up to nearly four decades behind bars — including DUI, hit-and-run and distracted driving — she accepted a plea to just four charges, the most serious of which was vehicular homicide.

She was sentenced to seven years.

Now she could be out in just 18 months.

Because of a quirk in Maryland law, which says that people convicted of violent crimes have to serve at least half of their sentence before being considered for parole.

But in Maryland, vehicular homicide isn’t considered a violent crime. Not even when the driver was nearly three times the legal limit, texting, and fled the scene.

Or when two little kids will have to grow up without their father.

It’s not fair. It’s not right.

But Heather Cook will have a hearing next week that could let her back out on the streets. And maybe kill someone else’s husband or father. Or wife, mother, sister, brother or child.

It’s a heartbreaking story. One that will probably leave you outraged.

And one that Flax tells very well.

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Seven LAPD officers and one retired officer riding from LA to DC on the first Hollywood Memorial Ride have reached Fort Smith Arkansas, pausing to honor fallen officers along the way.

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Congratulations to the University of Colorado, the new collegiate road cycling champions.

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Local

Los Angeles police are looking for a man rode his bike up behind another man near Crescent Heights and Wilshire Blvd, got off and whacked him in the back of the head with a hard object in an apparent random attack; the victim is currently in a coma.

Streetsblog says Councilmember Mike Bonin nailed the response when he was challenged about his support for Vision Zero.

The Santa Monica city council will discuss bike and pedestrian safety at their next meeting this Tuesday, including calls for a full-time pedestrian safety coordinator.

The LACBC continues their Bike Month member profiles with ride marshal Treva Moore.

 

State

The Idaho Stop Law is scheduled to go before the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, along with a bill that would clarify that pedestrians are allowed to cross in a crosswalk while the signal is counting down — something the LAPD tickets pedestrians for in DTLA.

Costa Mesa will pay out $250,000 to a man who was injured falling off his bicycle when he struck protruding wooden post on the sidewalk on Harbor Blvd.

An Escondido mom used social media to track down and confront the man who stole her son’s bicycle.

San Diego bicyclists are losing patience with progress on the city’s bike plan, even though the city has built out 15% of the new lanes in the 2013 plan, as well as improving 22% of the existing lanes.

The Ventura County Fire Department is unveiling their first public bike repair stand, attached to a fire station in Newbery Park. Great idea; attaching it to a fire station could help prevent the vandalism that is common with stands like that.

San Francisco’s transportation agency comes in just under the wire, completing the last of three protected bike lanes on the final day allowed under the mayor’s executive order.

A Sonoma County man finished a 13-day, 550-mile ride around the entire Bay Area, climbing a total of 68,000 feet along the way.

 

National

This is who we share the streets with. A Seattle pedestrian was harassed by a group of men in a car before one got out, pointed a gun at her as she tried to get a photo of the car’s plates, and shot at her. Hopefully they’ll find the guy and lock him up for a very long time. But it’s a reminder to always be careful, because you never know who you’re dealing with.

This is why people continue to die on our streets. A Kansas man was arrested for reckless driving, after serving just 60 days for killing a bike rider two years ago; he was out on a three-year suspended sentence.

A Kansas woman is riding her bicycle to follow the 10,000 mile migration of the monarch butterflies from Mexico to Canada and back again.

Bikeshare continues to spread through the American heartland, as Wichita KS opens a program with 100 bicycles at 19 stations in the downtown area.

Kindhearted employees of a Toledo, Ohio bike shop will replace the bike that was stolen from an 11-year old boy at knifepoint.

Twenty-six bike riders set off on a 400-mile annual ride from Newton CT to DC to honor victims of gun violence, including the 26 children and adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

That’s one way to get votes. A Pittsburgh councilwoman — and current candidate for mayor — was caught on video honking at a bike rider and yelling at him to get in the bike lane. Even though there wasn’t one.

Something else you’d never spot from a car: A Philadelphia woman recognizes wooden pipes from a two-century old water system after workers piled them in the bike lane.

A DC-area man says not stopping is the best way to improve safety for cyclists.

 

International

Caught on video: A road raging passenger got out of a van and chased a British bike rider after he banged on the van’s window following a too-close pass.

No bias here. The UK’s Daily Mail says a bike rider rode into a car and headbutted the windshield after failing to see the car stopped directly in front of him. Or maybe the rider came around a blind curve and was unable to stop in time to avoid the car.

Arnold Schwarzenegger goes bike riding in Paris, and celebrity photobombs tourists at the Eiffel Tower.

An African website says Namibian cycling star Raul Costa Seibeb died mysteriously. Which is only mysterious if that’s what you’d call a car crash.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to flee the scene of a fatal crash, take your license plate with you. If you’re going to brake check a pair of bike riders, make sure they’re not cops.

And if you’re going to install bike racks at a shopping center, make sure you can actually lock a bike to them.

 

2 comments

  1. Ralph says:

    IT looks like AB390 got out of the assembly if that what the 76-1 vote means on the 3rd reading.

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