Street racing drivers walk in death of bike rider, video of fatal North Hills hit-and-run, and killer Lambo driver’s dad says sorry

Apparently, life is still cheap in the Inland Empire.

It was nearly eleven years ago that Jorge Alvarado was fatally run down in San Bernardino County by a teenager who was allegedly street racing.

Sadly, the life of a Mexican immigrant who came to this country to fulfill his dream of becoming a pro cyclist didn’t seem to matter compared to that of the politically connected high school student who ended his.

His killer got away with just 90 days behind bars, and went on to play college soccer, thanks to a judge and DA who didn’t seem to want to jeopardize a promising young life just because he carelessly snuffed out another.

Now another judge, in nearby Riverside County, said hold my beer, and let a second pair of killer road-racing drivers walk without a single day behind bars.

According to KESQ-3 — and an identical story on Patch — Luis Armando Castaneda and Alex Isidro Quiroz pled guilty to a single count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of popular Coachella Valley bicyclist William Campbell in 2018.

The drivers, both in their early 20s, were allegedly street racing when Quiroz swerved into the Cathedral City bike lane Campbell was riding in, sending him cartwheeling 150 feet through the air in what was initially reported as a case of road rage.

Never mind that neither driver seemed to think the crash was worth sticking around for afterwards.

For reasons known only to them, Riverside County prosecutors alleged it was a case of hit-and-run, but never bothered to file the appropriate charges for fleeing the scene.

Which allowed both men to walk with just two years probation and 180 days work release, courtesy of an overly lenient judge.

But at least they won’t be allowed to drive for those two years.

And in a case of poetic, if not actual, justice, they’ll have to complete 180 hours of community service building bike paths in the Coachella Valley.

None of which will bring Campbell back to his friends and loved ones.

And all of which should serve as a warning to bike riders not to expect anything resembling justice in the Inland Empire.

Thanks to Victor Bale and Phillip Young for the heads-up.

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The LAPD released security cam video of the hit-and-run crash that took the life of an unhoused LA resident riding his bike in North Hills early Saturday morning.

Israel Ovando Vera was riding in a crosswalk at Sepulveda and Roscoe Blvds when he was run down by the driver of a 2007-2011 Toyota Camry at 4:20 am.

The video shows him crossing with the light, with his killer appearing to turn left off Sepulveda directly into him, then continuing on without stopping.

Regardless of what investigators originally implied about Vera possibly riding the wrong way, he clearly rode off the sidewalk into the crosswalk.

And there’s no right or wrong way on either one.

The actual impact on this video is hidden by a car stopped waiting for the light. But as always, be sure you really want to see it before you click play.

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On Tuesday, we reposted a comment from a Reddit user accusing a wealthy father of using his money and influence to protect his Lamborghini-driving son, who was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed when he slammed into a woman’s car in LA’s Westwood neighborhood last month.

Today, we finally heard from the boy’s father.

Thirty-two-year old Monique Munoz died when her car was totaled by the 17-year old driver; her father questioned why anyone would trust someone so young with a sports car capable of doing 190 mph.

The teen was arrested on on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter six days after the collision, but he has yet to be charged in the case.

His father, James Khuri, released this statement on Instagram yesterday.

“I am aware that the time it has taken me to communicate this has caused further pain for everyone affected. Knowing that this will never do justice for the family of Monique Munoz, I want to apologize to the Munoz family for the tragic loss of their daughter. There are no words I can say to alleviate the pain that you are experiencing. And I realize none of my words or actions will be able to bring back your daughter.

Still, I want to offer my support in any way you will allow me to. My family and I pray for the Munoz family.”

He certainly said the right things. But what happens next will tell how sincere he really is.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

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This is who we share the road with.

Many Angelenos watched in horror on Tuesday — myself included — as a rampaging driver attempted to evade police while deliberately smashing into other freeway drivers in a vain attempt to escape capture.

Making matters worse, after an hours-long standoff in which sheriff’s deputies fired numerous pepper balls into the car, a door finally opened, only to see the woman’s nine-year old daughter ran to the safety of a deputy deployed nearby.

Which raises the question of what kind of mother would do any of that with her child in the car, let alone what kind of driver.

Thanks to Larry Kawalec for the link.

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Stop wasting parking lots on cars.

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Why settle for a Slow Street when it can be an art exhibit, too?

https://twitter.com/sfchronicle/status/1368108868967006208

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Nope. No one’s whispered a word of this in the followup to Megan and Harry’s little confab with Oprah.

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Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A British man complains about “brainless” bicyclists riding through the supposedly bike-free town center after experiencing a couple of near misses.

A woman from the UK complains about antisocial and unempathetic behavior from bicyclists after she was thrown from her horse when it was struck by a group of trail riders, causing the animal to leap over a hedge and a barbed wire fence.

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Local

The Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council will discuss a proposal for a pedestrian plaza on 6th Street between Normandie and Vermont at tonight’s virtual meeting.

Santa Monica is fighting the trend of bike-banning Orange County beach cities by approving the use of ebikes on the beach bike path; the city is also requesting bids for a second shared mobility provider.

 

State

The San Diego Bike Coalition is kicking off their annual bike scavenger hunt this Saturday.

A San Diego columnist says biking to school is the traffic solution we can no longer ignore.

A Ceres columnist tells a roundabout tale of how riding his bike to rummage through people’s discarded trash led to a career in journalism.

 

National

Popular Science chips in with their recommendations on the best ways to store your bikes.

Evidently, cheap is a relative thing. Bicycling says a new aluminum frame bike from a French sporting goods store’s house brand is a “cheap, no-frills roadie.” Which is probably true, if your idea of cheap is $1,500, although some would seem to disagree. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Las Vegas man faces charges for the alleged drunken hit-and-run death of a 60-year old bike rider after a witness followed him to get the car’s license number.

Great idea. A Wichita Falls, Texas bike advocacy group is hosting a seed bomb ride, where participants will ride to selected locations and toss a bundle of wild flower seeds.

A Massachusetts man can thank a dog for saving his life, after he fell through the ice while trying to ride his bike across a frozen pond.

New York bike riders take matters into their own hands after getting fed up with the state of the city’s bike lanes, and organize their own clean up of one in Williamsburg.

A year after New York Mayor De Blasio told Gotham residents to walk or bike to work, the answer to what did he do to make that safer and more convenient is, not much.

More proof that Vision Zero works if you actually implement it, as the mayor of Hoboken NJ says the streets are safer for bike riders, pedestrians and motorists as a result.

Florida considers a bill that would legalize riding a bike without a seat, but only if was originally built that way.

 

International

No, don’t use standard WD40 on your bike chain.

How to keep your road kit from turning into a bio hazard.

Vancouver makes a half-hearted commitment to return the park bike lane they ripped out a year ago, but only on a temporary, popup basis.

Motor vehicle traffic and collisions plummeted in Vancouver during the early days of the pandemic, while bicycling rates soared to as many as 10,000 riders a day on popup bike lanes. Which is exactly what Los Angeles has missed out on by failing to install any.

A Dutch website explains the sometimes confusing logic behind the country’s bike friendly street designs.

The bike boom has even hit the already booming Netherlands, where bicycle sales have soared during the pandemic.

Chinese dockless bikeshare giant Hello is preparing for an American IPO, reportedly in an effort to raise a whopping $1 billion.

An aspiring ballet and opera conductor is working as a Singapore bicycle delivery rider after the pandemic forced him to temporarily set aside his musical dreams.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Tips says keep an eye on 21-year old Belgian cyclist Mauri Vansevenan this season.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you buy a bike online, and the dealer says you can’t take it because you’re too fat. If you’re thinking of getting a bicycle tattoo on your chest using nipples for wheels, just…don’t.

And if a worker from a sporting goods store takes back the $4,000 bike you just stole, go back the next night and steal a $5,500 one.

And a grab a pair of helmets while you’re at it.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

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