Vehicular homicide arrest in fatal Griffith Park crash, and man missing riding bike in Long Beach found dead of natural causes

Let’s start with Saturday’s senseless death of 77-year old Andrew Jelmert.

According to a story by the LA Times’ Rachel Uranga, Jelmert was killed by a speeding, possibly drunk, driver as he rode on Griffith Park’s Crystal Springs Drive.

Jelmert was run down from behind as he neared the finish line of a training ride for this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle Ride, which would have been his seventh time completing the weeklong San Francisco to Los Angeles fundraising ride.

He had already raised over $20,000 for the ride, which could now be lost along with his life.

Thirty-seven-year old Jairo Martinez was attempting to pass another car when he slammed into Martinez with enough force to shatter the windshield of his BMW, as well as Jelmert’s bike. The impact scattered bits of the bike across the hillside, where they were later found by Jelmert’s husband.

The only blessing is that in all probability, Jelmert literally never knew what hit him.

Martinez was arrested by sheriff’s deputies shortly after the crash, after he attempted to run away on foot. At last report, he was being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide, with more charges likely to follow pending results of his blood tests.

Meanwhile, KNBC-4 reports on the installation of Jelmert’s ghost bike Monday night.

Uranga succinctly captures the problem bike riders face riding in the park/freeway bypass.

Griffith Park, which occupies more than 4,000 acres of rolling hills, is popular with cyclists who whiz down its tree-lined roads, often crossing over from the nearby L.A. River bike path.

But the few bike lanes that exist do not have barriers separating riders from cars, according to the L.A. Department of Transportation.

Crystal Springs Drive parallels the 5 Freeway and is sometimes used as a cut-through during traffic jams. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but many drivers go significantly faster.

Too often, drivers come off the 5 and 134 Freeways, and continue through the park at freeway speeds.

I’ve had the crap scared out of me by speeding drivers using the wide shoulder to pass slower cars on the right, while I was riding on it.

It’s also not far from where Damien Kevitt was infamously run down by a hit-and-run driver while riding on Zoo Drive, and dragged underneath the driver’s van onto the 5 Freeway, losing his leg in the process. And nearly his life.

The simple fact is, cars don’t belong in parks.

We should all demand — not ask — that city leaders move immediately to block the offramp leading into the park, as the first step in banning cars entirely from Griffith Park.

Let the park flourish as just that — a park, not a high-speed sewer for overly aggressive drivers.

Because the simple fact is, parks are for people, not cars.

And tragedies like this will inevitably keep happening if we don’t.

Photo from the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Facebook page.

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Sad news from Long Beach, where Manuel Abotye was found dead at a local hospital after disappearing while riding his bike last month.

The 73-year old man from a small village in Mexico’s Sinaloa state was in Long Beach visiting his sister when he suffered shortness of breath, and died 30 minutes after being transported to the emergency room.

However, he went unidentified for weeks because he had left his ID at home, and was considered missing until his body was discovered on Saturday.

Yet another reminder to always carry ID when you ride.

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Jim Lyle forwards a Nextdoor notice about a Palos Verdes resident targeting people on bicycles.

The male owner of this green truck has been accelerating towards people riding bikes on the street as though he’s intending to hit them with his car. And, I don’t mean the part of the street where cars belong. I mean the parking area near the gutter not in the way of vehicle traffic. He’s done this to me twice, once so close I was sure he was going to hit me. He swerves away before contact. Be aware of this truck if you ride…I don’t know his name or or know him personally. I learned from a neighbor who saw him accerlerate towards me this morning that he’s known for unsafe, aggressive behavior (I wasn’t given other examples). This info has been given to the sherrif’s department as well.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from longtime bike advocate, neighborhood council member and Bicycle Advisory Committee member Glenn Bailey, who forwards photos of Waste Management trash bins illegally blocking the heavily used bike lane on Reseda Blvd in Northridge.

He’s filed a complaint with the city’s Bureau of Sanitation, so hopefully he’ll get a response soon.

Or better yet, actually get action to keep it from happening again.

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Curses, Spectrum!

Because their service outage knocked me offline yesterday, we missed marking Bicycle Day, commemorating the 79th anniversary of the day LSD inventor Albert Hoffman discovered its psychedelic effects for the time.

Hoffman famously dropped a few tabs and attempted to ride his bike home, experiencing the first trip on a bike trip.

And inspiring both the best and worst music of the 60s.

Read the first link on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

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She gets it.

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Catch up on the latest Bike Talk, as they catch up on Calbike’s recent Bike Summit.

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Join Sunset For All and the LACBC as they explore the corridor while promoting local businesses and plans for protected bike lanes on Sunset Blvd.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Texas authorities are looking for the driver of a white jeep caught on camera swearing at a bike rider, who responds by flipping the bird; the driver then makes a U-turn and veers onto the wrong side of the road to threaten the rider, nearly sideswiping him.

Also from Texas, the owner of a car customization business is catching well-deserved flack after posting video of a pickup driver rolling coal at an unsuspecting bike rider, then claiming to be just “vaguely aware” of the video he himself posted, while suggesting that someone’s personal actions shouldn’t reflect on the business they work for. Or own, evidently.

A British bus driver avoided a fine for a punishment pass because the cops didn’t use the right form for their prosecution notice.

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Local

Metro and Metrolink will both offer free rides on Friday for Earth Day, including free Metro Bike rides.

A new poll shows Los Angeles voters want real action to address air pollution and extreme heat caused by climate change. Let’s hope our elected officials are listening, and actually do something for a change. Like building out the mobility plan and the transportation portion of the mayor’s Green New Deal. 

Los Angeles received a $5 million grant from Congress to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge at the Pacoima Wash to provide safer access to the planned El Dorado Park.

Streets For All calls on everyone to reach out to the Metro Board today and next Thursday to help get Eagle Rock’s Beautiful Boulevard plan for the NoHo to Pasadena bus rapid transit line over the finish line.

Pomona has opened a beautiful new two-way curb-protected bike lane on Valley Boulevard.

The popular 626 Golden Streets open streets event returns to South Pasadena, San Gabriel and Alhambra on May 1st.

 

State 

Something doesn’t add up. Just days after we learned that California is the nation’s sixth most dangerous state for bicycle riders on a per-capita basis, the Bike League ranks the late, great Golden State as the 4th most bicycle-friendly state in the US. Evidently, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it’s a great place to ride. If you live.

The CHP and Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies are looking for the driver of a purple Toyota Scion, who fled the scene after running down a 20-year old man riding his bike near Santa Maria, leaving the victim with major injuries.

 

National

No, bicycles don’t cause traffic congestion or slow down your commute.

Consumer Reports offers advice on how to shop for a new kid’s bike.

A Utah woman is suing Seattle ebike maker Rad Power Bikes, claiming a loose stem on the bike she assembled caused her to crash, since the instructions didn’t tell her to check the tightness of the stem.

Speaking of Utah, a cute video captures an eight-year old Utah boy teaching his four-year old little sister how to ride a bike for the first time.

A Colorado judge dropped the murder case against Barry Morphew, whose wife disappeared without a trace after leaving for a Mother’s Day bike ride two years ago. However, it was dismissed without prejudice, allowing prosecutors to refile when and if they have a better case.

New York commits $11 million to sweeping streets and bike lanes.

 

International

Lebanese commuters are taking to their bikes in increasing numbers, driven — so to speak — by the a fuel crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine.

More proof that bike lanes increase property values, as rental units close to London’s cycle superhighways draw a 20% premium over similar units elsewhere.

Five-time British Olympic champ Bradley Wiggins revealed that his struggles with depression stem, at least in part, from being sexually groomed by his cycling coach when he was just 13 years old.

Justice delayed, as a Malaysian appeals court has stayed the six-year prison sentence given to the woman who killed eight teenage bike riders after plowing through the group of kids riding modified bikes.

 

Competitive Cycling

Italian world champ Elisa Balsamo was disqualified from Saturday’s Paris-Roubaix Femme, after getting a little too much assistance from the team car in returning to the peloton after suffering a flat.

VeloNews offers a photo essay from last weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, aka The Hell of the North; Cycling Tips does, too.

Once again, a bike race spectator has taken down a competitor, as a fan applauding on the side of the roadway caught the handlebars of Belgian pro Yves Lampaert during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

 

Finally…

Maybe that jersey pocket isn’t necessary after all. That feeling when your 1950’s style ebike offers a very illegal 40 mph.

And maybe put the helmet on before you try riding off on the bike you just stole.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

4 comments

  1. Christian says:

    Did you or the OP of Nextdoor post block out the license plate on the green truck? BOLO for green truck of which I have plate number which I’ll keep to myself lol.

    • bikinginla says:

      I removed that. It’s not something I can post on here without possible legal liability.

      • Christian says:

        I’m curious as to why? I understand the legal liability. So why has this not been reported to the police cuz allegedly the owner has committed (witnessed by at least 2 different ppl) multiple crimes thus absolving your liability? God forbid he actually, by accident or purposely, maims/kills someone next week?

        • bikinginla says:

          I’m told this has been reported to the police. They may not be able to act now, but it will establish a pattern of behavior if, as you suggest, he goes further next time. That’s brought down Dr. Christopher Thompson.

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