Murder & DUI charges in Griffith Park crash, petition to ban cars from park, and NCs sign on to Healthy Streets LA

Make that murder, instead.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the charges against Jairo Martinez, the man arrested for killing 77-year old AIDS/LifeCycle rider Andrew Jelmert in Griffith Park on Saturday, have been upgraded to murder, rather than vehicular homicide.

The paper hints at the reason here.

In addition to murder, prosecutors charged Martinez, 37, with fatal hit-and-run and driving with a suspended or revoked license after being convicted of driving under the influence. He was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

If Martinez was convicted of DUI in California, he would have been required to sign a Watson notice acknowledging that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence anytime in the future.

And kill someone, he did.

Allegedly.

It’s clear from the charges that losing his license didn’t stop Martinez from driving, or from getting behind the wheel after drinking.

California has to do more to keep people like him from continuing to drive after losing their license. Let alone continuing to drive drunk.

Interlock devices that check a driver’s blood alcohol level before the ignition will engage is a start.

But it would be far more effective to impound a driver’s car for the full duration of any drivers license suspension. Or force them to sell their car if their license is revoked.

Because as the charges against Martinez demonstrate, just taking away someone’s license doesn’t stop them from driving.

Or from killing someone.

………

Meanwhile, traffic safety nonprofit SAFE, or Streets Are For Everyone, has started a petition to begin phasing out cars from Griffith Park, with the exception of park rangers and shuttle buses.

Griffith Park is the largest park in the United States which still allows private cars. It is a haven for the community and a popular destination for cyclists, runners, walkers, and families with young children – getting out for some physical activity and get-togethers. Yet the few bike lanes that exist do not have barriers separating riders from cars. The posted speed limit is 25 MPH, but many drivers go 40 – 60 MPH using Griffith Park as a way to avoid the crowded 5 freeway.

And yes, I signed it. I hope you will, too.

………

Twenty-eight down, 71 to go, as over a quarter of Los Angeles’ neighborhood councils have signed on to the Healthy Streets LA ballot measure, which would require the city to build out the already approve mobility plan as streets get resurfaced.

………

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is hosting the second in their series of Bike Salons tonight.

The LACBC is also looking for volunteers as they resume the Operation Firefly light giveaway program.

The other news isn’t so welcome, as the organization has cancelled their formerly annual River Ride for the third consecutive year, while hinting at an event later this year to “celebrate the joy of bicycling.”

………

As we mentioned yesterday, the Bike League — aka the League of American Bicyclists — is out with their latest ranking of the country’s most bike-friendly states.

Massachusetts overtook Washington for the top spot for the first time, while California came in at a seemingly overly optimistic 4th. New York finished 13th in the ranking, although the state got an F grade in the Traffic Laws and Practices category.

And lowly Wyoming claimed the lanterne rouge as the nation’s most bike-unfriendly state.

………

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

A Charlotte NC Uber and Lyft driver is out of work after a “gang” of teenage bike riders chased him down and beat him up, stealing his phone, wallet, car keys and car, after he got out of his car when he “clipped” one of the wheelie-popping riders at a red light.

A salesperson at a Belgian car dealership dumped a bucket of water onto a bike rider who spit on the featured cars as he rode by every day.

………

Local

The Los Angeles Times has followed my lead, and endorsed Kenneth Mejia for city controller, with an honorable mention for longtime city budget analyst and financial officer Stephanie Clements; termed-out career politician Paul Koretz, not so much.

Pasadena is hosting a community meeting next Thursday to discuss the proposed Craig Avenue Greenway, a 1.1-mile bicycle boulevard between Orange Grove Boulevard to Del Mar Boulevard.

Whittier is planning to add a nearly three-mile extension to the popular 4.6-mile Greenway Trail rail-to-trail path.

 

State 

Calbike invites you to take part in this year’s Climate Ride fundraiser stage ride.

No bias here. A San Diego TV station actually says California’s requirement that carmakers replace cars that run on gas with other cars that run on batteries is a prime example of the mythical war on cars.

San Diego sheriff’s deputies are on the lookout for a van driver who followed a 16-year old boy on his bike, and tried to lure him inside the van.

Caltrans District 8 is asking for public input on a draft Active Transportation Plan for the High Desert and the Inland Empire area.

After a Hayward girl’s stolen bike was found stripped and trashed, kindhearted sheriff’s deputies worked with a local bike shop to get it cleaned up and repaired before they returned it to her.

It’s open season on mountain bikers in the Oakland Hills, as gangs of thieves are robbing people for their bikes in a crime spree dating back to last year.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney has won a seat in the California Assembly in special runoff election; Haney is credited with the rapid expansion of protected bike lanes in the city’s SoMa district.

 

National

Bicycling offers advice on how to extend the life of your bike tires. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

A Chicago bike rider won nearly $300,000 in damages after he was grievously injured when he struck the base of a broken bike lane bollard.

Boston’s Bikes Not Bombs organization is using bikes as a tool for social change.

They get it. A DC website says Vision Zero is meaningless unless we can get more drivers off the roads.

A longtime Florida bike shop was burned when an unattended ebike battery caught on fire while being charged, after they had sent the customer’s battery out to be rebuilt.

 

International

A Montreal website remembers the city’s Bicycle Bob, who fought to make bicycling seem like a normal urban activity, while encouraging the city to develop infrastructure necessary to support it.

The UK has seen a massive 40% jump in bike thefts in just the last three years.

Tossing a bike onto a London train track to watch it explode is not one of the recommended uses.

A British father calls for giving police the power to immediately suspend the license of drugged drivers, after his six-year old son was stuck by a driver who had already been stopped twice for DUI.

Current Santa Barbara resident and former spare heir Harry, Duke of Sussex, is reportedly “having a blast” riding his bike and whistling while attending the Invictus Games in the Netherlands.

Thank a massive volcano on a remote South Pacific island for the modern bike you ride.

 

Competitive Cycling

If you want to watch the oldest of the five Monuments here in the US this Sunday, you’ll need a subscription to the GCN+ streaming service; otherwise, you’re SOL for the 108th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The Redlands Classic stage race is back after a two-year Covid-imposed absence, with a time trial course last used 26 years ago.

A former Tokyo Olympian offers an insiders view of the L39ion of Los Angeles training camp.

 

Finally…

Bike bridge, pedestrian path and coyote crossing. If you’re going to ride your bike naked on Easter morning, at least get a damn tan first.

And now you, too, can buy a bike for the same price I paid for my last car.

………

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

One comment

  1. Ralph says:

    The drunk driving issue is hard to solve if a driver can keep their vehicle. There may only be one for the family. Friends could lend them their car. Driver’s license interlock on all cars. Car needs a valid license to start and run but then all drivers would need the system.
    It looks like about 30% are reoffenders. Which would lead you to believe that these people need help. They are more likely to get caught since they are probably problem drinkers.

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