Fake cop busted for kidnapping bike-riding boy, tech turns cars into “candy store of distraction,” and LAFD says wear a helmet

There was a frightening crime in Panorama City Wednesday morning, when a fake cop allegedly kidnapped a 13-year old boy after crashing into his bike.

The victim, who wasn’t publicly identified, was riding his bike near Van Nuys Boulevard and Tupper Street when he was struck by a pickup driven by 38-year old Ottoniel Mendoza.

Mendoza got out of his truck, identified himself as a cop while flashing a badge, and ordered the boy to get into his truck. He was arrested nearby after a witness called police and followed Mendoza as he drove away.

He was booked on suspicion of kidnapping; other counts likely to be added later after the DA reviews the case.

His victim was taken to a hospital with minor injuries from the crash, lucky to escape safe and unharmed.

A passenger in the truck was released without charges.

Thanks to Tony Toretto for the heads-up.

………

The LA Times says increasing technology is turning modern cars into a “candy store of distraction,” comparing the problem to overwhelmed military helicopter pilots in the 1980s.

The paper also notes that 70% of drivers admit to using their cellphones behind the wheel, a figure that rises to 86% for people who use their cars for work.

Just in case you’re wondering why they don’t seem to see you.

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The Los Angeles Fire Department wants you to wear a helmet and ride safely if you’re going to Sunday’s South LA CicLAvia.

https://twitter.com/LAFDtalk/status/1544854637022306305

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Streetsblog LA is hosting their annual summer fund drive, hoping to raise $15,000 over the next two months.

And yes, I plan to give what little I can to support their vital work reporting on LA transportation issues.

The website also announced the August 3rd date for their first in-person Streetsie Awards party in three years, honoring L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell.

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

There’s a special place in hell for the Connecticut man who pushed an 11-year old biracial boy off his bicycle; advocates are calling for him to be charged with a hate crime. 

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

Detroit police are looking for a suspect who seriously injured a 51-year old man in a bike-by shooting.

Police in New York are looking for a pair of teenage ebike riders who got into a fistfight with another man, before pulling guns and firing at him on the sidewalk in broad daylight.

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Local

Los Angeles is bringing safety improvements to a 4.5-mile section of Western Ave between Martin Luther King Jr. and Century boulevards in South LA. Although the project appears to include sharrows instead of bike lanes, which have been shown to be literally worse than nothing

LAist offers more information on the coming Rail to Rail Active Transportation Project through South LA and Inglewood, tentatively scheduled to open in two years.

Long Beach wants to improve community policing by putting more cops on bikes and walking beats.

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot is one us. Or at least knows the value of posing with a bicycle on the beach.

 

State 

Speaking of a special place in hell, someone — presumably a mountain biker — cut several branches and bushes overhanging a trail in the Del Mar Mesa Preserve, apparently in an effort to increase speed while reducing the trail’s difficulty.

Too many memorials line the streets of San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood, where residents and business owners have complained for years about the lack of traffic safety for pedestrians and cyclists; three people have been killed already this year, including last month’s death of a 63-year old ebike rider.

Mountain Bike Action recommends the off-road, all-levels Sapwi Bike Park and Sapwi Flow Trail Project in Thousand Oaks, a joint project of the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) and Conejo Recreation and Park District.

 

National

Good idea. A bicycle insurance company is now offering nationwide coverage for damage to your bike, as well as optional theft coverage.

A new study says it doesn’t matter whether you ride your bike midweek or on weekends, as long as you ride.

They get it. A newspaper in Bend, Oregon says prioritizing people over cars won’t happen overnight, but it’s worth the effort, as the city fails to live up to its bike-friendly reputation.

Ebikes are now welcome wherever bicycles are allowed in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park.

Five of the best social bike rides for your next trip to Denver.

Drivers in Austin, Texas can’t seem to avoid a new curb-protected bike lane, with a local resident reporting at least one blown tire there every day; city officials say it’s needed on a section of roadway where the previous painted bike lane failed to prevent several traffic deaths and serious injuries.

Seriously? A Minnesota teenager is dead because 72-year old driver says he lost control of his control of his pickup when he sneezed, and slammed into the boy’s bike after going off the road at 55 mph; he tested under the legal alcohol limit, despite smelling of booze and showing signs of impairment.

Parking won out over a planned bike lane in Louisville, Kentucky, after residents complained and city officials suddenly discovered the street wasn’t wide enough for them.

Speaking of Louisville, a woman is calling for accountability after a hit-and-run driver left a popular bike advocate lying critically injured in the roadway. Maybe if the city prioritized people over parking, things like that might be a little less likely.

A New York website considers how ebikes can help the city meet its climate goals.

Good question. A DC website asks why we treat traffic safety as if it’s less important than transit safety.

 

International

British Columbia bike and safety advocates are calling for mandatory side bars on large trucks, after a frightening crash where a bike rider was right hooked by a driver turning right on a red light; the crash came just one week after another rider was killed in a similar crash. Banning right on red would help, too.

It looks like Britain can kiss pro-bike, pro-Brexit Prime Minister Boris Johnson goodbye, after one too many scandals.

Bike Radar ogles Danish city bikes while in in the country for the first stages of the Tour de France.

A Pakistani court has sentenced a Christian bike mechanic to death for blasphemy, in a dispute that began when Muslim customer demanded a discount after getting his bike fixed.

A new Honda ebike combines a ped-assist bike with a throttle-controlled, sit-down scooter.

A New Zealand op-ed says Vision Zero should account for the premature deaths caused by car pollution, as well as from traffic violence.

 

Competitive Cycling

Aussie Simon Clarke claimed his first Tour de France stage victory in a photo finish over Dutch cyclist Taco van der Hoorn in Wednesday’s cobbled sixth stage, while Wout Van Aert held on to the yellow jersey by a slim 13-second margin.

Bicycling asks if Neilson Powless is America’s sleeper Tour de France threat, after his solo breakaway was caught in the final kilometer; if he could have held on, he would have started today’s stage in the yellow jersey. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you

Slovenia’s Primož Roglič lost two minutes to the race leaders after a crash forced him to borrow a spectator’s chair to pop his dislocated shoulder back in place.

Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard had to make up time after getting dropped by the peloton following a disastrous series of bike changes, as he struggled to find one he could actually ride.

https://twitter.com/flobikes/status/1544728920024563713?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1544728920024563713%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcyclingmagazine.ca%2Fsections%2Fnews%2Fjumbo-vismas-bike-change-was-the-most-hectic-near-disaster-ever%2F

 

Finally…

Use a little magnetic attraction to keep your skirt down on a bike. If you’re carrying drug paraphernalia and stolen credit cards on your bike, put a damn light on it, already.

And forget hi-viz. Apparently even riding naked on a tandem isn’t enough to be seen by drivers.

Or one driver, anyway.

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

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

2 comments

  1. J says:

    Please repost the grand canyon link.

    I wanted to read it before noting how nothing eats up batteries more than vertical ascent!

    It’s currently duplicating the insurance link.

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